Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dumbass Drivers

updated the recipe page with the tomato & cucumber salad. It's high calorie (147), but it's important to note that the vast majority of those calories are from the olive & coconut oil (only a scant -very scant- 1/2 tbsp of each); and healthy fats are an important part of a healthy diet. Anyway, it was really yummy, and just a simple "toss-it-in-a-baggie" side-dish.

Bethany (my 14 yr-old) joined me today for 6:30am yoga. I don't think she was impressed. LOL! I, however, enjoyed it. This was my second class with this particular instructor, and while her music choices still strike me as odd, I do like her teaching style. Today's class was much (MUCH) faster paced... wow! Lots of fun! She'll be subbing for the Saturday morning class, so I'm planning to attend that one instead of Sunday's class.

Starting tomorrow, we are entering the Preparation for School Shopping Vortex. I plan to wear my heart rate monitor, just for giggles. :-)  This year, I've instituted what I hope is a brilliant plan. I went to my bank and got gift cards (visa)  for each of the girls with their share of the school shopping money. While I maintain veto power, and of course, all clothing items must meet dress-code approval, these handy little visa's will save me some sanity, and some cash. No more, "Mom, I know I'm at my limit, but it looks sooooo cute on me!" [with batting eyelashes and puppy dog smiles]. When the card runs out, so do they. Plus, if I really don't want to drive to timbuktoo, I don't have to because they don't need me and my card! :-)  Yay!

Somebody slipped up and I got my hands on the memo below... explains a lot about my drive in to work this morning. Hmmm.


Date: JULY 29, 2010

Today is officially "Brake For No Reason Day". Please feel free to brake at will. Further, we encourage you to randomly change speed, slowing to around 10 mph on 50 mph roads. Do this often. Additionally, if you have the opportunity to travel 3-cars wide on a 3-lane road, all traveling at the same speed, please do so.

Special note... Do not, under any circumstances, forward this memo to Chelle Stafford. A secondary purpose to "Brake For No Reason Day" is to cause great annoyance to her during what would normally be a very simple commute.
Thank you.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Grandbaby!

Cardio this morning... I did 30 minutes on the elliptical, including 15 of intervals, then stretched, went home and cooked breakfast then packed my cooler. Those breakfast sandwiches are so easy and quick! Loving them! My food yesterday was a bit off in the ratios, so today I'll be keeping a closer eye on things to make sure I line up to my 33%/33%/33%.

Dinner turned out to be neither burgers nor chicken parm... forgot that the chicken for the parm has to marinate overnight. So that's marinating now, for tonight, lol. Last night I made another recipe out of Devin Alexander's book I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening... and it got Bill's approval. Super easy. It's just browned chicken breasts topped with a couple tablespoons fire-roasted tomatoes and a tablespoon of reduced-fat feta each then cooked until done. Add a salad and you've got dinner. Awesome! I love easy! :-)

In other news... we have a new "grand" baby. Jeron (hubby's stepson) and his girlfriend just had their 2nd child, a little girl named Kylie.
Sean and baby Kylie baby Kylie

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yes, Virginia, Healthy Food CAN Taste Great!

Tuesday, 7/27/2010:   3pm... Wow I'm sore! Yowza! Holy Wookies in Walkers! Anyone who says yoga isn't a workout needs to try it!

Food... man, for the 2nd day in a row, I am famished! I'm eating my last snack right now (which normally I wait until 4pm), and I'm thinking I might have to have something else before the gym tonight. I believe this is my body telling me to crank up the caloric intake, lol. I will bump them up a bit tomorrow and see if that helps. Still unsure of what dinner will be tonight... maybe bacon burgers (though may save that for thursday), or may be cleaned up chicken parmesan.

Oh lordy, I'm sore!

This morning I went to the 6:30am yoga class. This is my third class with as many teachers... and they're all different! Crazy! But... I managed to do that thing where you reach behind and grab your opposite ankle (remember before?)! Woohoo!  The music choice was a bit on the.... odd side, but whatever. By the end of class, I felt like Gumby, lol.  It was good, and I plan on returning Thursday morning.

I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but I'm packing daily coolers for both my hubby and his dad now. His dad enjoyed his first one yesterday, and called to tell me how great it was. He knew I'd pack healthy food, so it was with great trepidation that he opened his cooler (fully expecting bean sprouts & tofu). He loved what he found in there, and couldn't believe that "healthy" could taste so great! LOL! Another thing he said that really struck me was that no one had ever packed him a lunch with what HE wanted in mind, rather than what someone else wanted him to eat, and he really appreciated it.

