Sunday, September 30, 2012

Get Fit: Week Two

Weight: holding solid at 130
Pull Up Ability: only one at a time, several throughout an evening with plenty of rest between
Areas of focus: abs, arms, butt/thighs
Favorite meals: breakfast smoothies, black beans & veggies, hummus/guacamole with chips/crackers/veggies
Cheats: Oreo ice cream, diet Dr. Pepper, cheddar Chex mix, donut

Thursday, September 27, 2012

More Michael Cunningham

That's what I want in my life right now. I finished A Home at the End of the World yesterday and I'm about to finish By Nightfall tonight. I haven't done much else besides read, work, and workout this week.

There's something sacred to me about waking up earlier than I need to, making coffee and breakfast, then sitting on the couch to read until I have to get ready for work. It's become more than a routine for me--more like a ritual that I don't like to interfere with.

Cunningham's novels fit perfectly into this ritual. As I explained to Becca earlier tonight, his writing is deep and literary without being pretentious or unavailable. It's meaningful, but not snobbish. I've convinced Becca to read him and join my book club, and I make the same plea to all of you. Brit and Diego are busy reading Fifty Shades of Gray, so I need people to discuss these books with!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Specimen Days

It's been a while since I've read a really interesting book. Entertaining, fun, informative, yes--but really different and interesting? Those types are harder to come by.

I first read Michael Cunningham in college. Many people are familiar with the movie The Hours, and I was able to study the novel version along with the book closely tied to it: Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. I was a huge fan of all three.

Specimen Days follows similar themes and styles as The Hours, most noticeably its strong tie to a great piece of literature, this time Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. The novel is split into three separate, yet intimately related, novella-type stories, each featuring a man, a woman, and a young boy. One takes place in Industrial Revolution New York, one in post-9/11 New York, and one in a dystopian future New York.

I enjoyed each story's deliberate tone and how they methodically came together to tell one sweeping tale of human connection spanning several centuries. It's not often you come across a historical fiction/cop drama/sci-fi novel all in one. Readers of Specimen Days should be prepared to shift their genre gears as they read, something I'm all too eager to do.

Get Fit: Weekend Update

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday saw more cheating than challenging, but I knew from the start I'd have to cheat a little.

Weight: 130 lbs
Miles biked: 16 miles
Pushups: 30

Deep dish pizza
Chex mix
Juice (high fructose corn syrup)
Ranch dressing
More deep dish

Healthy Meals:
Quinoa & veggies
Eggs & guacamole
Carrots & beans & broccoli & hummus
Bison tacos
Apple & banana

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Get Fit to Thursday Night Comedies

What better way to work out than in front of your newly reinstalled ancient television set? I did this circuit as I watched my regular comedies:

30 seconds scissor kicks
30 seconds ab rows
30 seconds toe touches

Yes, I know. That's only a minute and a half. I decided my abs were sore from yesterday and did a few non-core exercises instead. And don't forget my daily 6 mile bike ride!

Fruit smoothie (banana, peach, strawberry, yogurt, oatmeal)
Crackers & salsa
Carrots & hummus
Cheese & crackers
Crackers & hummus
Mint gum
Celery & peanut butter & raisins
Giant salad with veggies, cheese, & nuts
Raspberry lemonade
Several tempting smells of Brooke baking cupcakes

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Get Fit Day Three: Return of the Appetite

Miles biked: 8
Types of fruit bought for smoothies: 7
Ab circuit:
30 Crunches
60 Bicycles
30 Count Of 6 Inches (cheated by raising my legs a bit higher)
30 Count With Legs Raised
30 Scissor Kicks
30 Wide Kicks
30 Heel Touches
Meals/snacks: 8
English muffin with butter & jam
Clif Bar
Wheat Thins & Hummus
Rice & beans & cheese
Salad with veggies
Toast with leftover salad dressing
Chicken with sautéed zucchini & onion over pasta
Dried fruit & nuts

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Get Fit Day Two

Still not feeling great. :(

Miles biked: 6
Balance drills performed: 9
Balls of feet, eyes closed: 30 seconds
Right foot: 30 seconds
Left foot: 30 seconds
Right foot, left leg held out: 30 seconds
Left foot, right leg held out: 30 seconds
Right foot, with squat: 10 reps
Left foot, with squat: 10 reps
Right foot, left leg kicks forward, side, and back: 5 reps
Left foot, right leg kicks forward, side, and back: 5 reps

Yogurt with cereal & dried fruit
Peanut butter & honey on toast
Quinoa & veggies in sesame soy sauce
Butter toast
Rice & beans

Grain & Veggies & Sesame Dressing

1. Prepare your grain (rice, quinoa, couscous, etc) as usual.

2. Add chopped up veggies of your choice to grain as it cooks, or sauté on the side with some olive oil, salt, & pepper. (Almost any amount/combo of veggies. I've used bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, corn, edamame, kale, onion, spinach, tomatoes...)

