Thursday, February 25, 2010

In summary...

Ok, so it is not quite the end of February, but it is for me. I took test #4 on Tuesday and will get my results to both test #3 and test #4 in March. (Prayers are welcome and encouraged.) After my test I headed to San Francisco to meet up with some old friends and then we hopped on BART and went to watch the WARRIORS game. (Unfortunately they lost, but it was still good times.) Came back to Santa Rosa and am leaving to go to a Crab Feed Friday for the Soroptimist Society and then off to Tahoe for the weekend with family. So you see, my February has come to a close.

Checklist for the goals:
1. Well I studied and I took the exam. Thank goodness that is over with! I felt a lot better about test #4 than I did about test #3 which I am thinking I might need to retake, but we shall see come mid to late March.

2. No TV since January 12th (with the exception of the gym). Somehow over the past month TV has become less and less appealing. I enjoy reading my books and have noticed I go to the gym more often and stay longer now. The Olympics are great to watch of course, but with the exception of about 2 shows on the air, I could care less about TV. But it is nice to have that freedom again to watch mindlessness if I chose so.

3. I think we all know that I have read more than 2 books this month despite my gruesome study schedule. :-) (Currently reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.)

4. Not only did I finish the Nike+ challenge, but I was the first one done and that was only February 16th! I am still running, but not as much as I am trying to do more weights, biking, and yoga to have a balanced workout life.

5. I did not go out to eat all month with the exception of being taken out to dinner where I ordered a veggie burger, but I didn't pay and was kind of a passenger so I was just along for the ride. (Thank you Bear Republic for offering veggie burger substitutes. You are awesome!)

6. I obviously have tried a few new recipes this month. Actually, I have tried quite a few but of course my favorite was this one.

I will write more late, but let me just say, I am at a crossroad in my life in which I cannot really move forward for the next month due to waiting on my test results. I have already started looking for jobs in certain cities and in certain industries, but again I can't do too much with ones I might come across until I get my results. To quote Tom Petty, "the waiting is the hardest part" but I know I can get through it and plan to fill up my March to keep busy and enjoy the time off. Hope you all are doing well and keep on keeping on. Until next post.

Think About It Thurday

"Life can only be understood backwards but must be lived forward." - Søren Kierkegaard

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Prepping for the week

How did you spend your Saturday morning? I spent mine studying as well as prepping my food for the week.

I soaked some black beans last night and cooked them up this morning. I am going to use them in my sandwich wraps and attempt to make my own black bean patties.
Also, I had originally planned on just making red pepper sticks and putting them in my wraps for lunch but as I was flipping through a cookbook I got the urge to roast them instead. It is actually pretty easy and cheaper than buying them roasted if you have the time and patience and love of cooking. Mmmm, they are going to be so good.

Hope you have a productive Saturday. As for me, it is back to studying and then followed by a good workout and fun evening. :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Book Review: Eating Animals

Eating AnimalsEating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, let me just say that I checked this book out from the library and now I need to go buy a copy, re-read it and underline a bunch of facts and points Foer makes. He starts off by saying not to be put out by the title of the book. He is not telling you to eat or not eat animals, he is smearing talking about his experience and research he did when learning about eating animals in our modern time. His writing appealed to me through his wit and sarcasm which both made you laugh and think at the same time. Yes, I found it very clear when he was being sarcastic despite his words only being written and no voice influx to go off of.

There were so many noteworthy points and observation he made in his book that I discovered I had several pages of thoughts and excerpts outlined out for my review and thought that might be too weighty of a blog post. So I am going to try to bullet point a few and make it easier to review.

1. DINNER PARTIES. He talks about how eating is such an important social ritual in our culture and family. How it is hard for people to go over and eat dinner at a friend’s house and have eating restrictions such as “no meat” or “I am vegan”. He also addresses Michael Pollen and his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and how it fares along the same line only that restriction is “only grass fed, organic, family-farmed meant please.” Interesting when you put in perspective the taboo “no meat” clause compared to the “sustainable meat” clause.

2. FARMS. He talks about the difference between eating family-farmed meat, which was the usual years ago, verses the factory-farmed meat we are eating today and the unenforced ethical practices that are suppose to go along with the raising and slaughtering of animals. (Yes, the result is not pretty and he sites a lot of sources here which is hard to read.) He quotes that less than 1% of the meat in this country comes from family farms.

