Sicky von Sickerson

It’s common knowledge about me that I don’t handle being sick very well at all. I very, very rarely actually get sick, but when I do, I’m SUCH a wimp. Hey, at least I admit it, right? I just want to lay in bed all day, drink Sprite (it’s probably all mental, but my parents used to give me Sprite as a kid when I was sick to “settle my stomach”, and now I swear it actually makes me feel better), and watch movies.

Between running a marathon, celebrating my birthday, Thanksgiving, moving my parents into their new house, and having plans every single night this week, I’ve exhausted myself. I’ve heard that after long races your immune system is weakened and you are more susceptible to catching a cold. I really started to feel it on Saturday and since then it’s only gotten worse.

Being sick SUCKS! The last two days it’s been really hard for me to get through work, and I’m sure my co-workers don’t like to listen to me coughing call day long, so I decided to take the day off work today. I’ve got a jam-packed weekend coming up, so I need to be healthy!

So, here is what I’m doing to make a speedy recovery:

Drink tea out of my favorite mug

Green tea, although I think it tastes like dirt, makes my throat feel so much better. So, I suck it up and drink it for the sake of health.

see isn’t it cute?

Sleep…A LOT.

When I’m sick, I sleep for like 10-11 hour stretches. Does it help? I don’t know, but I’ve heard that rest is good. Sorry there’s no picture, that would be weird if someone took a picture of me while I was sleeping.

Get hopped up on meds

Not in an unsafe way. I’ve taken Nyquil before bed and Dayquil twice during the day. I’m not sure if it’s actually helping me get better, but it sure is helping me deal with it and sleep. For that, I am thankful.

Eat Oranges

Once again, not sure if this actually helps or if it’s a myth, but oranges are supposed to be a good source of Vitamin C which helps boost your immune system thus making you feel better. I actually really like oranges, so this is a win for me.

Watch Harry Potter

There’s no problem that a teenage wizard (wise beyond his years) can’t solve. No, but really, this is serious.

Here’s to hoping your health is better than mine. And here’s to hoping this cold goes away quickly.

What are your personal cold-remedies?

A Thanksgiving Day FAIL

Thanksgiving has come and gone. I spent the holiday enjoying the company of my lovely family. I headed up to my sister’s house on Wednesday after work where we celebrated my birthday with some gifts and my favorite ice cream cake!

With my birthday finally out of the way, the entire day on Thursday was dedicated to cooking. My family always spends the whole day in the kitchen. I usually just watch football since I don’t actually know how to cook (hey, it’s a learning process right). I thought about going into the kitchen to help out this year, but I decided that my place on the couch was just a little bit too warm for me to leave. There’s always next year, right?

We always have a TON of food on Thanksgiving, we are Italian after all. There is turkey, cranberries, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, homemade bread…the list goes on and on. In the past, all I’ve ever eaten on Thanksgiving was pizza. Weird, but true.

So many new foods to try! I’ve never had turkey, I’ve never had green beans, I’ve never had sweet potato casserole. With all those new food possibilities just sprawled out on the table ready for me to sink my teeth into, I’m sure you’re just dying to know what I ate (if you didn’t already guess it from this post’s title):

If you guessed pizza, someone should give you a cookie right now.

I know, I know, I had big time expectations for this holiday. After all, it is a holiday based around food. I thought for sure, I’d be striding for that green bean casserole, taking a huge bite of turkey, and filling my plate with mile high heaps of mashed potatoes and gravy. But then reality sunk in: I don’t eat any of these foods, and I’m not quite ready to make that leap just yet.

My family was giving me a hard time about trying “just one green bean”, citing that I “had” to do it because of my blog. Which, yes, I will admit, I felt mildly guilty after that pizza went into the oven thinking that I was letting myself down. But, then I remembered the tagline of my blog: Tackling life at a different pace. Trying turkey may not seem like a huge deal to everyone. Some people may not be able to understand why it is so hard for me to try new foods. But it is. And for me, trying turkey would be a huge deal. I need to take this thing at my own pace. This year I just wasn’t quite ready to dig into those green beans, but that doesn’t negate the fact that I added mashed potatoes and corn to my plate which have been left out in previous years.

