Cinco de Mayo and the Drive Back to London (Days 5&6)

Sunday, May 5, 2013
The morning after my birthday we did a bit of lounging around. It was a Sunday, which means something about training hours in retail stores, essentially meaning that they were open for less hours so they were normally crowded.  Steph and I snuck off to Tesco around lunch time to buy something or other. While there, we decided that the Brits should be formally introduced to the Mexican holiday embraced by their neighbors to the North.

ay! ay! ay!

ay! ay! ay!

Since we didn’t quite have time to gather all of the necessities for a full meal, we substituted. We bought a Pinata donkey we lovingly dubbed Antonio along with LOTS of candy to stuff him with! We also bought some margarita mix! After we got back to the house we sat outside for a good while with Tracey’s mom and brother, who I’m nearly sure was called Harry.

Mr. Antonio

Mr. Antonio

The gents drank their brews and puffed on their cigars for a bit, while Tracey ran all around making sure dinner was coming along fine. Annabelle’s great grandmother fawned over her and we chatted about North England and how lovely it is. I swear, I love Tracey’s mom, whose given name I don’t actually know, because I called her ma’am. She was just the perfect picture of what I would imagine Tracey’s mom to be. She was a spitfire and kept Steph and I entertained with stories of Tracey getting into trouble at the instruction of her older brothers!

At one point she asked me if I was feeling broody. I though it really odd, since I had been sitting there chatting with her quite happily and didn’t feel as if I had been brooding at all. I must have looked as confused as I felt. We just kind of looked at each other for a spell: me – not having a clue what she was talking about, her – wondering why this silly girl was looking at her as if she had just sprouted a second head. Steph mercifully intervened and explained for me.

Apparently, feeling broody means having the baby itch. So to that, the answer was a firm NO. I loveeee babies, and I love my Nannerbelle more than most, but I have no desire to have one at the moment. If she asked me in a year or two she might get a different answer. Might.

We had burgers and ‘jacket taters’ (baked potatoes) and garlic bread for dinner. Odd combination but freaking YUMMY. I LOVE the differences between the English and us Yanks. My entire life baked potatoes have been topped with butter, and sour cream… if you were fortunate there may also be cheese, bacon pieces and chives. Imagine my world being shaken to pieces when I see bakers loaded with coleslaw and beans in tomato sauce. Two separate potatoes, by the way. Had I not already fixed mine with butter and salt and pepper, I might have been adventurous. It rocked my world. Seriously.

Mind blowing???

Mind blowing???

Anyway, after dinner, we strung Antonio up on the clothesline and started swinging away with a fire poker, which made me a little nervous. Valiant effort of Steph and I aside, James was the one whose golden swing provided a bounty of chocolate for all. We never did get around to making margaritas. I’m assuming the bottle of ready to drink stuff is still on top of Steph and James’ cabinet.

Steph and I engaged in some shenanigans in the back garden for a bit after everyone else went in. I won’t disclose our activities because they were silly, girlish things and it might tarnish my very serious and adult-like reputation. (don’t let that sarcasm drip on to your keyboard… might cause damage.)

images

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tracey made us an INCREDIBLE full English spread for breakfast the next morning. I was pretty repulsed by English breakfast food two years ago when AshBash and I first jetted off to explore the UK and Ireland. It just seemed incohesive. Also, at that point in my life as an adult, I refused to try ANY new food. Fast forward a few years and I love to explore new food and places.

This is missing the tomatoes!

This is missing the tomatoes!

A standard full English breakfast consists of back bacon, sausages, eggs over-easy, black pudding, fried mushrooms, fried tomatoes, potato cakes, beans in tomato sauce and toast. I will not eat mushrooms, ever, and we didn’t have black pudding. Otherwise, I dominated the entire plate. I have developed an affinity for beans on toast.

After breakfast we packed up the car and started the drive from Belton back to London. Annabelle slept a bit. We stopped and got ice cream. I had Magnum, finally, and to be honest it’s okay. Graeter’s is WAY better. Let’s not get to talking about Graeter’s though.

When we got home, Steph made buttery, Ritz cracker chicken, mac and cheese and mushy peas. The chicken was FAB and buttery and just everything I’ve been missing since this weight loss journey. It was a long drive so we were all pretty tired. So we crashed pretty early.

On a side note:

Weightwatchers Update from 6/13/13: [[[25.2lbs]]]! That’s right! 25.2 down, 22.8 more to go!

um. YUCK.

um. YUCK.

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Ready, Set, Tell Some Stories (Trip Days 1and2)

Tonight I made dinner. Shocking, right? Me. In a kitchen.

