Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wait for it...

It's Thursday -- two more days to wait it out until I can move. More or less. I get to move my things into the house on Saturday, but I don't get to move my body in until Sunday, due to a mixup between the new landlady and the current tenant. He wanted to stay one more night -- then actually asked to stay for another week after she agreed to the extra night. The landlady's answer to that was would I consider camping in the spare room (which is full of junk, no bed), stay with a friend of hers, or a friend of mine. I agreed to stay one night with a friend of mine, but had to hold my ground on the rest of it. I was kind of bummed out about the whole thing yesterday, so I didn't take any stuff over as I'd planned. Lost my taste for it. But -- that'll pass. I still look forward to being there.

So now I'm back to waiting, mixed in with whatever prep I can do, such as cleaning, some packing, etc. Frankly, there's not a whole lot more I can do until tomorrow, so I'm gonna take this day and chill out, relax, try to have some fun. If you can call laundry fun. Have given up on cooking for the balance of the week, which gives me a perfect excuse to have something fun for lunch today and tomorrow. I like that!

I worked myself silly at the gym yesterday. I've been whining internally (and sometimes externally) about how I can't seem to work my muscles to the failure point, so I thought I'd see if I could make that happen. I'm probably using weights that are too light, because I'm still feeling out how much this body can handle at this age, but even when I bump them up a notch or so I'm still able to keep going with ease. Yesterday I did bicep exercise after bicep exercise, different ones, different weights, and kept going like the Eveready bunny. Finally, tired of the whole thing, I grabbed a weight bar that did the trick -- only a few curls and yep, couldn't do more. Fast forward to this morning, and while the biceps don't feel particularly sore, I really do feel it in associated shoulder muscles, which seems to be where I feel arm exercises the most lately. Plus I kind of overdid the back work (although not to the damage point) and that certainly lets me know it's unhappy. Then there's that fatigue factor. Not sure I accomplished what I wanted with all that, but I tried. And of course, I'll be back at it tomorrow, albeit with the upcoming move with lots of up and down stairs involved.

So that's it. Next message -- probably from the new place. Wish me luck.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

High protein bean pasta!

I love pasta, but I also strive to be sure my meals are high in protein and mostly free from refined carbs and grains. Even forgetting the last two, there were many wonderful and easy pasta recipes that I'd love to make, but which had no protein. That beautiful photo at the left is one example.

Earlier this week I watched a Dr. Oz segment on pasta made with beans! Full of protein, no flour, low carbs. How perfect can that be!! And who knew it existed.

I've spent the rest of the week trying to track some down. I found manufacturer websites for both of the featured beans.  The black bean pasta (photo at left), is made by Explore Asian. According to their site, it's available locally at all Albertson's markets, but it's not at the Albertson's nearest me. I'll try another eventually. It's also available on Amazon or through the manufacturer, although that requires buying a box of 6. I don't really want to make that investment without trying it first.

Second is a chickpea pasta from Banza, which is not distributed in Oregon yet, and doesn't appear to be available on Amazon. Just like the above pasta, it's available from the manufacturer in a 6-pack. Not sure where it's made, but it's American-owned and based.

My life would be so much easier with this -- quick and easy meals that fit all my nutritional needs and filled with possibilities for serving. Once I move, I'll probably end up ordering a pack of black bean pasta from Amazon, and maybe a box of the other from Banza. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Biding time

So here I sit, enjoying the mild weather, the sunshine and all that goes along with both, while mostly able to remain patient as I await the time when I can begin to move my belongings to the new abode. I am so ready! Not because this place is awful -- I've actually been enjoying these past couple of weeks of sunshine and garden -- but simply because I want to move on to the next phase, get settled in the new place, and learn my way around the new neighborhood. That should begin happening by the middle of next week.

In the meantime -- the effort is to allay boredom, find things to fill my time, somehow manage to balance my workouts so they are not too much (my norm) nor too little. My upper arms and back are currently throbbing from yesterday, for example. They feel something like warm jelly and last night I had zero energy (but no tension, either). By tomorrow, I'll be at it again, although I think I'm gonna try to cut back the cardio a bit. My cardio sessions also work most of my muscles rather strenuously, and that may just be too much, considering my age and the weight exercises that follow. Too much! Besides that, Greg, my trainer in Corvallis many years ago was adamant that I never do both cardio (beyond 10-15 minutes of warmup) and weights on the same day. He didn't want me 'tearing down the muscles he was trying so hard to build'. I've felt rather guilty as I've ignored that advice these past few weeks.

However, with the weekend coming up I have an urge to travel -- the beautiful, clear, sunny weather on the coast is beckoning, although I probably won't give in to the urge. It looks as if I will need to make a road trip to Corvallis early in the week. Wow! Not to dis Corvallis -- it's a very nice town -- but there's not much I can come up with to do other than my errand to the bank. Maybe with a few days to think about it I can come up with a diversion. The recycling center there is always a good place to get some good cardboard boxes for moving.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Salt Creek Falls

This beauty is a not-so-hidden treasure in the Cascades east of Eugene. Salt Creek Falls. At 286 feet top to bottom, the second highest in Oregon and, I read somewhere, the tallest single drop falls. Multnomah Falls in the Columbia Gorge is higher, but is a two-level drop.

