Tuesday, May 7, 2019

#2199 travel Tuesday

This might be the first week that no one told me about their upcoming vacation. Sad. I do know people who are either on vacation right now or will be going on vacation in the next couple of days. One of my friends from work is currently in Los Cabos, Mexico. I've only been there one time, and it was a stop on a cruise. It is very desert-y: brown with cactus, but then there is the blue Pacific Ocean filled with whales and dolphins. That's what I saw when I was there.

Another friend from work is heading to southern Utah, kind of down by Moab, to go camping with her daughter. Honestly, camping in the desert doesn't sound like very much fun to me, but I know that my friend is very excited to spend some one-on-one time with her daughter. It kind of makes me wonder if T said, "Hey Mom! Let's go camping, just you and me!" what I would say. I'd probably counter with, "How about if we get a hotel somewhere?" He'd probably be into that. It's not really anything I have to concern myself with at this time. :)

I might be the only person in Utah or maybe the world who isn't completely enamored with Moab. I've been there a couple of times and I think that's plenty for me. I mean, the landscape with the rock formations is pretty and all that, but I am just not much of a desert girl. (See Los Cabos note above.) I prefer water and beach and palm trees. Living in SLC is about as much desert as I can take. MT always chides me for not seeing the beauty of the desert and I'm okay with that.

My sister is fixing to go on a cross-country trip from San Diego to New York and back. She's got some great stops picked out along the way and I know that she will have a good time. I can't help but think about how tickled my dad would be to hear about her trip. He loved to drive and to see the countryside. I am not much of a road tripper anymore. I just want to be somewhere. For me it's the destination more than the journey. I hope that she will write about her adventures, though. I love a good vicarious road trip!

I've got to be at the office early tomorrow, so that's it for tonight.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

#2198 weekend wrap-up

I'm not even going to say how fast the weekend went by, because that's just a given.

Saturday started out with WW at 10 AM. I had a good loss this week. I was in that magical nexus where my food intake went as planned and I was getting regular exercise. I didn't snack too much or overeat. Everything was good. You would think it would be easy to duplicate that effort week after week, but it's not. Some weeks are just magical and right and last week was one of those. I liked it.

In the afternoon I had my first shift of the season in the courtyard at Red Butte Garden.  I didn't have a tram driver with me, so I just hung out and chatted with a few people and read a book. There were only two groups that asked about the tram and though they seemed kinda bummed out that it wasn't available, I don't think it ruined their day or caused them to think the Garden was lame. There were lots of people coming in with picnic baskets. It was a beautiful spring day, about 74 degrees, bright blue sky and not much wind. Perfect for a picnic in the park. Throughout the two hours I was there, the tables in the courtyard were full of people. Fun!

When I got home MT was still working. He doesn't usually work on weekends, but he had a special project that came up to put a floor in a house, so he had to go do that. When he got home we went out for dinner to one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, Copper Creek Pub. I had fish and chips, the first time I have had them there. The fish they use is salmon, which is different. It tasted good. I'd have it again.

That night I had to watch a Star Wars movie because it was May the Fourth after all (you know...May the Fourth by with you). We watched The Last Jedi and we both fell asleep at the very end when Luke fights Kylo Ren. It was late and we were full!

This morning we had to have Sunday morning pancake, of course, at Black Bear Diner. We didn't have time to go for our usual walk, though, because MT had to meet with Bruce the realtor to look at a house, then he had to go finish the floor. I came home and did chores like laundry and paying the bills and going to the grocery store. I also took a little nap. I really wanted to make it a longer nap, but I had stuff to do. In the afternoon I went for a walk by myself because I had to get in my steps. I'm five for five on getting at least ten points every day in the May fitness challenge.

