an eeyore kind of day

So I was little grumbly yesterday, and this morning, I woke up and felt just as gray.  Lots of stuff is going on, and lots of things need to be done, and I feel totally wiped out physically and emotionally.  The culprit, I believe, is stress.

Luckily, a GOOP newsletter arrived today, and it was speaking straight to me.  Ways to deal with stress were addressed (and not expensive ways ~ real, I-can-do-this-immediately kind of ways) and so I’m going to try them all out.

1.  Eat Well & Exercise.  I had an appointment this morning to have the MINI taken care of for state inspection, but we had a little hurdle (the wrong glass was ordered) and now the tech is coming back this afternoon.  So Shaun T. and I are going to get going in a few minutes.  Hopefully, it perks me up a bit.  I’m feeling like a wilted flower. Then, I’m going to have some oatmeal.  And I’m NOT going to eat lots of sugar (altho’ I might dive into a Starbucks like none other. The jury is still out on that one).

2.  Breathe.  I’m going to try to breathe every time I feel myself begin to panic (work stuff. ugh.) to attempt to keep myself from turning into a pretzel of anxiety.

3.  I’m going to follow the instructions for finding pressure points on my feet and forehead to help alleviate some stress.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

4.  I’m going to balance my checkbook.  There is very little in the world that makes me feel as though my house is in order as much as balancing the checkbook, and filing all the paperwork, and having a clean, organized desk.  (This was not a GOOP piece of advice, just me knowing myself well enough to know it’ll calm me down!)

5. The final section of my GOOP newsletter talked about water, and it’s calming affects.  I don’t have a bath, but I do have a nice shower, and I will be enjoying that after I sweat my butt off during ‘Insanity.’

The most powerful statement in the section though, wasn’t about water at all.

The author, Monica Berg, wrote, “We are all aware of the negative effects on our lives of having a lack of certainty and thoughts of doubt. In fact, there is biology behind it, and  a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests certainty can bring us good health.”**

**The bold is my editorial addition.

Reading that was an “Ah ha!” moment for me.  So it isn’t in my head ~ I probably do feel physically better for being settled and certain in parts of my life.  I know that I feel more motivated and more confident when life feels more secure.

I guess that’s what I’m struggling with today.  My house is in chaos.  My office is in chaos.  The company I work for is in chaos.  My car is in chaos.

So all I can say right now is …

Shaun T. ~ it better be a good workout.

a minor grumble

It’s hard not to get discouraged when everything seems to be uncontrollably slipping downhill.  As of this very moment, both my apartment and my office have no running water or usable toilet.  My apartment does have A/C, but it’s full of plumbers and contractors ripping open the walls in my bedroom and bathroom (hence no H2O or accessible toilet).  My office has no construction being done (currently, although it is a work site) but it has no A/C so I am uncomfortably sitting and sweating with only a warm water bottle for hydration (and no, it wasn’t warm to begin with, but such is what happens when sitting in hot, stagnant air for a considerable amount of time).

You can understand now why I find such solace in my evenings of cooking experiments and blogging.  (Shaun T. and I did have our date today, albeit earlier than normal ~ 6.45a start time ~ yowsa!).

Positive things to focus on today ~

1.  I’m all caught up on ‘Insanity’ workouts, so no double days in the near future!

2.  I get to eat lunch at the restaurant today because there is nowhere for me to store a homemade lunch at my office.  (Yippee for roasted peppers!  Mmmmm!)

3.  When today is done, there is less week left than there was when I got up this morning. **This is my favorite one! AND, it’s a 3 day weekend!!

I’m stumped for dinner right now ~ we have some turkey sausages I am thinking about making, but I will have to find a good recipe because I don’t want a disappointing dinner to follow last night’s masterpiece (I’m still thinking about how divine it was!)

Ok, grumble finished.  I feel a little better.

