Friday, July 31, 2009

A little levity

Every once in a while, I check out the Failblog website for a little reprieve from heavier stresses in life. This was one video (it's only half a minute) that made me laugh out loud because I totally did not see the outcome coming. It's starts with a Chinese newsman obviously making a point about something that needs attention and a cyclist is coming up behind him ringing his bell...

Hope everyone has a good (and safe) weekend!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A new road

I'd been in a funk since getting back from New York. The combination of leaving my family and friends back east, trying to get back into the work groove, and reading "The Road" was pretty affecting. In the first two days I get back, I learned that my friend in the hospital (for her privacy's sake, I'll say she's had major complications from an infection) had a setback while I was gone and is medically unconscious again. The topper was a close friend of a friend suffered the sudden loss of her ex-husband (who was still one of her closest friends and great father to their young children) due to illness that went suddenly serious. He was only in his 40s. I was crying every other hour at work.

Also in those few days, I came out to my car after a long day at work to find my car battery dead. And for some reason now, the "D" doesn't illuminate on my dashboard when I'm in Drive. Which ridiculously shocked me the first time I noticed it--my thought process was like Am I dead? Who's driving this thing? Is it driving itself? Is it a ghost car? Wait, is it possible I'm not in any gear and driving? (my foot taps the brakes and gas) no, I've got to be in gear--hmm, is it possible the light's out? Yes, I know...genius at work. And on top of everything else, I have not done one Commit2Fit Healthy Habit or stayed in my WW point range since I got back. I've eaten fried food every day, drank coffee and/or beer every day, and have drunk about 2 tablespoons of water since I've gotten back.

I decided to take the wheel on at least one thing, which will hopefully affect more of my life. Yesterday when I visited the hospital, I promised my unconscious friend that I would run a mile every day until she got out of the hospital. I know she's struggling to get better and I wanted her to know she's not alone. I chose something difficult for me but that was also something good/healthy for me. I don't know, maybe I'm floundering, desperate, feeling so helpless, grasping at was an impulsive promise I made at her side. I know it doesn't come close to the healing process she's undertaking, but God help me, I need to do something that I feel I'm doing with her. We'll see--maybe a better suggestion will illuminate.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Evolution of a haircut

What I wouldn't give for good hair. Since I don't have that, the holy grail is the decent haircut that works for my coarse hair that has the texture of that cruel limbo between flattering straight or wavy hair: kinked straight hair.

Anyhoo, when I booked my trip to New York I made an appointment with the one haircutter who knew my hair and could work with it. Unfortunately, it's been a number of years and it just wasn't the same magic as I remembered it--though she did lighten my hair load quite a bit. Here's the evolution:

Pre-haircut-definitely very long in the face--gotten pretty unflattering--kind of just hanging, begging for a haircut:

Post-haircut-obviously just styled by the haircutter--dried smooth straight--and one can appreciate the flattering framing layers:

Post-post-haircut-obviously in my classic wash-and-go mode, this is what the haircut looks in my lazy, unstylish hands:

When I wake up in the morning, the crueler voice of my inner monologue says, hey! Mick Jagger/Jon Bon Jovi/Richard Marx wants his hair back...oh, wait, keep it, he realized he's in 21st century! or hey is that what Wolverine would look like if he didn't blowdry his hair? On the plus side, if I ever did get around to using a hair dryer & brush and/or flat iron, I'm pretty sure I could get it to look like Karen O or Joan Jett. Hmmm...that would be worth the gumption.

We're back

We arrived back to Cali from NYC yesterday. Yeesh, it is slow going for me. Besides the base melancholy of leaving my sister, I read Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" on the plane trip back. Geez, that just about devastated me. It's a very effective book following the journey of a man and his young son in a post-apocalyptic world. As if surviving the elements and searching for food wasn't hard enough to witness, the most harrowing details are the ones depicting the evil horrors that man do. It's very well-written and I recommend it with caution--prepare for a tension filled ride that could prove upsetting and demoralizing. I recommend reading it when you have time to finish it (e.g., 3-4 hours) because it's hard to put down. I also recommend some kind of chaser after it, like some SpongeBob Squarepants cued up on the DVR or an issue of People or Us Weekly. I heard they made a movie of it with Viggo Mortensen. I think the only way I could go see that movie would be if it was a double feature with a Will Ferrell movie or something like "Pineapple Express".

Fortunately, a good friend saved me and I was able to get sucked into the Twilight saga to help bring me out of the pit of distress after reading "The Road". I'm on a brighter road to recovering from this funk.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An Afternoon at the Museum

Velina, my sister, and I went to the Museum of Natural History. I don't know if it's because of the "A Night at the Museum" movies but it was crazy crowded--worse than Chinatown on a Saturday morning. It was packed with kids and tourists and the huge halls compounded all the noise into an unseen monster that beat me into exhausted submission and headache.

