Look Up

This month’s theme for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is “Look up.” I haven’t been a daily blogger for the last couple of months, but I’m going to give May a go on that front.

Look up makes me think of positivity. Keeping a good frame of mind on life, a good outlook on what might lie ahead. What does “look up” mean to you? What is the first thing that comes to mind? I will explore the theme more in future blog posts.

30 Days

Thirty days ago, I was suffering from horrible back pain. On April 1st, I went into my doctor only to discover I had injured my back. That brought on three weeks of no work and rest. Definitely not the April I had planned to have. It was anything but.

Thirty days later, I was back in the gym. Granted, I’m still recovering from my herniated disk injury (which will never truly be healed), but I am in a much better place than I was. It felt so good to get back into my fitness routine again. I won’t be running for at least another month, but in the meanwhile, I can hit up the treadmill, bike, weight machines and do pilates workouts at home. My current plan is to strengthen my back and legs so that once I am able to get back into running, it will come much easier. Today’s workout was a bit easier than past workouts, as I have to ease back in per the physical therapist. I spent some time on the treadmill, a brief time on the elliptical, cycled a couple of miles on the stationary bike and did some strength training.

Next Saturday, I will be getting back into the 5k race game with the I-Drive 5k in Orlando. I won’t be able to run the race of course, but nonetheless, I can’t wait to get back out there and walk it. It’s going to feel good to get back into the swing of things, so to speak.

Writing Prompts for the week

April 29th One-Minute Writer Prompt – Cartoon voice
What type of cartoon character would your voice be perfect for?

This is something I had not previously considered. That said, I’d say a bird, a la Tweetie bird. I would be the sarcastic, yet funny parrot sitting on a perch all day spouting my opinions and thoughts to any and everyone who might be nearby, regardless of whether they wanted to hear them or not.

April 28th One-Minute Writer Prompt – Volcano
Volcanoes can really mess things up. What do you think should come out of an
erupting volcano instead of lava and ash?

My first inclination on this was chocolate. Who doesn’t love the sweet stuff? Especially dark chocolate, yum! After some thought though, I am going with fruit. I just cannot get enough of fresh fruit nowadays. Fresh berries and melons are definitely my favorite choice for a pre-lunch snack. What could be better than having an erruption of blueberries, strawberries and watermelon a plenty? Not only could you enjoy them raw, but think of all the great things you can make with fruit. The possibilities are endless!

Prompt: How-to

One-Minute Writer Prompt: How-to
What skill do you really wish someone would write a how-to book about?

The skill to discover more time in the day! If someone knew how to do this and could write a how-to book for others such as myself to also acquire and be able to utilize this skill, that would be so great. Of course, there isn’t a way to find more hours in the day…that is, unless you had a time machine. Just imagine, being able to go back and not only do tasks better, but ultimately having all the time in the world at your fingertips. Now that, would be a great thing to have!

Bit of an update

Last Friday afternoon, my doctor called me and informed me of the results of my MRI. I have a herniated disk, as well as some spondylosis in my back. Finally, after being out of work for over two weeks, I had an answer to what had been going on. My doctor informed me that I could do the physical therapy and see how that goes or, I could go see a specialist and get some steroid shots in my back. I have opted for the physical therapy first in hopes that it will be all I need. I hate to have to get injections if I don’t need them.

Today, I went for my second physical therapy session. The PT is using sports massage techniques as well as some electro-therapy to get my muscles to relax. We should know if it’s working next week hopefully. Today’s treatment went well. My PT told me I was free to go back to cardio workouts in the gym. I can now use the treadmill and the elliptical, and then in the next week or two, I should be able to get on a bike again. As far as my running goes, the PT said that resuming running in about 8 weeks should be okay. I just need to build up some more strength in my back and legs. And, it’s back to work this Thursday! I’m actually looking forward to getting back to work, as being home for almost three weeks on restrictions is no fun.

On the writing front, I am working on a few projects, as this down time has inspired me to get moving on some things I have been putting off for one reason or another. I will be getting back into doing Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way this week as well. I believe the daily journal writing really did help me, so I miss doing them. I had been borrowing the big hardcover Artists Way trilogy from the library, so that had to go back to them. However, I got a softcover copy of just The Artists Way online that should be arriving in the next few days. Once it does, I will jump back into the tasks and such with week five which is about where I got distracted and left off.

Photography-wise, I did get out a bit recently to take some pictures. Definitely not a lot, as I was pretty restricted on what I could do for awhile with the injury. This Saturday is the Central Florida Earth Day Festival in downtown Orlando, so I look forward to shooting some photography out there. The event itself should be a great time. I will be going with my best friend (whom I just reconnected with last month!) and her little daughter. Looking forward to getting out with my camera again more regularly, as I really love being out there shooting pictures.