Even though I didn’t try any new foods this year, I’m not giving up hope that maybe in the future you will see some turkey on my plate. Thursday may have been a small step back for me, a small reversion to my ways of the past; but hey, if my life is going to be one step back followed by two giant leaps forward, then I’LL TAKE IT!

Don’t even worry though, I made up for my lack of turkey consumption by eating a cornucopia of pumpkin pie. I’m definitely not afraid of dessert!

I’m thankful for

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. While I haven’t tried turkey and most of the sides are a little bit out of my food realm, I always enjoy making up for it in the dessert round. My dad makes pumpkin pie from scratch (using real pumpkin) which is simply divine! Mmmm…I can already taste it!

But while we are all stuffing our faces, let’s take time to remember the true reason for this holiday. Giving thanks, counting our blessings and being grateful for what we have.

It’s been quite a trying year in many ways, but here are a few things I am thankful for:

My family

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Good friends (near and far)

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Health

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Learning to Cook Delicious Food

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Football

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The beach

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Puppies

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Settlers of Catan Parties

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Chipotle

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Christmas lights

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Technology (I’m totally writing this blog post from my iPhone!)

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Where I came from

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Where I’m going

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Happy Thanksgiving!!! What are you thankful for?

Philly in Photos

I promise, I will do a full race report eventually. BUT I just got back from Philadelphia, I just ran 26.2 miles, I’m tired, my feet hurt AND it’s my birthday. So for now, I’m going to take the easy way out and just post some pictures (I know they’re much more enjoyable than my ramblings anyway). What you should know though is that I survived and finished my second marathon in 4:52! BOOYAH!

Packet pickup

This is what I ran.

Pre-race cookie prep

Can’t take a trip to Philly without visiting the Liberty Bell!

Race morning (I think this face was supposed to be our attitudes towards running a marathon. Seems accurate.)

Our view

I wish I were a Kenyan!

13 miles in and loving life

My speed demon brother at mile 25 (he finished in 3:19…I think he’s secretly a robot)

An hour an a half later I made it to mile 25!

Marathon bling!

Our supporters!

The back of our t-shirts dedicated to Pappy

The marathon finishers!

Okay, so like I said, I will do a full race/weekend report sometime once things slow down a little bit (can you believe the marathon, my birthday AND Thanksgiving are all falling in the same week? GAH!) for me. It was a heck of a journey.

On Life, and Death

Life is short.

We hear these words all the time. So much that it has become an empty phrase. We’ve desensitized ourselves to a message that is so vitally important to our being, our morality. When someone says these words to me, my response is usually, “Yeah, I know.” But I don’t really know. I don’t know at all how “short” or “long” life will really be. None of us do.

Recently, death has reared its ugly head in many areas of my life. It has jolted me to the core.

Tonight, I found out that my Uncle George passed away. He was actually my mom’s uncle, and my grandfather’s brother and best friend. If you looked up the definition of “two peas in a pod” you would see both of their grumpy old faces! He was very close to our family. For as long as I can remember growing up he’d walk into any room and say “Where’s my Caity?!” [disclaimer: never, ever call me Caity unless you want to be punched in the face. That nickname is reserved for a very, very, very select few!]. He’d sit next to me and I’d run away because I was a silly, little girl. This tradition continued up until last Christmas which was the last time I saw him. I am sad, but my memories of him make me smile.

Learning this news tonight also made me miss my grandfather. We lost Pappy almost a year ago and all of our lives have changed because of it. He was a family man and loved us all to the core. I seriously miss him everyday.

Additionally, there’s been a recent string of tragic deaths at my alma mater, JMU. In the past 2 months or so, there have been 7 student and faculty deaths.  While I didn’t know any of them directly, the community is grieving. My friends are grieving. One of my school’s mantras is “All Together One“, and that is one of my favorite things about the university. There is a great sense of empathy. Even though I’m hundreds of miles away, I can tell my community and the place I called home is grieving, I am too. These kids were all 18-24 years old, younger than ME. We think we are invincible. It isn’t until tragedy strikes that we all open our eyes and get a dose of reality.

