burned out

Sweet Heat

Did you ever play the computer game The Sims? I loved it back in the day. If you never played it, it was kind of like creating your own soap opera. And your “characters” in the game had needs that had to be met: sleep, eat, bathroom, social, etc. There was a bar at the bottom of the screen for each need and if it got too low, the characters would tell you. They’d be angry and wave their fists at the sky. If they were tired, a bed would show above their head and if you ignored it long enough, they’d eventually pass out on the floor wherever they were standing, too exhausted to move to the bed.

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I bring this up because I kind of felt that way lately. My calender for March has been overwhelmingly crowded. Acupuncture, work, gym, plans with friends, trying to fit in downtime for myself, relationship time with Michael, chores, and volunteering. I was starting to feel like The Sims. I wanted to wave my angry fist at the sky and demand some down time! I even contemplated canceling EVERYTHING in my schedule for a few weeks.

Apparently what I needed was time with friends. Thursday after work my cousin Anna and I went out for Pho for dinner at Pho Hung. I love Pho! I ate way too much and still had enough leftovers for 2 lunches.

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After dinner, Anna and I went to N.W.I.P.A for a cider tasting. The tasting was free and I was surprised at how much I liked ciders. It was brewed by 2 Towns Ciderhouse, a brewery from Corvallis, Oregon. I loved their pear cider. It was crisp and dry, with just a little bit of sweetness. I ended up buying a bottle to take home.

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The beer bar had mostly IPAs, which is my favorite beer, and they had my favorite brewery on tap: Boneyard. I got a small glass of their Double IPA and Anna got her favorite beer, Burnside Brewing Sweet Heat. I finally got to try Sweet Heat and I liked it quite a bit. It’s a wheat ale made with apricots and Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Peppers. It was smoky and spicy but not in an unpleasant way.

I felt like I had recharged my battery after that fun evening out. We lounged at the bar for a few hours talking and I just felt a million times better.

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Friday evening one of my oldest and best friends, Rachel, came down to Portland for a mini girl’s weekend. We went out to dinner (to The Slide Inn, which was by far the absolute worst meal I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant and I’m absolutely shocked it’s still open. The food was vile, tasted bad, and I’m pretty sure it gave me food poisoning…) and Michael joined us. After the horrid meal we wanted to salvage the night so the three of us went to Pix Patisserie, just up the street from the restaurant. Their desserts are absolutely decadent and amazing and their new location on Burnside is great! The atmosphere was cool, it was a fun vibe, there was tons of space and it was packed.

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Michael and I split the creme brulee. They had about 3 or 4 items that were gluten free and the creme brulee is one. It was magnificent, creamy, crunchy, sweet, perfect. I can’t remember the last time I had creme brulee. After that Michael headed home and Rachel and I went out to a quiet little bar to catch up.

Saturday morning I got up early enough to make it to the very early body pump class. Rachel had about an hour or so of work to do so it was perfect. I got my workout done, she made some money, and then we had the rest of the day together.

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We went to The Blue Pig for brunch and seemed as though the universe was making up for the horrible dinner the night before. First, it was a gorgeous sunny day in Portland. Second, I was able to get a primo parking spot right in front of the restaurant on Hawthorne–the most popular and crowded area of Portland–and that is unheard of. Lastly, there was NO LINE. We got a table immediately and about twenty minutes later the crowds arrived. We lucked out and got in just between the two rushes. It was crazy!

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The Blue Pig’s new location on Hawthorne is great! Huge, fun, comfortable, trendy and I loved the artwork. I ordered breakfast off the kid’s menu because the regular sized portions were huge. I got French Toast, 1 fried egg and 1 sausage link. And lots and lots of coffee.

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I need to start ordering off the kid’s menu more often. It’s so much more my speed. After a month of no bread and missing French toast, I was happy to get my craving satisfied. Rachel got the pork belly hash with a humongous biscuit. Check it out:

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Our leisurely brunch was really chill and eventually we made our way to Laurelhurst Park to take advantage of the sun and 60+ degree day. We walked around and talked and then parked our butts on a bench by the lake and stayed there for a few hours. The vitamin D was happily soaked up.

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I needed that sunshine. It’s been gone far too long. Eventually Rachel and I found our way to a nearby coffeeshop that had outdoor seating in the sunshine. It was the first time I’d been to the Flying Cat Coffeeshop and it was great! The owner was a sweetie and super friendly and the place was somewhere I’d like to hang out–very welcoming. I had a hibiscus iced tea as we sat outside in the sun.