My father-in-law has a similar mindset to my husband... "I don't care if it's healthy or not, it only matters if it tastes good."  Know anyone like that? LOL. It's been a long evolving process, but I'm starting to get it... and win. My husband (and kids) love my cooking. Bill is always surprised when he enjoys something and says, "this isn't healthy", and I say, "Oh yes it is!". 

Cases in point... Bacon Cheeseburgers! last night's Bacon Wrapped Tilapia! Or my Taco Salad! Chili! Stacked Sandwiches... the list goes on. The point is, it does have to taste good in order to have my family on board. And while one who will go un-named continually harangues my family members about my crappy health food, my family is actually enjoying it. And defending it. And recommending it. So there! :-)

 [yes, I'm about as mature sometimes as a 12 year old]

Monday, July 26, 2010

 I remained sore throughout the entire weekend! My legs, particularly inner thigh, screamed! Woohoo! New muscle! Saturday I did my food prep, and Sunday we drove out to CA to pick up the girls, I'm so glad they're home! :-) This morning I hit the gym and did cardio. Treadmill! Yay! So far, so good! My back is feeling fine, and the new shoes & inserts really helped my knees. Love my new shoes! I'm trying out a new morning routine... I was at the gym by 6:45, home and eating breakfast by 7:30, then off to ready for the day. Usually, I sit on the back patio and read, chill, whatever until it's time to prep for the day.

Why the new routine? Distraction. Yep, I'm quitting smoking all over again. This time, I've decided to approach it the same way I did my lifestyle change; with more of a gradual, baby steps style.  I'm hoping to have the same kind of lasting success that I had with food. Week 1: I can smoke in the mornings with Bill (our coffee, chill & wake up time), I can smoke in the evenings with Bill (our end of the day routine), and I can have ONE cigarette during the day. ONE. At the end of this week, I will revise for the second week.  The best part is that Bill is doing this with me! Yay!

Food today is a little light considering my activity level, so I may have to boost it up a bit as the day rolls on. I plan to head back to the gym tonight for legs/lower body.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Workout Kicked My Butt

 I am sooooo sore! Thursday night Tab and I did legs. The motivation to hit the gym I had in the morning had  evaporated by 5pm, but I went anyway. I did the workout, but my joy just wasn't there. I kept kicking myself for not "giving it my all", but all I could do was just get it done. Imagine my surprise when upon waking this morning I was so sore I could barely move! And I had a workout (upper body) scheduled for 7:45am with Tab! We were both sore, lol, but had a kick-ass workout plus cardio. I came home and chowed down on an egg & spinach breakfast sandwich (ezekiel english muffin) with some fresh grapefruit juice for vit.C. Once I managed to drag my butt up the stairs (let me tell you how much the glutes protest to stairs 24 hrs after a killer leg workout!) I got ready for the day then headed out for my errands.

I replaced my old gym shoes and got some new inserts which hopefully will relieve some of the stress on my knees, then joined Tab at the nail salon for a much needed and very much enjoyed pedicure followed by a bite of sushi. Ahhhhh, Girl Time! Nothin' Like It! 

Tonight, Bill is at a friendly (ha ha) poker tournament, while I am home alone (all alone, ahhhhhh!). I am at this moment enjoying a glass of red wine (no detectable sulfites - Frey label) and plan to enjoy a piece of Godiva dark chocolate shortly. I'm catching up on Losing it with Jillian without any distractions, and I'm LOVING it! :-)

Oh... New showerhead is WONDERFUL!!! Woohoo!

Hope your day and evening are wonderful too!  (Did I mention I'm sore? Oh, and I forgot to say, I'M SORE!!!!! ROFL!)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chelle VS The Shower (The Shower Won)

Hit the wall (and a few other things). No gym last night. Decided not to fight it, so instead I put on a cute top, freshened my lipstick (well, I would have if I wore any), and tagged along to the bowling alley. Had fun just hanging out and doing a bit of reading, then came home and had some low-fat cottage cheese (I didn't have anything but a couple mini pretzels & water at the bowling alley), then went to bed. Today is a fresh new day, and I'm excited about hitting the gym.

That comment I made about hitting the wall and a few other things? If this isn't classic Chelle, I don't know what is. Let me begin where all good stories do... at the beginning.

Two days ago, I am taking a shower. Bill has already left for the office, the dog has claimed my space on the bed, and I'm looking forward to some much needed exfoliation. I'm scrubbing up (I LOVE my sugar scrub) then reach up to grab the sprayer to rinse off... SNAP! The handheld shower head breaks clean off and I stand stunned as water hurtles (who knew we had such great water pressure!?) over the shower and onto my clothing laid out for the day (and the window, and the curtain, and...). I frantically grab for the wriggling hose, spraying myself full in the face. I now have water, sugar and coconut oil in my eyes as I continue to fight for control over this living water-monster in my shower. Finally, all is under control, I've managed to rinse off, shut down the water, and towel myself dry. I calmly send a text message to my husband that we need a new shower head. We agree I will pick one up on Friday, as surely we can manage until then, right? Of course. NOT. 

