Monday, January 31, 2011

Goal Wrap UP

January was a good month. It was cold and snowy and windy and just way too wintery for my taste. But it was a good month, nonetheless.

January Goals

1) Cut out meat and dairy: While I didn't cut it completely out, I cut back significantly. And you know what? I felt better. The biggest change was that I was a lot less cranky and irritable when I cut back on meat and dairy. Which is a good thing. Less cranky and irritable with myself, as well. So that on days when it was 9 below zero when I left the gym and I just couldn't get warm and I got the hungry horrors before bed, I didn't beat myself up about it. I just took things in stride and tried to make better choices most of the time.

2) Work out 30 times in 30 days: and then some. So much easier to meet this goal when I'm not sick as a dog. Feeling good and dropped 4 pounds this month, too.

3) Journal daily: done and done. (maybe my decrease in irritability is partly from journaling, too?)

4) Go on one winter hike: FAIL! I was just too cold and wimpy this month.

5) Get continuing ed classes set and turned in: DONE!

6) Go on 2 or more group runs: FAIL! (see #4)

7) Finish 3 Books this Month: check! I finished Lit by Mary Karr, Thrive by Brandon Brazier, and The Permanent Pain Cure by Ming Chew

8) Finish Two Projects from the Project Box: I finished two projects hanging around the apartment. Not necessarily from the project box, but it's a start.

9) Write 4 old fashioned snail mail letters to friends: DONE!

10) Have a girl's weekend: which unfortunately ended in hangovers and hugging the throne!

And now on to February. Ever notice that February is the shortest month, but it seems like the longest? But 2011 is off to a good start, to I just need to keep the momentum going.

February Goals:

1) Increase Water intake to 8 glasses a day: I keep coming back to this goal again and again, don't I? But I'm feeling so much better, I'm thinking the water will make me feel even better.

2) Transition from Exercising to Training for the half iron man: Getting started this week!

3) Go on winter hike: I know I can totally suck it up and plow through the snow. Once I get out there, I'll be totally happy.

4) Feng Shui the apartment: Did this a couple years ago. Basically, Feng Shui means "cleaning and organizing and arranging things in a nice way". But in the process, you also look a lot at what is going on in your life, what's going well, what's not so great, and what you want to do about it. What could be better than that?

5) Finish 3 more books

6) 4 more snail mail letters ( I just like sending things to people)

7) Ride bike outside (not just on trainer) 2 times

8) Go out to movies with J and S

9) Complete 2 more projects from project box

10) Get spectacular valentine's day presents for the kiddies!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

20 more things that make me happy

It's that time of the week again: time for happy thoughts

20 More things that make me happy.

61) Nerd (specifically)
62) nerds (in general)
63) the show Scrubs (clearly a show for nerds)
64) when everything is super clean and organized in my apartment
65) Sam Adams Light beer
66) diet Coke (there! I said it! I know I should be cutting down on caffeine, but I love it)
67) how pretty the trees look covered in snow
68) bargain book stores
69) butternut squash
70) back rubs
71) not having to be anywhere in particular on a weekend
72) snow days (not that I can stay home from work. But sometimes there's some free time to catch up. Which makes me happy)
73) slumber parties
74) my friend's new puppy, Banjo. (he's so cute)
75) a nice warm winter morning when I can go outside without freezing
76) lasagna
77) my foam roller for rolling out aches and pains
78) soft plush blankets
79) a relaxing nightly ritual
80) granny smith apples

The Life is Good Foundation

Last summer, I went to the Life is Good concert, which benfits the Life is Good Foundation. I originally went just to see the bands and have a good time. But I did a lot of reading up on the foundation it supports and was very impressed.

The Life is Good Foundation was founded by the clothing company of the same name -- you know the Tshirts with the stick figure guy, Jake, and the fun, happy little sayings. I have about 7 shirts from this company as well as a spare tire cover for the jeep that says "Life is Good" with a little hippy flower.

The foundation is interesting in that it focuses on giving kids who have life threatening challenges (violence, poverty, illness, natural disasters) a chance to play. I find it rather unique that the focus is PLAY. Oftentimes, we forget about the chance to have fun and be joyful in the face of bigger problems. But for children, play is their work. Play is how they grow and mature and learn how to interact with others and how they learn. I love that this charity focuses on helping kids to play.

Two areas they are actively involved in are Haiti and the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. And, yes, people there need food and water and clothing and shelter. But the kids also need some joy in their lives. The foundation also works in poverty stricken areas in cites, and homeless shelters.

Go here if you want to learn more about the Life is Good Foundation. You can donate or buy a shirt or a coffee mug or something if you wanna.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

cooking for the clueless

I've been working my way through the book Thrive by Brandon Brasier, a vegan triathlete. It has a lot of recipes that I've been working into my diet in an effort to improve my overall health and decrease the amount of animal products I eat. (of course, that sometimes goes out the window. Like this weekend when Nerd came for a visit and I went out and bought min-cheeseburgers for him. And then had a couple for myself)

So this week, I tried a raw recipe, Almond Flaxseed Burger

which is a bit of a misnomer, as it is nothing like a mini-cheeseburger.

