Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Workout

After months of just sitting on my butt, I decided it was time to get moving again. But did
I want to do the same old stuff again? P90X and/or Insanity? P90X was going to hurt for the first week (at least) and Insanity is just too much cardio for a lazy girl. I decided to try something new. I looked over the Beachbody comparison chart and decided to try Chalene's Turbo Jam. I have read about her other videos on other blogs and thought I'd check it out.

Turbo Jam is a dance & kickboxing combo. The first video introduces you to the 11 main moves. They are moves I have seen in P90X's Kenpo and variations of moves I have seen elsewhere. Simple, right? Ha. I have ZERO coordination so when I did the Burn video (another simple intro-style video), I could barely keep up. My arms were doing everything but the jabs and hooks. And when I moved on to the 20 minute workout video, it was just as bad.

But despite that, I am actually enjoying it. I just keep moving. I punch. I kick. I shake. It goes quickly so sometimes by the time I catch on to the sequence of moves, they are on to the next sequence. It may not be perfect but I know that I am burning some calories and it is better than being sedentary 24/7. Chalene seems to think that the music is awesome. It's not. Since you need to hear Chalene, the music can only be so loud. But despite that, there's nothing that amazing about, "The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire!" I tend to turn my TV way up so that the everything is really blasting so that I can really get into it.

Today I will be trying the Ab Jam workout for the first time. Let's hope it's a fun one!

By the way, I'm also doing a 12 days of fitness challenge with Fitnessista. It's pretty simple. Yesterday was the first day and the challenge was to hold plank for 1 minute. I am so glad that I still have some strength from P90X and Insanity. Holding plank for a minute wasn't that bad. Today it's plank plus 2 pushups. I'll do that before I start Ab Jam.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sweet Potato & Candied Peel Sourdough Biscotti

I discovered Sourdough Surprises a few months ago and considering that I only bake with a sourdough starter and am always seeking inspiration, I thought that I would have already made something for their monthly challenge. The problem was that each month they chose something that I had already made and wasn't up to making again or I just wasn't up to it.

I was so happy when I saw sourdough biscotti for December's challenge. Generally, I don't like making cookies but biscotti is easy so I happily made them a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I was too busy eating the biscotti to get great pictures. Oops!

But I definitely want to link up so here it is.

In the background is a crumb cake that was pretty amazing. It's a sweet potato & carrot with a layer of cranberry jelly. It sounds weird but it was good.

They are a bit flatter than I wanted them to be. But that doesn't bother me.

I adapted this Ginger-Pecan Sourdough Biscotti recipe that I saw on Wild Yeast.  It's occurring to me now that I don't remember how much sweet potato I added (this is why I could never be a food blogger). I think it was about 1/3 of a cup and I just used up all the mixed peel that I had left over from Easter Buns.

Go check out the other biscottis this month.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I am Adam Lanza's Mother

I saw this piece on Gawker today. It's poignant and heart-rending read. Check out the comments too, if you can.

Also worth reading are the 1700 and counting comments on her blog post here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's my birthday and I will cry if I want to

I had big plans for my birthday cake. I saw the' Seven Sins Chocolate Cake and knew it was the one. But this became eight sins for me. 

1. Red wine chocolate cake
2, 3, 4. Dark chocolate pastry cream; milk chocolate mocha pastry cream, white chocolate dulce de leche pastry cream.
5. Milk chocolate & Biscoff frosting.
6. Dark chocolate wannabe-but-really-isn't-because-I-used-the-wrong-recipe-and-it's-too-runny ganache.
7. Filled Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares (raspberry & caramel)
8. All the bad words I cursed when this fell apart last night and 5 minutes ago

So many many things went wrong. Soo sooo soooo many. My kitchen was too warm last night and my layers decided to run from each other. Currently, it's being held together by skewers and I am afraid to cut it. If this were for someone else, I would actually refrost the sides and then pour a thicker ganache to make it look better. But I am over it. 

This picture is taken of the top for a very good reason. The sides are not pretty. Additionally, when I changed positions to get a picture of the sides, all the squares and rosettes slid off. 

Update: After more time in the freezer, I sliced it and snapped a pic before the pastry creams started oozing.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

On Donating Blood and Fainting

I grew up around blood. Hmm. That's an odd sentence. My mother is a medical technologist and I went to work with her several times over the years. At four years old, I had my own special chair in the lab. I'd sit there and wait for her to finish work and then we'd head home. I saw lots of blood. Sometimes people would come by the house and my mother would draw their blood there and I'd watch. At 16, I worked for a summer in a medical lab - more blood (and other samples which I'd rather not think about).

I know too well about blood shortages. It's always crazy when there's an emergency case at the hospital and there aren't enough cross-matched units of blood. So when I learned that I was O negative and that meant I was a universal donor, I was eager to donate. However, I was always below the weight limit. When I was finally at the limit, I had visited restricted countries and couldn't donate.

Six months after my surgery, I begged and pleaded with a mobile blood bank to take my blood. I emailed my surgeon from the steps of the blood mobile and then I literally shoved the reply that said it was OK for me to donate in her face. She was still hesitant and added several notes to my files. Since then, I've tried to donate about 3 times per year.

So when the mobile bank worker approached me on Wednesday, I knew that I was going to say yes even though I really shouldn't have. You see, the days before that I hadn't been drinking enough water and felt dehydrated. If I'm not drinking enough water, it takes an eternity for any blood to come out of me.

I also hadn't had any breakfast that day. This is kinda typical for me but not the best idea. My mother has cautioned me against donating blood when I haven't eaten but I haven't had any issues. I did tell the phlebotomist that I needed to drink something before donating though.