Today. I am taking a shower (I like to do this occasionally, as it makes me a better smelling person, with whom people do not object to being in the same room with, lol). I think I am managing quite well with the hose (despite truly awesome water pressure) and I lean over to spray [read: hose down] my back. As I come back up, I (who never do things by halves) slam the back of my head into the bottom of the shower door handle. Slam, people. Tweeting birds and circling stars. Oh, and blood. Next thing, I am sitting on the floor of the shower, vaguely wondering how I got there and who is pointing a fire hose in my face.

My (clearly not as thick as I thought) skull and I will be going to Home Depot on my lunch break. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Workout Music & Dinner in 12 Minutes. NICE!

Ugh... hit a major slump. Sleepy! Time to break into the stash... KOMBUCHA!!!  I have two bottles from before stupid-celebrity-induced-panic pulled the glorious tea from the shelves. Cosmic Cranberry is about to revivify me! Yes, I just used revivify in a sentence. I'm a geek, what can I say? :-)  The bad news, is that I'm now down to just one bottle in my secret hiding space in the office fridge. Bummer.

ok seriously people! Get the Kombucha back in the stores! This is good stuff!

New cardio playlist that I'll be trying out tonight is posted here.

You know those days where you have to drag your butt kicking and screaming into the gym and through the whole workout? That was yesterday. It ended up just being me and the evil-me kept saying, c'mon... take the day off. While the good-me said, get your a$$ in there!!!  She was louder, so I went. Lol. I did chest & biceps, then 20 min intervals on stair-master. Then dinner was taco salad. I used bison, and it was super yummy! The family layer tortilla chips (see below), shredded lettuce (or bag salad), browned bison simmered in crushed tomatos w/green chilies, and Mrs Dash Southwest Chipotle, Rosarita refried black beans, shredded 2% cheddar, sour cream (light) and taco sauce. Mine however, is on a bed of shredded cabbage, then the bison mix, a bit of beans, then a big scoop (1/4 to 1/3 cup) lowfat cottage cheese, a sprinkle of reduced fat feta, and taco sauce. Sometimes I eat a few chips, most-times not. Super easy dinner! On the table in 12 minutes flat! Wooh!

Today I'll either do legs & cardio, or just cardio. Haven't decided yet. But I'm building a new cardio playlist so maybe that'll help me get motivated today :-)

Click on the photos below to view larger

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chaos & Burgers

 No gym yesterday. I got home to discover that our air conditioner was out, the Cox cable people were trying to fix our cable, and our landlord was in and out attempting to fix the AC. It was a bit chaotic, as well as being 100 degrees INSIDE my house. Oy. Landlord finally got it running again at about 9:15 last night, and the cable people are back at my house this morning to check the wiring in the attic (glad I'm not up there!).

While my fitness plan went awry, my dinner plan was successful. We tried a new recipe out of Devin Alexander's I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening!  And WOW! Awesome! The Bacon Burgers on pg 48 are great, and I only had to tweak a couple things to make them clean for me. I found a wonderful brand of bacon bits that are clean (Wellshire), and the bbq sauce (Robbie's) was phenomenal! I used an Earthgrains thin bun, while Bill had his Potato Bun (someday I will win that battle, but at least this is one without HFC). He also had some Pops bbq chips with his burger. Oh, and I used Bison instead of Beef.

Tonight, Tab & I are hitting the gym together (I love having a workout buddy!). Then dinner tonight will be Taco Salad.

Now... I must say... You guys overwhelm me. Thank you for your understanding, compassion, and virtual smacks on the head regarding my horrid confession. Truly. You humble and inspire me. I will keep on keeping on, and I WILL win this battle.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Confession - Good for the Soul, but it SUCKS!

I've got some catching up to do! I'll start with Friday.... GIRL DAY!!! Wooohoo! Tab and I did legs at 8am, then cleaned up, ate, and hit the mall(s)! Shop till you drop was the name of the game! It was awesome! And of course, we hit up Godiva for a delightful chocolate treat! :-) We found everything on the list, plus I picked up a pair of Nike workout pants (capris) for $20 (YES!), a new bra (go Bombshell Strapless! A godsend for the boob-challenged. Woo!), a new perfume (what is it about me that only picks new perfumes when they're about to be done away with! Yeesh!). Above all, it was wonderful just to have some girl-time.

