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Monday, December 8, 2014

thumbs up, thumbs down

Because you all need to know my opinions on shiz, right? (And they're not all complaints this time.)

1.) SmartWool socks. Thumbs up.  I don't have much circulation in my feet, I don't think, and they get very cold.  Recently I saw someone somewhere praising SmartWool socks as indispensable for surviving winter and it reminded me that I do have an old pair that came from I-don't-know-where but that are, indeed, the bee's knees.  So I decided I should really get some more.  The price for them is, however, alarming.  So I started looking for them at Marshall's and TJ Maxx, etc, with marginal success.  The discounted price ain't cheap either. But they are worth it. Then yesterday I was at Nordstrom Rack with a friend (to whom I had to explain why these socks are the Holy Grail of hosiery) and they had one pair in my size for 50% off retail. Score. Took them to the (male) cashier who asked excitedly if they were men's or women's.  He was crestfallen that they were women's. "I kept waiting for us to get them in and we didn't and I had to go to REI and pay $20."  I felt vindicated, because I think my friend didn't believe me these socks were a Big Deal until that outside confirmation, lulz.

2.) Kneeling squats in the Smith machine.  Thumbs probably down.  I mentioned my new gym doesn't have a real power rack with adjustable safeties, right?  Just two squat stands with fixed safeties and a Smith.  It's been kinda bumming me out that I can't do some of my favorite exercises.  So the other morning I sucked it up and attempted my beloved kneeling squats in the Smith.  I dunno, kids. You know how when you try to squat in the Smith you have to put your feet way out in front of you, and that's why squatting in the Smith isn't generally recommended? Well, doing kneeling squats in the Smith meant putting my knees way out in front of me and even then I didn't feel like I was getting complete ROM.  Gonna give these another try this week and see whether I can tweak them, but so far I'm disappointed.

3.) Naked Juice Green Machine. Thumbs up with shame. So, my one co-worker who shares my interest in "health" and "fitness" got a case of mini bottles of these at like Costco or the like and kindly brought me one. I am now sadly addicted. I say sadly because I don't have access to a source of mini bottles, so I'm buying the big ones which are a.) two servings but of course I drink it all and b.) like 3 bucks a whack.  It's fucking ridiculously delicious though. Mainly because it's apple and mango juice with a teeny tiny miniscule bit of kale to make you think it's good for you.  I keep telling myself it's obviously like 4 servings of fruit and vegetables so TOTALLY worth the 270 calories and three dollars. But even I don't believe myself and I want to be deluded about this.



4.) The Slutcracker. Thumbs mostly up.  Went to see this the other night with some** work friends and while the night had a damper on it for other reasons (weather was sucky, a couple of people who were planning on coming had last minute emergencies, and the host of our pre-show dinner party is going through a breakup), the show itself was on the whole fun and well-performed. What makes it germane to the blog is that it's burlesque and burlesque means there were a variety of mostly-unclothed body types.  I had to put away some of my preconceived prejudices about how skilled a dancer a 250 pound woman is going to be. I mean, I know saying that out loud (well, typing it publicly) makes me an asshole. But while I know fat people can be good athletes (see: many many powerlifters and Pablo Sandoval), I have to admit I don't visualize them as dancers. Which is obviously a stupid and wrong-headed prejudice and I now know that. So seeing a bunch of naked people perform a dirty ballet was good for my moral and ethical development.***

xoxo

**Some. My more devoutly religious co-workers stayed home. And maybe prayed for our souls. Or bitched to their friends about having to work with a bunch of deviants. One of the two.

***See, religious co-workers? It was practically like going to church.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

pour some...




I hope you took some time out of your busy day of turkey-brining or suitcase-packing or office-clock-watching (or whatever you usually do the day before Thanksgiving) to actually watch a little of that video. Ah, the 80s. The mullets, the jeans, the men in "muscle" shirts totally devoid of muscles. It was a special time. Ahem.

But we're not here to discuss my misspent youth. We're here to discuss SUGAR.  Which is totally on topic at my house since I just made (and ate) poppin' fresh cinnamon buns at 5 am, plus put some non-sugar free pumpkin syrup in my coffee. It's almost a holiday. Shut up.  Also?  This post is illuminating to me as it has brought to my attention that I cannot spell cinnamon without help. I seriously tried three different wrong combinations of vowels before I gave up and let spellcheck do it.

So here is my question for you.  (No, it's NOT "why can I not spell simple words?" Pretty sure that's 'cause my mom smoked when she was pregnant. Or something. God.)  My question is, do YOU care how many grams of sugar a day you ingest?

Some of my friends and co-workers will scrutinize a nutrition label and accept or reject a food based on how many grams of sugar are in it.  It's totally foreign to me.  I read nutrition labels to see how much protein and/or how many calories are in something. I used to check out how many carbs, or carbs minus fiber, were in something, back when I used to care about that. But I have never counted my sugar grams. (Something I've never been crazy about??? Huh. Well, there had to be one thing.)  I don't even know what's good, bad, or mediocre when it comes to grams of sugar. How many grams of sugar are you supposed to eat if you're on the healthy eating train? Pretty sure the answer is NOT zero, because fruit.  But I see hyperventilating on the interwebs because some blogger or other dared call a recipe "healthy" when it contains xyz grams of sugar, so I know there are people who take this shit uber seriously.  I'm not sure why, but then again, I tend to reject out of hand any scientific research that suggests I should give up cookies.



Those are really good, btw.