Part of the beauty of a falls such as this is the sound, which obviously can't be heard in a still photo. As we approached, I heard it well before it emerged into view, and what a view! I had no idea it would be so big, so spectacular.

The sad part of the day is that this is about 5000' in the Cascade Mountains in the middle of February. No snow! There are ski resorts not far from here that are closed. Bad for the local economy, but a beautiful, sunny, clear day for driving and a short walk to the falls.

A slightly different view -- showing how steeply the water flows on down the mountain.
From the top of the falls....
On the way home, a brief stop along the upper Willamette.
I was a little taken by the contrast here, between the dark firs and the lighter bare wood in the foreground.
Finished the trip with fish tacos and craft beer at a wonderful brew pub in the town of Oakridge -- in a part of the town that I'd never known existed. Of course, I'd never seen anything other than what lines the highway as it passes through town.

A nice adventure for a spring-like day.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Win some, lose some

One day last week I gave in to a food craving and ordered a burger. My mouth was practically watering with anticipation. But once it arrived, that craving disappeared and I realized I really didn't want it. It wasn't all that good -- not bad, but not as good as I expected -- but more than that I immediately remembered that my past few experiences with burgers and fries had ended up the same way: not as good as I wanted it to be, immediate burning in tummy from the fat, and after only a few bites I was full. I felt like I'd swallowed something large and heavy that just sat in my stomach, unwilling to move. I had a few more bites, a few fries, finished maybe half the burger, before I gave up. There was no sense cramming more of it into a space that really did not want more. I felt stuffed for a long time -- seems to take forever for burgers to move through my digestive system.

Fast forward to next day and I was watching a cooking show where a woman from South America was making a lovely-looking ceviche. A light bulb went on with another craving -- light, healthy, delicious ceviche would be so good after that burger! I pored over various recipes, chose one that sounded good, gathered most of the ingredients but saved the star -- the fresh cod -- until this morning. It was a Mexican beach recipe, supposedly, and touted as 'the world's best'. Personally I was disappointed. Not much flavor, the texture of the fish was unpleasant. I had to force it all down because it wasn't cheap, and I'm poor. Plus -- healthy!!

It all started out well -- with the fish 'cooking' away in lime and grapefruit juice, I cut up the rest of the ingredients. Lovely avocado, very expensive organic mango (all I could find ripe).
A little pico de gallo -- tomato, cilantro, red onion.
The final product looked pretty -- and pretty good. I'd put a serrano pepper in my basket at the grocery store a few days ago, but it was nowhere to be found. However, the recipe did not call for chile, I'd just added that on my own. Wish I'd had it! Bland, boring, hard to force down.

I used to have a wonderful ceviche recipe, given to me by a chef in the Napa Valley eons ago when I was trying to publish a Napa Valley cookbook. It was wonderful -- and I don't know why I don't still have it. I do remember tossing all those wonderful recipes at one point, prior to a move. But I sure should have hung on to some of them.

I'll keep trying. Eventually. In the meantime, I should probably spend a little time contemplating the futility and suffering involved with the word 'craving'.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gatorade bath

Gotta love this photo! It happened back in December at the Pac 12 Championship, but the photo only surfaced in my world yesterday. I've see videos, and saw it when it happened, but I just love this photo, with Helfrich covered, the stop-action liquid, the whole thing. It's a photo I'd have been very proud to have taken!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sunshine amidst the rain

Tis a rainy, rainy day here today (and yesterday, and tomorrow). Fortunately I managed to get to and from the laundromat this morning with only light sprinkles, no downpours such as is happening at the moment.

However -- despite the rain outside, other things seem to be looking rather sunny. The new abode, first of all! Can't wait to make that move. But, that's not all.

My diet and workout regime seems to be working -- the fat seems to be finally, finally starting to budge right off the body. I'll keep saying seems until I'm convinced that the recent change on the scale is real, because in my experience it's just as likely to go back up by Monday even though I haven't changed anything relevant. In the meantime, there is a modicum of hope, tempered as always by another modicum of cynicism. Still, I'll take it.

Somehow, any small sense of progress makes it so much easier to continue pushing the workouts and (mostly) avoiding sugar and flour.  Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy the workouts, punishing though they may seem. I like pushing the body to the outside of what it can do, as long as I don't push into the realm of damage. So far, the only damage has been to make this old body feel like a wet noodle by the time I finish on Friday. Buzzing with that nice burn, unwilling to do much. And very much looking forward to two whole days off!

In my experience, it takes about 6 weeks to reach the point where the muscles that are being exercised really become stronger, and complain less. I found that out when I lived on a hill 1000' above the city of Reno and suddenly had no transportation other than a 3-speed bicycle. Every time I went down the hill I managed to pedal a little further back up the hill, and at the end of 6 weeks I finally, exultantly, managed to pedal all the way to the top and after that, it was a piece of cake.

