Monday, March 21, 2011

Chipmunk Roundup!

'Tis the season.

It's spring. For me that means running, opening the storm windows, mowing, Ike's allergies, sidewalk chalk covered driveways, ants and chipmunk roundups.

...because for every sacrificial chipmunk, there are at least three roundups.

I know I'm not the only cat owner who regularly experiences The Food Chain: Live and in 3D, but I do believe that Charlie is an overachiever of sorts.  The time she delivered two [dead] baby bunnies and placed them parallel to one another on the back door mat (the day after Easter, oddly enough), I knew I was contending with a hunter of impressive ilk.  Since then there have been rabbits too numerous to count, mice by the dozens, and birds of many a feather, in varying states of living brought to and into my home.

The Chipmunk Roundup is a relatively new activity at Casa del Mar. I suppose we had our first rough go at one in late spring of last year, but had perfected it by fall.  While most nine year old girls might be frightened (or delighted) to find a living, breathing chipmunk in her room, Princess Pearl now sighs in exasperation and then loudly announces, "Chipmunk Roundup!" This is a family event, after all.

Through trial and error, we have developed a patent pending technique that is as follows: Upon the sounding of the alert, doors are closed to all rooms which are known to not harbor said chipmunk. A ruckus is then made in the remaining room and generally within a minute the offending rodent has exited to the hallway. Easily persuaded from the hallway into the main living quarters, the we-added-this-bifold-shuttered-door-to-this-awesome-mid-century-house-when-we-remodeled-in-the-seventies door is closed and the chipmunk is now carefully quarantined in the living room.  One child is charged with opening the front glass door, while another is put on guard between the kitchen and living room (great open space for entertaining, but a slight challenge for Chipmunk Roundups).  At this time, the rodent has typically hidden behind the Chair of Fabulosity or another piece of discount (albeit similarly delightful) furniture. The cat is then introduced as a key player (don't fret, this isn't gory...usually) who can sniff out said visitor, sending it into a slightly panicked state that usually leads it to the great outdoors.  The front door is then closed, high fives are distributed and the Three Little Diggs return to their previous duties.

How do the chipmunks get into the house? Charlie brings them inside. But how? Her "cat door" (a window without a screen) which is left open during fair weather. So yes, it is easily be argued that Chipmunk Roundups could be all but eliminated. As would the family bonding that they induce.

So I'm keeping that window open again this spring...because at my memorial service, the kids will need something to talk about.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nothin'

I suppose when the seventh paragraph of an angry essay begins, "I probably shouldn't even post this rant, but...", it's time to step away from the computer.

Not surprisingly, I kept typing. I didn't finish as I had to go to work, but did verbally continue my ramblings to Carpool Lou.  And she told me I shouldn't broadcast my tirade. Not yet.

Still not convinced, I set up my soap box at Mark's house and he too warned of the poor timing and potential (though doubtful) ramifications of speaking my piece too soon.

So despite my own warning to myself, it took two more people to stop me from writing myself my own obituary. (Alright...that might be a bit dramatic.)

It's about school as you might have guessed.  If I'm still simmering after graduation, I'll publish my feelings.  That's it.  That's all this post is about.

I just told you that I'm not telling you anything.  Aren't you glad you stopped by?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm Waiting...

"Um...I've never worked fine dining and my product knowledge is a bit scanty, but I'm forty so I've lived long enough to know how to charm folks and make them happy."

"Well, that's 90% of the job. When can you start?"

It was just that simple...more or less. I also had an in.  Thanks to the goodwill of Carpool Lou, plus my thirty-second interview, I now am a part-time server (and a part-time fitness instructor and a full-time student, not to mention mother, girlfriend, classmate, friend and housekeeper extraordinaire mediocre dishwasher.)

I realized a week or so ago that my student loan fundage is running low, and even if I do get the internship or go to grad school, there won't be more cash in that account until August.  While I would love to find a gig in nutrition and fitness right after graduation, I'm just enough of a realist to know that a backup plan is not a bad idea (hearing horror stories on NPR every morning about educated folks unemployed for months on end is probably a healthy dose of reality for an otherwise living-in-a-fantasy-world kinda girl).

