Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yes, it's that time of year again...

JavaChick's wedding anniversary!

What? You were expecting something else?

Happy New Year to all of you and happy 7th anniversary to me! And Husband of course.


December Workouts

Dec 28: Treadmill walk[45 mins]
Dec 27: Self Bikini Ready + Pilates 10 Min Total Body Challenge [45 mins]
Dec 26: Treadmil walk/Jog + 20 min Yoga Power Beauty Sweat [65 mins]
Dec 25: Pilates-Yoga Blend + 20 Min Yoga Buns & Thighs[60 mins]
Dec 24: Burn & Firm Pilates[45 mins]
Dec 23: Treadmill Walk [45 mins]
Dec 22: Treadmill Walk/Jog[45 mins]
Dec 21: Self Bikini Ready [30 mins]
Dec 17: Kickbox: Core Cross Train, Drills[60 mins]
Dec 16: Self Bikini Ready[30 mins]
Dec 15: Circuit: Treadmill walk + 100 Reps WOTD[30 mins]
Dec 11: Kickbox: Core Cross Train, Drills[60 mins]
Dec 10: Cardio Overdrive + 100 Reps WOTD[55 mins]
Dec 09: Self Bikini Ready [35 mins]
Dec 04: Treadmill walk + 100 Reps WOTD [65 mins]
Dec 03: Burn & Firm Pilates + 5 min [50 mins]
Dec 02: Fat Burning Pilates + 100 Reps WOTD [50 mins]
Dec 01: Self Bikini Ready + 100 Reps WOTD [45 mins]

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm done!

I am officially on vacation until January 5th! Life is good.

Now I'm going to hit the treadmill. Because I want to. Do I know how to party or what?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thinking Musical Thoughts, Part I

I grew up in a house with a piano, and a Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma had been a teacher for many years and she was great fun. She spent lots of time with us and we would cut and paste paper, paint and color and have all kinds of crafty fun. Every now and then I get the urge to sit down and cut out paper snowflakes and remember those time with my Grandma.

I don't know how old the piano was, but I don't remember a time when it was not there, when it did not look old, and come to think of it, I think it even had a bit of an aged smell to it. We lived in an old farm house, a two generation home that had been passed down through the family. I honestly don't know if the piano was already there in the house when my Grandma married my Grandpa, or whether she brought it with her, but I do know that she used to play.

I loved the piano. I am told that at a very young age, I started picking out tunes on it on my own. So my Grandma taught me a few more.

Then Auntie A, my very favorite aunt, decided she wanted to learn the piano. At first she would come up and use ours to practice, and she had a book of children's songs designed to teach piano playing. They started out simple and got more difficult and she let me use it to learn to read music and to practice playing. Then she got her own piano to practice on at home. Being the kind aunt that she is, she copied all of the songs into one of those music exercise notebooks for me, so that I could keep practicing.

I never did have lessons, but I loved to play and did the best I could, teaching myself. Over the years, Auntie A photocopied other music for me. It's all still at my parents house, where the piano is. Unfortunately, the piano is out of tune now - there is no one left at home who plays, and the old gentleman that my mother used to have in to tune it has passed on. The last time I had tried to play it, on a visit home, it was so badly out of tune that I gave up.

Something happened recently that has me thinking about buying a piano. And today, as my mind was wandering, in the strange and rambling way that it does, I thought of those painstakingly copied children's tunes that my aunt had given me. It's not that I didn't appreciate it at the time - I was very happy to receive that notebook and I used it for a long time. But it occurred to me today how much work that must have been; I'm sure I didn't realize it at the time, but it must have taken Auntie A a good amount of time to do all that copying, so neatly and so carefully done. I suddenly had the urge to sit down and write a thank-you letter to my aunt, 30 years after the fact.

Would that be strange? Auntie A has certainly done many kind things for me over the years, and I hope that I have always remembered to be appreciative. But that really meant a lot to me, and it still does. Heck, give how long it has been since I've touched a piano, I would probably need that little notebook to start over again!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You it is...