Fortunately, the main part that the girl wanted to visit was the hall of gems and minerals. Not many people there. Over the years, she has picked up an interest in rocks from her rockhound grandfather, who also happens to be an amateur paleontologist who goes on digs every summer.

We spent most of our visit there, looking at minerals and gems and looking up details in the reference book she had brought with her. Between escaping the havoc of the rest of the museum and the carpeted quiet of the mineral hall, I was ready to pass out. So relieved when the girl was ready to go too. I love this museum and I totally recommend it but it's easier to enjoy when it's not so crowded. We'll be back.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Leaving on a high note

On our second day at the beach, the girl had a great time repeating the previous day (adding in a rented boogie board) and more sandwiches.

But the best part of the day? Finding a dollar bill on 3 separate occasions, washed up on the shore:

The exact amount to get a shave ice doused in rootbeer syrup before we left!

Chillaxing at Montauk

Today we headed to Montauk, Long Island for a bit of sun and surf for two days. My sister and soon-to-be-legally-brother-in-law rent a place out there in the summer time. The girl loved the ocean and eating sandwiches on the beach.

And I loved the relaxed pace and a platter of these:

My sister and her man, though, were surprised/appalled how thoroughly I ate the lobster, including the tomalley and eggs. sigh. They don't know what they're missing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Partay in SoHo

Tonight, we had a little party at my sister's friend's apartment in SoHo, which had a cute patio. Unfortunately, I took all the pix with my Canon and I have no software here to downsize the images of my good friends for Blogger.

My sister made these delicious fish tacos and people brought some great wine that I hadn't enjoyed before--prosecco and vinho verde. I hadn't seen a lot of people in years and I was amazed at how great everyone looked--I was like dang...give me the number of your Mary Kay lady... I guess there's something to be said about staying out of the sun.

I will include this picture of this street where my sister lives in the East Village--unfortunately, I don't have a Before shot. But where there was an Eastern European travel agency (the East Village was known for a huge Ukrainian population) is now a tattoo shop. And down the street is now a small but delicious coffee shop populated by dread-locked hipsters. Yet, that shoe repair shop that sells orthopedic shoes is still in business. Pretty wild how places change, even New York.

BTW, the whole Commit2Fit and WeightWatchers programs? Yeah, out the window this trip. I am eating a day's worth of points at each meal and have not completed one healthy habit on this trip. Unfortunately, a pair of pants on this trip has already gotten too tight. Oh well, if I'm going down in flames, at least it's with a smile on my face.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Central Park Zoo

On the first day in the city, we went to the Central Park Zoo, which I had never been to in the all the years I lived in New York. Funny how having a kid makes you do different things, often things I would have found too touristy (like the last visit where the girl wanted to do the Empire State Building) or things I found too expensive, i.e., that had an entrance fee. But the girl wasn't interested in the bars or diners I had hit recreationally before she came along, so the Zoo it was.

It was a hot and humid day but thankully, the Central Park Zoo is small enough to do in a couple of hours. Honestly, I thought they would have a lion, zebra, hippo, and giraffe a la Madagascar, but they didn't (though they do have penguins). It was still a decent zoo with interesting exhibits--ugh, not the best day to go through the steamy Rainforest exhibit--and the girl enjoyed the Sea Lion show and I loved the polar bears.

The girl and I recommend it--perfect afternoon adventure leaving big chunks of the day to rest and stuff your face.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

On our way

The girl and I are off to New York City (via Salt Lake City) on the red-eye. Really excited to go back and see my family and stuff my face.

Commit2Fit-Week 8 (last one!)

For week 8 of Commit2Fit, the final healthy habit is to add a cup of vegetables to at least two of my meals. Since I've been doing Weight Watchers at the same time, this has somewhat been a given since WW mandates eating 5 half-cup servings of veggies a day.

I'm kind of relieved that the healthy habits are rounding off a bit easier for me. Again, the habits I struggle with the most are the mini meals and timing them 2-3 hours apart.

I'm off to New York tomorrow which coincides with the final week of Commit2Fit. Though I've given myself license to eat in vacation mode, I aim to do at least one day of all the healthy habits during my stay.

Wish me luck!

On my mind

For my beautiful friend who's fighting some crazy germs, I'm wishing you a smooth recovery. You're on my mind. I know you're one feisty scrapper.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's it

Last Saturday, on my most recent free day, I finally gave in and tried the famous It's It ice cream cookie sandwich. Various folks have strongly recommended it so I finally gave it a try as it was on sale at the grocery store. I tried both the original vanilla:

And the mint:

Both versions are ice cream sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies (no raisins or nuts--thank you!) and thinly enrobed in dark chocolate. A key issue I have with cookie ice cream sandwiches is the cookie must be soft enough to receive a good bite with out squishing out all the ice cream. It's It passed this important test. After that, I enjoyed the taste. What definitely works in their favor is that since I've been eating like a monk for the previous six days, anything desserty or extra carby or fatty seems fabulously decadent and foodgasmic. At first I didn't think the mint would be a good mix with the oatmeal cookie, but it turned out to be an interesting combination that amused the palate. I thoroughly enjoyed the classic combo of the vanilla ice cream and oatmeal cookie with the thin (not overwhelming) coating of dark chocolate.