Another thing that bewilders me is how there are people who will avoid sugar-sugar, but will substitute for it in recipes with maple syrup or agave or molasses in the name of "health."  I mean, you know I will substitute the evil splenda for sugar in recipes which I will then call "healthy" but what I really mean is low calorie and full of protein. Since I'm pretty aware that the probable cancer I'll get from the splenda twenty years from now negates any health claims.  But maple syrup/agave/molasses aren't even low calorie and I'm pretty sure they spike your blood sugar as much as sugar-sugar. So where's the healthifying?  Disclosure in the name of total transparency: I do have agave in my kitchen for making things for a couple friends who don't use artificial sweeteners but yet would feel psychologically better eating something "healthier" than sugar. I don't wanna rain on their parade even if I don't quite get the floats. (Humorous Thanksgiving analogy there? YOU be the judge.)


And to show you how hopped up on sugar I was this morning, here are some pictures of me from the mid 80s that I decided to share. Just to, y'know, illustrate the bad hair and clothes and makeup, in case you didn't watch that video I picked out just for you.  (Also probably because my mom smoked when she was pregnant) I couldn't figure out how to make my scanner work correctly. So after five tries, I gave up and took pictures of the pictures with my phone and emailed them to myself. Such a technical genius.








1.) That's my mom's navy blue pleather sofa and maroon carpet, not mine.  My taste may have been tragic, but not THAT tragic.

2.) I think these photos prove without any doubt that NO ONE in my family could ever shoot a decent picture.  Unless you consider the off-centeredness and the cutting off of half a person's head to be valid artistic choices. In which case...did you own a navy pleather sofa too?

xoxo

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

omg, i'm the worst blogger evah

Sorry, guys. Work and life in general have been kicking my butt***.  It's not even that I don't have time to write--I have weekends off (mostly) after all--it's that I don't have the mental energy to come up with either anything interesting to say or an entertaining way to present something that isn't actually interesting.  I keep thinking I'm going to have a fitness adventure and try something new, then come back to report on it, but then it's like, who am I kidding? go to gym, do same things, go to same yoga classes I know I like, rinse, repeat, blah.

I take that back.  I did go to a yoga workshop last month that was more meditation than yoga and it was very cool (though not, obviously, a "fitness adventure.")  The same weekend I did that, I also went to two other yoga classes, which is two more than I usually go to. I was kinda thinking that between the yoga, the meditation workshop, and the acupuncture--I've started back at acupuncture, have I mentioned that?--I could probably claim to be the most relaxed person in the history of relaxation. Stop laughing. Okay, if you know me, you can laugh. Briefly. But seriously, I think there's some truth in it. One of my co-workers, who is a basket case of work-related stress and anxiety, said to me (and our boss) the other night that working with me was good for her because I talk her off the ledge when she's stressing about shit that can't be controlled. I was like, oh honey, no. If I'm the least anxious person in the room, Houston, we got a problem.  But who knows? Maybe I AM the most relaxed person in the history of relaxation.

I have done one other new-ish thing over the past month. There have been several mornings where I've left work at 4:45 in the morning and it's been just so delightful outside, weather-wise, that I just couldn't bear to go to the gym and instead kept walking on by it.  And just kept walking the 3 1/2 to 4 miles to my ultimate destination where I'd get on the bus or commuter rail to my house.  There is something other-worldly and delightful about walking right through the city of Boston in that hour between 5 and 6 am and if I were not the worst blogger evah, I'd have done a whole post on it complete with pictures I took. But, y'know. And now that the polar fucking vortex is upon us, I'm not foreseeing very many more early morning walks/opportunities to take those as-yet nonexistent pictures, so that post will have to wait till spring. Or never. One of the two. I will say this, however.  If you ever have the opportunity to take a long walk or run through a city at that hour of the day, when it's still dark or just getting light and there are people around, but not too many, and traffic, but not too much, do it. It's like another world. A very pleasant, alien world.  (All the traffic lights at all the intersections on Boylston Street are flashing at that hour of the day. WHO KNEW?)

Okay, enough being positive n' shit.  On to the complaint department.  Because I would also like to update y'all on what's been pissing me off lately.

1.) Wasting food.  I threw out a whole pound of ground turkey this morning that I forgot was in my refrigerator. The sell-by date was 11/11. Oops. I am a moron. Luckily ground turkey is dirt cheap, but I am still pissed at myself.  I also threw out a tupperware full of canned pumpkin that had gone moldy the other day. I've been making that pumpkin cream cheese bake I shared the recipe for quite a bit and since it only calls for 82g of pumpkin at a whack, that means leftover canned pumpkin in a tupperware. The last time I bought canned pumpkin, the giant can of it was only like literally 20 cents more than the can that was half its size. But buying the giant can does NOT save you money when it molds before you can use half of it, Andrea you moron, you. That's my economy tip for today, kids.

2.) My own ignorance of basic knowledge. So, when I could not make the pumpkin oatmeal bake I wanted for breakfast the other day due to sad pumpkin tragedy, I was kinda stymied about what I could substitute. I gave up and just made proats. Sigh. But it made me realize I don't know enough about the chemistry of baking to just willy nilly alter recipes and I should DO something about that. Like, what is the difference between baking powder and baking soda? Don't they do the same thing? Why do you need both in the same recipe? How did someone figure out you need 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda in that recipe? What would happen if you used 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp baking powder instead?  Does anyone know of a good book (or website even) that would explain the science behind baking to me?  It might save me from eating proats. Which I am SO over.

