Sunday, July 29, 2012

Trying It On

See that wall?  I climbed it.  Yes I did.  To some that might not seem like a big ideal but it was.  I attended the Try It On Events yesterday.  It was an event benefitting the ALS Association.  It was held at the beautiful Westin.  I was so digging that place.  I texted the husband telling him I had found our next date night location.  I was the first to arrive and got a free facial gift card.  The ladies at the registration desk were very nice and chatty and very open about it being their first time putting on this event.  I roamed around and checked out the vendors until more people began to arrive.

We started out slow because they were hoping several more people showed.  I had invited a few ladies but none of them showed.  Suckers!  They would have totally loved it.  Although I went just to try out all the events, I learned a lot about the association and the disease. The speaker/creator of the event was very informative and a great person. Well, everyone there was great but her presentation was passion-filled and witty. I liked her a lot.  The presentation was followed up by a fabulous lunch.  It was then I was invited to the table of a couple of great ladies.  We discussed work, New York, Austin (none of us were Austin natives), diet, exercise and men.  It's amazing how free a conversation can flow between strangers!  After lunch, the events began. 

Because the group was smaller than anticipated, they decided to have one event per hour allowing everyone to experience a little individualized attention.  We started with the Nia technique.  I had heard of it a few years ago but never explored or researched it beyond that.  Per the instructor Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that draws from martial arts, dance arts and healing arts.  The class was so much fun.  I moved and danced and felt the music like never before.  I'm sure there was something deep to be experienced there but for me I just enjoyed freedom of movement and the fact there there were no 'wrong' moves.  I came away from it with a smile.

Next up was the climbing wall.  I had not anticipated doing this event because I'm afraid of heights.  But because of how the events were re-organized, it gave me the chance to re-evaluate that thought.  I figured this was a good time to face a real fear.  Besides that, the ladies in attendance were so very supportive that I felt like it was OK to show my fear.  We all trekked outside into the already hot parking lot.  I purposely did not look up at the wall.  I went straight to the table and signed the release before I could chicken out.  I was the 2nd person on the wall.  When I started climbing, one of the spotters was encouraging me to use my legs.  For a while his was the only voice I heard.  Once I got further away from him, I began to hear the ladies below encouraging me.  I don't know how far I got before I missed my handhold but it felt like 500 feet.  I clumsily sailed back down and the National Guard guy asked me if I wanted to do it again.  I bowed out from another try because my legs, arms, and face were still shaking from the fear of it.  But let me tell you, my mind was saying something else.  I was so amazed that I did it at all.  Fifteen feet or 500....I was very proud of myself.   I got congrats and applause from the ladies.  One said she was not going to try it but the fact that I did it while being afraid of heights convinced her.  Everyone ended up trying it at least once.  It was great!
Following that was Pilates.  I had never tried it and thought it would be interesting.  Let me confess to something before I continue.  I do crossfit at least 4 times a week and because of that figured I could do most any core class offered.  Well, Pilates knocked me back a little bit.  Oooo-wee!  That little lady wasn't playing with her planks and stuff.  I stuck with it (because I don't like to quit) and was sweating by the time we were done.  It was challenging and I think I'm going ot have to explore it further.
Next up...Bellydance.  That was something I was never interested in trying.  Maybe it was because I knew much of nothing about it.  The instructor did a preview for us during lunch.  She waltz in wearing a black flowing thing but once the music began, she disrobed to show off a gold and multi-jeweled wonder. Then when she started moving, it all worked it's way into something you couldn't tear you eyes from.  I don't exactly know how to explain it other than it was sensual without being dirty or sexual.  She had curves and a belly but it all seemed to belong together.  In a word it was spellbounding.  The class didn't quite make it to that level.  We learned to shimmy and move a little.  I felt confortable with my movements until she had those of us in the back move to the front.  That was a bit intimidating but after a little while I was having so much fun it didn't matter that I couldn't get my middle to roll like hers.  Not sure I will be trying it more but it was fun while it lasted.

After a short break we were invited to the Yoga room.  I had tried a class before for didn't have the best experience so I limited my learning to the DVD.  This instructor changed my mind about it all.  She was very detailed and made everything so easy to understand for us beginners.  She even used the yogi language and translated it for us.  She really knew her stuff.  By the end of the class I was so relaxed and calm.  It was amazing.  Who'd have thought I could get there?  Not me!

The final class was Zumba.  Now you all know I'm no stranger to this but each instructor is different.  This instructor was full of energy and rhythm.  The moves were complex and the music was great.  We sweat our way through a high energy workout and had fun to boot.  I will admit that my energy level began to fade midway through but come on....I had done so many other workouts before that one! 

My plate was refilled twice with veggies and bread
and cheese.  The sangria...uhm....maybe twice.

The day ended with the cocktail hour.  Teri (the presenter) is a dietician and gave us some pointers on throwing a healthier cocktail party.  We were so hungry after such a full day so this was the perfect ending.   There was a nice spread of fresh veggies, cheeses, fruit, bacon-wrapped shrimp, lamb lollipops, bruschetta, gazpacho shots,and the best sangria ever.  I ended up sitting with four of the most hilarious and intelligent women.  We were fast friends and ended up trading contact information.  They were not shy about eating and even less shy about the drinking.  Lol. 