From a little searching on the internet, it looks like the recipe for Dreena Burton's Mellow Lentil "Sniffle" Soup from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan was posted on her site at one point, but it is no longer there. So I won't post the original recipe since it seems like she doesn't want it out there anymore. If you want the original, you can always check out the book. I've made three recipes from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan so far, and I've been happy with all of them.

In any case, I didn't follow the recipe exactly, because I was aiming to use what I had on hand in my kitchen, so I hope Ms. Burton won't mind me posting my version. And if it helps, I'll say it again: Really like the cookbook so far and I happily recommend it!

Specifically, I was aiming to use up:
- two different types of lentils (I had red lentils and some others that were a brown color - they were in a jar, no package, so I'm not sure what kind they were. I also didn't measure, so I don't know how much I used; I knew I didn't have enough red lentils for the recipe, so I used both and I will have to guess amounts.)
- an expired curry packet (Asian Home Gourmet Indian Chicken Curry spice paste, according to the website this is a Madras Curry base. Best before date was April; I probably bought it thinking it might make an easy supper one night, but I have a recipe for Indian Chicken Curry from scratch that I really like, so if I'm going to make it, that's what I usually do. However, it was good in the soup, so it didn't go to waste, and I would buy it again for that purpose.)
- a zucchini (small-medium in size)

So here goes...

JavaChick's Sniffle Soup

1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (you can use olive oil)
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 large carrot, grated (was about 1 cup)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small-medium zucchini, diced (approx 2 cups?)
salt & pepper to taste
crushed red chilies, to taste
1 packet Madras Curry paste (You can probably buy jarred Madras curry paste, in which case I'd say use amount to taste)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1/3 cup mysterious brown lentils
1 900 ml tetra pack Vegetable Stock
3 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (actually, I'm not positive on this one, I may have used 1 1/2 tbsp? I can't remember.)

Before starting anything else, I rinsed the mysterious brown lentils and put them in a pot of water on the stove. Brought to a boil, then turned the heat down and let them simmer. (Sorry, I did not measure or time anything here. I knew the brown lentils would take longer to cook and wanted to give them a head start.)

I set a large pot on the stove to heat over med-low heat while I diced/grated onion, celery, carrots and garlic.

Add oil to pot, along with onion, celery, carrot, garlic, curry paste, thyme and rosemary, salt, pepper and crushed chilies. Allow this to cook while dicing zucchini, then add zucchini. Cook until vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally.

Rinse red lentils and add to pot, along with water, stock, bay leaf, and brown lentils that have been cooking all along. Increase heat and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are softened (20 mins?). Add apple cider vinegar and remove from heat. Fish out bay leaf.

I got 7 servings out of this, approx 1 1/2 cups each, which is enough to fill me up at lunch time.

It really is quite tasty, and I could probably get Husband to eat this, as long as he did not see me using the 'Eat, Drink and Be Vegan' cookbook while making it. As soon as he sees that word, he makes up his mind that it can't be good. Silly Husband.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The weather outside is frightful...

A fire would have been delightful.

But instead I was at work all day. Had we known how frightful it was going to get, we might have stayed home, all cozy with a fire going, surrounded by sleeping cats...

When I got up this morning and looked out my window, there was no snow. As I ate my oatmeal, I noticed a few flakes drifting down, but it was barely noticeable.

We have a 10 minute drive in to work, which is not all that far, but the closer we got to town, the heavier the snowfall became. As I was walking from parking garage to office, it was coming down pretty thick and I found myself wondering why it is that I don't own a winter coat with a hood. How does that make sense?

We left work around 4:00 to beat the traffic and get home before dark; driving in a snow storm is no fun, a snow storm in the dark even less so.

So everything is snow covered once again...



And if the forecast is accurate, it looks like the snow will hang around for a while. But you never know - forecasts can change.

The good news is: I'm feeling fine today. Must have been the Sniffle Soup!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On the mend

Definitely feeling better, though kinda tired and it was really tough to make myself do any exercise tonight, so it was another short one. I can't believe it's only Tuesday...Feeling like an incredibly long week already.

