Note to Self: Concussion Reminders

Since my concussion, I’ve been working out at most 60% of what I used to do. Part of it is detraining – if I’m not doing anything, I can’t expect to be as fit. Not fun, but I always expect I’ll get better.

Yesterday I had a bit of a smack down. I had two appointments in the morning. I rode my bike, thinking I’d go for a long ride after PT. Well. The ride was only 35 minutes, but it was mostly uphill. My heart rate got up to as high as it’s been recently. It felt GREAT. When I checked my heart rate monitor, I noticed that my heart rate was elevated for the longest time in over a year. I was thrilled. During my 20 minute de-sweating, clothes-changing time, I was ready to celebrate with my PT.

By the time she took me for my appointment, I was ready to sit in a dark corner. I had a headache, was dizzy, and my balance was off. Humpf. Loss of balance was one of my most noticeable symptoms of my concussion. I went from teaching barefoot balance training to being unable to walk a drunk walk line. Over the year, I’ve been working on getting that back. And the headaches. I consider my “concussion headaches” as something very specific. Only on one side of my head, in a very specific spot. She did some manual techniques to bring my headache down, and I went home.

Dear Self – 

Be careful. I know you want to get your body going. It’s fun, it feels great, heck, it feels normal. But headaches don’t feel normal. They feel crappy. Even if you feel amazing at the time, still cut it short. Cutting short one day will make it possible for you to do something the next day. Because the discomfort is always worse the next day.

You like reading, right? Well, you can’t read when you have a headache.

You like riding your bike, right? Well, you can’t bike when you have a headache.

You like petting Boss, don’t you? Well, at least you can pet the kitty when you have a headache. Go self, pet the kitty. Pet that kitty good.

Love, Me

Bootleg Shakespeare and Barrel Bourbon

Last night Taffety Punk, one of the local theater companies, put on Bootleg Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre. While I’ve enjoyed a couple of their all-female Riot Grrls Shakespeare performances, this was my first Bootleg. In Bootleg performances, the actors learn their lines in advance, then have one day together to stage the show. The props are minimal, costumes understated, and the sets nonexistent. 

The tickets are general admission and only available in person at 5:00 on the day of the show. I hopped on the metro and got caught in a rush hour storm on my way to the Folger Shakespeare Theatre. Once I got to the theatre, it really started pouring.

I waited it out for about 20 minutes and headed to Barrel, a bar that has quite a list of bourbon. The menu looked pretty tasty too, but I’ll try that out another time. I enjoyed my Four Roses single barrel and the playlist in the bar (Neutral Milk Hotel and Beastie Boys?) until it was time to head back to the show.

The crowd looped around inside, eager to find a seat. I was lucky to get a good one.

In the first act, Pericles travels the ocean to flee Antioch after solving a riddle that reveals a secret about the King Antiochus and his daughter (eww). His trusty vessel, two broomsticks carried by his crew (think the clip-clop coconuts in Monty Python’s Holy Grail) takes him to Tarsus. The land is suffering a famine. After giving the King Cleon and Queen Dionyza food for their citizens, he sets sail again. He is then shipwrecked in Pentopolis, where the King is holding a contest to marry his daughter Thaisa. Pericles wins. Here, the Bootleggers broke out into a dance, set to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” And, of course, Pericles and Thaisa fall  in love. 

When they set sail to rule his land, a big storm rallies. 

Then… After a believing his bride died in childbirth and was thrown overboard, but really she survived and became a Priestess of Diana, and also believing that his daughter Marina was killed out of jealously by King Cleon on Queen Dionyza (jerks), but was in fact sold into prostitution by pirates (but was never sullied), the trio are finally reunited. In this world, the virtuous are rewarded. (After being dealt a pretty crappy hand.)… Whew. 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more energetic performance. There was a just a hint of tongue in cheek tapping on the fourth wall, which drew in the audience. We were not only in on the joke, but we also got in on the action, providing a trumpeting “do-do-dooo!” whenever the director (prompter?) yelled “flourish!”

The actors owned it. The subtly self-aware attitude was so expertly balanced with quality acting that it only added to the performance. 

