Monthly Archives: January 2011

Go Pack Go!!! :-)

Before I can write my regular blog, I must apologize to my father.  He called me on Monday leaving a less than happy voicemail at my failure to acknowledge in my last blog entry the Packer’s win over Chicago on Sunday, ensuring their spot at this year’s Superbowl.  So for my Dad (and all Wisconsinites (former, current, and future) and Packer fans everywhere) 

GO PACKERS!!!

FOOD

The biggest food news this week is that I now have a working microwave.  I ate leftovers.  It was glorious!  It was drama getting it installed, but in the end, all that matters is I have a microwave again.

The biggest highlights of my week were leftover Red Thai Curry Soup I made on Sunday (courtesy of my microwave – I ate it on Monday!), baked kale chips (no clue how I spent this long not ever having them), Tofu Green Curry (courtesy of a Thai restaurant), and two meals at Whole Foods consisting of a combination of amazing things on their buffet line.  I’m not itemizing my week because I frankly can’t remember it all!  I really dislike it when I go several days between entries.  I feel incomplete somehow.

kale before they became chips.  Coated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar

AFTER they were baked at 350 for 12 minutes.  Salted (after they bake).  Awesome.  My oldest eventually tried them and declared that “the strange green crunchy leaves are really good”.

Fresh Thai tofu spring rolls

the buffet line at Whole Foods.  Really?  How many grocery stores have this?  And why isn’t there on in my region??

from the cold buffet line.  Tabbouleh, dumplings, rice, and hearts of palm salad

from the hot buffet line.  Red curry tofu and Jamaican cabbage

This morning I had a dish of brown rice pasta and sauteed bell peppers, onions, and garlic.  For lunch I had a salad from the Cheesecake Factory Express at one of our malls.  It’s one of my favorites; romaine lettuce, red onion, apple, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette over a big flat bread.  Once I eat enough of the salad part, I can curl it up into a taco/wrap thing. 

For dinner I made an entirely new creation.  It was a tofu and vegetable Thai curry with a Bangkok Thai Spice Blend that I picked up at Penzy’s in Richmond yesterday.  It was really good, and super easy.

1 container extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Bangkok Thai Spice Blend
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1can light coconut milk
4 Roma tomatoes, diced

I coated the tofu cubes first in the lemon juice, and then in the spice blend.  I marinated that in the coconut milk for about 2 hours.  I poured it all into a sauce pan, added the veggies, brought to a boil, and then covered and simmered for about a half hour.  I served it over rice. 

FITNESS

I had some good workouts this week, but missed the Tri club.  Our coach was sick on Monday, so we didn’t have spinning.  I wasn’t able to go to Wednesday’s group run or Friday’s swim.  That is NOT to say I didn’t work out though 🙂

Today was my favorite.  I did my longest swim ever!  1200 yards.  I found a site called Swim Plan, and they have free workouts.  Here’s what I did:

Warm up:
*50 yd freestyle
*50 yd backstroke

Build Up (repeat 4 times):
*25 yd of alternating single arm strokes.  6 each side.  I’m really uncoordinated, so this one was hard for me.
*25 yd freestyle catch-up ( Freestyle drill where one arm catches up to the other between stokes. Both arms start stretched out. One arm completes full stoke (both arms return to a stretched out position) then the other arm completes a full stroke. Pull with one arm at a time and touch your hands between each alternating arm stroke). 

Core:
*12 x 25 yd freestyle
*12 x 50 yd freestyle with pull buoy.  I love these.  I find it easier than using my arms and legs at the same time!  See…uncoordinated…

Cool Down:
*8 x 25 any stroke (I did freestyle for all but 50, where I did backstroke)

I swam at a different Y than I normally do.  Usually I go to the one near my house, but today I went to the one downtown.  My eldest was volunteering at her school (new student auditions), so I went to the Y that was closest.  I have to say, it’s in a pretty part of town.

the area of Norfolk where I was today.  It’s very pretty, and I love the cobblestone street (though I HATE driving on it)

Norfolk has a whole bunch of Mermaid sculptures (all different) at various locations in the city.  I parked near this one.  I love them, and think it’s neat that we have these. 

LIFE

By Monday evening, it had already felt like a long week.  Without going into a ton of detail, it was a really…really long week, though thankfully not all of it unpleasant. 

Did I mention I have a microwave now???  The appliance guy never did return any of D’s phone calls.  He eventually texted him on Monday to say he’d be by “after 5pm” on Tuesday.  Oy.  We should have dumped him, but his price was good, so we gave him another chance.  He showed at 505pm on Tuesday and told us it would be about an hour.  After an hour or so, D hears “Oh, s**t” come from the kitchen.  After a bit longer, D learns that this guy broke the new microwave as he was installing it.  He had to leave, go to Lowe’s, attempt to return a busted microwave, get a new one, and come back to put it in.  Sometime around 9pm, D called me to tell me we had finally – after nearly a month – gotten a new and functional microwave put in. 

Fast forward a few painful days.  Thursday night, it was time to go to Richmond with a friend for some much needed relaxation and girl time.  My friend’s husband is from Richmond, and she went to grad school there and lived there for years.  She was a bit mortified that the only part of Richmond I’d ever experienced was either the airport or my pilgrimages to Whole Foods, so she vowed to take me and show me around.

Of course, we had to get there first.  Darla did well until we got close, and then she advised I get off the freeway before A thought I should.  We listened to Darla and ended up in a relatively scary part of town.  Darla was yelling, A and I were nervous, so we drove around to where A thought we should go.  It took us an additional 45 minutes or so, but we got there!  It was a very nice hotel, and almost as soon as we checked in, we left to grab a drink at the Capital Ale House.  After perusing an impressive selection of beer, she got some dark chocolate number, and I had a pale Belgian beer.  We eventually went to bed around 230am – which is impressive that we were still awake!

Friday we did some touring in the daylight, saw some beautiful parts of town (the University area was particularly lovely), and did lots of shopping.   After Whole Foods, one of our first stops was a nice shopping center that has a Crate and Barrel.  I love that store, and we don’t have one by us.  I was wandering around and looking at things, when A noticed a little kitchen tool I’ve been looking for for years!  It’s a total throw back to 1970’s Tupperware; it’s a citrus peeler.  It’s a long stick of plastic with a hook end – almost like a crochet hook – and it does an incredible job of peeling oranges.  We used to have one and would put it in the kids’ lunches when they had oranges, and I’m pretty sure one of them accidentally threw it away.  I was so excited, I bought two (at only 75 cents each, I should have bought 5!).  We went to several other places and I picked up a few things.  One was a Fair Trade shop, and I bought something, but I can’t say what it is yet because it’s a gift and she reads this 🙂  My last stop before going home was REI.  I bought a cushy girly seat for my road bike.  No way I’m racing on what it has now.  I also picked up a commuter back pack for D.

a neat dress display made out of metal hangers.  It was in one of the shops we went into, and I had to take a picture of it.

I had a great time, and can’t wait to go back and see more of my state’s capitol.

Today I woke up insanely early (for a Saturday).  I was downstairs by 7am, drinking coffee, and finally catching up on my blog reading’s (I was 115 behind!).  I was tagged in one to do a Fun Things Friday, and I feel horrible that I missed blogging the last two Friday’s.  I promise, I will do it this coming week!!

I cleaned the kitchen, had two cups of espresso (yeah, I know.  That’s a lot, even for me.  I was tired).  One was a nice vanilla blend.  Yum.  D woke up around 830 and made breakfast for he and the kids while I puttered around.  He took R to swim lessons, and then I took A downtown to her art school for her volunteering.

I haven’t done a whole lot since other than cook and relax (and since cooking IS relaxing, it was a chill afternoon).  D ran errands, took A driving (she has her learners permit), and we all sat around and watched Chuck.  D rented The Social Network, and we just finished watching that.  I liked it very much, though it got a little long and drawn out at one point, but only a little.  It was an otherwise fascinating story – especially since I’m on Facebook all the time.

So now I’m finally caught up on blogging and can’t wait to get back into my rhythm of regular updates.  Tomorrow I’m going to run and go to some Eco thing with S at her friend’s place around 1.  I have no clue what to expect, but I imagine I’ll have pictures!

I Went To Prison This Weekend!

FOOD

It’s certainly been a whirlwind week in many ways.  I haven’t gotten to cook as much as I’d like to, and to be honest – I haven’t been doing a good job of eating.  It’s not the that food I am eating is bad; quite the contrary!  It’s just not enough.  I’ve missed dinner more times this week than I’d like to admit.  To be frank – without the microwave and the ability to reheat (easily) all my leftovers, I’m finding I run out of time once I get home from work and make dinner for everyone else.  As usual, I get left with little or nothing to eat.  At least, nothing fun that makes eating worthwhile!

Wednesday morning I had fruit and the Healthy Choice soup for breakfast before my meetings.  I spent the late afternoon and early driving home from Morehead City.  There is nothing between there and here food-wise other than fast food.  I saw a Burger King, Bojangles, or Taco Bell all the time, but most of the subway’s were closed down!  Finally D looked one up for me in Williamston, NC, so I stopped and grabbed a 6 inch veggie sub since I was really hungry. 

Since I ate lunch so late, I wasn’t hungry for dinner.  I also didn’t get home in a decent amount of time to make dinner, so we ordered some Applebee’s curbside to go for D and the kids, and I skipped it.  I know, not good.

