Meatless? Aimless?

So today was the first of my two meatless days for the week. Here’s what I ate:

  • instant oatmeal
  • boiled egg
  • cheese
  • macaroni with alfredo sauce (from Whole Foods, in a box)
  • pecans
  • raisins
  • yogurt
  • Cheerios with milk (the dinner of champions)
  • a whole lot of ice cream

Does it necessarily count as vegetarian, though? Or is it just a random collection of foods which does not happen to include meat? I’m not even sure if it’s healthy.

Hairtastic

We just got back from a trip to the grocery store. I bought the groceries while J filled the 5-gallon water bottles at the machines outside. I hope he’s okay with this distribution of labor, because I know I really appreciate it–I can lift the filled bottles, but it’s not easy!

As for hair, the groceries were bagged by a very nice young man who had hair like a faun. Seriously, between the sideburns so long that they were just locks in front of his ears, and the clumpy spikes, it was as if Mr. Tumnus had decided that now that he has been redeemed for obeying the White Witch, he would assist people in supermarkets.

On my way out, I noticed that Kid ‘n Play are back–or at least Kid’s hair is. Or maybe it was Play’s hair.

Right Now, Less Cow

I wasn’t that successful at the 29-Day Giving Challenge. In fact, I’m not even sure if the original 29 days have passed.

However, I like the idea of a challenge, and stretching myself in new ways. So I’ve just signed up for the Right Now, Less Cow Challenge offered by Carbonrally. They have quite a few challenges, and many of them are things that interest me–but either we’re already doing them (replacing old lightbulbs with CFLs, air-drying some of our laundry) or they aren’t practical until we have a house (composting).

Two meatless days a week, though, sounds like a good way to start. Apparently I’m not starting until tomorrow, though; if I’d found the challenge (and, indeed, Carbonrally) earlier, I wouldn’t have had that hamburger for lunch.

In-n-Out

I came home with a headache and didn’t feel like cooking, so we went to In-n-Out. There’s a lot of discussion about what In-n-Out does well, and generally I agree. However, there is one thing that–mystifyingly–they do badly.

The fries.

They’re so strange. Mushy and bland, and undercooked. You can order them well-done, but then they’re overcooked.

Plenty of people like them, so it’s entirely possible that it’s just me. And mind you, my dislike for them does not keep me from eating some of J’s when he orders them. But in general, I’ll stick to their burgers. Our sandwiches of choice? J likes the double-double with lettuce only, and I like the cheeseburger with grilled onions.

Since neither a nap nor the burger seemed to fix my headache, I’ve now resorted to Tylenol. In the meantime, we’re watching The Conversation. That will move one of the Netflix movies from the shelf. And it only took two months!

Aloha

No, we’re not going to Hawaii. Although wouldn’t that be wonderful? We’ve been lucky enough to go several times since our wedding, and it’s at the top of the list of places we’d live if we won the lottery.

However, I am experiencing an element of Hawaiian culture. After years of talking about it, I’ve started taking hula lessons. Tonight was the first session, and I’m really enjoying it. Hula turns out to be quite the workout–particularly Tahitian style.

Now, you might think that I became interested in hula as a result of going to Hawaii, but that’s not the case. No, I decided that I wanted lessons after seeing Lilo & Stitch. That’s right. My inspiration came from Disney.

It is a lot of fun, though. Four more classes don’t seem like enough.

Miscellany

I gave up on the 29-Day Giving Challenge a while ago, but today I gave a lot of things away.

Yesterday I got a premium for subscribing to Everyday Food: two reusable shopping bags. I think this is a great idea for a premium, and I’m not the only one–we each got one when we picked up our registration materials at the triathlon last weekend. Between those and the bags we already had, the two that arrived yesterday were two too many. So when I went to Whole Foods this morning, I gave them away to people who didn’t have bags with them. Apparently it’s not just a good premium, it’s a good thing to get from a random stranger. Both recipients seemed very happy with their new bags. One woman said, “You just made my day!” And while that’s nice, I hope that the high point of her day didn’t turn out to be getting a free reusable bag at 8:30 a.m.

In the spirit of clearing out things we don’t need, I took several bags of clothes and an old DVD player to Out of the Closet, a thrift store with a branch nearby. (I also returned a book to the library–but since I then picked up four that had been on hold, I can’t count that as a victory over stuff.)

My errands weren’t all focused on giving, though, because I had to buy gas. At $4.61 per gallon, this made me even happier that neither of us regularly commutes by car. I paid a little over $55 for 12 gallons of gas. It’s a relief that I didn’t need a whole tank, because that would have cost $70.