It's better. I really liked these:

2 cloves garlic
1 cup almonds
1/2 ground flaxseed
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp coconut oil
sea salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processer and blend to desired consistancy.

That's it! There is an option of forming them into patties and cooking them at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. But it's so good raw, I thought, why bother?

I liked eating this on a bed of greens, wrapped in a sheet of nori seaweed, over brown rice, or mixed with veggies like cooked spinach and carrots. One night, I threw it in a tortilla with salsa, lettuce, and rice.

Delish! (just be sure to have some gum handy. Raw garlic makes for strong breath!)

Wednesday's book report

Presently, I'm reading:

Thrive by Bradnon Brasier
The Secrets of Simplicity by Mary Carlomagno
The Middle Way by the Dali Lama
Getting Over Jack Wagner by Elise Juska

Last week, I finished Lit by Mary Karr. I had read a couple of her other memoirs, The Liar's Club and Cherry and quite enjoyed them. They were about her tumultuous childhood with her bipolar mother and her alcoholic father and all the repercussions in her life. There is something invigorating about reading of the scrappy underdog who does not let the difficult conditions she finds herself in put her down.

Lit is about her adult life. The repercussions of her childhood are still there. But she is no longer the scrappy underdog, but the (sometimes not so) mature adult who had more significant consequences to her poor choices or bad behavior. Including the upbringing of her own child.

Perhaps its because she is so acutely aware of these repercussions that this memoir is much more muted than her other two. Karr, so ready to throw her tormentors to the wolves in her other books (in a funny way, of course) now appears to be walking on eggshells. She is fearful to write ANYTHING the least bit negative about anyone in her life, instead taking all the blame herself. And yet, she seems completely detached from events in her life, reporting on them as if she were an observer.

She was, by her own account, depressed at the time. And any recollection of events during a time of depression, any journal entries written at the time, will, of course, be muted in nature. So maybe this memoir is a brilliant depiction of depression. I'm not sure. It just seemed like I was watching a movie through a gauze handkerchief.

Then, she entered AA. And the book came to life. Suddenly, the passion from her earlier works was there. I started to like this book more.

The most interesting part for me was her resistance to the spiritual aspect of her recovery process. She kept struggling with her belief that she had a choice between being intellectual and being spiritual. Like...she was too smart to believe in a "greater power".

And I have to admit -- I've had the same struggles myself. I've seen some of the dumbest statements ever uttered in the history of mankind made in the name of religion. Which kind of makes me want to rise above the idiocy of it all.

But one thing struck me in this memoir...a scene where her sponsor told her "Don't you see that you can't THINK your problems and your fears away? The more you try to work through them in your head, the more you try to rationalize your way through them, the more power your give to them? Just let them go. Even if you don't believe in a higher power, pretend you do and give your problems over."

Which struck me as very much like something I had read in a yoga journal the week before. And struck me as something to ponder in the week to come.

So even though I hadn't picked up this book for spiritual questions, it lead me there nonetheless.

So I liked it. And I'd recommend it. And I passed it on to a friend (there were some very tender moments in the book between Mary and her father as he declined to a progressive illness. my friend recently lost her father and those moments reminded me of her so much.)

Though if you haven't read any Mary Karr, I'd recommend her other memoirs first, and this one later.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday's Bad Dates

I have been battling my Internet Explorer for the past week or so. I think I finally got things working, now. And so-- here are a week's worth of posts starting with a bad date.
Last summer, I went out for drinks with a friend from work, her boyfriend, and a bunch of his friends. Her boyfriend worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which meant drinks with lots of nerds. (I may be one of the only people in the world for whom this is an exciting prospect. I love me my scientists, geeks, and nerds!)

Anyway, it was here that I met Paul. Though he did not work at WHOI, he did have a PhD in biochemistry (which is a definite plus!) but he worked for a medical software company doing systems upgrades (down a notch, but still relatively neutral). Outside of his academic statistics, Paul was pretty nice, had a decent sense of humor, liked working out and being outside. (Plus, plus, plus!) We exchanged phone numbers and talked about meeting up in Boston.

Paul and I texted and emailed for a couple weeks, just talking and trying to make plans and whatnot. I did think it was a little odd that he kept asking when I was going to go back to get either a PhD or a DPT, even though I had told him several times "Never." (My main focus is clinical whereas advanced degrees are focused on research. Blech!) But whatever. We had a date to plan.

We finally picked a date; again it was a sort of informal thing with lots of people meeting for drinks and food at restaurant/club in the south end. I jumped on the train and headed up to the city.

