Hallo von Deutschland!

Well, I can not begin to try and explain my long absence from my blog other than the fact that life has been super super busy the past year.  As a matter-of-fact, I’m not even writing this from the US, I’m in Germany!  I am here as a part of a program called . This is a program of the Rotary Foundation that allows folks young in their careers to travel to another country and learn about their profession there. Pretty incredible, if you ask me! We arrived in Germany Sunday around noon, and so far everything has been really amazing! Granted, with this being my first time outside of the United States besides driving through Canada to visit with mom and dad in Michigan I kind of expected everything to make me excited:). Before you ask, nein, meine Deutsch ist nicht serh gut (aka my German is not very good… I can ask for the bathroom and beer, though, so what more does a girl need?).

So far each day truly has been an adventure in its own right. Sunday was a very peaceful and relaxing day, considering the very long flight we had the day before. For someone not used to flying, like myself, the travel from Manchester to Philly to Munich to Bremen was quite the trek. I’m traveling with 4 others from the USA, so that was nice to not make such a long flight alone. We arrived to a rather regal reception (in a good and special way), with our host families and several other key Rotarians from the district meeting us and taking us for kaffee in the airport. Then it was off to our host homes to get to know the families and become oriented with the city. Both lunch and supper consisted of asparagus, which for me was fun because that is a staple food for this time of year in Oceana County, where I was born and raised. Although, here the asparagus is white and at home it is green (white is grown without any sunlight). Nevertheless, my first German meals were delicious 🙂 After lunch I went for a bicycle ride with my host family, which was so very incredible. Here in Oldenberg everyone, and I mean EVERYONE rides bikes. I’ve never dreamed of a more eco-friendly community, people even stop their cars when the gate for the train is down! Something no one in the US I think would ever abide to! But I digress. The first stop on our bikes was I think my favorite, we saw the sheep on the dyke.

Sheep on the Dyke

These were even Suffolk sheep like I used to raise growing up in Michigan! I also got to see my first public display of which to me was so very cool! I’ve loved to knit and crochet for a very long time and started to become interested in this idea of knitting as street art. Check it out! My first spotting of yarn bombing! The artist's 'tag'

Needless to say, I’ve been having an incredible time and am now off to visit an after school program! Right up my alley! Tschüss for now, and more of our adventure to come soon! 🙂

Getting back on the healthy train!

Hello all you folks out there in wordpress land! I’m just writing a short update as I have been feeling quite under the weather since Friday. Not really a fun way to spend the weekend, but at least I was able to spend the last 2 days trying to recover since my schedule for this week doesn’t lend itself well to a sick day until Friday.

So as you know, I’ve been on a venture to try and get down to a health weight while having fun doing it. With the return of warm weather and snow-free sidewalks comes a whole new world of opportunity for my weight-loss adventures. After re-discovering the website Map My Run I am all sorts of motivated! My sister Jeni and I used to use the site about a year ago to track out workouts at the gym. When I didn’t have time to go to the gym any more I fell away from the site. Well I sure am glad I decided to visit the site and log he 3.8 mile walk Justin & I took last Sunday! They have done all sorts of upgrades and even made the app free! I can now track my workouts and food diary all in one place. I have only gotten to use the app to track one walk, but I think I’m hooked! It uses the gps in my phone to track my time, distance, terrain, and even calories burned! How cool ?!? Well I’m starting to get tired, so it’s time for medicine & bed. HAve a great week, and be sure to check out Map My Run!

The Dansko Difference

Last week Tuesday I had an appointment with Dr. Tornetta, an ankle specialist here in Boston. I started getting nervous a few weeks before, wondering what he would say, what he could do for me. But I suppose a little back story as to why I’m seeing an ankle specialist might be in order…

In the summer of ’05 I was in a bad car accident. Bad as in lay me up in the hospital bad. I had an open, dislocated fracture of my talus (ankle) bone. In other words, my ankle didn’t like where it was an decided to go on a little vacation and split from my leg bones for a while. Let’s jump four surgeries and five years later, aka this past summer. I had gotten a recommendation from my surgeon back in Michigan to see the best of the best for ankle surgeons here in Boston because my ankle was giving me all sorts of problems. I was walking with a bad limp, I had pretty constant pain, and my ankle was the size of a basketball on a regular basis from all the swelling. So I made the venture down to the Boston Medical Center to meet Dr. Tornetta. He was able to pin point the pain and limited ROM (look at me, using a fancy medical term) to really bad arthritis in all 3 ankle joints. Boo. Who wants to hear they have bad arthritis at age 26? Certainly not me. So he prescribed the usual trio — naproxen, physical therapy, and weight loss.

