Exercise Update: 3/7/11 and 3/8/11

OMG!  My 5k is on Sunday!  I feel so unprepared.  I know I can walk the whole darn thing if I want, but I’d planned on doing a mix of walking and jogging (heavy on the jogging).  *sigh*  I’ll do this one, and then sign up for another one a bit further out while planning out my cardio to work towards jogging the whole thing.

So after this weekend I felt pretty bad about the lack of exercise I got, and all the unhealthy foods I’d eaten.  On Monday I got up bright and early at 6am (ugh) to jog on the treadmill and work with my weights.  It was sooooo hard to get going once I got up.  I was up and dressed but dawdled and moved slowly until 6:30, which only gave me enough time to do the cardio work before I had to get ready for the day.

I tried to jog, but it just felt wrong.  The treadmill was making crazy noises and I couldn’t get my breathing right, and my stride felt off.  It just sucked.  So I walked super fast instead.  Then I tried jogging again.  Then back to walking.  I repeated this cycle for 30 minutes and managed to go about 2 miles.

Later in the day I took a break from work and walked around the block.  It was nice and windy!  It felt good to get out of the library for a minute to re-center myself and focus on fitness for 15 minutes.

DH wasn’t home yet when I got in from work, so I pulled out the dumbbells and followed my SparkPeople weight regime.  I can tell you that I don’t like lunges.  They make my knees feel icky, but I know what awesome things they can do for the lower body.  I can also tell you that I’m not such a fan of crunches.  I did them, but ugh.

Today I set the alarm for bright and early again. I almost ignored the alarm and slept in until the absolute latest, but I told myself that ignoring the alarm was the first step back towards fat.  I got dressed in the dark so DH could sleep some more, went downstairs and found the yoga videos by Yogatic I scoped out on YouTube the night before.  I did all 3 beginner yoga videos, and then started in with my day.  The videos themselves were only about 30 minutes long total… but I dawdled after the alarm again.

I’m planning on taking a couple of breaks from work to walk around the block again.  We’ll see if the weather holds out.  If it doesn’t, I’ll have to walk on the treadmill when I get home tonight.

Here are the videos I followed this morning:

I have a problem…

(This is a repost from my SparkPeople (SP) blog)

…Well, a few of them actually. But this problem is SP related. You see, when I go on vacation or do something outside of my routine, it seems like eating healthfully and exercising go quickly out the window.

Take this weekend for instance. I did this awesome shop hop with my sister and her friend. I started out really good: ate a healthy breakfast, packed a couple of snacks and told myself that I would eat appropriately on the road. I also told myself that I’d find the gym at our hotel and work out there after dinner.

The first day we stopped at Starbucks. I was good with the drink: coffee and some fat free milk. Not so good with the treat. I ordered 3 of those mini vanilla scones. I knew I should have limited myself to 1, or not ordered it at all since I had snacks in the car. I told myself that it was OK to order them because I could just eat 1 (140 calories) for a snack now, and eat the others at other times for snacks.

Before I knew it, I’d eaten all 3 and it was time for lunch. Ugh. Lunch was healthy enough. A 6″ turkey sandwich on wheat with veggies and mustard from Subway. Then I added on the baked Lays Sour Cream and Onion chips. *sigh* I only got them because I was jealous that everyone else got to have chips and I didn’t. Never mind that they’re all pushing 300 lbs, and I’m trying to lose weight. And to top it all off, they didn’t even taste very good. Wasted calories.

I thought I’d share an sleeve of thin mints. The other two people in the car with me had 3-4 cookies each. I ate the rest. Again with the mindless eating.

Along the way there was candy at each shop. And home baked goodies. I was good at first, but by the end of the day I was sampling at each shop.

Then dinner came along. We went to a pasta place. Every single thing on their menu outside of the kids menu had some type of cream sauce on it. Their salad was drenched in a creamy dressing. And I had a glass of wine.

You can probably guess that I didn’t make it to the hotel gym.

Saturday was much the same, except that I remembered I’d packed my exercise bands and used them for a quick upper body workout that morning. I also ate a very healthy breakfast: oatmeal with raisins and walnuts, a banana, some coffee with creamer.

Today I didn’t even really try, although I did order from the fresco menu at Taco Bell.

