Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Restaurant: Taam China

Last night, Jonathan the Houseboy came to clean late. So late that he was still there when Joseph came home, changed, hung around, went through the mail, and we couldn't put off having dinner. And Jonathan the Houseboy was cleaning the kitchen. So no dinner in the kitchen for us!

We decided to go out to Dok Bua, our neighborhood award-winning Thai place. The neighborhood is full of award-winning places to eat. Anyway, on the way we passed Taam China. It is a glaat kosher Chinese restaurant. And if you don't know that glaat Kosher is more Kosher than Kosher, then you don't know glaat...

Anyway... we got there and sat at the last table right before an onslaught of parties who had to wait 10 or 15 minutes. I think we were the only non-Jews in the place. I have never seen so many hats and covered heads in my life! I never realize there were so many orthodox and conservative Jews in the neighborhood. And half of them spoke a non-English language - I am thinking Hebrew or whatever they speak in Israel. Okay. I am enlightened but the whole Jewish thing is new to me. It's not an Eastern religion, ya know? And other than being a little sister during college at a Jewish frat, having a best friend in college who was Jewish, and going to Sater at her house, my only real exposure to Jews has been through observing the people in Brookline, where half of the population is Jewish. The other 2/3 of the remaining half is Asian. Okay. Some might say that Jews and Asian have a lot in common. Whatever. It's not the same.

For one thing, they have a LOT more holidays. And another thing, they OBSERVE their holidays. For Asians, holidays belong to other people and it's another opportunity to make more money. But this is a topic for another day...

Every bottle of wine on the winelist was $18. We ordered a bordeaux. Pretty easy since they only had 3 wineries - a white, red, a pink from each. The wine was pretty good! Surprisingly good!! That was after we got wide mouth globlet water glasses to replace the tiny minature sparkling wine flutes they gave us. It was so funny... we asked for different glasses and was told no...

The guy who owns the place said, "No. Those are the wine glasses."
We said, "Can we have the ones for the fruit drink? With the wide mouth?"
He said, "No. [pointing to the glasses in front of us] Those are for wine, these are not."
Uhhh... alrighteee......
Thankfully, his patient and quiet wife was sitting there and she got the waitress to bring us wide mouthed wine glasses.
I hated to hear their conversation after closing!

Anyway... the menu is really good. No pork, as expected. And no dairy - Asians are lactose intolerant and you won't find dairy on any menu anyway...

The soups were disappointing - but I've had some really good soups. But I imagine if you are not a connoisseur of wonton and Hot & Sour soups, you would think they were good. Joseph's eggroll was nice. Not greasy. My half and half dish - half chicken and half beef with slightly different sauces - was excellent! Joseph's peking style Moo Shi beef was excellent, although the pancakes were a bit thin.

We got a take out menu. We will be ordering out and going there again for sure. Besides being really good, they are one of the closest restaurants from our house - about a 5 minute walk.

We are also going to order a case of that cheap cheap cheap bordeaux for the wine cellar as our Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday wine.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Week 30 Training Recap

I got back on track last week. I ran twice and the runs were comfortable but disappointingly slow. But still, at least I got out there. As for the walking, I am wearing my pedometer daily. And I am still loving the biking. My goal is to work out 6 days a week. Last week, I met that goal. I need to get into a habit of doing this. Then maybe, I can look at twice a day workouts once or twice a week.

Monday: Ran 30 minutes.

Tuesday: Biked for 40 minutes for a total of 12.17 miles. Not too shabby. My average MPH is going up on the trainer, which indicates I will be stronger outdoors.

Wednesday: Nothing. We had to go to a gov'ment office in the morning to take care of some things and then I had to go to work because the money-pit dust bowl is sucking up all my money!

Thursday: Biked 10.75 miles. Nice and easy.

Friday: Biked 17.2 miles. A good workout.

Saturday: Biked 8.3 miles. It's all I could get in.

