Let’s Talk About Recovery

As I slowly return to the world of the normal, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to maintenance. I try to do a lot for maintenance. Take away my knee, and I’m trying to do even more.

Why do we do recovery? 1) It feels good. 2) It (might) help. I say might because some of these aren’t necessarily proven to work so much as make you feel better, which then might help. The science of recovery is weird.

This episode of The Runner’s World Show actually delves into a business in Chicago (The Edge Athlete Lounge) that focuses on recovery. It’s like a regular gym, but they add in a heavy emphasis on recovery at $125 a month lowest cost (we won’t go into how this inherently caters to the wealthy who already have more access to recovery sources than middle-to-low-income folks).

But me? I can’t afford that. Ok, I might be able to afford that, but I’m not paying and I don’t live in Chicago.

I have to make other arrangements.

So I foam roll – This takes an astonishingly short amount of time, it’s the only thing that lets me function the day after a hard workout, and I just don’t do it often enough. But when I do? Oof. It’s magic.

I stretch – This may be the most consistent thing I keep getting recommended. In a bygone age, I could stand on 45-pound bumper plates and touch the ground. Now, I can barely touch my toes, and that’s an improvement. Between my back, knee, and chest, I’m supposed to stretch out pretty everything from head to toe. I need to start getting compulsive about stretching. As it is, my muscles, especially my legs, are loaded springs.

I yoga (uncomfortable stretching plus some strength) – This doesn’t have the same magic for recovery as a foam roller, but it’s the most important thing I do to remain functional long-term. You can only imagine the betrayal I felt when not only was my knee keeping me away from yoga but there’s a chance that yoga did me in. I couldn’t stay away. For my day-to-day life, this is the best thing I can do, so even if I’m limited, I’m going to find a way.

And I sleep – This one’s my favorite. I like my 8 hours at night. I’d like 9 even better. I like my naps. I like to eat breakfast, and then go right back to sleep for another hour or so. I like to curl up in my blankets in the winter in a quilted cocoon. I like to throw an exercise mat on the ground and get my afternoon nap. And why do I like sleep? Because my body craves it. That’s when I recover. No stress, no activity. Just sleep. Just rest. And you know what? I think I’ll sleep again tonight. I’ll probably sleep again tomorrow. Something to look forward to.

What do you do for recovery?

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Let’s Talk About Self-Care

It takes a lot of work to keep me functioning. I don’t mean it takes me a lot of work like it takes a lot of work to maintain a pristine physique (it does require a lot of work, I’m told, but I wouldn’t have any clue about that. Fatty likes his food.). No, I’m talking about the work it takes to maintain basic functionality.

There are a few factors at play that caused this:

  • One, I have back issues. If you’ve never had back issues, I can’t full explain it, but this is what I can tell you: I can’t remember the last time I went 24 hours without any type of pain. I went 8 hours pain-free in August, and it felt like I was on drugs. I was giddy. There are days where I just want to lie down on the floor. They’re rare, but they exist.
  • Two, I’m just injury-prone in general. This is a product of lifestyle, which is brings us to
  • Three, I work a desk job. Desk job’s are great in a lot of ways, but they are also a significant contributor to the decline of physical health of Americans.
  • Four, I have a stressful job. There are more stressful jobs in the world, but I have a “make your own stress” job, which is great because
  • Five, I like to make my own stress. I think A LOT. Most of my hobbies are about getting my brain to shut down or to keep it so focused it’s not running off on its own. Think of my brain like a border collie. Great when it’s focused and the possibility of being a real jerk if it has nothing better to do.

All of this results in me doing a few things just to keep my mind and body in check. Basically, I’m going to run through all of the big and little things I do to stay in one piece. If you find something you’ve never tried, give it a go. Every person has their own needs. These are just the things that help me. You’ll notice a good chunk of them were featured in the Super Awesome Year of Me.

Running

Hey, that’s why we’re here. I run even though I complain about it because it’s necessary. I don’t have a better way to get cardio work in quickly, and cardio’s necessary, especially if I drop from a heart attack and would like to recover.

But in all seriousness, running allows me to burn off the wrong kind of energy, that nervous energy that has zero chance of being productive. Plus, I get a lot of t-shirts.

