Thursday, June 17, 2010

Loving the state I'm in

Today wasn't entirely a rest day, as I did a morning shift at work (prep for a big event we're having tomorrow). It still felt wonderfully luxurious, though. I got up earlyish, as I've been doing automatically for a little while now, which gave me plenty of time to chill with coffee, paper and a real breakfast.Coffee, delicious cherries (almost gone!) and a couple of wasabreads spread with tuna and topped with tomato. I love pairing good ripe tomatoes, with that rich almost-sweetness they get, with something savory, and this is one of my favorite combinations.

Lunch was late, as I didn't get back to the house till afternoon, but worth the wait.Amam's leftover soup from Chinese night - probably not much more than water, MSG and a few veggies. Still, it's tasty and (sans MSG, fingers crossed) a good way to up my fluid intake. I added more water and a little salt and pepper to feel less guilty. Milk in my new-found mug (it was tucked away in the garage and I commandeered it), and an old favorite from WAY back when: tomatoes and cheese broiled on toast. When I was younger I used to completely smother this thing with cheese, so I used considerably less of that, thicker tomato slices and this aMAZing rye bread that's about half a centimeter thick but dense as hell and absolutely delicious.

Not shown: more cherries nom nom!

After lunch I took my book and drove down to the Eno to enjoy this perfect NC summer day. I really, really love this state. There are certain times, just long enough after the government-sent roadway landskeepers come by with their mowers and edgers and herbicide, that all nature seems to be just barely constrained - that if you turned your back for too long or even blinked, the brambles and vines would surge beyond their man-mandated boundaries and turn the whole place into wilderness again, every view filled with dappled gold-green sunlight on the leaves that explode out of the earth with every summer rainstorm. I've been to a fair amount of places that are said to be very beautiful, and to be sure there have been some strong contenders, but quite honestly nothing can compare with a lazy Carolina day, lying under a tree and looking up at a sky of blue-and-green stained glass, shimmering golden with every breeze.

With all this poetic wandering, I forgot to take pictures. Next time, I promise...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Slowing things down

So on Monday we had a bitch of a workout. I'd worked a 9-hour day to start with, eaten an energy bar on the way to Crossfit and just hoped for the best. Don't remember the whole thing, but the WOD was something along the lines of: row 500m, 30 box jumps, 30 wall-balls (12lb ball), 30 pushups; 3 rounds for time. There was a sprint for warm-up and some other little things, but that's the gist of it.

Well, I tried to work at what I consider my normal level and DIED. I got through two rounds and then could do no more. It's like my muscles just would not obey me anymore.I was pretty upset, which I hope is understandable. I mean, there have been numerous occasions when I've worked out at higher intensity on less sleep and food and more work, so to be physically unable to keep up with either the other girls or my idea of what I should be doing was pretty maddening. I spoke to Bea about it and she said that I might just have reached a plateau for now (gods, I really hope not) or else that all the times when I was overstressed and under-hydrated and -slept are finally taking their toll, and my body is organizing a mass strike, marching around with signs and bullhorns when it should be running and jumping and lifting like normal. So we came to the conclusion that I need to pull back a bit, at least for a little while, and focus on hydration and nutrition and know, all those things that I should be using much more than I do.

So I took advantage of these past few days (my weekend) to do as she said, and just to relax. Did some housework and errands, went to Megan's abode to hang with her and Queso, and made some absolutely delicious food. Amam got loads of strawberries and cherries and other such lovely treats, so a lot of my "meals" have really just been chowing down on those. But here's some of the more structured ones:
This afternoon: salad with chopped hardboiled egg, tomato and avocado, with homemade vinaigrette, 1 oz parm and fresh pineapple sage on top; vanilla porridge with oats and slippery elm and wheat germ on top; happy uterus tea.Another look at that salad:
It was pretty amazing. I took all the ingredients except the lettuce and garnishes, shook them up inside a tupperware and let everything sit and get friendly for a few minutes, while the oatmeal cooked.

Crossfit tonight was much better, since I planned and timed my meals correctly and drank enough water, and also went (ridiculously, in my head...) slowly. But I made it through the whole thing without excusing myself to puke and wasn't collapsing or shaking by the end, so that's a victory.

  • 500m row to warm up
  • 20 squats. 10 sit-ups, 20 squats, 10 sit-ups, 20 squats, 10 push-ups, 20 squats, 10 push-ups. And then Dave grinned and said "So you guys are ready for the workout now?" Oh, that Dave.
  • WOD: 5 rounds for time: row 250m, 20 squats, 20 push-ups (I started with real ones but switched to knees about halfway through)
  • ending round: max sit-ups in 2 minutes (I did 58, 10 better than just a week and a half ago!)
Post-workout recovery dinner!
  • Salade Nicoise leftovers (that's the salad, with olives and potatoes, as well as the tuna)
  • two slices of toasted rye with some butter
  • a chair of bowlies
  • some coconut milk,
The coconut milk was a complete impulse buy, but turned out to be a good bet - it's not too sweet or thick at all (in fact, at a casual glance you'd guess it was plain water in a glass), but it's got just enough flavor and body to it to flow wonderfully. Maybe that's a strange way to put it, but it just seems so wonderfully drinkable - just slips down your throat very easily, and makes you want to pour another glass right away. Try some. You'll see what I mean.