Wow, the day is flying by! Ok, back to my update. Saturday was chill... a variety of chores then hung out by the pool with the hubby (we were the only ones home, wooohoo!), splashed around with the dog, and tried to watch a movie, but the HDTV was messed up. Sunday was grocery shopping and food prep... grilled chicken, quinoa, hard boiled eggs, crockpot beets... the usual. I did find a new "cooler" for Bill, as he's evidently unhappy with his "un-manly" cooler, lol. Below are some quick pics from my Counter of Chaos :-) along with a photo of my dinner - Ahi Steak sandwich (YUMMMM!!!). I'll post the recipe soon. Even Bill liked it (he hates fish, lol).

Confession...    Ok. I give.  Confession may be good for the soul, but it "effing" sucks! Here goes. I have a Total Epic Fail, with no one to blame but myself. I'm smoking again. #@!%*!  How is it that I can take control of my food & fitness, I can achieve a huge weight loss and maintain it, I can stop smoking for 9 months... and then... what? Why?  How did I fail? It's time to do some serious soul-searching. I don't even like smoking! I don't like the stale-smoke odor, or ash everywhere, or restricted lung capacity, or sitting in 115 degree heat to suck down a cigarette.

So what do I like? The companionship... weird, right? Bill never did quit smoking, and since smoking isn't allowed in the house, if he went out for a smoke, that was time I missed out on. Stupid. I know, but that's how it started, and it just gathered momentum from there.
It's amazing the lies I tell myself...
○  If I don't actually buy the cigarettes, then I'm not really "smoking again".  (Really???)
○  If I can hide it from the kids, then I'm not really "smoking again".  (uhhh, busted)  
○  If I don't smoke around other smokers, then I'm not really "smoking again". (Seriously?)
○  My asthma is better (which it is, but is the cancer risk worth the natural bronchiodilation aspect of the tobacco? I don't think so).
○  I'll quit tomorrow.
○  I'll quit after ____ (fill in whatever stressful event is coming up).
○  It's not affecting my health/fitness (whatever!!)

I know these are lies. I know how disappointed my kids are. I know how disappointed I am. So why don't I stop? What is it that's keeping me lighting up? I honestly don't know, but you can be damned sure I'm going to figure it out, and this time make it stick.  I have to discover what the hook in me is before I can successfully quit -- and geeze! There's another one! what is wrong with me? Just quit already! Sure it's important to figure it out, to get off the sick cycle, but that's not a reason to put off quitting.  I think I have another ginormous ugly blanket to knit.
Bottom line, folks... I'm real. I'm fallible. I fail. Epically. Miserably. But...I will beat this. I will.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's Hot Out There!

4pm: Holy Spandex Tights on Cows, Batman! It's hot out there! 115 degrees! I've spent the day fighting with computer code (currently the code is winning, but I will emerge the victor!), so I needed to get out and clear my head. I locked up my office and stepped outside and WOW, THAT'S HOT! You know when you open the oven door and that initial blast of hot air singes your eyelashes and melts your mascara into a clump? Yeah, it's that hot. Yikes!
Soon to be on my way to the gym... can't wait!

Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!

9am: Great workout last night. Chest & Triceps, then stair-master. After, I had a bit of spicy shrimp pasta I picked up from my local grocery, then went over to the bowling alley. I'm still poppin' ibuprofen, my muscles are sore, but I love that; the knees are a bit wobbly. Climbing up the stairs at home they sound crunchy, lol. Regardless, I'm feeling good. My back is doing just fine (yay!), and I've been in the gym 3x this week, burning a total of 1477 calories so far. Today is another leg day, plus stairs. I'm hoping next week I can try the treadmill. Friday is shopping! Tab and I are hitting up the mall (Victoria Secret just came out with a strapless/convertible Bombshell bra!) and it's been forever since we've had a mall day. Can't wait! Look out Fashion Square, here comes Lucy & Ethel! :-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Difficult For Me To Accept Limitations

Workout went well. Here's what I did: 3x - Leg Press, Stiff legged deadlifts with 20# bar, Squat Press with 20# bar. 2x - Swiss ball hamstring rolls, walking lunges with 12# bar on shoulders, wall-crunches with 10# ball. Then 20 min intervals on the stair-master. Burned 474 calories in an hour. I was super careful of my back - keeping excellent form and using low weights, as this was the first time doing these exercises since my injury. Afterwards, I drove home (too hot to walk, now, it was 113 at 7:00pm), had my Vitamin C (grapefruit juice), and finished the other half of my lunch wrap & a couple hard boiled egg whites. Popped a couple ibuprofen, just in case. After about an hour, I took stock... back felt fine... strong, even (and Tab gave me the thumbs up on my workout, yay!). Knees... Oy.