I did squeeze in some self-indulgence (as if that’s rare). For the first time in about 8 years, I had my hair colored in the salon. I’ve been doing this myself–sporadically–with a variety of Nice & Easy shades. But the home kit doesn’t seem to be coloring the gray the way it used to. I figured that I could embrace the gray, but then I’d kind of have to cut my hair short. Or I could continue to let my hair grow out, but then I’d need to pay more attention to the color. I’m just not ready for the former. While I think Jamie Lee Curtis looks fantastic, she’s about 20 years older than I am. So I’m going with the latter, although I have a lot of qualms about how much it costs. On the other hand, chances are good that I won’t go to the salon more than once every three months, so I guess that if I amortize the costs it won’t sound so bad.

Oh, who am I kidding?

Be Prepared

We’re watching Escape from New York, and J is going through our earthquake kit to make sure that everything is up to date. Actually, that should be earthquake kits. We have a lot of gear.

When I was little, my family lived in Sherman Oaks. I started elementary school, and after a year we moved to Maryland. After a while, I started to wonder: how would all of my classmates in Maryland survive an earthquake, since we never had an earthquake drill? Would I be the only one who knew to get under my desk?

After I got home and confided my concerns, my mother explained that Maryland was not likely to experience any earthquakes. I was skeptical, but as things turned out, she was right. And, of course, I know now that getting under my desk would have been fairly useless as a protective measure.

I don’t know how useful the earthquake kits would be, either. For starters, we’d have to be at home to use them. But better safe than sorry. It may be a cliche, but it’s a pretty harmless one.

And on the plus side, it’s very unlikely that we’ll need to prepare for entering and escaping a prison city.

Why We Want Our Own Place, Part II

My last post on this subject focused on the negatives of our current domicile. That shows what we want to move away from–but what do we want to move to?

We want to live in a place that:

  • we can paint.
  • is more private.
  • has a garage, the better to store our sporting equipment.
  • has a space where we can install a clothesline.
  • doesn’t require us to share the laundry room.
  • has a yard in which we can start a vegetable garden.
  • we can make more environmentally friendly.

That last item is a big one. We have lots of plans, depending on the house we find. But it will be wonderful to have a place that we can make our own, that will allow us to live the way we want to.

Well, That Was Exhausting

Yesterday afternoon, J and I drove down to Redondo Beach. The day before a race, we like to do a practice swim and practice bike ride, to get more familiar with the course. I suppose we could do a practice run, too, but that way lies madness.

So we got to the beach and I decided very quickly that if the surf didn’t go down by morning, I was going to skip the race. It wasn’t stormy, but the water was pretty choppy. I really didn’t think I could cover 1/2 mile under those conditions.

And I was probably right. The water was much calmer this morning–the waves were breaking fairly close to the beach, with rolling surges beyond that. It turned out, though that the rolling surges were much more rolling than I thought. In spite of the short distances, this was the toughest of the triathlons I’ve done, and that’s all due to the swim. The ocean was cold, murky, and dynamic (and it tasted bad–I don’t know what’s in the water in Redondo Beach, but it can’t be good).

When I finally emerged from the water, it was with the slowest time I’ve gotten (30 minutes in the water, and my official time will be longer than that)–and a charley horse. My calf muscle loosened up over the bike portion, but then I developed a stitch in my side. Everything evened out a bit during the run (which I walked all of, except for the finish chute), but on the whole I’m amazed that the right half of me was able to finish the race.

Of course it helped that I had a lot of support. My dad and stepmom and J’s parents came out in the wee hours of the morning to cheer us on, and after he finished his race, J walked the run with me. Interestingly, the run may have been my favorite portion. The company, of course, was excellent, but the course was fun too. It wound through the Redondo Beach pier and by the neighboring lagoon, which has been turned into a saltwater pool with slides.

After the race, we all adjourned to the Redondo Beach Cafe for brunch. The service was really slow, but everyone seemed happy with their various entrees. I was quite happy with the Kitchen Sink Omelet, which had cheese, avocado, ham, and onions; other dishes at our table included French toast, multigrain pancakes, a tuna melt, a chicken-salad croissant sandwich, and a French dip. The whole wheat orange pancakes and the crepes sounded good, but what I wanted most of all was protein.

In the end, I finished dead last with a time of 1:52:35–but I finished.

Not bad for someone who, after waking up this morning, was so tired that she couldn’t focus her eyes.