Will try to post the soup recipe in the next day or so, but that's it for me tonight. Bedtime!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Nausea Diet...

Seems to be the plan of the day.

Got up this morning, had toast (whole wheat bread that I made yesterday) with almond butter, and a cup of coffee. Shortly after getting to work started feeling very nauseous. Wondered if I should call Husband to take me home (like he did to me last week...) but decided to try and stick it out.

Finally around 2:00 hunger won out over fear of nauseous tummy. Also, I was freezing cold and wanted something to warm me up. Convenient that soup is usually my lunch of choice at work.

Oddly enough, my soup today was Mellow Lentil "Sniffle" Soup from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan, so named because the author made the soup when her daughter was sick. Seemed appropriate. Also very tasty. I made it on Saturday - with a few minor deviations from the recipe. Our kitchen has gotten out of control, so I've been looking for ways to use things up.

I ate cautiously, but the soup seemed to go down ok. But my snacks (apple and a cheese string) did not get eaten. Soup was all I could handle.

Soup is one of those things that gets better when it is reheated. I tasted the soup on Saturday when I made it and thought is was all right but a little bland. I portioned it out in containers and put it in the freezer. Today, it seemed to be bursting with flavor. Definitely will want to make this again. Perhaps I should make note of my alterations to the recipe?

The weather is still crazy. On Thursday it was aroun -4 all day. Friday we had a high of +16! Then Saturday it was down a little below zero again. Yesterday was chilly because I had to light the fire in the wood stove. Today, back up to 10 degrees. Crazy.

Not sure whether there will be exercise tonight, depends how I feel later on. At the moment I am just waiting for the day to be over so I can go home.

Evening Update...
So I did do a short workout. Still was not feeling 100%, but was feeling like I needed to move; anyone else get like that sometimes? So I did a little circuit using my treadmill and Sagan's Workout of the Day. I popped my Best Of Haywire CD (blast from my seems-like-only-yesterday past ~ Canadian rock band from the 80's, for anyone who might not know) into the CD player and started moving. The music would have kept me going, but I could tell I wasn't really up to it; I got in 30 minutes of moving, which felt like good enough.

Also, got a charge out of setting up my little circuit - treadmill, step and kettlebells for the step-ups, mat, stability ball and dumbbells for the shoulder presses. I don't know why that made me happy, I just know that it did. Maybe I am sicker than I thought...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday Weather, etc.

Today it was 10 - 11 degrees above zero and rained all day. There were also 60 km/hr winds, with gusts up to 84 km/hr. My umbrella got destroyed on the way to work, within seconds of being opened. It is supposedly designed to withstand being blown inside-out, but I have had it for a long time (8+ years) and I guess it just couldn't take the punishment this morning. So I guess I will be umbrella shopping.

The snow that arrived over the past couple of days is now gone. Not that I'm complaining. The bad news is, the temperature is supposed to dip down below freezing tonight and we are in for snow, ice pellets and freezing rain.

We ended up leaving work early because Husband was sick. It seemed like I just arrived at work, and I was turning around and leaving again. I spent the rest of the day working on the couch with my laptop and one or both cats. Lately as soon as I sit down I have a cat on top of me. I guess it's a winter thing.

Husband is sleeping at the moment, and we have leftover soup in the fridge for supper. Soon I will finish up work for the day, get changed into my sweats, and head down to the basement for my workout. Feels like a treat to be able to get it out of the way so early, and know that supper is just a matter of heating up soup on the stove.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

8 am
-15 this morning, windchill is sorta warmer than yesterday. But supposed to go up to 4 degrees today, then 10 degrees and rain all day tomorrow.

12:30 pm
According to Environment Canada's weather page for Saint John, it is now -5 degrees with a windchill of -9; almost balmy! It is also snowing, big fluffy flakes. Yeah, it's pretty from inside, but I'm not looking forward to the mess on the roads & sidewalks.

