Random Thoughts

I live in Nashville. Last Friday,  I went to Las Vegas for a software conference. The conference was productive and I had a good time getting to know colleagues from around the country. Vegas is a fun place for bonding with strangers. We had dinner at Red Square – a Russian place at Mandalay Bay that was featured on the Food Network. They have an ice bar that is very cool (that’s a pun for my mom). I had a drink that was called a Siberian Forest (Finlandia Wildberries Vodka, Triple Sec, Cranberry Juice, Pineapple Juice) that was very tasty. The food was expensive and while mine was good, most were unhappy with their meal. They said it was under-seasoned. Mine was not. SO, I recommend the roasted garlic prawns. The next night we had dinner on top of our hotel and the views were spectacular. The group was diverse, to say the least, and I’m sure others seeing us wondered what the heck brought us together. Then, on Monday, I flew to Florida (via St. Louis) to go work on the house we have not been able to sell in Boynton Beach. I have not been back to the area for three and a half years, so it was quite odd. I lived in that area for over 8 years, yet it feels very foreign to me. Things look so different yet still the same. And the fact that we had to pay for a hotel room right down the street from the home we own is more than frustrating. SH had been making repairs and painting while I was in Vegas. Needless to say he feels he got the short end of the stick. Especially since the air conditioning was out for two of the days. Man, I’m going to owe him for that one. I was in an air conditioned meeting room with food brought to me at regular intervals. I did, however, earn my keep on Tuesday. We had tenants in there for the past year and the four children were very rough on the house. I was very glad to see that the kitchen we had worked so hard to remodel was still looking good. My biggest fear was a destroyed kitchen and I knew I would not be able to emotionally deal with damage to that room.

Why so emotional? Well, while all of this was going on, we started to hear on Saturday night that Nashville was flooding. Not just normal flash-flooding, but find yourself a boat, son, kind of flooding. Jim Cantore is in town kind of flooding.

Our local grocery store

The area of town we live in is called Bellevue. We learned through online news reports that it was one of the hardest areas hit. Helicopter views showed lakes where lakes did not exist the day before. As Sunday proceeded, we learned that Nashville was now a National Disaster Area and had no idea how friends and neighbors had fared, much less how our home was doing. We were trying to get reports from people and find out if someone could get to our house to assess any damage. Bellevue was now apparently being referred to as “Bellevue Island” as no one could get in or out without a boat. We could not get through on the phones, but texts were flying. We were seeing pictures online that were scary. I got one text…”I lost my house.” My heart was broken for him. He was one of the taste testers from the first part of the Chocolate Episode. While I was flying to Florida, we found out that our house and our precious kitties were fine. Just a squishy back yard and possible water in the crawl space. We were relieved, but still upset by the pictures we were seeing. SH got a call to report into work (I’ll be there in 15 hours is not the response they wanted). I found out my work was not damaged too bad, but others we worked with on a regular basis had flooded basements. Most of the town was without power, including our house. LP Field (where the Tennessee Titans play) was flooded. Downtown was flooded. The Cumberland River was 19 feet above flood level and still hadn’t crested. People had died. The stories just got worse and worse.

We were very lucky. Again. You see, we moved from Florida to avoid more hurricanes. After 4 hurricanes in 18 months we were done. Yet here we are again. A National Disaster Area. It’s very draining, but I keep thinking – I’m fine. The only thing we lost was the contents of our refrigerator. Some people lost their entire home. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself and your ruined, formerly frozen turkey broth and turkey meat you wanted to use for blogging the “The Remains of the Bird” episode when others are throwing out their furniture, carpet and drywall and have no idea if they will be able to ever return to their homes. I can cook another turkey in my not flooded home. But that’s another post.

