Food Friday

I know I haven’t been posting much lately. Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m doing anything noteworthy enough to post about.

I run 4 times a week and do a workout video 2 times a week. Sometimes the weather is cold and unpleasant – the wind slowed me by over 1 minute per mile when running into it the other day; sometimes the weather is better – a 60 degree day is in the 5 day forecast! At least my new March goals have been going reasonably well. I’m not doing perfectly, especially at the 80/20 rule (Good “Fastnacht Day”), but I have been more mindful, especially about getting my workouts in and not eating without purpose at work. I’ve also been getting “back into shape” (not that I was really ever out of shape) and have been blasting out 5Ks in under 30 minutes (now let’s just get that back down to under 25 minutes…).

Short post for this Friday – I didn’t really cook too much this week. Mostly we chowed down on homemade veggie burgers and pizza (from various sources). I did want to do a Food Friday post to share my first experience making Thai style curry, though! I made this recipe, sans pineapple, and it was really simple and turned out great! Next time I might add some red pepper flakes and/or sriracha, though – I love spicy food but wasn’t sure how spicy the curry paste would be, so I wanted to try it plain, first. Of course it wasn’t spicy enough for me (I used to eat homemade horseradish for fun as a child…).

I’ve been making an Indian style lentil curry like, every week because it’s super easy and cheap (it’s onions, carrots, potatoes, and lentils….I’m not sure you could make something cheaper). Kris has always had this weird dislike of Indian food, though. I swear he is the only person who finds it “bland.” Maybe he has the equivalent of being tone-deaf to curry powder or something? He is very picky about which Indian restaurants we go to and so it comes as no surprise to me that my ¬†Indian cooking talents (read: dump in copious amounts of curry powder) do not match those of the nicest India restaurants in town. I asked him for an honest opinion of the Indian lentil curry and he responded with “why can’t you try peanut curry like we get at the Thai place?” I’d be interested in trying that out anyway – any excuse to eat more peanut butter – so I gave it a shot.

The downside: it resembles Hamburger Helper while cooking. To be fair, I kind of love the cheeseburger macaroni kind…

In addition to being easy to make and quite yummy, I would like to add that the coconut-peanut curry was an incredibly healthy and filling vegetarian dish. I split mine into four servings which came to about 400 calories each, following the recipe exactly (with the exception of excluding pineapple, which just sounded weird with it). That means that with a whole serving of rice, this was a 650 calorie dinner, which is pretty reasonable. It also had several servings of veggies in it (a whole cup of broccoli in each serving!), which is good for me because although I LOVE veggies I basically just forget to eat enough of them. There are only 13g of protein in this version, but if you wanted to I am sure you could add in some tofu in place of some mushrooms or just use chicken if you aren’t vegetarian, and if you added that protein you could probably stretch this out to 6 servings to reduce calories. There is also a reduced-calorie recipe available on the website that I linked.

Sorry I haven’t been making more exciting food choices lately. There might be some changes in my life soon (hopefully good ones) so maybe they will change up my food routine a bit ūüôā I do plan on trying out a local grocery outlet tomorrow, so maybe I can at least write a bit about my cheap grocery finds…or my horror at everything being out of date.

Happy Friday! My parting gift to you is a picture of Belle trying to sleep in Misty’s bed and a picture of Misty sleeping on anything but her bed. Note: she has never used her bed.

There is a dog-sized bed in this room.

The pillow in the upper-right hand corner says “not tonight” on the other side. That was an embarrassing bridal shower gift to receive from one of Kris’s aunts!

 

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March Goals

I typically don’t set monthly goals, but I’ve felt quite blah about my fitness progress lately (in addition to 1,000 other things), and I have a race coming up at the end of the month, so I thought setting some concrete goals for myself would help me to a) get my ass back into gear and b) be slightly less miserable to be around.