Overall, I'd give It's It 3 out of 4 stars. It was very good but to be four stars good, I'd pretty much want to eat this every free day and I see myself eyeing other desserts for my next precious free day.

10 in 10

It's been a long 10 weeks (actually at this point it's been nearly 12) and I managed to lose 10 pounds from 165. At 10 weeks, I dipped to 153.5, at 11 weeks, I (sorta) maintained at 154 but I'll take it given I ate extra, extra bonus Points over the 4th of July holiday. Half of that weight came off at the same time as 6 weeks of Commit2Fit and I think having an added program to shape my daily Points helped a lot. I hit my stride in the last few weeks when I really focused on keeping my daily Points and allowing myself to eat all my bonus points (and pretty much failing all my Commit2Fit habits) in one day a week. Mentally I needed a weekly break to not feel deprived and to not feel I was training my body to expect food in diet mode all the time.

Unfortunately for my healthy eating habits, I head off to New York and all its deliciousness in a few days. I pretty much expect to go on vacation mode of eating, though my sister (who is a pretty healthy eater) is encouraging me to balance meals of Pommes Frites and donuts with some healthy salads.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Commit2Fit - Week 7

As I close in on my final weeks of Commit2Fit, I'm curious to see what habits stick. I didn't make myself promise to make life commitments but to just make it through the 8 weeks of the program and see what sticks. Believe it or not, it's been getting easier. The best part? Week 7's healthy habit is something I've already been doing -- incorporating fruit as my carbs in at least 2 of my mini-meals.

The hardest habits for me are the mini-meals and calculating the protein and carb counts. The easiest has been drinking the 3 quarts of water and avoiding soda and coffee. A habit I'd like to keep is the 2 hour window of no eating before going to bed and getting plenty of Omega-3s. Looking forward to seeing what the 8th and final healthy habit is next week...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Idle time in the summer

Sometimes I think the girl could use summer school, especially when this is a result at the end of the day:

I'm sure the cat thinks so too.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Fourth

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July!

Every year we donate to the Irvine Police Association and they give us a family ticket for their Fourth of July celebration at a local high school stadium. Usually we go with the option to donate the ticket as well, but this year we decided to try it out.

The highlights included the fireworks, which were great, and the ease of it. We went early enough so parking was easy, we brought camp chairs, blankets, drinks, and travel Scrabble to fill our time until the fireworks started.

We did have a couple of stumbles. I had to use the bathroom pretty shortly after we got there so I braved a Port-a-Pot from a bank of them set up across the food vendors. After I emerged from the Port-a-Pot, my mind was simultaneously occupied with how I could beg for hand sanitizer and trying to forget the wet grime I had been standing in. Yeesh, the trauma that could be avoided if I were able to will myself not to look down when inside a Port-a-Pot. My thoughts were interrupted by Velina walking up to me, with a question, "hey Mom, how come you didn't use the Ladies Room?" as she pointed to the women entering and exiting the ladies room behind the food vendors.

The other stumble was our poor timing to send Velina to get her funnel cake. We thought 20 minutes before the fireworks were slated to start would be enough time. Unfortunately we were mistaken--there was a huge line and it was slow cooking in the fry vats at the funnel cake stand. Paul went to stand with her and eventually sent her back to me and Nana after the fireworks started.

Though he could see them from the stand, Paul missed the fireworks to bring Velina this:

It was delicious. Thanks, sweetie.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Commit2Fit - Week 6

I don't know what suddenly kicked it in gear for me, but last week I was able to do 6 full days out of 7 of all 5 healthy habits. In fact when I accomplished the first 3 days in a row, I made the choice to allow myself to "fail" all my habits and have sort of a free day on Saturday and eat up all my bonus weekly WW points in that day. Highlights included dumplings, two Cookies and Cream bars (yes, one after the other), a big plate of spaghetti, and popcorn with butter.

And even adding Week 6's Healthy habit- replacing all white/processed flours and grains with whole grains, I remain encouraged. This week's healthy habit isn't so daunting for me as we buy mostly whole wheat carbs and brown rice anyway. The only thing are the white flour tortillas I have in fridge--guess I'm having quesadillas on my free day this week!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rock star

This girl tried a rock climbing class at the Rec Center:

She tried the overhang route on the wall:

But didn't quite make it:

She tried a more direct route on the wall:

And made it to the top:

Needless to say, it's very satisfying reaching the top:

But don't worry, she hasn't given up on the Overhang yet...