So I now have a job. I started today. It will be fine.

But I will also take Spinning Marcy's advice and go to Career Services at school to see if they have any amazing connections for degree-appropriate gigs in the KC area.  I will also listen to anyone who has a suggestion for a more fitting job that might carry me through until I earn those prestigious initials, R. and D.

But mostly I've learned (from this photo) that I'm going to have to find a way to charm my clientele without smiling. Where on earth did those lines around my eyes come from?!?!?

Monday, March 14, 2011

But. I. Don't. Wanna.

I don't want to step on the scale.  I've been hungry and hormonal and crabby and munchy this week.  Logging my food has been completely un-fun and I just wanna eat peanut butter and drink wine.

That said, I'll try to hop on the scale soon and squeeze the fat machine at work. Gimme a coupla days though...

For now, back to my homework, my peanut butter, and my whine...er, wine.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Safe Pair of Hands

Every time I use my mandoline without injury, I want to announce it to everyone I know (though I usually just let Wasabi know).  I still get nervous when I pull it from the cupboard, awkwardly massaging my still-numb thumb from the Great Mandoline Tragedy of 2005.

Today I decided to turn the last of the potatoes from the pantry into french fries -- pretty, uniformly cut french fries.  That task requires the use of my scariest tool. But hey, a girl's gotta step out of her comfort zone now and then, right?

While I usually let Wasabi know before I start slicing, as well as after I've emerged unscathed, today I decided to jump in without 911 on hold.  I managed to turn six potatoes into cute little sticks, parboil them, toss them in a smidge of oil and salt then bake them in a roasty-toasty hot oven -- all without need for emergency services.

I then carefully scrubbed the surgically-sharp blade and its housing. All blood and muscle tissue remained handsomely encased in my dermis.

After they were done, the consensus was that they were really quite delicious.

And not having to go to the ER made them even tastier.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ouch!

Underwire sports bra.

What on earth was I smokin' when I plunked down cash for that?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The More, The Merrier

I stepped on the scale twice. I wanted to make sure it wasn't lying to me. After more than two weeks stalled out at 141-ish, I finally moved my number. Downward.

What made the difference?

I ate more.

When I was running with Leah on Saturday and I was rambling about food, I remembered reading some post somewhere sometime about someone who lost some weight by eating more food. And it made sense. While I know a whole slew of mid-life exercise fanatics who are armored with muscle mass, the brainless calculator on any given website sees Age: 40  Height: 5'5 1/2" then asks if I want to lose 1, 1.5 or 2 lbs. each week. Then it tells me how much I should eat. (This is the part where we ignore the fact that I'm studying to become a dietitian and should have explored this independently...in my free time.)  Anyway, this calculator does not know that I have rock-hard thighs (carefully ensconced in a layer of adipose tissue). This calculator does not realize I have six-pack abs (which are hard to see because the eye is drawn to the freakishly unattractive stretch marks). This calculator does not know that my biceps are awesome. Luckily, I know that muscle burns energy at a much higher rate than fat, and while that first exciting week of watching what I ate and seeing the pounds drop off was really cool, my body watched that happen too and then decided that we were obviously running out of food so it very wisely opted to take a metabolic chill-pill.

After Saturday's run (which earned me more belly-up-to-the-buffet calories than I could stomach), I changed my plan. I'm still keeping my food diary but have upped my daily caloric intake by about 400 kcal. I will try to keep my fat intake somewhere in the vicinity of 50 g. My extra calories will come primarily from carbohydrates and maybe a smidge from protein.

And after just a few days of just a few more calories, the scale was very nice to me. I needed that, because  Jamocha Almond Fudge had started calling again making a compelling argument for taking him back.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fun Run

I don't know that I've mentioned that I've been working very part time at the Y lately.  Subbing for spin while my instructor was on maternity leave led to a couple of months of Monday nights at the front desk while two more gals were off due to the same condition, and as a result of getting chummy with one of the directors, I now will be instructing three classes permanently: Monday evening spin, Tuesday evening family yoga and Thursday afternoon youth fitness.