3.) Aggressive sales people.  I was in the Nordstrom activewear department the other day, purportedly looking at North Face jackets. Purportedly, because I can't not also look at all the other workout clothes if I'm in a 20 foot radius of them. It's a sickness. So, I'm browsing the sale rack when Uber Perky 19 Year Old Salesgirl gloms onto me and helpfully explains that the rack I am looking at contains size extra small to medium, while that rack over there contains large to extra large. "Just so you know." Um, thanks? I think I could figure that out on my own?  I move onto other rack. She follows me, making a comment on everything I touch, most of them prefaced with "just so you know." Finally, I am at a rack of black winter jackets and she has to come over to point out that there are actually two different types of black down jacket on that rack.  "Yes! One has a hood and one doesn't, and one is puffier than the other!" I say totally deadpan.  She doesn't get my sarcasm.  I leave without buying anything. Un-fucking-believable.

And, now, to end on a positive note, here are a couple of things that are not pissing me off.

1.) My new sofa that I bought during tax free weekend and which was finally delivered just before Halloween. It's very very comfy.  Toby thinks so too.



2.) These pants which are half-price at Athleta. They're having free 2 day shipping on the website right now, which is handy if, like me, overly aggressive salespeople have made you appreciate online shopping all the more.  Seriously, though, those are my favorite new workout pants. Just so you know.

3.) I'm on vacation from 11/21 to 12/1, woohoo. Maybe there will be a fitness adventure!

xoxo

***I also had Ebola. Or possibly a very bad cold. One of the two.

P.S. I saw a couple people online taking a fit at other people joking about their cold/flu/hangover being Ebola. Srsly? It's offensive to Ebola patients to poke fun at oneself by referring to one's admittedly minor ailment as a possibly deadly disease?  I guess I'm going to hell then.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

welcome to another edition of...

Do You Like How You Look?!?

[studio audience cheers]

Oh, god, not this shit again.  I was saying to my (virtual) weightlifting buddies the other day that I thought I'd lost some of the weight I'd put on over the summer just from being back to working out five or six days a week while tracking my food loosely on work days and mostly not tracking on weekends. And that if I lost a few more pounds that way, I wouldn't be complaining, but if I stayed where I am right now, I wouldn't be complaining either.  I really have no desire to be lean now and I certainly have no desire to go on a real diet.

And then I a.) actually weighed myself today and b.) tried to put on a pair of jeans I'd forgotten I had that I'd bought last spring when I made it down to 111 for that stoopid contest.  Oh hahahaha.  Ha.  It must be be self-delusion or something that I'd lost a few pounds because, no.

That made me feel temporarily all angsty, like maybe I should suck it up and commence weighing every morsel of food that goes in my mouth and start turning down free cookies.**  Luckily I came to my senses, which is why I'm semi-lying in my bed*** drinking a pumpkin beer**** while I type this.


Like that.

BUT I did make sure to be extra active today (yesterday, whatever). It was such a beautiful morning when I left work at 4:45 am that instead of heading to the gym, I took a four mile walk. Then later after I slept a (very) few hours, I did an errand, went to acupuncture, walked from there to the gym to lift, then walked back past a couple subway stops before getting on the train.  All that is to say that I had a total of 23540 steps on October 14. Which is 8.99 miles, apparently.  (What? I couldn't have walked another .01 mile? Goddamn.)  How do I know this? My new phablet told me. It's got some kind of free app that comes with it that counts my steps for me as long as the phone's, y'know, in my hand or in my pocket or in my bag.  I'm toying with getting a Fitbit since so many people I know have them now, but I'm not sure what it's gonna tell me that my phone doesn't. When I don't leave it sitting on a table, that is.

Anyway. I bet if I walked 9 miles everyday I'd fit into those jeans again. Without giving up beer. Though I'm not sure I wanna be 111 pounds.  All angsting aside, I'm pretty sure my middle aged face looks better with the extra poundage.  I dunno.  I wish I didn't care what my face or body looked like, considering it's all a downhill slide till death at this point, but vain people gon' vain.

Speaking of which, I was at the hairdresser last week, vainly getting my roots touched up, and another hairdresser and her 20-something client started discussing how women need to cut their hair short when they reach like 40. I felt like saying, "Oi! I'm sitting right here, bitches."  Instead I mildly said to my stylist, "I highly disagree with that."  She took my part. Which I'm sure is just good business practice, but whatever.  I was almost as offended at the conversation as I was at not being invited to go zip lining. Apparently I'm in some kind of easily-offended stage. Ahem. But maybe the hairdresser chick and her client *didn't think I was over 40* so that didn't know they were insulting me. Yeah. I'm sure that was it. (Oh, I kill myself.)

Finally, speaking of vanity and my new phone, I signed myself up for Instagram. But I haven't figured out how to use it.  I haven't actually figured out how to use the camera on my new phone yet either.  Shut up. I haven't really tried.  In any case, I am malevolent_andrea, just like on here. So if you use Instagram, follow me. Or what-the-fuck-ever it is, I don't know the lingo. (And get off my lawn.) Someday soon there will be pictures of my food and drinks and cat and hikes and the new clothes I buy and maybe douchey gym selfies.

You know you wanna see.

xoxo

**Both the night nurses on my unit and the people in the sleep lab next door always have food. Like, always.  Last week I was eating ice cream cake at 2 am because it was someone's birthday.  Monday I had a giant chocolate-dipped shortbread cookie left over from a sleep conference.  [A 390 calorie muthafucking cookie. I looked it up.]

***I'm not working tonight because I swapped a shift with a co-worker who wanted to be able to go see her kid's cheerleading comp on Saturday. See, I'm not totally heartless.

****I had a case of Wachusett Pumpcan last year, but this shiz is even better.  Dogfish Head, you are the best.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

sad cat denouement and my new gym

Sad news first.

