What the Heck is a Michigan, Anyway?

I woke up this morning to frosty windows and a chill that you only understand if you are in the North Country on an Autumn day. I loved it.  There is something very peaceful about it. Soul-calming, if you will.

I also woke up to some aches and pains, and feeling completely plugged up. Ew. I know it’s only Wednesday, but it’s been a rough week. Work-wise, things have been busy. Life-wise, I’m still sick…it’s difficult.  I’ve been “trying not to get sick” for a few weeks now, but it’s getting the best of me. It’s affecting my sleep, my work and–even worse!–my running.

I got to the restaurant last night and my boss sent me home when he found out I was still sick. Thank you, so much! I stopped to pick up some medicine and then headed home. After being home for about an hour, I was lamenting that I haven’t gotten in “one last long run” before the Army Ten-Miler.

Before I go on, I need to educate you about some of the finest cuisine in my area..at least according to most who live here. When I first moved to the Plattsburgh area, people kept talking about this thing called a Michigan. It’s basically a hot dog that has been topped with a spicy meat sauce (kind of like a sloppy joe or a chili dog–minus the beans). I’ve also heard them called Texas Hots in other parts of the country. People have fierce debates about who has the best sauce, whether you eat them buried (with onions) or just topped with mustard. I personally don’t understand the appeal. I mean, I’ll eat one every now and then, but it’s not anything speical…That being said, Michigans and poutine are a hallmark of the North Country.

Now that you have been properly educated as to what the heck a Michigan is, I can continue my story. It will make sense later.

I’d been feeling pretty down on myself for not having run as much as I should. After being home for 30 minutes or so, I started to pace. I finally decided that I wouldn’t be able to go on unless I tried to run. So I changed into my running gear–including my bright yellow reflective vest and trusty head lamp (it was getting dark out)–and headed out the door.

I set out to do an 8 mile route, but it was one that could easily be cut short at various points. I wanted to keep my options open as I knew that I was not feeling well and wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to handle.

I was pleasantly surprised. I knew after 4 miles that I would be doing the entire 8 and this made me incredibly happy. I was in the zone and nothing could stop me. There is a point on this route where I turn off of a back road onto a main road. It passes a school and all of its playing fields and track.

At this point, my head lamp was on because it was now completely dark, but I felt safe knowing that I had on my reflective vest and said head lamp. Cars could see me. Even though there is a wide shoulder on this particular loop, I always move over when cars come, just out of common courtesy and to play it extra safe.

A car was coming toward me. I thought to myself that it was going a little fast and driving really close to the shoulder. I moved over a little more…As it passed me, the car got extremely close to me and then I felt a pain in my leg. It felt like someone had punched me as hard as they could.

I’d been hit!  At first I thought the mirror had clipped me, but I realized it was too low. I wasn’t sure what to do, but whatever had hit me, it hurt! I looked down and using my headlamp, inspected my leg. There was some sort of food stuck to it. A thick, kind of chunky substance…a meat sauce of sorts.

At the time, I was so bewildered that I didn’t think to try to get a plate number or try to find what I had been hit with. I just stood there staring down in utter disbelief at the giant spot on my leg.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I shouted. At this point I was either going to burst into tears or start laughing. I think it was a combination of the two. This was the icing on the cake that had been an already rough and stressful few days.

I groaned and, not wanting to touch the mystery substance,  found some leaves to wipe off the excess chunks.  I was now past the point of bewilderment and was just…mad. Not only had some jerk thrown something at me, but now I was wasting time and ruining my run because I had to stop and a.) make sure I wasn’t hurt and b.) wipe off some mystery substance.

Upon closer inspection, I realized what I had been hit with.


Of course I would take a picture…

That’s right, a Michigan. Or at least the sauce. As I said before, I didn’t stop and look for what hit me, I just wiped off as much as I could and kept going. I was still a few miles from home…I could have made my run a mile shorter by going straight instead of turning onto a side road, but I had set out to do 8 miles and I was going to do it, dammit!

My leg was sore where I was hit but I finished my run and actually felt really good. I later discovered that a black and blue mark had formed where I had been hit.

So I have to ask, who throws a hot dog?! Seriously.

I didn’t see the attacker but I am assuming it was a group of hooligan kids. I could be wrong. I’ll never know.

If it hadn’t happened to me, I probably wouldn’t believe it…And I admit, after sleeping on it, I do find it sort of amusing. Stuff like this actually happens? Not just in movies???

But all joking aside, this could have been very dangerous. Throwing something from a (fast) moving vehicle at a pedestrian? What were they thinking?! What if they had gotten my knee instead of my thigh?! And had they been paying less attention, they could have actually hit me with their car. And then what would they have done?! Driven away? I shudder to think.

So, although I see the comedic value in being hit with a Michigan and the fact that it left a big bruise, I am very thankful that I wasn’t actually hit by a car…or injured. Thank you, Lord for taking care of me!