At the restaurant, I quickly became aware of the fact that I was THE ONLY ONE there who did not have a PhD. I felt pretty inferior...for about 2 minutes...until I started talking to these people. It was like "group-date dinner with the overeducated do-nothings."

to be continued....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bye Jack. You will be missed

Sunday, January 23, 2011

happy thoughts

20 things that make me happy

41) my new indoor bike trainer

42) brownies
43) throwing things away (that have no use)
44) donating things (that have use, but not to me)
45) cherishing things that I use and love
46) hot chocolate with whipped cream
47) flannel sheets
48) Sunday movie afternoons
49) when I find the perfect gift for somebody
50) signing up for races for the year
51) planning for vacations
52)or not planning (saying "I don't know where my life is going" and loving it)
53) spinach
54) my co-workers (I work with some great people)
55) lip balm with eucalyptus
56) knowing people who can help me with things I'm not good at
57) babies (my nephew is 7 months and I'm loving it)
58) making up silly songs with the kids
59) celebratory slices of cake
60) effective exercise routines to work off the cake

wounded warrior project

So, this week's charity is the WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT

Last fall, the rehab hospital where I work hosted a Wounded Warrior Weekend with the intention of getting disables vets exposed to adaptive sports such as bicycling, kayaking, fishing, and camping. Though my involvement in that project was limited secondary to prior commitments, it is something I feel very strongly about. And it was a great success! I am a big believer in the importance of recreational endeavors as part of a balanced life.

In addition to support for recreation, the WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT provides support for injured service members and their families for counseling and psychological support, occupational training, peer mentoring, and supports advocacy for injured vets, as well.

No matter what your personal views about the wars we, as a country, are fighting, I think we all owe it to the servicemen and women to support them upon their return.

If you would like to learn more about the WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT, go here for more info!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

cooking for the clueless

This week, I decided to try to duplicate one of the yummy recipes that they served at the yoga center I visited two weeks ago. Since I am a clueless cook, and since it seemed like absolute perfection, I decided to venture down into a REAL kitchen and forgo my regular crock pot and George Foreman grilling here in the loft.

3 SISTER'S CASSEROLE courtesy of the Kripalu Center

2 tablespoons earth balance
1 cup chopped onion
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
4 cups butternut squash, cubed
2 cups canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup water
1 3/4 cups cooked pinto beans
1 cup frozen corn

Heat earth balance over medium heat. Add onion and saute until browned. Add celery and saute 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and spices. Add squash, tomatoes, and salt; cook 5 minutes. Stir in water and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in beans and corn. Transfer to a 9 x 13" casserole dish.

1 1/2 cups fine ground cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients in bowl. Set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in separate bowl. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and combine. Pour topping over filling in casserole dish. B

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Super duper yummy. I must say, for some reason, mine wasn't as good as the yoga center's. I seemed to have too much topping and the topping to filling ratio was off. I may try making less topping next time!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The truth about Neil Diamond


So far in 2011, I have had two of the most different weekends it is possible for one person to have.

Two weeks ago, I spent the weekend at a yoga center. I was up before dawn, doing yoga in a room aptly named "the sunrise room", watching the sun rise. I went snowshoeing over a frozen lake, walking around a snow-covered labyrinth, and did 2-3 yoga classes each day. The center was warm enough to bring Caribbean vacations to mind and make me wish I had packed tank tops and shorts rather than fleece. I filled myself with super yummy organic food and left rested and feeling quite good about myself.

By contrast, last weekend was spent in a hotel, halfway between a friend's house and mine to hang out and have fun. We ate large quantities of non-organic pub food and drank to excess. It was cold enough outside to make me wish I had packed an entire fur suit. On Sunday, I slept until almost noon, willing my head to stop pounding. And I left feeling quite poorly about myself.

Yet between these two weekends, it was the second one in which I learned an all encompassing universal truth: everything can be blamed on Neil Diamond. Never knew that before. But now, it's so crystal clear. (and don't worry, I'm pretty sure he'd have no problem with this)

For instance: if Neil Diamond hadn't written such a catchy, singable, hard to forget song, I would never have ordered the seemingly harmless drinks named "Sweet Carolines". It's really Neil's fault that I ended up behaving like a more conservatively dressed Snooki and ate approximately half a bottle of Advil on Sunday.

Are you tired of going out and seeing teenagers with their pants around their thighs and their underwear on full display? Neil's fault. Neil and that catchy, ridiculously singable and hard to get out of your head "Forever in Blue Jeans". I understand that most teenagers don't even know who Neil Diamond is, never mind listen to his music, but it sneaks in subliminally via muzak pumped over the speakers in malls.

Trying to remedy a problem with your cell phone bill and frustrated that you can only talk to people based out of New Delhi? Neil again. If Neil hadn't spent so many years crooning "They come to America, They come to America" over and over, well then, nobody would have noticed. But thanks to Neil, somebody did and decided to just move the jobs to where all those people coming to America originated from.

