Friday, January 9, 2009

New year, new me? I'm game.

I joined a gym yesterday. That's right, I am going to be a gym rat. My friend K and I visited our local gym and liked what we saw. Plus, they gave us the teacher discount even though we are still students. Hey, we WILL be teachers in a year and a half. Plus their hours are awesome. They open about an before and close about an hour later than all the other gyms here, and they have free child care. They have a crapload of free classes-Zumba, pilates, yoga, yogalates, step, spinning, so on. Best of all, they are only 1.9 miles from my house. I no longer have any excuses.

Today I got up and put that Christmas crockpot to use. I tossed in some chicken and roasted garlic pasta sauce. When it's done, I'll toss some feta in and serve it over couscous or pasta and put some Mediterranean veggies on the side.

Then I dressed Squirrel and headed for the gym. K and I had a fitness evaluation at 10. We got weighed and measured and put through the paces by our cute, yet strangely sadistic trainer Antony. That's AnTONY, not AnTHONY. Get it right.

Antony first humbled us with his evil scale. By evil I mean it told how much I really weigh, not how much my drivers license says I weigh. A pox up on that scale. Then he measured all the parts of me that have "cute" nicknames: badonkadonk, muffin top, and wings. All those special parts. Then Antony had the nerve to-brace yourself for this one-write this information down. WTF? He says it's for posterity.

Next, Antony led us to the chamber of horrors. They call it the "Weight Training" area. I call it the seventh circle of Hell. The first thing he subjected us to was this device that was obviously designed to kill. It consisted of a little bench that you laid on and this slab of metal that you had to press up with your feet. I am absolutely certain that if failed to press it up sufficiently, I would be smashed flat. What better motivation to to complete one more rep than your immediate demise otherwise.

Moving along, we did squats. More like squeals....of pain! Because that's what my thigh muscles were doing. Squealing from the pain.

Next me moved up to our abdominals. We did sit ups but not normal sit ups. These were special sit ups. We did them on an exercise ball. Yay. Fun. Whee. It was at this point that the meatheads started working out behind us. They held a distracting conversation about some chick who had "the face of a Dallas cheerleader." I tried to focus, and luckily, just trying not to topple off the ball. By the time I completed my reps, they were gone. Plus, cutie Antony was supporting my back to make sure I didn't maim myself.

Next, we did something like sit ups, but it was done on another medieval torture device. In addition to lifting my upper body, this contraption had some sort of weight that we had to lift simultaneously.

By then, our free session was about done. Antony tried to escape us, but he made the mistake of asking if we had any other questions. Heck yeah we had more questions. He'd addressed some of the cute parts, but not those wings I have hanging from my upper arms. He directed us to the tricep press. It was definitely my favorite. It'd didn't frighten me or cause me pain.

K and I roamed about the gym for a while, considered getting on some cardio machines, which we decided no to as our legs and thigh muscles were so shaky we could barely stand and instead headed to the smoothie bar. There I got a smoothie and we chatted with Christie, the first vegan I have ever met in real life-though she does indulge in sushi from time to time. She gave us a lot of info so we headed to Publix to get our own smoothie ingredients. I even got organic stuff.

All jests aside, I had a wonderful time at the gym. I feel really good. Even though I hurt, it's a good kind of hurt. It's meaningful. I am doing something good for me and for my kids. I'll keep ya posted on the results.

While you are online, please head on over to Andrea's Classy Closet and vote for Renee @ Cutie Booty Cakes for the co-host! Thanks a ton!

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Places I want to go

Have I ever told you that I love to travel?

I don't get to do it much and I haven't really been anywhere that far, but I love it. When I was young, we used to go to Florida every year-Daytona Beach, Kissimmee, or Orlando. My grandparents used to take us to Atlanta ever summer, too. I have so many fun memories. I love short, impromptu trips, too. We used to dash off to Charleston, Folly Beach, and Spartanburg when the mood would strike my mom.