Hope everyone else’s days are flying higher than mine!

good day, late night

Oh, Shaun T., if only you knew my conflict of emotions on a daily basis due to your Insan(ity) workouts.  The Doozer was back again (I’m beginning to think it’s related to a particular workout that requires an excess of high jumps and stress on the knees) which put a damper on things.  I like to feel as though each time I do a workout, I’m progressing, and I didn’t get that satisfaction today.  I really struggled, and my knee really bothered me.  I’m a little bummed about it.

Two positives (to counteract the negativ-o):

Today, when I donned my workout pants, I got a little thrill in the fact that either (a) I’ve begun to slim down, or (b) our dryer has stopped ‘shrinking’ all my clothing (you know what I mean if you know what I mean).

And fortunately, I didn’t have any issues on our evening walk, which perked me up to no end.  A few days ago during our walk I got such a searing pain in my Achilles that I momentarily wondered how long it would take John to hurry home and get the car to come get me.  I ended up toughing it out.  But ugh.

Upon returning home, I got to work making another yum yum dinner creation that I decided I was craving ridiculously yesterday.  The only reason we didn’t have it last night was due to our lack of on-hand prosciutto (that was cleverly obtained today from work).  

Halfway through prep our landlords stopped by.  Unbeknownst to us, the plumbing project they have undertaken has now encroached on our space, which means people in and out starting at absurd times in the morning, lots of loud noises, and huge, gaping holes in our walls.  Craziness.

Long story short, we didn’t sit down to eat & watch our DVR’d episode of ‘Master Chef’ until 10pm.  However, it was worth the wait.

Chicken Saltimbocca a la Williams Sonoma

I used 2 chicken breasts, pounded thin and cut in half (aka, 4)

Salt & Pepper (fresh ground is preferable, but let’s not be fussy!)

1/3 cup all purpose flour

2 Tbsp butter (the recipe called for unsalted, which I didn’t have ~ and it came out just fine with regular ol’ sweet cream salted butter)

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I did actually use EVOO, but I’m sure you could sub)

vino & evooA handful of fresh basil leaves

A pinch dry basil (per chicken breast)

2 large slices of prosciutto (trimmed to fit chicken breasts)

1/4 lb fresh mozzarella (thinly sliced and trimmed to fit chicken breasts)

3/4 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio


(Two of my favorite cooking ingredients!)

What to do~

1.  Rub ground pepper and salt into pounded chicken breasts.

2.  Spread flour out into a dish, and dredge chicken breasts, coating evenly and making sure to shake off extra. Set chicken aside.

3.  In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium heat.  When sufficiently hot, add chicken breasts.  Cook on first side until golden brown (approx. 6 mins); flip over and cook until firm in the middle (about 4 minutes).  You can check by pressing on the center. 

4.  Reduce the heat to low.  Sprinkle dried basil on each breast, and then top each chicken breast with a piece of prosciutto, a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf.  Cover the pan tightly and allow to cook until the cheese melts (the recipe says about 1 1/2 minutes but it took me a bit longer because my saute pan is a little deeper.  Just keep an eye on it!)

5.  Once the mozzarella is melted, transfer to a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil (make sure to tent it to avoid the cheese sticking to the foil).

6.  Return heat to high.  Add 3/4 cup wine and deglaze the pan (aka, scrape all the good stuff from the pan and make sure it’s mixing with the wine to create an intense sauce!)

7.  Boil until the wine reduces to about 1/4 cup (I guessed on this, but the recipe says approx 3 mins).

8.  Remove from heat, and whisk in the remaining tbsp of butter.  Drizzle over chicken breasts. 

9.  Serve immediately!  (By the time I was done, John was so relieved that there was no ‘resting’ time, or waiting).

It’s kinda rich (and totally outside my healthy eating perameters … but OH. SO. GOOD!)  We tried to balance it out with some fresh tomato, but then we added avocado (remember, it’s hard for me to say no to avo) … and it was a most amazing supper! 


monday monday, so good to me

I woke up later than usual today, due to an abnormally late evening yesterday (totally worth it, I will add).  And even though it’s Monday, I felt good about getting back into my weekday routine.  I have begun to miss working out on the weekends (very strange feeling, but a good one!) so it was refreshing to get up, do some work, and then gear up for ‘Insanity.’  Today was Max Cardio Conditioning ~ no breaks between moves ~ and even though it’s shorter than the other two workouts, it still kicks my butt.  But … it felt nice to work up a sweat and get moving.