Remember me talking about my cat Eddie's awesome dieting success? Well. He kept losing weight despite my going back to feeding him all the treatz, then he stopped eating much of anything though still being sweet and cuddly as all get out (fooling me into thinking he was just fine), and then last weekend he started getting mopey, so I called the vet.  On first examination, it appeared he had some kind of liver problem--his gums were yellow (!) indicating jaundice.  Blood work, however, revealed his real problem was a severe anemia and the jaundice was due to his RBCs breaking down.  The working hypothesis was that he had a parasitic infection causing the anemia. This freaked me out because a.) it's basically what killed my old cat in 2010 (Evil Kitty, RIP) though hers was complicated by a preexisting heart condition and b.) Eddie's never gone outside a day in his life.

The vet talked me down off the ledge that there is NOT some kind of colony of killer ticks living in my basement, waiting to kill any animal I bring into this house, and that viruses are not gonna live free range on my surfaces for the two years in between cats. Etc. But they told me even if we started treating Eddie, he was very sick and had between a 30-50% chance of making it.  I chose to treat. I wasn't going to euthanize poor Eddie if he had a 50% chance of being fine. So they took him back to the vet hospital for IV fluids, IV antibiotics, steroids, and "hand feeding."  I think hand feeding is a code word for squirting food into his mouth with a syringe whether he liked it or not, but whatev.

This was on Wednesday. By Saturday morning, while he was peeing and pooping and keeping down what they fed him, he wasn't eating on his own and he was still very weak. They called for my permission to do more lab work.  Lab results were back this morning and his RBCs had fallen even lower and now his WBCs were affected as well. He wasn't responding to the antibiotics.  They gently suggested that it would be in Eddie's best interests to cease treatment.  They brought him back to my house so D and I could say goodbye and then put him to sleep.

I am very very sad. And no longer pimping out his miracle weight loss plan. Because the working hypothesis now is that it was due to blood cancer.  Or a parasite.  Lab test for that's still pending.


RIP, Eddie. You were an awesome cat and I'm glad we at least got to have you live with us for 2 1/2 years.


Now on to more blog-appropriate and more cheerful topics.

My new gym and my adventures there at 5 am!  I dunno if I mentioned it, but there are a metric fuckload of people working out at that ungodly hour. Which isn't ungodly for me, because that's like 6 pm in my world. But I think the majority of these people are just up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, at 4 am, for which I should probably hate them.  Most of them are pretty polite, however. They put their plates away. They ask if you're using something before they barge in.  They even put the dumbbells back in numerical order.  The one huge lapse in manners I have observed occurred a couple Fridays ago.  My iPod was't charged and I wasn't wearing anything with pockets big enough to stick my humongous new phone (i.e. my "phablet") into, so I was without music.  I was thus treated to hearing two middle aged dudes discuss how women and teenagers shouldn't be lifting heavy weights because they're not, y'know, men.  But that's not the rude part. The rude part was when another gym buddy of theirs showed up and started inviting them and everyone else in the immediate area to go ziplining in western Mass this weekend. Except me.  I mean, I know I am the new kid on the block and not part of whatever 5 am clique they've got going on there, but this dude even went over to invite some woman on the elliptical that I've never seen him talk to before.  I felt like the only kid in second grade not to get a valentine. Or something.  I mean, don't *I* look like the kind of person who wants to go ziplining with a bunch of strangers??!???!??***  Hmmpphhh.

Other than this little episode, and the fact that this new gym only has squat racks with immovable safeties, not true power racks, plus no steps and risers, just fixed boxes, I have no complaints. I did originally think that they didn't have disinfectant for the benches/machines which kinda grossed me out. But then I figured out the little pop up boxes of what I thought were tissues scattered throughout the gym were in fact wet wipes. Duh. No wonder no one asks me to go ziplining.

xoxo

***I absolutely do not

Friday, September 26, 2014

more citations from the food police

Saw some shade being cast towards a (female, of course) health and fitness blogger today for "eating 865 calories...before noon" and running so she can "eat 2500 calories of shit everyday" and "eat(ing) more than most men in a single day."  This was after she made her food diary public.  She was also roundly criticized for the amount of processed food, restaurant food, cheese, and other sins against clean eating she consumes. Meh. The criticism of her food choices annoyed me, but the OMG SHE EATS MORE THAN A DUDE just about gave me rage stroke.  Now I realize all this criticism is partially predicated on the fact that the woman is a big-time blogger who a bunch of people apparently find insufferable and I also realize that if you make your food diaries public you probably can expect this crap, but man. I am so frigging sick of women implying there's something wrong with other women if they eat anything other than tiny portions of salad and yogurt and egg whites.  I am so sick of the cultural bias that there's something wrong with a woman having a hearty appetite.

And for what it's worth, I don't think a 165-ish pound woman who's training for a half-marathon is overeating on 2500 calories a day. At all.


In the interest of fairness and solidarity with someone I don't know and have no real personal opinion on,  I thought I'd tell you all what I have had to eat today since I got up at 1pm.  (Everything I ate on 9/26 before I went to bed at 7:30am counts as yesterday's food. It's the only way tracking makes sense working nights.)

I had a mug of coffee with half-and-half and Splenda while getting dressed.  Then on my way to my acupuncture appointment I had a cheddar cheese bagel twist from Dunkin Donuts.  Then after my appointment while I was doing errands, I had a veggie melt sandwich from Cheeseboy. With about 2/3rds of a bottle of Coke Zero.  Before I hopped on the train to go home, I got one of those giant Reeses peanut butter cup cookies from Starbucks because I was a little peckish.  I'm gonna eat my actual dinner soon (rage stroke makes me hungry), but I think that's about 1500 calories right there.

