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Sunday, September 21, 2014

my life as a vampire, week 3

Oh hai. Long time no write.

My last two weeks of day shift in August were literally crying-in-the-bathroom-at-work stressful and the month of September has been all about adjusting to being awake when everyone else is sleeping.  Plus, most of my internet time recently has been on the mobile device and I'm not good enough with the thumb typing to write actual blog posts that way. Blah blah blah excuse cakes.

But here I am now, dropping in with an update. Night shift=so far, so good.  Several people have said to me "you sound so much happier" and it's true.  I sound happier because I am happier.  I am, believe it or not, getting more sleep than when I was working days. I go to bed between 7:30 and 8 am and my alarm wakes me at 2:30. Compare that to going to bed at 10:30 or 11 pm and having to drag my sleep-deprived ass out of bed at 4:30 in the fucking morning and you will see that I'm getting at least an extra hour of sleep per day. And I am exercising almost every day. When I'm working my usual new schedule of Monday through Thursday nights, 6 pm to 4:30 am, I go to my new gym near the hospital after work, arriving just after they open at 5 and leaving just after 6.  Usually on Mondays I've been going to the gym in the afternoon before heading over to work. Most Fridays I go to 6 pm yoga. On Saturday and Sunday I've been going to the gym or to yoga or hiking/walking with friends.  This in itself all makes me much happier.

One of my new co-workers asked me the other night whether I was still going to the gym after work. When I said yes, she said (somewhat sarcastically, I think) "oh, you're so good."  "It makes me feel so much better," I answered, and she looked at me like I'd just sprouted a new arm. Or boob.  Some extraneous body part anyway. This is the same woman who refused to walk up two flights of stairs with me the other night after we'd gone to check on a patient's equipment, so, y'know, I realize she's not down with the whole exercise concept.  But I remain bemused that some people can only frame working out as "being good", as some kind of penance for eating cookies or some act of daunting willpower.

No.  It feels GOOD.

But I'm preaching to the choir here.

To reward you for your patience with my lack of blog content, I'd like to offer up a couple of recipes involving pumpkin that I've tried lately.

The first one is a pumpkin oatmeal cream cheese bake.  I got it from a friend who got it originally from a Facebook page called Kia's Fit Fare.

1/2 cup oats
2 egg whites (62g)
81g, 1/3 cup puree (canned) Pumpkin
1/4 cup Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk or the Coconut Almond Breeze
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/16 - 1/8 tsp salt (Just a light dash, not much needed)
½ to 1tbs Stevia (Not much, you can top with Maple or Sugar Free Syrup of Choice)

Cream Cheese Center:
2tbs, 28g of Fat Free Cream Cheese
1 tsp Stevia
1/2 tbs Silk Almond Milk

What you need:
2 Bowls
Measuring Spoons
Whisk or Large Fork
Large Ramekin
Cooking Spray/Oil


1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray Large Ramekin with cooking spray.
2. Combine all ingredients in bowl, pour in Ramekin.
3. For the cream cheese center, combine all ingredients listed. Lightly place in center of Bake without pushing down through mixture.
4. Topped with 3g (1/2 tbs) of pumpkin seeds.
5. Bake 30 mins at 350.
6. Allow to set for a few mins to cool and firm up slightly
7. Enjoy!! (Remember this is a Bake, so it will be slightly moist in center)

Nutrition /Macros for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Oatmeal Bake:
Calories: 252
Fat: 5g
Carbohydrate: 36g
Protein: 18g

The only change I make to the recipe is to use reduced fat (rather than fat-free) cream cheese and Splenda instead of stevia, because a.) fat-free cheese is a non sequitor and b.) I'm scarily not worried about getting cancer, and stevia tastes like ass to me.

The second recipe is for pumpkin turkey chili, and the recipe is on the Whole Foods website:

The changes I made to this were: using black beans instead of kidney beans, using 1.25 lbs of ground turkey instead of a pound (b/c that's how big my package was, plus PROTEINZ), omitting the garlic (b/c mine had dried up [sad face]), and adding a half teaspoon of cinnamon.  Plus mine's in plastic freezer containers, not a nice ceramic bowl, and there's not going to be any fancee sour cream garnish because work lunch.

I will say, if you intend to use that chili for dinner, NOT a work lunch, six servings is kinda overly optimistic in my view, even though I added extra meat to mine.  I'd say it makes three to four normal dinner-sized helpings. But maybe I'm just a glutton.