I also wholly enjoyed my double bowl of crispy oats this a.m.  I know I should be eating oatmeal (and I like oatmeal, really I do! ~ except I call it porridge) but there is something so comforting to me about the crispy oat flavor and the cool, delicious milk of cereal that totally makes my morning.  And today, because I was ravenous yet again, I had two bowls.  Whoops!  I’m trying really hard not to have seconds, and to be aware of portion sizes when I eat … but the cereal was too tempting this morning for me to pass it up.

Yesterday, as I may have mentioned, was the man’s birthday.  So for the momentous occasion, I went a little bananas about dessert (he loves it).

My original plan had been to make cupcakes (I never liked them as a child, and then a few years ago, a chef made some amazing cupcakes as a farewell present for a departing manager … and I fell in love with the ‘mini-cake’).  But when I mentioned this plan to the man, he made a face.  So I decided on brownies.  He perked up a bit, but still looked a little sullen, so I gently inquired.

“What about my strawberry shortcake?” He pouted.  Of course, I wanted to smack myself on the forehead, his mother always makes him strawberry shortcake for his birthday.

“I thought you only liked your mom’s?” I asked, tentatively.

“Well, hers is the best … but I’d still like strawberry shortcake.  It’s my birthday.”

So that settled it.  There would be strawberry shortcake.  Early in the afternoon, I headed to the supermarket to pick up necessities.  We were barbecuing, and we needed more corn on the cob (** Time out.  There are a couple things in the summer that I could eat every day.  Corn on the cob is one.  Fresh tomatoes ~ especially heirloom tomatoes ~ right out of the garden and still warm from the sun are another.  I CANNOT say no to corn on the cob. I eat so much it’s surprising that I haven’t turned into one).  We also needed strawberries and angel food cake for John’s Strawberry Shortcake, and some other random items, like dishwasher pellets (I know, very exciting stuff).

When I got to the produce department, you could have knocked me over with a  feather.  There, nestled in front of the boxes and boxes of strawberries, was fresh rhubarb.  Without thinking, I piled it into a bag.  I know this is going to sound funny, but I rarely, if ever, see fresh rhubarb.  And it’s impossible to find it frozen (I tried once when I wanted to make a cherry rhubarb pie for Thanksgiving … needless to say, we didn’t have a cherry rhubarb pie that year ~ just cherry.  So much for being ambitious!)

As a child, there were two things my English Granny made better than anyone.  Raspberry fluff (I don’t have anything to compare it to~ it’s impossible to describe, and utterly delectable) and rhubarb crumble.  Oh, how I loved those things when we were visiting her.  She would make them for my brother and I every night if we asked (which we were not supposed to, but usually did) because we did not see her regularly.  Going to England, for me, is still all about fitting in the food I loved as a child that you can’t find in the US (English sausages are a top favorite, as well as pork pies ~ I probably gain 10 lbs every time I’m there.  Yum yum delish).

So now, I was manned with fresh rhubarb, and I was utterly determined to make a crumble for John (you know, in addition to the strawberry shortcake and brownies).  I spoke with my mother, who very kindly emailed me the recipe.  And I set to work.

I know, you probably thought this was going to be about the strawberry shortcake (and yes, I did call John’s mom to make sure that I was making it correctly).  But it’s not.strawberries!