And what about those agonizing post break up weeks when you search for joy in the bottom of cartons of ice cream and just wish you could punch somebody to make them feel as horrible as you do? Punch Neil Diamond! On some level, it was that "Heartlight" song of his that drove your perfect relationship right off a cliff into finished-ville.

Seriously, man. What is Neil Diamond's problem? Why does he want to make so many people feel bad?

Or maybe it was just a burden thrust upon him. Maybe he's like the Chuck Norris of misfortune. That may be more like it. 'Cause it wasn't a weekend of clearminded bliss, but a little bit of misfortune that made me see the truth about Neil Diamond.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

20 things that make me happy

You know what would really make me happy? If blogger let me change the December quote to a January quote. Since that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon, I must suffice with 20 other things to make me smile.

20 things that make me happy:

21) surrounding myself with pillows in a "sleep nest"
22) weekend plans with friends
23) coming to the end of a good book
24) warm baths
25) when friends who have never met before hit it right off
26) hot tea
27) laughing hysterically until you can't breathe
28) successful days at work
29) trying out new recipes
30) especially when I like the new recipes!
31) cute sweater dresses with leggings
32) warm boots
33) times when the future spreads out before you- full of possibilities
34) having somebody tell you they believe in those possibilities
35) structured training plans
36) wicker baskets
37) baseball caps
38) bananas
39) smoothies in the morning (with or without bananas)
40) visiting museums

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday's Good Vibes

As I was going through my paperwork of charitable organizations, I noticed that I had grouped them together by category. I was sort of going through the paperwork in order, but then I realized that it may end up looking like: "January's diseases", "February's environmental causes", "March's armed services". And that just seemed too tacky for words! So now I just mixed all the paperwork together in no particular order. It's absolute madness in an accordion file!

Anyway, now that the categories have been obliterated, I can feel free to talk about something that is close to my heart: Our National Parks.

I truly feel lucky to live here, where we have such wonderful natural diversity in our landscape and such a great National Park System. The National Park System was created in 1872 to preserve out natural and cultural heritage, setting aside millions of acres of land to preserve and protect some of our most valuable and --may I say -- magical land. Unfortunately, our park system is subject to political volleying with many urging opening the parks to "land development" projects such as logging, mining, and, of course, the famous Alaska oil pipeline.

Additionally, the parks themselves operate with significant budget deficits, leaving maintenance of roads, shelters, and trails insufficient. Parks have needed to cut back on rangers and other staff, putting visitors at greater risk of injury when visiting parks. And in many parks, local pressure has led to allowing ATVs, snowmobiles, and power boats in the very places created to protect against these vehicles.

Some of my most fond memories in my travels have been of hiking and camping in Olympia National Park in Washington, Yosemite National Park, and King's Canyon Park (pictured above).
I am always in awe of these magical places; and in awe of the thought that this is public land: I OWN this place! You OWN this place! We all collectively own these places. They belong to us and as such, I truly feel it is our duty to protect these places from disrepair, abuse, and mismanagement. (I've often wrote in this blog how I can't understand how obsessed people become about their lawns. But I can totally understand and obsession about their public land)

So this week's charity is the National Parks Conservation Association, which serves as a watchdog group to monitor the parks and ensure preservation, protection, and adequate funding.

To learn more about National Parks (and to find one in your area to visit -- please make that one of your goals for this year!) go here.

And to learn more about the NPCA go here

Now go outside this weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday's Book Report:

Right now, I'm in the middle of 4 books. Just because I'm always a bit scattered like that. It keeps me on my toes. (and just disorganized enough to be interesting) I'm reading Lit by Mary Karr (I read her other two memoirs, Cherry and The Liar's Club and really liked them), The Permanent Pain Cure by Ming Chew (work related reading), The Secrets of Simplicity by Mary Carlomagno (because I still have that "simplify, simplify, simplify" mantra in my head) and Thrive by Brandan Brazier (for overall health and lifestyle)

But I'm not going to talk about any of those today. I can't. I'm still digesting them.

Today, I'm going to talk about one I finished a couple weeks ago: Palo Alto Stories by James Franco:

I got interested in this book when I read an interview with James Franco at the gym. He sort of became my new idol, simply because he appeared to have his hands in even more projects than I do. He's an actor (the Spiderman movies and 127 hours which I totally want to see) and apparently has a recurring role on General Hospital, as well. He also in a ridiculously short time got a BA from UCLA in creative writing, then an MFA in writing from Brooklyn University and attending NYU's film making school. He's presently pursuing a PhD in English at Yale University and is enrolled for next year at RISD for painting. At the same time he's written and produced a couple off Broadway plays and is directing a film version of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying this year.
See? Crazy busy with projects. Makes me look like a couch potato. So, of course, I needed to get his book.
That being said, I liked Palo Alto Stories, but I didn't love it. It tells a number of loosely related stories centered around a bunch of high school aged kids growing up in Palo Alto. The one thing that these kids have in common is that their collective moral compasses don't quite point north. They may actually point south.
There's a dark, sad tone to all the stories; very Holden Caulfield-ish. However, in The Catcher in the Rye, it's really just Holden who is off. You get the sense that other characters may not be up for person of the year, but then again, maybe that's just Holden's perception of them. There's melancholy and existential angst, but not everyone in the entire world shares in this bleak world view.
(I can't write "bleak world view" without hearing Homer Simpson saying it like in the "Homer-palooza" episode)
In Palo Alto Stories, everyone is off. And while I appreciated it for a few stories, after a while, I was feeling saturated. I reached a point where enough was enough. I felt much the same way I did when watching Pulp Fiction. OK, I appreciated Quintin Tarantino's unique film making quality, but the gratuitous violence just became too much. I mean, really, did ANYONE need to see a gag-balled gimp in leather chaps stuffed into a box after being sodomized?) I sure didn't.
Likewise, do I really wish to believe that an entire generation is simply nonchalant about date rape, overdosing, lying, stealing, cheating, and the occasional vehicular manslaughter while drunk? Especially set in Palo Alto, just minutes from where I used to live in Mountain View, but light years away from where I ever could live on my salary as a health care worker. And, yes, I get the whole juxtaposition of the immoral behavior in a well-to-do suburb. And that maybe there's a message to it. And all the stories combined create a sense of helplessness.
But all I kept thinking was: dude! Couldn't you have written something more like your movie Pineapple Express? 'Cause that was funny!
Then again, maybe I'm just shallow. Or something.
Today's new thing:
THIS! The Wednesday's book reports. More to come!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday' s Bad Dates -- Oliver

Yes....its back! All of my sad, sad dating stories!

Last summer, I went to a "Beginner Triathlon Camp" sponsored by a local running club. I had been doing sprints and Olympic distances for a couple years, but I had never trained with a club or a coach. Plus, I was trying to recover from my disc herniation, so I thought this camp and all its access to professional coaches would be just what I needed.

It was there that I met Oliver. Now, at first, I though that Oliver was on the staff. He was a very seasoned triathlete, with over 10 years of highly competitive training for full distance ironman races. But, no... he was actually a participant in the Beginner Triathlon Camp. Which struck me as a little odd. But, hey, he was a nice guy, so I whatevered it.

(I now think he went for the express reason of picking up chicks. 'Cause not only did I go out with him, but at least 4 other participants from the camp who I talked to later during the season when I saw them at races. Oliver was either a bit of a douche bag or a genius!)

But that is neither here nor there.

The point is, he seemed like a pretty nice guy, we lived in the same town, and we talked about going on some training rides together. And maybe dinner or something. So we did.

I should probably say here, that I wasn't completely healed from my little injury and any time I tried to ride more than 30-35 miles, I got radiating numbness down my right leg. Plus, even if I rode a short 10-15 mile ride and followed it with a run, I got numbness. So my main goal at the beginning of the summer was still recovery. And maybe to get my speed up a bit on the bike.

Oliver assured me that this was no problem and that he had his share of injuries in the past and that this would really just be a fun ride; he could go out again later and get more miles in if he really needed. So we decided on a day, a time, a place, and a distance of 20 miles.

Well, right of the bat, he tried to convince me to do 30 instead. And to do a 3 mile run afterward. I just wasn't happy with that plan; we had said 20 miles; he was going to show me some good training drills for the bike and some ways to get my speed up. I wanted to stick with the plan.

He agreed and off we went.

Did I mention that he was highly competitive?

'Cause he really seemed to want to go much, much faster than me. Like, WAY faster. Like, "I've been doing this for over 10 years and I eat people like you for breakfast" faster. Which kind of irked me a bit.

Then he started yelling to "encourage" me: "C'mon! Pick up the pace! Push yourself! How do you think you're going to get better if you don't push yourself!" And I, like and idiot, tried to push myself to match his 10 year veteran pace.

Which didn't really work all that well.

Which made him ride back (from his spot about a million miles in front of me) and start yelling at me some more.

Which made me start yelling back at him: "Fuck you, jerk! Stop yelling in my face! So I'm not as fast as you, just deal with it."

Which, strangely, made him a little happy: "That's the spirit! Put a little life into it!"

Can't you just see us? Riding down this little rural road past cranberry bogs and horse farms, screaming and swearing at each other in our helmets and bike shoes and cool max clothes? Nice kids out on their horses listening to curse words on a glorious picture perfect early summer day? People all happy to stop and buy vegetables from roadside stands suddenly having their days ruined by two lunatics on bikes? Yup, that was me!

Well, of course, the inevitable happened. My leg started to go numb. I had to pull over and unclip and lie down on my stomach in the grass and do press ups until the numbness went away.

Oliver, apparently realizing I had stopped riding from his spot, once again, a million miles in front of me, rode back to where I was collapsed by the side of the road.

