oatmeal

I am suffering from mega cabin fever.

For the life of me, I cannot shake my cold. The sore throat, body aches and fever are long gone, but the cough just won’t quit. It’s down deep in my chest and periodically I just have a coughing attack.

Due to the cough, I haven’t been able to get in cardio, and it is totally bumming me out. I’m all psyched to start up training for the Bay to Breakers, but with this cough, it just isn’t possible. I don’t know how many of you have this problem, but when I have a cough that deep, exercise seems to set it off. All I’ve been able to do is walk, and the other day even that sparked an episode.

Due to still feeling under the weather, I’ve been trapped in my apartment. I had plans to visit with a friend tonight, but he canceled because he is sick too.

Seriously, these colds have got to GO!

I had wanted to go out and try to play with my new toy, but haven’t been able to yet. Only had a chance to mess around with food photography in between episodes of Degrassi Junior High.

Don’t judge.

Trader Joe’s Chickenless Nuggets, bbq sauce and Broccoli/Cauliflower mix (roasted)

Steel cut oats made with water, skim milk, banana and chia seeds. Topped with TJ’s Sunflower Seed Butter, Crofter’s and some butterscotch chips. I also had one of my Harry and David pears.

Still have no idea what I’m doing, but I did take the camera off of auto mode and played with white balance and ISO. You should have seen some of my photo fails!

Any idea how to kick a persistent cough? I am so over it!

I did that thing that I hate again last night.

One of my biggest complaints about living in a studio is my lack of a separation between sleeping and living spaces. I sleep, hang out, eat, read, watch tv, blog and whatever else I do at home all while sitting on my futon.

And to be completely honest with you, it really sucks.

When I come home from work, to decompress, I usually turn on the TV. This whole weekend there was a Harry Potter movie marathon going on. I’ve read all of the books several times apiece and seen the movies tons of times (including the many times that they marathon on TV), but since I will be seeing Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part I next Saturday night, I decided I’d let them play in the background while I surfed the internet, ate dinner, etc. At some point during the evening, I closed my laptop to give my eyes a rest and decided to watch Order of the Phoenix for a spell….

…and then it was 5:30am.

I fall asleep with the TV and lamp on all of the time, and I really wish I didn’t. If I had a bedroom, I’d probably turn the TV off and go to bed when I got a little tired, but since I’m already in my bed, I wind up getting cozy and falling asleep with everything on. Then, because the noise and light kind of bothers me, after a few hours, I wake up…and I’m AWAKE.

So I read blogs and e-mails.

Since it was nearly light out by the time I had finished going through Google Reader, I decided I should get up and go for a run. You see, I really need to run:

I had planned to run the 10K (there is also a 5K) in this race. I could make all sorts of excuses right now, as to why that isn’t going to happen…but I’m not going to. As the theme of my blog is essentially, “Doing things MY way”, lying to you would be rather lame of me. The truth of the matter is:

I didn’t feel like training for it!

While I enjoy running to some extent now…and I especially like the races (I’ve signed up for a Christmas Classic 5K also!), I just have had a 0% interest in getting my mileage up enough to run 6 miles within the time limit. As of late, I’ve been much more interested in getting back into using my gym membership. I mean, I pay $67/mo (I know..expensive!) for it, so I should use it. It makes sense. So I did Zumba. I went swimming. I went back to my Cardio Kick class that I used to do regularly. I discovered the joy of Netflix. Last week I didn’t even run once.

Which would be fine.

Except for the fact that I’m still running the 5K!

Oops!

So back to this morning…I decided I needed to get up and go for my run….AND THEN I FELL BACK ASLEEP AGAIN!

Argh!

By the time I woke up the temperature was well into the 70s. First of all, does the weather have a calendar? Why is it 70-80 degrees F in mid-November anyway? Second of all, I really suck at running in any kind of warm temperatures. I know people run in weather much hotter than this, but I don’t. Call me a wimp, but I just don’t. I get really dehydrated (even with frequent water stops) and I just don’t perform well. Maybe it’s the extra poundage I’m currently sporting. I don’t know. I just know that it isn’t something I want to do.

So I decided that today I would walk to work for my exercise and then try to get in a couple of runs this week.

I really need to win the lottery or find a super fab job that pays me enough to rent a 1 Bedroom in this city….

Oh well.

At least breakfast was good.

How could it not be good when a lovely gem like this is involved?

I found it at TJ’s yesterday and I had to buy it. I’ve been using their pumpkin butter for over a year now…but Cranberry Apple Butter? Sign me up!