I can ask myself “why?” over and over. But I know that I’ll never find an answer to that question. That scares me. I can’t even lie, death terrifies me. It’s days like today that it hits me: death is a real thing, not just something I see on the news or read about in the paper. My days are numbered and no one warned me. I don’t know what comes after life anymore than I know what I’m going to eat for dinner on this day a year from now. No matter what your beliefs, I think we can all agree that life is, indeed, short.

So what should we do? We can either let death scare us or we can live.

We can enjoy the view.

We can smell the flowers.

We can eat well.

We can drink well.

We can swim during hurricanes.

We can zip down mountain sides.

We can jump out of planes.

We can catch snowflakes.

We can eat copious amounts of chocolate (and not feel bad about it).

We can travel.

We can appreciate home.

We can remember those small, special moments.

We can tell the people in our lives that we love them everyday.

And we can live by the secret of life: do what you want to do. I’m learning more and more everyday that life is too short to second and third guess yourself. Start living and quick.

Doughn’t You Love Pizza!?

Happy Hump Day! It’s been quite an insane week already, but I’m gearing up for my even insaner (apparently that IS a word, who knew?) weekend and the PHILADELPHIA MARATHON! Holy crap. I can’t believe it’s almost here.

Also, here is a random tidbit of wisdom for your day. This has been my life motto for the last few weeks:

Now onto the good stuff! I’ve made my love affair with pizza pretty apparent on my little space in the blogosphere already. But have I shared with you my theory on pizza soulmates? No? Well, allow me enlighten you with a little bit of AWESOME.

If you didn’t click on that link (which you should), pizza soulmates can be summed up as follows: that person who loves the exact same pizza toppings, in the exact same proportions as you do. Without prompt, you would both order the same pizza every single time. It’s hard to find. Some even may even say impossible, but I know it’s not because I found mine.

(yeah, feel the love. geez!)

Melodramatic intro aside, my co-worker, Pera, and I actually fit the definition of pizza soulmates to a tee. The first time we went out for pizza with our group of friends it was a pretty great moment that went something like this:

Pera: “Anyone want to split a pizza?”
Caitlin: “What kind of toppings?”
Pera: “Pepperoni and sausage?”
Caitlin: “And bacon?”
Pera: “Done.”

Easiest decision I’ve ever made.

So, it came as no surprise that as soon as I had the idea to start a blog one of the first things he said to me was, “We should cook our own pizza. Make our own dough and everything!” Done.

Second easiest decision I’ve ever made.

We were both excited to get started. The only problem: we are clueless in the kitchen.

If a picture could say a thousand words…

After a brief trip to the grocery store (yes, I braved the grocery store…I was shocked that we found the active dry yeast), we got to it. I’ve said this before, baking doesn’t intimidate me much. But making pizza dough? Well, that’s a realm I hadn’t quite stepped in to. I put my warface on:

The dough was no match for our culinary prowess. It was delicious and rose surprisingly well after about 10-15 minutes of kneading and an hour of letting it rise. We added garlic and basil to our crust for some extra flavor. It was a nice touch!

I was in charge of cooking up the toppings and may or may not have stolen a few niblet half pound of bacon in the process.

What can I say? Bacon is my kryptonite.

ANYWAY, our pizza was topped with pepperoni, sausage, bacon and a metric ton of cheese. You can seriously never have enough cheese on a pizza…but if such a thing were to exist, this would have been dangerously close.

For those of you following along at home, here’s a bit of recipe magic for your arsenal:

The Best Pizza Dough You Will Ever Make
adapted from allrecipes.com

  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm (110 degrees-ish) water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon basil

First combine the water and active yeast. Let that sit for 10 minutes to get those cultures active!
Then, combine that with the rest of the ingredients. Knead for 10-15 minutes. Let sit for an hour or more covered by a damp towel. Roll out. Bake by itself for 5-7 minutes, then add sauce and toppings and bake again 20-25 minutes.

OM NOM NOM!

