Monday, November 1, 2010

How much Rice is in your Sushi Roll?

I've read that if you carry small bills in your wallet you willspend
more money. If you carry larger bills you are more conscious of
spending. The same applies to food and dieting.

Grains bloat me and I didn't have access to to Sushi, just Maki
rolls. Trying to avoid grains I methodically peeled the rice layer
off off the spicy tuna roll.

The result?- 12 pieces of maki yielded a staggering 2 CUPS of rice!
The rice pile was also larger than the other stuff. If I ate rice I
would eat 3/4-1 cup, realistically. Roll it around tiny maki and
there's the risk of eating double!

My next experiment...applying this theory to wine. Large pours only!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hatching Evil Pumpkin Carving Plans


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Primal Salted Carmel Apple Crisp

I had to post something to distract you all from my horrible Oly lifting form in the vids from my last postings.  Ooo and this is a fun one.  Food folks!  My PC is dead so I am hitting the internet and email with my iPhone and an old, old, boat anchor laptop.  No iTunes or camera connectivity.  I posted a pic just before this post directly from my iPhone.

Good gravy the circumstances of my life are a cluster right now.  But I'm optimistic. It's just circumstances.
My house is back on the market as a result of the potential buyer's backing out.  My life has just changed trajectory - again. There's a huge water main break -- but turns out it's on the City's side of things!  Woohoo!  Now I won't have to spend $10K, I don't have, to fix it!  To celebrate a break in the "fog" and turn of events of my life into the black, I was inspired to create!  My paints and fabrics being stowed away for the move, I had food as my palette and canvas.  I made paleo banana muffins with shredded carrots and pecans (wow, pecans are the dessert of the nut world).  Inspired by their smell, I chopped up my last Gala apple and made a heavenly concoction; apple crisp with salted caramel cream topping.  I must admit, the stricter paleo you are, the less of a sweet tooth you have.  I don't even care for chocolate much anymore.  I haven't been the strictest Paleo girl - but I've held it, reasonably, together considering my circumstances.  Being a part of this blogosphere helps me focus - especially the gang at  I will go out with a bang and gain some ground.  I'm just overjoyed to have created.  Such a small, small thing and not even ingenius.  Just an idea. But it felt good to have that control again.  I need to dig out the paints, palette and brushes.  Sigh.

I kicked the day off with a planned crock pot lemon chicken for dinner.  Prepped it and let is sit all day stinking up my house with aroma of a solid autumn supper.  I added some roasted sweet potatoes at supper time to add more to the chicken.  Plus I love roasted sweet potato fries.

Here's the apple crisp with caramel cream toppping I whipped up on the fly.  This is my first go so it could use some tweaks.  If you try it, let me know what to add more/less of. 

1 Gala apple - sliced in thin strips/wafers

Crumble topping
1 tsp melted coconut oil
1/3 cup Almond Meal/Flour (is there such a thing as pecan flour?  I'd try that in a heartbeat)
1/2 tsp apply pie spice (use cinnamon to sub)
3 chopped dates

Chop above ingredients in food processor or mini chopper

Melt coconut oil in ramekin in microwave and then mix in a bowl with other ingredients, except apples

Place apples in ramekin you just melted the coconut oil in
Add crumble topping
Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until apples are fragrant

Salted Carmel topping

1/2 cup of coconut cream
1 hot date (microwave 30 seconds) (skip if you like less sweet)
dash of vanilla
1/8 tsp or less - melted bacon fat
Mix in food processor or whip by hand (the texture of cream thinned out in processor - I put in freezer)

Primal Apple Crisp w Salted Caramel Topping

Thursday, July 15, 2010

120 lb-Beck Cleanand jerk

Beck Snatch 43kg 3.MOV

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Snatching

I participated in a Summer Olympic Weightlifting Meet at my gym, Windy City Crossfit.  I did ok. Geez, looking at these photos, I need to work on form.  

Although in defense of imperfect form, I was in front of a big crown all by myself on that platform.  All eyes on me and one shot to get the work done.  It's a little nerve racking.  One attempt.  