So I know that I can’t stop just because I traveled and ignored everything healthy this weekend. My plan for tomorrow is to get up bright and early, and jog on my treadmill. Then I’ll work on the weight routine that SP suggests. And I’ll eat healthfully all day too.

Quilter’s March Madness Shop Hop

It’s been a few days since I last posted, mostly because I’ve been on the road!  I know I could have scheduled posts to magically show up, and you folks wouldn’t have been the wiser…  but it felt like cheating, ya know?  What was I doing that was so important that I couldn’t blog?  Shop Hopping!

For those of you who aren’t in the know, a shop hop is this thing that crazy people do.  Well not crazy, exactly.  Just people who want an excuse to go to multiple quilt stores over the course of a few days and hang out with fellow quilters.  There are chances to win prizes along the way too!  I love shop hops.  They’re something my sister and I can do together while reinforcing creativity and creation.  But shop hops are not all fun and games.  They require lots of planning, timing, and dedication.  After all, you only have a few days to visit a lot of shops!  This particular shop hop had 22 stores spread across northern California.  We visited Antioch, Brentwood, Ceres, Concord, Danville, Fairfield, Fremont (2 stores), Gilroy, Hollister (my favorite!), Livermore, Manteca, Martinez, Morgan Hill (2 stores), Oakdale, San Carlos, San Mateo, Tracy, Turlock, Vacaville, and Winters.  I’ll write another post later to tell you about the stores individually.

I’m sure you’re all dying to know what I bought.  I’m so excited to show you!

Us Quilt

Us Quilt

The fabric above is for something called an “us quilt.”  A lot of people make quilts that are about a specific person.  They typically include things that the person collects, does for a living, hobbies, etc.  This one is an us quilt, so it includes things that DH and I enjoy, do, work at and value.  They’re along the outside and are full of crazy colors.  For DH there’s rain, Pez, conversation hearts, a computer, coffee and bbq.  For me there’s books, ice cream, sewing, cocktails, pinup girl and family values.  What usually ends up happening is that all the crazy colors/fabrics end up working together to form one cohesive style/color value.  With ours… not so much.  It was actually pretty challenging to find five fabrics that worked with everything (those are in the middle).  I know it looks a bit insane, but it’ll work.  I’ll show you when I’m done!  I didn’t buy any backing because I think I’m going to use Minkee fabric and make it cozy instead.  It would be nice for cuddling under that way.



I also found some of the most awesome fabric ever – Superman!  I was so excited that I was dancing in the quilt store.  You see: Superman is my boyfriend and has been since I was 5 years old.  DH and I have an understanding 😉

The plan for this fabric is to “fussy cut” squares around the Superman figures on the bottom left fabric, use the logo fabric as a wide border and the comic book fabric as the backing.  The other fabrics will be used as borders around the fussy cut Superman figures.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this quilt!

Oh yeah!  And I also got the backing for my African/giraffe quilt that’s almost done.  All I have to do with that one is piece the backing, make sure I have the right amount of batting, and then get it quilted.  I’m tempted to try the quilting myself, but I’m scared I’ll wreck my awesome quilt top.  What do you think I should do?  Get it quilted or try to machine quilt it myself?  My attention span won’t allow for hand quilting.

Exercise Update: 3/2/11

After eating way too much at Claim Jumper’s last night (think Ahi tuna salad with a few sips of mai tai and chocolate chip calzone for dessert) and sitting in meetings all day, I knew I needed to exercise.  DH has been nice enough to leave the treadmill set up for me, even though it’s in the way most of the time.  When we got home from dinner, I immediately went upstairs to change.

My total time on the treadmill was 30 minutes, and I went 2.05 miles.  Definitely not my best time, and more of it was walking than I wanted it to be.  But on a positive note I managed to jog for 16 minutes straight!  Go me!  We’ll see how my legs are feeling tonight to see if I can bump that initial jog up to about 20 minutes.

Once I finished with the jog, I did a little bit of stretching and started in on the weightlifting portion of my workout.  I’d signed up for SparkPeople a few days ago, and today’s weightlifting workout for that program was called “Bikini Body for Beginners”.  I modified some of the exercises with their special tool and got to working.  I have to admit that I half-assed the ab portion because I had such bad heartburn by the time I got to it.  Somehow sitting up and laying down repeatedly just didn’t sound like a good idea with that.