3. SEAFOOD. So I gave up meat, but I still eat fish…for now. He talks about by-catch, “Perhaps the quintessential example of bulls#*t, bycatch refers to sea creatures caught by accident — except not really "by accident," since bycatch has been consciously built into contemporary fishing methods. Modern fishing tends to involve much technology and few fishers. This combination leads to massive catches with massive amounts of bycatch. Take shrimp, for example. The average shrimp-trawling operation throws 80 to 90 percent of the sea animals it captures overboard, dead or dying, as bycatch. (Endangered species amount to much of this bycatch.) Shrimp account for only 2 percent of global seafood by weight, but shrimp trawling accounts for 33 percent of global bycatch. We tend not to think about this because we tend not to know about it. What if there were labeling on our food letting us know how many animals were killed to bring our desired animal to our plate? So, with trawled shrimp from Indonesia, for example, the label might read: 26 pounds of other sea animals were killed and tossed back into the ocean for every 1 pound of this shrimp…Imagine being served a plate of sushi. But this plate also holds all of the animals that were killed for your serving of sushi. The plate might have to be five feet across.” He tells a story about sea horses that made me quite sad and I had to set the book down to really think about where my sea food comes from and the sacrifices to get them to my plate.

4. CHEMICALS. Bet you didn’t know how tastey they were? “In the United States, about 3 million pounds of antibiotics are given to humans each year, but a whopping 17.8 million pounds are fed to livestock—at least that is what the industry claims. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has shown that the industry underreported its antibiotic use by at least 40 percent. The UCS calculated 24.6 million pounds of antibiotics were fed to chickens, pigs, and other farmed animals, only counting nontherapeutic uses. They further calculated that fully 13.5 million pounds of those antimicrobials would currently be illegal within the EU.” “Of course consumers might notice their chickens don’t taste quite right—how good could a drug-stuffed, disease ridden, shit-contaminated animal possibly taste?—but he birds will be injected with “broths” and salty solutions to give the what we have come to think of as the chicken look, smell, and taste. (A recent study by Consumer Reports found that chicken and turkey products, many labeled as natural, “ballooned with 10 to 30 percent of their weight as broth, flavoring, or water.”)”

5. DISEASES. In referring to the H1N1 virus, “Scientists at Columbia and Princeton University have actually been able to trace six of the eight genetic segments of the (currently) most feared virus in the world to US factory farms.”

6. INHUMAN TREATMENT. I will spare you the details because honestly most people don’t want to hear it. I, being quite a stubborn person, wanted to know what I was eating and where it came from. If you care you will read, if you don’t you won’t, but I believe we all know that what goes on is not good. He compares some of the treatment to how we would treat dogs and why they are treated differently. A very valid point especially considering the number of people who actually eat dogs.

7. ENVIRONMENTALISM. I posted a quote from this section in one of my “Think About It Thursdays” so you can check here that out if you would like.

Really a great book that was so compacted with facts and knowledge and things that make you go “hmmm”. I am not saying that reading this will change your mind about eating animals, but it will make you think.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Think About It Thursdays

"Do not forget to entertain stranger, for by doing so people have entertained angels without knowing it." - The Bible, Hebrews 13:2

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Turned out differently...

So last night I was kicking back and catching up on some blogs when I noticed someone had said, “have to go watch Lost now.” I chuckled thinking, oh they got the day wrong, that sucks. Not two minutes later I read another person’s post that they were going to go watch Lost as well. WHAT?! I quickly checked and it said that Tuesday night was a new episode. Crap! It said 8 pm and it was 7:45pm. You see, I am only allowed to watch tv if I am at the gym and well I was 15 minutes away and not quite dressed for the occasion.

I whipped into workout clothes faster than you can say “Bob’s you uncle” and was out the door (abiding the traffic laws of course). I got to the gym and saw that it had just started. Treadmill #1, sound was out, treadmill #2 same, treadmill #3 was just right. I was a little sore and had wanted to take Tuesday off but Lost cannot be rescheduled. As it turns out last week’s episode started at 8pm and the new episode started at 9pm. So two hours later on the treadmill….yep, I stayed for the two hours. But hey, I got to watch Lost.