It's difficult for me to accept limitations (quit laughing - yes, it's an understatement, lol). When I tore the cartilage & patellar tendon in my knee, the World's Greatest Trainer (aka, Tab) was incredible at rehabbing it and getting me back on track. I know now, how to strengthen the supporting muscles, how to build up for stability & power, but the challenge is the degenerative condition that was discovered when I was injured. The undersides of my kneecaps are wearing away at an accelerated rate (both the patella and the cartilage). The eventuality is that I will need to have both kneecaps replaced someday. To extend the life of my patellas, it's important to build strong quads, as these control the "tracking" of the patella and can reduce wear on the underlying cartilage. Because of my back injury, I had let my legs go... now I'm back, and boy am I feeling it.

All last night, my knees felt like glass (still do). I was sure that if I knelt down, they'd shatter. I hate that feeling. I don't like to feel weak, in any way. In fighting it, I push too hard, I injure myself. Then I berate myself for stubbornly pushing too hard and causing injury. Ugh. There is a balance, and I'm actively seeking it. It's a difficult thing sometimes to differentiate between basic muscle soreness and injurious pain. It's also difficult to enforce rest on someone who sees it as weakness. I am working on this.

Food For Life (Ezekiel) 7-Sprouted Grains English MuffinsAnyway... Today's workout for me is chest & triceps, along with the stair-master. Food today is on track. I picked up some Sprouted 7-grain english muffins for my breakfast sandwich, along with some no-salt added turkey breast (Golden Farms). Snacks are simple, yet complete (hard boiled eggs & apple, Siggi's yogurt & string cheese). Lunch is a sandwich... Earthgrains thin bun with 4 ounces Golden Farms Turkey Breast, tomato, lettuce, cheddar and 1 tbsp dijon mustard, plus a banana.  Tonight is bowling for Bill, so after my workout, I'll have to clean up then go pick him up. Can't believe it's already Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Breakfast Sandwich - YUMMY!

I feel good after yesterday's workout, my back isn't hurting and I am hopeful! My muscle soreness doesn't usually set in until right at 24 hrs or later, so we'll see how I feel later. I'm looking forward to my workout this evening (lower body). With the kids gone, I don't have any time constraints and can enjoy my time in the gym without worrying about rushing home or organizing schedules. Though, I have to say, it's too quiet! I miss them! :-)

I've updated the recipes page with the nutrition data for the breakfast sandwich, and also added a variation that is egg-only (which was my breakfast today as I'd run out of turkey, lol).  

Monday, July 12, 2010

Workout, Food, Motivation...

Awesome workout! It's so much more fun when you have a workout buddy :-)  Though, Tab and I are about to start a betting pool on how long until the trainers there confront us, lol! I've already had run-ins when they thought that I was training my girls. They didn't believe me that I wasn't a trainer, and those were just my kids (ha! I'll take it as a compliment!). Today they were watching us like hawks (again!)!  LOL!  After the gym, I had my post-workout kiwi (vitamin c helps reduce Cortisol levels - cortisol leads to belly fat), then I made a breakfast sandwich (click for recipe). These are soooo good! They're based on a recipe in a Devin Alexander book, but I cleaned it up :-) I'll figure out the nutritional data for them tomorrow and get it posted.

Let's see if I can remember everything from the workout...
5 minute treadmill walking warm-up
Round 1 (x3):  One arm squat cable pulls; Wide grip lat pull downs.
Round 2 (x2):  Low Rows; Assisted pull ups (have I mentioned I HATE this machine? LOL)
Round 3 (x2):  Standing on bosu - bicep curls into shoulder presses; bent over reverse flye with shoulder rotation.
Cardio: 20 minutes intervals on stair-master
Calories burned: 578 calories

4pm:  Woohoo! I had already planned to hit the gym after work today, then it turns out Tab is available at the same time! We're doing upper body (back, biceps, shoulders), then the stair monster! Yay!
On another note... picked up the current On Fitness Magazine today. There was an interesting little tidbit on pg 14 in an article about feeding hurting muscles...

"Coconut Oil. The fats in coconut oil are absorbed directly into the blood stream and can be used quickly for energy and recovery, where other fats have to be routed through the lymphatic system. These fats can greatly increase the energy requirement for muscle recovery quickly and effectively." Dr. Jade Teta [Holistic physician and certified strength and conditioning specialist in NC]

I'm a strong proponent of using Coconut Oil regularly, so it was nice to see a fitness publication also recognize the value. Most experts will warn us against ingesting fats (even healthy ones) just before or after a workout. Protein & carbs, yes; fat, no. Coconut oil is the exception to this rule. And in my experience, eating coconut oil before a workout helped increase my stamina and recovery time. Coconut water (pure coconut water, not mixed with other juices) had a similar effect.

