The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Today's adventure was an epic winter hike in Fahnstock State Park. Not realizing how much snow there really is in the woods and on the trails, we decided we would leave the snowshoes home and just go with yaktraks on our boots. Yaktraks are like chains or cleats that strap onto your boots. We also brought poles. Well, it wasn't too long before we started punching holes through the snow, which was about a foot deep. You would take a few steps and then plunge down into the snow up to your knees. We would have been better off on snowshoes. We had to concentrate on where we were walking so intently, that I had to make sure I took the time to look around to appreciate the beautiful winter woods. And so we marched on, and on, and on....... We had chosen a 7 mile hike, which would have been a breeze under normal conditions. But with the snow pack and the hole punching, it took us 4 1/2 hours! All I had to eat was a Larabar. We were all exhausted and HUNGRY when we finally found our way back to our cars. The bottoms of my feet are sore probably from the pressure of the cleats. But I have no regrets. It was a great way to spend the better part of a beautiful winter day. And I'm sure I burned at least 1,000 calories!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


the past few weeks have been frustrating. My right IT band has been bothering me off and on for several weeks, and last week it really flared up. I don't know why it is bothering me, I don't think it's from an injury. I can't remember doing anything that might have set it off. It does respond well to NSAIDs, but even when it's better, it's still "there," and I'm afraid to do anything that's going to make it angry. So, I have been taking it easy. I've also found myself spending more time at work, which is good and bad. Good that I am getting things done that need to get done, but bad that it becomes easy to decide not to get to the gym. It's the perfect excuse for not working out, especially when you are "recovering from an injury." Well, my schedule has more free time in the next 2 weeks, so I should be able to get things done, both at home and in the gym. My cycling friends are starting to think more seriously about getting out on two wheels and I am so ready. Do you know that we change the clocks on March 13? Trying to look forward to good things, and get over this little hump.

Friday, February 18, 2011

On My Mind -- Teacups

My mother-in-law collected these beautiful teacup sets. Each set has a cup, saucer and small plate. At one point in time, she decided it was time to pass them on. There were about a dozen sets. She gave half of them to me and half to her daughter. My sister-in-law doesn't have room to display them, so eventually she gave hers to me as well. Right now those are put away. Today I was just looking at the tea cups. They are so pretty and they remind me of my mother-in-law. She's been gone for 3 years now. She was a wonderful lady and I am so lucky that I had such a great relationship with her.

Two Wheels

Things have really warmed up here in the northeast, if only for a few days. Not having to work today, I went out for a ride. Three of my cycling friends joined me for a somewhat leisurely 24 mile ride. We chose a route that travels on roads with numbers instead of names because they were more likely to have cleared shoulders. That seemed to be a good strategy. The roads had a little more traffic, but we had plenty of room to ride most of the way. We stopped at one of the more bicycle-friendly cafes along the way, for beverages. When we hit the road again, the sun was coming out and we really warmed up as we climbed some good hills. Overall, it was just great to be out there on 2 wheels. I'm left with a bad case of spring fever, as the temps are supposed to drop tonight. Tomorrow's forecast includes winds up to 50 mph. Not a good day for 2 wheels.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kale Chips

Easy and delicious. I'll be making these again very nice. Next time I might sprinkle some chili powder on them

1 bunch (about 6 ounces) kale (I used Dinosaur kale but you can use the curly kale too).
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 300°F.
Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs.
Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl then sprinkle with salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp.
Place baking sheet on a rack to cool.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mountain to Screaming Pigeon

After spending too much time and energy deciding whether to try to do something outdoors today, I opted for the gym. Nothing fancy or special, just some good old fashioned cardio. I timed it so i could follow that up with a yoga class. In 60 minutes, we went through many poses: mountains and trees, warriors 1, 2 and 3, cobras, up dogs, down dogs, and laughing baby. Then we came to....... Screaming pigeon!

I watched the instructor, Melissa, do this, and I still don't believe it's anatomically possible unless you have no bones. Well, maybe there is a reason they call it screaming pigeon.

Friday, February 11, 2011

On My Mind....Cookbooks

This is a Friday photo feature that links back to Rhonda's Down-to-Earth blog. Post a photo on your blog that shows something at home that you're thinking about TODAY.

I consider myself a good cook. I enjoy cooking, when I have enough time and I don't feel rushed. But I am not an intuitive cook, I cook almost entirely from cookbooks. I love cookbooks. They allow me to travel all over the world and experiment with different foods. I never have to prepare chicken the same way twice if I don't want to. Sometimes I will cook something and then when I want to prepare it again, I cant find the recipe! But I do try to keep track of my favorites. I write in my cookbooks. I will note when a recipe is really good (or really bad) and any modifications I might make. I usually make a list of my favorite recipes and the associated page number inside the front cover. I borrow cookbooks from the library, too. Sometimes I will copy of few recipes and sometimes I will purchase the cookbook. I think cookbooks are a good investment. Especially when the alternative is eating mediocre food or depending on someone else to prepare your food.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

On My Mind

This is a Friday photo feature that links back to Rhonda's Down-to-Earth blog. Post a photo on your blog that shows something at home that you're thinking about TODAY.

Today (okay, really yesterday) I turned my kitchen into a chemistry lab and concocted some homemade household cleaners. For me, it's not about saving money, although that is certainly appreciated. It's about reducing the toxic load to which I and my family are exposed on a daily basis. The last time the house was cleaned, DH and I came home and we were both overwhelmed by the smell of chemicals. We decided it was time to make a change. I did some online research, including Rhonda's fabulous recipes and insights. I decided I would make laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, all purpose cleaner, wood floor cleaner, window cleaner and furniture polish. I made a shopping list and set off in search of the necessary ingredients. The only one I had difficulty finding was washing soda. I found it online at, where shipping is always free. Yesterday I was home because of the ice storm that descended upon the northeast, and chemistry lab was my first task of the day. Then I made a big pot of split pea soup and cleaned up my kitchen with my new all-purpose cleaner!

Thank you, Rhonda and all the other folks that have inspired me to do this and given me the information to get it done.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

2.5 Weeks of Elimination

So it's been 2.5 weeks on the elimination diet. And it's going well. DH and I are focusing on what we CAN eat, instead of what we cannot eat. We've been eating high quality, nutrient dense foods and we both feel good. Happily,we have both lost weight. Just by changing what I eat, those last pounds from "the change" are starting to come off. I am surprised by how not hungry I am, but when I think about that, it makes sense. I have eliminated all the processed carbs from my diet, and replaced them with fresh foods that require my body to do all the processing. It takes longer, and blood sugar levels don't spike and plunge. There have been times when it has been hard to not stray, but the key to staying on course has been really focusing on food prep and making sure I have the right foods with me. In a way, this has been empowering. Good choices beget more good choices. I was home today because of the ice storm, and I made a big pot of split pea soup. But I must admit, I was really craving a big piece of crusty bread.