3. When grain is fully cooked, pour into serving bowl with veggies and mix with sesame dressing (see recipe below).

4. Enjoy! Variations of this would include a protein (chicken, steak, pork, tofu).

Sesame Dressing: Mix all ingredients.
3 tbsp rice vinegar/white wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame/vegetable oil
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Get Fit Challenge

Guys, I let myself get talked into doing a 30 day fitness challenge. It's actually a parkour thing, set up by two brothers who have been training for a while. The whole challenge is not only for people to tone up for parkour, it's to raise awareness of obesity and support people trying maintain a healthy weight.

What it means for me is real workouts (as opposed to my current physical activity of walking back and forth from the kitchen to my room), and reevaluating my diet. Here are my first day numbers and whatnot (I also took a Before picture, but that's just for me to see the difference):

Weight: 135.5 lbs
BMI: 22
Miles biked: 3.5
Miles jogged: 1
30 second reps of quads, crab walks, squats, and lunges
Yoga back and shoulder stretches
Apple & peanut butter on toast
Baked tilapia
Mixed green salad w/ veggies, nuts, and dried fruit & piece of toast

This is a lot less food than I would usually eat, even during a fitness challenge. I plan on eating about 5 or 6 times each day, since that's what I'm used to and it keeps my metabolism up near where most teenagers' are. I wasn't feeling too hot today (ate something disagreeable over the weekend) so my appetite wasn't where it normally is. I don't want anyone to think that's my normal diet! I am and will continue to be a blue ribbon eater throughout this month!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Behind Enemy Lines

Clay Matthews jersey is on and I'm ready to support the Packers from the rival bench. M's words to me as he got in the car after school were, "I hate you right now for wearing that." I guess that means he's ready for the game too.

I somehow managed to find two viewing partners who don't actually follow football, but are cheering for the Bears by default. (Brit and I are two of only a few girls who are more into football than our boyfriends are.) Diego and I found a sloppy joe recipe to try and we still have Andre's massive flat screen, so already this is shaping up to be a good night.

Go Pack!


That's where Diego and I are right now. Lost after the second season of Lost. If you've already watched the series, don't ruin it for us! If you haven't, we recommend a binge session of watching episode after episode. It's the best way to not forget what's been going on and to get your questions answered quicker. Not all your questions, though. Just enough to keep you watching.

Never before has a show been so confusing in such a gratifying way. Diego and I consistently guess and second guess the twists and turns of each episode, and when the credits start rolling we are usually both shouting "What?!" at the TV.

That was the scenario tonight as we finished Season 2 and, on a prearranged agreement, did not start in on Season 3. I don't even know who survives to see Season 3, it was that kind of ending. Luckily I only have to wait until tomorrow.


I didn't think it would happen; Brit did. She won, so I now owe her a week of five minute foot massages. The Chicago Teachers' Union couldn't reach a deal with the school board over several issues, so the teachers won't be in school today.

I'm not sure if this is a big deal or not; there hasn't been a strike in over 20 years, but I have my doubts about how long it'll last. Mostly it just seems dramatic. Several schools are open to provide breakfast, lunch, and educational activities for kids who have no where to go, and churches, rec centers, and park facilities are also open so parents don't have to scramble to figure out what to do with their kids who were supposed to be in school today.

You can bet there are kids celebrating today, but for the most part a lot of them were hoping their routines wouldn't be disrupted-they know they have to make up this time anyway, so it's not like this is a consequence-free break. High school juniors and seniors are upset because they have credits to earn, AP tests to study for, transcripts to complete, and colleges to apply to. This mess disrupts that process. Kids involved in fall sports and other extracurriculars have to figure out how to practice with missing coaches and advisors.

It would be hard to find someone not inconvenienced by the strike. I hope it's worth it, CTU.

Go Bears! And Packers! And Colts!

How can I cheer for all these teams today? People rarely understand my football loyalties. I'm from Wisconsin, grew up in a split-team household, and now I live in Chicago. What's not to get?

Today I am excited for the Packers to win their first regular season game and to see the Bears and Colts battle it out at Soldier Field.

Here's something else that's super exciting: my roommate is at the coin toss for the Bears! Right now! Go watch!