When the crumble was finally done, John and I each had a piece topped with a generous dollop of Cool Whip (you just can’t commonly find heavy, clotted cream like you would serve in England, so I subbed the Cool Whip and my arteries are probably thanking me).   It immediately took me back to my Granny’s dining room table twenty years ago.  The rhubarb is pretty tart, so the cool whip and the sugary crumble topping mostly balance it out, but I will say that I now understand why rhubarb is usually paired with a sweeter fruit like strawberry, cherry or apple.

However, I’m going to share this recipe in its pure form, as a tribute to my Granny and my memories of Northumberland as a child.

Granny’s Rhubarb Crumble

For the filling:

2 lbs fresh rhubarb (thoroughly cleaned ~ ends cut off and discarded, and chopped into 1″ pieces)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. spice mixture (nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves)

For the crumble:

1 & 1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted

1 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar (you can use white for a cakier crumble, and brown for a crispier one)

Sprinkle of ground cloves and cinnamon.

Here’s What to Do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1.  Toss the 1″ pieces of rhubarb with the brown sugar and spice mix.

2. Put all that fruit goodness into a 13″ x 9″ greased Pyrex dish.

3.  Put aside. Time to make crumb topping!

4.  In a bowl, sift 3/4 cup flour.  Add butter in pieces.  If you have a pastry blender, rub flour and butter together until it gets flaky.  Once that happens, you can add in the sugar.  Keep blending until it begins to cling together like crumbs.

5.  I used a fork for all that fun blending because I do not have a pastry blender. But the results were pretty much the same …







6.  Once I was fully satisfied with the crumbly nature of my topping, I spread it over the rhubarb.  The first time, I didn’t make enough, so I had to make a second helping.  (**The above are correct ingredient measurements for the doubled version of the crumble topping).

Next up, cooking time!

First, cook for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Then lower the oven temperature to 375, and cook for 15 additional minutes.  Once the rhubarb crumble is done, allow to cool, but still serve warm with a dollop of cool whip.

If the crumble fully cools, then set the oven to 225 and allow the dish to warm up for about 10 -15 minutes (depending on how warm/hot you want that rhubarb!)

*** A good alternative to the tartness of a full rhubarb crumble is using 1 lb rhubarb, and two containers of diced strawberries or two cored, peeled and sliced apples.

John & my bowls…


it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Hello Weekend!  Since it’s John’s birthday tomorrow, he’s in charge of the agenda.

He wants to BBQ (I’m already thinking of ideas!) and play frisbee golf (I’ve never played before).  The goal, I’m told, is to get your frisbee in the basket (like below). You play 18 holes (like real golf!) and keep track of your strokes. Apparently, you can also have different discs to accomplish different things during each hole (I’m amazed by all of it).

Near where we live is the second oldest Frisbee Golf course in the country (the things I learn when I google!)  I’ll have to let you know how it all turns out ~  until then, I hope you’re enjoying a beautiful weekend as well!

(Can you tell I’m slightly obsessed with the flowers in our garden?  And as a tribute to John, these flower pics were both taken by him!)

good craic

Sometimes, and it’s rare, but sometimes during ‘Insanity’ my mind wanders …  & such a thing happened yesterday (I did two work outs, the first being Max Recovery, and I have a much less vitriolic mock conversation with Shaun T. during recovery work outs).

I was hungry.  I mean, really hungry, because when I’m gasping for breath and dripping with sweat and every muscle in my body is burning, it’s rare that I think about food.  Mostly I think about when the craziness will end.  So I must have been ravenous.

To be truthful, I was thinking about my days as a competitive swimmer (YMCA and high school teams), which lasted a few years until my shoulders gave out, and the doctors were like, ‘yeah, you should probably stop swimming if you want to be able to use your arms normally for the rest of your life’.  I was thinking about swimming NOT because it was boilingly hot outside and the idea of bobbing around in a body of cool water would be refreshing ~ no, no, not I.  I was thinking about how we used to carb-load the night before a meet. (Told you I was hungry).

Back in the day, eating pasta was right up there with eating ketchup for me.  I did not enjoy carb-loading before a meet. Luckily, after living in Italy for six months (study abroad in college), my thoughts on pasta have been amended.