Thursday breakfast was coffee and a sunflower seed butter, banana, and Ezekiel bread sandwich.  Lunch was reheated deconstructed cabbage rolls that I made on Monday (thank goodness work has a functional microwave!).  Dinner was kind of fun.  D makes this noodle dish since well before we were married.  His Dad used to make it for him, and he’s been making it for our family since we met (it’s one of the ONLY things he makes).  It’s very simple, but the kids always dig it.  It’s spaghetti noodles, butter/margarine, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese.  For years, it never had a name.  One day, we named them Daddy’s Magic Noodles, and the name has stuck.  Of course, I haven’t partaken of the magic noodles in several years.  I decided to make my own version!  I took brown rice rotini pasta, and boiled it with some peas and corn.  After it was cooked, I sauteed it in some Earth Balance margarine, and topped with pepper and vegan Parmesan flavored topping.  I’m sure it’s tastes nothing like the Magic Noodles,  but it was still awesome.

Mommy’s Magic Noodles!

Friday morning was really crazy and I had to be somewhere really early in the morning.  I didn’t have time to make a breakfast, so aside from my coffee, I snarfed a banana on the way.  Lunch was a black bean and veggie wrap from Tropical Smoothie Cafe.  Dinner was skipped again, and I ended up going to S’s house for a couple beers (and some pistachios).

Saturday morning was a vegan cheese toasty sandwich on Ezekiel bread on my way to knitting class.  Lunch was another pasta type dish ala Magic Noodles.  This time, I sauteed some onion and garlic, added a fresh diced Roma tomato, and added that and a small amount of olive oil to the brown rice pasta, peas, and corn, and topped with some of the vegan Parmesan topping.  Also very, very good and filling. 

Magic Noodles, Version 2

I decided Saturday afternoon that I wanted to bust out my juicer.  I haven’t used it in many years, and really only used it a few times.  I bought it after D was discharged from the hospital the first time on a soft food diet.  I thought it would be awesome to make him some fresh juices.  Of course he hates anything resembling healthy food, so I used it for me a few times, and then packed it away.  Since getting my Vitamix several years ago now, I haven’t seen much need for it.  However, recently I’ve noticed many blogs and articles about juicing and the difference between that and what I do with my vitamix, which uses the entire food put in the blender.  I made a carrot, spinach, and apple juice that was actually quite fabulous.  That was around 6 or 7, and I ended up skipping dinner.  I know.  3 times this week (so far).  I did finally get to have my friend L’s homemade pepper vodka though!  I made bloody mary’s with spicy low sodium V8.  It was all too spicy for D, which I thought was cute.  They were actually quite amazing!

Sunday morning I made a juice/smoothie in my Vitamix.  Blueberries, apple, strawberries, and flax seed.  Yum yum!

For lunch, I made a Thai red curry soup with rice, sweet potato, and kale.  I followed the recipe exactly with the exception of using green kale instead of purple because that’s what I had.  Holy. Awesome.  Batman.  It was fantastic, and I even chopped up some cilantro for the garnish.  I was actually excited all day to get hungry again, just so I could eat some more. It was spicy and flavorful and just made me intensely happy.  I used the Red Curry powder from the spice kit from my dad.  I think it’s about half gone now.  Good thing he sent me a catalog too, I’m going to have to buy some more before too long.   I’m taking some to a friend of mine tomorrow who asked for the recipe.

I was reading a juicing book and came across one called Better Red Than Dead.  It’s beets, sweet potato, and carrot.  Okay, I’m willing to try almost anything, so in the juicer it all went.  Eww is all I have to say.  I tried really hard to like it – even added some ice cubes wondering if it would be better cold.  It wasn’t.  I very much want to like beets.  I don’t.  They taste like dirt, so if you have a good beet recipe that doesn’t taste like ground up Earth, send it on.  I’ll try it.  Won’t promise I’ll like it, but I’ll try it!

bad juice ingredients….

After that failure, I had to make a juice that was good.  So I made another apple and carrot juice, but with kale instead of spinach this time.  I know, shaking it up a bit!  This ended up being my dinner.  I know, 4th dinner this week I missed.  I swear, I just run out of time.  I spend so much time doing things I need to do, that I sometimes neglect myself.  What’s sad, is I even soaked my chickpeas, intending to cook them up in the slow cooker, and either make a salad, some falafel, or anything yummy for me.  I didn’t.  It’s 915pm, and they just finished cooking.  Oh well, I’ll use them tomorrow.

good juice ingredients!

yummy juice.  Slightly reddish from the beet leftovers in the juicer

FITNESS

Today I had a great run.  It took me forever to get out there, but it was wonderful.  I wanted to go around 11, but due to iPod issues, I went just before 430. 

I finished my audio book on my iPod when I was in NC earlier this week.  And you all know….I like to run to a book!  I knew which ones I wanted (The Mallorean series – which follows the Belgariad, which I just finished).  D started getting them for me, but it takes awhile to get them converted to the right format and put into iTunes.  There were many issues and corruptions and weird file names, so it took him most of the day to get it done.  It was cute though, because he spent ALL afternoon working on it.

It was a blessing in disguise though, because the battery on my Garmin was drained, and it gave me a chance to charge it up.

It was cold as snot out (to me), and I wore two pairs of pants, two shirts, a jacket, gloves, and a head band.  I warmed up enough after the first 5 minutes or so, and probably could have done without the jacket, but it wasn’t too bad.

I went 4 miles in a loop around my neighborhood, and really enjoyed being outside for a while.

LIFE

Well it’s been a busy one, that’s for sure!  Thursday and Friday were both really long days at work and home.  I had a lot of catching up to do after spending 2 days either in NC or traveling to and from there.  Friday was a tense sort of day, and I was sad to miss my Tri club’s group swim.  I just couldn’t get there in time, and I know I could have used the workout.  Instead, I went to my friend’s house for a couple of beers after dropping M off at the ice skating rink with a bunch of his friends.  He had a ride home with one of them, so I could chill for a few hours with S.

Saturday was also really busy.  I had the last day of my knitting 101 class, which was a lot of fun.  I started a new project from the class pamphlet.  It’s a hat!  It’s a simple pattern, and D wants me to make it for him.  Yeah!

I went grocery shopping and then to Target.  I wasn’t home long before it was time to take off again on more adventures.

A has a photography project (she’s in a special art high school), and the subject is Open Spaces and Desolate Places.  Of course, I was telling her that I drove through a ton of that earlier in the week, and I could take her for some pictures if she wanted.  We decided that a correctional facility in Elizabeth City would be the destination!  So after dropping M off at a friend’s house for an over night birthday party, we stopped at a 7-11 for road trip food (chips and water), and headed down.  The goal was to get there as the light was fading.  It was absolutely hilarious.  We turned into the prison compound and starting freaking out a little bit.  A hadn’t realized that I didn’t actually CALL the prison to ask permission to come, so we kept thinking we’d get in trouble.  We stopped at one point so she could get some shots, and then decided to brave going closer.  We got pretty close to the fence with the layers of crazy barbed wire, and she got out of the van to take more shots.  Apparently she got a bit TOO close, because a prison guard started screaming that we had to leave.  At first I thought maybe she was waving, and almost waved back like a doofus, but we scampered out of there pretty quickly!

Not to far down the road, we saw what looked like an abandoned section of farm.  There was a lot of rusted old but big farm equipment, dilapidated trailers, and it looked like something out of a horror movie.  She took a ton of shots there, and we decided we’d had enough!  After getting home, we loaded up her pictures, and they were simply amazing.  She has quite a gift, and D announced (quite appropriately so), that he thought they are the best pictures she’s ever done.  She’s planning on entering her favorite 3 to a local gallery that’s currently calling for amateur photographs to put on display.  Here’s hoping! 

Of course I’m not going to post any of her pictures, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get one or two myself!  So here’s a prison shot.  I’m no where near as good as my daughter is, but I couldn’t very well NOT take one!

We got home around 8ish, and D made pizza for them for dinner.  We intended to rent a movie (The Social Network), but you can’t rent it online from Blockbuster or Netflix for live streaming yet.  We settled for starting to catch up on old episodes of 24 on Netflix.  We only ever watched the first season, and even though we loved it, we never stuck with it.

Today I did a lot of work, some cooking, and went to the library.

So now I need to tell you about my most recent microwave drama.  We FINALLY had plans to have our old microwave ripped out and a new one put in.  He was supposed to be at our house at 4pm on Friday.  He never showed.  He called at 9am Saturday to tell us he’d be out no later than noon (hence why I did ALL of the errand running yesterday…so D could direct the appliance guy).  He never showed and wouldn’t answer any of my husband’s calls or messages.  He finally calls back to say he was at another job longer than he’d thought, and he’d be by around 4ish.  4 comes and goes, and nothing!  Sometime that evening, he calls to say sorry, can’t do Saturday, how about Sunday?  We’re fine with that, and he promises to call at 9am.  Guess what?  No stinking appliance guy.  D tried calling multiple times with no luck and no returned calls.  Jerk.  I was SO excited to have a working microwave.  Guess who’s going to get a new appliance guy next week????

Hopefully this week will be a bit more evened out.  I have off Friday, and a friend of mine and I are heading out of town on Thursday evening for a couple days of shopping and exploring in Richmond.  So now it’s a count down to a 3 day weekend!!

Darla Has a Twisted Sense of Humor

FOOD

It was nice having the day off with the kids yesterday, which meant time for cooking!  Crock pots and cookies, oh my! 

Breakfast was pancakes (which will always be R’s default breakfast request).  She doesn’t like to eat foods she’s unfamiliar with.  I sometimes wish she would be more adventurous, but then I remember that it is this reluctance to try new food that has probably saved her life.  With her nut allergy being so severe, if she was more open to “lunch swapping” at school or eating random things when not at home under my watchful eye, I shudder to think what could have happened.

Lunch was leftover butternut squash soup with some spicy black eyed peas added to it to make it more robust and filling.  It worked, and it was a fun flavor combination with the natural sweetness of the soup with the squash, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and the siracha-spiced garlicky black eyed peas.  I’ll have to do that again.