Reading

This is a default for me when I’m overwhelmed. I like to dive into a good book and hide there. Not always the healthiest coping mechanism, but it helps. And if you’re going to engage in an activity for the wrong reason, at least engage in one that’s good for you. And because writers are the biggest bunch of dorks who include the most random bits of information, you also get to learn the most random bits of information. You’re gonna kill it at trivia night.

Writing

This is the other reason we’re here. I enjoy writing. I write for a living, but I don’t write fun stuff for a living. I write research papers. Not fun. Interesting but not fun.

This is about fun. This is about taking the time to put thoughts on a screen illuminated by the magic of technology. I can put jokes in here. I can put my thoughts here. And I can (hopefully) stretch my ability as a writer. This blog (and my other blog) are about allowing me to write under the guise of providing useful information for other people.

As a teenager, I wrote a lot. I don’t know what good it did or what good I thought it would do, but I enjoyed writing. Slowly, I got older and wrote less. This was my chance to take some of that back. I’m probably not going to write the next great American novel, but I can still write.

Yoga

This was the first piece of deliberate self-care I ever engaged in. I was doing most of the others, but I did them for fun. They just happened to be beneficial. I started doing yoga for my back. And it worked. I didn’t know why it worked; it just did.

Later, I would figure out it wasn’t just the stretching and that the core work was a contributor, but it didn’t matter. I found something that worked.

I don’t practice as often as I should, but I’m a yoga convert of 8 years. I don’t believe I’m flushing out toxins or finding (much) inner peace, but my body’s happier when I do yoga, so my brain’s happier too. And when I’m running, yoga’s the only thing that allows me to keep living a normal life.

Stretching

Not the same as yoga. For those of you keeping score, yoga includes stretching. It is not about stretching. And frankly, sometimes yoga isn’t all that great for stretching. Yoga classes and routines aren’t prescriptions. They don’t help my specific issues. I steal what I learn from yoga for my own use, but I have to do pretty deliberate stretching. At this point, it’s a full-body stretch routine, but I’ve had PTs who gave me specific stretches for back pain and costochondritis. Basically, I do stretches to help me with back pain.

Drawing

I should have put this caveat in earlier, but just because I enjoy doing something, that doesn’t mean I actually am any good at it. I’ve always enjoyed drawing. If you leave me alone, I’m doodling or making elaborate patterns.

While I always liked it, I didn’t realize what it was doing to my brain. When I did the Super Awesome Month of Drawing, I was a lot more calm after each picture was done. The concentration of drawing was downright meditative.

Music

This one goes two ways. The easiest to see is that I almost constantly have music going. I wake up and turn on Spotify. I have music going all day while I work. My commute has satellite radio. My walk to the office features me wearing earbuds. And of course, I run to a soundtrack now. Music is life.

Really, though, it’s the second aspect that’s most important. I play guitar. I’m not as good about playing every day as I’d like to be, but I play more days than not. Everyone should make music and preferably learn an instrument. It’s something to concentrate on, and if you’re brave, you can even write your own stuff. And that’s pretty damn cool.

Massage

And this is the one that has me outside of my comfort zone. I’m not a fan of strangers touching me, especially when I’m wearing almost no clothing. Let’s just not, thanks.

But I had back pain flare up that was lasting more than a week. When I asked the physical therapist what I could do, massage was their best recommendation. So I gave it a try. I went to a n0-frills sports massage place and proceeded to have a stranger make a valiant attempt at making me cry. And it was fantastic.

I was able to go back there one more time before I moved, and then I began my odyssey in Mississippi of finding a good massage. I had to make it to my 3rd location and even then it was my second MT before I found someone I was happy with. Now, every month or two, someone half my size digs their elbows into my back to buy me a few hours of relief.

And the thing I wish I did more of? Meditating.

I do things that hit some of the same points of meditating, but like running being the best cardio I can access, meditating is the best I can do to hit the brain.

5-10 minutes is all I need, and I can’t make myself do it. It’s hard. Trying to focus on your breathing and letting stray thoughts drift on by without dwelling on them is an enormous task as far as I’m concerned. But man, I feel fantastic after a good session. Unfortunately, I can’t stick with it long enough to see if there are long-term benefits. Maybe one day.

Why I’m in pain (almost) every day

This is a long one guys. And pretty much no jokes. I know. I always have jokes but not today. If you’re not in the mood to stick around for a while, I’d recommend going elsewhere.