I hope to tell you all about my new gym in a separate post, but until then, just let me say this--the convenience store across the street from it sells individual Quest bars. For 3 bucks a pop.  Despite this highway robbery, I've been taking the opportunity to try out flavors I haven't had before and wouldn't buy a whole box of.  I had to buy two white chocolate raspberries ones in order to make a decision whether they were weird or tasted good. Conclusion: they're weird. But they also taste kinda good.

Oh, shut up. I just gave you a recipe for chili that has pumpkin in it. Do you trust my taste buds anyway?


Friday, August 8, 2014

a weight loss plan that really works!!1!!!11!

Edited to add:
I didn't know till after I wrote this post that today is World Cat Day. But we here at MMINAE are nothing if not topical.

I don't know how much of this story I've told on here before, but bear with me on whatever you've already read.  The combination of menopausal brain mush + too lazy to read own archives = frequently repetitive, ok?

Two years ago, an ex co-worker of mine was moving and was desperate to find a new home for her two cats. She didn't want to separate them, plus they were nine and ten years old. People were not exactly jumping out of the woodwork offering to take a pair of middle-aged kittehs.  Thus Toby and Eddie entered my life.  It was a great decision for all involved.  They proved to be super awesome cats and we love them.

Super awesome, um, large cats, as you may or may not remember from pictures I've posted on here. They were obese when they came to live with us, Eddie in particular, and while I thus claimed it was not *my* fault, they certainly weren't getting any trimmer on my watch.  Well, this past May, I realized that hey! these cats have not been to the vet since I've owned them and thus were at least a year overdue on shots, etc. So I called the traveling house-call vet and arranged an appointment for them both.  In all honesty, one of the reasons I'd procrastinated on this was that I knew the vet was going to tell me Eddie needed to be on a diet, and I was dreading that.

Bingo! All Eddie's (and Toby's) test results were fine and they were both in perfect health, but Eddie weighed 20 lbs. And was featured on the vet's website/blog as an example of how tough it is for pet owners to be motivated to get their animals to lose weight since fat cats "are so darn cute."  Cue picture of Fat Eddie, zonked on kitty valium for his blood work, in all his adorable portly glory.

Yes, my cat was a poster child for The Obesity Epidemic.


My friends were evenly divided on whether they thought that this was hilarious or that I should be outraged that the vet used my cat on his blog without my express permission.

Anyway, I figured I had better make at least a token effort at slimming poor Edward down and he wasn't about to take up jogging, alright?  One thing the vet had said was that we should stop feeding them fish-based cat food and switch to meat flavors because the fish was higher in protein and older cats could have trouble with too much protein. So, okay, I immediately stopped buying them the Fancy Feast classic seafood flavors and got the Fancy Feast classic meat and poultry flavors instead.  Secondly, instead of only *usually* getting the dry cat food for "older indoor" cats, I switched to it solely, even when the other dry cat food was on a good sale. Eye roll.  And thirdly, we stopped giving them so many treats. Why, yes, my cats do eat wet food, dry food, and treats. What has that got to do with their obesity problem?  In fairness, Toby eats mostly the wet food and Eddie eats mostly the dry, but they do each eat some of both which is why we have both.

Maybe a month or so ago, I started thinking Eddie was looking a little thinner.  I kinda thought it was wishful thinking on my part, because seriously, we were NOT making any serious changes, just the little ones above. Eddie still had a bowl of dry food he could eat whenever he wanted, even if it was low calorie dry food. He still had wet food to share with Toby twice a day, even if it wasn't his preferred wet food. And he still got treats ON OCCASION, not every time he friggin' meowed.  Then we started to notice that he was jumping up places he couldn't/wouldn't before, being much more agile.  I figured that it wasn't totally in my imagination--Eddie's losing weight.

So I got my son to weigh him.  Weighs himself. Weighs himself holding (squirming) Eddie. Does the math. Eddie weighs 15 lbs.  Can't be right. I try. Weigh myself. Weigh myself holding Eddie...  Holy crap, he does weigh 15 lbs.  Eddie's lost a quarter of his body weight in 3 months with these little tiny lifestyle changes.

It kinda scared me. Like, this is too rapid a weight loss.  So I started feeding him a few more treats. Ahem.

I just need to extrapolate this into human terms and make a fortune selling my miracle painless weight loss plan to America. Unfortunately, I think Eddie's dieting success might be like the time my dad's doctor told him he was getting a little chunky, so he dieted for the first time in his entire life (by switching from regular soda to diet and stopping eating candy *every* day) and lost 30 lbs in a month.  There's some kind of golden ticket there. The first time you seriously try to lose weight, it falls off like the leaves in October. All subsequent attempts never go quite so smoothly.