Snatching is a very technical lift where if you screw up at the beginning of the lift it affects the success of other parts of the lift.  So many steps.  I really love Olympic lifting and that one has to be continuously conscious of form.  Sure any knuckledragger can come in and rip the bar off the floor.  But to do it with grace and correct form is a different story. When done correctly the Snatch, specifically, is a very graceful movement.  

Moving onward and upward.  I hope to post photos of my failed attempts to clean and jerks my body weight (stuck in the hole at the bottom of the catch).  I tried to bounce out of it but couldn't. Just too heavy.   Sad thing is that I know if I would have gotten out of the hole, I know I can jerk it.  My problem is opposite for most chicks.   I've got a long femur; my hip flexors are muscular from trying to move that long bone.  But my quads need some help.

I'm going to work heavy front squats for the next six weeks to see how my strength improves.   I started the day after the meet.  It even felt heavy.

My goal for this year is to snatch and clean and jerk my bodyweight (about 125lbs).  I'm closing in on that with the Clean and Jerk and think I can get the Snatch there before year-end.    My next goal is to have a qualifying total for National competition.  That could be another year away. 

Here are some snatch photos taken by my friend Cheston Bogue. He had a fancy camera.    

Sunday, May 9, 2010

There's a Star Upon Thars...

New context, new rules.  I have these cut off sweat pants that I work out in.  I appliqued a chinoiserie star onto the booty of the shorts!  They elicit some commentary, always positive. But I can't help but wonder if people, namely women, are thinking "What kind of woman appliques a star on the middle of her workout shorts!"  This kind, I suppose.  

I changed gyms in October;  Women's Workout World (all women) to Windy City CrossFit (coed).  I auditioned to be a Turbo Kick Instructor at W3 and made the shorts so people can follow me on stage. Plain and simple. You may remember the story of my first audition here.    You may notice the difference in body composition since one year ago.  I was about 13 lbs heavier back then and worked out way more. It's intensity folks and a quality diet.  Not cal in/cal out.  You Facebook friends know I eat like a truck driver.  I was not born with a fast metabolism at all.   You all need to know the truth, but I'll save it for another post.

Looking back I am so glad I didn't get the job!  I've joined CrossFit which incorporates "high intensity training". Had I been tied to an instructor job, I doubt I would have made the switch.  Heck, I was intimidated enough to go to CrossFit.  But the heavily tatooted young thing that did my ramp up was super nice and non-judgemental.  Don't be scared.  It's exercise for the time-conscious person.  It uses anaerobic and aerobic energy pathways.  I workout for 1 hour 3 times a week and have gotten better results than working out non stop for 1.5 hours 5 days a week.   Believe it.  Just come talk to me.  Talk to the people who went to W3 with me and are now at CrossFit (Ok, only Carmen but she is a rockstar! strong crazy woman!). 

In the meantime, if you want you want to judge me for wearing a star my booty, go ahead I can't stop you.  You're probably just jealous.  If that's the case, just fess up.  I have plenty or star cutouts for your old shorts.  Just ask.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Naturally Clean

I make my own allergy-free, dye-free, crazy-words-I-can't-pronouce-free clothing detergent.  It's pretty cheap and easy to make.  It is a great deodorizer for sports clothes and awesome at getting out stains in clothing, but remember to use a scrub brush.   I even got out the dirty salt stains on ski coats.  If you live in a cold climate, you know that gray dinge jackets accumulate regardless of how often you wash it.  Yep, scrub brush and my natural detergent.  You can find everything at a grocery store in the laundry aisle.

4 c. Borax powder
4 c. Washing Soda
2 bars of grated Fels Naptha soap or Zote soap (find in Mexican grocery stores)

Mix all ingredients together. I put it all in a food processor and process it until it is fine.  2 TBL per load is all you need and it's safe for high efficiency units also.

Spring Happenings

Me and the girls have been quite busy launching Spring in Chicagoland.   We've had some extremely warm days and enjoyed them thoroughly with picnics, outings and late nights.   One standout happened recently when the girls and I particpated in the Linus Project.    The girls painted quilt blocks with fabric markers and I stitched it all together to create a quilt.  The quilts from Project Linus are donated to kids in the hospital so they have something special.  Created by kids, for kids.  I love the concept.  The girls had a blast and loved that I put  my sewing skills to good use.  I do love sewing but loathe being trapped indoors to do it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Jackie Daniels, MVP

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sprint Club

Well Gang, after reading about all the benefits of intermittent sprinting and doing a bit on my own, I've decided to start a "chicago area sprint club".  I mentioned this to my massage therapist, Catt, over at Dr. Steve Bourdage's Chiropractic Office (he's a fellow CrossFitter and awesome chiro.  Oh and a fabulous guy). She was interested in creating a Meetup Group.  Today was our first meeting.  I get to handle the workout.