Pictures from www.tennessean.com and http://suburbanturmoil.blogspot.com/

Well, I weighed yesterday and gained a pound, weighed again this morning and it was back to the same…I guess this is why they tell you not to weigh every day. I know my weight fluctuates, but do I say I stayed the same or do I say I gained a pound? Did I just have too much salt yesterday (or really on Tuesday since  I weigh first thing in the morning)? What do I really weigh? I admit I haven’t been paying as much attention as I should have and I haven’t been exercising as much as I should. SO…I’m recommitting today. It’s fish baked in a salt dome this weekend and I’m planning some lower-fat appetizers for the Superbowl!! Look for a report on that…

Snow is falling in Nashville. We are expected to get about 4 inches tonight. After that, it is supposed to get brutally cold. The town is shutting down – the mall closed at 2pm, the airport is closed and they preempted Oprah for a special WINTER STORM 2010 report. As I was driving home from work at 11am, I was annoyed by some very stupid drivers. I grew up in Chicago, but I lived in Florida for 13 years. So, while I know how to drive in snow, I am most certainly not used to it. However, I know what to do and went relatively slow, stayed a good distance from other cars and made it home without incident – even though there were a couple of moments of fish-tailing! However, I was so annoyed with other drivers, I seriously contemplated hitting a Lexus just to get her unsafe butt of the road. The big problem? They didn’t sweep off their windows before driving. And at that point we hadn’t even had an inch of snow. There is a reason we have back windows in our cars and driving with them covered is dangerous – especially on slick roads. I found myself yelling at each of the 15 or so cars I saw with blocked back windows. Really?? Are we this lazy that we can’t even sweep some snow? It’s not like it was a lot of scraping or needed a shovel!! The woman in the Lexus had her back window covered, was going 30 mph on the highway (the rest of us were going 40 -50 mph) and talking on her cell phone (no bluetooth in sight)! I was thinking if I hit her, I could claim I just slid on some ice and it was an accident. I would have been doing a public service for safety. My only problem was that there were other cars around that might have gotten caught in the crossfire. Not to mention I didn’t want to waste the police time taking a report on this idiot. So, I didn’t do it. But I really, really thought about it.

Same weight this week! UGH…I know I have not been exercising enough. I have to start making time for it. I’ve been tracking my calories, so I think I’m doing OK, most days. I have to pick one “treat” day and stick to it. At least I haven’t gained. I’ll share more in my post about Alton’s diet later this week.

I have a hate hate relationship with running. I’ve never liked it, but I know it’s a good form of exercise that requires little more than some (very expensive) shoes and the great outdoors. Of course, I have an iPod (complete with Nike plus) and a Garmin, but that technology is not really necessary. My husband has done 2 marathons. He runs well and likes it. The reason I’m training for a triathlon instead of a marathon is solely because I do not want to run that long. I saw an interview with Ambesse Tolossa, the winner of the 2006 San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon – the first marathon SH ran. Tolossa finished the marathon (26.2 miles) in 2 hours, 10 minutes (and 8 seconds, but who’s counting). The last finisher completed the marathon in 8 hours, 34 minutes. He was asked how he runs so fast. His answer was that he doesn’t understand how the other runners run for so long. I share his wonder.

I do more walking than running. SH and I usually start out with a warm up of a 5 minute or so walk.  Then we start to run. Well, he takes off and I struggle. As I watch SH slowly pull away, I always admire his running – oh, and his cute butt. My husband has a fine ass, but I digress. He just runs. It appears so effortless. He runs steady – like the tortoise – slow and steady. And then he is gone. And I’m left doing my really slow run that turns back into a walk very quickly.

I run about as fast as a lot of people walk.  I have never been a runner and all of my adult life have been convinced I couldn’t run. I’ve used my knees and big boobs as an excuse not to run. But since I’ve discovered the Enell Sports Bra and talked to a sports trainer, I have been trying to run. I’ve always said I can’t run, but the truth is I’ve never wanted to run. I’m not good at it and I really don’t like being bad at something. I’m very competitive and if I can’t really compete, I don’t want to do it. I’m learning to be less competitive with others and just try to compete with myself. I try to do one minute run and one minute walk. I’m very excited when I run longer than a minute – that competitive spirit comes out.

As John “the Penquin” Bingham says, “I’m slow. I know. Get over it.”. Except in this case, I’m the one who needs to get over it. I have the t-shirt (really). The only time I run “fast” is the 200 yards that I have to run on a major street. My fear of idiot drivers not paying attention spurs me to “sprint”.  And then I’m done, more walking. I’m going to keep trying, in between some biking and swimming. I guess that’s what it’s all about. Just keep trying.

