The Daily EO: May 31st, 2012

This is the last time I have to write “May” – at least for another year.  My idea to purge my superstitious feelings about May is a good one, but I think that I will have to repeat and repeat many years over to truly eliminate my feelings about it.  But for a first effort, I am feeling that I did okay.

One of the Maintenance May items was continuing our work from Fit April.  And here are my results:

I am happy with the results – considering that I continued to enjoy life while eating right and exercising most of the time.  I am down 13 pounds since I started and I am happy with that.  But really pisses me off?  Emile’s results are what pisses me off:

Seriously?  He lost 30 pounds in 2 months.  No real hiccups – just a smooth transition.  Almost daily runs and some food denials, but nonetheless, he just dropped 30 pounds like it was nothing.  And if it was nothing, why didn’t he do it before?  Honestly, it seems unfair that men can fluctuate so easily.  He looks and feels great.  And if I don’t watch my back, he is going to overtake me – although he is going to start getting that gaunt look.  And both are just wrong.

We have a run next weekend that we are both hoping to again best our personal bests.  We’ll have to see.

 May 31st, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   May in my rearview.


The Daily EO: May 29th, 2012

I’ve entered a period of time that I don’t feel like writing – I suppose you’ve noticed in my more sporadic – and brief – entries as of late.  There is so much going on in my head, a level of heightened anxiety that I don’t want to examine in depth now.  That doesn’t mean I want to stop writing The Daily EO – it’s just I want you to know that sometimes they don’t come easy.  I guess that is when I need to push through and remember why I write this in the first place.

Breaking News: As I write this, our cat Beavis caught and killed a mouse.  Outside, not in our house.  He’s feeling pretty smug, but he still expects his regular food – no raw, stringy mouse meat for him.

Today’s EO. . .  Today’s EO. . .  Um…..

Okay . . . back from surfing the internet. . . .  Um. . .

It doesn’t help having Emile watching Penn & Teller’s BullShit in the background.

Okay. . . focus.. .  .

You know what it was?  The small order of french fries from Wendy’s – fresh and salty.  Oh, so salty.  So crunchy, so fatty.

Damn it.  Now I have to run with the mosquitos.

May 29th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  French Fries so good they overshadowed by the junior burger.

Maintenance May Day 29:
SMALL fries and JUNIOR burger (body, wallet)

The Daily EO: May 28th, 2012

I have a thing about things that are liquid – I don’t see how they can possibly be used up.  Ok, ok, intellectually I understand the concept of volume and space, but it doesn’t seem right.  My first real experience with this was cans of cone dip when I was a cone dipper at Dairy Queen at 14.  We would open these huge cans of cone dip (which is 1/2 wax people, how do you think they get the dip to harden so shiny and hard?), and we would dip, dip and dip, until we got to about 1/2 an inch deeper than a large cone.  Then, we would have to refill it (if I have to explain why to you, please think it through).  I always found myself amazed that the act of dipping cones over and over again actually consumed the liquid.

Same thing with soup.  If you serve me soup that has chunks in it – it is a satisfying and hearty lunch.  If you take that same soup and use a stick blender on it, I will think I am having a light lunch that will allow for extra calories later that afternoon.  Liquids don’t really need processing by the body and therefore don’t count as food.

This “liquid peculiarity” of mine was felt keenly as I finished a gallon of white paint this morning.  I actually painted so much that I came to the bottom of full can of paint.  Due to my mindset, I think that is a massive amount of painting.  Now, if you consider the number of cans of paint used to paint the outside of the house, it is nothing really – but my heart is telling me different.  It is saying that if I used that much liquid, it was a painting filibuster.  Epics will be written of this day.

May 28th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Truly believing something rather ordinary is extra-ordinary.

Maintenance May Day 28:
Sent Thank You Note to founder and organizer of Spin the Lake (connection)


The Daily EO: May 27th, 2012

If you need the will to run (or to keep running), try running in May in Muskoka 8:30 pm at night on a rural road.

May 27th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Running the furthest and fastest I’ve ever done to save my blood for me instead of the blood suckers who live in the forest awaiting sundown.

Maintenance May Day 27:
Signed up for a CSA share even though I have no idea what or where will be happening this summer.

The Daily EO: May 26th, 2012

I volunteered today for pre-registeration for the Annual Spin the Lakes bicycle ride here in Muskoka.  It’s a pretty low-key event – but does keep growing each year with about 400 cyclists taking part this year.  The routes are 170km, 110km, 50km, and 20km (for families) – and they take you around the lakes of Muskoka.  Such a gorgeous route – highly recommend it to anyone who loves to cycle.