Anticlimactic, I know.

Anyway, back to the WW grind in real life. No more breakfasts made of crumpets and croissants with nutella. I made skinny burritos tonight, from a recipe I borrowed (and changed) from SkinnyMom. These were YUMMY! Very flavorful and super filling, with that naughty creaminess that is a no-no on most people’s WW tracker.

Skinny Turkey and Black Bean Burritos

Ingredients:

1lb ground turkey
~1c. coarsely chopped onion
1 pkt taco seasoning
1/2 c taco sauce
3/4 c salsa of choice
1 c rinsed black beans
1 can fat-free cream of chicken soup
3/4 c fat-free sour cream
4 oz Monterey jack shredded cheese
8 whole wheat tortillas

  • Brown turkey with onions and taco seasoning
  • combine soup, sour cream, taco sauce in bowl
  • use enough of soup mixture to coat bottom of 9×13 pan thoroughly
  • remove turkey/onion mixture from heat and add black beans and salsa
  • add apx 5 TBSP of meat mixture to each of the 8 tortillas
  • roll tightly and place in pan flap down
  • cover with remaining soup mixture
  • top with shredded cheese
  • bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes

These are super delicious. They taste like something I shouldn’t have eaten, but for only 8pp! Well worth the points spent. I’ll be taking leftovers to work tomorrow to share with my WW at work homies.

Tight roll these suckas like they're your jeans in '89.

Tight roll these suckas like they’re your jeans in ’89.

See? Don't these look like you should feel guilty?!?

See? Don’t these look like you should feel guilty?!?

Okay, so I promised some story telling, right?

I made a bit of an outline for my trip: partly so I don’t retell the same story over and over and partly so that I don’t miss the important things. I want to start from the beginning:

Three flights straight from hell.

My flight plans looked like this: Cincinnati (CVG)->Chicago (ORD)-> Dublin (DUB)-> London(LHR). The problems started in Cincy. Which was by far the nicest of all of the above mentioned airports. Great wi-fi, for free. Charging ports, usb and outlets for every seat. GOOD food. The problem that started the trip was a delay. No big deal really, but it was just frustrating. They didn’t communicate with us at all so we had NO IDEA what was going on. Got to ORD. My super long layover was cut shorter, since I spent that time in CVG. Bonus.

I got to listen to some American, Elvis-impersonating, cowboy douche bag rant about American politics; including immigration, gun control and welfare. It was not enough that Cleetus would NOT hush, he was being so loud and directing his rant to these 4 Irish young adults who could not have possibly cared less. This guy was seriously so ridiculously ignorant, flinging pejorative terms and ignorance like a monkey flings poop. This is America, so yes, please have your opinions, however, spewing them coarsely and at the top of your lungs in a crowded airport terminal is not appropriate.

Anyway, then we boarded our flight to Dublin. Where the toddler in front of me screamed. The entire flight. I felt so bad for his parents, they were trying everything. And God bless the AerLingus staff. They gave this poor kid everything they had. I can’t even say I was mad, just desperate for some sleep.

Flight from DUB to LHR was quick, but the 8-year-old who kicked my seat like a walking stereotype almost didn’t live to see his 9th birthday.

When I escaped the plane, and was free in Heathrow, I realized that Steph and I never really coordinated where we were going to meet. So I went outside the car pick up, Steph went inside to the terminal. And we waited. For about 25 minutes. At which point I thought it would be logical to go check inside one more time before staging a mental break down over being overseas with no means of communicating with her. And we found each other!

Off to the house after I got a good snuggle in with Nannerbelle while we were looking for the place to pay parking. Switched from my big suitcase to my backpack. And then loaded up the car to drive to Belton to James’ parents’ home.

This is the only really gripey post I will make. Promise. After Steph and I found each other, the entire 21 days were perfection! So stick with me! That was just day 1.

Home Sweet Home

I’ve been back since late in the evening on the 21st of May.

I’ve been running around trying to get my mail gone through (not done yet) and my clothes washed(actually did that). I made time this weekend to get out in my garden. As I write this, I realized that I never did actually write about the raised beds that I built. So let’s make this a catch up post. I’m still jet lagged, so I’m going to work in bullet points:

1] I lost weight on vacation. Not even kidding. Down 2 pounds. Normally, I would be disappointed in a total of 2 lbs in 3 weeks. However, if you could see the amount of absolute crap I ate, you’d be surprised that I could button my pants by the end of the trip. So total loss is ~22lbs since January.