I still thought it was weird that on a hot summer day, while doing an ‘Insanity’ work out, I was thinking about a huge bowl of pasta. But, once the idea got into my head, I was hooked.  As I did lunges, and leg lifts, and thing-o’s (not the technical term, obviously) to work the obliques, I mentally went through my kitchen food inventory.

Pasta with shrimp.

Pasta with shrimp and fresh basil.

Pasta with shrimp, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella.

Oh!  Pasta with shrimp, fresh basil, PINE NUTS, and fresh mozzarella.

All of a sudden, I couldn’t wait for dinner.  And dinner was a long way off.  I did my second work out (I missed last Sunday, so I wanted to catch up in order to have my one day off this Saturday. Considering it’s John’s 30th this weekend, I thought it would be nice if he didn’t have to sit through my work outs.  Shaun T. is great and all, but not as much if you’re only observing the workouts).  I did actual work (who’d’ve thunk it?). Then John came home, and we went on a walk (according to ‘My Fitness Pal,’ -the app on my iPhone that I diligently use to count calories and workouts-I burned 1835 calories … that’s 635 more calories than I’m supposed to be eating ~ needless to say, I ate over 1200 yesterday, and it was worth it!).

Then, my friends, then I started dinner.

It was a project.  I had no recipe, and only sort of an idea of how I wanted it to turn out ~ but that’s what made it fun!

What I used:

Half a box of linguine.

1 12 oz. bag of medium-sized frozen shrimp

~ 1/4 cup pine nuts

1/2 large ball of fresh mozzarella

Portobello stems (I’d saved them from the Portobello En Croute I made ~ I’d read in “Portobello” by Jack Czarnecki that there’s a lot of flavor in the stems, so I’d wrapped them up and put them in the fridge for ‘later use’ … which turned out to be yesterday).

*** I would approximate 3-4 Baby Bellas depending on their size as a perfectly acceptable substitute for my stems.  In fact, that’s what I will have to use next time I make this, because I won’t have two gi-normous portobello stems in my fridge!

1 shallot

3 Tbsp butter

1/3 cup Olive Oil

Hand-full of fresh basil (picked out of the garden)

1 clove garlic, pushed through press (or finely minced if you don’t have a press)

Salt & Pepper

What I did:

1.  I thawed the shrimp (which were pre-cooked) and de-tailed them.  I know that a lot of people & restaurants like to leave the tails on (for aesthetic purposes, I believe), but there is not much about having to pick through my food with my fingers that I find enjoyable.

2.  I diced up the fresh mozzarella into bite size pieces.

3.  I cleaned the basil leaves and ripped the larger ones in half.




4.  In a small saucepan, I melted 1 tbsp butter, then added the pine nuts, and cooked them over medium heat until the pine nuts browned.  I emptied them into a bowl, and put to the side with the shrimp, mozzarella and basil.  *** Keep the saucepan out, tho’ because you can use it once more before relegating it to the dishwasher/sink for cleaning. 

5.  I filled up a large pot with water, added a sprinkle of salt, and turned it on to boil (for pasta-cooking purposes).

6.  While I waited for the water to boil, I got out my mini Cuisinart food processor (I just love it for when I have to dice up small amounts of things) and put in the portobello stems (cut into large pieces to aid in the chopping process) and the shallot (cut into quarters for the same reason).  I hit ‘grind’ and waited until everything was evenly chopped into coarse pieces.

7.  I put the ground up mushrooms and shallot into the small saucepan I used to brown the pine nuts, along with the last two tablespoons of butter (I added separately while stirring, but I’m not sure it matters one way or the other).  Over medium heat, I allowed the mushroom & shallot mixture to cook down while stirring in the butter.  When done, I put aside.

8.  In a large saucepan, I poured the olive oil and added the fresh garlic and a couple grinds of salt & pepper.  I then added the shrimp, and stirred them into the mixture over medium-low heat.  Once the shrimp had warmed up, I stirred in the fresh basil and mushroom mixture.