The ride is $50 and that gets you support vehicles, water stations (fully equipped with bananas, granola bars and cookies), door prizes, and a luncheon.  If you want a technical tee, it is $35 more and a jersey is $65 more.  (or you can volunteer and get yourself a tee for free!).  It is not a timed event so there are no chips, or bibs or anything like that.  So, the registration is basically this:  Fill out your waiver form, get your door prize ticket, get a copy of the route map, your wristband and ask all the questions you could possible want.

I spent five hours at the registration desk and probably registered about 75 people.  Everyone jammed the registration table the day of the ride, but, you can’t make people plan ahead (I know, I’ve tried).    Anyways, each of the distances started at different times so the riders would arrive back generally about the same time (ie, 170km at 8 am, 110km at 9:30 am, etc).

These were the most popular questions I had to answer:

Is it going to rain?
Do I have to start at my start time?  ie, My friend is doing the 170km, and I want to start at the same time.  Is that okay?
Do I have to wear this wrist band?
Oh, there is a lunch included?

Fair enough about the rain – thunderstorms were predicted, so I could answer that (good news, the forecast was wrong and it was the perfect day for cycling).  But um, you just paid $50 to be here.  If you don’t leave with the rest of your group, there will be no support vehicles for you and the water stations may not yet be set-up.   If you don’t wear your wristband, the water stations, restaurant, and support vehicles will not know you are a participant.  You paid $50 without understanding what was included in your price?  Yes, lunch is included.

If you don’t like the start time, or the wrist band or the rules and didn’t care about the lunch, what are you doing here? Why don’t you just pick a convenient weekend, head to Muskoka, pack a lunch, hit the road and do a ride on your own?  Save your $50.  Yes, no support vehicles, but you are willing to forego that anyways by trying to leave at your own time.  People!

Spin the Lakes is an exceptional event and I was proud to help support it.  If you are a cyclist, check out the 2013 event – yes, lunch is included!

May 26th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Confounded by the illogical.

Maintenance May Day 26:
Up at 7:30 am – OMG! – to drive to Gravenhurst to make 45 fresh spring rolls for a Vegan Catering Event.  (friendship/connection)



The Daily EO: May 25th, 2012

Today I signed up for a website called Run Hundred.   Every couple of days, I get an e-mail from them to tell me about new songs added to their site that are available for voting on.  40,000 people then listen to the songs and indicate whether they would work out to the songs.  There is a top ten of the month, top ten of all time, top ten work-out collections, etc.

To me, music is essential for working out.  My favorites right are Hello! (Martin Solveig featuring Dragonette) and We Speak No Americano (Yolanda Be Cool and DCup).  I hear those two songs, my feet want to start running.  I have about 55 songs on my workout mix now and I have probably heard each of then about 20+ times or so.  I am okay with that – because every time I hear one it signals to my brain that it is time to start exercising.  But honestly, sometimes I feel like I’m in Grade 9 listening to Richard Marx.  I’m hoping Run Hundred will help me keep my mix fresh.  I especially like running with my iPod as it focuses me on me – the running, the exercise.   It is not about anyone else but me.  Pass me, or I pass you, this is about and for me, not anyone else.

When I attended UVic in the mid 90s, I attended a seminar on how to use e-mail – because frankly I had never used e-mail before.  It was before spam, before blogs, before social networks, before the internet changed things.  I am approaching middle age, I guess – and there are children now don’t know what a World Book Encyclopedia Set is.  I still use the books – that my mom hasn’t recycled yet – to settle discussions when I return home.  But I wouldn’t suggest looking up cell phones, Russia, Geothermal Energy, American Idol, George Bernard Shaw or blogging.

I am not lamenting the old or the new.  Just amazing what we can do now, that just 20 years ago hadn’t even been conceived of.

Now, I can a summary of 40,000 people’s opinions on workout music delivered directly to my e-mail in-box.  If I like any of the songs, I can click (Amazon, iTunes, or Emusic) and have it delivered to my iPod and be running with it in 2 minutes.  My god.  Remember the Columbia House CD Club?  We thought that was pretty sophisticated.

May 25th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  A wish that the world’s children could experience both the convenience of the new and the romance of the old.

Maintenance May Day 25:
Made Beet Brownies.  Ate 6 Beet Brownies.  Beets or not, still pretty calorically dense.  (soul).