My first step in preparing for this month of getting back on track was to weigh myself. I do this rarely, not only because I don’t like to fixate on day-to-day fluctuations in weight, but because I only own a Wii Fit, not a real scale, so weighing myself is annoying and innacurrate. It is ¬†usually better to just get on it once in awhile to make sure I’m not trending dangerously up or down and base my assessment more on how my clothes fit.

The problem with losing 110 lbs, though, is that because I am almost constantly afraid of gaining my weight back, I imagine that my clothes are becoming tight/ I am becoming fluffier even when that is not the case. I assumed that based on my “terrible” eating over the last 2 months since I last weighed myself, I was going to have to set a weight loss goal (I was guessing I had gained at the very least 10 lbs). Imagine my surprise when I got on the scale to find that my weight my¬†exactly the same as it was in early January (128ish). Now, I’m sure I haven’t exactly maintained my weight to the ounce, but it was a signal to me that I have been overreacting about my “bad” eating, especially with all the activity from my occupation that I do not account for.

I am very glad to find that I don’t have to set a weight loss goal for the month! That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to try to fix up my diet a bit, though – I probably have been eating a bit too much pizza and ice cream for the sake of overall health and nutrition, even if my waist line has been spared the consequences thus far. With that being said, here are my goals for March:

  • Work out at least 5 days per week (4 runs and 2 days of strength training, one can be doubled up)
  • Actually stick to my calorie goals ¬†on a weekly basis – perhaps try to figure out how much more I should be eating now that I have a more active job if I want to be able to eat more to reflect that
  • Follow the “80%” rule – the idea I often see touted on the internet that a “diet” should allow for 80% “good” eating and “20%” bad if you want to actually be successful and non-miserable. While I am obviously not going on a diet, I would like to try to pay more attention to how many of my calories are coming from completely non-nutritious snacks, like Cadbury Creme Eggs (side note: their calorie amount just isn’t fair)
  • Don’t eat anything that isn’t “worth it” from the pizza buffet at work. While this is a more subjective goal, what I mean by this is don’t just randomly eat pizza rolls and dessert breadsticks just because they are there; rather, do something like eat a couple slices of pizza and a couple mozzarella sticks because I haven’t eaten lunch yet. Basically, only eat with actual purpose.
  • Only drink 5 alcoholic beverages per week. While I don’t have an alcohol problem, it is basically empty calories, and I usually have at least 1-2 drinks (usually just non-exciting beer like Yuengling, too) per night, which is at least 150 calories of actual nutrition I could get per day. This allowance gives me enough slack to have one after a stressful night at work or when relaxing on an evening off.

March is off to a great start so far! The weather is good (until tomorrow); I’ve set some goals; and I got in a TON of exercise today – a 5K run (under 30 minutes for the first time in months) AND a 5K walk with Kris and Belle.

Long Weekend, Long Run

Kris and I had quite the interesting and eventful long weekend!


Saturday

On Saturday, we woke up to….more snow! Apparently 10 inches on Thursday wasn’t enough.

I was supposed to work noon – 8ish but I ended up working more of a 3-7 shift because we were so slow that they had me come in late. This gave me time to join Kris and Belle for a walk, which was fun because Belle LOVES fresh snow, apparently. On a typical cold day, Belle barely wants to go outside; with the fresh snow lately, she has been SUPER excited to go for walks and jump around in the snow, even if it is too deep for her properly walk through.

I also ordered a Roku 3 on Saturday morning! For the last several years, we have been using our Xbox live subscription to watch Netflix on our TV. Kris hardly does any console gaming anymore, though, (he has converted to mostly PC) so the subscription seemed like a waste of money. Technically, a Roku 3 costs more than one year of Xbox live, but the goal is for the thing to last more than one year. Our only hang up: it is supposed to arrive on Friday, and our last day of Xbox live is tomorrow! I am hoping the box arrives early so we don’t have to huddle around the laptop to watch House of Cards.


Sunday

Sunday was the day of my long run. I was DREADING going for this run… 5 miles on the potentially icy sidewalks?! I knew I had to do it, though – I haven’t run that far in nearly 2 months, and in a few weeks I need to run twice that distance! The run went better than I had anticipated, with only a few random blocks that had not been shoveled. I will say that after my 5 mile run yesterday and 3 mile run today on those uneven surfaces with varying degrees of traction I am quite sore.