9am:  I had the most incredible weekend! Sorry I wasn't online, but my friend and her family were here and I hadn't seen her in 22 years! She's a runner (Boston Marathon, etc) and looked amazing! We had the best time just hanging out by the pool and talking. It was awesome!
Then Sunday, we drove the girls to CA to meet up with their dad for another 2 week visit. Didn't get home until after 7 (stopped for dinner), so no Sunday Food Prep. Food is good today, though, and I'm running out to my favorite "clean" restaurant to pick up lunch (steamed chicken, veggies & brown rice). So my cooler is light but I'm still on track.

Fitness.... ok. here's the thing. I'm still battling my back. :-( It's better, then it's not. Then it's better. Oy. But... I have a plan. First, visiting with Ang really brought back the fire for my back-burner-goal to actually run a 5k (not just walk it). I mean seriously, how can you be around someone who does the Boston and NOT be inspired! Not possible!  :-)  Anyway, that means treadmill time, which I cannot do until my back is healed (Tab has me banned until I have no pain). So, I've given myself 2 weeks (yes, another 2 weeks) to try to allow this to heal on its own while I work with the stair-master and Tab's modified lower-body routine. If I'm not truly better in 2 weeks, then I will admit defeat and see the doctor. If I am better, I will go to step 2... back on the treadmill (obviously only with Tab's blessing)! Then I plan to build up to 5k running.

Because we were on the road Sunday, I also didn't get to do Yoga, but I plan to keep that in my routine. Once I'm back on my feet, I'm also on the lookout for unusual fitness classes, so if you hear of anything be sure to shoot it my way! I want to try some new things :-) as long as there's no pole involved, lol! :-) 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Star Wars Cookies & Lousy Neighbors

Ok, so a cookie artist I am not. Lol! I finally gave up on Darth Vader, didn't even bother with Boba Fet,  but Yoda and the storm troopers didn't turn out too horribly. Click on the little picture to view the big one.

The Going-Away Party was a success. The kids had a blast. Did have a bit of a run-in with the behind-us-neighbor. Oy. This woman. Let me start at the beginning.

About 3 months ago, Shiloh (my 16-yr old) was home sick. Mid-day, she took the dog out back. This neighbor was in her back yard doing something to the trees which of course got Nakki stirred up. This person then proceeded to scream at my daughter for letting the dog bark. Excuse me, but if you have a problem with my dog, you talk to an adult in the house, not berate a kid. Anyway. I never saw this woman, so I just let it go. Our dog isn't a barker, only when there's a reason to bark. She sleeps in our room (in our bed, lol), and is inside all night long. She has a doggie door so she can go outside when she needs to during the day, but in no way is she a "noisy" dog.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting outside my bedroom (upstairs patio) reading as the sun was going down (ah, Arizona sunsets). Nakki was prowling the backyard, just sniffing at stuff like dogs do. Suddenly I heard this weird "Ch Ch Ch" sound and looked up. This strange woman was leaning over our back wall, snapping her fingers and making her "Ch" sound at my dog! WTH? So I watched her for a moment, trying to figure out what the heck she was doing... She then began waving her arms around and making louder "Ch" sounds... Nakki, of course, was going nuts, barking and lunging at the wall. This annoyed me.

I spoke up, "She's only barking because you're antagonizing her. If you stop, she will too." The shock on this woman's face when she looked up and saw me sitting there! Mucho funny!  She then began to upbraid me for having a barking dog. It seems that my duty was to be certain my dog is silent at all times (sorry lady, the yappy dogs are 2 doors down from you and belong to the HOA president). I explained again that the dog will stop barking and lunging if she will stop snapping, waving her arms over the fence and making "Ch" noises. She tells me my dog is outside barking all day and all night and she just can't handle it anymore (try Lithium, lady... the voices in your head are the ones barking).  She threatens to go the HOA (remember who the yappy dogs belong to). I say "OK". She threatens to call the police. I say "OK". Finally she storms off to make her call. The police never did come to the door, so I don't know if she actually called or not, but seriously, this woman is a fruit-loop!

This brings me to last night. Now, I'm not an bad person (really, I'm not!) and I am a good neighbor. We're throwing this teen-party, so my rules are simple. 6pm to 9pm. Keep the music at a reasonable level. Everyone out of the pool, outdoor music off and kids inside by full-dark (about 8:30pm). And finally, keep to our property. It's a weeknight, but it's also summer, so I feel the "everyone inside, music off by 8:30pm" is both reasonable and responsible.