Sunshine Award

Friend and fellow blogger, Nicole of The Coffee-Stained Writer was kind enough to award me the Sunshine Award last month. The award is given to bloggers whose “contagious positivity and creativity inspire others in the blogging universe.” So, while my response on this great honor is late, it is still very appreciated. Thanks again, Nicole!

The rules of the award are:

1. Put the logo on the blog within your post.
2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within your post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blogs.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Ah, there’s the hard part, choosing 12 other awesome and creative fellow bloggers for the award. This took me some time, but I was eventually able to choose 12 people. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Gwen Bell’s The Mindfulist
2. Sarah’s Camera Takes Photos
3. Jen’s Divinest Sense
4. Leslie’s Whimsy
5. Kitzzy’s Lifestyle Change
6. The Rap Sheet
7. The Daily Library
8. Mack Captures Crime
9. Rhianne’s For the easily distracted
10. Ask Asheville Blog
11. Blog Asheville
12. Kate’s Silents and Talkies

She loved whipped cream in her coffee…

(this is based upon a prompt from Toasted Cheese)

She loved whipped cream in her coffee. Every morning, when she came bustling
through those glass doors, I knew her order right down to that oh so scrumptious

But, who was I, a lonely barista at the local coffee shop. Why would an amazingly
beautiful redhead such as herself go for me? I knew I was out of her league. Sure,
she smiled that adorable sideways grin at me each day as I added that whipped
topping to her simple two shot latte. But, that was the extent of our relationship.
Barista and coffee drinker. The line was as clear as the counter that separated
us at the hips.

These were the thoughts that flooded my college brain that morning as I started my
shift. I tied my apron on behind my back and wondered what could be if only I were
more than what I was, a barista.

Right on the tick, she glided into the shop. Reality seemed to come to a crawl,
almost as if someone hit the “pause” button on a DVD player. Everything and everyone
but her stopped at that moment. Her movements from the door to the counter were in
a graceful, yet slow motion. When she did reach that counter, the counter that has
always kept us two worlds apart, she tossed her curly Annie-like red hair aside her
left shoulder and smiled at me. Her green eyes seemed to sparkle like two gems in
the sunlight.

“Good morning, Tyler.” She spoke, in my direction, “how are you today?”

My throat suddenly tightened up and turned into the Sahara Desert. She was speaking.
Speaking to and at me. This was new. Usually, I just got that smile. And, she knew
my name. I couldn’t believe it. Somehow, I managed to open my mouth in an attempt
to respond to her query. “I-I-I’m good.”

Yeah, that’s good Tyler, stutter. Stutter and say as little as possible. Now she’ll
definitely think you’re an idiot.

“That’s good. I’d like the usual, please.” She replied, still smiling at me.

“Of course, latte and whipped cream coming right up.” I heard the female voice of my
co-worker Charlotte say from next to me at the espresso machine.

Not pleased that Charlotte jumped into my conversation, I managed to form a small
toothless grin at my favorite customer. Charlotte began making the latte while I
just stood there, seemingly frozen in time.

A minute or so later, but what felt like an eternity, Charlotte put the finished
latte drink in front of me. “Here ya go Tyler, just needs the whipped cream,” Charlotte
informed me.

Picking up that can of whipped cream, I began adding the finishing touches to the
drink. When done, I popped on a top and picked up the drink. Looking up, there she
was, my red-headed customer still grinning.

“Here you go ma’am,” I murmured, handing her the drink.”Have a nice day.”

She took the drink and began to head back toward those glass doors. My heart sank.
Why couldn’t I just say something to her? Why couldn’t I just ask her? I needed to
be brave and just ask. what was the worst that could happen? She could laugh and
reject me. That was what could happen. But, what if-what if she didn’t? I needed to
go with that small possibility and just ask.

Almost as if my body was acting without my brain, I found myself running around the
counter to the other side and toward the exiting red head.

“Wait!” I blurted out.

She was halfway out the door by the time I reached her and she heard my calling. She
turned and looked my way puzzled.

Now standing just a couple of feet from her, I swallowed hard. “I mean-I-I wondered
if you might want to go out some time. I mean, if you weren’t seeing anyone.”

There it was, I got it out there. My heart pounded like a drum in my chest as I
stood there staring at her.

Her face suddenly went from puzzled to pleased. “Sure. Sure, that would be nice.”