Despite my massive indulgence*** in cheese, restaurant food, and artificial sweeteners and my man-like appetite, I am neither obese nor unhealthy.  (My cholesterol count is documented in this very blog. LOOK IT UP.)  So, in conclusion, stfu, anonymous chicks on the interwebs, and stop policing other people's food intake.

xoxo

***so, okay, no, I don't eat those Starbucks cookies on the regular, and I'm not usually buying lunch at Cheeseboy, but cheddar cheese bagel twists ARE a diet staple. Sadly, they only sell them at Dunkin Donuts locations that have ovens which is definitely not all of them.

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.

Ingredients:
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
Spoon
Large Ramekin
Cooking Spray/Oil
Scale

Directions

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:

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/turkey-pumpkin-chili



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?

xoxo



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.

Sigh.

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.

xoxo

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

oh, pinterest

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



yes

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


NO


Maybe? 

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.)


yes


yes


Hell, no.


WTF?

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


xoxo


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.

xoxo


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.


Max:

 (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.

xoxo

**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"...you do need to remove the pit.  But you'd figure that out without instructions, right?

xoxo






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.

Maybe.

xoxo

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

in which i tell you a secret

...and discuss how the decision I just made is probably gonna fuck up my health. C'est la vie!



Now, this is only a big secret in that I'm not supposed to tell anyone at work about it yet, but I figure the chances of anyone I work with finding this blog are about .3483 in one million.  I could be wrong about that. But it's my defense.

There's a new position being created in my department in the hospital and it was offered to me.  It's an overnight position, 40 hours, 6 pm-4:30 am, Monday through Thursday.  There are many reasons this appealed to me and made me express interest in the job and accept it when it was offered.  Shall we enumerate them? Oh, why not.

1.) Money! The shift differential amounts to an almost $7000/year raise. That's a lot--A LOT--of money for just changing your hours.

2.) I am not not NOT a morning person.  The hours of the job as it stands now, with the horrid commute, means I get up between 4:30-5 am four days a week and that is so far from what my body likes, it's not even funny.  It's been ten months since I started at this hospital and it's just now that I don't feel completely like death getting up at 4:30.  Plus, when I was recovering from surgery, then semi-unemployed/self-employed last year, and not on anyone else's schedule, I pretty much worked out that left to its own devices, my body would go to sleep around 1:30-2 am and wake around 8:30. I think adjusting to going to sleep at 8 in the morning is going to be a lot easier than adjusting to waking up at 4:30. I might be wrong. We'll see!

3.) The work itself.  My department has two divisions, which without going into too much boring detail basically are an inpatient unit and an outpatient unit. When I was first hired per diem, I was mostly in the inpatient, but as they offered me more hours and, eventually, a full time job, more and more of my work has been on the outpatient side. Which is fine, but it's also what I did for 25+ years at my old hospital job and, while I'm good at it, it's also very routine for me. The stuff they do on the inpatient unit, especially what the job involves overnight, is completely different, a new challenge, and just very interesting to me.

4.) The politics, etc.  It's a big department.  The number of people one has to deal with on day shift is exhausting to me as a mega introvert. And there's so much draaaaaaammmmmmaaaaaa.  Almost all the people I work with are perfectly nice individually, but get them together and there's always someone who's convinced they're working harder than everyone else or that they're getting the crap assignments or whatever. Or someone who takes offense to something someone else said. Or or or. It gets a little high school.  Plus--back to the mega introvert again--when we're not actually with a patient and we're at our computers doing work there, we're all in a big room and these people never shut the fuck up.  Ever. As a matter of fact, the other day two of us were in there (everyone else was with a patient at the moment) and we were both working away quietly when our supervisor comes in and asks why we're not talking and says it's too quiet. Kill me now.  Overnights right now is just one person (who are thus used to working by themselves quietly) and my new position will be to help them out during their busiest hours.  The woman who works Mon-Wed in particular is an absolutely delightful person and I know we will be able to work very well together collaberatively.

5.) Did I mention it's Monday-Thursday? Andrea will actually not be working any weekend days (aside from occasional coverage) for the first time in ten years. There are so many yoga classes and workshops that happen on Friday night or Saturday afternoon that I haven't been able to go to with my schedule as it is, so many things with friends on Saturday that I can't participate in...  Looking forward to being more in tune with other people's weekends!

Segue...so, mentioning that I'll be able to go to my favorite teacher's Friday yoga class again, plus attend some of her workshops, brings me to the on-topic part of this post. Not that you people aren't fascinated by the minutiae of my friggin' life, I'm sure. Ahem.  Anyway, one of my first thought was how all this was going to play into my fitness life. As it were.  One bad thing about the hours is that, if I take public transport, I can't actually get home at 4:30 am. However, there *is* a Y within convenient walking distance of the hospital that opens at 5 am. My thought is that it will work out perfectly for me to end my shift at 4:30, change at the hospital, grab a snack/breakfast , and then hit up that Y when they open. I'd be able to get my workout in and still be home before 7:30 and ready to collapse into bed by 8.

I was wondering, though, if there was any information on the web about how working overnights effects muscle growth or fitness, so I tried to do a little research last night. I couldn't find anything about that with a cursory search, but I did find out a whole lot of scary shit about how working overnights is gonna give me a heart attack or cancer.  The cancer thing especially worries me because apparently, melatonin is a natural cancer preventative, and people who sleep during the day and are in artificial lighting at night just do not produce the normal amount of melatonin in their bodies. And supplementing with melatonin is not the same as the stuff your body produces on its own.

It's kinda scary. But not scary enough for me to pass up what feels like a really positive career opportunity.

This all happens in September, kids.  If anyone has any suggestions for adapting to night shifts, any links to info on how, if at all, working overnights effects your fitness, or articles debunking that my lack of melatonin production is gonna kill me, I'm all ears.

xoxo


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

dislocating your shoulders for fun and profit

The end of last week I worked three overnight shifts in a row to cover a co-worker's time off.  Overnight shifts are twelve hours. Day shifts are ten. To preclude my getting a shit ton of overtime, I left work early last Monday (the day I got my biometric screening!) which enabled me to go to a yoga class I can't usually attend.  It's always an adventure to attend a new class with a teacher you're not familiar with. They all have their own styles and their own different spins on things, you know?