This was the worst – completely snow covered for an entire block. Fun fact: my GPS thinks this is a 300 foot elevation change, for some reason.

When I got home from work, which was fortunately not cut in half (remember, I am a server, so a short shift on a Saturday + slow business from the bad weather meant a HUGE cut in wages for the week), Kris and I tried letting the “stray” kitty that has been coming around. We noticed she was friendly and started regularly leaving food out for her about 3 weeks ago. Our landlord recently told us that she was abandoned by some neighbors that moved out which helped us to understand why a “stray” was so friendly and dependent on people for food. She is so friendly that we were worried she had been de-clawed because she has never tried to scratch us! She is very scared of Belle (I don’t blame her – Belle is not directly aggressive towards her, but is confused and distressed by her presence) but we are slowly working towards acclimating the two of them.


Monday

Today was incredibly eventful!

Since Kris is a government employee, the hardworking taxpayers of our commonwealth paid him to stay home and celebrate the most important of all holidays, President’s Day (that was sarcasm). We started out the day with some cinnamon rolls and attempts at cat-dog diplomacy. It went ok. The cat was too nervous to eat, but she successfully swatted at Belle’s tail and stepped on Belle once without anything terrible happening.

What a scaredy cat! She doesn’t have a name yet. We are considering both “Turtle” and “Gandalf the Grey” to suit her coloring.

We then finished watching Battlestar Galactica. I know we are about 10 years behind, but Kris and I are terrible at watching TV. And by terrible, I don’t mean that we watch so much TV that it is a bad habit or something. I mean that we actually struggle to watch TV. It is difficult for us to watch more than 2 episodes of a show in a row so we are incredibly slow at these things. It has been several years, so I shouldn’t worry about spoilers, but I am talking about the end of a series, so all I will say is that while I liked the “big picture” ending in terms of where they ended up, there were several elements of the last season, especially in the last few episodes, that I found pointless or that tarnished previous events in the show.

Because we finished this show we were able to move on to our two episodes of House of Cards for the day! As a political scientist, I obviously love this show. I will also say that as a political scientist I find none of the characters on the show surprising. What can I say – my discipline fosters political cynicism. Obviously no spoilers here, but my only concern with the show right now is that I am afraid they are too conveniently disposing of certain plot points from the previous season. I am willing to watch the whole season before finalizing that judgement, though. Also, no matter what Claire does, I will always admire her fashion choices. If I had a bazillion dollars I would probably dress exactly like her.

I think these looks would work just fine with curly brown hair and freckles. I already own big plastic glasses and a blue button down. Mine might have been $4 at Goodwill, though. I don’t really have an image source, I found it on Pinterest.

I also committed to a major decision today…”new” smartphones. Kris and I have had smartphones with Verizon for about 4 years, and our contract expires this week. When we originally got them, it was the best deal because he gets an employee discount and we had truly unlimited data. Obviously the cell phone service provider market has changed over the last 4 years, though, and now we are paying nearly $200 a month for two phones and if we renew our contract we will lose unlimited data. One of Kris’s coworkers recently switched his family to T-Mobile, where he is paying less than half of what we currently pay. The data won’t be as “truly” unlimited (our speeds will be slowed at a certain point), but there won’t be a sharp limit like we would have with Verizon, and we will save A LOT of money. His service in our area is perfectly fine and a friend with T-Mobile was able to use her phone at my parents, so I feel fine about switching away from the coverage that Verizon provides (always a concern because they live in the middle of nowhere; so do Kris’s parents but not a single provider gets service at their home so that is irrelevant). I had been putting off committing to the T-Mobile decision because of the upfront cost, though – while we would still save money with the financing plans they offer for phones, we knew we would save even more if we brought our own purchased phones on in the long run. At the suggestion of many things I have read on the internet and Kris’s coworker, we broke down and purchased 2 used Nexus 4’s today. We got the phones for less than $200 each so after 4 months the phones will essentially be paid for in savings – less time if we can sell our own phones – but because we have always relied on Verizon phone subsidization and always purchased brand new phones it is a little bit scary to be doing this. I hope that it works out!