Sadly, no one showed up.  Even Catt didn't sprint today as she was waiting in a different location in the park. Deep sigh.  I did the entire exercise alone.  It was good practice.   

An important part of any workout: intermittent, extended, intense - whatever - is the warm up.  One has to get those muscles warmed up for the work they are about to perform.  I also wanted to incorporate some Central Nervous System Priming (CNS priming).  Essentially doing movements that put our brains on notice that they need to put out soon and in a big way.  CNS priming is still the wild, wild west of fitness.  But I think there is a lot to be said about it, regardless of what is known.  It's not dangerous to prime the CNS so I decided to try it and log what I find.

Back to Sprint Club - we've had some gorgeously warm weather here in Chicago - upper 60s.  That is, until yesterday, when we received a solid inch of beautiful snow!  Yes, snow.  The crocuses were coming up nicely but now they are frosted.   It was about 40 degrees this afternoon and I'll bet many people didn't show due to the weather.   I love snow and don't mind the cold, if I dress for it.  So Sprint Club continued.  I'm hardy.  Here's the joy that you missed:

I did a light jog, followed by 3 rounds of:
10 thigh high step ups (each leg)
10 push ups on same step
10 sec duck walk with a log (*CNS prime)
10 jumps with log (*CNS prime)

I found the logs at a park district with lots of woods.  This city girl carefully scaped off the slugs, spiders and rolly polly bugs.  You're welcome. Then for good measure, I covered the logs in old towels with duct tape.  No bugs allowed to escape into someone's hair.  Not on my watch.  

A few log jump squats for good measure and I was ready to sprint!  I cranked out the first one at lightening speed. The ground was pretty squishy from the melted snow, but speed was not my concern.  Maximum power output was the objective.  Go strong!  I found a nice path where I'd get muddy but not wet.   I walked back and waited until complete rest. This was the hard part.  I wanted to go- go - go.  I timed the rest for good measure.  Then went again.  This was easy. My lungs did not burn. But I felt my legs were moving faster than I could handle.  Almost out of control.  Great!

Resting between sprint 2 and 3 I realized - no one showed up - not even the technical organizer.  I consulted the Meetup listing via iPhone during a rest period.  I was supposed to meet the other organizer on the corner.  Woops, I was between the playgrounds.  So I sprinted over there, using the concrete path.  Wow, it was like I was a cheetah leaving a streak of fire in my wake.  10 seconds on fire!  A passeryby smiled.  No one on the corner.  I walked and sprinted back to my workout area and finished up. 

Overall, it was a GREAT day to sprint.  The soft earth made for an excellent training ground. I wasn't concerned about what others thought. I even felt a little uppity when seeing other joggers passby. I wanted to convince them to sprint with me!  But I had to keep my head to the wind, so to speak.  

There you have it folks, the humble beginnings of my sprint club on a sunny but cold Spring day in Chicago. More in two weeks!  Special thanks to all of you who RSVPd or left inspiring Facebook messages. I will see you next time!  But, so you know, it will be different.  Come with coffee to occupy you during the breaks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blog Roll -PaNu is a blog written by Dr. Kurt Harris. One focus of the blog is epigenetics:  how outside factors effect gene expression (food, exercise, pollution, etc).  And specifically how one's diet effects gene expression hence overall health. 

A simple example of epigenetics is during pregnancy, obstetricians mandate that preggo moms take at least 1200mg of Folic Acid daily to prevent spinal bifida.  Folic Acid being the agent affecting the genetic expression of the gene that makes one's spinal cord come out straight as opposed to crooked.  

PaNu is one of the paleo nutrition blogs that I read and enjoy.  It can be science-y. Dr. Harris is a pracitcing medical doc with a personal interest in this stuff.    His lastest blog post is a great one.  He really outdid himself with the metaphor.  Anytime a scientists comes up with such an effective metaphor for a complex biological system, he must be given high praise.  So snaps to him.  Check it out here.   