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The rest of the day was spent outside playing Sequence, enjoying some downtime and just catching up. It had been way too long since Rachel and I got to hang out. I needed my girl’s weekend badly. Unfortunately, I spent the rest of the weekend feeling sick. Not sure if it’s food poisoning or flu or something else…it certainly was not fun or how I would have liked to spend the rest of my weekend, but I’m so glad I got to see Rachel!

QUESTION: Can you relate to this post? And did you ever play The Sims?

The Rest

I take two rest days a week no matter what and I usually split them up to give my body a rest. I instituted this rule years ago, probably 5 now, and it’s stuck. I’ve found that splitting my rest days works best for my body. Doing some kind of fitness 2 or 3 days in a row, then rest, is a good reset for me mentally and physically. It’s shocking how often I see on blogs that people don’t take any rest days. It’s an important part of fitness and weight loss!

Last week I apparently needed more days off. Usually I don’t take a big chunk of time off from working out unless I’ve come down with a nasty cold that has me on the couch. But last week when we got back from Mount Hood I went swimming once and then decided to take the next three days off. Mentally I didn’t want to go to the gym or do any activity at all. Physically I probably could have but decided to just rest. I’m really glad I did it. It was just the reset I needed.

I suppose I had been feeling burned out lately and wishing I could take a break. So for three days in a row, I came straight home after work and either watched TV or read books. It was nice! Friday after work I went swimming and my body felt strong and relaxed and I was fast in the pool. Saturday morning I hit the gym feeling refreshed and excited to lift weights instead of feeling like it was a chore.

Saturday I also switched my workout around. It may seem silly but something as simple as that made all the difference. Instead of doing cardio first–which is what I always do–I did my body pump weight lifting exercises first. I spent 45 minutes doing that and felt really strong. I finished up with about 15 minutes of the elliptical, stretched, and called it a day.

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After the gym I met my friend Erika for lunch. We went to Noho’s Hawaiian cafe. It’s a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for years and just never did. It’s in a cute area in SE Portland and it was such a nice day out, Erika and I walked there from her house.

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I ordered the Hot and Spicy Teriyaki Chicken. It was sweet, with a little bite and had sauteed cabbage and onions mixed in. It came with macaroni salad and rice. What I liked is that you can choose the sizes of your entrees:

REGULAR is for the average appetite that comes with two scoops of rice and one scoop of macaroni salad.
MENEHUNE is for those with a smaller appetite. Meals include one scoop of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad and a smaller portion of the main item.
BLALAH is the extra large portion. Meals include three scoops of rice, two scoops of macaroni salad and of course more of the main food item.

I wish more restaurants did that! I like it when I can have the option if a normal portion size. 🙂 I ended up getting my lunch as “regular” because I wanted to have leftovers for Sunday’s lunch. It was a big plate of food. I ate about 1/3 of the chicken, all of the macaroni salad and one of the rice scoops. I ended up getting two more meals out of the leftovers–Sunday I had the rest of the rice and half of the chicken and Monday I took the rest of the chicken to work with a salad for lunch.

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I don’t know that it was “authentic” Hawaiian food but it was definitely delicious. We gabbed for a few hours and then I went home and laid on the couch with a book for pretty much the rest of the night. I’d gotten a huge stack of library books (why is it that the ones I put holds on ALWAYS come at the same time?!?!) and was working my way through them. Fat Kitty snuggled with me, I had a cup of tea and read this shocking book:

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It was a scary and fascinating read and I finished the book in one night. Michael watched sports while building a computer and I spent pretty much the whole night on the couch reading. Fat Kitty was super intrigued by the mouse on the computer screen!

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By the time it was 7pm, I still wasn’t super hungry for dinner because lunch had been so filling. I had a small snack of leftovers and some of Michael’s popcorn and called that dinner. One thing that will definitely stick around is the new way of having popcorn: with just nutritional yeast sprinkled on top instead of butter. I did that in February for my dairy-free challenge and liked it so much that that’s how I want my popcorn now!

We also bought some kale and spinach to plant in the next week or so. It’s much earlier than we normally plant but since the lettuce and spinach bolt really quickly we want to try and lengthen the season we can grow it. It will definitely be an experiment to see if the slugs and rain totally demolish the plants before we can even get some crop!

QUESTION: How many rest days do you fit into your schedule?