For dinner, I made a crock pot deconstructed cabbage roll dish.  I loved cabbage rolls when I was a kid.  My mom didn’t make them ever, but I remember having them at buffets and maybe even hot lunch at school.  So I decided to make my own version.  However, I’m inherently lazy, so the idea of steaming a head of cabbage just to have leaves that are easy to roll is not a thrilling concept.  Instead, I threw all the ingredients into a crock pot and cooked it on low for 7 hours.  I chopped up an entire green cabbage, 12 ounces of chopped up tempeh, a diced onion, a can of diced tomatoes with their juices, minced garlic, 2 cups of cooked barley, dill weed, apple cider vinegar, and a bit of sugar.  This is based on a recipe for the Vegetarian Slow Cooker book that I love so much.  And it was fabulous!

Before turning the crock pot on

DINNER!!!  Very tasty, and very filling

Between all this, I ate a piece of the blueberry cake-ish thing I made the other day, and also made a batch of cookies from the vegan cookie book my parents got me for Christmas.  There’s a chapter in the book on cookies that mimic and veganize mass produced cookies.  I made the recipe for Vanilla Wafers, and it was a HUGE hit.  The entire family loved them.  They’re crispy and chewy at the same time, and have a great flavor.  So between those, the blueberry cake thingy, and a batch of brownies D made on Sunday, my kitchen is overflowing with desserts!  I guess there are worse things….

Blueberry fun.  It’s a bit gooey, but tastes like a coffee shop muffin.

The cookies before they hit the oven.  One thing I’ve noticed with this cookbook, is all the cookies are cooked on parchment paper.  Certainly makes clean up easier!

My very own awesome vanilla wafers!

This morning was a very busy morning, so I ended up eating a Clif bar after we dropped R off at at school.  Lunch was some popcorn while on the road.  Dinner was a mish mash of things I picked up at the grocery here in Morehead (business trip).  I grabbed a microwaveable Healthy Choice soup (that I haven’t actually eaten…but it’s there if I get hungry!) and a vegan sushi wrap (that I DID eat because I love those) with avocado, cucumber, lettuce, and carrot in a rice paper wrap.

even has a cute little plate!

I have to say I was a bit disappointed.  I went to the hotel website last night to see if the rooms came with a refrigerator and microwave.  I really wanted to pack some of the leftovers of my cabbage stuff to make sure I’d have good food.  The hotel room description did not mention anything, so I didn’t pack anything.  I was saddened a bit to find that my room has both!  Alas…at least I have a place to put my breakfast fruit and water bottles for tomorrow.

FITNESS

I am whole again!  I have a training calendar taped to my fridge for me to check off my workouts!  I spent a portion of Monday reading about Triathlon training, and came up with the attached 11 week training plan to get me through Smithfield.  Woo hoo!  It’s not just a nebulous goal now.  I now have direction on how to get there.

Smithfield Triathlon Training Schedule!

After dropping R off at school and picking up my rental car, I went to the Y to do a swim workout before hitting the road.  I do have to say that I am absolutely loving the swimming – more than anything else (even the running).  It’s funny because I can’t listen to my audio books or anything else, but I feel such peace in the water.  I’ve missed that, and am regretful that I didn’t keep up with swimming after I got out of the Navy.  Alas, at least it’s a passion rediscovered, right?

For the last week and a half, I’ve had swim workouts printed out and in a baggie to keep at the edge of the pool to keep me on track with my workout.  I was mortified today to find it missing from my swim bag this morning.  I had to wing it, and ended up doing 900 yds, and I’m pretty sure I was close to my intended workout.  I did 200 yds of warm ups, 150 yds pull, 150 yds kick board, 3 x 50 yds of sprints, another 150 yds of pull, and 100 yds of a cool down.  It’s my longest swim yet, and it felt great.  It’s weird, though, to not be all sweaty and nasty after.  Almost feels like I’m cheating!  I sat in the hot tub for a few before jumping in the shower. 

LIFE

Most of Monday was spent cooking and puttering about the house.  I cleaned the floors, did the dishes, some laundry, some research, got some work done, and basically stayed in my jammies!  The kids played a lot, ran around, and drove me crazy.  All told, a good Monday.

I spent a few minutes packing an overnight bag before bed on to get ready for a brief work trip.  I also packed my swim bag, so all I had to do was get up, get the family ready to go, and head out.  D and I took R to school together, and then he took me to the car rental place (work pays for a car for this – can’t fly to where I’m going and get there any faster, so I have the option of taking my own car or letting them spring for one.  Seems a no brainer to me!). 

Today was spent traveling to Morehead City, NC.  I have meetings down here all day on Wednesday, so I took the drive down after my swim this morning. 

Darla said it would take 5 hours to get here.  If she had her way, it would have taken twice that!  For my newer readers….Darla is my GPS unit.  I finally got one about a year ago when I got lost getting to a rental house in Nags Head for a girls weekend.  S was yelling at me for not having one, and actually bought me one that was on sale at BJ’s wholesale club.  Anyway, the first time I used her (she has a female voice), she was telling me to get over to the right to prepare to turn right.  She kept repeating herself because I wasn’t getting over (traffic was brutal), and I blurted out “Shut Up Darla!”.  So she’s been Darla ever since.  I take her with me when I travel, and everyone calls her Darla.  Even my Dad when we were in Chicago…it was hilarious to hear him say “sush…stop talking, I’m trying to hear what Darla’s saying”.

Anyway, Darla has a sick sense of humor.  She always gets me to where I need to be, but she often takes me in the most round about ways possible.  Today was no exception.  Most of the drive I was on Hwy 17.  Each time there was a Hwy 17 Business Route in every little side town I was in, she made me get off the highway, then gave me conflicting directions until I was lost (always in the least happy parts of the town I was driving through), and she basically made me crazy.  I finally caught on to her game after the third time she did it to me.  Eventually after I ignored her enough, she’d get with the program.  It ended up taking me 4 hours to get here instead of 5, so that was a bonus.  And just goes to show again how much she likes to torment me.

About the drive, I do have to say it was very sad.  There isn’t an interstate that connects the Chesapeake/Norfolk/Virginia Beach area of VA where I live and Morehead City.  I had to take local roads and highways all the way down, and it took me through some very dreary places.  Most of what I drove through seemed to me to be the poorest areas I have ever seen, and it made my heart break.  It probably didn’t help that the sky was gray and threatening rain the entire time. 

However, I do have to say that Morehead City is kind of pretty.  My hotel is nice and sits on the water, and while it’s a lot of strip malls where I am, it doesn’t seem even remotely as rural as what I drove through all day.  Just down the street is the UNC Marine Sciences center, and I bet that in the summer, the beaches here are hopping.  I hope that if I need to come down here again (which I’m pretty positive I will), that it will be in nicer weather!

My view.  See what I mean about a dreary day?  Imagine what it would look like on a warm and sunny day?

So here I am, in my hotel room, and what I should be doing is getting ready for my meetings tomorrow.  So that’s what I’m going to do!  Good night!

Last Week You Won the Battle, But This Week, I Won the War. Homemade Pasta…YOU ARE MINE!!!

FOOD

Not a lot of excitement on the food front for the most part.  I’m feeling less than inspired due to the lack of microwave-ness still.  I usually make big batches of awesome food, and then eat them throughout the week so I know I always have a healthy and balanced vegan meal, especially with life being so hectic lately.  Without the microwave though, it’s not so easy to do.  Not everything heats well in a pan on the stove top, and it take a half hour to “reheat” something in the convection oven.  So right now, I’m pouting a bit about food.  Harrumph.

Breakfast Saturday was a cup of plain espresso, a single toasted slice of Ezekiel bread topped with 1/2 tbsp of sunflower seed butter and sliced banana.  I know.  3 days running now, but it’s good and filling and I get great energy from it.

I was out and about at lunch, so I had a veggie delight on whole wheat sub from Subway.  Dinner was cool though – D was in the mood for Indian food, so he went and picked up take out for us.  I had vegetable samosa and a vegetable curry dish in coconut sauce.  It was very tasty, and of course that means I didn’t have to cook!

Breakfast on Sunday was coffee and leftover Indian food.  I reheated it in the convection for 30 minutes, covered with tin foil.  It came out well, so I can’t complain too much.  Though if I had a microwave, it would have been done in about 2 minutes!

Lunch/dinner was a salad I made at the salad bar at Farm Fresh.  Romaine lettuce, red onion, cauliflower, chickpeas, and sunflower seeds, and tomatoes.  Since I didn’t eat breakfast until 1130, and ate my salad at 5, it was a blended meal.  I didn’t eat anything else, though I did have a glass of Italian white wine.

For dinner…I FINALLY successfully made homemade pasta!  The pasta itself was lemon oregano – and actually pretty simple to make.  I think the key was using Semolina flour (which I picked up earlier this week at the grocery), and not trying to use regular white flour.  The dough recipe was simple and was just the flour, lemon juice, egg replacement, oregano, and a very small bit of water.  I started it in the kitchen aid, but then finished it by hand kneading.  It worked out pretty well!  I used the roller attachments on my Kitchen Aid to knead and flatten the dough, and then the spaghetti cutter to cut it.  It didn’t completely cut though – more like perforated it and I had to pull each strand apart.  That was a pain, so I’ll have to figure that one out going forward.  I will say though, that my Italian husband LOVED the pasta, and said it was so very much better than anything we buy in a box from the store.  So yeah!  I melted some margarine in a pot, stirred in the pasta, and added a ton of garlic and Italian season (from the spice house kit from my dad).  I didn’t eat any because I used non-vegan margarine.  I would have set some aside for me, but there wasn’t enough to go around, and since I had the big salad, I gave the pasta to D and the kids. 

the dough as it was resting on the counter

rolled out in small batches

after going through the cutter attachment (disregard the mess!)

awesome cooked fresh pasta!