The Taffety Punk Theatre Company’s next performance (Sept 4-Oct 4, 2014) will celebrate their 10th anniversary. They are doing a new version of The Devil in His Own Words their first show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Power Smoothie

Smoothie Chocolate CherryPants has been putting in some extra hours finishing up a project lately. The poor guy was yawning through his cup of coffee last night, so I wanted to make him an extra-special energy smoothie to start off the week.

I love making this little number on birthdays or big exam days (it actually originated when I had a big exam on my birthday). The chocolatey goodness not only makes me feel totally spoiled, but also peps me up and keeps me going for hours!

Note: one look at the ingredients list will tell you this is NOT a light smoothie. Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Power Smoothie (Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 Cheribundi Tart Cherry Smoothie pack (or 1/2 c sliced tart cherries)
  • 1/2 c fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 c coconut milk
  • 1.5 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw cacao
  • 1/2 tsp mesquite powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp chia seeds (I omit for myself, but include for Pants)
  • A whole mess of spinach (3-4 handfuls)
  • 1.5 c water

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender in order listed.
  2. Blend at a lower speed until everything is mixed.
  3. Blend at higher speed until you achieve desired consistency
  4. Spoil yourself and enjoy!

Boss in a Box: Suitcase Edition

Boss in Suitcase death stare

You may go. Suitcase must stay.

I’ve heard from some of my dog owner friends that their dogs get anxious at the mere sight of a suitcase. It seems so sweet that the poor pups would miss their owners so much.

Not our Bossy. When he sees a suitcase, it’s like a motel “vacancy” light goes on. No sooner had I set the suitcase on the floor, then that little fluffer got up (out of his box) and jumped right into the case. Sheesh. 

We wanted to do a test pack to see how much room we had and what we needed for our trip to Belize. I’m really hoping to keep it as light as possible while still enjoying a “fresh pair of this” and “a clean one of that” every so often.

 

Boss in Suitcase

You know, if you got rid of the hiking boots, I could bring my Beef Feast in here.

 

We planned on splitting one suitcase to cut down on draggables. I like my stuff to be organized and as hassle free as possible, so I usually use the Eagle Creek packers I’ve had for about 15 years. I’ll start with stuff organized  by clothing type, and finish with stuff separated by “dirty” “mostly dirty” and “dropped in a mud puddle.” My gear fit right in without crossing the middle line, shoes and all.

Spotting a vacancy, Flueff hopped in to let me know how to use the other half.

I wasn’t sure if we could also fit in our sunscreens and bug sprays, so I pulled out the carry-on to gauge the space.

Boss in Carry on

I get lefties, you get righties.

Boss of course saw a new suitcase and had to check it out. (He usually prefers the cover on this one for some reason. Works for me!) 

Eventually he got up, leaving a ring of orange fur in his wake. I tried to clean it up with the lint roller, but the suitcase itself seemed a little more adhesive.

I’m going to miss that darn Flueff so much, every leftover cat hair I find is going to make me smile (I’ll probably try to pet it).

From Swimming to Salmon: Friday in Review

Yesterday morning was another slug-fest, so I slapped on the NPR and set to waking up by making gummies.

I’m a huge fan of grass-fed gelatin gummies. I usually go with some variation on Diane Sanfilippo’s Sweet and Sour Gummies recipe. I even got my mom hooked when she came down for a visit.

Today I recreated the lemon-lime bites with spangles of mini blueberries that I made for the July 4th picnic. I find silicone candy molds the easiest way to get bite-sized pieces. Most of them look pretty cute (Pyramids! Fancy squares!), but the dome shaped ones always look vaguely creepy, even sinister. I think it’s because they’re just a little too round, a little too shiny (and with the mini blueberries, a little too much like dissected eyeballs).

With gummies cooling in the fridge, I hopped on my old steed up the hill to the nearby pool. I’m not the best swimmer, but man, do I love it. Between the biking there any home, I got in about 35 minutes road time and 50 minutes swim time. Ahh.

My gummies were ready when I got home and I popped a few while I was getting ready to go back out.