Was I hearing correctly? Did this beautiful woman just say yes? Did she just say
yes to going out with her barista? “Yes?” I asked her, hoping to clarify things.

“Yes, I would like that Tyler,” she responded. “Let me give you my cell phone number,
as I have to get to work. But, that sounds good.”

As she fumbled in her purse, I stood there in shock. It was an amazingly good kind
of shock, but shock nonetheless. She then pulled out a business card and held it out
to me. “That’s my card. My cell number is listed on there. I look forward to your

With that, she smiled and walked out the door. Looking down at the card that was now
in my shaking hands, I smiled. Not only did I now have a date, I knew my dream coffee
girl’s name, Lilly.

Prompts: Spoiled & Daddy Memory

Prompt for 4/7: Spoiled
Are you “spoiled” in any way?

I believe that most of us are spoiled in some way. We have someone, whether it be our parents or significant other providing some of our wants to us. Wants, not needs. I hope everyone experiences at least one moment or time of being spoiled in their life. We all deserve to get something we truly wanted but didn’t need at least once.

Prompt for 4/6: Daddy
Recall a very early memory of time spent with your father.

My best memory spent with my dad is when I was a pre-teen. He took me to a New Kids on the Block concert. Not only was it a big deal that he took me to this crazy girl event, but before the concert he made the night even more special. He stopped at the local mall and bought binoculars. My dad knew that there was no way his 11-year-old daughter was going to be able to see those New Kids without them. He made the evening a special one for me and I will always remember that.

Prompts are from the One-Minute Writer.

Back update

So, I’m still not really mobile. After a horrible and painful Friday (falling down in agony), I was not doing well by Saturday morning. Ended up calling the on-call doctor on Saturday. She called in some different meds for me which seem to help some, but not enough.

Went to church yesterday for Easter with my parents and it was not a good experience. First off, mom had to help me get dressed since it was not easy getting my pants on. I felt like I was helpless and did not like that feeling at all. When we got to church, I could not get comfortable no matter what position I tried in that chair. I did manage to make it through the Pastor’s sermon thankfully, but it wasn’t easy. The drive home was not a good one. I was very uncomfortable sitting in the car. Took a lot out of me just getting to and from church.

I rested the rest of Sunday, mostly drifting in and out of sleep as the meds do cause drowsiness. I didn’t mind that since it allowed me to really relax and not have to deal with my back. Woke up today and despite feeling somewhat better, it didn’t take long before my body started expressing it’s unhappiness to me. Thankfully, my back hasn’t spasmed more than a couple of times, but I’m also taking it very easy. Now, I’m just waiting for the doctor’s office to call me about getting an MRI done or something to hopefully get a better idea of what is going on.

Honestly, I cannot wait until this crud goes away and I can get on with my life. I want to not only be able to be myself again and do what I want and need to do, but I want to get back out there with my running and workouts. This lying around the house business is the pits.

Running complications

As if it weren’t enough that I have been dealing with knee and IT band problems with my right knee, I have now pulled out my back. Yesterday afternoon at work, I started to have bad pain in my lower back. I hoped it was nothing and would go away. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. I woke up this morning for my run and I was in horrible pain. My back was spasmodic and it was difficult to get out of bed. Needless to say, I didn’t end up getting out for my run. At this point, I was still planning on going to work and hoping that by popping a couple of ibuprofen would aid in my discomfort. By the time I showered and it was nearing the time that I would need to leave for work, my back was killing me. The ibuprofen had seemingly done nothing for me. Despite my not wanting to call out sick, I did just that. I then made an appointment to go see my doctor.

The doctor told me that I had pulled out my back, thus the painful muscle spasms I had been experiencing. No sitting or standing position was comfortable for me. She informed me that this was normal considering my injury. After a bit of discussion, we came to the conclusion that the injury was caused by my running. During my last 25 minute run, I had been concentrating on my form more than usual. I was intent upon ensuring that my feet and legs were maintaining proper running form. This more than likely caused me to move wrong or what have you, causing something in my back to get pulled.

So now, I am out of the running game. At least for a few days. This of course is disappointing to say the least. I really do enjoy my morning runs now. There really isn’t anything like the feeling I get from them. But, I am going to listen to everything my doctor told me to do in order to get better. With two 5k races upcoming this month, I definitely don’t want to push myself to the point that I can’t do them. I am especially looking forward to the Corp 5k on April 15th, it’s going to be quite the event I think. The other race I plan on doing is the Run for the Trees on the 24th, the day before my birthday. Mom is doing that one with me, and dad says he might as well. Be nice to have them there, even if they are walking the race.