Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Stuff News

I have been an avid Fuel Belt fan since I first learned about them while training for my very first marathon back in 2003.  Every runner has their preference and mine is to not carry anything in my hands, so a belt that let me carry water and/or a hydration drink was the perfect answer.

A couple weeks ago, when we finally had nice enough weather that I didn't need a jacket (therefore had no pockets to stash water in), I grabbed my Fuel Belt and realized it was worn out and I'd need a new one before full on summer set in. Of course, I went to their site and... they've discontinued making the belt I like.  Sigh.

This sent me to Amazon where I searched because I knew a bunch of different styles and brands would come up. I actually found the same belt I have now and put it in my cart as I continued to look. Then, I found a different one at 1/2 the price of the Fuel Belt.  I figured what the heck, I'll order and if I hate it, return and get the Fuel Belt.

I had a chance to use it over the weekend. Made by Adalid, it only has 2 bottles but they are 10 oz. bottles and the pocket on the front is large enough for my phone, plus keys or whatever. It has a clip closure that is adjustable for waists from 27" to 40" (instead of velcro like Fuel Belt). It also came with toggles to attach a race bib to - removable when you're not using them. My verdict is that I love it.  In fact, I like it better than Fuel Belt.

Of course, last Monday morning I ran in shorts and a tee with my old belt and this past Monday, I had to drag my jacket back out as it was only 40 degrees.  Spring in New England. By the way, Adalid has not compensated me in any way, I just really like this product and wanted to share.


Last Saturday, I did something I haven't done in forever:  no laundry, no housekeeping, no grocery shopping, no chores.  Instead I went with my friend to a large mall that's about an hour from my house to shop and have lunch.  She was looking for a dress for her niece's upcoming wedding and I was just going along to have a fun day.  And we did!  Though I didn't go with plans to buy anything, I ended up buying a couple cute tops for the summer and my upcoming vacation:

(Not me, but this is one of the shirts)

We ate lunch at Cheesecake Factory where I had a lunch-sized portion of their Cobb salad.  I love the way they chop their Cobb salad up and since there is no Cheesecake Factory nearby me, this is a real treat.  We both bought a piece of cheesecake to take home - mine was white chocolate raspberry truffle - and that ended up being my dinner. Yummy.

After lunch we decided to go look at the non-clothing areas of the store to walk off our lunch.  As we were headed to the bargain/outlet section I spied a comforter set that I liked.  About a year ago I changed the color scheme in our bedroom linens to navy.  You would not believe how hard it was to find a navy-ish comforter.  I finally found one on Amazon and not even a year later, it was falling apart.

As I went to look at it my friend said she'd been looking for something just like it for her remodel (she did the works - new furniture, paint, etc.) so I told her to take it because I couldn't afford it anyway - it was $360.  She replied that she thought it was on sale for $149, so when I said, "Oh!" she said she'd find a sales person and see if they had another, if I didn't mind us having the same.  Of course I didn't mind, it's not like we're showing up at a party in the same dress, right?  They did have one and we both ended up buying the set - which had 14 pieces, including a set of sheets!

(Stock photo, not my bed)

Best of all?  When we got to the register, it was marked down even more and we paid only $100!!!  I put it on our bed yesterday and I'm just going to say I see why it cost $360.  The quality is amazing and it made the whole room feel rich. It's probably the nicest comforter we've ever had.

There is a local restaurant we love to go to for breakfast or lunch.  It's the type of place where you put your order in at the counter then go sit down somewhere and they bring it to you.  On the counter, they always have a huge dispenser filled with infused water that is complimentary.  It's usually infused with cucumber, lemons, and limes.  It's so refreshing.

I was on Amazon looking for something else and a water bottle with a built in infuser popped up in my recommended items. (I swear, it's like they read your mind).  I bought it and now am enjoying something other than plain water.  Best of all, it has a lifetime warranty and when you register it, they send you a free ebook with infusion recipes.  It's made by Danum if you'd like to search for it. Again, I was not compensated for this, it's just a new thing I'm enjoying.

What's new with you?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Catch Up and Crankiness

Things have simmered down a bit finally.  I have been sort of MIA because four days after Mr. Helen's mother was buried, his uncle died.  That means my FIL lost his wife and brother within about a week of each other.  With his uncle's death, that is 5 deaths of close relatives in the last six months. Grief exhausted might be an understatement.  Really, it's too much in what feels like a short time.

I found this beautiful rose plant that we put at my MIL's grave on Easter.  It made us feel better to see something pretty there.

Our weather has finally gotten nicer so that means semi-opening the patio.  At least we get the table and chairs set back up and move the grill to its regular spot - and more grilling happens.  I've actually been cooking a lot of good food lately!


I called this rotisserie chicken cheat:  heat the rotisserie chicken on the grill while you grill the sides.

The best chicken shawarma I've ever made - I'll never make it any other way.

We feel like spring has really arrived when I make curried chicken burgers with avocado and serve with chop salad.

The recipe I developed of that really expensive Detox Salad I used to buy in the Hamptons.  We like this every bit as much and it's a fraction of the cost.

I had my first shorts and tee run yesterday morning.  Of course this morning it was back to long sleeves and pants, but at least I didn't need a jacket.  And no more headlamp as dawn breaks while I'm out.  I love running this time of year!

And now for the crank you've been waiting for.  

Let me first say that my food processor is the most used appliance in my kitchen.  I'm probably not exaggerating when I say I use it about once a day at least and several times in a day when I'm really cooking.  

For 20 years I had a KitchenAid food processor that I loved.  It had small bowl inside the bigger bowl so if you wanted to chop just 1 onion, you only had that small bowl to clean.  When it finally died a natural death a couple years ago, of course I wanted another.  Needless to say the models had changed a bit but I found one that was similar and Mr. Helen gave it to me as a Christmas gift.  