2] I’m working on a few posts about the trip, but be patient. Three weeks of holiday tends to blur together, so I’m using some writing tricks I learned in college to organize my thoughts. I think I’m going to split the posts into countries. I also have to wait for my tour mates to post their photos, so that I can steal them. I took my video camera thinking that it would be adequate for stills as well. No. My pictures suck. The camera was also cumbersome, so my pictures are also sparse.

3] Quick rundown of my garden bed, what I planted and what I’ve managed to kill so far:

4'x8'. Made them all by myself!

4’x8′. Made them all by myself!

Wagon ribs for greenhouse plastic and bird netting. Soil mixture: 1 part each vermiculite, manure and peat moss

Wagon ribs for greenhouse plastic and bird netting. Soil mixture: 1 part each vermiculite, manure and peat moss

East bed. Surviving  plants: Cauliflower, Arugula, Cucumbers,  Water melons, Wild Flowers. RIP: Cherry tomatoes, honey dews, and pumpkins

East bed. Surviving plants: Cauliflower, Arugula, Cucumbers, Water melons, Wild Flowers. RIP: Cherry tomatoes, honey dews, and pumpkins

West bed: Survivors: Beefsteak tomatoes, cucumbers, green pole beans, broccoli, onions, red peppers,chives, lettuce and kale. RIP first planted green beans.

West bed: Survivors: Beefsteak tomatoes, cucumbers, green pole beans, broccoli, onions, red peppers,chives, lettuce and kale. RIP first planted green beans.

4] I had to pull 18 maple saplings out of the beds this weekend… I left 2 in one of the vacant tomato cages, just in case anyone I know needs a tree. Seriously. I HATE maple trees now.

Howard missed me. He wasted no time getting into my bed and farting under my covers. I missed him so badly, I don’t even mind. I met so many incredible people. I’m so excited to share my adventures!

Welcome home, Sara Jo. Here’s a tune that made me feel less homesick while I was away:

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving on a Jet Plane

It’s here!

It’s finally here!

Last week I hit my 10% at Weight Watchers.

This week I’m leaving for almost a month abroad in Europe.

A little over a week in Yorkshire/London with Stephanie and the loveliest bebe, Annabelle.

Two additional weeks between Germany, Czech Rep, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.

I have been so excited that I haven’t really slept in about 3 days.

Tomorrow, I fly out.

17 hours in transit.

I’ll see you guys when I get back.

A Really Good Weekend.

You guys know I’m a bit of a homebody.

I like to stay home and do old lady-ish things as opposed to going out. I like to cook, quilt, garden, craft, and read. Not this weekend, though…

I was supposed to attend a wedding reception Saturday evening, but was presented with an opportunity to go camping to see the Aurora Borealis. The AB is a naturally occurring phenomena that causes a light display in the sky, particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. Most of the time a pricey international trip is required to catch a glimpse. I have been considering trips to Norway or Iceland to see them. Even with a trip you’re not guaranteed to see them. Hence, phenomena.

This is the forecast for Saturday:

See?! It was like a special showing just for us!

See?! It was like a special showing just for us!

Therefore, upon receiving the opportunity to see them here, I jumped. (So sorry, Tony and Kristen!) I took a wonderful road trip into Indiana with a new friend, Jimmy. It included a bunch of deer, one normal wild turkey and one that was the size of an ostrich. I’m not kidding:

I don’t really know why Jeff Francoeur showed up, but I’m not bothered by it.

Jeff sure can handle that freak-bird.

Jeff sure can handle that freak-bird.

Anyway. I camped. Outside. It was cold. I did have a bathroom, thank the Lord and Alexander Cummings. I liked camping. Hot (chocolate) Totties kept us warm. Our view of the legendary Northern Lights wasn’t the full-blown night rainbow we might have seen further North, but it was mind-blowing nonetheless. Instead of the bright green, blue and red, we got to see this really eerie, silvery shape slither across the sky. I couldn’t get a good image of it, as my Nikon was being stubborn. This is the only photo that came out and I’m pretty sure its a distortion of a light:

By 'pretty sure' I mean, 'Hey, this is a distorted light'.

By ‘pretty sure’ I mean, ‘Hey, this is a distorted light’.

We took an unintentional detour though Madison, Indiana which is a beautiful, picturesque little town. It was just full of really pretty historic houses and brownstones that sat right on the street. I think I’ll be needing to go back and explore.

downtown-580

Then we ate pizza that was delicious.

After that I got to go to Bernheim Forest and watch my pup boss EVERYONE around, after developing an obsession with my coworkers son. Over the course of 2 hours-ish at the park and the tick inspection afterwards, I picked 14 ticks off of Howard and 3 off of me. That part of the weekend was not awesome.