Sunday: Ran a very slow 5.52 miles in the heat of the day in Winchendon. Where, you ask? Winchendon. In a state park campground area because Joseph was doing an Olympic triathlon there. And I am a roadie groupie following him around from tri to tri. The run was hot and humid, and very slow, but I enjoyed it. I ran from the day recreation area to the next park entrance up on the main road and ran through the campsites. It was peaceful, cooler under the trees, and very pretty. At one point I was on the other side of the late and I could clearly see the buoys from the tri that was going on. I ran parallel to the road that the bikers were riding on. Kinda neat. I could see them but they couldn't see me through the trees. I actually felt really good on this run. I thought, 6 miles easy. Maybe close to 7. Nope. 5.52 miles. Whatevah.

Total Biking Miles: 48.35
Total Running Miles: 8.11
Total Walking Miles: 25.56
Total Swimming Laps: 0
Total Stretching Days: 4

Next week's goal is to do something 6 days our of 7. I am thinking of putting together a simple home gym workout routine. Thinking about it. Haven't done it yet. Don't everyone cheer yet.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Happiness is...


Not the kind you find in your email, which has bad grammar, poorer spelling, and barely literate from people with strange names from unidentified spaces selling you viagra, girls, men, better sex, more sex, longer sex, steamier sex, and all sort of sex stuff. Ahem.

No.This is SPAM! Potted Meat.
The kind you get at the food store.
Eaten by [mostly] Asians of all kinds - it's a staple in ALL Asian grocery stores - at least the ones I've been in.

I've been holding off on buying it. For some reason, I think it's a bit pricey. It's one of those strange situations where it costs less than $4 but I can't justify that price for unidentified, mixed up, mashed, then solidified meat product. I don't care how much I love it! Sliced thin, fried crispy and brown, with a bowl of hot rice and kimchee! YUM! The Perfect Meal!!!

But this past weekend, in the Sunday newspaper, I found a COUPON! Yes. For $1 off. Off not two, but ONE. That is truly a good find! So, I intend to take that coupon to the store and get myself some SPAM. They have so many choices that I will stand there, read the labels, first reach for one, then another, until I finally make my decision.

I might splurge and get TWO.

I would really like to go to one of those SPAM festivals one day.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Week 29 Training Recap

Last week was the first week of being on my own. Joseph thinks that I don't listen to him and that I have always been on my own, but that is just not true. I always listen to him. I might not follow through, but it not because I didn't listen. It's more because of my self confidence, etc. You can't get self confidence by having someone tell you to have it. It's a slow discovery process and I am getting there.

The most interesting thing with being on my own and deciding to just bike, I've been having weird urges to run. And so, I've decided to do just that.

Monday: Felt an irresistable urge to run. 30 minutes on the roads of Brookline.

Tuesday: Biked for 43 minutes for a total of 12.17 miles.

Wednesday: Nothing. Had to leave the house early for a 8am meeting. GAH! Then dinner afterwards the management team of our division (my peers and above) at Vinalia.

Thursday: Nothing. Had to leave early again for the second day of all day meetings. We had a tour of Fenway Park in the afternoon. That's great if you're a Red Sox fan. Whatever.

Friday: ARG! Nothing. Had to get into work early because I was leaving early! Pffft!

Saturday: I ended up riding 34.34 miles on the trainer. I felt pretty good afterwards.

Sunday: This time, I took my ride outdoors. I went down Beacon Street, to Comm Ave (RT 30). I rode all the way down until I hit Rt 27. Took a right on Rt 27 and went through some village center in Wayland. Wow. I don't think I've ever been to Wayland in my life! Then I turned around at 1:15:00 and rode a negative split back home. Total miles 32.97. I will call it 33 for grins. Joseph asked me why I didn't roll forward 5 feet to make it an even 33 miles? Whatever.

Total Biking Miles: 79.48
Total Running Miles: 2.55
Total Walking Miles: 25.70
Total Swimming Laps: 0
Total Stretching Days: 0

Not sure what I will do this week. But I did go out and run this morning.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Random Thought: Meatballs

After struggling to eat a meatball sandwich from Cosi (which was quite good), in which the balls kept falling out of the my sandwich, I believe they should change the meatball to a meatdisk or meatflat.

Yup. Sounds good to me.