One thing is sure:  our bodies, metabolism, gene expression, etc are NOT linear.  They do not things in a specific order everytime.  It's not a chaotic system.  I don't know how it is organized really, but the more I read and learn, the more that comes to light for me regarding food:  Fake food is not nutrition.  And after eating whole foods (even non organic ones, etc) I feel so much better.  And look better too.  More on that later.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Beck 1, Quasi broken washer via clogged P-trap - 1

My clothes washer was not completely spinning the water out of the clothing.  I'd set it back to spin and the clothes would get spun out ok.  I kept an eye on it and this was a recurrent problem.  I also noticed that the old cement utility sink that the washer drains into, emptied slow.  I tested it.  Yes, extremely slow.  But eventual.  My diagnosis was that the washer wasn't the problem. The water was backing up into the washer's drain house not allowing the water to fully drain from the washer.  

I started with the drains.  Cleared out some lint.  Ran boiling hot water down the drains to clear out any detergent residue.  Poured in liquid Drano and let it sit for an hour.  Rinsed.  Nada.  Clogged up.  Time to go in boys. 

Brandishing one big red, monkey wrench, I put all my CrossFit physique had to loosen those bushings.  But I got it. Oy, now I know why plumbers are big; they've gotta be strong to get everything loosened up.  Sure enough, big ol' clog in the P-trap.  Yeah, it was lint and everything else.  Ew.  Gratifyingly unclogged it.  But now the bushings don't want to work.  Cross threading commences. Patient unwrenching, wrenching, crossthreading.  It wasn't working. I swear I couldn't NOT crossthread it.  I had to replace the whole P-trap.  Grrr. 

It's 10pm and the kids are in bed.  I can't leave them in the house alone. So I'm stuck with an open drain.  It's just wrong to leave it like that.  It demands a run to home depot. I'm goal oriented!  Luckily my stash of stuff from rehabbing this place 10 years ago revealed a part that would fit with reused parts from the old P-trap (this is the old plumbing portion of the house after all.  It's not Jerry-rigged nor McGyver'd mind you.  It's just creatively solved).  I got it to a point where it didn't leak.  Or so I thought.  

I was feeling victorious after suffering thru manual labor, gross extractions, copious kid interruptions and a parts-related mini-panic.  Feeling brave, the next step was to do a load of wash!  Smart girl that I am, I ran a small load.  I put a bucket under the new P-trap.  Listening for the deluge, I ran downstairs to find that the new P-trap was indeed leaking.  Fortunately into the bucket.  Irony is that I could dump the water from the bucket that caught the drain leakage, into the sink from where it just came - without any leaks.  The P-trap can handle water from the tap, but the deluge from the washer was too much (this is an extra small load too).  

So I call it a night, only to find that the cold water on the faucet is now leaking.  Grr.  Nice brass bushings, coated in years of tarnish come off,  I apply some teflon tape, reattach and viola! Fixed for now. 

Tomorrow is another day.  One where I find a handyman or plumber to solve this problem, correctly. 

In the meantime, I have an awesome battery operated crescent wrench that loosens and tightens with a the push of a button.  Unfortunately I couldn't use it in this application.  But I'll be fixing up the girls' bikes in no time.  Good tools are fun (except the human variety).

I'm calling it a night.  11pm.  The girls are still up.  I'll be seeing Midnight tonight after all is said and done.  Hopefully soon after it will be with my eyes shut.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Skiing in Gaylord, MI

Scroll down my blog to read about Anstee girls' ski bonanza.

I disabled my Facebook account to reclaim time. It's working. But I
miss the ease in posting photos- blog light!

Ais getting towed

By Ranger Bob. So cute

Indi at ski school

First time downhill in group lesson. Lasted entire lesson (2 hrs).
Hilarious watching her tiny self try to grab hold of the tow rope. But
she got it. Her teacher, Shannon, worked so hard teaching Indi. More
skiing later. Hooray for centrally located bunny hills so both girls
were in close proximity.