Steel Cut oats w/banana and Chia Fresh, TJ’s Sunflower Seed Butter, Fage 0% Greek Yogurt, TJ’s Cranberry Apple Butter, cacao nibs and butterscotch chips.

Yes. My oatmeal looked and tasted like a candy store. You know you’re jealous.

I also had a lot of this. It was completely necessary…

What is your favorite oatmeal topping?

I awoke Tuesday morning, suffering from a case of deja vu:

Why is there no food in my house??

Okay. Fine. One more OIAJ day, since I had leftover oatmeal from Monday.

In the mix: Steel Cut Oats w/banana & ChiaFresh, three halved strawberries and a sprinkling of Scharffenberger cacao nibs. Nutella jar full of win.

After breakfast, I pretty much did nothing for several hours. I knew I should get up, exercise and do some chores, but I definitely had a case of the blahs. Sometimes I feel guilty about not accomplishing anything on my days off, but I have to remind myself that tons of people do nothing on Saturday and Sunday. Tuesday and Wednesday are my weekend, and if I’m burned out from my work week, there ain’t no shame in vegging.

After some guilt, I decided that I would allow myself to wallow for most of the day, as long as I got up and did something active for at least an hour. I thought about what it would be and then I decided. While Monday wasn’t the right time for it, Tuesday was. I was going back to the gym.

For a class. A Zumba class.

I haven’t done very many group exercise courses at the gym. It was one of my goals in 2008 to incorporate them into my routines, but other than Cardio Kick, I never really got myself to show up. I can’t help it. Group exercise intimidates the heck out of me. I’m not coordinated in any sense of the word and I have a hard time getting the moves down. This is why I prefer to exercise on my own. I run alone so I don’t have to feel bad if I’m not as good as my running partner. I work out at the gym alone so that I don’t have to feel competitive or embarrassed. Group exercise definitely is outside of my comfort zone.

On the other hand, group exercise, when I can make myself attend, can be really fun. I had a pretty steady ritual with Cardio Kick for a few months in 2009. I was never any good at it, but the time went by quickly and it certainly kicked my butt when I stepped up the moves with jumps and higher kicks. With this idea in mind, I made myself go to Zumba. I told myself, while you may be a total spazz, you will at least be getting exercise and who knows, you might even have fun.

Aside from watching a few youtube videos of gym based Zumba classes from some gym on the east coast, I really had no idea what to expect from a Zumba class. I really am not a research, study, make detailed plans kind of exerciser. I mean, sure, with running I’ve read up some…as I have with strength training (not that I strength train….but, you know, I’ve read about it…). When it comes to classes, however, I might just look at an example of what a class might look like, and then decide if I think it would be fun. I don’t expect group exercise classes to burn tons of calories…I just assume that it’s something to get me off my butt for an hour. No matter what, that can’t be a bad thing!

My Zumba class was taught by this really energetic guy. I guess there are a lot of regulars in the class, as when he came in, he started greeting people by name and explaining to them that he had a new routine to try out. He also giggled and showed the class that he had notecards, explaining that working out a new routine makes him a little nervous and he wanted to be sure he didn’t mess it up. I thought that was kind of cute and endearing.

We started off with some warm ups, with arm movements and hip swaying. I must admit, I felt a little awkward. I have no dancing skills, whatsoever. I don’t really ever….shake….anything. At least not intentionally. I got over the weirdness pretty fast though, as everyone just seemed to be having fun. We moved from the warm up into several numbers….some hip hop…some more pop….some traditional. The teacher showed us each of the moves, broken down slowly, several times before we took things at tempo. I was really appreciative of the fact that this was a new routine week, as everyone needed a few extra tries before moving up to tempo. After every song, the class would clap and we would receive praise for our efforts. That was cool. I like praise. My ego is fragile, you know.

All in all, it was a fun way to kill an hour. I never really got my heart rate up too high, but I attribute some of that to the fact that I was still struggling with the moves a little bit. I think I would do it again. It was a fun, comfortable environment with everyone moving at their own level. I need to be able to move at my own level. Seriously. Afterwards, I debated running upstairs and trying to get in on that Intro to Yoga class that I always mean to attend. Problem was that I wasn’t sure if it had started yet, and I didn’t want to walk in all sweaty to a class that was already getting their zen on. Maybe next week.

Afterwards, I did this:

What? You don’t end your workout routines with giant cups of frozen yogurt? Your loss!

In the mix (wow..two mixes, one post. can you dig it?): Mostly tart froyo with a dab of cake batter, raspberries, mint chocolate cookies, a couple of hunks of cheesecake and crushed almond rocca.