Unfortunately, this weekend was not all fun and excitement, at least in terms of health. I am very proud of myself for sticking to my commitment to run, despite the snow and ice – trust me, it was tempting to give up while slogging through 12 inches of snow only .6 miles into a 5 mile run on Sunday – but my diet has been terrible lately. I will have one or two “good” days a week where I stick to my calorie limit, but the rest of the days have been relatively bad.

I will start out strong in the morning, and most of my meals with be healthy, but a big problem has been my work schedule. I have to eat before my shifts or I will be STARVING and eat a bunch of unhealthy pizza place food, and sometimes I end up eating a bunch of it anyway (especially if I work during the times when we have our pizza buffet and I am encouraged to take food home that is being thrown away); sometimes my shifts are long so I have to eat during them anyway; and I am invariably hungry when I get home from work. I feel less “bad” if I come home and have something like nuts, hummus and crackers, or fat-free popcorn, but “good” calories still count. I just hope I am burning some extra calories with my more active job.

My general attitude has been a problem as well. I am still on the hunt for a full-time job, obviously, and despite the fact that I should be elated that I have had numerous interviews after only being on the job market for about 6 weeks, I can only feel fear that I will never get a job offer and I will spend the rest of my life waiting tables with a master’s degree. I have expressed this fear on here several times, so I apologize for being repetitive and whiny, but it has been a major issue with my diet. This was especially true this weekend – I had a really bad night at work on Saturday (pissed off a table) and spent most of the night crying after I got home. Yesterday and today were a lot better, but a lot of today’s “fun” came from eating unhealthy food – we started with cinnamon rolls, went out for Mexican and ice cream, and I have eaten about 2 lbs of chocolates I bought when I was feeling miserable still on Sunday morning. I just want to eat out of nervousness, boredom, and sadness all of the sudden, which is surprising to me because this has not been a real obstacle before. I know I am just making excuses and that it might actually help me to feel better if I were to increase the healthiness of my diet but it has just been a bigger obstacle lately. Hopefully I can stick to my goals a little better in the coming week. Who knows – maybe I’ll even get some good news on the job front?

Exercises I “Can’t” Do

First things first – I found another article today. This one, however, is from only 2 days ago, so I’m not late to the party, and I am going to praise it rather than rant about it. I really like this article. Too often, I find that articles about the “obesity epidemic” either make it seem like anyone could lose weight if they just followed this one set of particular advice backed up by SCIENCE, or like no one could ever lose weight because statistics say they can’t*. Instead, this guy gets the point across: our knowledge on the link between nutrition, obesity, and other diseases is very limited, there are reasons for these limits that could be addressed if we really wanted to, and the implication is that we can’t fix the “problem” until our knowledge expands. I do have a couple of minor issues with the article – despite his insistence that we don’t know much about the topic, he is acting like the link between diabetes and obesity is obvious – but overall it is refreshing to read an article that doesn’t fall into one of the two camps I mentioned.


Now, on to the topic at hand: exercises that I somehow suck at.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I was reminded of some of my limits by the stair workout I discussed Friday. Namely, I am terrible at push-ups and lunges. These both baffle me – I can do hundreds of body weight squats, and can do a bazillion push-ups on my knees, but these two moves elude me. I can¬†maybe¬†do one regular push-up before I fail, no matter how many sets I do on my knees; when I do lunges I become wobbly and hurt my knees, though I seem to do lunges slightly better with my right leg forward. Here is my plan to address these issues:

  1. Figure out why I’m having the problems. I think this step could be considered done-ish. I think that there is just too big of a step between knee push-ups and regular ones for me to make the jump, and I need to find something in between to work on for now. The pain in my knee during lunges suggests to me that I lack proper form. The wobbliness and pain together suggest to me that I am probably lacking balanced strength in some muscles somewhere.
  2. Figure out potential solutions. This is the step I am working on now. I remembered that NROLFW suggested incline push-ups over knee push-ups, so I am going to see if that helps. So far, these feel more difficult than doing them on my knees, so hopefully this solution checks out. For the lunges, I am going to start reading up on form and trying to figure out if I have any particular weak muscles that might be leading to my issues that I could try to strengthen with alternative exercises.
  3. Use the solutions to fix the problems and be finally able to make the most of these workouts. Once I figure out solutions, I am going to devote myself to practicing these workouts. I am going to set a goal to do push-ups and lunges 3 times a week, even if I only do like 5 of each (2 times will be as part of my goal to strength train 2 times per week, so I won’t ONLY be doing these moves). My hope is that every time they come up in a workout I won’t feel miserable and panic and just wait for them to be over because they are so difficult for me.

On a more positive workout related note, I went for a (very slightly) faster 5K run in the ice today! I am glad I pushed myself to get out there – now that I got over it and did it one time, the second time was so much easier. I am just hoping that we don’t get the 8-12 inches of snow they are calling for on Thursday. Yeah, right. At least if we do I will get more hours at work since none of my coworkers have the ability to drive in the snow.

This reminds me – because of my work schedule, Kris and I will need to do Valentine’s day on Wednesday (read:tomorrow), after I get off work on Saturday at 8, or on Monday, and we have made zero plans. What should we do?!

*Mini-rant about these statistics: First of all, where does the statistic that 90% (or 95%, or whatever it is right now) of diets fail? Did they take a survey that asked people whether they were on a diet and whether it had worked? I bet 90% of people are constantly on a “diet” that they aren’t really trying very hard at which would really skew that measurement. Second, how long do I have to maintain my weight loss for it to count? One year? Two years? Five years? Until I die?! If I gain weight when I’m pregnant or injured and then lose it again how does that fit into the stats? Sorry, this is the stats nerd in me coming out to yell at others for lying with statistics.

Is Healthy Eating Affordable?

This morning I woke up, sad that I was supposed to be starting training for the Capital 10 Mile race but that I wouldn’t be able to. A few weeks back, when it had been snowing really hard and I wanted to dream about being able to run outside, I had written up a “training plan.” Basically, I figured out when I would need to start actually working on it if I started with a long run of 5 miles per week then went up one mile per week on that long run until I reached 10 miles, and that week was this week. I figured I could fill in the details at a later date, and assumed the snow would be melted by now. Oops.

I wound up going for a 3 mile run today, though – 18 degree temperature and ice-covered sidewalks and all. I had a discussion with Kris this morning in which I told him to “stop being a baby” and realized that I have been being a “baby.” Not because I was not running in the ice, snow, and cold before – I had no real reason to put myself in that position – but because I was going to let that excuse get in the way of a goal. I was willing to accept that I just wouldn’t be able to run the 10 mile race because of the weather right now, and I’m surprised I was going to abandon that goal so readily just because I don’t have access to a treadmill right now. I will admit that I would much prefer it if I could afford to join a gym and workout in a nice warm and dry space right now, but there is no reason I have to do that. It may have been less pleasant, but after I put on my ice spikes for my running shoes, I really had no excuse, and I was able to go out there and complete my run, even if it was slow and uncomfortable (11 minutes per mile!).


Last night, I noticed a link on my Facebook wall to an article that is a couple of months old. I had heard about this article before, but had not really read it. In the article, the author argues that it is feasible to eat “healthy” for under $6 a day, which is apparently an amazing feat because a) eating healthy is supposed to be “expensive” and b) the average person spends more ($7 ) per day on food, making his option “cheap.”