My laptop would be happy. As would my tech support guys. Ahem.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Strange urge

Last night I went to bed with a firm plan to get up this morning and bike for 30-45 minutes. I had left the bike downstairs from the ride yesterday with Joseph so I wouldn't have to lug it back down three flights of stairs. So, it was very strange when I got this morning to find myself with a strange urge to go running. Very strange. I never get the urge to run. In fact, I get the urge to NOT run. As in stay still. Usually, lying in bed, watching the morning news and sipping a cup of coffee in the morning. That kind of useful activity, as opposed to going for a run.

But this morning, I had this strange urge.
And not knowing what to do with it, I got up and, well... I dressed... and well... I went for a run. Even the heavy breathing and the sweating and the feeling of lugging a house up a hill didn't phase me. I didn't mind it at all. It was all rather strange.

So, I ran for 30 minutes. And I was glad I did it. Which in and of itself was also rather strange.

Now, I have an ever stranger urge to go home tonight and bike for an hour.
I have no idea where this is coming from.


Week 28 Training Recap

So, we all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well... I am solidly planted on the right side of the road going 80 mph with no off ramp in sight. Well... maybe it's not that bad. I did wear my pedometer after all!

Traveling takes a huge toll on me.

Air travel leaves me cramped, tired, dehydrated and bloated all at the same time. Going through timezones is difficult even if it's only an hour.

And work does not allow the flexibility I have at home of working out on the morning to arrive at the office by 10. Meetings start early - the latest is 9am which typically means I have to leave the hotel around 7am or 7:30 am, to get to the office in time, log in, prepare and gather materials for the meetings.

Working backwards, you add breakfast (30 minutes), getting read (1 hour), time to cool down (30 minutes - even try to apply lotion while sweating? Yah) and it means that I have to be done with exercise around 5am, which means I have to be out the door by at a MINIMUM 4:30Am (for a mere 30 minute run), which means I must wake up and get the body going at around 3:15 at the latest. Coffee and breakfast are not typically available at this time!

Getting up at 3:15 isn't a problem if you go to bed early. But the workday segues into dinner meetings and I am not back at the hotel room until about 10:30 or 11:00pm, after which I have to log in again to catch up on the day's email, giving me only 4 hours sleep. I cannot function on 4 hours sleep.

And all of this is even more difficult if you are the boss and you are traveling with other people.

So this is definitely NOT. HAPPENING.

And that leads us into last week's training schedule:

Monday: Run 20 minutes (in Salt Lake City in the morning, flying to Dallas mid-morning) - Nothing.

Tuesday: Run 20 minutes (in Salt Lake City in the morning, flying to Dallas mid-morning) - Nothing.

Wednesday: Run 30 minutes (in Dallas) - Nothing.

Thursday: Run 30 minutes (in Dallas in the morning, flying back to Boston mid-morning) - Nothing. Surprise!!!

Friday: Bike 30 minutes - ended up doing an easy 5.55 miles for around 20 minutes of riding. Didn't have a lot of time to ride since I had to get into the office earlier than usual.

Saturday: Bike 30 miles - Well, so much for the 30 minutes. I ended riding for over an hour. Ended up doing 21.8 miles

Sunday: Bike 35 miles - This time, I went out or a ride with Joseph. He picked a relatively flat course. Around these parts, that means smaller faster rolling hills. One of which was Heartbreak Hill on the Boston Marathon course. It was slow going but truthfully, I didn't really feel it - meaning it wasn't as hard on the bike as it is running. Of course, it isn't. That's why I am biking and running....

Total Biking Miles: 48.15 T
Total Walking Miles: 29.4
Total Stretching: 1 day

The good news is that I do not have to travel for a few more weeks. YAHOO!!! It's a crazy week. Tuesday I have to go to the RI office, and Wednesday and Thursday, we have an all day management offsite. So this week, I am going to try to do something meaningful every single day with one day off. We will see what happens.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More pictures

House First Floor Floors!: 07/02/2007

Patriot Half Ironman: 07/01/2007

Camping over Tri Weekend: 06/30/2007

Anthony's Graduation Party: 06/23/2007

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Week 27 Training Recap

It's amazing what happens when you decide to back to basics and do what you always love to do. My whole running schedule got turned upside down when I decided that I would be biking. I didn't have a biking schedule. I still don't. The only thing I know to do on the bike is to just ride. I always went out with a goal in mind and going longer. Always. And this week was no exception.