This Monday night class was ostensibly a beginner's class, but unlike the teacher of the Wednesday night beginner's class, this teacher was heavily into vinyasa flow. Which is not my particular preference--I don't go to yoga to exercise, I go to the gym to exercise and yoga to stretch out my poor abused body and chill. But it was fine.  And, as a bonus, she taught us a shoulder stretch I had never done before, but which felt amazing.  I wanted to add it into my gym warm up routine, but I realized when I tried to that the yoga straps the Y used to have had disappeared. So I bought my own with my Amazon Prime. But while I was waiting for my two day shipping to deposit said strap at my door, I started wondering whether this stretch was in fact safe or liable to damage me.  I decided I would take video of myself doing this stretch and show it to my friend Auntie Hammie, who is the Official Shoulder Safety Officer in our little group of online weightlifting chicks.  Meanwhile, the strap came while I was working my overnights and in my zombie-like condition, I didn't of course get any video taken, never mind uploaded, etc.  But I did visit my massage therapist friend M2 yesterday and demonstrated the stretch to her. She was of the opinion that if I didn't feel any pain when I was doing it, it was fine to do. She, however, could NOT get her arms back over her head when she tried it. I was telling Hammie this and she said, "Oh! It sounds like you're talking about shoulder dislocations." I avowed that maybe I was, maybe I wasn't, because I have no frigging idea what a "shoulder dislocation" is.

So today I finally took video.  Disclaimers: please to ignore dirty house, bloated model, and slanted camera angle. Some day I will a.) vacuum b.) wear a shirt that covers my belly when I'm bloated and c.) buy a tripod. But today was not that day.  I am, however, wearing those Nike flipflops I was talking about.


So, what say you, smart blog readers? Are those "dislocations"?  Do you endorse or condemn this stretch? It really makes my pecs and shoulders feel great so I hope it turns out that it is in fact actually good for me.

xoxo

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

my first biometric screening (tm)

That's it. I am officially going to start referring to myself as a Healthy Living Blogger. Y'know, despite the fact that I drink beer. And wine. And the occasional hard liquor. And more coffee than your average village in Columbia. And eat lots n' lots of cheese. Some of it in the form of large bowls of mac n' cheese. And, oh yeah, I also eat limited edition confetti poptarts. And at least one brownie every Friday ever since I've been forced to go to this lunchtime conference at work where there's a whole table full of them. And I get less than 6 hours sleep a night most nights of the week. And I do "cardio" not cardio. But yes, boys and girls, despite this plethora of regrettable health habits which should serve as inspiration to actually no one, I stand before you today (ok, I sit before you balancing my laptop on my crossed legs, which is also a shitty health habit) and declare myself Queen of Healthy Living.

My HDL yesterday was 74.



I'm sure everyone reading this is aware, because *you* are all in tune with your health and fitness n' shit, but optimal value for HDL (i.e. "good cholesterol") is 60 or above. Fourteen muthafucking points over optimal, okay? I feel like I should have been given a gold star. Or a t shirt with the number on it. Something. Nope, all I got was a cheery, "You exercise, don't you! 'Exercise is medicine.'"

How'd this all come up, anyway? Well. As part of my shiny new employer-contributed-to health insurance, we have a thing every June wherein if you do three simple things (an online survey, an attestation that you do not smoke, and an in-person biometric screening in the cafeteria) you receive $400 off your health insurance for next year. And my screening was yesterday. They did a finger stick for (non-fasting) cholesterol. They took my blood pressure. (I tanked on that because I have documented "white coat" syndrome.)  They weighed and measured me and provided me with my BMI. The good news is that my BMI is 21. The bad news is that OMFG I am now 5'1.  I have shrunk a whole inch. I was so outraged by this, lulz, that she did it twice to make sure. Nope, 5'1. At this rate, I will be 4'11 by the time I'm 80.  

I'm looking into one of these.



Not srs. 

Well, a little srs.  I don't WANT to end up 4'11. Sad face.

The other blow to my ego was that they tested my body fat percentage with one of those handheld doohickeys and, despite my firm conviction that I am about 22-23% body fat, the bastard thing told me I'm 26%.  Not too outraged over that because I know those handheld things are inaccurate enough to be basically worthless and change wildly just due to how hydrated you are and so forth, but also because according to the little chart the cheery nurse showed me, a woman my age is optimally *supposed* to have between 24-32% body fat. So, yeah, I'm perfect there too.  

Queen of Healthy Living, all y'all. 

Cough.

xoxo

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

functional fitness, orthotics, and, basically, missscccccc

Hey, kids. I had another post all queued up to write (as in, I wrote the title and first line three days ago and that's as far as it went) but nope, today we're just gonna talk about a bunch of random things.  As if beer and battle ropes were such a coherent theme last week, right?  At least I'm trying to give you content. Don't judge me. God.

You love when the whole first paragraph's a disclaimer, too, right? I think this is why I don't have companies lining up to send me free running shoes n' shit. I'm sure the profanity, scantily dressed old person photos, and lack of audience has nothing to do with it. It's the inability to get to the freaking point. Ahem.