FITNESS

R has swim lessons on Saturday’s at 1030.  I thought it would be perfect!  Take her to lessons, and while she’s doing that, I an be in the lane next to her doing my swim workout.  So I typed up the swim workout we did in Tri club Friday (see picture on yesterday’s blog), printed it, and put it in my baggie for pool side reference.  This distance is more than twice what I had been doing all week, but I obviously knew I could do it from Friday’s club.

So off we went to the Y.  She swam with her group, and I did my workout.  At one point, I got to talking to the two women in the lane next to me – and it turns out they’re both in the Tri club too, just with the morning group.  It was really neat to talk to them (both Tri veterans), and we spent about 10 minutes chatting about it and them answering many of my questions. 

While the conversation was very nice (I’m very new to the social aspect of working out), I wasn’t getting my workout finished, and R’s lesson was coming to an end.  So…I had 8 lengths left for my workout, and my little fishy grabbed her swim fins and swam next to me the entire time.  So I really have to say I loved the workout.  I pushed myself harder than I thought I could go, I focused a LOT on my form and did the bilateral breathing, I got to meet and talk to women who are in the same club I am and get some advice and camaraderie, and I got to workout some with my youngest daughter.  All in all, great time.  Of course, R and I hit the hot tub for 10 minutes before getting in the shower.  As we walked from the swim lanes to the hot tub, I saw my friend H in the “play” pool with her littlest son (about a year and a half now), and another girl I used to work with with her littlest son (about the same age) and husband.  It was a nice Saturday at the Y.

I contemplated also going for a run – I really need and want to – but life sort of got in the way, and I decided to be content with a hard swim workout.

Today was a 2 hr Detox Yoga workshop in Virginia Beach.  I’m not sure what “detox” it was doing, but it was one heck of a workout!  My hips and hamstrings have been really tight from all the swimming, and the first 15-20 minutes of yoga were really tough as those stretched out.  We did a lot of compression poses, twists, and core work, and while I normally do hot yoga, this wasn’t even heated and I think I sweat more than I normally do.  I’m really glad I did this though, and I left feeling at once energized, but also totally chilled out and relaxed.  That’s a fun combination that I highly recommend!

On the way home, D asked me to stop at the grocery and pick up more chocolate chips so he could make cookies again (did I mention his strange cookie making adventures at 9pm last Thursday….where he actually used my Kitchen Aid independently of any help from me???).  He ended up making brownies instead, but I think his new found Betty Crockerness is really adorable.

LIFE

Insomnia reared it’s ugly head again Friday night.  I slept like poo and was up by 5am with no hope of falling back asleep.  I had some coffee and read for a while, and decided to go to the earliest weight watcher’s meeting, which was at 830am.  D woke up just before I left, so that was nice. 

I’m 2 more lbs down, and reached my first goal of 5%.  Woo hoo!  I do have to say that this program isn’t even remotely difficult, but for me, I like the accountability piece of weighing in and being officially tracked.  It’s not easy to fool yourself about what you’re eating when it’s starting you in the face like that!  I’m sure all the workouts have helped too.  I’m in a good groove, and am very happy about it!

I got home by 930, and seriously thought for 15 seconds of skipping my swim and just watching R, but I knew I’d just feel better if I did it.  And I did, and I’m glad.

After we were all showered up and dressed (R even used the hair dryer by herself for the first time), we went to the library.  I had an audio book to return that I needed to discuss with the librarians (last CD was missing and two of the CD’s had big holes in them that prevented the ability to actually listen).  They were very nice about it.  R and I then spent some time in the Children’s section so she could get some chapter books.  She picked out 4 Magic Treehouse books and 1 Captian Underpants book.  I used the card catalog to see if they had any Triathlon books, but they didn’t.  I did get an audio book series – The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub.  I read it about 15 years ago and just loved it.  It had easily become my favorite book, but of course there’s little now that I remember about it.  I also have a 10 hr drive coming up Tuesday and Wednesday (5 hrs each way), and a good audio book is the only way I’ll survive that!

After the library, we stopped at Subway and then the store to pick up some pants for R.  She has really long legs, even though she’s fairly short (like me – the short part, not the long legs part…she gets that from D, who’s tall).  But she’s also really skinny, so it’s tough finding pants for her that fit the length of her legs, but still stay put around her waist.  We managed to find some, and after grabbing those and a couple other things we needed, we headed home.

I’m still not feeling too well, and my sinuses and throat haven’t stopped hurting.  Ears a little too, but not nearly as bad as it was.  I decided around 2pm to take a nap.  My husaband was very excited because I never take naps (he’s a big fan of them).  I kinda stink at sleeping, and when I nap, the insomnia at night is even worse.  Alas, I really was exhausted having been up since 5 and sleeping like crap all night, and with not feeling well, I figured a nap was a good idea.  So I napped until 4.  This is the biggest reason I didn’t go for a run – I slept through too much of my afternoon!  Not long after I woke up (D had fallen asleep on the couch!), he went to the grocery and then to the Indian place for take out.

I spent much of the evening after dinner lying in bed and reading my Kindle.  D watched old Dr. Who episodes with the kids, and I enjoyed some quiet time with a good book, a box of kleenex, and cough drops.  By the way…the kleenex was for sinus overload, not because I was reading a sappy book!

I fell asleep around 1030, and I slept great.  I woke close to 9am to my dog making annoyed noises downstairs because she hadn’t yet been fed.  D got up to take care of her and to start a pot of java, and I grabbed my kindle and finished the book I was reading, Black Wings.  I really enjoyed the book, and now D’s reading it. 

When I wasn’t at yoga today, I was either cleaning or working.  After dinner we all watched the series premier of The Cape, which is about a superhero and some super villians.  It was fun, and I think we all liked it.

I have off tomorrow (MLK day, and the kids have off).  I swear, I really do want to get a run in.  I just want to do it before mid afternoon because I have cycling tomorrow at 720pm.  So hopefully I’ll get to sleep in just a bit, and then have a fun day with the kids!  And who knows…maybe I’ll make more pasta!

I Can’t Remember What MY Shower Looks Like

FOOD
When I decide I like something, I swear, I have to eat it for a couple days.  Thursday’s breakfast was the same as Wednesday.  A cup-ish of coffee, and the sunflower butter with banana on spelt cakes.  It’s really filling and tasty – as long as you don’t want something hot. 
For lunch I wasn’t quite so good.  I had a baked potato with some Tofutti “Better Than Sour Cream” and some of the blueberry crumble thing I made the other day (which is awesome, by the way).  I took the recipe for the blueberry cake from The Joy of Vegan Baking, but used a can of blueberry pie filling instead of fresh or frozen blueberries.  I know that decreased it’s health quotient, but it was still fabulous.
I really didn’t eat dinner.  I started to make it, but didn’t actually finish in time to eat at a reasonable hour.  I blame my constantly cooking more than one meal to satisfy my family.  Ugh.  I actually made a roasted butternut squash soup, but didn’t actually eat it.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium butternut squash – cut in half and seeded
5 ish cloves of garlic
1 onion – peeled and cut into quarters
3 carrots – peeled and cut into big chunks
4 cups veggie broth – I used 4 cups of water and 4 tsp of veggie bullion
1/2 cup plain soy milk
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
I put the butternut squash face down in a casserole dish.  I added the garlic, onion, and carrot, and 2 cups of veggie broth.  Roast for 2 hrs at 350.
After it comes out and cools a bit, I put the veggies and the rest of the ingredients into my Vitamix (though any blender will probably do), and blended until creamy.  Put into a sauce pan and simmer for 15 minutes to marry the spices.
The veggies after roasting

Friday morning breakfast was a twist on the past two days.  I toasted two slices of the Ezekiel bread (I only like it toasted – it’s a VERY dense bread).  I put 1 tbsp of sunflower seed butter (yes…I measured) on one slice, sliced up half a banana (ate the other half), and made a breakfast sandwich!



The finished meal



Lunch was a smoothie with mango, banana, strawberries, and orange, and a half a sandwich on whole grain bread with hummus, roasted bell peppers, vegan pesto, onion, sliced tomato,and spinach.  I didn’t take a picture…sorry.  By the time I thought of it, it was gone.

For dinner, I finally ate the soup I made on Thursday!  I boiled up 2 ounces of Quinoa pasta to add some fiber and to make it more substantial.  It was good, though it needed a bit more salt in the end.

FITNESS

It came!!  My official USA Triathlon membership card came in the mail last night!  So what did I do first thing this morning???  I signed up for my first Triathlon.  The Smithfield Triathlon on April 2nd will be my first foray into the multi-sport world.  I originally wasn’t going to do this one.  It seems to be so soon!  I was planning on doing the Breezy Point Triathlon in June as my first.  However, when I was running on Wednesday with J, he said that Smithfield is the perfect first timers Tri because the swim isn’t open water…it’s in a pool.  Since I’m not sure when we’ll swim in the bay, I liked the idea (since open water swimming still freaks me out some).  So there it is.  10 weeks.  Holy.  Poo.