"What happened? Are you ok?"

I explained that my leg had gone numb and I was trying to get it to calm down.

"Oh, you were serious about that?"

GOOD LORD! Who lies about a disc problem? (ok, scratch that. I work at a hospital. Plenty of people lie about that. But I'm not one of them)

Anyway, after that, he stopped yelling and got all apologetic and was really nice for the rest of the ride (which I did with only my left leg. Thank goodness we only had a little under 2 miles left)

And then we both just decided to call it a day.

(Incidentally, I've seen him a few times since then. And I honestly think he really is a nice guy. Just way too competitive for his own good. And maybe on way too much caffeine)

Sunday, January 9, 2011


This week, I decided that I was going to try some healthy recipes from my new book, Thrive. It's a pretty good read on vegan lifestyle with lots of recipes and such.

I always seem to have a difficult time getting a good, healthy breakfast in, unless its a smoothie I drink on the way to work. So I decided to cook up a bunch of pancakes, throw them in the freezer, and heat them up in the mornings.

Plus, I would get to try out my new electric fry pan:

Wild Rice Yam Pancakes

2 cups water

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup cooked mashed yam

1/2 cup cooked wild rice

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 ground sesame seeds

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

Put all ingredients in a food processor (or, if your food processor is microscopic, put them all in a blender). Blend until smooth.

Pour onto oiled pan or electic skillet. (This book recommends coconut oil, which I actually have, and used, and lent a nice taste to the pancakes)

Cook approximately 5 minutes or until bubbling. Flip and cook 5 minutes on the other side.

Let me just say that either these super thick, super dense pancakes take a lot longer to cook than 5 minutes each side, or my electric skillet sucks. Or both.

I feel like it took the better part of my Sunday to make a batch of these babies!

But they were good. Really good. I added some cinnamon and nutmeg to give them a nice nutty quality. And they did work out deliciously for a morning treat.

Today's New Thing:

Posted some things on FreeCycle: The old TV and my old printer. Don't know how its gonna work, we'll see!

Things that make me happy

Thanks to my bloggie friend, Diane, I have another new thing to make this year a year of better choices. Diane came up with an idea to make a list of 1000 things that make her happy. (that comes out to about 20 things a week) I like that idea so much, I stole it for myself.


1) the color purple
2) my neices and nephews
3) dogs (in general. They rock)
4) cats (not all of them. But a select few make me smile)
5) lists (no surprise there)
6) my jeep
7) the ocean
8) walking on the beach
9) jogging
10) biking
11) swimming
12) all three of those activities at the same time
13) yoga
14) new socks right out of the package
15) my Mizuno sneakers (even better than Nike!)
16) flannel jammies
17) fires in the wood stove
18) curling up with a good book
19) talking on the phone with my buddy Isabella
20) watching dvds with J and K

Today's New Thing:

Today, I will be at a Yoga Retreat Center! that's new.

Something New!

While looking through a magazine last month, I came across and article on this chippy! She had an amazing idea to give away $100 a day every day for a year to charitable organizations. I thinks that is just fantastic and inspiring and overall just, well, good.

Reading her blog, I thought: "The world really needs more people like her."

And then I thought: "I'm a person. And I want to be like her."

Of course, financially speaking, there is no way I can commit to giving away $100 a day. But I took a serious look at my finances and where my money goes. And I figured out that with a little tweaking, I can commit to giving $25 a week to charitable causes. In my journal, I have dubbed the year 2011 "The Year of Better Choices". And I think that the tweaks I've made (or have pledged to make) with my spending in order to give more money to worthy causes really is a better choice.

So, every week, I'll be talking about a charitable organization and why I wish to give money to its cause. (Plus, I encourage anyone to tell me about any organization they feel strongly about in the comments session.)

This week's charity is:

The American Diabetes Association

Right now, approximately 24 million Americans (about 8%) of the population has diabetes. This figure continues to grow every year. It's the 7th leading direct cause of death in the US, and contributes to the development of many other medical conditons including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, neuropathy, blindness, kidney disease, and amputations (it is the #1 cause of lower limb amputations in adults)

The American Diabetes Association funds research studies aimed at diabetes treatment the search for a cure. It also focuses on educational resources for people living with diabetes. Since type 2 diabetes is a largely preventable disease (and since lifestyle changes are a key factor in the management of type 2 diabetes) education is very important.

On a personal note, my Nana on my mother's side died of uncontrolled diabetes. She was diagnosed only after she died. I can't help but think if she had access to some educational information, she would have been able to take better control of her health.

If anyone else wants to learn more about diabetes, The American Diabetes Association, or wishes to donate, go here!