I actually had no intention of having this much…but the yogurt and topping dispensers sort of exploded into my cup. Oh well. Sorry for the unattractive picture, but I was in a mall, armed only with my iPhone. Plus, DIY froyo just typically isn’t all that pretty.

It tastes good though.

I meant to post this last night, but I was still feeling kind off. I had no interest in the internet so I opted for watching The Biggest Loser, Parenthood and a ton of episodes of Glee from Season 1. It may’ve not been a productive evening, but it made me happy.

Feelings on group exercise — yay or nay?

 

 

When I woke up, I found something that made me very sad:

;_;

Most healthy living bloggers out there look at such an occurrence as an opportunity to taste greatness. By greatness, I am of course referring to Oats in a Jar (OIAJ). The problem is, I generally don’t like eating OIAJ. The jars are usually too large and my spoon doesn’t fit into them very well and I almost always get frustrated and wind up dumping the mess into a bowl to eat it the way I like.

I decided, today, however, to try OIAJ again. I figured it might be better, since the Barney Butter jar I had was so small. So I whipped up the last of my steel cut oats with banana and ChiaFresh (ground chia seeds) and inserted a serving into my jar.

I had my oats with a few more slices of banana, 3 halved strawberries, a couple of Ghirardelli chocolate chips and half of a crumbled graham cracker.

Which reminds me. Time for a public service announcement:

Do NOT buy these unless you want to gain lots and lots of weight. Every single time I buy these things, I promise I will pace myself, but instead, I end up gobbling them up one after another. To make it twice as good bad, I usually have the nerve to top them with some form of nut butter. They are so good…and so very, very bad….

After breakfast, I needed to get in a workout. I knew I should run…but I had just eaten a lot of oatmeal and wasn’t sure it would sit well. I decided that instead of running in my neighborhood, I would get dressed and head down to the gym and see what I felt like doing once I arrived.

I’ve been going to the Y for 3 years now, off and on. When I say off and on, I don’t mean that at any point during this 3 years I suspended my membership. What I mean is that I go through periods of really enjoying the gym and then really long periods of loathing the gym. I find working out with the weights and cardio equipment to be quite a snooze 90% of the time. Even with this particular location’s spectacular views of the bay, I still find myself wishing I was already showered and on my way. I’ve been on a major “I hate the gym” kick this year, which is probably why I piled on the 15 pounds I did. I’ve barely been going at all, which makes me think that it’s a little crazy that I’m shelling out $65/mo for a membership I barely use.

But I refuse to cancel.

The gym and I might not be getting along very well lately, but I know we will be friends again.

But not today.

After getting to the gym and wobbling back and forth, I decided to just shove my stuff into a locker, grab a runner’s stamp (hand stamp so you don’t have to carry your membership card with you) and went out to the Embarcadero. I set up RunKeeper and started out on a 5K down to AT&T Park and back. 5 minutes into my run I met with a rude surprise….the coach prompts from RunKeeper were playing in my ear….and telling me that I was going 10:22 minutes behind my goal pace!! I thought I had turned the stupid coach feature off, but apparently, I somehow had it set to run like a 0 minute mile! I didn’t want to mess up my overall time, so I just listened to this lady tell me I was a loser for 3 miles….

As I saw the ballpark I got really excited. I know everyone around me is getting sick of my Giants talk (Well, not really. I live in San Francisco. All of my internet friends are totally sick of it though!), but I cannot help it. I am so excited about my team making the World Series that seeing the stadium up ahead just made me run even faster. I resisted all urges to go into the Dugout (the Giants’ store) and turned to head back towards the Ferry Building.

One thing I noticed on this run is that I was still really struggling. I mean, on one hand, I was going pretty fast (for me) since the Embarcadero is flat and my normal park runs are on trails with some elevation changes. So pace wise, life was good, but my ability to really excel on this route the way I should just wasn’t there. I had to take a couple of walking breaks and I finished the 5K 5 minutes slower than I ran it at Race for the Cure a month ago.

While you would think that struggling with the distance of 5K would mean that I would be totally wiped afterwards, you would be wrong. Instead of feeling exhausted once I passed the 3.1 mile mark, I felt exhilarated. Like, if I hadn’t needed to go back to the Y for a shower so I could get to work on time, I probably would’ve set out on another mile.