Ais skis for the first time

I forked out tall cash for 3.5 y.o Ais. Her instructor "Bob" had big,
clear blue eyes and a mustache. I knew she was in good hands. Too
bad she lasted only 15 minutes. Go Ais a base!!

Ski bunnies to Arctic Mermaids

Indi and Ais loving the entrance to the outdoor pool. All kids, as of
right now are swimming outside. Cool Crazies!

Winter swimming

After a new, raucaus morning of alpine ski lessons , indi unwinds in
classic fashion. In the pool and hot tub! The heated pool has a door
that goes outside. Indi and Ais thought this was awesome! Me too!
They didn't think much of the spooky, foggy steamroom, but I loved
getting my sweat on while merely sitting and inhaling deeply.

Background: I bought a weekend, inclusive package off of someone on
Craigslist. $600 package for two hundy. This resort is extremely
family friendly. No drunken singles or college kids. A safe place. The
girls were so disappointed that we couldn't go to our fav spot in
warm, sunny AZ. Too broke. But creative alternatives are working
great! They love it here and enjoyed the 6 hr drive (and leaving
school early on a Friday). Simple living

Anstee Girls' Super Awesome Roadtrip

Me and the girls are headed to northern Michigan for some ski and
swim. 6 hour drive and we made it. The girls were fabulous!

Hotel at Treetops resort has a heated indoor pool that goes outdoors.
It on the list right after ski school! Stay tuned

Friday, February 12, 2010

Primal Banana Muffins

Not the best looking broad in the joint but like all quality ... It's
what's on the inside that counts. And they are delicious.

Dates. Bananas, coconut oil, coconut flour, eggs, carrots, b soda,
cider vinegar, walnuts

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Eat More Dietary Fat

Recently I posted a question as a my Facebook status:  "Why is dietary fat weightlifting gold?"

I posted this after I had a pot roast supper with mashed cauliflower followed by an awesome evening of lifting at my Olympic Weightlifting class.   I felt great.  I could lift heavier weight, faster, better form, etc.   I

've been a strict Paleo eater for the last month and have noted some great improvements: muscle recovery (reduced soreness), strength and physique.  I have had some energy fluctuations and wondered how the heck to resolve them.  Of course I thought:  "eat fruit"  the fructose jolt to my metabolism will boost me up, burn up and then let me down hard - but anything for a "healthy" turbo boost.  Not as bad as caffeine or white table sugar... but the net effect is similar, I think.  This is of course a short cut.  I'd like a long sustained unfluctuated energy flow.  I think I'd have to be caught up on my sleep (child rearing has put me in arrears for years now).  I'd also have minimal stressors in my life.  La ti da, dream on.  Until then, I do what I can with what I am able to do. 

The role of fat in diet.  I've recently learned at the Level 1 CrossFit Cert that dietary fat act like an insulin-production buffer.  The insulin response is slow.  This is a good thing when trying to maintain even energy levels during the day.  I'm still researching and hoping to comprehend the key to even energy issues (it's not just insulin management althoug h that's an important part).  I truly believe that the female menses cycle plays a role in energy balance as well.  Something the guys don't worry about.  This makes me sensitive to what men have to say on dietary effects on hormones specifically about women. Sure they can read studies and I apprecite it.  But part of me thinks they have to experience it to truly resolve it.  They are credible, but a woman's perspective is much more appreciated by me - just saying.  Regardless, I came across this on The Paleo Diet website created by Dr. Loren Cordain - a paleo expert. 

Dr. Cordain,
I have a client who is lacking energy after having switched to the Paleo Diet. I have experienced this with clients in the first few weeks before but she has been on the diet for a little over a month and this has only just surfaced. Do you have any thoughts?
Mark J. Smith, Ph.D.

Hi Dr. Smith,
Thank you for your question. This is a temporary occurrence for some people when they transition to the Paleo Diet. I believe the low energy stems from the combination of 2 factors:
1) A lifetime of metabolizing glucose and stored muscle glycogen. When you get your only carbs from fruits and veggies, the carbohydrate content of the diet is severely reduced, and thus may initially lead to low blood sugar and lethargy.
2) The inability of peripheral tissues (i.e. muscle) to effectively use beta oxidation of intramuscular triglyceride as a substrate because flux through these pathways has been neglected for a lifetime. Once dietary CHO is reduced, then muscle must rely upon lipolysis from adipocytes as the major energy source, along with esterification of these free fatty acids at the muscle/blood interface in order to increase the intramuscular triglyceride pool.