Ok... I tried to autopost a couple entries since I was away this weekend (more on that later!) But clearly, I have no idea what I am doing. So now, let's just pretend that these were posted on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Blast from the past

A while back, I had a bunch of posts known as Tuesday's Bad Dates. They were fun and hopefully funny and kind of pathetic all at the same time. I had a lot to write about because I basically rolled years of bad dating experiences into a weekly batch of posts.

And then I kind of reached the end of my bad dating stories.

I wrote a few sort of, kind of, dating stories about things that were like, chance encounters that may have ended up in dates had I not screwed things up so royally. (I do things like burp and fart and fall flat on my face in front of strangers--I'm wicked attractive! And yet, I tend to knock down the interest factor from said total strangers with that behavior. Go figure.)

I did have a few dates in 2010. But in general, I don't like to write about things TOO close to when they happened. Just in case I inadvertantly insult somebody (Some people are really touchy and would take something like being featured in Tuesday's Bad Dates personally. Wusses!)

But I think enough time has gone by to get some perspective.

And Tuesday's Bad Dates was a really good blog feature.

And I only got up to the letter N. I have to make it to Z!


Next week! The Return of Tuesday's Bad Dates!

(I also know how to drag things out)

Today's new thing:
Today I plugged in and started using my new TV! (My old TV was something I saved from the trash and was about 20 years old. And the picture started to go. So I went out and got a new, cheapo TV that is soo much better than my old one! Yay.)

Something Questioned Something New

Happy Monday Everyone!

Time for a thought provoking question from:

50 Questions that Will Free Your Mind

(from here)

Week 10: Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

Ok, I have to admit. I didn't understand this question. It just didn't make sense to me. I feel like somebody just took the words "doing", "right", and "things" and mixed them around to make a pith little question. I feel like Ben Stiller in "Mystery Men" in this scene:

Mr. Furious: Am I the only one who finds these sayings a bit formulaic? "If you want to push something down, you have to pull it up. If you want to go left, then you have to go right. It's..."

The Sphinx: Your temper is very quick, my friend. But until you learn to master your rage..."

Mr. Furious: Your rage will become your master? That's what you were going to say. Right? Right?"

The Sphinx: Not necessarily.

(I was going to put in a clip for everyone's viewing pleasure, but something about copyright violation and blah, blah, blah)

(Don't sue me for copyright violation, Ben Stiller)

Anyway, I had a vision of a bunch of pierced, tattooed people sitting around a tiny New York apartment with their soul patches and their berets, surrounded by Chinese takeout, wine bottles, and joints: "C'mon, people! 50 Questions! We are all intelligent here. Don't tell me we can't come up with 50 questions to free your mind!"

I mean, generally, aren't the people who are worried about doing things right the SAME people who are doing the right things? I figure, there are lots of people out there who don't give a rat's patootie about either of these things. And lots who care about both. But how many care about only one or the other?

However, I don't think the intent of the question is to get me all snippity and self righteous.

So, for arguments sake, let's assume that I'm trapped in a world where quality and values are mutually exclusive; I have to choose to either worry about doing things right or doing the right things. And....

I'm going to choose doing the right things. For a number of reasons.

Firstly, doing a good job on something for the completely wrong reason is rather counterproductive and unfulfilling. It's really no way to go about your life. I know. I've done it in the past. It leaves you as an empty shell of a person.

Also, because sometimes people (like me) use the excuse of doing things perfectly as an excuse to stay stuck. If this isn't done RIGHT (to some impossible standard of right-ness) then it isn't done. Do you know how long you can stay working on and picking at and re-hashing a simple job? A LONG time. Time that could be better spent doing more important things.

Sometimes, it's better to adhere to the school of "good enough". (I believe Jack Black runs that school in the sequal to "School of Rock") The job may not be done perfectly, but SOMETHING is done. And often, something is better than nothing.

However, in the real world, often doing a good job for the right reasons is the ultimate goal. Isn't it?

Today's New Thing:

I tried some raw food. Not like, carrot sticks. But from the whole "Raw Food" line of thinking. I have to admit, the whole raw food thing never made sense to me. But I tried out a recipe and damn! Is it good! I stand corrected.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January Goals

Imagine if I were the person I'm striving to be....I'd be taller first off; I may actually be 5'2" or EVEN 5'3"! I would be thinner; I'd have the cool, Pilate's looking abs, not the inflated looking body builder 6 pack abs. I'd be the best physical therapist the world has ever seen, with a 100% success and 100% satisfaction rate, completely reversing even progressive, non-curable conditions. I'd somehow have tons of extra time to exercise and volunteer and create imaginative works of art in every medium known to man. And my hair would always be perfect.

Ok, maybe that's not what John Lennon had in mind when he wrote that song. Maybe its more like....imagining a better version of yourself and a better life and a better world. And doing just a few little things each day.

As always, I have to make a list. Oh! Imagine the world without lists! *shudder* I would die! I would go completely insane and then just drop dead. I gotta make a list -- quick!