Besides, most people probably won't eat diet kibble. And they know how to open the cabinet where the treats are kept. Opposable thumbs n' all.  My plan needs work before it makes me millions.

Here's a good before shot:

I'd show you an after, but Eddie refuses to flex for the camera. Progress pics, Edward: yur doin it rong.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

oh, pinterest

Here are some things Pinterest thinks I should be interested in today.


(true fact: Serena Williams boobs still = google search which brings the most people to this blog)



Those are bourbon-infused cherries on that nutella pizza.

(Is choosing nutella pizza the same thing as choosing happiness? If so I might need to reconsider.)



Hell, no.


(Even were I to borrow someone's precious bundle of joy for this, I would not be doing push-ups OVER THE BABY.)


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

when you question your life choices

An internet buddy of mine went to the Crossfit Games this past weekend and had her sports bra autographed by KLOKOV. And posted a pic today of said event. Plus a pic of her and Klokov with his arm around her.  In some alternate universe that could've been me, you feel?

Also? I woke up at some ungodly hour this morning with an excruciating charley horse in my left calf which is all down to, I'm sure, the fact that I have been horrendous about my water intake lately.

My eating has also been crap. I ran out of my stock of healthy meals in the freezer and so yesterday I took two yogurts and a Quest bar to work with me for lunch. Then I didn't have time to eat one of the yogurts. Then I came home late after the gym and had half a Coke Zero, a giant leftover biscuit from the barbecue place I ate at after work Sunday night, and leftover mac n' cheese from same.

Oh, yes, I did work Sunday, which was another unfortunate life choice. Also why I didn't have time to cook and restock the freezer.

I don't know who Jim Rohn is, but he can shut right the fuck up.

I'm seriously gonna hydrate properly today though. That cramp was an intense way to welcome the morning.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

peeeeee arrrrrrrrrr

I dunno if I've mentioned it in here before, but my friend adopted a new ginger kitten several months ago and named him Max. As in, one-rep max.  In an example of random coincidence, I had a friend in high school/college who back in the '80s also had an orange cat named Max. That Max weighed a whopping 25lbs, had a head the size of a grapefruit, and was called Max after Cedric Maxwell. (If you don't know who that is, you obviously were not a fan of the Bird-era Celtics. Your loss.)  But I am not here to discuss great sports teams of my youth or cats who were even bigger than my beloved fat Eddie (but, srsly, what's with orange cats and being jumbo-sized?), but rather one-rep maxes and PRs.


 (one-rep) Max:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

(one-rep) Max:

(and just for a change of pace,) Eddie:

Mainly I would like to talk about PRs and one-rep maxes today so I can brag about how I went for one Sunday and got it. But in doing so, I've also got to talk about my not-so-glorious failure a couple weeks ago. That's the thing about lifting weights, kids. Sometimes you win. Sometimes gravity wins. The days that gravity wins, you can be pissed as hell. (Ask me about the time I [gently, I'm not a COMPLETE idiot] punched the side of the power rack in frustration.)  You can get down on yourself.  (Ask me about the million times I've told myself I suck.)  And after all that, sometimes you can try to figure out why gravity won.

So, yeah, a couple weeks ago I was at the gym doing rack pulls** and I was feeling good. Strong. I started out at 155x8.  It felt like I was picking up nothing, almost literally. Huh. Next I did 185x8.  Usually when I do these, I get about 6 reps at 185, but I have gotten 8 reps a time or two before. On this day, not only were the 8 reps doable, they didn't even feel difficult. I started thinking this was a day to go for a PR. Since my all-time rack pull PR was two plates*** (225) x3, and that was over a year ago, and since on a good day lately I've been able to do 225x2, I figured I'd go for a one rep max. And I figured that one rep max would be...235? But you don't (or *I* don't) just skip from 185 to 235. I did a set of 205x5 which was, again, what I've been getting lately on a good day. It felt good. Almost--but not quite--"easy."  Okay, I thought, I should be able to tie my rep PR at 225 and then get my one rep max at 235.  Took my proper amount of rest between sets. Pulled 225. Times two. Dammit. The fact I didn't tie my rep PR should have told me that despite how well the earlier sets had gone, it was not the day to try that one rep max. But I had gotten the idea into my head and sometimes ideas don't leave my head as promptly as they should. Sigh. I then tried three times to budge that 235 and couldn't even get it a millimeter off the rack.

I was pretty angry. I didn't punch anything though. Go me.  (Sigh again.)