Tonight we watched Game of Thrones. Last week there were not a lot of words because it was a big battle. Today's episode had lots of words. Only two episodes left. Glad I could get in on these last five shows. FOMO is real.  LOL

There are a couple of things coming up for us this week. On Monday I will return to Rideologie for another spinning class. Wednesday we will watch the second-to-last Survivor episode of the season. MT will begin his two days of liquid-only diet in preparation for a colonscopy on Friday. He should be fun to live with for those two days. He's going to be hangry by Thursday night when he begins with the prep meds.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, May 3, 2019

#2197 food Friday: fiber

About a month ago I bought myself a fitness device, of sorts. I got a Shapa scale. It is a scale, but it doesn't tell you how much you weigh or your body fat percentage or anything like that. Instead, it links to an app on the phone and tells you how you are progressing to your goal on a color scale. Dark gray means you are not doing well in your progress; bright blue means you're doing great, sweetie. Along the way, Shapa gives you daily"missions" which could be anything from 'do ten pushups' to 'write a letter to your 85 year old self'. I've learned that you must do the missions or you will go straight to dark gray. It's not a good place. Don't ignore the missions if you choose to get a Shapa. It won't matter how well you think you're doing with your eating and your exercise. Shapa thinks you suck if you don't do the missions.

Today's mission was to eat 20 grams of fiber. I accepted the mission and quickly realized that I don't know much about fiber. What foods have fiber? How much was I currently getting each day? Doesn't 20 grams seem like a lot? What is the recommended daily fiber intake?

When you have so many questions, there is only one place to go: Google.

Turns out that most fruits and veg have a bunch of fiber in them. So do whole grain products like oatmeal or whole wheat bread. Black beans are also an excellent source of fiber, as is popcorn. The American Heart Association recommends that you have 25 grams of fiber each day.

I'd packed some strawberries for breakfast this morning, along with Greek yogurt. There's no fiber in Greek yogurt, if you were wondering, but strawberries have three grams for a cup.

For lunch I had a nice big salad with edamame (fiber), avocado (fiber) and lettuce (fiber). The total of fiber in the salad was about four grams. That got me to seven grams.

I had 13 grams of fiber to go and no idea how I was going to get there. I'm not going to lie: I was going to mark this mission a success even if I didn't make it all the way to 20 grams just because I learned a lot and had never paid so much attention to fiber.

When I got home I looked at everything in my cupboard and freezer to find something to eat with good fiber content AND that would be within my WW Smart Points. I ended up having two chili lime chicken patties from Trader Joe's (2 g of fiber each) and two whole wheat sandwich thins (4 g of fiber each). Now I was at 19 grams. So close! What was I going to do?

That's when I remembered I had a couple of apples in the fridge. There are four grams of fiber in an apple! BOOM! Done! I didn't even have to cheat on the mission! The other thing was that I came in right at my WW Smart Points budget for the day, so win/win!

I'm feeling very full. Fiber is filling and typically low in calories and Smart Points. Here's a good list of fiber-ful foods to you to feast upon.

It was a good day. I like learning about things, so I consider this day a success.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

#2196 WW Wednesday

Last Saturday in the WW workshop, we talked about doing a different activity. (Activity is what we call exercise because apparently there are lots of people who hate the word exercise. *rolls eyes*) Lana asked the group what they wanted to do but were scared to try. Skydiving came up a couple of times. One lady said she really wanted to try yoga but was afraid all the people in the class would be looking at her.

I hear that comment so much, that people don't want to go to the gym because they think that other people will be looking at them. Here's the rock-hard, straight-up, solid truth: the people who are at the gym to work out, to exercise, to get in some physical activity, are too wrapped up in their own business to bother looking at you. A person might glance your way if you get on the machine next to the one they are on. They might appear to be looking at you when they are taking a break between sets, but they are probably not really registering you as a person and almost certainly not making a judgement about you.

When I am in a class, I notice that there are other people in the room, but I'm pretty wrapped up in my own insecurities to make any kind of judgement about anyone else. I might think something like, "Wow, that lady is really energetic," or "She is really working hard today! She's feeling it!" but I don't think I have ever thought about the way a person looked, except if they were wearing a cute outfit or had on cool shoes. I believe most people are like me in that they are at the gym to work out and move on with their day.

So I told the want-to-be yoga lady to not worry about others and just go try it. Several other people said the same thing. I hope she goes to a yoga class. I probably won't find out, though, because she's in the 8 AM group and I don't intend to go back to that group unless I really need to.

I thought about what I wanted to do but hadn't done. I came up with a couple of things. One would be water aerobics. I picked up the water classes schedule a few weeks ago, but I haven't found a time that works for me yet. I want to do it though. The second thing I want to do is go to a real spinning studio to take a real spin class.