PT at Elliot Rehab here in Manchester is where the magic began to happen. My therapist Kristen was AWESOME. She would spend lots of time cranking on my ankle and making it hurt so good. Talk about a new experience. In the first year or two after my accident I had more pt than I care to think about, and usually I’d walk away in pain feeling frustrated that we accomplished nothing. While chatting about exercises and things I could do to help my ankle and walking, Kristen suggested I try out Dansko shoes, since the heel would be good to help even out the fact my ankle couldn’t get to neutral (a 90 degree angle) and the ‘rocker-bottom design’ of the shoe would help give me a more normal walking pattern.

The day that I bought my first pair of Dansko clogs my life definitely changed for the better. Talk about a miracle shoe! My first trip to the store I bought a pair of the Black Wide Professional Clogs and the Brown ‘Marah’ Mary Janes. It took me a little while to really fall in love with these shoes. I had never owned a pair of real leather shoes before, so breaking in the shoes was kind of a nightmare. I toughed it through, though, and now the only days I don’t wear my Dansko’s are when I need snow boots or am lounging around the house. The roomy toe box, all-day comfort, and rocker bottom that Dansko claims on their website is no joke!

Some of my friends think I’m a little crazy because I’m ALWAYS talking about my Dansko’s. But who wouldn’t? I’ve had a virtually pain free ankle the last 6 months. I’m walking better, I have less pain, and these shoes are super cute! They just came out with a new line for spring, I got got my Veda’s last week. They are super cute, SUPER comfy, and perfect for summertime! Be sure to check them out!

So there you have it, a first-hand testimonial of the Dansko difference. If you’re not already, you should ‘like’ them on Facebook and follow them on twitter. They’re a great socially-conscious company with a pretty good social network presence and dynamite customer service staff.

So I have two quick gems to share this week. I’ve been trying to collect healthy, small portion recipes since I live on my own. I made this soup for dinner last night, and yumm! I never knew I could make such a tasty, healthy dish. When you pair that with Adele’s ‘Tiny Desk Concert’ from NPR you’ve got a great night on the menu! Enjoy!

“I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way!”

So I confess… I love Lady Gaga! I absolutely can not get enough of her great beats, crazy antics, wild videos, and what she stands for. Yep, I said it, I think Lady Gaga stands for something. From her twitter page, read these lyrics for her latest smash hit ‘Born This Way’ and tell me you don’t at least respect the woman.

BORN THIS WAY
WRITTEN BY: LADY GAGA
PRODUCED BY: LADY GAGA, FERNANDO GARIBAY, DJ WHITE SHADOW
MIXED AND ENGINEERED BY: DAVID RUSSEL

INTRO:
It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up
’cause you were Born This Way, Baby

VERSE:
MY MAMA TOLD ME WHEN I WAS YOUNG
WE ARE ALL BORN SUPERSTARS

SHE ROLLED MY HAIR AND PUT MY LIPSTICK ON
IN THE GLASS OF HER BOUDOIR

“THERE’S NOTHIN WRONG WITH LOVIN WHO YOU ARE”
SHE SAID, “‘CAUSE HE MADE YOU PERFECT, BABE”

“SO HOLD YOUR HEAD UP GIRL AND YOU’LL GO FAR,
LISTEN TO ME WHEN I SAY”

CHORUS:
I’M BEAUTIFUL IN MY WAY
‘CAUSE GOD MAKES NO MISTAKES
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

DON’T HIDE YOURSELF IN REGRET
JUST LOVE YOURSELF AND YOU’RE SET
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

POST-CHORUS:
OOO THERE AIN’T NO OTHER WAY
BABY I WAS BORN THIS WAY
BABY I WAS BORN THIS WAY
OOO THERE AIN’T NO OTHER WAY
BABY I WAS BORN-
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY

DON’T BE A DRAG -JUST BE A QUEEN
DON’T BE A DRAG -JUST BE A QUEEN
DON’T BE A DRAG -JUST BE A QUEEN
DON’T BE!

