Sunday, March 31, 2013

Found: 1 Mojo

At least, I hope I found it.  When I was in Quebec last week, I noticed a definite improvement that I put down to the exercise I've been doing.  Jet lag was minimal while I was there, I had much more stamina and balance.  As a matter of fact, I didn't notice any jet lag until the day I returned to L.A. and I think that was because I didn't sleep well the night before.  I think I may slept about two hours total and that wasn't a deep sleep.  I slept a little on the plane on the way back but I was most definitely out of it when I got back home.

At the beginning of the week, I was fine while I was at work but as soon as I got home, I would fall asleep.  It took a couple of days for that to pass so I haven't been consistent with exercise this week.  And after having stomach issues all day yesterday, I don't know how many wake up calls I need to make the changes that I keep saying I want to make. Maybe I should stop talking about it and just do it.

So this weekend, I focused on getting everything caught up, bills are paid, taxes will be done, laundry will be done, etc., etc. I have to go to Trader Joes and then when I return, it's back to 10 minute trainer.  I'm going to the Whiskey tonight to see a quebecois band called Rock IN Soul and I will need the energy that exercise gives me to step out of my normal Sunday night routine.  It's early enough in the day that I can get a lot done today and actually feel like I've accomplished something.  Here I go!

Saturday, March 30, 2013


The following post may be TMI.  I've been having problems with my gut since I was in Quebec last week.  I wanted to blame it on jet lag when I was up there, but I've had issues all this week and I know it's related to what I've been eating.  I have to finally realize that anything that sours my stomach and makes me start burping, that requires me to reach for an antacid, is something I cannot digest comfortably.  One of the biggest culprits for me is wheat.  I had issues for years before I ever heard of gluten-free and believe me the first time I tried it, there were hardly any GF products on the market and what was there was expensive and not all that wonderful to eat.  But I immediately felt better and I stayed GF for awhile.  But gradually, gluten crept back into my diet and I think because it doesn't cause breathing issues or make me swell up or break out in a rash, I ignore that it is causing problems for me.

I'm going back to the primal diet I was on at the beginning of the year.  I felt great when I was on it and I want to feel that way again.   Lean meats, poultry, seafood, veggies, fruits, nuts, beans.  All of these things I can eat with no problem but I will be cutting out all grains for a bit and then gradually add brown rice and GF products into what I eat.  I will also keep dairy to a minimum.  I don't have an issue with dairy but I eat A LOT of it, so cutting back a bit will be helpful, I think.  I can still drink a glass of wine with dinner.  My biggest hurdle at this point will be dark chocolate.  I LOVE dark chocolate.  I tend to eat sweets mostly out of boredom and laziness but most of it, I can take or leave but dark chocolate is YUMMY!  I will try to avoid it, mostly because of the sugar, but I'm not promising anything.

I'm going to have to be a bit more organized and a little less lazy when it comes to prepping food, especially for lunches this week.  I will cook some chicken and hard boiled eggs to take with me and then get a couple of pre-made salads from Trader Joes.  The less I have to fuss with food at work, the more likely I am to stay with eating this way.  At this point, I'm willing to stay with it to avoid spending more time than I want to in the bathroom.  Sigh...

Friday, March 29, 2013

A mini-vacation

Last week, I took a mini-vacation to Quebec.  I flew into Montreal Thursday night and flew back on Sunday morning.  The flight to Montreal was delayed by 90 minutes, supposed to take off at noon, finally took off about 1:30.  I was just grateful it was non-stop and I didn't have any connecting flights to try and make.  We landed in Montreal about 9:30 p.m. local time.  I didn't know how late the rental car services were open, so I grabbed my carry-on and headed for the parking lot.  Enterprise was still open and they had three people working.  It took almost 30 minutes for me to get my car and there was only one other customer.  To say they were a little disorganized would be an understatement but I finally got the car.  I plugged the address of my hotel into the gps and took off.  The gps had me on the 520 nord instead of the 40 ouest.  I knew as soon as I got out of the airport that I was heading the wrong direction but wasn't sure how to correct my course.  Then I ran into construction on the highway and within about 1 km, the highway completely shut down.

I pulled off the highway onto the access road, saw a Comfort Inn and realized that I had stayed there several years ago.  I drove into the parking lot but there was no place to park, so I drove out again and parked on the side road.  I went into the lobby and waited for the night manager to finish helping the other folks and then explained my dilemma, where I wanted to go and could he give me directions.  He was very nice and tried to be helpful but he kept changing his mind about how I should get there.  Finally, I just went the way he said even though I knew it was still sending me the wrong direction.  In a few minutes, I saw a Hilton and pulled in there.  The night manager there gave me great directions and drew me a little map and I was at my hotel in 5 minutes; it was after 11 p.m. and I was beat.  It took me about an hour to wind down but the hotel room was great.  I had the most comfy king bed and it was so quiet. I had an awesome night's sleep. In the morning, I went to the free breakfast buffet and had scrambled eggs, a toasted bagel with cream cheese and coffee.  Since I got so lost the night before, I went to the business center at the hotel and got some directions to the restaurant that I was going to for dinner and to the theater for the concert that night.