I’m less than 2 lbs away from having lost 10% of my total body weight. I’m back in my little pants. I tried on clothes, and they fit. I’m leaving for three weeks of incredible in 16 days. Guys, I’m happy. I’m a happy camper, quite officially now that I have actually camped. I can’t believe how blessed I am.

I’m always late.

When those who know me best invite me to an event or gathering, they lie to me. They tell me that whatever-it-is starts at 7 when it really starts at 7:30, because they know I’ll show up between 7:15 and 7:30. In my defense, it isn’t my fault. I am physiologically incapable of timely arrival. Consult my mother. I was even born a week late. So there. Solid, concrete, irrefutable argument.

I say that because I’m late on my update. Again.

I didn’t weigh-in on 3-21. I completely blanked and wore something other than my weigh-in outfit to work… after having worn it every Thursday since the first week of January. I don’t know why. I did, however, remember last week: 3-28. I’m down 3 more pounds! Total loss since January 3 is 16 lbs. I’m not exactly sitting on Biggest Loser potential, but I’m pumped. After months of teeny tiny losses and gains that made ZERO sense, I’m dropping real weight!

I’m down 2 pants sizes. My cute underthings fit again! I don’t feel super awkward in pants that sit on my hips. If you’ve never been fat, you don’t get that last one. When you’re fat and you wear low-rise pants, they cut just underneath your belly. That leads to this:

doesn't count as 'hour glass' shaped

doesn’t count as ‘hour glass’ shaped

And this:

gut

Ever been to Wal-Mart?

annnnnd THIS:

My Job is in PHYSICAL therapy. It includes squatting, climbing, reaching, and sometimes sitting in the floor. This is not okay at work.

I’m not making fun of the people in these pictures to make myself feel good. They just happen to be perfect examples of wearing clothes that are NOT made for your body type. If you are curvy, and have a belly, booty or muffin top, you have to wear pants that accommodate that belly, booty or muffin top. Jeans that sit just above your pubic bone do NOT fit into that category.

Tangent aside.

I’m back in some of my jeans. My old fattish jeans are my new skinny jeans. That makes me giggle a little.

I leave for London to see Steph, Nannerbelle and Tracey in ONE month.

Just one more month.

I’m so freaking pumped, its unreal.

I’m also almost at my -10%. Get ready for it!

Also read a fun fact while watching a documentary on Netflix: In concern to on-line dating: Women’s primary concern is meeting a serial killer. Men’s primary concern is meeting a fat girl. I’ve decided to become a serial killer and then sign up for online dating sites. Teach these men some stinking priorities.

Impending DIY and Weight Watchers’ Nonsense

I skipped my update last week, partly because I was one-foot-in-the-grave and partly because I didn’t want any of you to have me committed for being in full force denial.

My last weigh-in (3-7) I was really expecting to do a solid pound loss or so. I was really on my portion and nutrition levels that week. But, I didn’t. I gained 4/10 of a pound. For once, I didn’t actually worry over it. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t care.

Weight after that meeting: 182.8

Then I woke up Friday morning at approximately why-on-God’s-green-earth-am-I-conscious o’clock in the morning (somewhere between 2-3am for those of you who don’t speak my language.) and I felt like someone had shoehorned a small child into my sinus cavity. I went through two boxes of tissue between the time of my awakening and the time I left for work.

I couldn’t call-in because I had some pressing aquatic tasks that had to be managed. My weight-centered thought process was this, though:

  1. My body must have retained water, because it knew I was getting sick when my mind did not.
  2. I extricated at LEAST 4/10 of a pound of gunk from my facial cavities, and there was undoubtedly more to come.
  3. I can eat whatever I want because I’m sick, and that is a rule.

So then all week, I ate CRAP. Seriously. No nutrition. Just chips and soda and cake and all the other feel good foods that are the ONLY things that sound good when you’re living in an illness-induced pity-party. So at this week’s weigh-in (3-14) I was expecting to see the consequences of this sickness binge.

No. This week I lost 4 lbs. Hence Weight Watchers’ nonsense. I don’t get it. Don’t suggest that maybe I was still eating the appropriate amount of points even though I was eating junk. I still tracked. I ate WAYYYY more than my Daily Points Target AND more than my Weekly Allowance. I GRUBBED. I also didn’t do a stitch of exercise.

I have no idea what is going on.

Weight after 3-14 meeting: 179.0

And, I found out that the-Powers-that-be are trying to bring back WW at work! Fingers Crossed!

Also I’m building raised garden beds this weekend all by myself, and I can’t wait to show and tell! Here’s to not losing any appendages to the circular saw!