This process takes about 1-2 months to occur in typical muscle glycogen compensated Westerners, and longer for women than men. Increasing the fat content of the diet and increasing fruit intake during the transitional phase will probably help with these energy issues.
I welcome opinions and comments.   
Paleo Challenge update:  Being strict Paleo for the month of January - here are the stats.  I continue to be Paleo with some cheats making me more of a primal eater.  Still, lots more veggies and "real food".  
  • 3% body fat reduction to 16% total
  • Body Weight reduction total of 4.5lbs -2 gained pounds of muscle, total 126lbs
  • 0 strict pulls ups to 2.75 pullups
  • 0 chin ups to 3.5 chins
  • Snatch weight from 72lbs to 80lbs and gaining momentum
I workout about 3-4 times per week.  I attend Oly class 2x per week and Crossfit 2x a week.  If I can't get into a CrossFit WOD, I'll do another Oly class (it fits in to my schedule). I'm getting stronger and working towards completing my first muscle up.  I've taken smaller steps toward achieving this goal: improving dead hang pull ups, improving pull up using a false grip, kipping on rings with a false grip (the false grip is like a grip flat tire.  It enables one to make a transition into the dip portion of a muscle up, but does no favors for the dead hand pull up required to get to "dip position").  After every workout I do a few rounds of chins and pull ups. If I'm toasted from lifting, then I use a the thinnest band to assist me and crank out as many as possible (usually 3).  My rule is, if I complete one (no matter how slow or difficult) I must attempt the next one.  This has served me well, as I get farther than I think when I feel I couldn't. 

What are your physical fitness goals! Speak out! I want to hear it!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kid Fakeout - Super smoothy

Paleo fakeouts for Kids

I have 2 lovely daughters; Aislin (3.5) and Indigo (6.5). The older
heavily influences the younger. Indigo only eats things that are
beige. This is my observtion. There aren't many nutricious "beige"
foods out there. As a Mom, and hosehold nutritional ninja, I struggle
to find ways to get Indi to eat balanced. Why? Because I see the
effects of the rise and fall of her insulin response. It looks pretty
grumpy and sounds worse. Poor thing, it can't feel much better
either. Indi's poor nutrition choices and preferences effect
Aislin's response too. Ais eats pretty much anything and loves
broccoli and edamame and fruit. But, like her mother and sister-the
call of a Dinkel's cupcake is kryptonite. I'm all for it occasionally-
it's fun!

Solution: super smoothies
This recipe has gotten a favorable response from both kids.

1 snack size, full fat yogurt any kind
4 coarsely chopped strawberries
Big handful of fresh spinach
1 large egg (outside washed)

Add all items into a blender and serve

I especially love my blending wand for all smoothies

Yes, raw eggs. Hum the "Rocky" theme. I think raw eggs are just fine.
Just remember to wash them. It's sterile on the inside - germs come
from the outside shell. Let me know if you like it, I have more
recipes involving pumpkin.


Sent from my iPhone

Monday, February 1, 2010

In the lot at Costco

I thought my kid-hauler got messy. Looks like someone lives in their
car. I'm thankful for my little mess

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another Adventure - time warp technologies

Last March my family accepted getting bumped from our flight home from
vacation in lieu of flight vouchers. 4 vouchers. I've used them with
abandon and gusto: Seattle motorcycle trip, New Orleans and now Denver.

The Fri night flight from O'Hare was packed. I was alone (no kids) so
it was fine. I had a mini private Idaho in my claustrohobic window
seat. I brought along that gorgeous charmer, Dr. Who, for emergencies

They confiscated my shampoo and conditioner but allowed (or missed)
the 2 exacto knives in my art box.