I take cycling classes at my local fitness center and it's fun and energetic, but I've seen videos of spin classes at studios and it just looks extra. Back in January I looked online for cycling studios in SLC, and I found one that looked promising. I told myself that when I got back from vacation in Thailand that I would go. March went by and I didn't go. April was coming to an end and I hadn't gone.

Last Saturday after WW, I drove to the studio so I would know where it is and to find out a little more about the place. It is called Ride-ologie and it is in Sugarhouse. I met the owner, Alli, and we chatted about what I could expect. She told me about some of the instructors and advised me not to start with Taylor's class.

MT went out of town on Monday night, but I had something I'd already planned to do that night, so I decided to try a class on Tuesday since MT would still be gone. Wouldn't you know that the only time that I could go, at 6:30, was a class taught by Taylor? I almost talked myself out of it, but it was the end of April and I really wanted to complete this goal of mine, so I signed up for the class. By the way, the first class is free!

I showed up a bit early, as instructed, to sign the waiver and set up my bike. I met Taylor, a super-cute and extremely fit young woman who, like Alli and all the other people I'd met there, was extremely energetic and positive and peppy. She walked me through some basic spin things, which I was pretty familiar with from cycling class. People started to fill in the studio and Taylor turned on the music and we started to warm up.

Let me tell you about this studio. It is more like a cave. It's a pretty good-sized room filled with these high-tech spinning machines. They look like a bicycle, but just have a fly-wheel on the front. You adjust the tension on the fly-wheel to make it harder or easier to pedal. The seat and the handlebars are adjustable too, just not when you're riding. You want to make sure you're bike is set up to suit you before the class starts. Alli showed me how to set up the bike, but I felt like my seat was a little low. I like to be up higher since my knees don't bend like other people's knees. Not as much bend, you know.

Now picture this big room filled with 30 bikes that have maybe a foot between them on any side. It's tight. There are no windows. There are fans mounted on the walls. The front wall is a mirror. There's a platform front and center for the instructor and her/his bike. There's a stand next to the bike for an iPad that the instructor uses to control the lights, music and sound level.

I'm a little bit claustrophobic and when the door was shut and the lights went out, my breathing quickened up a little bit. I was kind of glad I was in the front row. I don't think I would like to be in the middle surrounded by people. When the music started, though, and Taylor turned into a spin class drill sargent, I kind of forgot about everything other than trying to follow her instructions and to just keep pedaling. I figured that even if I couldn't keep up (I couldn't) that if I kept pedaling I was still way ahead of where I usually am.

The class was a solid 45 minutes but with the time I spent warming up, about 10 minutes, and another five or so minutes that were spent doing extra squats (WHY?!?!), I clocked about 60 minutes on my fitness device. The calorie burn was pretty phenomenal, too. During the class I could really feel the burn in my legs, but today I am more sore in my arms and core. We did mini pushups on the bike and a bunch of side crunches, plus some light weight work. Do all that shit when you're trying to pedal at a good speed. Your core gets involved very quickly to stabilize. It's kind of awesome.

In the end, I was proud of myself for going to the class and for making it through without stopping, passing out or throwing up, both of which were slight concerns. Not passing out so much, I guess, although I was a little worried about the claustrophobia. I'm gonna go ahead and say I was the largest person in there, but that's okay, because I was doing it! I felt happy and full of endorphins when I was done. That is totally a thing, you know? I was extremely hyper when I was done with the class and full of love and joy for all things.

Will I go back? Yes I will. I'm looking at my schedule next week and I think I'll try to get into Amy's class on Monday evening at 5:45. (Alli mentioned that I should start with Amy.)

Yesterday I wrote that my work is doing a fitness challenge this month and my goal is to get my 10 (or 15) points every day in May. Today I walked two miles around the track at work, and I got in my 10,000 steps - good for 10 points! YAY! So far so good.

I'm thankful that Lana put out that little challenge last Saturday. It was the nudge I needed to try something that I've been wanting to do. It was hard, and I'm glad I pushed myself a little and did it!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

#2195 travel Tuesday

Earlier today I was thinking about what I would write tonight. I like to write about traveling for Tuesday posts, but I didn't have much to say. Then one of my friends told me that her daughter is going on a cruise and that perked me right up!