I started going to Quebec in 2001 to see the Quebecois singer Bruno Pelletier perform.  In the intervening years, I've made a bunch of friends, people I've met at his shows.  Now, when I post on FB that I'm coming up, they invite me to their pre-show dinners and gatherings.  It makes me feel very welcome! On Friday night, I met a group of people at La Maison Vert in Ste Genevieve in an area I've heard referred to as the west island. There were several ladies and one young man from Quebec, plus Mew from Japan and Annette from Germany. An international crowd, all there to see Bruno. The food was muy delicioso, I had beef bavette in a mushroom-red wine reduction with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables.  Very flavorful and rich!  There was also a cup of leek soup to start, tres tasty.  The only downfall was the dessert.  It was bland and doughy and I should have skipped it.   I don't know if it's considered part of Montreal proper or if it's a separate town but Ste Genevieve feels like every small country town I've been to: little pockets of surprises in a town that feels little provincial.  My family lives in a town like that in Sonoma County.

After dinner, I followed Line and Diane over to the theater.  I knew how to get to the theater but it's a good thing I followed them because I would have never found the parking lot in the twilight! "Heavenly shades of night are falling, it's twilight time!"  Wait, where was I? The theater was really nice and I was in the 3rd row just to the right of center stage. The show that night was really great, I think I used the word splendid when I posted on FB. Bruno was in great voice and there were several songs that really stood out.  One was his version of 'Roxanne'.  If I remember correctly, it was just Bruno and the guitar player, who's name escapes me at the moment.  They slowed it down turning it into more of a sultry, almost R and B, song (and lament) of desire and longing.

I never liked 'Roxanne' in its original version by The Police. I found it to be monotonous and kinda boring. But then I heard this rendition of it:  I thought this was such a great version particularly the beginning. Bruno's version reminded me of this at first but he slowed the song down all the way through and that changed the entire vibe.  It's a whole different song done that way.  Just a little lesson to keep an open mind, that a little spin on something can change it from 'meh' to 'wow'.

My favorite song of the whole show was Bruno and Julie's beautiful and haunting version of Peter Gabriel's Don't Give Up.  Sometimes I hear a song performed live and it seems as though the air is shimmering.  I don't even want to take a breath or move in any way because I don't want to disturb the energy.  Gorgeous, gorgeous rendition.  It was an all around terrific concert.  Plus Bruno did me a massive favor and met with me to record a video message to a friend of mine (and a fan of his) as she struggles through a very rough time in her life.

Saturday, I left my hotel in Dorval and drove to St Jerome.  I checked into the hotel and waited for my pal Lynne there.  She arrived about 4 p.m. from Gatineau.  It was so good to see her, even if only for an evening.  We always have a great time together!  She and I had dinner with Line and Mew at St Hubert and then drove over to the theater.  Everything went well up until I sat in my seat.  Someone sitting near me, either right next to me or right in front of me, REEKED of hairspray.  I must confess that I hate the smell of hairspray, it gives me a headache and this person smelled like they had used a whole can of it all at once.  I couldn't get away from it.  Typing this right now, I don't know why I didn't just move, I didn't think of it.  As far as the concert that night, I have to say it was the rockiest performance I've ever seen Bruno give.  I know when I create something, I have an idea in my head of how I want the energy to flow.  This performance was like the energy went sideways on Bruno.  He still sounded good but the performance was off for a lot of the evening.  He maintained his humor about what was happening and the audience still loved it, I loved it because I don't think he's capable of giving a truly bad performance and by the end of the evening, he had regained control of the stage, but it was...different.  I have wondered how much of my perception of the show was colored by the stench of the hairspray, it was really bothering me.

At the end of the night, Bruno came out in the lobby to chat with people and Lynne and I got in line.  I wanted to say good-bye and thank him for the video.  When I got to the table where he was sitting, he looked at me and asked if I was alright.  I said I was fine and we spoke for a moment.  Someone else spoke up while we were chatting and he responded to them then turned back to me.  He asked me again if I was okay, and I assured him I was.  We said good-bye and I left.  It was only later that I realized that, mentally, I was already on my way back to L.A. and so wasn't fully present in the moment.  I wonder if that's why he asked me that.  Or maybe I just looked ill from the hairspray. Lynne and I went back to the hotel and went to bed.  I got up at 5 a.m. to get to the airport, made it in plenty of time and flew home.  I had a great time in Quebec and as always, was glad I went and was equally glad to be home again.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Missing: 1 Mojo