VERSE:
GIVE YOURSELF PRUDENCE
AND LOVE YOUR FRIENDS
SUBWAY KID, REJOICE YOUR TRUTH

IN THE RELIGION OF THE INSECURE
I MUST BE MYSELF, RESPECT MY YOUTH

A DIFFERENT LOVER IS NOT A SIN
BELIEVE CAPITAL H-I-M (HEY HEY HEY)
I LOVE MY LIFE I LOVE THIS RECORD AND
MI AMORE VOLE FE YAH (LOVE NEEDS FAITH)

REPEAT CHORUS + POST-CHORUS

BRIDGE:

DON’T BE A DRAG, JUST BE A QUEEN
WHETHER YOU’RE BROKE OR EVERGREEN
YOU’RE BLACK, WHITE, BEIGE, CHOLA DESCENT
YOU’RE LEBANESE, YOU’RE ORIENT
WHETHER LIFE’S DISABILITIES
LEFT YOU OUTCAST, BULLIED, OR TEASED
REJOICE AND LOVE YOURSELF TODAY
‘CAUSE BABY YOU WERE BORN THIS WAY

NO MATTER GAY, STRAIGHT, OR BI,
LESBIAN, TRANSGENDERED LIFE
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN TO SURVIVE
NO MATTER BLACK, WHITE OR BEIGE
CHOLA OR ORIENT MADE
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN TO BE BRAVE

REPEAT CHORUS

OUTRO/REFRAIN:

I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!

I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!
I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK BABY
I WAS BORN THIS WAY HEY!

While this song is already an anthem for the glbt community, I think that it is going to find it’s way into the hearts of millions of boys, girls, men, and women. I know I sure love to listen to it when I’m feeling a little down… who doesn’t love to hear “Don’t hide yourself in regret, just love yourself and you’re set.” Amazing. I really love this woman and how she uses her position on the world stage to be such an advocate and make millions feel good about themselves. More people need to look past her wild outfits and start listening to what she has to say.

Here’s her performance from the 2011 Grammys. Check it out, and pass it on to somebody in your life who may need to be reminded they’re beautiful in their own way.

What exactly does a more happy, healthy, and full 2011 look like?

Look at me being all proactive and writing more than one post this week.  Woo-hoo!  So I’ve been thinking the last few days about what exactly a more happy, healthy, and full 2011 looks like.  If anyone has the answer and wants to share now would be the time… really, though, I have no clue.  That’s the thinking that pushed me past my long pondered thoughts about starting a blog to actually setting one up.  I think what a happy, healthy, and full life looks like in January is going to look different than it does in June and that will even look different from July.  I think you get my point.

No, don’t get me wrong, 2010 was a great year.  I got to spend a the 09-10 school year living with my sister while she was an AmeriCorps member with City Year New Hampshire, I started dating the pretty cool Justin T in January ’10, I got my first apartment on my own in June ’10, I made it back to the mitten I so fondly call home in July AND December ’10!, I discovered Dansko Clogs in September ’10 and now have happy feet, and I even got back into physical therapy for my ankle in July ’10 and gained a whole 6 degrees of motion!  Now that’s what I call a good year.

While 2010 was a really good year, I think I can do better.  Gaining control of my weight is going to be a biggie for me this year.  I saw an ankle surgeon in Boston last summer, and he said that for every pound overweight you are that’s 3 extra pounds of pressure on your ankle.  Holy crap!  Even just 10 pounds off my frame could take 30 pounds of pressure off my ankle.  Now we all know I could afford to loose more than ten pounds, but it’s all about baby steps, right?  Right.  Being realistic I know that I’ll never have a bikini body, but is looking good in shorts and a tank-top so much to ask for?  I think not!  I’m also going to try and take a stab at my emotional health too.  I tend to be a bit of a worrier and stress out A LOT.  My boss often jokes that his goal is to give me a gray hair by the end of the school year.  I am bound and determined to make him fail!  At 26 I feel I am far too young to start going gray.  So let’s see where being more organized and detail-oriented get me.  But as Justin often tells me when we travel anywhere for more than a few hours I need to stop planning so much and just enjoy.  That work-home balance is something I need to be better about putting into practice….

I suppose that’s enough about what I think will indicate success at a more healthy 2011.  Check back in the next few days on my thoughts about what a more happy and more full 2011 look like!

Here’s a great artist you should check out — Xavier Rudd. I first heard him on one of my favorite TV shows, Weeds. I kind of forgot about him until more recently when he’s been popping up on my Pandora. Messages is one of my favorites of his, but all his music is great. Enjoy!