The Daily EO: May 24th, 2012

I’m a list maker.  I make lists for everything – what needs to be done, what needs to be purchased, when all of this has to happen, etc.  I usually have about 4 or 5 lists floating around on my desk.  Most of which are half done and then I eventually consolidate them into a new list.   I love my life being clearly defined and it is so satisfying when you check something off the list.   (note – in my list vernacular,  I check off completed items and cross out items no longer needed to be completed.  Just so you know).  When working, I usually have a running list that would take 5 days of straight work to complete.  It keeps me focused.

Today’s list was extensive:

Paint Cabinets
Make Grocery List (this is my favorite – a task on my list to make a list)
Wash Car
Strip Beds
Return Old Navy Items
Drop off Mail
Blog Entry
Pick Up Asparagus
Food Prep:
Make Spring Roll Dip
Make Vegan Rice Crispy Squares
Entry mat
White Frame

May 24th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Getting everything on my list completed.  Really, I did! (even the ironing).

Maintenance May Day 24:
Got a call from my grandma who received the printed copy of this blog.  Explained the difference between Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, blogs and letters in a long, twisty conversation.  So glad I sent it to her – she was so happy to read it and wants me to keep mailing to her.  (Family)  That really isn’t something I did, but it made my day, and so I am counting it.

The Daily EO: May 23rd, 2012

We get alot of free newspapers and magazines in Huntsville.  And the latest one is something called “What’s Up Muskoka!”  It is not a hard-hitting newspaper, but it does have editorials and serious stories but mostly is a human interest and event communication medium.  It is delivered through the mail and I picked up our copy today.  This was the picture on the front page (which almost took up the entire sheet):

 The story inside the was concerning as it dealt with the problem of poverty amongst seniors in Muskoka.  It is challenging to meet all of your expenses if you are wholly dependent upon your government pension.   I don’t disagree at all.  Both of my grandparents are secure in their retirement and have pensions from their former employers to see them through.  Our parents also are planning for retirement – saving, and counting on other income beyond Canada Pension.

Not all are as lucky.  And as the article told me, it is estimated that over 1000 senior women live below the poverty line in Muskoka.  A serious issue, considering expenses facing seniors and lack of income options.  Affordable housing is a major problem across Canada – compounded for seniors.   It certainly made me aware of the situation – but this is not what really struck me about this article.

And this has inspired me to write an open letter to my mother and my mother-in-law:

Dear Mom and Toni,

You are loved very much.  And Emile and I will make sure both of you are secure and safe in your old age.  (no, not now, in your OLD age, keep it together for now).  However, if either of you have a full-sized picture published of yourself holding your head in your hands with a quote “I do not depend on my children . . . so as not to strain their resources”, I will leave my brother Todd in charge of your retirement planning.  And you know what that means – you’ll be sharing a single room, eating saltines with past date canned oysters every day while collecting his daily returnable can quota.  So, please let me know there is a problem with your budget before you contact the local media.  We’ll figure out something out no matter what and maybe do the story as a family to highlight the issues.

Yours Sincerely,

Your Favorite Daughter and Favorite Daughter-in-Law, Susan

May 23, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   Can you imagine opening the newspaper and seeing your despairing mother splashed across the front?  (If you want to see the article, click here.)

Maintenance May Day 23:
Sent a note to What’s Up Muskoka asking how I could help this lady.  (connection)


The Daily EO: May 22nd, 2012

There are some days that I amaze myself!  But this can have unintended consequences.

I made a Barbeque Chicken Caesar Salad for dinner tonight.  It was one of the best caesars I have ever made.  The dressing was creamy, rich, garlicy and lemony, the croutons crunchy and delicious and the chicken tender and sweet..   The whole plate – and that was 2-3 cups of greens and a chicken breast each – was under 400 calories – with only 12 grams of fat, 9 grams of fibre and 40 grams of protein.  And how did I accomplish this miraculous feat?  The romaine was bumped by spinach (more iron my starving red blood cells), the croutons replaced by roasted chickpeas and the dressing base was soft silken tofu.   Yes!  Can you believe it?  I replaced the egg and the usual 1/2 cup or so of olive oil with TOFU!  That is crazy, crazy stuff, people!