When I first heard about the article, all I saw was a discussion on a forum somewhere about how someone had proved that it “only” cost $6 a day to eat healthy, which implied that everyone who thinks that is expensive is incorrect. I saw a lot of responses reminding the person who held that opinion that for a lot of people, $6/day person is actually quite expensive – after all, that is over $700 a month for a family of four – and did not investigate further. Last night, I actually went and read the article, though, and I now have a number of my own thoughts to add (sorry I am a bit late to the bandwagon).

  1. Disclaimer before I start: Kris and I spend close to the national average on food, including eating out, and I consider this doing quite well at saving money on food. I shop exclusively at one store because I like it more and not because it saves me money. I am obviously in a privileged position in regards to grocery shopping, and one should keep that in mind when considering my opinions. To be fair, that national average is only $1 per day higher than he prides himself on achieving, which I don’t think is significantly higher – at least not the point that you can declare it as evidence that healthy eating is cheap.
  2. That being said, I do not disagree with his original premise. I believe it is possible to eat healthy on a budget, and I believe he is correct that the misconception that healthy food is more expensive does come from misrepresentative statistics, like comparison of calories per dollar.
  3. I would like to add that I personally believe that some of the other discussions on this matter come from different poorly represented statistics. A lot of these comparisons also compare healthy meals cooked at home to fast food menu items as though one is inherently healthy and one is not. Setting aside for the moment the subjective nature of healthy, let us think about what would happen if we compared healthy and unhealthy meals of more similar types. Are grilled chicken value meals significantly more expensive than burger ones? How about a grilled chicken meal vs. a red meat and potatoes meal at home? If we stop comparing apples and oranges (to be fair, I think in this context they would be in the same category and be unable to be compared) I think the statistics would be less shocking.
  4. We also need to think about what is meant by the word “expensive.” In the article, this man spends less on his entire day’s food than some people might spend at McDonald’s (it is less than most value meals, and similar in price to a handful of value menu items). He also, however, spends $76 at the grocery store in order to do this, and does not ¬†show evidence that he understands grocery budgeting in this trip. He buys ingredients only with these 3 meals and 2 snacks in mind. I bought twice as many items at the store last time I went for the same approximate price, including $20 I spent on paper products! To be fair, he buys enough to ¬†make his omelets and parts of his sandwiches for a couple of days, but he is going to quickly run out of snacks, parts of his sandwich, and sides for his chicken. He did not meal plan at all, and in order to eat a second day, he is going to need to return to the store. He also doesn’t discuss trying to shop sales/seasonal items or buying certain produce in bulk to save money (it is way more expensive to buy one apple or potato ¬†than to buy a whole bag on a per item basis). Even if he had done proper meal planning and sale-shopping, it is important to remember that spending that much in one trip might not be possible for someone with small paychecks, making it impossible for them to “stock up” and reap the benefits of lower long term cost. To that person, it might seem better to grab a couple of $1 items at a fast food place here and there; to grab some hamburger helper and a pound of beef to last 1-2 meals; to subsist on ramen once the money runs out altogether.
  5. One thing no one is discussing is what this man’s actual diet consists of. As I previously mentioned, “healthy” is subjective, but I would say that most people include “eating enough calories to sustain oneself” in their definition. If you tally up the calories that this man ate – despite his claims that he is a large man, and therefore he couldn’t possibly be skimping on calories – it is roughly 1600-1700. A man his size probably needs 500-1000 more calories a day, depending on age, activity level, etc. To put this in perspective, I am 10 inches shorter than him and weigh 70-75 lbs less and I eat more than he did on a daily basis. Unless his goal is weight loss, he is going to need to eat more. On average, I eat 20% more than this per day (roughly). If we assume that 20% more eating equals 20% more spending (a bit of a jump, I admit), his spending would come far closer to the national average, making his “accomplishment” seem far less amazing.
  6. I would like to end by pointing out that there are a number of issues that I have not touched on that others have brought up in the past, and I largely did not bring them up because others have discussed them at length – I wanted to contribute to the discussion, not beat a dead horse. I will briefly state, though, that I agree that many articles like his dismiss the issues that many of the poor who fail to eat healthy face, like not having enough time to cook and clean up dishes after working long hours, or difficulty getting to far away grocery stores without a car (or even if they have a car, money for gas).

