So I have been trying new things lately because it perks up my day and broadens my horizons, culinary and otherwise. And in my search I have found a few staples that now I don’t know how I lived before without. I’m trying to add protein, fiber, and good fats while cutting sugar, bad fats and chemicals. I’m eating small meals frequently with tea or water in between each. Each time I shop, I try to pick up something I’ve never had or seldom buy. So far, I’ve grabbed a daikon radish, pasnips, red radishes, garbanzo beans, and bok choy. Next I’m going to try tomatillos, textured vegetable protein and tofu. I’ve also been doing plyometrics, pilates, dance aerobics and walking a few miles a day. Though the pounds aren’t falling off, I’m reminding myself they didn’t fly on overnight either. Both ways, they creep. I feel much better already; now I just want to really firm and tighten, and have lots of energy. (I already see a significant improvement both in my energy and my mood and attitude.) I would also like to define the muscles in my arms. Even when I was playing a lot of tennis, these muscles were fairly big and strong, but never as cut as I would have liked. Mind you back then, I was prone to get into eating contests at fast food joints and fell into many a pizza and red vine movie night. Then dating Joel is a foray into our shared love of food night after night. We tried to eat well, but boy was it hard when we love to sit, eat and talk- especially out. And especially late night Any-bertos drive thrus. He even got me eating dessert(s!) after an already over-the-top dinner. We love to share food, but right now were sharing a body-conscious guilt that doesn’t feel good. We love each other no matter what, of course. But loving ourselves is often not quite as easy. Ergo, vis a vis- time to put some extra effort into it.
Nobody really likes being a .5er. A “point fiver” at my job is what we call a person who takes up a seat & a half in the helicopter, hence they are 1.5 rather than 1 in the books. It’s also generally used to speak of a person who’s obviously overweight. Sad but true- every job has its ascenine ways of passing the time, and so often its gossiping about the customers. In the hospitality/tourism industry, its like shooting fish in a barrel, making fun of the tourists. Its usually not mean-spirited, but just silliness among coworkers stuck in an office while others are vacationing. It’s like Office Space, or Waiting, or sometimes…Clerks. And there are quite a few point fivers. Some are tall and muscular, some are just plain overweight, and some are stout, muscular, and with a little of the soft stuff. (Just goes to show that the body mass index is useful, but not a real tool when measuring health.) Men generally don’t mind and don’t give a second thought to writing or telling their weight. But women! Oh, the women. It’s rather curious: whether on the phone, in front of me thinking about how much they can lie without getting caught, or standing on the scale and writing while covering the card, they are always embarrassed and secretive. At any weight, at any age, they do NOT want anyone seeing that helicopter manifest. Like I give a flying eff- it’s a small aircraft that needs to be balanced- do you really want to lie about that? And we will make them get on the scale if its iffy- a point fiver is charged 1.5 fare, which adds up! They just LOVE that. They’ve lied up to 90 LBS to try to avoid the charge before! Anyway, its a funny thing I witness on a daily basis.
As my adorable friend Debbie Dow-Howard used to say, “Um, okay, back to me?!” It probably doesn’t help that I show extra love through cooking and baking lately. I made a carrot cake for Joel (which because of scheduling shenanagans turned into everyone else’s cake) for his birthday, but luckily had a key lime cheesecake recipe given to me by one beautiful newlywed, Brenda Turner! (Congratulations, Lovebirds!) And it came out rather nicely! (Though because of that crazy schedule, it got crumbled and stuffed into party cups, covered in foil and sent up to the glacier, some cups full of raspberry sauce, some just cheesecakey goodness.) Hopefully he enjoyed it nonetheless. For his birthday dinner during his 12 hours down with me, I splurged on BBQ ribs, and he on filet mignon at The Hangar, a nice but casual (as everything in Juneau is) steak & seafood joint overlooking the cruise ships docking and leaving, turning on their pretty little twinkle lights at dusk.
I made Cecile’s amazing lasagna recipe, which was awesome. Not as good as hers, of course. He was happy, but not as much as if she’d made it. Which I’m ok with. ‘Cause she’s magical. I made hummus for the first time the other day, which is such a wonderful, easy protein-packed snack. And so much fresher, better and more economical than buying the little container at Vons.
Last night I invented a pizza-bake in which I threw all the veggies & stuff I love on pizza (I used red onions, green peppers, pineapple, olives, three italian cheeses, and my first homemade marinara) all in a Pyrex dish and baked it for a while. It really was pizza without the guilt! There’s a gooood pizza delivery place here which people grab for lunch and get you really wanting it. So this is a nice craving squelcher to have at the ready. And cutting the fresh pineaaple was pure delight. I was dancing and singing to oldies and savoring each little last bit I could get off the core. I was as happy as I could be, without my Prince Charming around. Today one of the girls at work laughed as I enjoyed my snap peas, and said “with you, everything’s ‘delicious!'” And I smiled and took it as a compliment. I do try to enjoy and appreciate little things. To share a favorite quote of Joel & mine from the quirky film Eagle vs. Shark, “some people in the world don’t have sleeping bags.” It’s what we say to each other to gently remind: We have everything we need. We are warm, and fed, and we our health, we have each other. And it makes us smile and puts things in perspective.