While we ate and drank they gave away prizes.  I didn't expect to win anything but it turned out I got the last prize of the day which was a $100 gift certificate for the hotel's restaurant.  Date night here we come!

It was such a great event for an even greater cause.  My only regret is that more people didn't get to experience it.  I'm sure the next time will be packed because word of mouth is as good as gold and the ladies in attendance there will definately get the word out.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tweak-kneed Race

This year's Caleb 5K was just as great as last year's.  And I didn't even have to do it alone.  My time was not great but I didn't expect it would be thanks to me and my tweak-kneed self.  I got a nice long lecture from my trainer last night about how to complete this walk without making things worse. We agreed that I could walk a decent 15 minute mile and that I would not get caught up in things and try and outpace anyone.  I was good and listened and walked my own race.  I forgot my brace but I did OK.  

This year my friend San joined me. She did very well running it in a little over 28 minutes.  This after being nervous because it was her first race in the competitive Austin.  Psht!  I told her there was nothing to be nervous about. I didn't get a lot of pictures this year because the husband was supposed to be taking all the shots.  Well, I called him from the starting line to warn him that we would be passing our place soon (it passed in front of our house).  He said he'd be ready.  When I reached that destination he was nowhere to be seen.  I called him and he said he didn't realize we were passing at the beginning.  He said he would catch us at the end.  Well, he did get a couple of shots of me at the end of the 3rd mile.  But then he got caught up in conversation with someone else walking and didn't get a shot of me crossing the finish line.  Major husband support fail!  Oh well.  Here are the few pitiful shots he did get.
He finally arrives at the 3 mile mark.

Yes I'm smiling because he was trying to make me laugh and forget my frustration at his lack of timing.

Don't know what I'm saying but I'm sure it was sarcastic.

Me (w/attitude) and San in our sweaty state. Did I mention it was humid as hell out?  Well it was.  We are misty at the starting line and drenched by the end.

Butt shots.  Why?  

Checking the times and I was glad to see I stayed on my 15 minute mark. 

After an hour of hanging around, we decided we could abandon the festivities and make the walk back to our place.  

It was indeed a very well organized race.  The cover band was awesome, the freebies were great and the chiropractor's adjustment was appreciated.  If I'm still in Austin next year, I'm going to try it a third time.  Hopefully I'll be able to run it.  See ya' next year!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Whip and Soda

Here's a shot of tonight's dessert.  The soda/whipped topping float.  It was so good.  We have several flavors of soda leftover from the 4th get together so this is a good way to get rid of it.  I think the husband is hooked!  He did one with Pepsi and loved it.  I'm not too big on the dark soda.  Fruity all the way for me.  

This was a mix of lemon-lime and a bit of strawberry.  You can't see it well in this picture but it was a nice blush color.  It was mighty tasty.  
I could have just let the cream melt into the soda but I like to mix it and make it thick and creamy.  I do hope y'all will try it.  


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pizza and Me (Part 2)

A few months back I did a small post about frozen pizza.  My consumption of pizza is far and in between but I do like to indulge when I get a craving.  On my way home from work I called the husband to see if he had already planned a Friday night meal.  He had just gotten home and had not.  I told him I wanted pizza.  He said if I wanted it I should order it.  I told him to save money I would rather just get a frozen one and I would stop home first and we could go together.  We did that and after checking out the deli take home pizzas, and the many frozen versions, I landed on the Freschetta's Harvest Supreme.  It was only $4.98.  That totally beats spending $12 + tip for delivery.

As you can see the packaging is very eye catching.  

I was pleasantly surprised to see there was plenty of ingredients. 

I baked mine on a pan as opposed to the rack because I have problems pulling it from the oven without making a mess.  It came out nice and crispy. 

How did it taste?  I didn't expect much but was pleasantly surprised.  The feta and spinach combination was great and the chewiness of the sun-dried tomatoes complimented it well.  The Italian sausage was sparse but I think more would have been overkill.  I will definitely try this one again. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Summer Table

 I've been lazy about cooking lately and I'm not ashamed of it.  I don't relish standing over the stove in this heat.  Sure...the AC is on full force but I like to save a little $$ by reducing the energy we use.  And saving money is just an added advantage to the nice fresh veggies and fruit summer produces.  So during the summer months you'll find our table holding simple and cooler meals.  This was my day's worth yesterday.

Breakfast (Egg white, crescent rolls, peaches, strawberries and Earl Grey w/milk)

Lunch (Hummus, cucumbers, grapes, strawberries and water)

Snack (Probably the best peach I've had in a couple of years.  So very sweet!)