When I weighed myself this morning, I was down 2 pounds!  Go me!  I’m now back down to 160.  Only 27 pounds to go!

If it’s not raining today I’m planning on going for a walk around the block at work (about 15 minutes) and then doing a 15 minute walk or jog on the treadmill with yoga to finish it up.  If it is raining, I’ll do it all on the treadmill and follow with some yoga.

I dream of… factory burning?!?

I wonder why I dream the things I do.  Like this morning, I dreamed that I was married to someone (not my DH) who had betrayed me and that I had to get even.  It wasn’t clear what he had done in my dream, but I knew I had to destroy his factory.  I went in after hours one night and started up the production line.  I set it to go way too fast so that the metal wouldn’t have a chance to cool before the machine attached the fabric and shot the finished product into the catch bin.  Then I went down to the floor area and started combining chemicals until there was a gross color.  Eventually the chemicals started smoking.  Just as I was getting ready to destroy the computers, a private investigator showed up and I ran… right into the police outside.  Just as they caught me the factory went up in flames.

Somewhere after the police there was a trial.  I refused to say a word to the cops or judge.  Somehow I was allowed to get myself to the trial but I started feeling sick.  I ended up in a scary neighborhood and was looking for some place to use the bathroom.  Homeless people kept trying crazy things with me and hiding underground in unkempt yards.  They would somehow pull the dead lawn back, crawl in and pull it over them like a blanket.  Then one of them drugged me with “marijuana in a bottle” – something he stole off a girl at a party.  I was like “noooo…. I’m gonna get in trouble” and started hallucinating in my dream.

Then I woke up.  So what the heck was this all about?  The zombie dreams I understand.  I can even find parallels in those with what’s going on in my life or in a show I’ve been watching.  But this dream was just crazy

DH Cooks: Tomatillo Cream Sauce and Avocado Butter

DH has realized that he needs hobbies that aren’t computer related.  He spends roughly 50-60 hours each week on a computer at work and then comes home to study and work on them some more at home.  Anyone who has worked with computers for very long knows how rough that can be on your hands, arms, neck, etc with all of the repetitive motions that requires.  So, he started his search for a new hobby and settled on cooking.

I don’t know if you know this, but DH is not a cook.  He can open a can of whatever and heat it up on the stove.  He can make a killer grilled cheese sandwich.  And his heart attach sandwiches are awesome!  We’ve even had some pretty good Swedish meatballs before.  Other than that, though…  DH doesn’t cook.  Don’t get me wrong; he can follow a recipe, but he admits to not understanding why someone would put salt AND pepper on meat that they’re cooking.  Well, his quest to understand cooking and food resulted in the purchase of a Mexican Cookbook from Half-Priced Books.  He planned to start at the beginning and work his way through.  Each week or so he’ll cook a different recipe.  This week it was Tomatillo Cream Sauce and Avocado Butter.

Tomatillo Cream Sauce

Tomatillos in Water

De-husk and quarter 11oz of tomatillos.  Put them in a pot with about 1/2 cup of water or stock.  Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the flesh is soft and transparent. (We used way toooooo much water, you’ll find out why it’s a problem later).  While those are cooking away, take de-seed 2 serrano chillies and smash 4 cloves of garlic.  Put the garlic, chillies, the cooked tomatillos and liquid in a blender.  Blend until almost smooth.

Blended tomatillo stuff

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet and add the tomatillo puree.  Cook gently, stirring non-stop until it reduces and thickens.  You want it to look like the green sauce you’d put on tamales.  (We put way more than 1/2 cup of water in the pot with the tomatillos so this took FOREVER to reduce). Chop a bunch of coriander or cilantro and add it to the sauce with salt to taste.  Cook for a few more minutes.  Stir in 4 oz of heavy cream and warm the sauce through – don’t let it boil!  Serve at once.

Avocado Butter

This recipe is by Alton Brown of the Food Network.

Into the Food Processor

Put into the food processor: flesh from 2 ripe avocados, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tbsp chopped cilantro, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp ground cumin, 3 tbsp unsalted butter, salt to taste.  Blend until smooth.


Avocado Butter

Wrap the avocado butter in parchment paper (form into a log) and refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.