I rented a car. They no longer use keys. Just a button. My intuition
and mechanical ability was lit because i started the darn car in less
than 1 minute. Other folks around me were frantic, switching vehicles
only to find the same keyless issue i helped out with a smile only
because I knew my ability to figure it out was quick and lucky. Upon
leaving the rental island I asked how to lock the car. The attendant
was very kind and help search for a remote-like, yet keyless device
that must be in the vehicle in order to start it. Pleased to have
everything in order I headed on my way. 1 mile away I noticed the gas
tank was solidly at 3/4 full. Cynically, there's a price for all
convenience. But I did not feel like a victim. Me and iPhone GPS found
our way to our Oasis: Beki hemingways brothers house

Josh is a complete stranger i have never met nor laud eyes on not a
photo, no facebook friending -nada Sight unseen. He called before I
left O'hare and I relayed my no shampoo issue and I asked if I could
use his guy shampoo.

When me, iPhone GPS and keyless car made it to Josh's pad there was
parking! He had the cleanest, tidiest bachelor pad I've ever seen.
Yet no gay vibe. On my nightstnd were brand new toiletries he said he
picked up at Target cheap!!! Even special face soap. Beki trained him
well! Thanks Josh!

I'm off to CrossFit Certification class. More from the road later

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gorgeous Find

Ever wish you were ahead of the status quo? I often do. Or perhaps better explained: I wish I weren't so far behind. I don't fret about it often. I pretty much march to the beat of my own drum (also the title of the JC Brooks and Uptown Sounds album - which is completely fabulous! Get it!). I had an encounter in a junk shop that put me on cloud Nine. After one of my group art meetings in Andersonville I had a chance to go to one of my favorite shops: UrbanNest. The staff there is so friendly and their home decor offerings are stellar. They are quite pricey but you can always find something good on clearance. I kid you not. I've been craving more organic finishes in my home. I remember them having Birch lampshades in Oct on clearance. I loved them but couldn't buy them at the time as I was busy painting at the Art Weekend. Nothing like having a huge lamp shade next to your easel on the street (nerd!).

They had a few left and I walked outta there paying $10 for a new birch veneered lampshade! Woot! I also like that they display the work of local artists on their walls - which are for sale. Walking back to the car, I popped into a resale/antique shop a few doors north. It used to be way overpriced when I visited years ago when I lived in Andersonville 10 years ago. But they are much more affordable now. As soon as I walked in, there was a box on the floor stuffed with old brass clock innards. Their shapes were so cool. A mere $10 each! All brass! I dug out a few and arranged them on a chair next to the box so I could arrange a lovely installation in my home. As I did this each person who walked into the store, marveled at these and how I had arranged them. They picked them up and tinkered with them. "What is this" they asked. Each piece was covered in some kind of animal hair but the potential was still there. Each piece had a bunch of gears and cogs. Some seen, some not. I was giddy. If you started one in motion, another one would start. But you couldn't quite see how it all worked together. I stood there and played and explored for a good 10 minutes. Being all bundled up I started to get overheated and tried to haggle for a deal. "Can I have 4 for $30?" "Sorry, we just got those." Lost, but, hey, I tried. After I paid, the clerk said to his manager "I never realized how beautiful those were". For a moment I felt like I was ahead of the pack. I was even trying to do that. I was being myself - indulging my natural curiosity and appreciating something otherwise overlooked as junk. The experience also made me a feel a little artsy fartsy, which I really am not. Like I said, I just fly by the seat of my pants. If any of you know anything about clocks, shoot me an email. I have no idea what that circular metal banding does. Wishing you a find of your own soon!

Group Art Installation

I have had the good fortune to be invited to participate in a Group Art Team. We are a group of artists that attend First EV Free Church in Chicago. We have various backgrounds (painting, graphic design, photography, acting, lit). This is the cool part: our goal is to create art installations that are a visual representation of the sermons series' during Sunday service. We understand that not everyone who attends our Sunday services are 1) Christians 2) nor is everyone great at sitting and listening. I can certainly relate to that. I do like to sit and listen, but to have a relevant art installation on stage is a fab idea.

I have helped brainstorm about installation ideas. I'm a do-er and goal oriented and really appreciate the group of great artists collected for this year. We unveil our first installation in next week. It's big and interesting. It's abstract (which I love) and I hope all of you get a chance to check it out. It will change from week to week but continue the same theme - at least until Easter.