Dinner (Pork strips, romaine, tomatoes, onion, avocado and Italian dressing)

Not pictured was a float I made using lemon lime soda and fat free frozen whipped topping.  The husband was not sure about it at first but even he admitted it was a great idea.  It's a great low-cost dessert for a hot summer night.   I'll have to make another and get a good picture to post.  The things I do in the name of

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Four Point Workday

It was such a long and hard day at work.  There was so much to do and plenty of time but not enough order to realize that.  I left feeling deflated.  On my drive home, I worked hard to try and tally up the good points in the day.  I figure if you are going to keep track of the bad parts, it's only fair to also tally up the good ones.
I was standing in the grocery line this morning and I noticed this display.  Well I noticed two things.  Candy is so much more expensive than it use to be.  I remember when it was like three for a dollar.  I also noticed that in the past I would have tossed a couple of packages on the conveyor belt along with my groceries.  Now I hardly even notice it and I  leave without picking up anything extra. I was so very proud of myself.  One point for me!

We've had near mutiny over white-out at work.  We started out with some pretty decent cartridges.  Apparently they cost too much so they found these gems.  This is what happens when you try to save money on office supplies.  They keep telling us not to buy our own because it could get expensive as we do a lot of redacting.  This particular type is just terrible.  It has the worst tension and falls of the reel and you end up with loose tape everywhere.  Being one who hates to waste (while everyone tossed theirs in the waste out of frustration), I figured I'd go the rub route.  It's time consuming but works and the end result is about the same. So what if I end up with this electrostatic mess.  It beats using the office powers that be's solution...white china markers.  Ick! Two points for me!

While we are on the topic of office supplies I might as well mention my sad stapler story.  I had a black, plastic cheap one.  It had a bad habit of getting hung up.  The beige beauty above is my 'new' one.  This is one I confiscated from the vacant back desk.  I saw it and thought it had that old-fashioned look that I like.  It's real metal and staples with purpose.  It does it's job and let's go of the paper like a proper stapler should.  I mentioned it to my manager today.  She laughed and said I should just switch them out.  Well don't mind if I do!  In my opinion this beats the ever-popular red Swingline any day. Three!

I managed to get to work this morning without realizing I had neglected to eat breakfast. About three hours into working, my stomach let me know what had happened.  And talk about a crabby mood!  Who knew?After whining and complaining about needing something to eat, a friend reminded me that I had food in the break room fridge.  This is what I ended up eating.  It's yogurt, blueberries, and a crushed nut mix.  Very tasty and it put me in a much better mood. Four points!

Four points.  I could go for five but I'd like to save some for another day.  Find the positive points in your day and tally 'em up!  You'll be pleasantly surprised. Happy Independence Day!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Loving Right Now

When I pulled my car into my parking space at about 5:30pm, I was filled with relief.  The workday was finally done.  I got out and was met with the neighbor from upstairs.  Her existence chipped away at my relief.  She hemmed and hawed before asking if she could borrow money.  Mind you I don't know her that well.  In fact I don't even know her name.  I loaned her a few bucks once and ever since she's like a fed stray cat.  She will not go away but I tolerate her.  But I draw the line at meeting me at upon my arrival home.  I told her I don't carry cash, I'm tired and I just want to go inside.  She said she understood.  She didn't but I don't think she's all there.  Luckily the Lord had pity on me and showed me a little more light.  As I was walking to my door, I saw Alex coming from the dog run with my Sofie.  Sofie saw me from afar and was unsure it was me.  She paused, stopped and the looked up at him and back at me.  He waved her to me and she took out at a full run towards me.  Man...that sort of doggy love makes you feel so much better.  After getting love from her I walked in and Baxter gave me attention.  Last but certainly not least, the husband welcomed me with open arms.  At that point, I was totally loving THAT now.

You might have noticed I've been MIA with the blogging.  June was a busy month and it doesn't seem like July will bring any relief.  The husband and I have been so busy we barely see each other even if we are home.  He's taking an accelerated accounting course and I'm seeing just how much of a perfectionist he is.  Whereas I would take a B grade in such a class and be OK with it, he pretty much considers it a fail.  We are very different that way. I'm crazy busy at work and have even been bringing a little bit of work home.  I've been working to organize our system a little more because the lack of order is driving me crazy. As a result, he's usually at the dining room table with books, flashcards, laptop and highlighters.  I work at my desk (or sitting in bed) with papers spread all around me and a frown on my face.  Guess you can say we've had a lot of Excel, PowerPoint, and Quickbook evenings.

On top of all that, we are both fighting to stay upbeat.  Family and friends can be hard on emotions and although the two of us are positive people, even we dip below the happy every now and again.  We've been dealt some hard blows of late but are blessed to have each other to talk it out. I've been guilty of wrestling between taking care of myself and taking care of other members of the family.  He had to remind me that if I don't take care of myself, I'll be no good to anyone else.  Of course I love the fact that I can turn around and say the same thing to him.  Together we are something else!

There are so many things that I've started to blog about and not finished.  It's not that I'm blocked or anything.  It's just that my focus changes from hour to hour.  I really need to work on that.  But right now I'm going to appreciate the fact that I am spending a work-free evening watching mindless television and snuggling with my best canine buddies on one side and the hubby on the other.  Yep....I'm loving right now!