Archive for the ‘Self Improvement’ Category

Grilled veggie wrap

Tonight’s dinner. Start with whatever veggies you have on hand. In this case, the rest of an onion, a pepper and eggplant (also known as aubergine—I’ve learned to love them) from my garden, and tomatoes from a coworker’s garden since mine aren’t quite ripe yet. You will also need a whole wheat burrito wrap, some hot sauce, and I suggest taco seasoning from Spice Hound.

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Chop them all up and toss them in some olive oil over medium high heat until they brown. I’m still scared of hot oil, but I’m learning to deal with it. Start with the onion, add the eggplant, then the pepper towards the end. This is also good with tofu, zucchini and squash. Some people, not me, might like mushrooms.

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Once browned, sprinkle the taco seasoning. While this is happening, if you have a glass cooktop, place a piece of tin foil over a burner, turn it on really low, and put the burrito wrap on it to warm it up.

Assemble the burrito wrap with the chopped tomatoes and hot sauce. You can also add shredded cheese, but I’m trying to keep the calories down.

Voila!

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Enjoy while watching an episode of Breaking Bad.

The August 5 (and a half) and Mission Peak

The August 5 lbs challenge is officially over. The tally this morning was 5.6 lbs! I didn’t reach my stretch goal of 7, but at least I comfortably made the 5! Woot!

With one virtual sugar bag less than I was carrying around with me a month ago, l’avocat suggested we hike Mission Peak this morning. I was slow, but eventually made it to the top. Three miles of steep up hill, then back down. I’m now safely laying on a towel in the backyard while Perl runs around. Trying desperately not to fall asleep under the tree. If you can’t find me later, please come wake me and gather my dog.

Here are some photos from the way up and the top.

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Halfway through the August 5!

We are halfway through the August 5 pound challenge. As of this morning, I hit the 2.5 pound mark, so I’m right on target. It is going to be a difficult next 16 days, but I believe I can do it if I set my mind to it. And so can you!

How are you all doing?

The August 5: Join Me

My diet has been stuck in a rut for a few months now. I got halfway through and then I plateaued. I haven’t been gaining, but I also haven’t been losing. I know a couple people who are stuck with me, so I’m creating this challenge.

The August 5.

In 31 days, we will each try to lose 5 pounds through exercise and making better choices eating. That is a little more than a pound a week. More fruits and veggies, fewer grains and meat, one less beer than you would normally drink. It is the last month of summer and the weather is beautiful. Let’s do this together.

Are you with me?

It isn’t my fault

For the past six years I’ve been scared. Afraid to speak out. Frightened to admit that I Love My Life.

Six years ago, as I was writing about how amazing my life is, Uncle C shot himself on his front porch. iDad told me the next morning and I flew home that night. It happened on Good Friday. I arrived Easter morning. Uncle C did not rise from the dead like Jesus Christ. I wrote A Luthier’s Poem a week later.

And since that day, I’ve been afraid to admit I’m happy. Afraid that if I say those words, the world will balance itself by taking another life. I know that isn’t how it works, but I’ve felt responsible. Like my happiness meant someone else in the world would have to be miserable to balance the scales.

It wasn’t my fault.

I tell myself that. I imagine myself lying on a green, fuzzy lounge chair and the shrink telling me to repeat the words, “It is not your fault.”

I think to myself, “No, it wasn’t your fault, it was mine. Karma.” Then I say it out loud, “It’s not my fault,” but I don’t mean it. The words are as empty as the twenty-seven calories in each of the pink Peeps I ate today. Since when are Peeps pink? Not that I’m really complaining. I licked the sugar seductively from my fingertips as I walked through the parking lot to catch the shuttle.

I envision you all watching this on your big screen televisions while sipping wine and tweeting. Felicia Day is playing my character, although she’d need to put on some weight for the role. There is ominous music playing in the background. An older gentleman appears as the antagonist.

It wasn’t my fault.

I feel guilt. It has lessened over six years, but it is still there. A little twinge when I smile at the wispy clouds on a beautiful afternoon walk. A facial tick when I laugh at the cat clawing the dog in slow motion. A slight prick as I sit on the couch eating cheese and crackers and sipping a fine wine.

I know I wasn’t my fault, just like a kid knows that it isn’t her fault when her parents divorce. Rationally, she had nothing to do with it, but irrationally it is because she refused to eat her peas one night.

When I was a kid, I would curl up in a ball in the far corner of my bed and cry until my eyes were raw because at age ten, I was not doing enough to save the whales or the starving kids in Africa. Never mind the fact that we were poor and my parents were doing their best to save me. I’ve blamed myself for things that were out of my control for a very long time.

It wasn’t my fault.

I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in an afterlife, but I do have an irrational belief in karma—that there is balance in the world. That what goes around comes around. I’m always trying to preload karma points for the next time I screw up so that I’m always in the black.

I believe in fate. I keep looking for it in my life. It used to be everywhere when I was younger. Coincidences. Happenstance. Fate appeared in relationships. Fate appeared in job interviews. Fate is comforting. I immediately accept it when I see it. And I’ve missed it over the last few years.

But fate had to always battle my belief in free will. I have it, and I’m not afraid to wield it. My free will is my wild side. The side that defies convention.

I believe that everyone has free will, but they can choose whether or not to use the Free Will card. Maybe there are a finite number of them like the Get Out Of Jail Free card in Monopoly.

Uncle C had free will. My loving my life did not create an imbalance in the world and force him to do what he did.

It wasn’t my fault.

It is okay for me to be happy.

I have an amazing life. Family and friends I love. A roof over my head. Pets who at least pretend to like me. Incredible food to eat and wine to drink. I may not be “lucky in love”, but we all know that is of my own doing. It is hard for someone to break into this.

And my saying this does not mean a family member will die tonight.

It isn’t my fault.

Vegucated

Now that I’ve been a vegetarian for over a year (with a few slip ups like Crabtacular, and Italy), I’m pretty comfortable with being able to find good food choices and cook for myself. The time has come to take the next step and become a vegan.

I watched Vegucated on Netflix tonight. It follows three people as they try eating vegan for six weeks. Interesting documentary. I recommend you watch it. We’ve all become so detached from where our food comes from. If anything, it might convince you to buy your meat from smaller, local farms. Or maybe just reduce your intake of meat.

For me, lunch will be easy if I eat at the caffe since I already usually go to the vegan station anyways. Cheese will be the hard part. I love cheese. But I don’t love that we make cows give birth and then take away their calves so we can use the milk. And cows produce a lot of methane which contributes to global warming. And farmland is used to grow grains for the cows instead of people. And I don’t like eating eggs anyways.

It won’t be an overnight change. I still have a few eggs, some milk, and cheese in my fridge. But when those are gone, I’ll be making dairy-free substitutions.

Suum cuique.

Valentine’s Day

For the last few weeks, I’ve been taking the SNAP Training classes through the Sunnyvale Public Safety department. The classes teach us how to set up an incident command center, do light search and rescue, perform triage and basic medical, and put out small fires. Tonight, I spent the evening with the awesome firemen at Station 2 learning how to use a fire extinguisher and when to decide to run away. It turns out, I’m good at running away from things.

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