I played football growing up. I was never great or anything, but I played, which means I lifted. When I was 14 or 15, I was doing squats with a weight that shouldn’t have been a problem (225 pounds). But for some reason on a rep, my hips went up and my shoulders didn’t. I dropped with the weight onto the catch bars and wrenched my back in the process (had a spotter, but no telling if it happened slow enough that he would have been any use or if he was just a shoddy spotter).

Being the little idiot that I was and living in the football culture that I did, I never sought treatment. This was a time when coaches were still yelling, “Water makes you weak!” and had us practicing full pads in 115-degree heat (though thankfully that was the one day they didn’t mind us drinking water). These same coaches were big on the “Are you injured or are you hurt? If you’re hurt, you can keep playing.”

Well, I could keep playing. I went through at least a solid two weeks of pretty awful pain, but I was able to do everything. I just had to twist to one side every time I stood up from tying my shoe. Totally normal stuff. Eventually, the pain went away, and everything went back to normal.


 

So that’s the start of the story. Of course, we know that’s not the end of the story. We know that if that was the end of the story, it would be a quicker story. Unfortunately, things stopped being normal eventually. Slowly. Like that frog they always talk about sitting in a pot as the water is brought to boil around it without the frog knowing.

I hate that I’m the frog in this story.

When I stopped playing football 3 years later, something new started to happen. My back started to hurt. It would take years to figure out the reason my back started to hurt was due to inactivity. After hurting my back, I was ridiculously active. There were times where I was consuming 3,000 calories a day and still losing weight (I had a habit of losing 10 pounds every football season and then having to fight to put it back on in the following months). I was running, I was lifting, and I was running some more. There was a point in my junior year I was doing 3 workouts a day: lifting for powerlifting in the morning, running and lifting for football in the middle of the day, and running for track in the afternoon.

I never thought of myself as someone who was in great shape, but I shudder to even think about 15 workouts every single week.

Now the pain wasn’t really bad at first. It was more dullish aches than anything else. It was weird. I didn’t like it, but I suspected it had something to do with the incident three years earlier. But I still didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t an everyday thing.

But it kept getting worse. And I did start to notice, vaguely, that the pain was more present when I was relaxing than at any other time.

When I moved to Florida, I had 6 weeks to kill. Aside from furnishing my apartment, I really had nothing to do, so I sat around reading and watching TV. And my back gave me problems for that. Randomly, I saw a PBS informercial thing on pilates and they talked about it helping back pain. I had back pain, and the lady on TV was talking about back pain. Kismet.

I went to the bookstore to find a book on pilates or yoga (they seemed like basically the same thing to me). I opted for yoga because it seemed more guy-friendly. Hell, Diamond Dallas Page even had a yoga book geared toward men, and this is before his yoga products were widely known. While DDP helped steer me to yoga, I wasn’t buying the broga book. Years before #masculinitysofragile started making its way around the worldwide weberverse, I knew I wasn’t going to be played like that. I bought a generic hatha yoga book and went to Walmart to pick up a yoga mat. Well, an exercise mat anyway. I had tile floors, and the yoga mat didn’t seem like it would give me enough cushion for my knee (which was correct, and that’s an injury story for another day).

This is the only time in my life that I managed to do yoga every day. My mornings started with me working through the beginner flows, progressing a little bit every day.

And my back stopped hurting. My knee wasn’t giving me trouble either. Eventually, I could touch the floor for the first time in years (at one point in high school, I could stand on those thick bumper plates and touch the ground, but that was a LONG time ago).

It was magic, but the magic had to stop eventually. I had work to do.

Once I fell into the routine of working on my Ph.D. and my assistantship, yoga was never a daily thing again. I would do my best to keep up with it, but getting 2-3 sessions a week was the best I could do, and there would be weeks where I wouldn’t practice at all.

And my back got worse. A lot worse.

Eventually, I had a different injury. This time it was costochondritis. It’s a cartliage issue by the sternum. And if you think you have this, you get told to see a doctor to make sure you’re not having a heart attack first. That’s fun. It took two solid months to properly diagnose the issue, but I started physical therapy, and things got better.

Except my back. It flared up for a few days worse than it ever had before. I was in the office one day and had to just lie on the floor for a little while to get what little relief I could. I was a grade-A jerk when this was going on.

The PT didn’t have anything terribly useful to tell me beyond it looked like a muscle spasm. Except it really wasn’t. That muscle had always been raised. It wasn’t a spasm because that’s just how it was. If I put my back to a wall, I would tilt a little (same with lying on a hard surface). I’d had someone who was giving me a back rub tell me how pronounced the difference was. And I was starting to pay attention. Things weren’t the way they were supposed to be.