9.  It was at about this time that the water was boiling, so I put half a box of linguine in the pot, and diligently followed the directions on how to cook it (mine took about 10 minutes, and I left the shrimp/basil/mushroom mixture on low heat, and stirred occasionally).

10.  When the pasta was cooked, I drained in a colander, and shook out as much of the moisture as I could.  I then added it to the large saucepan, and mixed it up with my olive oil/shrimp/basil sauce.

11. Once those ingredients were suitably mixed together, I stirred in the pine nuts, and turned off the heat.

12.  The last thing I stirred in was the mozzarella, after I’d removed everything from the heat.  The warmth of the pasta and the sauce melted it sufficiently, but not too much that it turned into a stringy/gooey mess.

Voila!  It was delicious, and John and I slurped up every last bite.  We even ate our last ripe avocado on the side (I am pretty sure I could eat avocado every day, given the opportunity).

As  a little sidenote, the title of this blog is ‘good craic,’ which is an inherently British expression, and one that my mother’s side of the family uses often.  Loosely translated, it means a good, fun, enjoyable conversation or activity. I blasphemed my Scottish roots by using the Irish spelling, because the Scottish spelling is ‘crack,’ and I didn’t want anyone to think this post was about drugs.  (I’m pretty anti).

But, in a nut shell, last night’s dinner was good crack (I’m proud of my Scottish roots!).

where i’m going … where i’ve been

Lately, my life has been full to the brim with ‘Insanity’ workouts, trials and turmoil on the work front, and creative cooking on a budget.  On top of that, John is gearing up for some business trips, so we spent three full mornings at the Philadelphia passport office.  I’m sure there are more fun things to do, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head.  (Ha ha!).

mi pasaporte!

Who would have thought a few pages bound together with the United States seal could take so much time to procure?  I have to admit that I’ve never had to go through the process of a first time applicant, as I’ve had a passport since I was about three months old.  Mailing in a certified envelope is vastly superior to standing in line in a poorly ventilated room for over an hour just to have someone behind a window confirm that you were indeed able to follow directions, and you do have with you a completed application, proof of citizenship and a driver’s license (which they checked before they would even let you get in line).  After which, you are given a number (like at a deli counter) and directed to a waiting area next to the interminably long line you’ve just escaped from.

But… dum da da dum …. now John has his first passport, and the whole world just opened up for him ~ to go explore far off places, experience different cultures and societies, or just idle by a white-sanded beach on a tropical island and sip decadent cocktails.

I’ve been very lucky in my life to see some incredible places.  I’ve walked amongst the huge monoliths at Stonehenge, stared up at the indescribably beautiful Sistine Chapel and the chiseled perfection of ‘David.’  I’ve ridden a cable car to the top of Table Mountain, and stared silently (and with some dread) at dozens of alligators, some twenty feet long, waiting patiently to be fed. I’ve been close enough to wild elephants to reach out and touch them, and watched giraffe run through long savanna grass as the sun set.  I’ve walked through the rooms of Anne Frank’s hideaway house in Amsterdam, and ridden a bicycle along the canals.  I’ve driven a Vespa in Rome, taken a gondola ride in Venice after standing awestruck in St. Mark’s Square, and looked out across the expanse of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower.  I’ve seen Hugh Jackman as ‘Curly’ in Oklahoma in the West End.  I’ve seen Julie Andrews in Victor/Victoria on Broadway. When I start to think about all the things I have had the great fortune to do, I’m a little in awe.




As I’ve said before, there’s no place like home (and HOW beautiful does our back garden look right now?) BUT there’s also nothing like coming home after an amazing adventure.

I’m looking forward to journeying to new and fun places with John by my side.  I’ve done most of my traveling alone, or with family (my mother is from the U.K., so I have a lot of family spread out all over the place, including England, Scotland, France and Italy) and it will be amazing to share all those fun places with someone I utterly adore.