D asked me if I was nervous now that I am committed (even more than I was committed before…because now I have a date to circle on my calendar).  I will admit that I am.  I’m not as worried about the actual sports.  This is a Sprint Tri.  The lengths of the events aren’t bad.  300 m swim.  Already doing that and more.  Not fast yet…but I can do it no problem.  The bike is a 10 miles.  I can knock that out.  I need to cycle some outside of the spin classes when the weather warms up, but 10 miles won’t kill me.  Then it’s a 5K.  I KNOW I can do that!  So what’s making me nervous???  I have NO clue how to transition from one event to the next.  The swim is first…so does that mean I have to bike and run in a bathing suit?  Where do I find my bike?  Is there a changing area and a locker room?  Do they have suits that are appropriate for all 3 events so I don’t have to change clothes?  Sorry – I need a pretty industrial-strength running bra, and the thought of running in wet clothes is just nasty.  So there.  That’s what has me the most nervous.  Secondary to that?  I have this vision that everyone else will be an elite athlete, and here I am….a slightly chubby late 30’s mom who will look like an idiot out there.  I’m slowly getting over that, but it’s still in the back of my mind.  I’m hoping that training over the next 10 weeks will help with some of these fears.
Aside from my total excitement/fear of committing to my first race, I have to day…everything hurts. My shoulders, my hips, and my hamstrings are killing me. Who the heck knew that swimming – a non-weight bearing and no impact exercise – could kick your tush the way it does?!?! It wasn’t from the run on Wednesday because running 3 miles doesn’t hurt me anymore. It wasn’t from the cycling on Monday, because other than my butt, nothing else hurt. It HAS to be from the swimming (I’ve done 3 swims between Sun-Wed), but holy cow….who knew??? I mean really…I’m swimming for what…12 minutes. Maybe?
Oh well.  That’s what I did today!  Today was the Tri club’s swim, so I was on time (just before 630), and swam like crazy over the next 45 minutes (30 of which were pretty much actively spend swimming…I’m gonna hurt tomorrow!).  W put us through quite the workout, and in addition to the workout pictured below, he threw in 100 yds of kick board swimming just for fun.  Sadist.  A couple of the members of our group are also swim instructors.  One was giving us pointers today on our form.  I don’t look straight down when I swim, which means I’m swimming at an angle in the water (instead of like a plank) and am inefficient.  My kicks don’t flutter enough, so I’m inefficient in the way that my legs drag in the water.  And I have to learn to breath bilaterally – which means stroke 3, breath on the left, stroke 3, breath on the right.  I have only ever breathed on my left before, so practicing on my right meant several gulps of water.  I will say though, that the more I focused on form, the less I noticed the exhaustion.  I suppose that’s a plus. 

All told, I spent about 30 minutes swimming (I didn’t always remember to start my watch, so it’s just an estimate).  I sat in the hot tub for 10 minutes trying to relax my crazy-sore muscles.  Tomorrow, I plan to repeat this workout.  R has swim lessons at 1030, which is a half hour.  If I do this workout while she’s in lessons, we’ll both finish at the same time!  Then we can goof off and chill in the hot tub a bit.



I’m in C.  W/u is warm up. RI is Rest Interval. Pull means no kicking – just arms.  Fast means sprint.  Ha.  C/D is cool down.  Plus he added 100 yds of kick board. 850 yds.  Crazy!
I just need to mention one more thing.  I haven’t used the shower at my house in over a week!  I have spent more time at the gym, that ALL of my showers in the past week have been there.  I’m not sure if I should be proud of that…or worried.



LIFE
Thursday was another 7am meeting day.  I hate those.  Just putting that out there.  It was a good meeting though, and no major issues or blow ups incurred.  Most of the day was spent in meetings, but none were bad.  Can’t complain, and much got done.
R still wasn’t quite 100%, so she skipped gymnastics.  I thought about going for a run, but since Thursday is supposed to be my rest day, I decided that I liked the idea of rest more than I liked the idea of running in the cold.  I’m a wuss, I know.  I grew up in WI, but the thought of cold just makes me cringe.  Several years ago D, the kids, and I went home for Christmas.  We drove, spent several days in WI, then went to IA to visit D’s family.  I was in the garage helping load up the van after visiting with my family and just as we were getting ready for the 3 hr drive to D’s family.  Apparently I was making quite an ugly face while standing outside.  My Dad looks at me, points, and says “you made that face you’re entire childhood.  You were never meant for cold weather.”  Ain’t that the honest truth.  I HATE cold….
Today I was planning on running before work, but I started working instead (in my home office) and ran out of time to run, shower, and get to where I needed to be on time.  Bad me.
My morning meeting was pretty good.  We’re deciding on whether to go forward with a feasibility study on migrating nuclear cardiac images to permanent storage.  More than you wanted to know, but there it is.
The rest of the day was pretty calm, and ended with a meeting on hardware for one of our newest hospitals.  I have some work to do there.
Life has been pretty good.  Can’t complain.  I guess I could if I tried real hard, but no sense in that.  I have a couple trips coming up in the next month, and D has one too.  At the end of the month, I’m taking a trip to Richmond with my friend A.  Her husband is from there, and she lived there for a few years too.  I’ve only been there to shop at Whole Foods, and REI, and once last summer to go to the Richmond Vegetarian Festival.  She’s going to show me “real Richmond”, and I anticipate some fun stories and pictures to share.  Next week I’m going to Morehead City, NC for a work trip.  Just an overnighter, but it’ll be 5 hr drive each way.  I need to get to the library and rent some audio books!  In early Feb, D is going to San Francisco to visit his brother for several days (for his bday), and a couple days after he gets back, I’m going to Nag’s Head, NC for a girls weekend to celebrate S’s bday.  So lots of fun coming!
For now, I promised D I’d watch a movie with him before going to bed, so off we go.  I have an early day tomorrow, and need to rest before doing that bloody swim.  Again.

Smells In The Night

FOOD

Today was a fabulous food day.  Maybe it was because I was up at an unholy hour.  Maybe it was because I got to have Turkish food for lunch.  Maybe…it was because I planned fairly well today and didn’t crave bad stuff.  Either way, happy!

I have to take a second to talk about coffee.  In the mornings, I typically have one cup of black coffee.  I have noticed lately though, that I can only get through about 2/3 of my cup before it’s cold and gross.  So I’m not actually drinking a full cup of coffee, and for some strange reason, I feel like I’m somehow being cheated.  It may be because my really nice and expensive coffee pot blew up (literally), and we replaced it was a $15 Kmart pot, and I’m wondering if it just doesn’t make the coffee as hot.  I know I could use a Tervis to keep it warm, but that would mean 12 oz of coffee instead of 8, and as lame as it sounds, I don’t want that much.  And before you say anything, pouring a partial cup is weird.  We all have our quirks.  I have several, and this is one of them.  Maybe I now need to find and buy an 8oz Tervis cup, and life will right itself again.  Hmmm….it would be cheaper than a new coffee pot!

Anyway.  Breakfast was two Suzie’s Spelt Puffed Cakes with a 1/2 tablespoon of sunflower seed butter on each, and a sliced banana on top.  Very yummy and very filling.  And of course let’s not forget my 2/3 cup of coffee.

Sometime between eating that at 6 and before lunch at 1230, I noshed on an apple and had some hot tea.  Lots of water too, but that’s totally normal for me.  I drink nearly a gallon a day, so no one can say I’m not hydrated!

Lunch was absolutely the highlight of my day.  I had lunch at Pasha’s with a good friend of mine, and aside from lovely company, I had awesome food too!  I had the Anatolian Red Lentil Soup (SO much better than my attempt a few weeks ago.  Mine was good, but this was great!), and an Ancient Grains salad of bulgar wheat, spices, and lettuce.  All of it was wonderful and filling and made me exceptionally happy!

Dinner wasn’t bad, but wasn’t very inspired either.  Since I had my Tri club tonight, I needed to eat before hand, and my meals of wheat thins and hummus just aren’t doing the job.  I toasted two slices of my Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, a very small amount of vegan mayo, a slice of vegan mozz cheese, and some yellow mustard.  It sounds like a lame cheese sandwich, and in my hippie way, it is, but it’s high in protein, whole grain carbs, and very low in fat.  It’s a good meal…disguised as a bad one!

Post workout was a banana and a glass of red wine.  It’s all good.  Wine is made from grapes, that’s a fruit, and it’s loaded with antioxidants!  Our coach lectured us tonight about using this training time to really clean up our diets and using food to fuel our training (and to recover appropriately), so don’t go drinking 6 beers after a workout.  He said NOTHING about wine though, so I’m good.

FITNESS

It’s Wednesday, so that meant Tri club running night.  We did a timed 5K, and I did a great job at bringing up the back of the pack!  It was a good run, though I’ll be glad to learn the route.  I was following the blinking tail lights on a fellow club member the whole way so I wouldn’t get lost.  It’s not complicated, but it was an area I’m not familiar with.  That’s good though.  We all know how much I get sick of my surroundings easily.  I had a nice chat with a fellow club member that I ran the last mile or so with, and that was really nice.

I’ve noticed several times in the past year how smells really linger in the cold air of winter.  I’ll run past a house and have a general idea of what they’re cooking for dinner (steaks and burgers have a very different smell than lasagna!).  One bad thing, is that cigarette smoke smells linger longer too.  A car will drive by that has someone smoking in it, and I can smell it for a good 20-30 feet.  Same if I pass by a house where someone had been smoking outside.  Car exhaust is more noticable too, but so are any hints of flowery smells.  It’s weird because I don’t notice that in the summer.  I’m sure there’s a totally scientific explanation for it, but winter smells more distinct.  Summer just smells hot.

After the run, we stretched out as a group and our coach went over a few things with us about what to expect in the weeks ahead.  I saw a co-worker of mine I haven’t seen in a LONG time while I was there (not part of the club, just walking by), and I’m sure I looked awesome with my beat red face.  I’m surprised he even recognized me.

After the run, I went and did a swim.  I did the same 400 yd swim I did on Sunday and Monday.  This time though, I felt smart!  Have you ever tried to put on a fitness swim suit when you already have a wet and sweaty body?  Not that you want the visual, but it took me a LONG time to get that sucker on after cycling on Monday.  Today though, I wasn’t going to have that happen.  So I wore my suit UNDER my running clothes!  That way, I only had to peel off my outer layers and sports bra.  I felt rather ingenious actually. 

The swim was good, and there was only one other person in my swim lane.  We chatted a bunch, and he was picking on me with my printed out workout in my baggie at the edge of the pool.  It was in good fun though, and he was a good swim buddy.  At night, only one lane is open for lap swimming because the Hurricane’s swim team uses the others.  It’s good though – those kids are amazing! 