This is a good mantra for me right now. When I got to Alaska, I realized I’d packed in organized chaos- I tried to bring the right stuff, but its hard to know exactly what that is before you go there a time to two. The lack of a lot of my favorite clothes mixed with a lack of favorite stores to pick up a girly pick-me-up drove me to an online shopping spree, the likes of which my bank account had never seen. My closet here is secretly filled with shipped boxes full of tissue paper and ripped off tags. (Now the cat’s out of the Sephora satchel.) Every day for a while was like Christmas. Packages were literally arriving every day. Once my tax return was blown through and I still was finding things “I needed,” I started to wonder what I’m trying to compensate for. What void am I trying to fill, really? Well, I really like stuff is the easy answer. Which is true. I love Sephora, Express, Victoria’s Secret (clothes, not lingerie) and REI. I dreamed of being at Sephora the other night. A super-knowledgeable, fun & yet somewhat bitchy gay man was helping me pick out one of those new brushes with mineral powder inside. But when I got it home, the bristles all started falling out. When I woke up, I though nothing of it and reveled in the thought of shopping. But then I started to dissect it, as I do everything. And I started to wonder if its not a symbol, a lesson: I like buying new, quality things. I like the experience, opening it, smelling & feeling it, and folding the packaging. But soon, I often find something imperfect about it. Or I rarely end up using it, or I tire of the scent. I bought a shirt before we left at REI which I loved so much, I then bought a second in another color. And the other day, I was searching the net for a thrid. Why would I not go downstairs and get the ones I already own out of the dryer and be done with it? Its something I’m overcoming slowly through logic and self-inflicted guilt trips. Those two favorite shirts for instance- there are some people who only have one or two shirts and they appreciate them. These particular shirts are also NIKE, and so were probably made by overworked, underpaid people forced to take a factory job or risk starvation. Buying two was too many. Counseling myself in this way is keeping me in the middle road- somewhere between overindulgence and self-deprivation. I’m limiting myself to $50 a month at Sephora.com. 🙂 Hey, I’m working my butt off. A girl’s got to keep some fun in her life. They really get me with the samples- spend $50 and not only is shipping free, but you get to choose 3 samples! How I adore them! And every hundred bucks and you get a deluxe sample- a bigger version or a super spendy product they want to hook you on. Plus, I like putting on a little cologne before bed and pretending Joel’s head is on his pillow as I breathe. Current fave: Ralph Lauren Polo: Double Black. And for me: Kenzo: Amour. Creature comforts. Small luxuries.
I’ve made sweet potato fries twice, upon popular demand. They are deeelish. And good for you. I love sweet potatoes!!! And Joel hates them, so I get my fill while he’s up on the ice. 🙂 These veggies are packed with vitamin A, and way less starchy than the white ones. They need absolutely nothing added to make them wonderful, and toting one to work and popping it in the microwave at lunchtime (though it makes you look like kind of a weirdo) couldn’t be easier. I love having something warm and comforting, and boy does this hit the spot time after time!
I tried a green smoothie as I found a recommendation for having one daily on a great raw website. Feeling adventurous, I blended blueberries, bok choy, and an apple. When you put an apple in, it doesn’t matter what elase is there, it tastes pretty good! It tasted very fresh and “green” – a little like very sweet wheatgrass. I love wheatgrass and miss it a lot. So discovering I could sort of make my own green was really nice. It’s not nearly as good the next day from the fridge, so next time I’ll make less. The produce here, like everything else is really expensive! The blueberries were $5.89 for a VERY small plastic container. The smallest container for berries you can picture. But I guess you’d probably pay that for a big mac & supersized fry here too. I’ll definitely experiment more with that. I like blending the smoothie a lot more than juicing- it leaves a little pulp & stuff, but that way you still get the fiber and all the nutrients in the skin. I’ve read that one of the drawbacks of an all-raw food diet is that people may have dental problems later (because of too much fruit I suppose.) But studies found that when more greens were added to the smoothies, there was hardly any trouble. I also try to brush right after- which you may as well do while you make sure there’s no bok choy bits in your chompers.
As for Alaska, it’s very different. We’re surrounded by water, mountains PACKED with trees, and the spirits of animals and natives of years past. The fog is dense and low, hanging heavy in the treetops, obscuring the mountains completely. And then it may lift, and it may not. When it does, it is so crystal clear and sparkling and green, its unbelievable. One day walking home from work, I almost cried at the beauty of it. I think I’d like to experience other parts of Alaska after this; one’s that have no cruise docks. Juneau is certainly small compared to San Diego, but it’s way too bustling for a lot of Alaskans to consider true Alaska. It’s so small for so many people. If you drive in any direction, you’ll reach the end of the road or a bridge to another island all too soon. But it’s very fun in a way. Whether you want to or not, you’ll probably see a few people you know on the way to anywhere, and then the rest of the people you know are there when you get where you’re going. There are only so many places to go here. There are a few motels, and one overpriced pretty B&B I’ll maybe try once. I definitely want to start kayaking. I can see that being our next big spend when we’ve got the dough. I’ve always wanted to live near a lake and go out on the water all the time. It’s been in my ultimate picture in my mind for a while. Now I want to start painting that picture. A house off the beaten path, but now too far from town. A nice yard we can till together, and eventually a baby or two. Staying happy, active, adventurous and continuing to travel some even after a baby comes; that will be the ultimate. Having a house would be the ulimate. A place to get away that we can fix up and really make our own. That’s the dream. I’m going to be 27 in a few months! I’ve got to really start working toward it. But I already have a good deal of it figured out, which I’m super happy about. I’ve graduated college, and met the man of my dreams which is more than I had dreamed could really happen. The rest is icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned. Mmmm icing. 😛 …. No, no icing! Bad Suzy!