So I got a massage. Yep. I did that instead of going to the doctor. I haven’t had good success with doctors, and I’d been dealing with the pain for so long, that it didn’t seem all that bad. Just more of the same, even if it was worse. Remember, I’m the frog in this story.

I should note, the PT said a massage might help. It did, but the problem wasn’t fixed. I’ve gotten into the habit of getting at least a couple of massages every year just to help. I don’t know what it does, if anything, for the long term, but it makes me feel at least a little better for a little while.

Eventually, I moved again, but there was no extended downtime before starting the next job. I showed up in Mississippi at 7 one evening, and I was leaving for work at 7 the next morning.

Luckily, this transition did spur me to one thing: I was going to find a yoga class. Hopefully.

Before I left Florida, I joined a friend for a couple of yoga classes. It killed me, but it also showed me I could get more out of yoga with a teacher than I could get on my own most days.

Despite being a small town, there’s a studio here. I went to a class, but I hated it. I really did. I didn’t gel with the teacher, and I got next-to-nothing from the session. I decided I’d go back one more time for a different teacher. If I didn’t like it, then I’d figure something else out. But it worked. I’ve talked about my Goldilocks teacher before, and that was her. It was just my speed, and I don’t think I can properly thank her for being a pleasant person and teaching a class that was just enough to push me without wanting to throw a block at her.

I was only doing two sessions a week, but two sessions was better than zero. Over the next year and half, I kept up an ok habit of yoga, except for a 2- to 3-month lapse. I was managing, but there was a problem. There was a spot on my spine that was becoming sensitive to the touch. I couldn’t do certain poses the way everyone else did because I’d hit that spot, and it would hurt. I knew if something on my spine was hurting, then it was probably best not to agitate it (I should note that I use a regular yoga mat in classes because of peer pressure, so I don’t know how the cushiony exercise mat would fair for this problem).

And it got worse. That spot became more sensitive over time. And my back was having more flareups. And it was exhausting. Physically and mentally exhausting.

My breaking point had been reached, and I finally saw a doctor. Actually, that’s a lie. I told a doctor about this at some point after moving here. He had me bend over to look at my spine and didn’t say anything. This is a part of that history of bad experiences with doctors that I was talking about.

When I saw a new doctor, I told him about the history, and he was checked me out. He had me bend over to look at my back. He noted the raised muscle on one side, and we did an X-ray. Quick and easy.

Sort of.

The technician took a while to come back into the room while I was on my side, and I started getting paranoid. My parents smoked my entire childhood, and I’ve never had X-rays other than the dental variety. I was paranoid my lungs were going to show something. Of course, that wasn’t it, but I was still paranoid, and when you lay on your side longer than expected, it’s a surprisingly vulnerable position.

The X-ray showed curvature of the spine. I wish I had taken a picture, but I didn’t think to. It’s a shock to look at something and without a medical degree know that what you’re seeing isn’t what you’re supposed to be seeing. Scoliosis was never used as a term (just curvature), but based on the curve I was seeing and what the internet says scoliosis is, that’s what I’ve got. Yay.

I should back up at this point to talk about the obvious. Prior to the injury, there was no back issue at all. In fact, I was checked for scoliosis in the months leading up to the incident. The fact is, I don’t know when things really went too far. I spent the first 3 years afterward not having any issues. I was so active, there really wasn’t the opportunity for flareups to occur. So I don’t know when my spine got out of whack. I just know that it’s 15 years later and my spine’s out of whack.

Here’s the fun part: There’s not really much they can do for me. It’s not a severe case, so bracing and surgery aren’t really required. The best I can do is manage the pain, the doc said. Physical therapy and a chiropractor were brought up as options. I’d had success with PT before, so I opted for that (I’m also terrified of a chiropractor touching my neck).

Big mistake. Mostly.

The PT was a d-bag. When I went to schedule, the person I met with was confused as to why I was sent to them with that diagnosis. When I came back for the appointment, I met the PT for the first time, and I wanted to punch him in the face.