So it's been about a week since I posted.  My mojo took a vacation and left me stranded in a puddle of whinyness.  Hated it so much until I was driving home from work wondering what I was going to do.  I thought about how children get so involved in what they're doing that they don't want to stop or even hear when someone's calling them and I realized that that focus is what had disappeared from my life.  I looked at how everyday things distract us from what we want and decided to figure out what is the most important thing in my life right now.  I knew if I figured that out and focused on that, that everything else would fall into place.  I felt my mojo's attention on me but it wasn't quite ready to return.  Then I came across the infomercial for the workout Insanity and I realized that although I'm not quite ready for that, I can take the premise of that workout and apply it to the workout I have here.  I used the max interval technique doing the 10 Minute Trainer workout. I did three workouts - Total Body; Legs and Abs - using what Shaun T describes in the infomercial.  I was drenched in sweat and breathing hard and felt great.  I watch the infomercial a couple of times a week to stay motivated with my own workout.  I don't feel ready to do Insanity right now and I can tell I'm not because I have come up with a couple of reasons why I can't start it at this point.  So I will continue to watch the infomercial for inspiration and when I'm ready, I will order it.  I don't think it will be very long now, at least I'm hoping that's the case.  My mojo has returned with my focus on getting strong and healthy.  On the food front, I had a most delicious dungeness crab and asparagus omelet with some roasted potatoes plus a truly great bloody mary for brunch.  I rarely drink during the day, usually only a glass of wine with dinner and I really felt it.  So I strolled around The Grove and did a little shopping until the effects of the vodka wore off.  For dinner, I had shrimp in garlic sauce and edamame on the side.  It's a seafood kind of day.  It's off to bed with me now.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Day 15

Today, I am still at 289 lbs and I'm very happy about it.  I got up at 8:30 and 9:00ish, I went out with Ofelia for a dark chocolate latte and a scone.  Came home, wrote the previous post and then went out with Bob to downtown L. A.  We had lunch at the Nickel Diner, I had a cobb salad, fries and a coke.  Bob had chicken salad and cole slaw with a diet coke.  Another thing I've noticed since I started blogging is that I now stop eating when I'm full.  So many places give HUGE portions and I would eat it all, then feel overfull and bloated.  By stopping when I feel full, I enjoy the rest of my day much more.  After lunch, we walked over to to The Last Bookstore and walked around there for a while.  I bought some original sheet music from the 1920s for a song called My Bird of Paradise written by Irving Berlin and introduced by Blossom Seeley at the Winter Garden according to the front cover.  That front cover is why I bought it, the artwork is beautiful and I'm going to frame it.  I arrived home around 5:00 and was still full from lunch, so I had leftover guacamole and chips and two dark chocolate truffles with non-fat milk.  After walking about for over an hour, my feet and legs hurts, so no more exercise today.  Now I'm off to bed.

Day 13 & 14

I need to start posting these earlier instead of at the end of the day when I'm too tired.  So day 13, I had some almonds, coffee and Samoa Girl Scout cookies for breakfast. Definitely not my best breakfast.  As I've been posting, I've been noticing more and more how what I eat affects me.  I can be pretty energetic but if I eat things like cookies or pop-tarts for breakfast, my energy drops almost immediately and I feel lethargic.  Even if I eat it later, I notice my energy drops whereas eating plain Greek yogurt, almonds and berries satisfies me and I do not have a drop in my energy level.  Lunch on Friday, Chance and I went to Baco Mercat in downtown. It took longer than we thought, almost two hours, but it was worth it. This is what I had for lunch: escabeche of drake duck breast - black quinoa, shaved fennel, sherry vinegar; caramelized romanesco - lemon, treviso, white soy for starters. Then I had “the original” - pork, beef carnitas, salbitxada and “the fava fritter” - feta-poblano, chickpea, salmorejo. I had blood orange-vanilla soda to drink and for dessert, caramel upside down cake - pineapple, hazelnut, semifreddo. You totally wish you were me right now.  Chance and I split the starters and the dessert and we each ate half of our sandwiches.  I ate the other half of one sandwich for dinner that night.  I also got some walking in that day, but no other exercise.

Saturday, I got up at 6:30 and I broke 290, I weighed in at 289.6 lbs.  Yay!  I had some almonds and cottage cheese for breakfast with a couple of cups of coffee.  Later in the morning, I walked to the Coffee Bean with Ofelia and had a decaf mocha and a blueberry scone.  I didn't notice as much of a drop in my energy, but I could still feel it.  We then walked over to the hardware store so I could buy some duct tape and walked back home. I did laundry, cleaned up a bit around here and had a little lunch.  I had a little leftover fava fritter from lunch on Friday, so I ate that plus some guacamole I made (avocado, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder and dried onion) with some tortilla chips.  I had 3 Lindt dark chocolate truffles and a glass of non-fat milk.  I felt stuffed.  About 4:00 in the afternoon, Ofelia came over and we worked out to the Bar Method dvd.  Ow.  I didn't eat dinner, just a couple of spoons of cottage cheese and some beef jerky, plus I had two 5 oz glasses of merlot. and yes, I measured it.  The rest of the evening, I read and watched a little TV, then went to bed at 11:30.  I slept until 4:00 when I wok up with a pain in my knee.  I slept wrong on it and it let me know.  I went back to sleep until 8:30, so nine hours of sleep with a 10 minute break in the middle.  I'm feeling pretty rested.