The party begins, kids show up and by 6:30 (full daylight, folks) they're all in the pool, splashing and having a ball. I'm sitting out back keeping an eye on them, when guess who pops her head over the wall and starts yelling at the kids to shut up and turn off the music. Really? Oh yeah. I sigh, and wave her attention to me. She complains that the kids are too loud, the music is too loud, and the dog is barking again. I point out that it's full daylight, it's summer, it's a party, and I'm chaperoning and will be certain that she is not inconvenienced any more than necessary (you ol' bat). She continues complaining, then says she's calling the police. Whatever.

I go inside to check on the Star Wars cookies, and when I return she has turned on her stereo and is (I am so not kidding, you can't make this stuff up) blasting at top volume POLKA music, in the original language. The kids are laughing hysterically, so am I. The party goes on, and by 8:30 the kids have consumed 3 pizzas, an inordinate number of snacks, have cleaned up the backyard (what?! Who are these kids and can I make them mine?) and moved inside where they work on several "memory" boards for Amber (who is moving to Florida).

Bill comes home from bowling, and by 9pm the last of the guests have gone home. We head out back to sit and relax a bit (pulling a stray gummy bear out of the seat cushion). We chill a moment then he says, "Shiloh, please turn the stereo down, and... what the heck are you listening to?"  Shi and I bust out laughing, he gets a bit annoyed and reaches for the stereo. Which is off. Then it hits him. HA! He looks toward the back wall, turns back to me and says, "Really?". "Oh yeah."  "How long has this been going on?"  "Since 6:30 when she complained about the kids, dog and music." "Well, how mature."  ROFL!

She continued to blast her music until exactly 10pm. I'm tellin' ya, folks... this year's graduation party (I have 2 seniors) is gonna be an experience! 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In a Galaxy Far, Far, Away...

9am: It's up! Tab's Training Tips is launched! :-) Wooohoo!! Please check it out, and if you have any fitness questions, send them her way :-) I'm so excited to be able to share her with you! We've got a lot of fun things in store for the future, and she's already answered 3 questions!
Tonight, I am hosting a houseful of teenagers. My youngest daughter's best friend is moving to Florida on friday, so tonight is the going away party. Between that and various errands I will be unable to hit the gym, which normally means I'd have done it this morning, but like all best-laid-plans that too, went awry... I overslept. Oy. So, no gym today, but my food is clean and on track.

The boys (my son Joey & his buddy Robbie) came over last night so I cooked up Devin Alexander's Chicken Enchilasagna. Very tasty, it's a family favorite. I made it with Ezekiel's sprouted corn tortillas (and doubled the chicken of the original recipe to make it higher in protein). I sent the leftovers home with the boys :-)

On another note, my back is giving me trouble again. Dagnabbit! Have I mentioned how much I detest injury? I do. Deeply. Today I'm back in my flats and moving slowly.
Not. A. Happy. Camper.

On a completely different note :-) Look what arrived!!!! One of my errands today is to hunt down an icing set (Find the icing, I will) so the kids can make cookies tonight for the party :-)  (Yes, my geekdom knows no bounds!)

UPDATE 2PM:    Find the icing, I did. Strong is the force in me. :-) 

Need a laugh? Have you read the Twilight books? Then you simply must read Jen Lancaster's June 30th blog... I'm still rolling!    Then read this:       

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Up and Coming...

Well, I'm working on Tab's new page (woohoo!), and building up some things and discovered that it's time to put a disclaimer up on the site (you know all that legalese stating that "my advice is not a substitute for your physician's and if you break a leg it's not my fault" stuff). It's almost sad for me... this site grew out of my passion for the things I've learned (and continue to learn). It's very personal for me and so to have to put a "professional" disclaimer up, feels a little like growing up and leaving behind a lovely childhood. Silly, I know, but there it is. My little website is growing up. :-)

Had a great weekend, got my food prep done yesterday and am ready for the week. There are some terrific things happening this week, including a long overdue visit with a friend I haven't seen in 22 years! Woohoo!

I'm also thrilled to announce that Tab (aka, The World's Greatest Trainer) will be joining me on this website! She'll be available to answer questions about fitness and training, and I'm so excited! If you'd like to see your question answered on the site, please email me, and I'll send it to Tab, then get it posted as I get her pages built.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Part II: The Great Yoga Debacle

Ahhh Yoga. The peace, the Zen, the unfortunate injuries to innocent class-goers.  Lol!  Here's what happened...

Tab couldn't attend this week, so at 7:45am I make my way down the hill to the gym. This time I am better prepared (I brought a towel) and confidently take my place in the back of the room. I set up my mats, lay my towel down, remove my shoes (flip flops this time, no fighting with tennies!), and settle in to stretch and prepare. As the other attendees enter, they glance at me then quickly move toward the front of the room (I see the memo went out). 