Functional fitness!  I know I have ranted about this before, but it is *so* incomprehensible to me that I need to continue to rant. What's grinding your gears, Andrea? Oh, just people more or less my age who are basing their home-buying decisions on whether there are stairs they'll need to climb and their appliance-buying and kitchen-remodeling decisions on whether they'll need to bend over or reach above their heads because OMG they're so old and pretty soon they'll be decrepit, weak, and basically in need of a Hoveround. I don't understand this attitude.  Why assume you'll be the 75 year old who's stuck in her recliner in front of Judge Judy, not the 75 year old who's taking hiking vacations in the Swiss Alps?  (I personally won't be the the 75 year old taking hiking vacations in the Swiss Alps only because I don't think either my 401k or my 403b are doing that well, but I intend to be in shape to climb a fucking mountain even if I'm still just climbing the stairs in my Y.) So, yeah, for me, working out at this stage of my life is driven by three separate reasons: fun/stress-relief, ridiculous vanity, and my need to be able to still do all those things I could do without thinking when I was 25.

What brings this up? Well, yesterday I had lunch with my friend M2 and then, afterwards, I went to the Trader Joe's near her house, which is far larger and superior to the Trader Joe's near my work that I usually go to. It seemed like a good idea since I was, y'know, in the neighborhood, but I kinda sorta "forgot" that it's in the opposite direction of the subway which meant a .8 mile walk back carrying a heavy bag of groceries. Because, obviously, I always buy too much stuff at Trader Joe's.  As I took that almost-a-mile walk back with my groceries, I was extremely grateful for all the farmer's walks I do. I was also extremely grateful that, seriously, it never occurred to me that I couldn't walk back to the subway with a bunch o' groceries. Because the day I say to myself, nah, that's too far/that's too hard (to do what are/should be my normal daily activities) is the day I start giving up.

And now we're gonna segue into my next topic. Because one thing that I *have* noticed on and off over the last year or two since my hip/low back have been a little funky is that walking long distances (say two miles or more) on flat pavement can cause my hip/back to stiffen up and start hurting, no matter what shoes I'm wearing.  It happens particularly when I'm walking fast and (I think) it happens more in the early morning when I'm not warmed up in general. It happens more when it's cold outside. Interestingly, it does NOT happen when I'm hiking and going up and down hills and walking on trails. It pisses me off when it does happen. Recently, two different people (an MT who was giving me a massage and a random friend) suggested to me that I might benefit from orthotics to fix my gait.  I am totally open to this idea, but I honestly do not know who you go to to get the right orthotics prescribed. The MT said she was evaluated for hers by a physical therapist she was seeing. Since I don't think I actually have a legitimate reason to get physical therapy at the moment, that doesn't really help me. So, I'm reaching out to you, awesome blog readers. Tell me your orthotic stories. Someone out there's gotta have them.

And speaking of feet, does anyone own these Nike "comfort thongs"?


I saw them at DSW a few weeks ago and didn't try them on because a.) that wasn't what I was there for and b.) it was too cold for me to think about sandals.  But now since it is finally sorta flipflop weather in Boston, I keep thinking about them and wondering if they are indeed as comfy as they look.  They have black and lime green ones on sale for $19.99 at 6pm.com, but I'm not sure I wanna pull the plug on shoes I haven't tried on without testimonials.

If I had a better blog, Nike would probably send me flipflops for free. Sigh.

xoxo






Wednesday, May 28, 2014

yoga beer and battle ropes

There was a time when one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday involved lifting at the Y in the early afternoon, then going across the street to the hipster cafe for a salad and a beer, then walking down to the yoga place and taking the late Sunday afternoon restorative yoga class. Having a beer before yoga always felt vaguely naughty to me, and vaguely naughty is my middle name.  This little bit of bliss came to an end when a.) the other hipster cafe on the same block closed down and the overflow of patrons meant I can rarely get a seat at my hipster cafe on a Sunday, even at the bar and b.) the yoga place switched the late Sunday class from restorative to Vinyasa, which is really too much damn work after lunch and a beer, okay?

Why'm I telling you this? Well, yesterday I found, and bought, what I will now and till the end of time continue to refer to as Yoga Beer.  Because it amuses me.  As do so very many things.


I had to buy it just for the name and (awesome) label alone but it's really quite tasty, even if I'm not the hugest fan of Belgian-style wheat beers.

Now, onto topics that actually have something to do with, y'know, fitness. Like battle ropes. Which apparently my Y recently got. They're wrapped around one of the legs of the TRX and I hadn't ever noticed them or seen anyone touch them until last week, when a dude went to town on them while I was stretching. That looks like fun, I thought. And also: the fuck? have those *always* been there?  I've decided that they have NOT always been there, since yesterday at the gym I saw a variety of people using them, including one of the big powerlifting regulars whom I like to watch lift and the Pack of Latino Mommies.  (I always stereotype chattering, slightly overweight women in their late 20s/early 30s who work out together as "mommies." Is that terribly unfair of me? Or just, y'know, accurate? You be the judge.)  I figure we can't all have suddenly discovered the damn things at once, so they must be new equipment.

Anyway, there are apparently a ton of youtube videos that will teach you how to use these things, but I picked this one to share with you all.


Because it includes a hot shirtless dude. (You're welcome.)  Who apparently doesn't know the difference between "to" and "too" but hey! sometimes if they're pretty enough, they're allowed to be stupid, amirite? OH, JUST KIDDING. On a whole number of different levels.

Anyway. I am going to attempt those things soon.  With my shirt on. Because I'm only vaguely naughty. C'mon now.

xoxo




Tuesday, May 20, 2014

working out as a means of loving your body

Sorry, kids, no clever title today.  This post is hard enough to write without wasting my finite amount of brain power on making the title something that draws you in. Journalism FAIL.