I HATE IT.  I have been taking photos of the issues with it and plan on telling KitchenAid how disappointed I am in this product.  Also, Ima find me a new food processor because I literally cannot take it.

When I use the small bowl, it whirls stuff up and out into the big bowl, thereby defeating the purpose of the small bowl.  It also catches stuff up in the lid and I constantly have to stop it and scrape it down.  And don't even get me going about how bad it is to grate cheese with gobs of it ending up under the lid.   Here is some of my evidence.

Finally, I can't even express how annoyed I am with my grocery store bakery.  I will confess that I love a good cinnamon twist, and they make a good one.  It's not something I buy often, but it is something I will buy as a treat - generally on a long run day. There are two kinds - one with sugar sprinkle on it and one with glaze over it.  I prefer the glaze.  I actually hadn't had one in a good long time and while I was grocery shopping swung by to see if there were any left.  There weren't but much to my dismay, the entire case was filled with signs like this:

Above you can barely see a sugared twist and below are scones.  But WHYYYYYYYYY?!!!  Every single thing in the pastry and donut case now has a sign like that.  I don't want or need this information in any way, shape, or form. I swear it took everything I had not to rip it down.  As I stood there saying aloud, "Why would they do that?"  A woman next to me said, "Will it really stop you from buying what you want?" As I took this picture, I huffed that I didn't know, it might.  She asked me why I was taking the picture and I replied that I was taking it to send to my cinnamon twist loving friend in Texas so that she could be indignant with me.  (Thanks for sharing my pain Shelley.)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I Wish... A Different Tuesday Ten

In 2008 when I was 48 years old, I ran a quarter marathon race with a friend.  I actually ended up being a bit faster than her that day and she told me to run on.  As we were standing around post race, eating some cookies, I thought I heard my name off in the distance but sort of ignored it.  Then I heard it much louder and my friend was saying, "You won the Athena division, go get your prize!"  I was so stunned that I stumbled my way over to the podium and accepted the crappy prize - a visor with a sponsor's name on it. What is even funnier about this is that it was a fairly new race - this was only their second year - and they had not expected as many runners as showed up.While they promised each finisher a medal, I didn't get one and was told it would be mailed to me.  So I stumbled on home, still stunned that I had actually won that division. Not only that, I beat 8 other women, all of whom were in their twenties!  So I was an old Athena on top of everything else.

For those who don't know, Athena division is for females who weigh more than 150 lbs.  The issue with this division is there is no height requirement, therefore you could have a 6-foot woman running at 155 lbs. At that height and weight that woman would be quite thin.  Which to me doesn't even the running field as is intended (i.e., bigger people run slower), but whatever. I am 5'6" and I distinctly remember I weighed 157 - and was quite unhappy with that.  It was the one and only time I've gotten my weight below 160 since my thyroid diagnosis, and I didn't appreciate it, because it wasn't quite good enough in my mind.

I was thinking about this last Saturday afternoon. I was supposed to have run that same quarter marathon that morning, but as I mentioned before the circumstances and timing turned out to be off due to the death of my mother-in-law. At the end of the afternoon, I sat down and started looking at Facebook and saw that the results of the race had been posted.  I knew several people running to I went to see how they'd done, considering it had been raining and sleeting that morning. I really wanted to see how my 40-year-old friend who I was supposed to have run with had done, more specifically because she had registered as an Athena (she's one of the tall Athenas).  In the past, I have felt jealous of her running capability, to the point where at one time I stopped looking at her running posts because I needed so badly to stop comparing myself to her AND comparing my former running self. Based on how I know she runs I was pretty sure she'd snag a prize in that division. Turns out she came in fourth and it seems she ran a bit slower than normal - maybe it was slick from the sleet?  I haven't spoken with her yet so I'm not sure what happened.

In any case, I had this sort of lightbulb moment where I realized I've lived far too many years in a negative thought pattern - most everything about me personally is never quite good enough.  To the point where at 48 years old when I ran that race and won that division beating women half my age, I never really appreciated it or accepted that I was a pretty good runner.  Because I never thought I was fast enough, or thin enough truth be told.

I want to change that because I've also realized that at the age of 57, it's time to stop having regrets all the time.  My life is more than half over at this point and wouldn't it be nice to just live in acceptance of what is and feel joyful about where I am, how my body functions, and the fact that I still attempt running - no matter the pace!

This got me thinking about things I wish for, and things I wish I could tell other young women.  So, I wish...
  1. That I had enjoyed my daughter at each stage of her life more.  That I had slowed down and not been so stressed all the time, thus making me miss some important stages in her life.
  2. That I had cleaned my house less, and played more.
  3. That I'd been better with money and thought about retirement in my twenties.
  4. That I appreciated my former running self and enjoyed it more instead of always stressing and trying to be faster.
  5. That I appreciated the lean muscle mass and agility I had when I was younger.  I took it for granted and didn't nurture it.
  6. That I had started strength training when I was younger so that maybe I'd be stronger now - and more inclined to spend some time maintaining my strength.
  7. That I hadn't taken my metabolism for granted and that I had started eating healthier food consistently much earlier in life.
  8. That I had moved south and/or west when I had the chance.
  9. That I'd finished up college and chosen my profession, instead of just landing in the career field I've had and not enjoyed very much.
  10. That I'd followed more dreams and tried for fulfillment, instead of always feeling so responsible for everything that I always did what had to be done but never, ever looked towards what I really wanted.
If comparison is the thief of joy and it's never too late to be what you might have been, the deaths of my brother and my mother-in-law have driven the point home that now is the time to work with what's there so I stop living a life of always wishing and start living one of joy.

What do you wish?