 I skipped the hot tub and went straight to the showers and came home.  I was gone a total of 2 hrs, got in 2 workouts, so I felt pretty darned good.

LIFE

Today was a long day, but I can’t really complain too much.  I had a 7am meeting (oy, doctors.  They either meet obscenely early or obscenely late – I suppose, they have to be in clinic or surgery during normal hours, but still…it stinks), so I woke up at 520.  I felt pretty well prepared though, because I straightened my hair before bed and set aside my clothes, so all I really had to do was roll out of bed, wash my face, brush my teeth, get dressed, and go.  I didn’t feel rushed at all, and left at 630am.

After my first meeting, I went to my office where I got quite a bit done before my 10am meeting.  That also went really well, and after wrapping a few things up, I headed to meet my friend C for lunch.

C and I caught up about the holidays, work, and life in general, and then it was back to work.  I had two more meetings after lunch, stopped at the store for semolina flour (I will conquer this homemade pasta thing if it kills me), and then went home.

D had spent the day home with R, so we hung out, went through today’s paper (now that I get a paper delivered on Wed and Sun), talked about our day (he has a lot going on at work and spent most of today working at home), and had a nice evening before heading to the gym.

In the paper, I found the Deal of the Day was a pizza coupon for a local place – buy one, get one.  I had told D that since HE was staying home while I went to work, he had to do dishes, laundry, and figure out dinner.  Of course he didn’t really do any of that, so even though I reminded him at lunch, I gave him the “out” of ordering pizza because we had a coupon, and my committement to frugal-ness is still going strong!!

Tomorrow we will see how R is doing before deciding if she should go to school.  She’s acting pretty well and hasn’t had a fever since early this morning, but she’s still super snuffly, so we’ll see.  In the mean time, I’m going to bed myself!  I’m feeling pretty good about myself today (lots done, clean eating, two workouts…what’s not to be proud of?), so I may as well end it on a high note!

Last Night I Couldn’t Feel My Butt. Today, I Just WISH I Couldn’t

FOOD

Monday morning was a bit crazy, so breakfast was coffee and the Thai inspired rice stuff.  Cold, because I still don’t have a functional microwave, and I was hungry and in a hurry.  Lunch was a veggie burger.  It’s an easy standby meal when I have nothing else to eat quickly.  Dinner, I am sad to say, was wheat thins and hummus.  I know, not an inspired eating day, but what can I say.  It was a Monday in every sense of the word.

Tuesday was a bit better at least.  I read a post from JL Goes Vegan about a yummy breakfast casserole.  I mostly followed the recipe, but due to what I had in the house, I made some variations.  I used a potato instead of bell pepper (can’t believe I don’t have any peppers in the house), soy milk instead of almond (nut free house), and about 5 small cloves of garlic.  Otherwise, I followed it, and it was absolutely wonderful.  It was filling, tasty, and a nice change of pace from my usual breakfasts.

The rest of the day, though, wasn’t so hot for me.  I had some crackers and hummus again, and a banana, and a slice of french bread.  Nothing balanced at all beyond breakfast, and believe me, my body is rebelling.  It’s angry and wants something balanced and healthy.  I think before I go to bed, I’m going to make a green smoothie.

I did make a fresh loaf of french bread to serve with dinner, and a blueberry crumble cake, which just came out of the oven!

FITNESS

Yesterday was the Y-Tri club spin class at 720.  We spent the first 10 minutes getting our bikes set up and warming up while our coach walked around to verify our settings.  I actually had to move my seat up a notch.  That’s amazing to me because I am of the short version, and I usually have to lower everything! 

Once our warm up was done, we were led through an hour of drills.  The big difference in our class vs. a regular spin class is the lack of hopping up and down in the saddle.  Spin classes are meant to be a kick butt cardio workout.  Our class is meant to mimic outdoor training, so we did some hill climbs, downhills, and varying degrees of tension.  It was also a chance to practice different hand settings, and for much of it we were in the position of we would be in a race with aero bars.  I have to say, that was very challenging for me because it felt so unnatural. 

After that hour ride was over, I got off the bike and realized that my butt was totally numb.  I made mention of that, and W (my coach), just started laughing.

I decided that morning that I was going to swim also (since really…it’s only an additional 11 minutes!).  I did the same swim workout that I did on Sunday.  I wasn’t assaulted this time, so it was a good one!  I forgot to push start on my watch, so I’m not sure exactly how long I went, though.  I don’t imagine I was any faster than the day before, so I’m assuming my pace was probably the same or even a little slower since I had spent 70 minutes spinning.  Either way, I enjoyed it.

I sat in the hot tub for a few (I earned it!), and then showered up and headed home.

This morning, my butt went from being numb to being angry.  I really need to get one of the cushier seat covers!  And I know that regular riding will help.  I just wonder…can I get calluses there???  That would really be awful.

LIFE

I have spent the last two days working from home, and I think I’ve been busier than if I were in the office!  As suspected, R definitely is sick.  She woke up yesterday with a fever and there was no way she could go to school at all.  D had training Monday and Tuesday, so there was no way he could stay home with her.  Fortunately, all my meetings were either conference calls, web ex’s, or could be, so I rearranged my schedule to do everything here.  I’m extremely fortunate to have a career that allows that flexibility (and a boss that’s cool with it too).

As soon as my first conference call yesterday was over, I called R’s doctor and they gave her an 1130 am appt.  We went, and got the confirmation.  Yep.  She’s sick.  She has the beginnings of a sinus infection, and a flu-like bug as well.  We got some antibiotics, and were told to expect about 3 days of fevers.

Walgreen’s computers were down, so there was a lot of drama trying to get her meds (since the doctors office electronically faxes from their computers, Walgreen’s wasn’t getting anything). 
We finally got it around 530.

D had a long day at work, and didn’t get home until nearly 630.  I saw him for a half hour before I headed to the gym.

When R is sick, she likes to camp out on our bedroom floor.  D set it up for her, and she stayed in our room last night, and will tonight too.  She slept through the night, but when she woke up this morning, she had a 103.6 fever.  Poor baby.  She’s been getting rotating Motrin and Tylenol every 4 hrs in an attempt to keep her fever down.  It’s mostly been working and she’s had a pretty good day today.

I had meetings starting at 830am that went through to 3pm.  I was walking around my house in my jammies with a head set on, checking on R every little bit, cooking, and trying to run meetings at the same time.  Talk about super productive!  AND, the appliance guy showed up early to verify that my microwave is indeed dead, and work on a quote to rip it out and replace it.

I will admit that I felt a bit guilty that at 130 R came downstairs to ask if she could make herself lunch.  She did.  A pizza sandwich.  It was cute.

Tomorrow is D’s turn to stay home with the sick monkey, and I have meetings that start at 7am (doctors.  the only time you can meet with them is either ridiculously early or ridiculously late) and go through 4pm.  Then it’ll be time to work my way home, figure out dinner, and get to the gym by 615 for my Tri club.

On that note – I’m going to go get my stuff ready for work in the morning and head to bed!

Full Contact Swimming

FOOD

For Christmas, my husband bought me pasta Kitchen Aid attachments, and they arrived today (they had been on back order before the holidays).  I’m thinking it’s his way of saying I should now be the good Italian’s wife and start making homemade pasta!  I’m totally kidding; he knows I love to cook, and was imagining the variations I could make, and how that could totally enhance my vegan cooking.  I’m sure he wouldn’t complain with me making him some though 🙂

I bought a book on homemade pasta with a ton of recipes – like Afghanistan Curry Pasta, and Apple Cinnamon Pasta.  How cool does THAT sound?!?!  Well…I wouldn’t know.  My three attempts at pasta dough making today ended in utter failure – and at one point, even ended up with flour all over me! 

The dough is tricky.  It can’t be even remotely sticky, but too tough, and it will fall apart.  The first recipe from the book I tried making in my Kitchen Aid.  I don’t think there were enough ingredients, and it didn’t work.  Then I put those ingredients into my bread machine, thinking that would work.  Nope.  So I used a recipe from the Kitchen Aid instruction book that came with the attachments…and that turned into a crumbly brick.  I tried one more time using my Vitamix.  It wasn’t pulsing into a dough, so I put the tamper in it…not thinking that my dough mixer is smaller, so my tamper got chopped up and flour was spewed all over my kitchen and me.  After that, I gave up for the day and started knitting.  I am not giving up completely – I really want to actually USE my attachments.  But I apparently have to do more research first.

I didn’t do much cooking this weekend.  Saturday was a crazy day, so breakfast was a small multi-grain bagel and a banana.  Lunch was Thai food while I was in Norfolk, of some steamed spring rolls and tofu green curry.  I skipped the white rice it came with, and just filled up on the tofu and veggies.  Of course the sauce is a coconut milk curry sauce – not exactly healthy, but that’s okay once in awhile!  And we all know how much I love my curry…

Saturday evening was a post-holiday party at my friends house, so I had some wine and olives!  Dinner was a bean burrito with salsa. 

FITNESS

I HAVE A BIKE!!!!!  I am SO excited!  I bought a use road bike today, so I’m all set for my triathlon adventure.  I’ll need to get new pedals, a cushy girly seat, and possibly some aero bars, but otherwise I’m all set, and am extremely happy.  The only thing that’s upsetting is that it’s way too cold out to bike.  I rode around for 10 minutes today and thought I was going to freeze to death. 

Once I got my bike, I went to the gym to swim.  After Friday’s experience, I know that I need to get into the pool 3-4 days per week to get my endurance up.  I went online to find a beginners swimming workout, printed it out, stuck it in a baggie (so I could have it by the pool and not ruin it), and hit the pool.  I did the 400yd endurance swim, which actually only took me 11 minutes.  It was tough, but not impossible, and that gives me hope that I have something to build on. 