1) Cut out meat and dairy: I had a few injuries in 2010. And a weird, creeping contact dermatitis that lasted forever. And, of course, a never ending respiratory infection. The more I learn about our food sources, the more I am convinced that moving to a more plant based diet is better for overall health. And maybe for reducing risk of injuries and sickness plus for quicker recovery. So I'm gonna stop reading about it and just do it. For a month. And see where I am in February.

2) Work out 30 Times in 30 Days: Yeah, its left over from December where it was an epic fail. But where I failed at the Holiday Booty Buster I can succeed in the New Years Resolution buster! (no link. I just like the word "buster")

3) Journal Daily: Just cause I think it keeps me grounded and more clear headed. And probably more pleasant to be around. It's a gift, really, to all the people who are forced to interact me each and every day!

4) Go on One Winter Hike: Either solo or with somebody.

5) Get Continuing Education Courses Set and Turned In For 2011: Early start.

6) Go on 2 or More Group Runs: Running doesn't always have to be such a solitary activity. I know that in theory. I just always seem to train alone. Group runs may be a nice change.

7) Finish 3 Books This Month: Looking back at last year, maybe a book a week was a bit too lofty a goal (especially when one has a penchant for Stephen King). A week off every now and then is know, to work on my time machine and perfecting cold fusion.

8) Two Projects from the Infamous "Project Box": Again, taking my cues from last year, about half credit. So I'll adjust the goals this year accordingly. So that I don't feel like as I'm making progress I'm still running behind.

9)Write Four Old Fashioned Snail Mail Letters to Friends: I know. Makes me seem like I'm living in the 1940s. But I still say that getting something in the mail is much more uplifting than getting poked on facebook!

10) Girl's Weekend: A girl's gotta have fun, right?

And since it's January.....the month of New Beginnings,

Today's New Thing:
Cooked on my New Electric Skillet. Not as great as the George Foreman Grill. But ok.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goal Wrap Up

Happy New Year, everyone!

I had big plans for 1/1/1111. I was going to get up early and go down to Old Silver Beach for a group run. And then I was going to stand back, NOT cave to peer pressure, and watch the crazy people take the polar plunge. (I'm not opposed to the idea of a polar plunge per se, but I had a cold that lasted 3 1/2 weeks. So jumping in the ocean in the middle of winter did not seem to be in my best interest) I was going to go to Costco. I was going to do some Christmas present returns. And I was going to cook up a storm-- all the healthy food I bought yesterday on my marathon of errands.

As it turns out, I had a lazy day. I did not leave the house. Which is so not like me. But I did cook up a storm. And I drank some tea. And went over my yearly goals. And did some journaling. And cleaned. And got rid of some stuff.

Not quite what I had planned. But I feel good. Rested. And ready to tackle 2011.

December Goals:

1) Wrap all gifts in recycled materials: Ridiculously easy to meet this goal. I had a plethora of gift bags left over from last year. And for items that did not fit into bags, I had insane amounts of brown packing paper and ribbon. (that's one drawback to ordering all your gifts online. Amazon uses way too much packing material! But easy to recycle!)

2) Training schedule all set up for 2011: all set up and written on the calendar.

3) Finish 5 books this month: And thanks to never ending illness, I finished Water for Elephants, Her Fearful Symmetry, Palo Alto Stories, Thrive, and This Time I Dance.

4) 30 Workouts in 30 Days: Epic Fail. I was crushed from that killer cold. Not only when I was actually sick, but during my recovery period.

5) Get Everything Turned in for Advanced Clinician Application: Done! Right at the deadline!

6) Get Apartment Spectacularly Decorated for Xmas: Done. I love my little Charlie Brown tree and I want to keep it up until Valentine's Day!

7) Organize a Memorial for a Friend: Put on the backburner. I wasn't the only one contagious and exhauseted. We're gonna do something at a later date.

8) Get Rid of 30 More Things: Done. I can't believe that I accummulate so much stuff. From somebody who strives for simplicity.

9) Have a Great Birthday: Ok. I don't mean to be a complainer. This is nobody's fault. But my birthday was a bit of a low point. I was sick. And I called in the next day. And I cried in the shower. Because I was just not happy on my actual birthday. But I'm pretty happy now. So, it's all good. Days are days and we shouldn't get stuck on the actualy date.

10) Have a Great Christmas: And THAT was a great day. Spent it with my family and played the part of "Super Auntie"

And the Yearly Goals for 2010:

1) 52 projects in 52 weeks: Half Credit. I did about half the year before just losing interest.

2) 52 Books in 52 Weeks: I ended up Completing 46 books in 52 Weeks. Not too shabby

3) Using Cloth Bags for 100% of my shopping excursions: Almost completely. A few mess ups here and there, but much more of an automatic behavior

4) Generate Only 12 Bags of Trash in 12 Months: 16 small bags of trash.

So even though I really seemed to lose steam this year, not too shabby overall. I'm excited for lots of new things to strive for in 2011.