I wanted to start out slowly so I made up what looked to be a reasonable schedule. I checked out some training schedules online with the goal of doing the Seacoast Century in September which are two days of 100 mile rides. And most of the schedules I saw had only 3-4 days of riding. Huh? So, I told Joseph about it.

Joseph: that sounds about right.
Me: [???]
M: 3 days??
J: Sure. People run well on 3 days of running, why not biking?

Well, I decided to wing it and go with the flow.

Last week was like this:
Monday: off - No problems here. At this point, I was still mulling the whole biking versus running thing over in my head.

Tuesday: Bike 30 minutes - ended up riding 46 minutes for a total of 13:3 miles. It felt so good. My resolve felt so good.

Wednesday: Bike 45 minutes - ended up riding 1 hour for 17:57 miles. Not bad. Still feeling good.

Thursday: Bike 30 minutes - Rode 30 minutes for 8.25 miles. Didn't have much time in the morning to do more. Drat.

Friday: Off - took the day off. No problem here.

Saturday: Bike 75 minutes - Rode 76 minutes for 22.11 miles. I was feeling so tired. And it did not help that I ended up swimming 11 laps at the gym. Joseph did a lot more laps than I did. Made me tired just watching him.

Sunday: Bike 45 minutes - I got up this morning and was so tired and so sore from the day before. I told Joseph I would be taking the day off and he thought that was okay. He left to go on a 100 mile bike ride and I was sort of sitting there and after 15 minutes, I decided, I had to do something so I got dressed and got on the bike. Rode 1:36 for 28.01 miles. I felt good afterwards and all the aches and pains were gone.
This isn't bad. Biking is so different from running. The total for the week was 88.49 miles. If you half that from a caloric perspective, there is no way I could have run 44.25 miles last week - at least not in the time it took me to bike 88.49 miles. And even if you were two make it a 3:1 ratio biking miles to running miles for effort's sake, there is no way that I could have 29-30 miles in the same amount of time it took me to bike 88.49 miles. And without the aching and the pains and the lousy mental attitude because of the extra weight that I am carrying.

I also bought a new pedometer on Saturday. Last week's walking miles: 15.88

This week, I am traveling for work again. Yes. Again! ARG! That means that my workouts will be screwed up. We are in Salt Lake City on Monday and Tuesday - no bike, so running at altitude! Yuk. We are in Dallas Wednesday morning and Thursday morning we had back home. So the tentative week looks like this:
Monday: Run 20 minutes (in Salt Lake City) I will try to at least walk this. we are at altitude, after all.

Tuesday: Run 20 minutes (in Salt Lake City in the morning, flying to Dallas mid-morning)

Wednesday: Run 30 minutes (in Dallas)

Thursday: Run 30 minutes (in Dallas in the morning, flying back to Boston mid-morning)

Friday: Bike 30 minutes

Saturday: Bike 30 miles

Sunday: Bike 35 miles


Saturday, July 07, 2007

100 Favorite Things #5: Watermelon

Cold, juicy, sweet watermelon! My most favorite fruit. It ranks above cherries. Even Ranier cherries! Yes!

I can eat watermelon every single day of the year.
For years and years and years!


Friday, July 06, 2007

That time of year...

...when we get our bi-annual reviews and get a merit increase.

I got the highest rating again. Happy happy!
And a nice raise. It's not giant by any means, and it certainly doesn't keep up with the rate of inflation most of the time, but... it's not the raise that counts, it's the bonus at the end of the year.

anyway, my boss said nice job and all that.
And he said that for my next act, I need to "control my passion."
Boss: That's what I'm talking about.
Me: It's not passion, it's enthusiam.
B: Control your enthusiasm.
M: GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
B: There it is again.
B: Most people can't move as fast as you, or as fast as you want them to.
M: My staff can.
B: That's not the point.
M: Fine.
B: Need to do this for the next step.
M: Next step? I don't need a next step. I like the one that I'm on.
M: Ok. Fine. Gimme 6 months to control my enthusiasm.
B: [smiling and laughing] Good.

Anyway, the increase shows up in the paycheck this month! YAHOOOO!!!