First Evangelical Free Church on Ashland and Berwyn

Paleo Challenge and Busy Winter Months

It's the story of my life -- I'm busy. Geez. I love the ease and convenience of Facebook. People seem more interested in commenting there as well rather than on my blog. I love comments. I realize tho that reading blogs takes discipline and dedication. Facebook, esp since it's a mobile application, is such a clever and easy tool. The past few months for me, like many of you, have been full of the quake and throttle of the holidays.

Phew, I'm glad they are over. We were fortunate to get some snow here in the Chicago area which has been wonderful. It's been quite cold though (single digits yo!). Not great weather for sending out the kids to play in. I've done my best to get out into the fluffy white stuff. I love it. I also like extremely cold temperatures - so long as I'm dressed for it. It's difficult to drive in mittens, especially the big, faux leopard fur "Bear Hands" I indulged myself with. I've tried Isotoner gloves and they are pretty useless. Once your hands get cold, it's difficult to get them warm. This is so true with plein air painting too. It's best to keep your hands warm. Do not allow them to get cold. Even if they are sweating, let them sweat. So long as they stay warm. Because one brief contact with extremely cold air and all their heat escapes faster than greenwashers steal your money. Here's the breakdown: Dec: participated in my very first Olympic Weightlifting competition. It's been month since then, and I have to admit that I am surprised at how much I lifted that day. I must have had a surge of adrenaline. I'm still lifting near that weight. A tad more, but not much. Lifts were Snatch and Clean and Jerk. Both awesome for fitness. Your abs get shredded. A whole body workout. I love efficiency. Especially when it applies to exercise. I was fortunate to enjoy the wonder of my children's Christmas pagaents at school. Aislin (3) was a chick in cute little Christmas story. Myself and 2 other moms busted our tails creating the cutest little animal headbands ever. Everyone had plastic gems for eyes so they would sparkle from the stage. All the girl animals were given long, violet eye lashes. Adorable!

Indigo (6) was a spectacular kid, waving from the stage during her evening performance. She held up a gold star and did a dance with other kids in the aisles of the school's, church sanctuary. Very impressive. Sang loud and proud. We baked, shopped, watched every Dog and Christmas themed movie Redbox had to offer. It was kid time. I laid low, painted, shopped and did a small amount of decorating and staying up late obsessing over Doctor Who. Love it! (I own all of Season 4 if anyone wants) My sister, Sally, her husband Bruce, and their 4 little kids spent Christmas here in Chicago, from Western Nebraska. All the cousins got to hangout and be rowdy. Good times, lots of treats and even some sledding. My girls miss them already. 2010 is upon us. I've created a few goals for myself: 1) 30 days of strict Primal eating. From previous posts, you know that I have slowly altered by diet to be more in line with Paleolithic eating (no refined sugars, or grains. Heathy fats, nuts, lean meats and fruits and veges - organic if you can get it). I cut the grains out in October, but I'm so surprised at how much sugar there is in lunchmeat, bacon, sausage. Sheesh, in everything. It's crazy. So I have broken down and gotten grass fed meats. Sausage from an actual butcher (Gene's in Lincoln Sq rocks). I've also bought organic produce when I can. It is so expensive. I've offset it by eating less. So if I lose a few pounds doing this it's not intentional. I'm just broke ya'll. The only thing I really miss are: my 1/2 cup of dairy in my AM latte and 2) wine. Sigh. It's nice to unwind with a glass or two of red. But all is not lost. It's only one month. I can add those things back after that. I'm just trying to create a baseline to see how this diet affects my exercise (Crossfit) and my energy levels (I used to burn out by 3pm, went Paleo and that moved to about 7pm - on strict paleo it's about the same). I've committed to getting to Olympic lifting class twice a week and then twice a week to Crossfit Workouts of the Day (all take place at WCCF). Problem is that I have to stack some of the workouts close to each other. It's brutal to do two in a day. But I did it before. It just isn't convenient. I am working hard and am NOT as sore as have been in the past. I attribute that to the primal diet. It's a nice perk. I get sore just not debilitatingly so. Especially when we do any gymnastics type of exercise (ring dips, muscle ups, dead hang pull ups). Those just make my armpits sore for weeks. So there are the highlights folks. Sorry to have been gone for so long.

I plan to post some before and after pics of the Paleo challenge. The goal is to see the difference physically rather than on the scale. And most importantly, Feel great!