We cooked some tilapia in a tablespoon of butter with salt and pepper, then topped half with the avocado butter and half with the tomatillo cream sauce, and ate it with a side of brown rice.  It wasn’t attractive but it tasted good!


Our First Tequila Sunrise

Final Thoughts

The tomatillo cream sauce was surprisingly good.  I was really worried that it would suck hard, but when you pair it with the tilapia, it works.  The avocado butter was really good on its own, but not so good with the tilapia.  I think it would be great as a spread on a BLT or just on some toast as a snack.

We have some extra tilapia because a dinner guest got his nights mixed up, so we’re going to try cooking it differently tomorrow – put the avocado butter on top while it’s cooking (so it gets all melty) and then top the fillets with the cream sauce.  It should be awesome!

You know, we’re doing this so that DH can learn how to cook, but what it’s teaching me is how to step aside and let him cook.  Before, I’d step in and kinda kick him out of the kitchen instead of explain how to do things.  On DH’s cooking nights he figures it out with only a few comments from me.  If there’s a technique to learn, I show him on one part and let him take over from there.  It seems to be working well… even if I have a lot of trouble letting go of that control.

Workout: 2/28/11

I haven’t gotten much exercise in the past week, so I thought I should get some in while I was waiting for my husband to get home.  I set the treadmill to 1% incline, warmed up and got to jogging.

I wasn’t sure how well I’d do since I’m fighting off the beginnings of this cold that’s going around work.  You know the one – sore throat, coughing, trouble breathing.  It’s nasty and it’s taking awhile for me to actually catch it.

You don’t know how excited I was to jog over a mile without stopping!  I finally had to walk at the 15 minute mark because my legs were burning so much… but man!  That was awesome!  Usually it’s my breathing that’s the problem, but if my legs would have kept going I could have jogged for longer.  I walked the last 6 minutes or so and finally decided to stop when I realized that the burning in one leg was from my knee and the burning in the other leg was from my ankle.  Even still, I’m counting this as a total win and I plan on jogging some more on Wednesday!

Total time: 21:03, 1.5 miles

My Ubuntu Life: F-Spot

I spent almost a full day goofing off on the internet with my Ubuntu machine.  I watched Hulu with it and had no problems.  I figured out how to change my background, screen saver, and screen resolution (that helped with the font size on every screen).  I opened Word Processor and closed it after a second.  With nothing to type in there and no real reason to work with it yet, it didn’t make sense to mess with the program yet.  DH said my expression said “OMG the 90s just shat on my computer.”  It wasn’t that bad, but I don’t think I’m ready to mess with it too much yet.

Today I played with F-Spot.  I took pictures of DH’s cooking adventures today and used them to test out F-Spot.  I only took 11 photos, so I don’t know how well it does with bigger uploads.  It seemed to work just fine for my needs.

Basically, I took my SD card out of the slot in my camera, plugged it into the slot on my computer.  Ubuntu immediately recognized it and asked what to do with the info on the card.  I chose F-Spot from the drop down menu, added my tags and clicked upload.  I could edit the photos if I wanted to but nothing really needed very much work, plus I know nothing about editing, except for removing red eye.

I really liked that I could use F-Spot to upload my photos directly to Flickr.  I just had to give my approval on both programs and click “complete.”  I couldn’t see a way to do it as easily with Snapfish but I’m pretty sure that it’ll be just as easy to upload as with Windows.

Although I haven’t had a chance to mess with everything F-Spot has to offer, it seems to work well enough for my needs.  So far open source isn’t too bad!

I Cooked: Basil Bread

One of the things I received from my sister when she moved in to take care of mom was her bread machine.  She never really used it, and I thought it would be fun to play with so I happily took it home.  I’ve used it a few times to make white bread, onion bread, egg bread and whole wheat bread.  I thought I’d try something different, so I searched the internet for a recipe that would work.  It was a bit of a challenge because I didn’t have any eggs in the house – do you know how many bread recipes require eggs?  I finally found a recipe for Rosemary Bread.  Small problem though…  I was out of dried rosemary.  What’s a gal to do?  Substitute with a different herb of course!  I used basil and it turned out surprisingly good.

I was a little concerned when I tried it because the directions say to proof your yeast before adding any of the other ingredients.  My bread machine directions say to add the yeast last and let the machine do the work.  I followed the recipe’s directions and I’m glad I did.  The bread turned out fluffy, soft, and delicious!