During those front desk nights, I was usually paired up with a sweetheart of a gal, Leah.  We hit it off from the beginning...then we realized that we both come from similar families (she was reared in a missionary family; my dad is a preacher), share congruent world views, but most importantly, we're both runners.  She's shooting for her first half marathon in a month and has been diligently training through this harsh winter (while I've found reasonable substitutes for cardio that do not involve dreadmills or trudging through the snow). She's now to those last few long training runs and suggested we run together.  While I've never really run with friends (with the exception of the first half of the Gobbler Grind and about half a mile with [super fast] Running Jamie one day when we accidentally happened upon one another), I thought it would be a great motivator  to tackle a significant distance and do something new and potentially fun in the meanwhile.

So this morning after I savored my yoga class, I bundled and geared up then met Leah for our joint run.  It was cold and windy, but the sun was shining so we were able to somehow justify the torment.  We went music-less for the first half, chatting here and there (mostly me yapping about food) and when we got to the five mile mark, we slowed for water, Gu, and opted to slip on our headsets. But her iPod battery was dead! I offered to go without, but she insisted at least one of us enjoy tolerate the rest of the run.  Luckily the wind was at our back at this point and we made the return trek with only the occasional grunt or complaint.

Her schedule called for ten miles, so we did it -- my longest run since November.  I never felt particularly strong, but never doubted my ability to finish either.  My legs certainly remembered what they can do (and also remembered to complain a lot for the remainder of the day) and I'm now excited for spring's fair weather and long weekend runs. I'll miss next Saturday with Leah (yoga instructor training), but will hopefully do twelve with her the following weekend.  I'm gonna let her Rock the Parkway on her own, but will definitely be cheering her on from the sidelines...

...in a formal gown and roller skates.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oops...

I have adhered pretty darn closely to my caloric intake goals, yet a week of daily exercise and [mostly] careful dining didn't pay off.  Well...I can't say that.  I still feel pretty darn good, I'm more aware of each morsel I put in my mouth than I've ever been, and this will certainly be a lesson I can share with my clients once I'm a dietitian.

I acknowledged last week that the nearly five pounds that I initially dropped were more than enough for that short span of time.  I'm going to let my body catch up to my efforts now as there is no intention on my part to falter from my [self] appointed mission. If I hadn't published my goals on my blog, however, I can almost promise you that after Week Two I would have bailed and would be sitting here with a carton of Jamocha Almond Fudge in my lap rather than a computer.

We touched a subject last semester in Advanced Nutrition and just a week or so later I heard more about it on NPR (referencing American's tendencies to gain very little weight over the holidays despite deserving to pack on the pounds).  It's called the Set Point Theory. Basically, it says that our bodies find a weight and really want to stay there. That's why you occasionally meet those annoying folks who complain that they can't gain weight despite their most valiant efforts and of course, the rest of us who wish to lose five, ten or fifty pounds and just can't seem to get over the hump.

I think I found my hump already.

Like I said, I work out daily.  An average week breaks down to cardio, strength, cardio, cross, cross, yoga, cardio. I would imagine that my hump is set pretty high and my body is going to be pretty pissy about giving up any more of that insulation -- just in case I forget to feed it -- because it knows I'm going to work out tomorrow, fueled or not.

In the "good news" department, my fat stores have dramatically depleted from Day One.  As previously mentioned, my body fat percentage was 28.7.  It is now 24.8.  If the math isn't fooling me, when I started the diet (@146 lbs) I was lugging around 41.9 pounds of adipose tissue, and I now (@141.4 lbs) have 35.1.  Again, so long as the arithmetic is true, I'm gonna go ahead and declare these results to be awesome.

So I will keep on keepin' on.  My workouts will continue (though it might be time to take them up a notch) and my food diary will remain a part of my daily life.  I'm determined to be a hottie under my graduation gown on May 7, and if I gain a fabulous "If I can do it, you can do it too" story along the way, all the better.