I am a member of a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation where the growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. CSAs usually consist of a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and fruit, sometimes including dairy products and meat. This is the third CSA I have been involved in – one in Florida and two here in Tennessee. This is a “winter” CSA that is all organic. The other two I belonged to were not certified organic, but attempted to limit chemical pesticides. I encourage everyone to find a local CSA. You can search your area at www.localharvest.org . It is amazing how much longer all of my veggies last when they are picked the day before they are delivered to me. In the winter CSA, we get a lot of carrots, winter squash, potatoes and right now, lettuces.

The Box

Today’s box had two types of lettuce, carrots, red potatoes, kohlrabi, swiss chard, cilantro, celery root, sorrel and arugula. The best part is all of these things are healthy and low fat. It’s fun to experiment with them and find interesting recipes on the internet. I will admit sometimes I have no idea what is in the box (sorrel?!?!), but they send an email with a list and recipe ideas for unusual items. Sorrel, by the way is a very tart, lemony green that is good to add to a salad or stir-fry. I’ve also been told it’s good in soups, but I haven’t tried it. The carrots are so sweet and tasty, you’ll never want a supermarket carrot again! I absolutely believe this will help my weight loss journey. I get a delivery every two weeks. Since it is just SH and I, I get the half share.

Because it is shared responsibility, when there is a bad year, you don’t get as many fruits and veggies. However, when it’s a good year, you reap the benefits. One of the CSA’s here in Tennessee does meats and eggs as well. The turkey we got at Thanksgiving from them was fantastic. Look into it in your area!

32 minutes on the bike at a higher intensity than last time – feel the burn.

Well, I weighted in and I lost 1/2 a pound. I am happy with that. While I’m hoping to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, any loss is a step in the right direction.

Is it bad to be shopping online while watching “Confessions of a Shopaholic”?

I was reading some news online and I saw a link to a story titled, “6 Surprising Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight”. I thought, well, maybe this could help, so I clicked on it. The first “surprising” reason was, get ready….sitting on the couch and watching TV too much. Yep, that was the first “surprise”. I’m pretty sure that comes as a surprise to no one. I have no idea what the next five reasons were because I thought that was the stupidest thing I’d ever read. DUH. Of course I know sitting on the couch too much will prevent me from losing weight. I’m pretty sure if that was the lead “surprise”, I wasn’t going to be helped much by the rest of the article. What was next? Eating potato chips while watching TV is a surprising reason America is not losing weight! A breakthrough! At least it wasn’t trying to sell me a magic pill or 3 week diet.

I’ve been slacking with the exercise even though I know it’s probably the most important part of my weight loss. So, tonight I did 30 minutes on the bike (on the trainer). We’ll see what the weight is tomorrow. I’m gong to be doing the ice cream episode this week, so I’ll need to burn some extra calories. At least one of the recipes is a sorbet, so that should be less calories. I’m going to put the ingredients into the Fitday calculator to see what the approximate calories are for each one and report back.

The cold that is sweeping the nation is getting to me! After living in Florida for 13 years, I am now officially a wuss. It was 13 degrees when I got up this morning! I thought Tennessee would be warmer.  I’m voluntarily wearing socks today. I hate socks. But man, it’s freakin’ cold out there. I found the cats curled up on one of the heating vents…in the closet. They were looking at me like, “Dude, we’re not moving.” I didn’t even want to get out of bed; much less go to work or workout. And now I just want to curl up on the couch under the blanket with a roaring fire and a glass of wine. And I may do that later, but first I’m going to do some cleaning and a quick workout. I plan to cook through 2 episodes this weekend – mostly as an excuse to not leave the house much during this cold snap!

I’m starting to track my calories in FitDay. When I adapt the recipes, I will get calorie counts per serving (based on the serving suggestion in the recipe) and compare and add that to my recipe posts.

“The Biggest Loser” started a new season tonight. Holy moly they have some big contestants. This show is always good to watch when you are trying to make healthy changes. At the very least, it makes you want to get up off the couch. I’m going to try to do something active at each commercial. Although something is very satisfying about eating ice cream or pie while it’s on! UGH…that’s so bad!