3:00 pm
Up to -2 now. Snow is still coming down, but rather than coming straight down as it was earlier, it looks like it's blowing sideways. Must be quite a bit of wind (weather page still says wind chill of -9, but it also cites wind speeds of 33 km/h whereas around noon it said 'calm'); it looks pretty nasty. Guess I won't be getting out for my afternoon walk break.

10:00 pm
6 degrees and raining.

I get obsessedfascinated with the weather this time of year. You just never know what you are going to get.

Aside from the weather...
I did stay on the couch last night, I just couldn't make myself move. The weekend was so busy, and then Sunday night I went out to a Dinner Theatre which was fun, but by last night I needed some couch potato time. Which I had and now I am ready to get back to my exercise routine.

After four days off, I was starting to notice a difference in my left knee which had been stiff & sore for quite a while. It's still a bit stiff, but definitely better. I may have to give up on the idea of running, I don't know. I guess I should take some time off from it for a little while and see if that makes a difference.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Crazy weather continues

Yesterday the high temperature was +4 degrees Celcius.

Today was -12 with a windchill of -23.

Tomorrow is supposed to start out cold, but go back up to +4.

Crazy, crazy weather.

Weekend was busy. No time for exercise, but eating was ok.

Today I had planned to exercise, but I'm tired and all I want to do is sit on the couch and eat cookies. I haven't eaten any cookies. Yet. But I want to.

Welcome to Monday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


According to my Page-A-Day cat calendar for today:

Humans generally think of water as a tasteless liquid, but scientists have discovered that cats are able to detect different flavors in the water they drink. This may help to explain why some family pets prefer to drink from the faucet.

I knew I was part cat....

I have to say, I don't agree that water is tasteless. It's another one of those things I'm picky about. Unfortunately where I live now, that means drinking bottled water and not all water tastes the same - bottled or not.

I know lots of people love to recite that line from Reality Bites - Evian spelled backwards is naive. I've heard people say that it all tastes the same...But to me it definitely does not.

I grew up drinking well water from the tap - when I visit my parents, I still do. I lived in Charlottetown, PEI, for a couple of years and I drank the tap water there too because it tasted just fine. In Saint John, the tap water tastes like chlorine. So bottled water it is.

I'm not saying that all I drink is Evian, but I do insist on spring water. I don't like any of the filtered, ozonated, demineralized, remineralized water. It does not taste like water at all to me. I find it quite unpleasant.

What do you think? Is water a tasteless liquid?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Once a picky eater...

I am notorious for being the picky eater in my family. I grew up thinking I was a vegetable-hater, having spent many an evening stuck at the table long after everyone else was finished, staring at a plate of carrots. Once I was out on my own, doing my own cooking, I found ways to incorporate veggies into my diet. I am so used to it now that I tend to think to myself: "I'm not picky, those people are crazy"....until I am in a situation where I am not in control of the meal. I remember the first time we were going to my in-laws place for a turkey dinner, listening to Husband on the phone before hand saying "No, she doesn't like that...Not that either...No, she won't eat that..." It was kind of funny.

So I found it fascinating last week, reading the pre-American Thanksgiving posts, seeing people talking about what would and would not be on their plates.

We went to a turkey dinner on Saturday night, as we have an American friend in our little circle who wanted to have her Thanksgiving dinner. I found myself noticing what other people put on their plate - for most people, I must admit, it was a little bit of everything: mashed potatoes, squash, carrots, broccoli & cauliflower, dressing (that Husband & I made), macaroni and cheese casserole (first time I've ever seen that served as part of a turkey dinner), cranberry sauce, turkey and gravy. I think that's everything.

My plate? Turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, broccoli & cauliflower, a wee bit of the mac & cheese, gravy on the turkey & dressing. Squash & carrots? Ugh! Mashed potatoes? I used to eat them because I felt like I was supposed to...but mashed potatoes are seriously boring food (yes, even if they are garlic mashed, which these were). I would rather have the dressing (which was made with apples, smoked apple sausage, yukon gold potatoes - skins left on, multigrain bread, onion and poultry seasoning), so now I just skip them in favor of dressing. To be quite honest, I'd be happy with a plate full of dressing and gravy. As a matter of fact, there was a little dressing left over which we took home and had for breakfast the next day, with scrambled eggs.