He started grilling me about why I was seeking treatment now instead of earlier. Evidently, being in pain for ten years and having a new issue spring up in the last year weren’t adequate reasons for him. It was like he was suspicious of me. He made it abundantly clear that PT wasn’t going to fix the problem (I knew that); it would just help me manage at best (I also knew that). I explained that daily yoga was the only thing that had ever helped for a good amount of time, and then he was confused as to why I wasn’t still doing that. He didn’t seem to grasp that I didn’t have an extra hour every day to practice (and it’s really 2 when you throw in travel, showering, etc.). Even at home, it still takes 30 minutes to get a good session in.

I’m ranting. I’m still mad about this encounter.

He gave me some stretches to do, got kind of condescending about yoga even as he was telling me I should do more yoga, told me to be mindful of my posture (as did my last PT), and gave me nothing on strengthening muscles.

And that’s when he lost me.

He wanted to improve my flexibility (awesome) but didn’t want to strengthen my core muscles (not awesome). He could grasp yoga’s benefit for flexibility, but he didn’t seem to grasp that it was also benefitting strength that helped keep me upright.

I’d be lying if I said I got nothing from this. He did give one tip to keep me sitting up straight better: roll up a towel and wedge it behind my back to prevent slouching (like the slouching I’m doing right now as I type this up… I should work on that). He was adamant about this. He said the fancy back supports exist, but a rolled up towel would work just as well. Even a paper towel roll would work. Guess what I had access to back at the office?

IMG_6099

But it was mostly a waste of time. I got a bunch of stretches that are variations of what I was already doing with my breakfast routine, with a couple of extras thrown in, and I got told to basically be on my way. And I’m not going back there ever again.

Now it’s been about a week since the X-ray and getting told something that I’d always suspected: I’ll be stuck with this the rest of my life, and the best I can do is manage the pain.

And that’s so damned depressing.

The finality of it’s been a bit much, even knowing that’s what I was probably going to be told. I’m having to manage a condition (never mind that I’ve been managing it for years already). No matter what I do, in all likelihood, this will always be around.

Something you might not know, but Kurt Cobain and Hank Williams both suffered from back pain. Look how they ended up.

This is being dramatic. Their pain was worse than mine. And there are people a lot worse off in this world. This won’t kill me. This won’t even prevent me from doing the things I want to do. I’ll just be in pain a good amount of the time. And that’s tiring.

That said, I went to the doctor because I was fed up. I’m tired, but I’m not stopping, so we need a plan.

Of course, the plan’s been in place for a while; I just have an X-ray showing why the plan is necessary.

Before diving into the (sort of) plan, I have to acknowledge two things that cause my back to ache more often than it otherwise would. The first is weight. I know my body, including my back, likes me a lot better when I’m under 180. Around two years ago, I cleared 200 for the first time. That sucked. But I’ve been slowly losing weight and getting back to where I was originally at (and hopefully I can take off some more).

The Super Awesome Year of Me wasn’t planned for nothing. I mixed in some other things, but there’s a reason seven of the months were about diet and exercise.

The second thing that causes me problems is running. After runs, I often have an achy back from putting my feet to the pavement. Weight is a likely contributor, but the way I run doesn’t help either. I haven’t noticed it as much the past few weeks, so I guess slowing down my runs has helped.

So, what am I doing to take care of this issue?

More of the same. Yeah, it’s not a blockbuster plan, but it’s a plan built on sustainability.

I already mentioned the Super Awesome Year of Me, but I left out that one of those months is yoga. I’m going to do daily yoga for the first time since 2009. I hope this finally gets me somewhere again. The PT might have been a jackass, but he was right. I need to be better about making more time for yoga. Flexibility and core strength are more than enough to justify it, but I also need the mental benefits to counteract the other mental carryover from this.

In the meantime, I’m just going to have to keep stretching because upping my mileage to attempt a 10K is going to keep me out of the yoga studio more than I’d like. I should probably throw in more core exercises, though I won’t have a prescribed workout because the PT’s an idiot. Again, I’m still mad.

The other thing is to keep dropping weight. That’s a must for a lot of reasons, but at the very least it take stress off my body and lessens the impact of every step. I’ll never weight 150 again (and I don’t really want to), but I think I can drop down to 170 and keep enough muscle to still be the awesome person that I am.

That’s a lot to take in. I commend you for making it this far, but I have one little thing to add: I haven’t told my family. And I don’t know that I will. There’s not much I can do, so this is just something for them to worry about for no good reason. So if you see my parents, could you keep this on the DL? Heck, I’m not even posting this to Twitter because I don’t want work acquaintances seeing this, but we’re all friends here, right? Awesome.