Today I was suppose to go for a 4-mile run for training for a half marathon, but I really wasn’t feeling it. I iced my knees earlier as they were bothering me and my legs felt a little sore. I wasn’t devoid of energy but I wasn’t exactly pumped either. After much deliberation and a quick consult from my sisters I decided to take the evening off (even if it means missing the hard day of training) and listen to my body.

Instead I decided to sit back and relax. I got a bottle of wine from BevMo, poured myself a glass (I usually never drink alone) and snuggled up to the novel I finally got from the library. Perhaps I will turn in early. Who knows? I guess I am just trying to listen to my body and take a day off. Hope you enjoyed your evening. Cheers!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My running over the years...

I recently was fiddling around on the Nike+ Running website and started comparing the total mileage per year that I had been running and what I found was quite interesting.

I can honestly say that prior to 2007 I don't think I have run a day in my life. In fact, I would go out of my way to avoid running when I went to the gym. Biking, elliptical, even the rowing machine but never running. Well in 2007 my family got my oldest sister a new iPod Nano with the Nike+ chip and all of the other accessories to go with it. Well she had one, then her boyfriend go the chip, then his brother got the chip, then I got the chip with one of my friends, my other sister go the chip, and so did a few other people. Before I knew it we were all competing in Nike+ challenges on the website and loving the trash talk feature. :-)

In 2007 I ran 600 miles and that was with taking two months off. Not bad for my first year. The most miles I did in a month were 110 miles! Wowsers, not bad for just starting to run.
(Me in the Cinque Terre, Italy after I had been running for 3 1/2 months.)

2008, I only did 217 miles (that were recorded). The most I did in a month was 60 miles. What happened? What was I doing in 2008 that I wasn't running? While my average pace had decreased, my life seemed to be consumed with with going places like Hawaii and Vegas. The sad thing is that I know I ran more miles but I didn't always have my iPod as it died and since I wasn't competing in an challenges that year I didn't record them until I got an iPod a few months later. Also, I ran more than is recorded because I went running with my sister when she was training for the San Diego Rock 'N Roll Marathon and she did an amazing job finishing and we were there with signs to cheer her in!

2009, I had hurt my foot pretty badly, possibly plantar fasciitis as it felt like the bottom of my foot was being stabbed every time I walked, so I took time off but did some runs every now and then to test out my "healing". I did 240 miles with one month doing 50 miles. Too bad I didn't record all of my walking in Paris, I am sure I would have gotten another 100 miles easily! Also noted, my pace went down significantly and I had to start all over.
(Me at the San Francisco Giants game. I had gained 13 pounds since the middle of 2008 and can definitely tell.)

Enter 2010. Challenge for the year is to do 50 miles a month. There are 12 seperate challenges so if you screw up one month it won't haunt you until the end of the year. I completed the 50 miles in January in 2 weeks due to recovering from a little sledding "incident" in Tahoe over Christmas. And in February I have done over 40 miles already so yea!

I have to admit it is frustrating coming back into running after being out of it for so long. I still remember the first time I ran 5 miles. I mean ran the entire thing without stopping (on the treadmill). The only reason I did stop was because I was meeting someone and needed to go shower. I remember feeling like I could have kept running forever at that speed. Now, I have to walk/jog, walk/jog, and am so much slower! I feel like I have to start all over as if I had never run a day in my life. How did I let myself get this far removed from running? How long until I really get it back?

Only time will tell when it will fully return. For now I am just keeping it up and pushing myself to become better. I will admit the other week after I had gone for some good runs I came back with that runner's high. That high that you feel so good that you could go out and do it all over again no problem. I admit, it felt really good and I wanted that feeling more. When I was frustrated after a bad studying session which I just felt like the concepts were falling out of my head, I went for a hard run and came back thinking, no big deal, I will go over the material and eventually I will get it. And you know what? I did.