As expected, it took a lifetime. I watched him use the little pliers to try to force more blood into the bag. And another phlebotomist fiddled with my needle. I should not have watched any of this. I grew up around blood. But I simply cannot look at my own blood. That's asking for trouble.

After donating, I felt fine. I spoke with the phlebotmist for a bit. I grabbed a sandwich and some cookies and headed down the hall. And then things started to go black. I'm a stubborn fool so instead of turning back, I kept going. I made it to a water fountain, took some sips but that did nothing. I was there hunched over, ready to pass out when the recruiter saw me and ran over to me. He got to me right when everything went black.

I was only out for a few seconds. And he took me back inside and they put ice packs on me until I started shivering and then made me drink and eat some more. For the rest of Wednesday, I felt like crap. I needed to help a friend proctor an exam and I simply did not have the strength to do it.

Normally I am pretty good at staying hydrated but have been slacking off for the last week or so. I have certainly learned my lesson. Saving a life with my blood donation is great but I need to take care of my body first.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I don't want children.

I don't know when I decided that I didn't want children. Each time I am asked why I don't, I don't give a complete answer. This is partly because the person asking is usually trying to convince me that I should/will want children.

Since I'm catching up on Private Practice, I am inundated with baby stories. A character just found out that her unborn baby does not have a brain (anencephalic)*. No brain! How scary is that? I think there is a baby in trouble every few episodes. Each time I see one of these cases, a little voice says, "See, that's why you're not having one." I dare anyone to tell me how rare any of these disorders are and that my child probably wouldn't experience this. I will then throw at you my rare illness - trigeminal neuralgia - that was caused by the rare brain tumor. Point is, I know stats. I don't expect to end up with rare disorders nor expect my child to, but it happens. And that freaks my crazy brain out.

When I was about 16, I worked in a medical lab and just for fun, checked my blood type. I was O negative. I went home that day and read all my mother's medical journals about being Rh negative. I remember reading about the fact that babies born to women who are Rh negative may have some difficulties. Even though my mother explained that risks were minimal (women receive medication during pregnancy), that stuck with me. I remember adding it to my mental list.

I do love babies. I love hearing about babies. I follow several baby/mommy blogs. And funnily enough, I find food and fitness blogs and several months in, the blogger announces her pregnancy and I am suddenly following another baby blog. But even after reading all these stories (I'm a sucker for birth stories), I still don't feel the need to have one. And that's what it comes down to for me. At no point in my life have I ever desired children. I have happily babysat infants, toddlers and little children. I see the joy parents experience when they hold their children, when they watch them take their first steps or watch in amazement at a new sight. I want to feel joy but not from children.

I hate having to justify this. I hate feeling like I have to submit a dissertation on this in order to be taken seriously. When someone declares that s/he wants children, no one asks for justifications. S/he doesn't need to argue his/her case unless of course, one has compelling reasons why this person is unfit. But apparently my wishes are "abnormal" so I need to justify.

Sometimes to end a discussion, I will often say that I don't want children now and that could possibly change. And that's true. I could wake up one day and hear that biological clock that I've heard of. For now, it's silent and I am OK with that.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I'm Addicted to TV Part II

So last time I rambled on and on about the TV shows that I watch Sunday through Tuesday. I have some down time and I am trying to calm myself about things going on in my life right now so I thought I'd do some more rambling.

I forgot to add Emily Owens MD. I first saw this show on Swagbucks; if you watched the pilot, you would earn swagbucks. It is essentially a Grey's Anatomy rip-off. Surgical interns just starting their residency. Relationship drama. Emily Owens is a very different character from Meredith Grey. I don't know if her quirks and the personalities of the other characters will be enough to keep the show afloat. Oh would you look at that, I went to Wikipedia to get the link for the show and realised it was cancelled 3 days ago.

Criminal Minds - I love crime dramas and I absolutely love Criminal Minds. Criminal Minds follows profilers in the FBI and I think there is an even more special place in my heart because each time I talk to students about legal psychology, they assume that it involves profiling. It doesn't, for the record. That's legal psych's cousin, forensic psychology. I could go on and on about the merits of profiling but that would take quite a while. The cases each week are beyond bizarre and makes you wonder which of these are ripped from headlines.

Grey's Anatomy - What can I say about Grey's Anatomy that has not already been said? I had stopped watching after the first season but I caught up again. Is the 8th season the final season? I think we have reached the peak.

Scandal - I succumbed to peer pressure on this one. My Twitter feed is always filled with Scandal tweets on a Thursday night. If you can't beat them, join them. I like it so far. The first season moved quickly and the second season is answering questions that I had. So now I am all caught up and immersed in the world of politics and fixers.

Last Resort - Meh. I loved the first episode of this show. I lost interest around episode 4. I am sorta interested again but the fact that I completely forgot to watch it this past week should tell me something. I can't even explain the premise to someone. It is kinda set on a US submarine and an island that the officers of the sub are living on while they figure out what's going on back home. Does someone want to kill them? Why?

Beauty and the Beast -  This is a new show on the CW. It's a crime drama where the detective is the Beauty in this dyad. The Beast is a former soldier who was experimented upon so that he could be a better soldier. The experiments worked a little too well  This show is perfect when I'm cooking or doing dishes. It's not too complicated.

I think that's all I'm watching. Oh, I always watch The Amazing Race. LOVE it. It's my dream to be a contestant on this show. However, I am absolutely petrified of my flaws that would be highlighted on this show. Kudos to couples who go on TAR and survive that show.