Okay, so maybe the others ate more different types of vegetables...But I had a nice large serving of the veggies I like. That's generally how I manage my veggies - stick to the ones I like. But I do eat lots of veggies! See how I have changed?

A couple of weeks ago, Husband came home from a solo foray into the grocery store with a bag of frozen mixed stir-fry veggies. I will state up front that I am not a fan of frozen veggies in stir-fry dishes. I have found some frozen cauliflower and broccoli that is quite good when steamed, but if I'm going to stir-fry, I prefer fresh. Husband prefers least amount of effort possible (but I still love him).

So last night I planned on using the frozen veggies because they are sitting there in the freezer - best to use them up, right? Husband pulled them out and commented that the mix contained carrots. I put on my sad face and said "what are you trying to do to me?"

But I threw on lots of my favorite Black Bean & Chili sauce and figured since the carrots would be mixed with everything else, I wouldn't really notice. I sat down with every intention of eating my dinner, carrots and all. I was watching TV, nice distraction, no? I won't see the carrots, I won't notice the carrots....Until I got a mouthful of carrots. I almost couldn't swallow them. From that point on, I picked out all of the carrots and set them aside. After dinner, they went down the garbage disposal. Sad part is, there is still half a bag of the mix left in the freezer. Seriously want to ask Husband to please not make me eat any more of it.

So I guess things haven't changed much after all. Except that, now, no one is stopping me from disposing of the nasty carrots, rather than eating them. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

November Review / December Plan

It's December 1st already, time to start a new month of tracking, but I don't want to lose my record of November, so I'm posting it here. Seems like a good time for a review/summary.

I didn't have a specific plan for November, I decided it would be fun to open up my exercise schedule to include anything and everything. Part way through, I decided to see if I could get through the month without repeating a DVD.

I have quite a DVD collection - I can never resist perusing exercise DVDs and often find new ones that I think look interesting. Lately I haven't been using them as much since I have been setting specific workout plans. When I do decide to pull out a DVD, I have a tendency to gravitate towards favorites. My little "no repeats" challenge forced me to pull out some DVDs that I haven't done as often, which also helped me to identify some areas that need work. So I think it was a good month.

I think for December I will continue on with my DVD-palooza, and try to concentrate on some of the DVDs that I haven't used as much in the past. I may also try to throw in some of Sagan's 100 rep challenges, time permitting; we'll have to wait and see how it goes.

~ November Workouts ~

Nov 29: Quick Fix Stability Ball workout [30 mins]
Nov 28: Treadmill walk [60 mins]
Nov 27: Bootcamp [60 mins]
Nov 25: Self Bkini-Ready workout + 10 mins weights [45 mins]
Nov 24: Treadmill walk/jog [45 mins]
Nov 22: Kathy Smith Personal Trainer Sclupting [55 mins]
Nov 20: Treadmill walk/jog [45 mins]
Nov 19: Pilates Yoga Blend [40 mins]
Nov 18: Ultimate Sculpt + Replenish [40 mins]
Nov 17: Treadmill walk/jog [45 mins]
Nov 16: Slim Sculpt [45 mins]
Nov 13: Crunch Fat Burning Pilates
Nov 12: HiDef Sculpt + 20 mins treadmill [65 mins]
Nov 11: Yardwork [90 mins]
Nov 10: Treadmill walk [45 mins]
Nov 09: Treadmill walk/jog [45 mins]
Nov 08: Burn & Firm Pilates + 20 mins weights [60 mins]
Nov 06: Treadmill walk/jog [45 mins]
Nov 05: Crunch Cardio Sculpt [30 mins]
Nov 04: Treadmill walk [60 mins]
Nov 03: Yoga [40 mins]