Cancer sucks

I want to keep this simple.  I received an email from my friend Emily this morning.  Emily was my best friend growing up in Clinton and is still a dear friend of mine.  I met her boyfriend Aaron last summer and thought he was a wonderful person!  He was recently diagnosed with lymphoma.  It always sucks when people get cancer, but it sucks more when it’s somebody young and (obviously) somebody close to you.

A lot of runners and bloggers do fund-raisers/bake sales for this sort of thing.  That’s not really my style.  I don’t like to make people jump through hoops for a donation.  I CAN do something like that.  I could say, hey, if you all help me raise $2000 I will run the Rock ‘n’ Roll St Louis Half-Marathon for the cause.  But let’s do this instead.  If you can, give a small donation.  If you can’t, that’s okay too.  But I bet you can give a little something.  Let me assure you that Aaron fully deserves what you can give. 

I’m going to put Emily’s beautiful email here.  Visit the link, see what you think.  Look within yourself.  Don’t make me sponsor a bake sale, please!

Dear Friends and Family,

Thanks so much for all of your kind words and encouragement since my boyfriend Aaron was diagnosed with lymphoma. He completed round #4 of chemotherapy last Wednesday and has a follow-up PET scan today to determine how effective his treatment has been so far. After this, we hope Aaron will be done with the chemo and start radiation therapy. I am happy to report that it’s been a long time since he’s been immobilized by the tumor in his hip — the road to recovery is long though. He so misses the outdoor activities he loves — mostly hiking, biking, and mountain climbing!!

Many of you have asked how you can help out Aaron during this time. As you may know, Aaron is a special education teacher at Chase Elementary School in Athens and he is unable to work until his immune system is stronger. Unfortunately, he’s also out of sick leave, no longer receiving pay and facing mounting medical bills. Several of Aaron’s friends and family have established an online fundraiser to raise donations for both his medical and living expenses. Our goal is to raise $6,000 for him by September 14.

Will you take a moment to read more about Aaron’s situation and consider contributing to his fund?

http://www.giveforward.com/helpaaronkickcancer

Again, thank you so much for your kindness and support. We both feel very loved in our community of family and friends.

Much love,

Emily

5 reasons I hate my trainer

I had my first solo session with Mike (my trainer) yesterday in well, about 1 1/2 weeks.  It was fine.  I told him I felt like all my muscle had turned to fat and I was starting over.  He laughed and said it would take longer than a week off to do that.  He asked if I had gained weight.  I told him I hadn’t been crazy enough to step on the scale lately!

Sometimes I complain to my friends about ridiculous things that he says or does.  I’ve decided it would be fun to list some of them here.

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5 reasons I hate my trainer (you all know I’m kidding and that he is actually not-so-secretly my hero, but for title purposes I’m going with it.)

1.  He ran 21 miles on Sunday and complained that it took FOREVER.  Aka around 2 1/2 hours.  You know, less time than it takes me to run a half-marathon. 

2.  I mentioned I had a friend who finished an Ironman on Sunday and he asked if he was in good shape.  I was like, really?  He just finished an Ironman.  Mike continued to wait for my answer.  To be fair, he asked the same question about my dad when I told him my dad was riding his bike across the country.  No, he’s totally fat and has never ridden a bike before!

3.  He asked if I had run already that day.  Or was I planning to run afterwards.  As if I didn’t already feel bad enough about not having run in a long time. In fact, he ALWAYS asks whether or not I ran already or am planning to run afterwards.  It makes me feel truly lazy when I don’t.  Even though I just did an hour workout!  WHAT SATISFIES YOU MIKE? NOT ALL OF US CAN SPEND ALL DAY WORKING OUT!

4.  He once mentioned wanting to lose ten pounds in a week to improve his race time.  I asked if that would be difficult and he said, no, I usually have to eat so much to maintain my weight it will be pretty easy. 

5.  The above picture was in a race.  That he came in second.  And still managed to mug for the camera in a ridiculous manner.

Move Your Body!

You all know that working out, and especially, working out with Mike, is an important part of my weekly schedule (and life).  So I decided that a fun activity for my sisters and I would be to all do a workout with Mike together. 

Originally we were going to meet at the park, but Mike decided it would be easier at the gym in the group exercise room.  We wanted to get fun outfits to wear, and we did!  We found these awesome t-shirts in the kids department at Target!

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Now, I hadn’t worked out since the previous Thursday, and really hadn’t even run due to my cold, so I knew the workout would be challenging for me.  Carrie is a college student with no time to work out, and Leslie is a Jillian Michaels/Bikram Yoga/Occasional marathoner sort of exerciser.

Anyway, Mike was supposed to wear a costume too, but he texted me that morning to warn me to go ahead and be disappointed because he forgot.  I told him I was used to disappointment.

We got dressed and headed out.  Immediately upon arriving at the gym we ran into my friend Jon, who gladly took this picture.

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I was wearing a pink headband on my wrist because I figured Mike could at least wear that.

When Mike saw us, he asked, "Where do you find this stuff?"  as if I constantly wear really weird clothes at the gym.  This from a man who owns short bright purple shorts.