The original recipe from All Recipes is below:


  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F (43 degrees C))
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary (I used Basil)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Pour the water into the pan of a bread machine, then sprinkle in the yeast and sugar. Let the mixture sit in the bread machine until a creamy foam forms on top of the water, about 10 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle in the salt, then add olive oil, thyme, garlic powder, rosemary, and flour.
  3. Use the basic bread setting with light colored crust, and start the machine.

I’ll definitely try making this one again with rosemary.  I think it would be awesome cut into smaller slices, toasted with bruscetta on top, or even a regular slice dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum!

My Ubuntu Life 2/25/11

DH and I planned on using my old laptop as a Linux/Ubuntu machine once I got a new one.  I’ve been interested in learning about open source software from a user’s perspective for awhile now, but I wasn’t willing to make the leap and ditch Windows completely.  Getting a new laptop (which I sorely needed) for my regular internetting/gaming/productive needs would allow me to also learn about open source stuff on my old laptop.  Well, things happened as they often do.  Even though I got a new laptop we ran into problems installing Ubuntu on my old machine, so it sat unused in our second bedroom until now.

I’m off on Fridays and DH chose to work from home today.  Today I took care of mom so my sister could go to her follow-up appointment for her ankle.  When I came home I found my old laptop right next to my new one.  “Check it out!” DH said.  “I broke your laptop for you!”  I turned on my old laptop and found that he had “broken” it and turned it into an Ubuntu machine.  So here’s a question… do I call my old laptop my Ubuntu machine or my Linux machine?  I want to be mostly correct when I talk about these things, and I’m tired of writing old laptop.  I guess I’ll call it Ubuntu machine unless I hear differently from all of you internetters out there.

Why Explore Open Source?

As many of you know, I work in a public library.  As some of you may be aware, libraries don’t necessarily have a lot of money but we serve a population of hundreds of thousands (depending on the size of the system/region served).  We need computerized systems that allow us to create library accounts for patrons; circulate library materials; bill for lost, damaged or late materials; add and delete materials for the system; and provide an easily searched catalog of these materials for our patrons and staff.  The library term for these is an integrated library system (ILS).  There are a number of ILSes available in the wide wide world and they can be very expensive.  Once a library has signed on with a particular ILS it seems as though they’re partners for life.  There’s a running joke among some ILS customers that if your system wants a new feature for your ILS it’ll cost you $10,000.  Sad, but true.

We all know how difficult the current economy is and how huge the deficits are.  Unemployment rates are still sky high, and those who haven’t been laid off are living as though tomorrow will be the day they get a pink slip of their very own.  Historically speaking, library use rises while library funding is decreased during recessions.  This recession is no different.  If things continue as they are, I think it will become very difficult for libraries to pay such high fees for many of these ILSes.

So, why not look at open source?  There are a few open source ILSes out there.  Unfortunately I don’t know enough about open source anything to speak knowledgeably about deploying and using it in a community so slow to accept change as many library systems are.  (Please don’t get me wrong!  There are a lot of nimble, change oriented library systems out there, but there’s a reason libraries have the reputation for being stuffy, dusty and old fashioned.)  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to be able to be the person that knows about open source products and can speak from experience when guiding people towards or away from these products.

My First Impression

The desktop is very clean looking.  I like that there aren’t any icons cluttering it up but I’m also glad that DH installed the dock (that bar thingie with magic buttons).  I immediately gravitated towards that and started looking at all the stuff that popped up.  Big blank screens with nothing but a menu at the top are a bit intimidating for someone used to icons for everything even though I often use the menu in Windows.  The dock definitely made Ubuntu more welcoming for a first time user.

I also like how quickly everything loads.  I can remember how slowly this particular laptop moved and how painful it was to goof off on the internet.  Everything looks really weird though.  The fonts are different and they’re small.  I’ll play with the settings in a minute to see if I can figure out how to improve this part of the Ubuntu experience.  Also, I’m coming from a completely Windows user background, so I’m used to the way clicking/double-clicking works there.  Here it’s different, so I’ll have to learn this style of clicking.

OK, so I’m gonna go explore some more… try different things and see what I can learn without resorting to books, videos, and how-to guides.  I’ll report back as I learn!

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