I shared a swim lane with an older gentleman (after asking him), and we decided to each stay in a specific side of the lane rather than circle swim.  Cool, I’m slow and he seemed much faster than me.  On my second lap, he strayed from his lane…enough to completely punch me in the head.  I was a bit stunned, and got a brief “sorry” and he kept going.  I was annoyed.  On a later lap, he again strayed from my lane…and slapped me across the face.  I got VERY annoyed.  I was almost done, so let it go.  Not like I had a choice really.  I wasn’t going to start a ruckus in the pool.  I was too winded as it was.

I sat in the hot tub, and debated going back into the pool to do it again (I mean really…an 11 minute workout…I felt guilty I didn’t work hard enough!).  But…as I sat in the hot tub, I remembered some wise words I read when I first started running.  Do NOT try to do too much, too soon.  All you’ll end up doing is burning out and giving up, so I stayed in the hot tub, took a shower, and went home. 

While at the gym tonight, I saw 5 other people from my Y-Tri training team who apparently had the same thoughts I did.  We chatted for a bit about our need to swim more, and I thought it was really neat to see them all there.

Tomorrow is our group spin class, and I’m thinking after I may do that 400 yd swim workout again.  It’s only 11 extra minutes!

LIFE

After my marathon was over in October, my duration and intensity of working out definitely took a downward spiral.  I wasn’t very motivated to do much but the bare minimum, and that’s pretty much exactly what I did.  Of course, my eating habits didn’t change or adjust to the lessened activity…and the expected happened.  I put on a few pounds.  Not good, and I was – to be honest – feeling a bit out of control and unmotivated.

It was right around then that Weight Watcher’s announced that they had a new program.  I decided to go check it out the day before I left for my trip to FL.  I went on a Saturday morning, was pretty impressed by what I saw, and decided to give it a try.  So now it’s out there in the open, and that’s okay.

For the past 4 weeks, I’ve been sticking to the program, which is actually really, really easy to do.  And even through the holiday’s and the traveling, I lost 6 lbs, woo hoo!

So Saturday was incredibly busy.  I had to a WW meeting at 830 am, and unfortunately for me, I had a bought of insomnia on Friday night.  I didn’t fall asleep until after midnight, slept fitfully, and woke up at 4am.  I read, played with Sammie, and pretty much felt exhausted.  I woke D up right before I left at 810ish, and was mostly gone the rest of the day. 

My Intro to Knitting class was from 1030-1230, and that was fun.  There were 7 of us, and I would guess that 4 were in their 20’s, 3 of us in our 30’s, and one around 50.  Just goes to show that knitting isn’t just for Grandma’s!  Our instructor was a 75ish year old woman, who was just a hoot, and we all had a good time.  By the end of the class, I was making patterns of small squares with my knit 4/purl 4!

I went home right after that, changed into nicer clothes, and left 20 minutes later with A in tow.  She had signed up to volunteer at her art school for new student auditions.  I took her down, dropped her off, grabbed lunch (Thai food!), and then went to my friends house.  She and her husband were having a post-holiday party in the early part of the evening.  It was very nice, and I left at 7.  D had picked up A from her volunteer gig, as well as cart R to swimming earlier in the day.

I had gotten a text from D that he was ordering Chinese food (he’s incapable of figuring out dinner options for the most part).  On the way home, I stopped and picked up a bean burrito, and was home by 8. 

I felt pretty spent by 8.  I’m still not completely over the cold, so I think between the lack of sleep and the all day running around, I had just run myself into the ground.  Of course, I always get that “over tired” thing going on, and it was again after midnight before I fell asleep.  I slept pretty fitfully again, but at least managed to stay mostly asleep until almost 7.  By 8 (after some coffee, sudafed, and advil), I was feeling pretty human.

My biggest accomplishment today was going grocery shopping.  We were out of pretty much everything, and I had been meaning to go for some time.  I didn’t want to go, though, until I had a chance to go through my coupons.  I have a tendency to go to the grocery just about every day, pick up whatever I feel like it, and not really pay attention to sales, etc.  About a year or so ago, I learned about this website called The Grocery Game, where all you had to do was clip all the coupons you got, pick your grocery store, and it would tell you what to buy.  I did it for several months and saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars.  Then I’d forget to buy a Sunday paper, and my coupons would all expire, so I canceled my membership (it’s not a free site) and went back to my regular ways.  And THEN, I learned about Coupon Mom, which does the same thing, but it’s a FREE site – and has more options like adding Walgreen’s, Walmart, and Target.  Of course I still kept forgetting to buy a Sunday paper, so fat lot of good that did me.  Today, however, we finally subscribed to the paper!  For $20, we will get the Wednesday and Sunday papers for the next 6 months.  Hopefully, this will mean I will be back on track to saving hundreds of dollars on grocery shopping – just by doing a wee bit of advanced planning.  I know it works – been there, done that.  Now I just really need to make it the rule rather than the exception.  Though I have to note that it’s a bit sad that the only reason I want the paper is for the coupons. 

I’m hoping this will be a quiet week, but I’m not betting on it too much.  My youngest R started running a fever this evening, which means she will probably need to stay home for a few days.  I seriously hope she’s not getting what I had.  The poor baby will be flattened for a week if that’s the case.  As it is, I’ll be staying with her tomorrow to keep an eye on her symptoms, and will be set to take her into the doctor at the first sign of infection.

So that was my weekend.  Here’s hoping for a good week ahead!

Who Knew Swimming Was So Hard?!

FOOD

Yesterday I felt a bit better than I did on Wednesday, which was a big blessing.  My eye stopped being gross and was just tender instead.  Throat wasn’t as bad either, and the ears – while still plugged – weren’t as sore.  All in all, a good day.  And I started getting my appetite back too!

Breakfast was yet another tofu egg-less salad on toasted Ezekiel bread.  It was awesome.  And the last of the salad – and the end of my easiest meal.  Since I slept in a bit, I didn’t eat breakfast until almost 1030, so that was really my lunch too. 

Dinner, though, was a total experiment, and ended up being REALLY good.  I was inspired by this recipe.  I didn’t have many of the ingredients on hand, but I made due.  And was thrilled with the result!  So here is my recipe for….

Thai Inspired Rice Stuff:
1 cup brown basmati rice – I soaked it for about an hour
2 cups water
1 can of coconut milk
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp red Thai curry (from the spice house kit from my Dad!)
1 tsp salt

A TON of frozen veggies.  Pretty much everything I could dig up in the freezer.  I think anything would actually work.  I used…

about a cup of peas
about a cup of shelled edamame
about a cup of mixed frozen veg of broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, and squash

I threw it all into my rice cooker, picked the brown rice setting, and hoped for the best.  It was wonderful.  It had a nice spiciness to it from the curry powder, and it was creamy and flavorful. 

After that, I was in the cooking mood, so I made a batch of cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur that my parents got me for Christmas.  I made one of the soft chocolate chip cookie recipes.  They came out very well, and I was very excited.  The nice thing about this book is there are no special ingredients you need; everything is pretty much stuff any standard kitchen would have around.

I usually like making big batches of food for me one or two days a week (usually on the weekends), and then I eat the leftovers all week long.  Since D and the kids aren’t veggies, I tend to run out of time when it comes to making multiple meals in the evenings after work.  They are eating more and more vegetarian friendly meals, but I still firmly believe that if I had the choice to be a Vegan; so do they.  It’s not my right to inflict my choices on others.  Would I love it if they were?  Oh most definitely.  But again – free will.

The lack of microwave has made this usual full-proof plan slightly flawed, however.  I’m having a tough time eating any leftovers that don’t need heating (hence the tofu egg-less salad meals so often!) This morning, I reheated a mish mash of leftovers in my convection toaster oven (my Thai rice stuff, curried lentils, and a cooked sweet potato).  15 minutes at 350 wasn’t quite enough, but I was too hungry to put it back in the oven!

Lunch was a smoothie and a veggie wrap from the smoothie place.  I’m trying to reduce the amount of dining out, but I was running A to an appt, and she needed to eat too…so we stopped for smoothies and sandwiches.

Dinner tonight didn’t happen for me.  I just didn’t have the time or energy to make anything.  I did snack on pretzels around 530 though, so that’s kept me full enough.  I just desperately need to go grocery shopping…and get the bloody microwave fixed or replaced!

FITNESS

I didn’t work out on Thursday.  I was not up to it, and after being admonished by my doctor, I knew it was in my best interest to stay home. 

I did, however, workout today.  I’m still not feeling 100%, but I felt well enough to go to the Tri club swim workout.  I really didn’t want to miss it since we were doing time trials to get placed into our skill levels.  Mine will definitely be novice I’m sure!

We did a 100 yd swim, and my time was 2:12.  Then we did a 300 yd swim, and my time was 6:48.  Then we did open swim, and I was spent!  My ear started hurting a little bit, but it wasn’t too bad.  I was really winded, but I think that’s more from how tough swimming is vs being under the weather.

The group was given 3 lanes, so we did spend quite a bit of time out of the pool waiting for a turn, but I’m not complaining.  An hour straight of swimming isn’t something I’m ready for (yet), and it gave the club members a chance to chat and get to know each other a bit.  One thing is for sure…I need to get to the pool several days a week and work up my endurance again.  I have a feeling this will be my weakest event, at least in the beginning. 

LIFE

Yesterday and today I worked from home like I promised.  Yesterday I stayed in bed while I worked – partially because I was still pretty poopy feeling, but also to keep me isolated from the rest of the family in case I’m infectious.  I had a few conference calls, but nothing that required too much talking, which was good. 

Thursday’s are a gymnastics day for R, and bless D’s heart…after a long day of working and carting kids around, he took her. 

I went to bed fairly early, and got a good night’s sleep.  Thank goodness for NyQuil!  And antibiotics.