Ok, I have talked you ear off and it is now time for me to get back to studying. But after that I am going for a run. :-)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Review: Diary of an Exercise Addict

Diary of an Exercise AddictDiary of an Exercise Addict by Peach Friedman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Diary of an Exercise Addict Peach Friedman excerpts pages of her diary over a seven year span from being "healthy and normal" to slipping into an eating disorder ultimately leading to an exercise bulimia and her struggle to get out of it and back to "normal". Her total honesty frankness make this book easy to read and understand her struggles. Little parts of her daily routine are chipped away over a year time span until she is full blown anorexic and has developed exercise bulimia. Reading her diary you don't realize how bad the disease is until she is faced with it head on and forced to go to counseling and deal with her emotions that have been numbed by the disease. It is amazing to read how easy it is to fall into the pattern of an exercise and eating disorder and how much more time and energy it takes to get out of it. There are parts of this book that every girl can relate to forcing you to face some of the issues that Peach is confronted with as well. Overall, I liked this book and felt that it was a quick read. It turned out to be a little more of a self-help book for me than I had intended, but we all need to work on things in our life so this was hard but nice. I leave you with an excerpt Peach writes when she is well again and her reflecting on the past.

"When I was sick, when I was underweight, when I had made my world so small, when all that mattered was how little I ate and how far I ran, when I lived in my mom’s little white apartment on Little High Street in Charlottesville, I couldn’t remember life before my disorder. I didn’t know it was a disorder; it was a passion. I stood one day in the bathroom at the top of the stairs in Mom’s tidy apartment and I looked at my narrow, white face in the mirror and I touched my bony cheeks. I had just been flipping through photographs from my life with Christopher on a short hike from the car to the coast in Oregon that summer of our Pacific road trip, in 2000. ... So I stood in front of the mirror that day in Mommy’s apartment, several years ago now, and I touched my cheek and thought, Really? I did that? I really did that? What does it feel like to kiss a man? I couldn’t remember. I couldn’t remember the feeling; …so far removed from a life of pleasure and feeling. I didn’t recognize the girl…[now, driving home years later] I take a second look in the [car] mirror at my full, radiant cheeks, and I touch them…I can’t feel, I can’t bring back, I can’t conjure the sunken white face of the girl who didn’t eat, the girl who ran too far, the girl who wouldn’t stop running until she’d injured joints in every corner of her body and couldn’t walk up the stairs. I don’t relate anymore.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

Meat(less) Sub Sandwich

Well I tried a recipe from Veganomicon for Beanball Sub Sandwiches and here are the pictures. Side note, the lighting in the kitchen is the worst ever so the pictures are the best I could do since no natural light gets in. Grrr...

Cookbook review:
They have a lot of fun, new, and interesting recipes. I do have two criticisms though. 1) Several of their ingredients are what I call "vegan" ingredients and aren't in an everyday household like wheat gluten, arrowroot powder, etc but it is a vegan book and I found suitable substitutes for a few items. 2) Each recipe seems to have three recipes in it. For instance one ingredient will be a recipe of page 189 and another ingredient will be a recipe on p. 166, etc. I like recipes that have few ingredients and when you total up the actual ingredients per recipe it is 30+. Yikes! But...they are different and I do have on hand a lot of what is called for in the recipe so I couldn't get me feathers too ruffled this time.

Yea for trying new genres, cookbooks, and recipes!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Progress Report

So I wanted to give you an update on where I am so far on my goals for February.

1. Study and take the next CPA test.
I signed up and am pretty much on schedule for taking the exam. It is amazing the hours each day I am pulling to get this done, but it is set in motion and I am scheduled to take it on the 23rd.

2. No tv.
Technically I have kept to this. I say technically because despite my roommate efforts to get me to watch tv at home I have stayed strong and go into the other room to study, read, or be productive in some other way. Now technically I have watched tv because it is on at the gym. And yes, twice now I strategically planned to work out while say the State of the Union Address was on as well as the LOST premier. (Yes, 3 hours at the gym when LOST was one. I was tired the next day!) Also, as football is kind of a religion of mine I did watch the Super Bowl. But that is all. Gym tv does not count.

3. Read two books this month.
I finished "The Glass Castle" in January so that didn't count. I am currently reading "Eating Animals" by Jonathon Sarfan Foer and "Diary of An Exercise Addict" by Peach Friedman. I am almost done with both and it is only the 9th. Perhaps this is why my eyes are hurting. With studying all day and then reading more I might need to give them more of a break.