The crust was flakey, the sauce was sweet, the cheese was gooey, and the toppings were spot on. Pizza success!

Have you found your pizza soulmate? What are your toppings of choice?

This weekend I…

I am notorious for always having jam-packed weekends. It’s true, I don’t like to be bored.

This weekend I:

…saw the Foo Fighters.

…enjoyed some beautiful fall weather.

…ate the most delicious burger and (sweet potato!) fries…

…and this fried oreo. Om nom nom!

…returned home.

…watched some JMU FOOTBALL!

…enjoyed the company of two awesome friends.

…took a trip down memory lane.

…reunited with my one true love.

…ran 10 miles.

…”learned” to change the oil in my car (let’s be honest, my dad changed the oil and I played with the power tools).

…enjoyed my FIRST peppermint mocha of the season!!!

Whew! What a successful weekend. I’m wiped.

Grocery Shopping

I’m a prideful person. That being said, it takes me awhile to admit that I have a problem, or that I am afraid of something, or that I need help.

I started this blog with the lofty hopes of being able to cook for myself. How many recipes have you seen? Approximately 1. While I have strived at the whole trying-new-foods thing, I have fallen flat on my face at my primary goal: cooking. Recently, I’ve been asking myself why?

Then, the answer hit me: I fear shopping for groceries.

(Photo Cred)

Sounds ridiculous, right? Just saying it out loud makes me a little bit embarrassed. This can’t be a common problem.

Unfortunately, this is not a joke. I picked out dozens of recipes from various cookbooks and online sites that I want to try, but every time the thought of cooking crosses my mind, the feat of grocery shopping for the dish overwhelms to me.

I’ve always lived pretty simply. You can ask my college roommates, my shelf in the pantry was the least full by far. It consisted primarily of pancake mix, granola bars, and two year old lemonade that I refused to throw out. The catch: in college I had a meal plan and access to some of the finest collegiate dining facilities in the country. Have I ever mentioned on here how much I miss college? Because of this, I never taught myself to cook. I never had to. Result: I’ve never had to grocery shop for a meal.

I guess I didn’t take that into account when I started this little blog.

(Photo Cred)

To me, walking into a grocery store is like venturing into a foreign country where I don’t speak the language. As the saying goes, it’s all greek to me. What’s the difference between brands? How do I know what cut of meat to get? I feel like I’ll be wandering around the store aimlessly for hours. This is enough to deter me from cooking. Sound familiar? I do the same thing while trying new foods. Just the thought of trying something new scares me, and that’s enough to make me never do it. How do you think I’ve gone by whole life without eating a single vegetable? Kind of makes me wonder to how many other things in my life I employ this philosophy. Hmmm…

Sorry to get all introspective. Moving on.

Money. I know that organic and “real” food is a bit more expensive than the processed “bad” food. The ultimate American irony, is it not? We’re supposed to eat well, but it costs so much less to eat like crap…and then we all wonder why obesity is such a huge issue. Yes, I have a job. Yes, I can afford it. Yet, my college mentality (read: my I-can-stretch-60-dollars-out-over-a-month mentality) persists. One of my roadblocks to grocery shopping has been this thought, “I’d rather not spend $70 on groceries today, so I might as well not go at all.”

I’m working on ways to overcome this. Peer pressure has seemed to work so far. It’s true that things are less scary when done in groups. So, I would appreciate cooking buddies. [insert shameless plea here :D] But I do know that eventually I will need to overcome this on my own, and that thought is also scary.

What are your grocery shopping tips? Any advice (other than to just suck it up) to help me overcome this fear would be greatly appreciated.

20 Miles!

I’ve pretty much been the worst blogger ever this week. But I swear, I have a solid reason. I’ve actually been training for my marathon. And training is hard work!

On Saturday, I ran 20 miles. Yes, you read that correctly. 2-0.

I was a little bit hesitant to run this distance because a) I’ve taken the last 2-3 weeks really, really easy and b) I fell last week on a run and was embarrassed really busted my knee. It was swollen for a few days and is a lovely array of colors but, alas, I have two weeks until this race so desperate times call for desperate measures. I honestly couldn’t have picked a better day for this. 60 and sunny? Talk about a runner’s paradise! So off I went.