My friend's daughter is graduating on Thursday with a master's degree so I think the cruise is a celebration trip. They will be going to the eastern Caribbean, starting in San Juan and going to Aruba, among other destinations. Because I'm interested in stuff like that, I had to look at the cruise company's website to find out where she was going - not that it matters, but because I like that kind of thing. There is just one port on her itinerary that I haven't been to (yet).

I told my friend that if her daughter could swing an extra night in Puerto Rico it would be worth it. MT and I stayed an extra day at the end of our cruise in San Juan. We tacked it on at the end which we now realize is a mistake. At the end of vacation, we are ready to come home. We need to get our sight-seeing done at the beginning of a trip. We had fun in San Juan, but I was really tuckered out at the end of the day so I feel like we missed out on some cool stuff. Plus it was our first trip so I wasn't as diligent about research and figuring out what to see and eat as I am now. I remember that I did have a mojito but I didn't really like it.

We spent our day in San Juan in the old part of the city, exploring the massive fortress El Morro. The thing I remember the most to this day is that there is an enormous grassy field in front of the fort and on that day there were lots of children in the field flying kites. I just found out that is a pretty common thing, but it felt special and joyful to see them out there enjoying the sun and the warm breeze off the Caribbean. I took a photo after we had gone through the fort and many of the kids had left, but in this photo there is at least one kite in the sky.

El Morro is massive. I remember that it took us quite awhile to walk through the whole thing, and it was spectacular.

When I was looking for a site for you to click on to get more info, the photo on the site reminded me that we sailed out of San Juan at night and passed El Morro. It was all lit up and looked golden and gorgeous and intimidating. No wonder it protected Puerto Rico so well back in the day! Click here to check out the site and see the photo I'm talking about.

We saw El Morro and San Cristobal, which is another fort, then we walked around through the old city and went into a couple of museums, too. The old city is picturesque, with the street cobbles made from ship's ballast and the pastel buildings.

I'd like to go back to Puerto Rico sometime and stay for awhile. Probably not in San Juan itself, but in a little beach town. A fried of mine and his wife spent a week on the coast there a few years ago, before Hurricane Maria, and they totally fell in love with the place. I want to fall in love with a place too!

It's so fun to go back through the photos and reminisce about vacations past. :)

Hey! It's the end of April! Did you have a good month? Got any big plans for May? My volunteer gigs at Red Butte Garden start in earnest in May, so I'm looking forward to that. It's also MT's birthday month. Another thing that's happening for me in May is that I joined a fitness challenge at work, so I'll be looking to get in 10,000 steps or time at the gym every day. Wish me luck! I got this!

Since May is the fifth month, an odd number, I'll be writing on odd days which means I'll be back tomorrow. See you then!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

#2194 weekend wrap-up

Another quick and busy weekend is over already.

Yesterday I went to the 8 AM  WW workshop and I was reassured that my decision to be part of the 10 AM group was correct. The group at 8 is fine, but I just feel more comfortable with all the people at 10. I had a (big) gain, so I wasn't very pleased with myself. I wasn't surprised either, though.

The reason I went to the 8:00 group was that I was taking a walking tour at Red Butte Garden with other guides and docents at 10 AM. It was an absolutely beautiful day and I enjoyed walking around talking about the plants and trees with other guides. None of us were master gardeners, so we just  shared knowledge with each other and talked about the plants we especially like.

After that I spent some time at Starbucks writing in my journal and texting with my mom. I relish the couple of hours I spend at Starbucks on the final weekend of the month. I don't get distracted by my dog, laundry, what the guys are doing, or TV. I pop in my airpods, turn on some music and just write. It's good for my soul and my brain.

When I was on the way home I noticed that the On the Hook food truck was at the Ace Hardware store parking lot, so I kind of zoomed home to get MT so we could get fish and chips. They are truly the best fish and chips ever. Last month when they were in the neighborhood, they sold out before I could get some and I wasn't about to let that happen again. So, so good!

After lunch I went to the grocery store, then I don't remember what I did - I think I read - and I went to bed by 9:30. I was really tired and it felt good to just shut down. T had some friends over around midnight because I briefly woke up to text him to be quiet and then went right back to sleep. At one point I was sure that MT woke up, got dressed and told all the friends - there must have been 10 friends or so - to get out of the house. It made me sad that he would do that, but I kind of understood too. When I asked MT about it this morning, he told me that though he heard some music, it was pretty quiet and he did NOT get up and tell everyone to leave. I just had a dream! AND there were only three other people here besides T and I know all of them. They weren't very loud and they were respectful of the fact that MT and I were sleeping. I just a dream.  What does that say about me?