The furthest away from home that I have been would be New Orleans, back in 2002. I had so much fun, even though my car nearly got stolen in Gretna. It acutally turned out to be a plus as we got to stay nearly a week extra with insurance remimbursing the stay and meals. I will never forget eating at The Court of the Two Sisters. It was hands down the most beautiful place I have ever eaten in. It was also there I met the love of my life, crawfish. Mmmm, I drool just thinking about it. I also love to eat and isn't that the purpose any vacation-to eat?
(Photo by Terry Thibeau)

But there are so many places I would love to visit. Greece is at the top of the list becasue of the food, weather, culture, food, art work, and food. And the food. I would also like to go to Egypt. Again, the history and the culture attract me. I don't know much about Egyptian food, but I am sure that it is delicious. I want to go to Spain. Food again, and I love the culture and language. And the food. And the siestas. I want to visit Japan because I love the culture. The food is interesting. I actually just ordered bento boxes for the kids and me. I'll save that for another post though-I just wanted to whet your appetite. China has so much culture (and food). It would be amazing to go there. I think I'd like to go to Kenya, also, and take the kids on a safari. Finally, I would love to go to Brazil. It seems like such an exciting place. Acutally, I'd like to hit Peru, too, while I am down there.

And Israel. I definitely would like to eat there. I mean, visit.

Where have you been? And where would you like to go?

Oh, and I joined a gym today. More on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Something to celebrate

The Chinese New Year occurs on January 26th this year. I think we shall do a little something to mark the day. It will fulfill my NYR of exposing my children to worldly cuisine on the montly basis. I will plan a menu and patronize my local Asian markets to get the supplies.

They really have a wide variety of stuff at the markets. We went there yesterday, which is where this whole idea came from. The Astronaut chose a Sarsi, which turned out to be a sasparilla. The Princess decided to get two Hello Kitty lollipops and gave the Squirrel one. The Squirrel decide to get Lotte Strawberry Koalas which she generously shared as they were much better in theory than they were in practice. I got some pepero, which are biscut sticks-by biscuit I mean unsweet cookie-dipped in chocolate and almonds. They were delicious. I picked up a few other little items, too: jasmine tea, rock candy, rice wine vinegar, lemongrass.

I don't know much about Chinese New Year and the foods that surround it. I've been researching and this is what I've found:

Most of the dishes served during Chinese New Year (also known as Spring Festival) are symbolic of something positive and hopeful.

  • Chicken and fish, for example, symbolize happiness and prosperity--especially when served whole.
  • Dishes made with oranges represent wealth and good fortune because they are China's most plentiful fruit.
  • Noodles represent longevity: therefore, they should never be cut!
  • Duck symbolizes fidelity, while eggs signify fertility.
  • Bean curd or tofu, however, is avoided because its white color suggests death and misfortune.
I don't do tofu anyways, so no love lost there. I don't know about whole chicken, but I can swing a whole fish. More:

Another popular Chinese New Year dish is jiaozi, dumplings boiled in water. In some areas of China, coins are placed in the center of jiaozi. Whoever bites into one of these dumplings will have an exceptionally lucky year. Try some of these lucky Chinese dishes for a prosperous year to come:
I think that I shall try some. I am getting excited already!


Oh, and while I am on the subject of NYR, Squirrel and I went to the Museum on Sunday. The Astronaut and the Princess weren't home. They went to my brothers and their grandma's respectively. We had a blast. Side Salad went too, but he was cranky. He has a little cold and two teeth coming in, poor little guy. Squirrel had a blast toying with inventions that came from the great mind of Leonardo da Vinci. I think her favorite part was the dinosaurs. There was this big...box full of....stuff and the kids used paint brushes to unearth a dinossaur fossil. She even got to touch fossils and touching is always good because little kids tend to be tactile learners. She also got to get on a full sized replica of the tragic Best Friend and go in a one room schoolhouse. It was special becaue the bigger kids were gone and I got to spend some time alone with her.

I have got to get on the ball, compiling my recipes and creating my grocery list and getting the kids started makng decorations for the Chinese New Year. I think they will really enjoy this. I know I will!

Until next time, ni hao!

Loving Animal Mother POD