Part of the problem was that someone had switched out a bench press bar for the oly bar that belongs in the power rack and the knurls on it were in a different place and also were very rough such that my palms were getting all torn up.  But I didn't want to use that as an excuse. The reason that bar did not move was NOT because my hands hurt, kwim?  On sober reflection, I was pretty sure that my progression was wrong, i.e. that the way I'd worked up to that 235 was not ideal.  

My pitiful amount of weightlifting knowledge may indeed be pitiful, but I do know that it's unwise to try for a one rep max too often. So I gave it a couple weeks and decided to try again Sunday, fueled by a blenderful of protein green smoothie, Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, and a whole wheat bagel.  And I did my progression differently. I started out lighter: 135x8. Then 155x8. Then 185x8. Then 205x5. And then I went directly to 235 and got that single glorious lockout. I wish I had video proof of it for y'all, but I was not filming.  

Mainly I'd have liked you to see the ridiculous new gym pants I was wearing.  I think I may have let on earlier that I Have a Problem with buying gym clothes. In that I, y'know, keep doing it. Especially when they're on sale. Athleta has these pants on sale.  I thought they were cute and I thought they were similar to some other Athleta capris that I have and like very much. And they have pockets. Well. They came in the mail and they are indeed pretty cute and very comfy and high quality and lalalala, but in direct sunlight they are far, far more neon green than that website photo would lead you to believe. I felt...conspicuous. 

Um, but that's a digression. We were talking about going for PRs and one-rep maxes. Allegedly.

Here are a couple articles about warming up for a one-rep max. I've read the T-Nation one ages ago and, yeah, apparently did not learn anything from it, because if it's to be believed I still did way too many warm up reps today.  My max might be higher than 235 if only I tested it correctly, huh?

Though according to this if my three rep is 225, my one rep should be 238, and if my eight rep is 185, my one rep should be 230, so 235 *is* in the right ballpark.  I tried a couple other one-rep max calculators on the interwebs and they all gave me the exact same figures, so I guess there is one scientifically accepted formula for this shiz. 

I'm sure this was all as boring as crap for those of you who don't lift and who don't want to read my links or play with that max rep calculator for like twenty minutes. Sorry. Here's a sleeping baby kitten and Klokov bending over for your time.

If there existed a picture of Klokov holding a baby kitten, I'm pretty sure the internet would explode.


**I tried to find a video of rack pulls to throw in here in case there were those of you who don't know what they are, but 90% of them were people pulling from their knee height or above, which NO. I could probably pull 300 lbs if I were pulling from above my knees. God.

***I swear, half the appeal of lifting is the lingo. Throwing "I pulled two plates" into a conversation makes me feel so much less like your average middle-aged working stiff and so much more of a fucking badass. I know. SAD.

Monday, July 7, 2014

the most important meal of the day

Or something like that.

Would it bore you guys for me to throw the occasional healthy recipe/food experiment up in here?  I promise that if I start doing this on the regular, I'll improve my food photography skillz. Or at least try to.

Tropical Fruit Protein Smoothie, aka "my breakfast"

1.5 cups So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk "beverage"

2 scoops (62g) Optimum Nutrition banana creme whey protein**

1 nectarine, skin n' all***

140g Trader Joe's frozen organic mango

Chuck all ingredients in blender.  Blend.  Drink!  Makes 2 normal or 1 Andrea-sized servings.

**for a tangier, less sweet smoothie, replace 1 scoop of whey and 1/2 cup of coconut milk with a 7oz container of Fage 2% plain Greek yogurt. This only works if you aren't out of yogurt, goddammit.

***well, not "n' all" do need to remove the pit.  But you'd figure that out without instructions, right?


Sunday, July 6, 2014

some reviews of random crap

1.) Trader Joe's Sweet Italian Chicken sausage

I bought these for the first time a few weeks ago, just to try.  I really wasn't expecting much--I mean it's healthy(er) sausage, how good could it be?

Fucking amazingly delicious, people, that's how good.

I honestly think I like them better than my go-to non-healthy sausage (Perri sweet Italian) and they're 100 calories each rather than 230. But don't take just my word for it.  I mentioned them to a co-worker a couple weeks ago, knowing that a.) she's a TJ's shopper and b.) she and her boyfriend try/are trying to watch what they eat.  Well, last Monday on her day off, she texted to tell me she'd bought some and cooked them up with onions, mushrooms, and peppers, and they were quote unquote orgasmic.

Two thumbs way up, man.

2.) these Zella "Move It" capri pants

and these Athleta "Karma" capris

and "woven stretch" athletic pants in general.