Have you ever been hit by something on a run? Or had something equally strange happen? Tell me about it!

It’s Just Not That Serious

Sometimes, you can’t take life too seriously. Things happen.

You’ll drop a plate.  Your hair will decide to stick straight up in the air instead of carelessly across your forehead in that just-so manner and you’ll sweat profusely instead of glisten. You’ll get in fights with the people you love over something silly, whether it be taking something out of context or using the last of the milk in your coffee. You’ll smash your shin on the corner of your car door (Please don’t do this, it hurts) and then you’ll fall up the stairs. Or break some piece of equipment at work.

No big deal.

Days like these, there’s really only one thing to do. And that is lunch. 

I’m not talking anything fancy. I’m talking simple and delicious.  Seriously. Things like (local, free-range) chicken salad, tortilla chips, homemade pickles, greens from the garden, a chilled quinoa salad and pickled peppers (Courtesy of Farmer Ben)….Mint iced tea from a mason jar is optional-but highly encouraged.

Something that looks like this:

A Seriously Good Lunch.

This is another “random assortment of food” lunch that just works. Use your imagination, dine family style with your favorite lunch partner-utensils are totally not necessary. Remember, this isn’t serious.

I bet after this meal, you’ll feel ready to take on the world, crazy hair, scraped shin and all.

Speaking of Reading Labels…

I’ll keep this short, but I had to share.

This weekend, the hubs and I made a Price Chopper run for some essentials. We were getting low on toothpaste so I dragged Ben down the hygiene aisle. After some careful reading we finally found the right brand; Tom’s of Maine, whole care, fluoride free, anti-cavity, all natural, blah blah blah…

Last night, I used the toothpaste for the first time. About five seconds later, I realized we had made a HUGE mistake.

The taste  in my mouth was absolutely awful. I cannot accurately explain the immediate shock, and disgust that follows, when you stick your toothbrush in your mouth expecting a minty-fresh flavor and get…something else. Black Licorice. Or Mike and Ike’s. Or… something like that-It was just bad.

As you can imagine, I was a little  completely horrified. I immediately grabbed the tube to check the flavor. Fennel. Who thought this was a good idea?! Who would knowingly buy fennel flavored toothpaste?!

I yelled for Ben.

Unfortunately, I had to finish brushing. With fennel. Ugh. Luckily, Ben got to share my pain-after laughing hysterically at my tortured facial expressions.

I believe Ben’s response was “Ugh! Ew! Oh God, please get this taste out of my mouth!!!” 

As you can imagine, it was a race for the mouthwash.


All I Wanted Was A Pickle…

Hi Friends,

I am about to embarrass myself…more than usual.

Fun Noelle Fact: I love pickles. If you give me a jar, I will usually consume it in less than a week. I’ll eat them until I get a stomachache from too much vinegar. I love them on sandwiches, in salads or straight from the jar. My pickle of choice is dill, but I’ll take bread and butter, too. Some may call it an obsession… it could be worse.

Luckily, my husband knows what’s up and cans a ton of pickles (Maybe we can convince him to do a guest post so he will divulge some canning secrets???).  We even gave them to our wedding guests. For Christmas, I purchased Ben a special wooden lid for fermenting items such as sauerkraut…and pickles. True love.

Anyway, as promised, I am getting back on track…and am putting everything down in my food journal- my fitness pal! I got home from work last night and was feeling a bit hungry…I didn’t want something heavy because I’d have to record it.  Opening the fridge for inspiration, my eyes landed on a super sour jar of pickles, the 2010 variety.

I knew that that was what I was meant to snack on and grabbed it out of the fridge. Now, I don’t know if you have ever eaten pickles from a Ball jar, but they have this fun little vacuum seal on them. Even after you’ve broken the initial seal, they can still be a bit difficult to open.

Picture it:

I am standing in my kitchen, twisting with all my might to open this stupid jar. I probably looked like a reject member of Cirque de Soleil.  I was grunting, groaning and pulling. I even tried whacking it on the counter.

After a few minutes and no success, I took a break as I was huffing and puffing from the effort. “Seriously? Is this some sort of sick joke? I just want a pickle!” I thought.

As Ben had not arrived home from work,  I had to get creative. I grabbed a kitchen rag and gave a good twist…to no avail. As you can imagine, I was getting pretty annoyed. I tried a few more times. Nothing.

I waited a moment, took a deep breath, and twisted the jar so hard I’m surprised it didn’t break. Finally! I felt the lid budge… at the same time a sharp pain went shooting through my neck. “OWWW!”

Yes, I tried so hard to open a jar of pickles, I strained my neck. I couldn’t turn it to the right for a little while, but luckily I have full rotation this morning. Does this call for an intervention? Let’s hope not.

Anyway, your PSA for the day: be careful opening pickle jars.

I know I probably should have just waited the extra 10 minutes until Ben came home, but when I finally did take a bite of that pickle, it tasted like victory. Delicious.