Why is this post so hard to write?  Well, mainly because I'm afraid it's going to be offensive. It probably is offensive. I honestly have a lot of offensive opinions. Mainly I keep them to myself. Despite my vaunted malevolence, I really try to be a kind person and part of being a kind person is not inadvertently**--or purposely--hurting other people's feelings***. But nevertheless I'm going to soldier on here because this shit's been on my mind lately due to conversation Elsewhere, and hope no one gets so offended they never wanna read this blog again.


Okay!  Back around 2007-2009, I weighed about twenty pounds more than I do right now.  That's the equivalent of about 35 lbs for those of you who can actually reach the top shelves in your kitchen cabinets. (Also? It takes me three tries to spell "equivalent" correctly every time I type it.)  I was deep into perimenopause as well which meant my body was doing all kinds of weird crap. I was depositing fat places I'd never had it before. (Low back fat, holla!) I would have weeks at a time of severe PMS-y bloating.  My boobs were so swollen and tender most of the time, not to mention hyooge, I had to sleep in a bra for comfort. Yes, you read that correctly: it was *more* comfortable to never free my tatas from the underwire. Craziness.  All of this combined to bring up the worst of my body dysmorphic/borderline disordered tendencies. I went through a period of fairly severe body loathing. There were times I'd feel okay about how I looked, but many more times when a clothes shopping trip would send me into a spiral of disgust and depression. There were times I'd feel sexy and pretty but other times I'd feel incredulous that anyone could find me attractive.

Part of the charm of my own particular crazeeness, though, is that it is pretty much self aware. I knew I was being irrational with the self-hatred and with letting it take up so much space in my head. So in an attempt to cope slash fix myself, I started reading a lot of body acceptance bloggers, many of whom were Fat Bloggers, i.e. women who'd taken back the word fat and were not ashamed to use it to describe themselves and who, in fact, identified that way proudly. Though I myself was not fat, I found reading those blogs therapeutic. If these people who weighed 100 pounds more than me could accept and love their bodies, why couldn't I accept and love mine, as middle-aged and seemingly rapidly decaying as it was?

I tried really hard to come to terms with my new love handles, my belly bloat, my suddenly as-ginormous-as-when-I'd-been-breastfeeding (but without the awesome parlor trick of being able to shoot milk across the room) knockers****, and it worked a little.  But then one day someone close to me made an innocent comment about my weight, a comment that was in no way meant to be mean, and it made me aware that I didn't want to accept my new body, I wanted as close a replica to my old as was possible.  So I went on a hardcore diet. And despite the hormonal chaos my body was in, calories in/calories out prevailed. After two or three months of diligence, I was back at my happy weight and feeling pretty damn pleased with myself. Soon after that, I took up weight training. And things were never the same again. I'm not saying I never have a bad "body" day or that I'm always thrilled with what I see in pictures or in the mirror.  But even when loose skin or cellulite or belly bloat get me down, I can flex at myself in the mirror (yes, yes, repeat after me: like a douchebag) and like what I see. I made those muscles. I grew them with my own hard work and perseverance.  They're not like my breasts--a body part I've historically always liked. I didn't get them just by luck in the genetic lottery.  I MADE them.  I'm not joking when I say this has changed my relationship with my body in fundamental ways.

The reason I bring this all up and dump it on you in excruciating detail is that there's another blogger who I started reading in my Fat Blogger days. She was/is not a Fat Blogger, but instead has a fashion blog that is also about body acceptance. Her shtick is that she learned to love her body by dressing it well, in ways that make her feel attractive and play up the parts of her that she likes while downplaying parts she dislikes (in her case, her stomach and upper arms particularly). I slowly slowly slowly became disenchanted with this woman's blog and message for a variety of different reasons, but one thing that's been pretty clear all along is that she *doesn't* in fact like/love/accept her own body now any more than she did when I first started reading her circa 2008 and probably not any more than she did in 2003 or 1997.  She is still filled with angst about a whole vast array of physical "flaws".

And I can't help but think...what a waste.  If she spent just 10% of the time she's spent in the last 6 years obsessing over the parts of her body she dislikes and how to dress them to her advantage actually seriously working out, those parts of her she very clearly loathes so much would look vastly different. No, she would probably not look like DLB. Or Giselle. Or Serena Williams. Or Gywneth Paltrow. Or whoever her body ideal is, I have no idea. But her abdomen and her arms would look different, if not "perfect", and she could take pride and satisfaction in knowing that *she* changed them.  Not to mention the pride and satisfaction that goes with picking up heavy shit LIKE A BAWSE.

I realize I am probably projecting. And I realize that this completely goes against what I recently wrote about how the main point of exercise is to have fun. But if your relationship with your body is so fraught that you have to have a whole blog focusing on it and yet you're still losing the war, maybe it's worth trying something that will work. Even if it isn't necessarily your first idea of fun.  I dunno. I realize no one asked me.

xoxo

In other completely unrelated, yet very related, news, have you seen this?  I'm assuming it's making the rounds on Facebook and such because I saw it linked today.  Just an example of how strength training can make you love your body.

**I really want "advertently" to be a word.

***I always feel like I need a big disclaimer that when I bitch about how much I disliked my body when it was 20 pounds heavier than it is now, that does not imply anything about how I feel about anyone else's body.  There are people much heavier (or skinnier or muscular) than me that I find devastatingly attractive. I find a wide variety of bodies beautiful and my ideals for how I wish to look have nothing to do with thinking anybody else needs to look the same. Plus, I don't really think anyone who's not planning on having sex with me should care what I think about their looks anyway. Which I assume means all of you, Readers. Unless Mikey Lowell's found the blog. Mikey, call me!

****I once wrote a blog post (not on this blog obviously) wherein I used about fifteen different synonyms/euphemisms for the word breasts without ever repeating myself. It was genius. (Oh, hush, it was.)