Groundhog Day and First Ride of the Year

I want to start by discussing Groundhog Day (the actual day, not the film; though I must say I am a fan of the latter as well). I grew up near Punxsutawney¬†and as that is one of western PA’s few claims to fame, we cling to it. There is seriously a billboard on I-80 near the “city” that says “Eat; Sleep; see Punxsutawney Phil” because that is all there is to do there. The movie actually makes the town look more exciting than it is, if you can believe that.

Anyway, this year, this one neighborhood in Harrisburg decided to have their own Groundhog Day celebration featuring their own “groundhog” they named “Shipoke Sheena” (Shipoke is the neighborhood name). This was supposed to be yesterday instead of on groundhog day for some reason.

A bit of background on this neighborhood: They like to make a big deal about how “diverse” their neighborhood is because they have people of different professions and ages (they are one of the whitest neighborhoods in the city). They also have a whole website that is basically about how they are the only neighborhood where neighbors are nice to each other that apparently includes info on things such as how to park politely. Note that the other neighborhoods are so inconsiderate that we are able to do this without instruction. But according to them, we never speak to each other or clean up our litter or shovel. It is a nice neighborhood, but it really bothers me how much they judge the other neighborhoods.¬†

Anyway, Shipoke Sheena sounded kind of cute, even if it meant going to the somewhat pretentious neighborhood, and there was a promise of donuts and coffee, so we ventured to the other end of town. When we got there, though, everyone had little kids or was really old and they all knew each other. We also saw no evidence of groundhogs, coffee, or donuts, so we left to go home and make pancakes. In the end it turned out that Sheena was not a real groundhog after all – she was a chihuahua in a groundhog suit! Note that we actually saw this chihuahua and had no idea until we read about it in the paper today (which also showed that there were no donuts; only cupcakes). I just thought her owner dressed her up for the occasion. I am glad we left such a silly event, now.


With the promised warm weather this weekend, Kris and I were excited to get out and enjoy it. Yesterday I was able to go running again – at least my 5K took less than 30 minutes this time – and while we were out walking Belle we discussed possibly taking a bike ride today. When we woke up we looked at the weather and saw it might rain in the late afternoon/early evening and therefore decided we should go around midday so that it would have time to warm up but not be raining yet. Around 11 we headed out with the goal of riding to Kris’s office and back (6 miles total).

The good news: our start to cycling this year went far better than last year. We feared the 6 mile trip would be difficult, but once we got out there we felt good. I even retained my ability to remove a hand from the handlebars! We decided to tack on some extra miles by crossing the river then circling City Island (a large public island with a lot of recreational stuff on it) before heading down to the office and coming back.

After getting onto the island, though, it started raining. It was super warm out (just over 40 degrees) so this made it quite cold. It was only sprinkling at first, but we decided to head back after getting to our side of the river rather than continuing down to the office. I was glad we made this choice, because it started to rain harder and for our last mile it was freezing and difficult for me to see (due to my glasses being wet).We still covered 7.6 miles, though, so we did stay out longer than planned.

I will admit that those 7 miles were at a “leisurely” pace (according to MFP). I am still the slowest cyclist that ever lived. Kris wants to take some really long rides this summer and he has suggested to some people that we know that they come along with us and I am quite worried that I will really embarrass myself if I have to bike with anyone else. It’s bad enough that Kris is about twice as fast as me and I have to make him slow down to come with me – I can’t imagine forcing acquaintances into that position. I wish I could figure out what exactly it is that I am doing wrong so that I could fix it. At least I have improved at cycling over the last few months, so maybe there is some hope for me.

Other than that, we have had a pretty lazy day. We don’t really watch football and I didn’t have to work (delivery drivers are busy on Super Bowl Sunday, not waitresses), so after our freezing bike ride we just had some hot chocolate then went to take a nap on the heated mattress pad. We then spent the evening gorging on hummus, crackers, and nuts while watching stuff on Netflix instead of football. At least they were healthy foods? And at least this is a reminder of why I almost never buy nuts?