-Q

My Mornings of Productivity

I’m a morning person. Kind of.

I’m also a night owl. Kind of.

The kind of stems from the fact that I’m really both. I like staying up really late and pondering the universe. I like getting up early and getting shit done. I don’t like the time between noon and 7 p.m. I hate that time. I have next-to-no energy, and I’m just going through the motions.

Now unfortunately, I work a grown-up job. I have to be productive in the morning and the afternoons, so I’ve been forced to live out my morning-person tendencies.

It’s not all bad. On the weekends, I’ll go to the grocery store early enough that it’s me, the old folks, and parents of the young children who refuse to sleep in.

During the week, I’m not late getting into the office. Of course, I don’t hop out of bed ready to take on the world (though I can if need to, so watch out world).

My usual routine consists of waking up, going to the restroom, screwing around on my phone (did you see the Justin Trudeau interview on Vox.com?), and then eating a breakfast that can be made quickly (think Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich). I’ve always had these quick breakfasts so that I didn’t have to worry about convenience.

Until a couple of months ago.

A couple of months ago, I decided to try something new. I decided to start making steel cut oats with berries dropped in.

I can’t say what fully made me go through this. I knew I needed to eat healthy, and this is certainly healthy, but why not regular rolled oats? Well, I mentally have it in my head that steel cut oats are healthier. Unfortunately, there’s not much in the way of evidence to support this, but I still like to think steel cut oats are healthier (it does appear that glycemic index is at least lower for steel cut oats, so there’s that).

And so I bought a big-ass canister of steel cut oats and saw that it would take 25-30 minutes of simmering.

“Great,” I thought. “I can do a quick yoga session while it cooks.”

The next morning when I went to cook them, I noticed something I hadn’t before. I had to stir them occasionally. And it turns out when you use milk (I split the milk and the water), you’d better stir more or you get that skin stuff like you see from brown gravy.

There went the yoga.

But it’s not all bad. Really, it’s been a net win. I’ve got a good system. I bring 1 cup of my water/milk mixture to boil, tump in 1/4 cup of the oats, and slowly stir in my frozen berries, leaving a few behind in the bowl to cool down the whole mixture so I don’t have to wait to eat (who says the internet doesn’t have useful information?). And of course, my ubiquitous glass of OJ (fortified with with calcium and vitamin D; did I mention I’m actually allergic to milk? Yep, but I’ve always been able to cook with it without problems).

There is one downside. I get hungry midmorning. That’s something I’ve had to get used to. It’s led to me eating an earlier lunch, but it works. That earlier lunch makes post-work runs better because I’ve had more time to digest my lunch.

And there’s one REALLY big upside to this breakfast. It… How do I say this…? I want to put it delicately. Runners, you understand this type of thing. I just… How…

It helps me poop.

Yep. I said it. This new morning system has been a boon for my GI tract. These oats are a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber, not to mention the additional fiber from the berries. Things stay on a better schedule with the oats.

So there’s that, but we’re not done. I know what you’re thinking: “But if it helps you poop, what else could it possibly do?”

Remember when I said it takes 25-30 minutes to cook? While the stirring nixed the yoga idea, I still had 25 minutes to kill in between stirs.

While I can’t do yoga, I can still stretch. I deal with back pain, not to mention general tightness of the lower part of my body thanks to running and working a desk job. My inability to move belies my actual age. So I’ve got a good routine of stretching down while the oats cook. But that only takes about 5 or so minutes.

I’ve also started taking care of my dishes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not doing dishes in the morning (usually), but I have a habit of leaving dishes in the sink or leaving clean dishes in the dishwasher. Now I have nothing better to do, so I take care of that. I also usually soak my pan over night after cooking the oats, so I’ve got a good pot-in, pot-out system going. And of course, there’s just the general tidying up that I can do. I’m currently staring at a pile of dirty laundry that needs to leave a walkway. I have a sneaking suspicion that pile will survive the night. But those oats won’t cook themselves in the morning, so I think that pile has a shelf life.

Weird post, am I right?

Really, you should try the steel cut oats for a few days. They’re VERY different from rolled and instant oats. It takes some finessing to get them right, but I’ve really enjoyed it for multiple reasons.

Party on, Wayne.

-Q

P.S. I REALLY wanted to make poop one of the tags, but I was just a little too afraid of the weirdoes who might be following that particular tag.