Anyway, the workout was fun.  We did squats, lunges, thrusters (squat with shoulder press), planks, threw weighted balls back and forth, and all kinds of other stuff.  Carrie was DYING, which was (sorry!) kind of funny, and I was pretty tired by the end as well.  Leslie had never really lifted 10 pound weights before so she was working hard also.  Mike was his usual self, which (and I was glad to get confirmation from the girls) meant he was very talkative, but in a low-talker way.  Sometimes I can barely hear him, and I had assumed I was simply losing my hearing.  I was glad to know that they could barely hear him too.  Mike, speak up!  Quit mumbling!  :)

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I requested that they look "fierce."  Carrie wasn’t quite sure what that was. 

After the workout we went to Sweet Art for lunch.  It’s a bakery and sandwich shop that makes vegan stuff. 

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I had a vegan philly cheese steak sandwich.  It was both the weirdest thing I had ever eaten and yet also kind of amazing.  The "meat" was made of seitan.  It really had the texture of meat, which was weird.  The flavor of the sandwich was really good though, but the whole thing was tough to eat, because it was really liquidy, and the bottom piece of bread was completely soggy.  I used a fork.  And I had a lemon cupcake.  Non-vegan.  Love that buttercream frosting! And yes, we were wearing our matching "Move your body" t-shirts the whole time. 

Mama Pea’s Famous Dough Balls

My sister Leslie bought Peas and Thank You, which is a cookbook of vegetarian meals by a "famous" blogger, Mama Pea.  She brought it with her to St. Louis since she was planning to make a dish from it for my wedding shower. 

Thursday night we were a little bored and decided the best thing to do would be to bake something.  I tend to have a pretty well stocked baking cabinet, but I didn’t have what we really needed to properly do some VEGAN baking, since my youngest sister Carrie is a vegan (she eats no animal products of any kind.)  We bandied about a couple different ideas, but ultimately settled on making the "famous" Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls.  I say famous because this recipe has been absolutely RAVED about in the blogosphere.  (The blogosphere that I pretend doesn’t exist and I don’t care about, remember.)  I had never made it, primarily because I am not that concerned about vegan or vegetarian baking, and secondarily because I try not to keep junk in the house.  And yes, cookies, though delicious and perhaps even all natural, are still junk food in my mind.  Don’t jump down my throat.  A healthy lifestyle can contain cookies and other sweets in moderation, but that doesn’t make them not junk.  *steps slowly off soapbox*

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That said.  We did a quick trip to Schnuck’s to get the missing ingredients (primarily Earth Balance which is vegan butter and peanut butter chips).  My sisters were delighted by the grocery store’s name (yes, yes, it’s funny.)  And then it was baking time!  I decided to attempt to document this for the blog.

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The fatness is REALLY happy.

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Reviewing the recipe.

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Hard at work measuring sugar!  Plus, look at that amazing jar of peanut butter…

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I’m pretty sure that chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and peanut butter are junk food.  Just saying.

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Flexing my {remaining} muscles, getting ready to use the world’s greatest kitchen appliance. 

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Then we had to wait (yes, I realize I didn’t take some preparation pictures, this isn’t a food blog people.  The odd-looking dough had to chill and then we formed it into balls and baked it.)

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Trying to force the cat to look at the camera.  She didn’t care for this.

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And then they were done.  They are a little raw looking, but that is the point. 

Verdict?  Well…the first night I was not in love.  I thought they tasted a bit salty, though Leslie admitted her salt-measuring may have been heavy handed.  I thought perhaps an egg or two would have held the whole thing together.

BUT the next day…they tasted better.

And on the third and last day, they tasted really good.  So verdict:  make them, and then play the waiting game for two days.  Then they’ll taste like really good cookies!  When the bloggers were mailing them out all over, that’s why they were so good, several days had passed!

Or maybe that’s why I ignore the blogosphere, generally.  I don’t love oatmeal with extreme passion.  I have never made OOIAJ.  And I have grown up eating delicious, ridiculously delicious full fat and flavored baked goods.  That I can’t eat every day or I’ll be ridiculously fat.  But I would rather eat ONE cookie from one of my grandmother’s recipes every two or three months than a couple imitation cookies every day.  That’s my personal decision though.  I can occasionally manage delayed gratification.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine recipe.  And Carrie loves finding more vegan recipes—and if one is vegan and won’t eat things with butter and eggs and cream and ALL that good stuff, well, then…this is probably a really great recipe for you!  I just don’t feel the need. 

*no cats were actually harmed in the filming of this blog entry*

Friday!!!!!!!

Ah…today I woke up and realized I hadn’t taken cold medicine in OVER NINE HOURS.  I quickly took some, of course, but still, obviously I’m improving.  Sadly Chris is sick now, and spent most of the day yesterday lying down.

Today we are all doing a workout with Mike and then tonight going out to dinner with some of my friends.  Other than that…who knows.  We’ve been shopping, watching Alias, and made some vegan cookies (that are QUITE famous in the blog world, but that’ll be another post)…

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Carrie at the airport—we had to wait about an hour until Leslie’s flight came in.

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Drinking tea at Lemongrass.

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HOT POT!

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Wonder twin powers…activate?  And I finally don’t feel totally crazy having my ring on my RIGHT hand.  Nothing like being around other crazy violinists to make you feel sane.  (We all had the same childhood of practicing hours and hours everyday rather than doing anything else that regular people did.  Pros and cons.)

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The yellow shirts are for today’s workout.  Not quite sure why we tried them on over our ridiculous flowered dresses, but, there you have it.

Enjoy your Friday!  And I’ll tell you all about Mama Pea’s Dough Balls another time.