I'm rather ashamed to admit (but I'll say it anyways) that I only got the coconut milk today because I bought a chick magazine and saw a picture of Madonna drinking some. There was some little blurb alongside about how it's got natural electrolytes and helps rehydrate your body and is the perfect post-workout beverage, but seriously, who cares? Madonna likes it. Dayenu.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Change of plans

So for the past three days, I was supposed to be here:Instead, only a few hours before I was supposed to leave, shit hit the fan big time. My baby cat (alright, she's 13) seemed to get a bit of a cold - low appetite, snotty nose, slight lethargy - which excluded her from staying at the kennel we'd reserved. So I called up my friend the pet-sitter and scheduled a vet appointment that same day to find out what exactly it was and get some antibiotics or something, thinking it would be a routine fix and I could just leave that evening instead.

Well, as you might have guessed already, it was not exactly an easy or routine kinda deal. Seems that the hyperthyroid medication (it's pretty common for older cats to get this; the vet prescribes these exact pills ALL the time) gave her some incredibly rare, very serious reaction. Basically, it killed her immune system - instead of her white blood count skyrocketing because of the infection, it was practically gone. That's not an exaggeration - at least two of the vets I talked to used the same phrasing.She got very severely dehydrated and wouldn't eat, as well as having this horrible bronchial infection that clogged some airways with mucus and collapsed two of her lung sacs.

She stopped responding to anything at all - you know how cats' ears will usually flick when they hear something? Yeah, not a twitch. She barely moved at all - I'd put her down in one place and there she'd stay for hours if I didn't move her. On the drive over to the special vet school we got referred to from our normal vet, who simply couldn't handle a case like this, she overheated and started panting like a dog and made a mess all over the blanket I wrapped her in (all I can say is, thank you gods of semi-absorbent fleece, you saved my car and my jeans). It was pretty excruciatingly worrying, to say the least. I spent a lot of time staring very hard at fluorescent lights on the ceilings of exam rooms.Here she is as of yesterday evening. The wrapped-up paws aren't casts, just the way they give IVs (fluids and antibiotics) to cats so they don't chew the needle out. Fever's gone, as is the dehydration, mostly. Her blood info is slowly improving, and the docs have told me that now she's off the bad meds, it should continue to do that. No one wants to give me an actual "yes, you can breathe again, she's out of the woods," but I guess noncommittal answers are kind of mandated in the medical profession, and everyone's mood seems pretty optimistic, at least.

So I've had the house entirely to myself while the rest of the folks are at the beach. Crossfit started back up and I am hurting like a bitchmonster. The first two workout focused heavily on legs, specifically quads, so I can't really bend mine right now. Stairs are not so much the fun times.



  • 400m-sprint to warm up
  • 100 squats for time (3-something, without stopping even ONCE. yay me!)
  • max situps in either 3 or 5 minutes (can't remember time or reps)
  • then i puked
  • max KB swings (American, 25lb) in 5 minutes: 74
  • 400m sprint for time (can't remember time but I was first)
  • 400m sprint
  • WOD: run 400m, 50 front squats with 15lb ball; run 400m, 40 push presses with ball; run 400m, 30 walking lunges with ball overhead, arms extended; run 400m, 20 situps; run 400m
Wednesday was pretty horrible (not like Monday was a picnic). I started hitting the wall barely into the squats. Really need to remember that I've been off regular training for 3 weeks, so I can't just jump back to my normal go-get-em-tiger-hooah-rawr level of working out. Part of it is also food. Now that I'm back to this, I've been trying to come up with a plan to get me back on the Zone track, which means seriously limiting pizza, which means brown-bagging it like every day.

For now, though, I'm celebrating with the food money amam gave me for the week. Behold:
  • little plain green (and purple) salad, mostly to take up space
  • squid salad. or octopus. some kind of sea creetur. you get me.
  • 4 fake-crab cali rolls with avocado and cucumber; eel, shrimp, salmon and tuna nigiri
  • a couple pieces of delicious dagoba xocolatl
  • blueberries with a drizzle of real local organic free-range CREAM.
  • and like a gallon of water
This was on Monday, and it was totally the mother of all post-workout meals. Subsequent ones haven't quite been up to that standard, but all of them included ridiculous amounts of blueberries (they had 2-lb containers on sale. TWO POUNDS!!!)

That's it for now.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday morning...