Today I woke up early to help D get things together (he was scrambling a bit).  Then I got to work for a few hours back upstairs in my room.  A had an appt, so I picked her up from school, took her to her appt, and then got her to her other school after.  I rushed back home, and jumped on a conference call, went to pick up my youngest while D was held over at work, worked for a few more hours, threw dinner for D and the kids in the over, and then went to the Y for my swim.

I got home around 8, put on some jammies, cleaned the kitchen, and have been relaxing ever since!

I do want to say how proud of D I am and what a really good man he is.  We both work in IT for the same company (it’s a REALLY big company and we’re in totally different areas).  We’re a large health care system, and the area he supports are our nursing homes’ IT systems.  One of the patients at one of our nursing homes is a very young man (early 20’s) who had an injury that has left him mostly paralyzed.  He will likely spend the rest of his life in a nursing home.  Our company has wireless internet for all of our patients, and if they have personal laptops, they can use them.  This young man’s laptop wasn’t connecting, and even though it was outside of D’s job, he went out to help this man get his PC working.  There were several issues with the network and again – more problems that were in no way, shape, or form part of D’s work responsibilities.  But you know what he did?  He made all the calls, got all the people involved, and then today on his way home, went back to see this patient to see if his computer was working.  I think that if D could make this young man’s life any happier by what he did, that’s just amazing. 

As a total side note, when I went into IT (I was in laboratory medicine before that), I was worried that I would lose that sense I had of directly affecting the quality of someones life and health.  Before, I would ensure blood was compatible for a patient in surgery or in need of a transfusion. I verified what illness people had by analyzing and looking at their blood, I could tell if radiation or chemotherapy was being effective, and I could tell if they were taking their medication, and if it was the right dose.  While I didn’t really touch people physically, I was still a part of their care, and it made me intensely happy to know that the work I did helped possibly make them well.  When I transitioned into IT, I really worried about losing that, but I’ve been amazed at how it’s still there.  I make their health safer in different ways now, but it’s still very satisfying.  And this week, my husband proved it by what he did.

Okay, tomorrow is going to be a really busy day, so I’m off to bed!

So My Doctor Called Me Stupid

FOOD

Not having a working microwave is really a pain.  I didn’t really think I used it much, but it turns out I do.  I’m struggling with eating my leftovers – because it’s now a pain to reheat anything.  And I use it to warm my water for my neti pot (which I need – ever use a neti pot with room temp or cold water?  Ugh).  So if it can’t be done stove top or in a toaster oven….I’m not doing it.

As such…my breakfast the past two days has been toasted tofu egg-less salad sandwiches.  That was also my dinner this evening.  So inventive, I know.  Lunch yesterday was some of the Anatolian red lentil stew I made a week or so ago.  Lunch today was a bean burrito.

The highlight in my eating, though, came last night with dinner.  I made the rice cooker black eyed peas that was so brilliantly created by JL Goes Vegan (her blog link is on the right – very cool reading, I highly recommend).  The only thing I don’t do well is measure sometimes.  I measured the beans and water – but really just squeezed the heck out of the siracha bottle and dumped a bunch of garlic cloves in it.  5 or 6 I think.  I set the timer to be done in 10 hrs, and then went to work.  Absolute and utter genius.  

Since my microwave doesn’t work and I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to make for dinner, I turned it on and stuck regular and sweet potatoes in to roast for an hour.  I chopped up some onion and avocado, and made a taco!  As a side note – the beans were uber spicy and set my lips on fire (winter is chapped lip madness time).  Maybe I over did it on the siracha – but that’s okay with me.

A flour tortilla with the beans, sweet potato, avocado, onion, and lettuce shreds

FITNESS

Alas, not much to report.  I’m under strict doctors orders (as of today) to stay home and not workout.  I’m bummed because today was the running workout for the Triathlon club, and that’s the one thing I actually know how to do when it comes to this.  I’m also insanely paranoid about missing it.  Allow me to explain…

…but in order to do that, I need to explain exactly WHY I run.  I’m not a runner by nature.  I’m short and tend to be on the plumper side of life.  I used to joke around that I would only run if I were being chased by someone with a stick.  When I joined the Navy and found out there would be running required, my Dad would take me to the park, drive behind in the station wagon with a stopwatch screaming while I attempted to run down the road.  While in boot camp, I ran because the company commanders were screaming at me.  I wasn’t the worst runner there, but I was certainly far from the best.  Middle ground, and under the radar – which is where you really want to be in a boot camp situation (but don’t worry – my mouth put me on the radar in the wrong way).  When I got out of boot and got to my various duty stations – I swam the PT test whenever possible, and otherwise only ran the 2 required times per year.  I found running stupid and boring, and my short and stubby little legs just couldn’t do it.  When I left the Navy, I didn’t ever run on purpose.  No one with sticks around…

Then in the fall of 2005 my husband got sick.  He woke up one morning unable to swallow.  Of course I was away at a conference when this happened, so he and I would spend hours on the phone surfing the internet and freaking out at what we were reading.  Other than the swallowing thing, he felt fine, and if he drank enough water, the food went down, so he wasn’t in danger of starving.  He made a doctors appt and waited for me to get home.

We spent several years bouncing around to different specialists in our area of VA and up in Baltimore.  He had several potential diagnoses – such as tumors pressing in around his esophagus closing it off, to very rare cancers that gave him 9 months to live.  Since all the tests and scopes and x-rays were normal, everyone was stumped.  He was an otherwise very healthy man in his early-30’s and no one could explain what the heck was going on.  Finally one day, his surgeon (and 4th or 10th specialist – we lost track) told us the only way to find out was to cut him open and check.  By doing a left thoracotomy (think cracking a chest open for heart surgery – but lying on your left side and having all your ribs broken so they could get to the esophagus), they would be able to find out what it was, and take it out if necessary, hooking his stomach directly to his throat – giving him a long recovery and a lifetime of issues.  Not a very inspiring prospect. 

Thankfully, we found a wonderful doctor in Baltimore who managed to get the surgery stopped just 8 hrs before he was scheduled to be admitted to the hospital (and AFTER one of my very best friends and his wife were airborne to be here for us from Seattle).  I’m happy to say that since then, and MANY more tests, they finally came to a diagnosis in April of 2008 of Crohn’s disease.  It will be with him for the rest of his life – but it is not a life shortening disease if managed well, and he does pretty darned well most of the time.

During all this, I started to crack a bit.  We have three kids, and at the time, D was a stay at home Dad, so I was struggling with balancing his health concerns, the travel and doctors appts, work, and raising a family.  Don’t get me wrong – D did most of the heavy lifting when it came to school shuffling, etc – the struggle came with figuring out what to tell them about what was “wrong” with Daddy.  For 3 years, we didn’t know, and we didn’t want to alarm them, so it was sometimes hard to shield them from all the fear.  I finally used my EAP services at work, and made an appt with a counselor.  In our very first session, she told me I should relax in the tub at night with a glass of wine and relieve my stress.  When I told her that didn’t sound appealing to me, she said one thing.  Run.

I left there thinking she was nuts.  Mind you, I was also about 70 lbs overweight, and we already established my feelings about running.  But I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  I DID need a stress outlet.  And goodness knows, I needed to lose weight.  I frankly had no idea how to start.  And by miracle of all miracles – I got an email out of the blue from Final Kick Sports about a beginning Women’s running clinic they were starting.  I found it funny I got anything from this store – it’s a triathlon store – but it had to be karma or divine intervention.  So I joined.  And every Monday and Wednesday for 3 months, I ran with a bunch of other women of all skill levels.  And I was hooked.  I also got to a healthy weight over the course of that year, and I’ve gone on to run several 5K’s, 8K’s, half marathons, and one full marathon (so far).  I’m still slow, but that no longer bothers me (too much anyway).  I saw the counselor one more time to thank her for setting me straight. 

But in the back of my mind, I’m always fearful.  My natural tendency is to be a lazy couch potato – NOT an athlete in any way.  A day off will turn into a week off.  And then a month off.  And then I’ll gain weight and be miserable again.  So if my fridge doesn’t have a posted training schedule and my calendar have a date I’m working towards – I start to panic that I will be that person again.  So when I asked my doctor today if I could go running with my triathlon group – she asked me if I was stupid.  When I told her I went to the spinning class with the group on Monday, she said, yep – I must be stupid.  It was in a loving and caring and wonderful way (she’s an awesome doctor), but for the first time it made me realize how afraid I am to miss a workout.  Part of me is glad I have that fear of backsliding – but I also can’t push myself to the detriment of my own health.  So there’s my story.  That’s why I run.

LIFE

Since I just wrote a novel above, I’ll keep this part short and sweet. 

I’m sick (if you haven’t figured that out).  I really thought I was on the upswing, but I was just in denial.  Last night I started feeling horrible, and by this morning I was a mess.  I can’t hear very well, I can’t breath, and it feels like someone pulled a cheese grater over my throat.  My left eye is a goopy mess, and there was no way I wasn’t going to the doctor.  Time to face the music that I wasn’t getting better on my own.

I went, and I was right.  Bi lateral ear infections, a sinus infection, and just to top it off for fun – pink eye.  She wrote a prescription and a note (like I’m in high school!) to keep my butt home the rest of the week.  After yelling at me for the workout thing, I told her I just needed to get to two more meetings that day, and then I’d go home and stay put.  She glared a little, but knew that was the best she could get out of me.  I asked if I could work Thursday and Friday if I did it at home.  She said as long as I did so in bed – which I can.  Lovely thing about being in IT – with a laptop and a phone, I can work from anywhere.

Back to work I went, where I had an individual with my boss.  I had a lot to cover with her, so I really didn’t want to cancel it again (I had done that Monday).  After telling me I looked like sh!t, we had our meeting anyway.  I had another at 430pm, and went home after that.  Where I plan to stay – until Friday.