I try to remember that I’ve been lucky enough to do some incredible stuff, and that a lot of people will never travel to Africa, or even Paris.  I’m focusing on that, because right now, I feel like all the adventure is knocking on John’s door, and I’m the one staying home.  My passport needs to be renewed as well ~ and I didn’t realize how trapped I felt about it until John’s shiny new book was handed over to him by the (surprisingly) friendly clerk Tuesday morning.  I felt suddenly claustrophobic.  Very odd.

Travelling is like the best and worst of everything rolled up all together, shaken around, and then held close to your heart.  It’s architecture, and nightlife, and indulgent food and drinks, and souvenirs, and airplanes, and waiting lounges, and dehydration, and inevitable delays.  It’s lost luggage and new clothing.  I think it breaths life into your soul ~ and I’m aching to travel again.  (Clearly!)

So my application is all filled out, and my passport pics are taken ~ so Costa Rica, here I come! (I don’t know when, but I’m hoping it’s soon!)



day tre of part deux

I have very little to say at the moment, except the Doozer is back in my knee, and this time, he is wielding a pointy sword.

I’m trying not to be discouraged at how difficult these workouts are.  I’m trying to dig deep (as my guru Shaun T. reminds us all) and remember that way back at the beginning, I found the old workouts hard, too.

Dear Fitness Gods everywhere, and those of low body fat and overdeveloped muscles that all humans possess but few work out to chiseled definition ~ please give me a sign that all this pain & sweat is doing more than generating ample amounts of laundry everyday in the form of sports bras, workout shorts, tees, socks and bandannas (to hold back my too-short-to-pull-back-with-a-gum-band hair) and making simple activities (such as bending down to pick something up, or merely sitting in a chair) challenging.

I’ll be here, waiting patiently, sprawled across my living room floor, while I try to gather enough strength to crawl to the shower.


the gig is up


I don’t mean to rant, but seriously, this workout is killing me.

I mean, it’s probably not killing me per se (shh! I may even be getting in shape), but it certainly feels that way currently, as my body tries to tell me repeatedly, in many ways, that I’m too old to abuse it like this.

It’s like a Doozer from Fraggle Rock is tapping away on the inside of my knee cap, constantly clearing his throat as if to say, “You do understand you are not 18 any more?  These joints are no longer brand new, and they don’t bounce back the way you remember.  Just a little reminder!” Tap, tap, tap!  “You should have been more diligent about staying in shape in the first place!” Tippity tap tap tap!

Yesterday it was my hip that felt displaced from the absurd exercise combinations that Shaun T. casually throws into the workouts.  (I’ve decided, in my moments of pure frustration, that he and a bunch of other people with 0% body fat get together in a room, and try to answer the following question: “What’s the most difficult combination of completely unrelated moves that you can put together and I can add to my aptly titled ‘Insanity’ workout?”). Today, the amount of jumping and hopping made my knee throb.  I mean, seriously, have you EVER heard of squat push-ups?  Just an FYI, they aren’t easy.  I’d try to narrow down the absurd moves for you, but at this point in the program, it’s all bananas.

Some of my favs (in no particular order) include:

1.  Power push-ups

2.  Power Jumps (these are SO much fun, Shaun T. is kind enough to bring to our attention that not even the peeps in the video like ’em)

3.  Balance Push Ups (as if the power ones where you’re expected to jump up at the top of each push up weren’t bad enough, he came up with these for the end of the workout when, I’m guessing, most normal people are wondering if they still have full function of their arms).

4.  Floor hops (I don’t even think I am doing them correctly.  I certainly don’t feel my abs working the way Shaun T. implies they should).

As I hobbled around work today (and limped around the neighborhood during our walk this evening) I wondered what the purpose of the first four weeks were.  I mean, I am just as sore now as I was after Day #1.  And in those work outs, you do moves you’ve heard of before (like, just regular ole squats and lunges … fancy that!)  So how can they possibly prepare you for wide floor sprints combined with moving push-ups and squat push ups?  It’s all bananas.