My problems with 5Ks are seriously all mental. This proves it. There is something about 5K that makes my brain jump up and down screaming (yes, my brain has legs and a mouth) “OMG! THREE MILES! I’M GOING TO DIE!!!” But after I achieve the distance, my brain thinks, “Oh yeah. I’m a total badass runner. I rock.” and can keep going. It’s like a switch gets flicked and life is good. Why must this 3 mile distance torture me so?

Maybe I need to run with audio books or something? Maybe if I wasn’t focused on the distance so much, I could just let my body do the work and let my brain chillax?

Argh! Running!

Once I was all showered it was time to head to work, but of course, I allowed myself a Starbucks stop.

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How I love you, my Chocolate Vivanno w/add shot. I also picked up a yogurt parfait that I ended up having later:

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Right across the street was another Giants Dugout store. While I kind of want a jacket, I can’t bring myself to spend the $120 to get the one I want. Even so, I had promised my co-worker that if I passed a store, I would check in and pick him up a new hat. Since I was so close and I was on my way to work, I thought I’d check.

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Yeah. Um. No. Sorry Louis, but you’re going to have to wait in these lines yourself!

What do you listen to when you run? Music? Audio books? What keeps you entertained?

Last night on my way home from work I stopped off at Safeway and the most amazing thing happened:

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I know, right? Exciting!

Then I shopped around for awhile longer and another amazing thing happened:

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I had read The Wannabe Athlete’s post about a Chobani miracle, but I had no idea such miracles were happening in my own neck of the woods. I scooped up both of these things, along with some animal crackers (what? I was hungry!), and made my way home for some much needed sleep.

Today has been difficult, as I’ve just been feeling very drained. I first woke up at 6:30am, as that’s when I’ve woken up for the last 4 days in a row. That is a very bad time to wake up when you are the closing manager at work. Can you say, long day? So I went back to sleep until 8:30am. I was STILL tired, so I went back to bed until 10:30am. I guess my body is just plain worn out. I still felt very groggy, but there was PUMPKIN in the house, so I had to get up before it was too late to partake in it before work.

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I made a big pot of steel cut oats with my usual ingredients:

(1 cup oats, 2 cups water, 2 cups milk, 1 banana and 1 serving of Chia Fresh Daily Fiber, which is something I found at Whole Foods before I found out where I could get whole Chia seeds. Tastes awful in smoothies, but totally works in oatmeal)

Then after I put 1 serving of oats in my bowl, I mixed in 2 heaping spoonfuls (about 1/3 cup) of pumpkin and topped it off with some Fage (Saving the Chobani for later), 1 tablespoon of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter and a few butterscotch chips.

I also had coffee:

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RENT is my favorite musical of all time. Truth.

After breakfast and a shower, I was forced to leave my apartment and head into the miserable heat wave that California is experiencing. I know it isn’t as bad as Los Angeles (113 degrees? What?!), but to a native San Franciscan, 85 degrees doesn’t feel too awesome either. Tomorrow is my day off and it looks like I will be heading to the beach, but it has come to my attention that I have no beach wear. I have one pair of capris that got stained with motor oil from my friend’s car and one pair of the saddest Payless (read: cheap) flip flops you have ever seen. This was not going to work.

First, I needed shoes appropriate for light hiking and potential water exposure:

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I really liked this pair of Tevas. They’re comfortable as all get out with great traction and support, but they’re also a little girly and fun. Yay pink! I think I will have a much more enjoyable time climbing on rocks in these than I had in my previous pair of footwear.

Then I had to look for shorts. It was a nightmare. Pure hell. First of all, everything is now geared towards fall, so they’re selling wool pea coats and sweaters….when it’s 85 degrees outside! There were, of course, shorts on sale, but everyone was picking through them like there was no tomorrow, due to the heat wave. Swarms of people. Pushing and shoving, all trying to find something to wear. It seems that since our summer had been so unseasonably cool (even for San Francisco), no one had bothered to pick up shorts this summer and were now all in a panic. Just like me.

The selection being horrible, I found one pair of GAP jean shorts (I was at Old Navy…so that was weird. They didn’t even have a price tag attached) that was my size, a pair of size 6 (which I am not) jean shorts that looked like they ran kind of big and a pair of white Bermuda shorts that were actually size 10s, which is what I am wearing right now. I tried everything on. The 6s were like sausage casings on me, so they seemed like a bad choice. The GAP shorts fit, but cut my legs at a weird place and I didn’t like them. That left the white Bermudas.

I have never owned a pair of white pants, shorts or even a skirt in my life. I am exceptionally clumsy and tend to spill things on myself constantly, so white kind of scares me. I ended up buying them though. Less than $15 and by golly they weren’t pants.

Wish me luck at wearing them tomorrow!