Those of you who are old enough to remember the '90s may remember that there was a hot minute in the mid-90s when nylon track suits, or as we called them, "wind suits", were fashionable. I want to say it was spring of 1995, based solely on my memory of wearing one to a Celtics game with my mother and where I was living then.  Anyway, all the hot trendy mommies that spring were wearing them on their own time, and as I was a hot trendy mommy, so did I. But what I remember most about them was that, working in pediatrics, I'd have my patients' moms come in wearing these wind suits and if the child was a toddler/preschooler and thus of an age to sit on their mom's lap, they'd be continually sliding off. It was sorta hilarious, but you could NOT hold a child on your knee in those things without constant readjustment.  They were slippery mofos. (Um, the track pants, not the children in question.)  Also, they were noisy and made a swoosh-swoosh sound when you walked.

That, kids, is my previous experience with woven-fabric athletic wear.  Can I say, the technology has vastly improved in the last 19 years.  Both those Zella and Athleta pants are so freaking comfortable. They're so lightweight, they're basically like wearing nothing, a fact I've greatly appreciated on recent 90 degree 1000% humidity days. They don't make any swishy noises. And you could probably hold a toddler in your lap without incident. Though I haven't tried, so I won't swear to it.

3.) the pedicure I got today

I don't know if I've ever mentioned it on here, but for the past six years, I have gotten pedicures at an expensive spa-type place from the nicest esthetician in the world. I usually only go during the summer, or during the holidays, or when I really need/want my feet to look nice, because it's too expensive to go every three weeks all year round. But I am very loyal to this woman.  I mean, I am not even a runner, but my sense is that I have, frankly, gross feet--I've almost lost both my big toenails twice from hiking/long distance walking--and she has never made me feel like she was bothered by how much damn work my feet are for her. And she always gets them looking pristine no matter how gross they are going in. Unfortunately, she has drastically cut down the hours she does nails. She has some back trouble and most of her days are now scheduled for facials, which are far less taxing on her body than pedicures.  I totally understand and sympathize but our schedules do not mesh at all now and I have been forced to go to other (cheapy) places for my last couple pedis.

The one I got today was...not good.  This woman did not clean up the polish she got on my skin when she was sloppily painting my nails plus my pinky toe on the right foot smudged even though I didn't put on shoes for over an hour after I left the nail salon.  I know this review is of no use to anyone reading this. I just wanted to bitch, okay?

4.) those Nike "comfort thongs"

Do I need to search for a picture of these?  I've posted them before. Including on my feet. God.

Anyway. Yes. I have been wearing these for a few weeks now, long enough to have formed an opinion. My opinion is, they should have named them something else because thongs are butt floss underwear which I personally only wear when the chances of me getting sex are pretty high.  These flipflops will not entice anyone to have sex with you. Unless maybe they have a foot fetish and your pedicure is better than mine? I don't know your lives, readers.

Okay, unfortunate name aside, I do like these, though not perhaps as much as I was hoping to like these.  I think they run weirdly narrow for a flipflop.  When I first got them that led to me feeling like there wasn't enough shoe/sole surrounding my foot. (Stop looking at me like that.)  My foot wasn't hanging off them in any direction, it just felt kinda like they might be. (Seriously, stop looking at me like that.)  Multiple wearings has dulled that sensation and I'm fine with the fit now.  Also, despite the "comfort" part of the equation--the memory foam insole--they really aren't as shock-absorbing as my 2 year old Reefs which are the most comfortable flipflops I have ever owned.  I can walk further without discomfort in those Reefs than I can in these Nikes.  I think it's that while the Nike insole is cushy, the soles are hard.  A plus for the Nikes, however, is that that insole *is* so cushy they don't lead to the dreaded heel calluses that flipflops (and clogs, for that matter) usually give me from the insole repeatedly smacking back up into my heel as I walk.  Also, they are just very cute and sporty-looking.

5.) Reebook adjustable speed rope

So, in my quest to find something that will entice me to do cardio rather than "cardio" and, specifically, intervals, I decided to buy a jump rope.  Off I went to Amazon to peruse them. There were many many many choices. I bought the one above solely and completely because it claimed to be easy to adjust the length and I knew I would have to shorten whichever one I got.  In case you've forgotten, I'M SHRINKING. Ahem. Anyway, they didn't lie. I was extremely easy to adjust and it adjusts in such a way that you can change the length back and forth without trouble. Which would come in handy if more people than one wanted to use it. It cost like $15 which is probably pretty much ridiculous for $2 worth of plastic and foam, but whatever.  That crappy pedi I got today cost $25 plus tip.  Everything's expensive these days. God.

I probably got a whole wind suit for $15 back in 1995.