Yay!

Guess what I did today?

I went for a run! Outside!

I was super slow, but please keep in mind that most of the park was still covered in snow; I have a sore, stuffy nose; I haven’t run in like 2-3 weeks; and I am still sore because Jillian Michaels is tough. I’ll take finishing a 5K at any pace, right now. Keep in mind that I am about as graceful as a dog in snowboots in the snow:

It was actually quite funny – I used to chicken out if the weather was less than 20 degrees, unless it was REALLY sunny or I had a friend going with me and I didn’t want to seem like a chicken. Today, it eventually got up to 20 degrees, but it was still only 13 when I left my house and I was excited, if only because the “feels like” temp was also 13 degrees instead of like, -4. When I got to the park and was waiting for my GPS watch to find satellites, a man (side note: he had the prettiest dog ever – a brown cocker spaniel; when I was a kid we had several of these dogs so they will always hold a place in my heart) actually had a conversation with me about what a beautiful day we were having. Before this winter I couldn’t imagine a conversation about 15 degree weather involving the word “beautiful.”

The other good news? Here is the weather forecast for the next 5 days:

No terrifying snowstorms or polar vortexes in the forecast; most of the snow and ice might even melt when the temps get up into the 40s, there. I am really looking forward to being able to get out there and run. Last January I was able to squeak in 9 runs and I wasn’t even really trying or training for anything; I even spent about a week doing almost no workouts because I was out of town for a funeral. This year, I’ve done a grand total of 5 runs because of the weather, and will only get up to 6 if I run tomorrow. If I want to run as many miles as I did last year I’m really going to have to work hard in the coming months!


In other news, today was in general a busy day! I got up, took Kris to work, then came home to walk Belle and go for a run. Then I went back to meet up with Kris for lunch at a local place called Neato Burrito (this lunch will be featured more heavily in Food Friday tomorrow). This took forever because Kris was in a meeting and got let out for his lunch break late.

Then I had to go to the grocery store because we were basically out of food and alcohol and I needed to pick up some medicine. The grocery store took over an hour and I spent about a billion dollars. I feel like using coupons is costing me more money – since I started using them, I’ve been spending substantially more. However, I only bought one thing (nuts) that I would not have otherwise purchased without a coupon, so I don’t know. Using coupons also takes forever; I have to find them, print them, remember them, then stand awkwardly in the store trying to find the right one. I’ll experiment a few more times and see what happens.¬†It could also be that I’m trying a lot of new recipes that require ingredients that I don’t have around and I forget to grab the first time through the store because I’m not used to them. It could also be that we are just eating out a lot less and therefore still saving money even if we are spending more at the store (other than when we went to Indiana, we haven’t spend much more than $20 eating out 1-2 times per week; we usually do that a couple times plus like one $40-50 meal out because we are obviously very frugal people /s).

After my over an hour long adventure at the grocery store (I also had to get beer, which is a completely separate process in our lovely state, and I had to get gas points loaded on my card from the store card from a time I forgot my card), I basically came home for like 45 minutes and, after putting all the food away, screwed around until it was time to pick up Kris. Fun story about this, though: the stray cat I posted about the other day has been coming around more (we think the neighbors stopped feeding it), and we have been feeding it Belle’s food in an old dish on the porch. I decided to buy the poor thing some real cat food (will save us money because Belle eats pricey food), and when I got home I saw the cat sitting near our porch. I told her I had a present and got the bag of cat food out of the car. She jumped all the way over our stairs and onto our porch in one leap and sat right by her bowl! I wish I had a picture, because it was super cute. When I finally went to pick Kris up, he was in a meeting again, and I had to wait like 20 minutes for him again. I’d be mad if I hadn’t paid so many tax dollars for him to be sitting in there :p At least we finally made it home where I made some delicious eats that I will further discuss tomorrow and got to relax with some beers while watching the IT Crowd.