This morning MT and I went to breakfast, as usual, then we went to the outdoor track at the fitness center for a couple of laps. As lovely and warm as yesterday was, today was grey and cloudy and windy and kinda cold. Typical Utah spring - although sometimes we have all the weathers in a single day. Still, we were okay because we wore jackets and once we started walking at pace, we were comfortable.

I paid the bill and balanced the checking accounts.

This afternoon the three of us went to see Avengers: Endgame.  I wrote earlier in the month about how I excited I was to see this movie and that I contemplated taking a few days off work to binge watch the entire MCU. I didn't do it though. I realized that I had seen almost all of them already. It was hard to find three seats together to see the movie this weekend, but I persevered and it all worked out. It was a cool show. I won't tell anything about it except that there were funny parts and sad parts and plenty of action. The dude next to me was openly weeping during one particular scene. He was full-on sniffling and wiping his eyes and making quiet whimpering noises. Also, all the Avenger women are total bad asses. 

The movie is three hours long, so when I bought the tickets I wanted to make sure to see it early enough that we would be home in time for tonight's Game of Thrones episode. We made it in plenty of time. The guys have watched all the episodes for six or seven seasons and I've just picked up the story through osmosis and seeing parts here and there. Tonight I decided to sit down with them to watch the third of the final six episodes. It was the battle of Winterfell, after all, and I have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out). It's probably going to be like Breaking Bad: I only watched the last four or five episodes of that series. I always tell myself that someday I will watch the whole series, but so far I haven't. Those last five episodes were really good though.

The GoT episode tonight was very dark. I mean that in a literal sense. Most of the action happened in the dark of night and as Roxanne Gay tweeted "lit by one slender candle." Still, it was a giant battle, so it was probably okay not to actually see all the blood and stuff. The sound effects left little to the imagination. No spoilers from me on this either, but I'll be watching next Sunday too. It was all good.

Now, fulfilled by my entertainment fix, I will go to bed. I hope y'all had a great weekend!

Friday, April 26, 2019

#2193 food Friday: chicken and rice

It occurred to me the other day that pretty much every culture has a chicken and rice recipe. As I was looking at photos of chicken and rice dishes from around the world, they all kind of look the same because, well, chicken and rice, but every dish has spices and seasonings that are specific to the homeland.

Look at these photos I found of chicken and rice from around the world. Makes me hungry.I have included links for the recipes. I haven't tried any of the recipes - I was just looking for food pics and want to credit the source. I am also not saying that any of these dishes are authentic, necessarily. They just popped up when I put in the country and "chicken and rice" in Google.

 I think this chicken biryani dish looks quite yummy. Find the recipe here.

Paellla is dear to my heart. I especially like it with chicken because I'm not much into seafood. This one seems a bit heavy on the peas, but it still looks good. Click here for the recipe.

I'm not sure how I feel about this recipe. The egg looks good but not cooked enough (or at all maybe).
When I think of chicken cooked in a French way, I think of coq au vin. I'm not sure if it is typically eaten with rice, but this recipe says you could.

Taco seasoning and cilantro makes this dish Mexican, I guess. Click here to check it out.

There are lemons, so it has to be Greek, am I right?  Yep. Click here.
This recipe calls for cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup. An American staple.

Puerto Rico
I think this dish looks pretty good. The recipe even has a couple of seasonings I've never even heard of.

When we were in Thailand I ate quite a bit of chicken with rice. Putting peanuts on it was definitely a a thing. A delicious thing (unless you're allergic to peanuts, of course.) Click here.

Again, not sure how authentic it is, but this crispy sesame chicken looks delicious.

A one-pot chicken and rice recipe with Italian flavors? Yum! Click here.

I heard a recipe for Jollof rice on NPR the other day and I've been thinking of it ever since. I'd like to try this recipe sometime. (This isn't the recipe I heard on NPR, but it sounds good!)

Okay, so I might have gone a little overboard with my examples, but it was fun. Do you know any good chicken and rice recipes or have you tried any of these (besides paella)? Let me know!