And because I don’t want my inbox flooded with requests for the recipe, here you go:

Delicious and Healthy Caesar Dressing (unless you are allergic to soy, then delicious but not healthy)
1 cup soft silken tofu
2 cloves of garlic (or more because garlic is good!)
2 tbsp of Dijon or other spicy mustard
1 tsp olive oil (just a touch for consistency’s sake)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (vegetarian if you swing that way)
2 oz of grated/shredded parmesan cheese, I used the Kraft stuff, but you could use the good stuff or not (you could replace this with nutritional yeast flakes I suppose if you were a vegan, but it will lose that sharp and sour parmesan taste, but if you’re a vegan, you already gave that up ages ago)
1.5 tsp of wine vinegar (I used red because that is what I had)
salt and pepper
2-4 tbsp of lemon juice (I used the lemon juice to adjust the thickness to my liking)

Blend all the ingredients except lemon juice in food processor until smooth.  Then add enough lemon juice to taste.  You can also add more olive oil if gets lemony enough without thinning to your liking.  I found I only used 1/3 of this batch to coat about 5 cups of spinach and the chickpeas, so toss to your liking and the rest can be saved for another day.

Here is a link to the chickpea roasting method.  I took the time to remove all the chickpea skins (warning – only undertake if you need some quiet contemplation time, and you like chickpea-y fingers) .  I’ve done it both ways (skin and skinless), and I don’t think it really makes that big of a difference.  But I had some time today. Please note, you want to roast them until they are crisp, so they stay crisp in the salad.  As I was making a caesar, I used garlic, olive oil and italian seasoning as my spices of choice.  I still want to try a salt and vinegar version one day.

So, cook your chicken in some barbeque sauce and pour over your tossed salad while still warm, that is the best!  It wilts the top spinach pieces a bit (which incidentally helps our body digest iron from spinach more readily).

I know!  I know!  It is amazing that I am not cooking for a living!  Thank you for noticing.

Unintended side effect of healthy dinner:  The next day Emile weighted in at 160.2 lbs.  Although I still weigh less than him, the possibility of his number beginning with a “1-5” is disconcerting to me.  I am going to start sneaking in calories into every meal I make for him.  “Here’s your turkey sandwich, dear, enjoy that low-fat mayo I put on it.  It looks weird because it is low-fat, not because it is coconut oil.”  I want him healthy, but I don’t want him lighter than me.  Damn men and their metabolisms.

May 22, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   Soft Silken Tofu, Hello!

Maintenance May Day 22:
Feeling no guilt at all for missing my friend Lisa’s birthday on May 21st.  It’s our “thing” afterall.  I might wish her a good day come June.  (soul, friendship)
Baking two batches of vegan brownies and not eating a single brownie.  (body)  Let’s not talk about the chocolate chip sampling.
Not killing the cat when he stepped in white paint I left out and walked all around the house (carpeted stairs and all).  (Kindness to animals)
Phone interview with company.  (career)

The Daily EO: May 20th, 2012

I had one of those bad dreams this morning that jolt you out of sleep, taking you a couple of minutes to determine whether it actually happened.  I have weird dreams sometimes, but I occasionally have bad dreams in the early morning hours.  These bad dreams – while somewhat bizarre – seem to be based on real life with a twist.  And that is why they linger with me after I am up – and I usually cannot get back to sleep afterwards.

In today’s dream, I was married to Emile and for some reason travelling with only my in-laws.  I lived in Toronto, and had “re-joined” the ranks of the business people.  I had my wedding rings on (the ones I have in real life) and I entered my alumni gathering place with my father-in-law.  Now for some reason, this alumni gathering place was a restaurant, conference center and water park all in one.  Bizarre –  but doesn’t break the laws of physics or anything.  I ran into an ex-boyfriend at this meeting place who was upset to find out I had married.  I guess I should have pined away for him or something.   You broke up with me, buddy!  Although, as I recall, he got pretty upset when I started dating someone else later.

Anyways, he began a tirade that hit every fear, worry, concern, insecurity and embarrassment that I have ever had.  And remember, this was a dream I was making up, so my ex-boyfriend really DID know all that stuff.  In real life, I don’t think he ever was that astute.

It awoke me abruptly at 7:00 am with no chance of going back to sleep leaving a melancholy ponderance that lasted all morning.

May 20th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   My brain turning against me in the wee hours of the morning, and then trying to blame it on my ex-boyfriend.

Maintenance May Day 20:
Cooked Vegan Rice Crispie Squares and Vegan Fresh Spring Rolls with a friend to determine catering viability. (career?/friendship)
Heart-to-heart with my mother who refused to tell me what I should do – telling me only to do what my heart said.  (career/family)