I'm not sure exactly when I started this rowing thing, but it was early January sometime. Surely, I'm not far from the end of those 6 weeks!  That doesn't count the targeted weight work after the rowing that pushes all those muscles to their real max and causes the lasting burn. That's only been happening 2 or 3 weeks so I have a way to go there. Still -- worth it!!!!

But wait, there's more -- I may have a temp job that will last a few months! This would be perfect for me, and I get the sense that they already want me, just from my resume. I have an interview Monday morning to learn more. Part-time, independent contractor, QuickBooks data entry while they will be out of town for 3 months. At least, that's how I understood it -- the phone rang just as my landlady and a potential renter came in to look at the place, so it wasn't the best conversation on record. Time is flexible, and whatever it is will be better than the big fat zero I'm getting right now. It's even within easy walking distance from here, although that won't be useful for more than a few more weeks. Still.

All in all -- things are looking up and I feel really great. What's not to like about that?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Irresponsible people

You may remember that back in December I walked out of the house one morning to find that someone had crashed into my car overnight. There was no note, no nothing, other than my power mirror laying in the driveway, and a big hunk of plastic lens on the pavement next to my car. Hit and run. You may also remember that my sharp-eyed landlady noticed that the truck across the street was suddenly being parked nose out, and off to the side next to the house. A quick walk over to check -- yep, damage to a rear tail light.

The police came, confirmed that the hunk of lens indeed was a Toyota product (it's on the inside of the lens), and the truck was a Toyota and indeed had a smashed taillight. The woman in the house who owned the truck was reluctant to fill out an accident report form, until the officer pointed out that she could be charged with hit and run, which is a serious crime. I could have opted to have him do that, but I just wanted them to be financially responsible for the damage. Everything was turned over to my insurance company, all the proper reporting forms submitted (on my end). I was confident things would move smoothly. The car was repaired, I paid my $500 deductible with the assurance it would be refunded when the other insurance company paid up.

A month or so ago, a call from my insurance company revealed that when they called the phone number listed on the form the woman filled out, they were always told it was a wrong number. The insurance company she listed would not call them back. I contacted the officer who was here (via email) but never heard from him, was about ready to go to the police station myself.

Fast forward to this past Sunday. My landlady met and ended up in a conversation with the woman who rents the house (they had just moved in when the accident happened), and in the course of conversation referred to 'the accident'. The woman was shocked, knew nothing about it, had been out of town at the time. The truck belongs to her sister, who has been staying with her while trying to get her life together. She was really upset, said she would talk to her sister. I learned this on Monday, and rather than talking to the woman, opted to send a nice letter, including a copy of the form her sister filled out, and letting them know that I was about ready to press hit and run charges. I gave them the phone and claim numbers, and basically said that if my insurance company didn't get cooperation from the sister quickly, I would press charges.

Yesterday -- a call from my insurance company. The sister had called them. She has no insurance (lied on the form), so now my claim falls under uninsured motorist. They are going to send me a check for $300, go after the sister for the rest of the money, and will send me the remaining $200 when they get it. I'm not holding my breath on that, but I'm happy to have the $300 back and will write the rest off until I find out otherwise.

So the strange saga comes to an end, effectively. Kudos to my landlady for her sharp eyes and for bringing the subject up with the responsible sister. Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to being able to park my car off the street!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Moving again....

In a month or less, this will be my new home! Notice all the trees outside the windows. This is a townhouse in south Eugene, in the hills surrounded by forests and abutting a large park. It cascades down the side of the hill in 3 levels, with this main level being street level. There are hiking trails in the area. It's quiet and private and has off-street parking.

I'm gonna love that big, private, forest-like deck for some walking meditation. Have never had a real place to do that anywhere I've lived, and this should do it. It's also in the snow zone -- at a high enough elevation that it gets more than downtown, and lasts longer. Beautiful to look out at, but I won't be driving in it, for sure. It doesn't happen all that often or last too long.

My bedroom is on the next level down, and while it's just a basic, dull box of a room, it has a big window overlooking this same view, and I have a good-sized full private bath on the same level. The kitchen is great -- large, well-equipped, with plenty of room to add my own stuff. There's also a washer and dryer, so weekly laundromat trips will be a thing of the past. It's a place where I will feel totally comfortable that it's 'my' place too -- that I won't be an intruder in the owner's space.

I'll have a roommate, of course, but only one. She's younger (52), has a full time job with a non-profit, and is about as easy to get along with as anybody I know. Her bedroom is on the 3rd level down, so there's plenty of privacy. When I started looking, I thought about how easy it was to live in the vihara in Santa Rosa, with 2 others in the house, sometimes more. I learned to enjoy the companionship. I knew I didn't want more than one other person to share with, but put out feelers and got several responses, including this one that popped up on Sunday evening.

It's still on a bus line, although the stop is down the hill (meaning up the hill coming home!) And there's another gym on that side of town that I can use, plus my favorite food store and my second favorite, the Asian market. I'm looking forward to it.