I had a moment today when I was pretty sure I was going to have to sit down (those are not good moments) and at that particular time, Shaun T. made some crazy statement about how today’s workout was probably better than last week, and we should be happy & proud about our progress.  I thought fleetingly of Core Cardio Balance, my 60% workout of last week, and felt a wave of nostalgia.  No, I wanted to say, but didn’t have the energy, I don’t think this week is better than last week.

But… I am hoping that next week is better than this one.


a lil bit of spice can be nice

So, John and I were so caught up in finishing our “Game of Thrones” marathon (the show is weirdly addicting) that I didn’t get to posting what we had for din-din last night.  I have to observe, for anyone who also watches “Game of Thrones,” that while the Dothraki and the people of Rohan (“Lord of the Rings”) are both considered “Horse People,” the similarities really stop there.  I’ve (sadly) thought a lot about it, because I love the people of Rohan so much (we have all three extended LOTR films and we watch them a lot).  It’s always interesting to see how fantasy realms resemble and differ from each other.  In this particular comparison, each universe has a ‘horse people,’ but whoa nellie, they could not be on further ends of the spectrum after that!  There are many things I like about “Game of Thrones,” but I will also say there are some things that aren’t my fav.

Soooo.  Din Din.  It was YUM.  And it took all of 20 minutes to prepare, which is great on weeknights when we don’t get home until about 7pm, and then try to go on a walk (yes, I’m cheating on Shaun T. at night by walking ~ altho’ I don’t think it’s really hurting our relationship … it may even help!).

Anyway, back to the dinner… realistically, it probably takes a little more than 20 minutes, but if you prep it ahead of time (which doesn’t take long, and is probably the best thing to do) then it takes about 20 minutes to cook after you pop it in the oven.

What you need:

2 chicken breasts, defrosted and cut into pieces (no need to obsess, just try to make them as uniform as possible ~mostly for cooking time purposes)

Carribean Jerk Seasoning (I used McCormick Brand Perfect Pinch ~ not sure if other labels make the same thing)







A glass casserole dish (or equivalent)

For the dipping sauce:

2 tsp. Curry Powder

1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

2 tsp. veggie oil

Small saucepan

1/3 cup Mayo

1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (plain, non-fat ~ trust me, it would be funny, but not as yummy, if you picked up vanilla by mistake)

And then, to prep …

1. If you are doing everything at once, then preheat the oven to 375.

2. To prepare~ grease the casserole dish and fill with the chicken (make sure to pat the chicken dry if you’ve just defrosted it ~ too much liquid in the dish won’t kill it, but it will take away from the chicken absorbing the jerk spice).

2.  Coat both sides of the chicken with Caribbean Jerk Seasoning (added bonus!!! the seasoning has ZERO calories).  If you’re prepping, cover with saran wrap, and put in the fridge so the chicken can marinate.

3. When you’re ready ~ pop that chicken in the oven and let it cook for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until you notice the juice is running clear.  Pull out and allow to sit for about five minutes before serving.




For the Sauce.

1.  Put curry powder, cayenne pepper and veggie oil in small sauce pan, blend together and heat over medium-low heat until aromatic.  (We’re talking 15 seconds ~ it’s quick).



2.  Allow to cool.

3.  Meanwhile, combine mayo & greek yogurt.  Mix until smooth.  When the spices are cool, combine with mixture.  If you’re prepping ~ cover with saran wrap and put in the fridge.  If not, it’s ready to serve.

sooooo close to curry goodness

As sides, we served ripe avocados sprinkled with a little sea salt (delish), John had a garden fresh cucumber salad and I ate fresh sweet corn (this girl is not a lover of the cucumber).

Hers & His!  john's din din

my din din




I have to say, that while I am not big on spicy food, this stuff is ah-may-zing.  Seriously.