...came WAY earlier than normal today, thanks to a hungry cat sitting on top of me, chewing my nose and saying incessantly (in Cat, of course) "I love you I love you I'm HUNGRY I love you feed me right NOW please?"But it turned out to be totally worth it.
Clockwise from the top: Artemisia "Powis Castle," Platycodon bud (the little green knobbly thing), true geranium blossom (possibly "Johnson's Blue?"), fully opened Platycodon. These are also known as "balloon flower," as right up until the buds open they look like miniature hot air balloons. They're amam's favorite flower in the garden - she loves to watch them puff and swell and suddenly turn that bright blue-lavender, which means that the next day they'll pop open and reveal the vision seen above.

I was tired and still feeling meh last night, so the fact that I actually made a nice sit-down dinner instead of grabbing a bunch of leftovers is something to remark on.
  • 1 salmonburger cooked in a little EVOO
  • on a toasted sandwich thin
  • fixins: a couple Ts of hummus, 1/4 avocado, purple lettuce (because it's prettier!
Dessert was the BEST.
  • 1 c "cream" - 1/2 c 2% milk, 1/2 c greek-style yoghurt, whisked together, with about a t of vanilla extract added
  • blueberries!
I got a couple books about food from the library recently, a bit unrelated (one's about how you should eat Real Food because it will make you happy, another is very low-tech instructions on how to make your own yoghurt, butter, cheese, etc etc - wouldn't be out of place in a real live homestead kitchen) but both pretty vehement in the thought that yoghurt is pretty much the best thing ever. According to the latter tome, "the ancient Assyrians called it lebeny (meaning "life")." That's pretty damn cool. It's also said to "promote intestinal and vaginal health (ladies...), build stronger bones (again, ladies...), enhance immunity, lower blood pressure (um...everyone...?) and may even have anticancer and weight-loss effects (although I've hear that it's more of a balancer - that is, gain or lose based on what your body needs - than specifically weight-loss. But this is also kind of a healthy-eating book so as "natural" as it is, there's gotta be some kinda bias toward losing weight in our society)."

So pretty much yoghurt is the best thing ever for you, and it also tastes like tangy heaven with a little vanilla added.

Off to work I go!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yay for unlikely edibles!

Breakfast: ~8:30am

  • 1 2-egg omelette with about 1/2 oz fancy mystery cheese, nutmeg, pelargonium and a little un-mixed-up greek-style blueberry yoghurt
  • 2ish c cabbage, steamed and then slightly burned. still good.
  • 1/2ish c greek blueberry yoghurt
  • 2 c coffee with 2% milk
  • 1000mg Vitamin C, 1 capsule Omega 3-6-9 and 40 drops of ginko/gotu kola tincture in water

sorry for the blurriness! I'll try and get a better pic later

Notes: Omg you guys. You can eat pelargoniums ("geraniums," to the uninitiated, even though there's another plant entirely that properly bears that name. yes, I'm a gardening snob. shut up.)!!! I picked up this little cutie yesterday at the plant shop (for the interested, the other two plants in the picture are hosta and sweet woodruff). Not sure of the full Latin name or anything really beyond "Pelargonium: fragrant, edible," but it came with a booklet on recipes that these guys work well in. I wasn't in the mood for celery soup first thing in the morning, however, so winged it and made a simply omelette.

This particular variety was labeled as "nutmeg flavored" on the tag, and it's spot-on. I put a little grated nutmeg on the omelette to bring out the taste even more, but I'm envisioning a chilled yoghurt/milk drink with vanilla, maybe a drop each of cinnamon and clove oils, with a good small handful of this stuff blended in. Or maybe anise. Seriously excited about all these possibilities. And there are so many more varieties! Just there at the garden shop they had citrus, mint, rose-mint and apple-flavored ones, and according to the recipe booklet there are many, many more. Yay!

Dinner: ~7:30pm

  • tuna tetaki (seared in smoke-point olive oil for about 20 seconds on each side; still cold in the middle)
  • an herby green salad with chopped baby lettuces, sweet bush basil and sage, dressed in the bowl with balsamic vinegar, EVOO, fresh pepper and sea salt and a little handful of dried blueberries
  • 2% milk
  • one Mayan truffle (not shown)
The sun has just gone behind the trees when I got back from work, but it was still plenty light enough to enjoy dinner on the deck with book, cat and happy plants (alchemilla/lady's mantle and achillea/yarrow) to keep me company.

Today we had our first crazy customer at work since I'd started there. She'd misheard what one of the girls said over the phone (read: she cut her off mid-spiel) and insisted that a $10 item was told to her as being $5. She was totally ready to pay the full amount and eventually did so - her only beef was that she wanted the cashier (who hadn't even been the one on the phone) to admit that she (kid) had been wrong in correcting her (customer). Yeah. That's it. Literally just say "You were right and I was wrong." When the kids (phone and cashier) recounted to me what they'd said to her, it was painfully obvious that the customer was entirely in the wrong - and maybe she was even aware of this. But as soon as the girl tried not even to correct her or say she was wrong, just to state the actual fact, she completely blew up - far, FAR out of proportion. It was utterly ridiculous. Damn people.