The instructor enters (a substitute), adjusts the heater, and begins to chat with folks as she sets up. The lights dim, soft soothing music drifts through the room, and our Yogi asks if anyone is new to yoga. I raise my hand (and silently apologize in advance). She smiles graciously, pretending not to notice that there is no one within a 12 foot radius of my mat.

We begin, lightly stretching and bending as the room gently warms (only 106 this time!). As class flows onward, I am gaining confidence in my ability to learn these new skills. Latecomers have now entered the room, and with the only free-space being on either side of me, they've reluctantly taken their places (don't think I didn't notice their dismay). But, this is a new day! I am serene. I am loose. My towel is absorbing my sweat, brilliantly preventing slip-injury.  I am smugly congratulating myself on my newfound success when it happens. I should have known, though really, I cannot blame myself. I blame maintenance. Who waxes a wood floor before yoga class? Really? Yep. From Cobra to Downward Dog... my mat flew (perhaps the resident yoga gremlin yanked it) back and to the left, while I was thrown forward and to the right.

After recovering my mat, and resuming my pose, I realize that I have a long way to go before yoga is in any way natural to me. I will persevere. I will conquer. Though, sadly, I can be certain that next week, the empty space surrounding my mat will remain empty, no matter how many late folk show up. (Really people, I said I was sorry!)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Today's My Dad's Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Dad!!!  :-)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Date Night at Barrio Cantina & Grill, Phoenix

Date night! Tonight we headed over to a restaurant called Barrio. It's a little Mexican cantina style that has amazing food and the most incredible homemade tortilla chips! I ordered the Seafood Experience which has 2 Jalapeño bacon wrapped shrimp with a sweet chili tamarind sauce and a halibut taco, with black beans. Now, I have to admit, this is my treat meal and when my plate arrived and I saw one tiny taco and 2 shrimp I kinda felt... annoyed. LOL! But wow! It really was the perfect amount of food, and the flavors were so incredible that you had to slow down and savor them. We'll definitely be going back there! Click on the photo below to view their website.

I am a member of Groupon, which is a company that offers amazing discount "coupons" to groups. Here's how it works... they offer a deal, and if enough people buy it, it's on! I get a daily email with my "groupon" offering, and I either delete it or buy it :-) It's a screaming deal! We got a $40 certificate to Bario for only $20. I've also purchased groupons for indoor rock climbing ($10 for an all day pass!!), for a local frozen yogurt store ($2 for a $10 certificate!), and then indoor rock climbing again for the whole family. If you're into deals, check out their site and see if they have your city.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Cookbook Review - I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening, Devin Alexander

Devin Alexander's I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening!  Devin Alexander Healthy Cookbooks
Wow! I love it! In the first 10 pages of recipes, I dog-eared 8! I never find that many recipes in one book that I can incorporate into my lifestyle! Did I say "Wow!" yet? 'Cuz, WOW! I'm finally all the way through the book and I found so many great recipes to try that I'm amazed! My only complaint is that she doesn't count sugars in her nutritional analysis of the recipes, but it'd be pretty simple to figure out if I just take the time to do it. Most cookbooks call for ingredients I don't/won't use, so it's always a matter of "is it worth the time to clean this up?"... but in this book (unlike her "Most Decadent Diet Ever") she addresses this question, and really, most recipes I can make just as they're written! What?? Wow!

Devin Alexander - Healthy Cookbook - Most Decadent Diet EverNow I have to say, I really like the Most Decadent Diet Ever, there are some great recipes, some of which have been featured in Muscle and Fitness Hers (where she has a regular column), but the majority of them I have to tweak to make them fit my lifestyle. And yeah, it's worth it. The Chicken Enchilasagna on page 134 alone was worth the price of the book, lol!  (DO NOT FEAR THE CHEESE! In moderation, cheese is a great source of healthy fats and GREAT flavor!).  Devin does go very low-fat, so if you try her recipes and you see one that is super low-fat, don't be afraid to add in some healthy olive oil or coconut oil, avocado, nuts or whatever works with the meal.

But getting back to I Can't Believe It's Not Fattening! I give it 5 stars! Awesome resource! I just counted and I've dog-eared 30 recipes! That's just from my first pass through the book! (here's a word you didn't see coming...) WOW!!!!! 
9am... Definitely no gym yesterday. I relaxed and watched Everafter (only the greatest Cinderella movie EVER!) and then fell asleep during When Harry Met Sally. I don't think I moved all night, lol. Today I feel great, energized, and ready to go. I'm looking forward to my workout tonight! :-)

A friend just posted this link on a forum I belong to... very useful info (and not-a-little scary!). I encourage you to check it out (Thanks, Lynn!)