4. Finish the February Nike Challenge.
Despite losing a run, I am already half way finished. Woohoo! I need to finish before the 26th as I will be out of town those days and there is no guarantee that I will get it done. So I am on schedule and my legs sure feel it.

5. No going out to eat.
I have not gone to a restaurant but my roommate did bring back vegetable pizza and I had some. I am not counting it.

6. Make a recipe from Vegetarian Times Magazine.
Well I technically did as the chili recipe in this issue was almost exact to the the chili I made this past weekend. So instead, I have broadened the scope and now I can make it from Vegetarian Times of perhaps two of the books I just picked up from the library. (I already grocery shopped for 2 recipes in the book.) :-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Well it is Monday...

Well it is Monday and I am sitting at my usual coffee shop about to get back to studying. This weekend was good. It feels like a blur to me, but I was able to catch up on some much needed sleep I have been missing lately. My mind has been fried from all of the studying and then the books I have been reading after studying that I feel like I need to re-study the material I attempted to on Saturday. But such is life.

I went running and as of right now I am doing pretty well in the Nike challenge. (I technically only have 3 weeks to do the running in as the last week I will be in Sacramento and Tahoe.) I might have signed up for half-marathon training a little over a week ago and somehow I am sticking to it. I have always wanted to do a half-marathon so why not kind of train for one? I went to the park to do 6 miles on Sunday and I will have to say that it is still have mud trails there. I always find myself laughing when I attempt to jog or even walk through the mud. It makes me feel like a little kid. I must say I only saw two other people attempting the mud, but the park was packed as it was a gorgeous day yesterday. Glad I went.

Ok,ok, now back to studying. Have a great Monday!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Shh...I played hooky

Since I ended up studying all weekend as well as all week I decided to play hooky and take Wednesday off. Well I chose Wednesday because the Exploratorium in San Francisco is free admission the first Wednesday of every month! I still remember being in Florence with my sister and she asked which museum I wanted to see that we had not already to which I replied the Leonardo da Vinci Museum of Mathematics and Science. I know, I am a nerd, but I love math and science so I really wanted to go there and to the Exploratorium. And since I was already going to be in SF I packed a picnic lunch and went and explored the Golden Gate Park too!

I took a lot of pictures so I just put them in a video for you. Enjoy!

My Day Playing Hooky from DebHo on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Think About It Thursdays

I am enacting "Think About It Thursdays". I am constantly reading and always finding cool, for lack of a better all-encompassing term, quotes that I type into the memo pad on my phone. I decided that I will share them with you on Thursdays. The first one is kind of long and comes to you from the book I am currently reading, "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer.

“A University of Chicago study recently found that our food choices contribute at least as much as our transportation choices to global warming. More recent and authoritative studies by the United Nations and the Pew Commission show conclusively that globally, farmed animals contribute more to climate change than transport. According to the UN, the livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, about 40 percent more than the entire transport sector—cars, trucks, planets, trains and ships—combined. Animal agriculture is responsible for 37 percent of anthropogenic methane, which offers 23 times the global warming potential of Carbon dioxide, as well as 65 percent of anthropogenic nitrous oxide, which provides a staggering 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. The most current data even quantifies the role of diet: omnivores contribute seven times the volume of greenhouse gases that vegans do.
“The UN states: “raising animals for food whether on factory or traditional farms is one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global…[Animal agriculture] should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution and loss of biodiversity. Livestock’s contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale.” In other words, if one cares about the environment, and if one accepts the scientific results of such sources as the UN (or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, or the Pew Commission, or the Union of Concerned Scientists, or the Worldwatch Institute…), one must care about eating animals.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day!!!

Phil: "Don't drive angry."

Happy Groundhog Day Woodchuck Chuckers! And don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there! What is this, Miami Beach? (That quote is for my family.)

Groundhog Day is one of the most celebrated holidays in my family and by that I mean it is a race to call each other and be the first to say "Happy Groundhog Day!" I think one year we even sent cards. :)

Anywho, I leave you with this wonderful pictures of the groundhog. As for me, study, study, study. Next test is soon!
THE actual Phil in 2005. Is it just me, or does the mayor look exactly like the mayor in the movie?

"You are going to have 7 more weeks of winter and you are going to like it!"

"What? I have to pack it on to hibernate a little longer."