I’d been dreading this run. All week I was looking for ways to get out of it; thought about going out of town, making plans on Saturday afternoon, or just “accidentally” oversleeping. But by the time Saturday morning rolled around I was actually excited (and nervous) to test my limits and see what my body could do.

My long runs always start out something like this: bright eyed, ready to go, invincible:

But around mile 18 I start to look more like this:

It’s around this time when I ask myself why I sign myself up for these crazy races. My knees hurt, my legs are heavy, and I have been sweating for approximately 3 hours. Gross! But I just keep pushing through with the help of this gal:

Say hello to miCoach! She helps me stay on pace. I know that there are a ton of apps out there for running, but I’ve found that this one is one of the best. It will track your workouts, you can sync it with your laptop, and use playlists from your iPod. It keeps track of my total run time, total miles, my pace, and my heartrate. I approve. I’m not usually big on timing my runs, but when I’m going such a far distance I like to make sure I’m hitting my marks.

I was actually surprised at how well this run went. I plowed through the first 14 miles like they were nothing. There wasn’t even any pain in my legs until around mile 18 and even then they just felt tired and heavy but I knew I could keep going. I was surprised that my body felt so strong even after taking some time off. I guess it’s true that a little rest does a body good.

I was really sore and tired afterwards. So the rest of my night was spent doing this:

Now we’re talking.

If anything, this run has given me more confidence to run my marathon in 2 weeks. I’m feeling much better about it now as opposed to even last week. Bring it on Philly!

My Favorite Month

Happy November 1st, kids! You may not know this but November is absolutely my favorite month of the whole year. I think it’s often under-appreciated and overlooked. There is a tendency to rush through the last few days and jump into December and Christmas. But there is SO much to look forward to at the end of this month. Here is what I’m excited for in November:

Thanksgiving

(Source)

This may come as a surprise given my phobia of food, but I seriously love Thanksgiving. It’s a time when my family all comes together no matter where we are, which in my family, is a recipe for constant entertainment. This year’s celebration will be a slightly different monster as my parents will be moving that weekend. The nice part will be that all the kids will be there to help out, and after that we can all eat lots and lots of food. Maybe I’ll even try some turkey and green bean casserole! Maybe.

Hiking/Camping

When I went to JMU, I was located smack-dab in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley surrounded by mountains and just minutes from Skyline Drive. Obviously, one of my favorite things to do while in school was to go hiking and camping. I’ve found that November is the perfect month for both of these because it’s not too hot during the day (like it is in summer) and it’s not absolutely freezing yet at night especially if you have a campfire going (S’MORES ANYONE?). I’m looking at finding a few places that are a bit closer to home, but the pickings are slim so close to the city.

My Birthday

This year is the big 2-5. When did I get so old? I can feel a quarter life crisis a-brewin’! But really, last year’s birthday was so terrible that I’m determined to make this year’s a little better. Plus, there’s always cake involved which is NEVER a bad thing.

Red Cups from Starbucks

(Source)

Is there anything better than drinking a peppermint mocha out of this little cup of happiness? Quick answer: no. I’m not a coffee drinker, but around the holidays, I LOVE me some peppermint mocha. It just screams winter and gets me amped for the holiday season. Everyone knows that on November 1st Starbucks whips these cute little cups out of storage. I can’t wait to get my first one!

Philadelphia Marathon

Yep, it’s November. So that means regardless of if I’m ready or not the Philadelphia marathon IS happening. I’ll be running withRachel (that lovely woman with me in the photo above) and my little brother, Adam (who is going to kick my butt). For both of them, this will be their first marathon and I’m excited that I get to share this experience with them. After running 12 miles this past weekend, I’m officially back on the training wagon. I’m starting to get mentally prepared and super pumped too!

As I contemplated this post, there were about 10 other things I jotted down as possible ideas. It was hard to narrow it down to just 5. November is going to be such a busy, fun month. Don’t rush through, enjoy it!