I swung into the Smithsonian Museum of American Art to check out the exhibitions. Modern American Realism had a lot of paintings of landscapes in America (think Edward Hopper out of the Nighthawks). There was also nifty photo exhibition of black and whites of American statues. My favorites were more of an abstract piece and a sculpture. The Pop Art Prints were a lot of fun a and totally reminded me of this Roy Lichtenstein print had I had as a kid. Not sure how that one ended up in my wardrobe, but it was a major player in elementary school.

I missed out on the other two (I will be back!), because I wanted to get to the Kennedy Center for a concert at the Millennium Stage. They have free concerts at 6 p.m. everyday. I was looking forward to the classical guitarist, Piotr Pakhomkin. He went from from modern flamenco to Paganini, and was really enjoyable.

By then I was starving, so I was happy to meet my fella for a dinner at Rasika West End. My favorite part was the Salmon Tandoori Tamatar, with sun-dried tomato, basil and mint chutney. Swoon. I was definitely happy for a nice bike ride home to finish the day.

 

Water Wake up Call

 Poor Pants has been working like a fiend lately. He’ll get home super late, and then set the alarm to get into work early. Unfortunately, working late means that waking up is twice as hard (which is not so much his forte anyway), so the poor guy over-snoozed and ended up getting into work about an hour later than he wanted.

When I was working or going to school, I’d usually be up before him, so I’d find some way (nicely waking, head scratching, kitty bombing) to get him out of bed. Now, with my lack of schedule and later hours, I’ve been sleeping later than I ever have. (Note to self: not sure this is a good thing.)

I’ll say one thing for the iPhone alarm – I barely notice it when he sets it. Last night I decided to help out and set the good ol’ clock radio. Not only would he have the dulcet tones of NPR to lure him out of sleep, but also I hid a secret weapon in the nightstand.

And by secret weapon I mean this bad a$$ pocket water pistol (two cartridges of water!)

Just a few squirts elicited a strong “MeHHHH” from the other side of the bed. I kept spraying, just managing to avoid getting him in the face.

 After falling for a “Just 5 more minutes, I want to snurgle with you!” (Didn’t I mention something earlier about being a sucker for morning snurgles?) I whipped out the pistol again and went to town on his hair. He was going to wash it anyway.

Despite some initial grumbles, Pants was pretty pleased that the smoothie hand off this morning came off 10 minutes before schedule.

Today’s Smoothie:

Mango Cilantro Smoothie

Serves 2

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 cup hot water (helps get the spinach and mango ready for blending. I found this super helpful in the winter when there was a ton of frozen spinach and a sad blender)
  • 1.5 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut (accidentally bought the reduced fat. Eew. So not good for baking)
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • 2 huge handfuls red lettuce
  • 1 cup cold water
  1. Place items in the Vitamix/blender in order listed
  2. Start blending on low until ingredients mix
  3. Blend on high until desired smoothie consistency
  4. Enjoy!

 

I love having a smoothie and a few gummies as a mid-afternoon snack, especially when it’s hot outside.

 

Slug-arm, Uni-fang, and Super-heart: Hyphens of the Day

As I type this, my left arm is feeling that awkward sluggitude that I get after immunizations. I had 3 today, plus some blood taken for my PT program physical. Lefty pretty much looks like it was hit by some really inept (and one single-fanged) vampires. (I’d feel kinda bad for a uni-fang. All single-toothed, looking like it had a confused overbite. Bad, you know, before it bit me.) I’m taking my lefty weakness as a chance to level the playing field for poor righty. It seems that after the concussion, the muscles on my right side started some weirdo movement patterns. Thanks to my lovely PT, I’m on a regime of scapular stabilization exercises.

I was all ready for my shots, because one of my favorite podcasts, Sawbones: a Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine, just did an episode on vaccines. I super-heart Sawbones. Usually they tackle the more bizarre paths of medicine (corpse theft, self surgery, history of headache treatments), but this one was more of straight-up history. Right after learning how the smallpox vaccine was developed, I read that vials of a smallpox virus were found in an unapproved Maryland lab.  Say WHat?!? Smallpox so deadly that only 2 labs, one in Atlanta and one in Russia, are authorized to have it. These mystery vials have just been hanging out in a cold storage room, likely since the 50’s.

And that, friends, is why you always clean out the refrigerator.