What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods?

I grew up in the Mission District. The Mission was dirty and dangerous when I was growing up. I wasn’t allowed to play outside in front of my apartment building, out of fear I would be kidnapped. There were scary homeless people leering at me when I waited for the school bus. It was a rough place. Sometime in the 90s, however, my section of the Mission (17th Street between Valencia and Guerrero) became yuppified. All of our local businesses like Carl’s Bakery, Anna’s Danish Cookies and several other gems closed up shop. Rent was too high and only the dot-comers could afford it. Last year, my sister and I were actually pushed out of our childhood home (we had been sharing our parent’s old apartment) by some rich guy buying my building, threatening us with an Ellis eviction and using other scare tactics to get us all to move so he could turn the place into condos.

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Recently I walked by my old apartment building and saw that they had gutted it. It was really depressing. I was able to catch a glimpse inside of my grandmother’s old apartment. My grandmother moved into the building in 1954 and lived there until 1996, when she came down with Alzheimer’s Disease. My parents got another apartment in the building in 1974. My grandmother’s apartment is the one that I always think of as home.



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A shot of what used to be our living room, through the sliding door into what was once my (and depending on the decade, my mother’s and/or sister’s) bedroom. My grandmother would have NEVER allowed us to keep a bicycle in our bedroom…nor trash cans in the living room, for that matter…


I was pretty broken up about getting booted from the Mission, but luckily, I was able to find a great apartment. I now live in the area of San Francisco known as the Lower Haight. No, not Haight-Ashbury. That is up the street a ways. The Lower Haight used to be a pretty grungy neighborhood, from what I understand, but over the years it has transformed into a cool, laid back place with plenty of amenities. Within 3 blocks of my apartment I have 7 different bars. Within the same radius there are tons of restaurants (seriously…3 Indian places, a Japanese place, a Mexican place, a sausage place, a BBQ place, a french place, a tapas place, a deli, a pizzeria, a cheesesteak place, a creperie, two thai places, a bagel shop, an ethiopian place, three really good coffee shops and I think there is some kind of middle eastern place, too…). I also have a 24 hour Safeway only a half mile away. Moving here was the best idea ever!

The point of all of this? I have found another thing that makes my neighborhood great. While reading Haighteration, a neighborhood blog, I learned that I even have a CSA right here in the Lower Haight! Greenhearts Family Farm has their headquarters only a few blocks away from my house, and from what I can tell, they are awesome. I have been dying to try out a CSA for some time now, but it always seems too expensive. I mean, I know that in the long run, shelling out $200 or so for a subscription is reasonable. I easily spend that much shopping, and the quality and variety of what I get can’t touch that of what comes from a local farm. Problem is that parting with that much cash in one large hunk is really hard for me to swallow. I’m a working class girl, and in a city where a studio apartment in the Tenderloin costs $1,200 a month, I rarely have that much money just sitting around.

Enter Greenhearts. They don’t require a subscription. While they do offer them, you can simply buy week to week. Each box is $33 and they will even throw in eggs and/or grass fed beef, grass fed pork and pasture raised chickens (depending on availability) for an extra fee. They deliver to your house or your job and by golly, the guy was really nice on the phone. You see, I’ve been wanting to try them out for a while, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. Then last night after getting home from the theatre, I see a post on Twitter that they have extra boxes this week. With pluots!!! It was too late to call then, so I waited until this morning. As it turns out, he thought they had filled their quota since the tweet went out. However, he said they were packing the boxes right now and that if there was enough for another box he would give me a call back and hook me up! He took down my info and even agreed to bring it by today (he asked if they could deliver on Friday, but I said that I had today off, and if possible, would prefer to have it delivered to my apartment instead of my job), since I live so close. He told me he would know by noon.

I inquired about payment options, as it is my day off and I don’t think I have $33 in cash in the apartment. He said I could pay by PayPal, and there is a fee. Or I could pay by cash or check. OR, if I needed a WEEK to pay or something, it was no big deal. They will send me an e-mail reminder. They are flexible!

!!

So now I am sitting at home, drinking my coffee and eating my oatmeal, waiting and hoping that they have a CSA box for me. If they don’t, I think I will definitely get one next week. They sound completely awesome.

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Steel Cut Oats with Chia and Banana, topped with TJ’s Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter, Fage Greek Yogurt, Butterscotch Chips and a drizzle of TJ’s Pumpkin Butter. Pumpkin, how I love thee. Oh, and a cup of coffee with just a smidge of milk.


Do you participate in a CSA? If so, how do you like it?