Drat. There's that blasted enthusiasm. Again.


Appetite Supressant

I need one.
Any good ones out there?
How about Hoodia?
Anyone try it?


Thursday, July 05, 2007


The elixir of life.

Today, I signed up for the "water club" at work.

I found out that someone here orders spring water from Poland Springs every month.
I also found out that you can also order sparkling water!
I drink about 2 liters a day, bringing one liter bottles to work from home.
What a drag. Definitely not a light load at all.

So, I put in for two cases of half liter bottles - a case of lime essence and a case of raspberry-lime essence. I am soooo happy! No more lugging liter bottles of water to work every day! YAHOO!


Baby, I was born to....


Okay. Where do I start.
Let's do a chronology.
15 pounds ago, I met Joseph and became happy.
For a year until we got married, I managed to keep my weight down.
Then we bought the South End house and redid the kitchen. 6 months without a kitchen and 10 pounds later, we are settled in.
I maintain my weight for another 2 years.
Then we bought the Brookline house last Decemember.
Rehab has been going on for more than 7 months.
It is now 10 pounds later and there is no end in sight.

It's been 20 pounds later and I cannot walk up the stairs without tiring.
My clothes do not fit.

And worse, my sport of choice reminds me daily about what a fat cow I've let myself become.
And my self esteem and confidence is in the toilet. Really.

So, this week, I had a conversation with myself.
Then, I had a conversation with Joseph.
I am going back to my first love.
Joseph is okay with that.
Me: Huh? I thought you wanted me to run!
Joseph: No... I want you to do what makes you happy.
M: ARG! I thought you wanted me to run!
J: No... I never said you HAD to run.
M: Well, why not? Beause I AM A RUNNER AFTER ALL!!!
J: Not saying you're not.
M: What are you saying?
J: You can do whatever you want.
M: ARG!!!! Fine.

So, I am going back to my first love.
Not Dancing.
Whatever you want to call it.

I love to ride.
I can do it every day - in fact, I have to make myself consciously decide I won't get on the bike on a particular day because my ITB or my hamstring, or whatever, isn't too happy with me, and it would like me to take a day off.
Of course, then there is an all-day discourse with the body part in question, lots of negotiating and cajoling, and testing, and stretching, and appeasing, only to have my brain decides, "sigh... okay... one day off."

With riding, my pace doesn't go from 9:00 miles to 12:00 minute miles because it's hot or cold or because I've become a fat cow. I can maintain 18 to 20 mph with relative ease. And the downhills feed my need for speed giving me a burst of energy as I shout out loud, "ROCK 'N ROLL!!!" I love it. I can feel the breeze on my face and the wind through my hair (actually it's more like trying to get the wind through the holes in my helmet to try to cool of my very hot head).

And Joseph did some investigation and it turns out that riding an hour briskly burns more calories than running 10:00 miles for an hour. Really.
The caloric burn rate is 2:1 for biking:running. That means you have to bike 2 miles or run 1 mile to burn 100 calories.
And this is assuming that you are able to do twice the speed of your running. For example, if you run a 10:00 mile, you are able to run 6 miles in an hour. Translate that to biking, and you have to be able to bike at 12 mph to get the same effect. I basically ride at 3 to 3 1/2 times my running speed.

It all adds up.
I can be more consistent on the bike, burning more calories, losing the 20 pounds.
It also gives me time to get into the gym, because unlike running, I don't mind doing the indoor trainer at night, freeing me up in the morning to go to the gym.

And most of all, biking gives me confidence. It's the one sport I can do well in if I train. And I love to train. Because I love to ride!

So it's decided.
I am biking mostly, with runs to supplement the biking.
I am hoping to get into the gym on a regular basis.
And I need to swim once a week and go to the driving range once a week.
That is my goal for the rest of the summer.

And I want to walk through steel doors and leap tall buildings.
And fly like an eagle and float like a butterfly...
Maybe I'll just start with the biking...


Wednesday, July 04, 2007


I hate allergies!!!

Started feeling them on the flight back from San Francisco last Sunday.
And now they are full blown, nose running, sneezing and sniffling
I was hoping for a sinus infection so I can take some pills and clear it
all up in less and 5 days.
But noooooo....

And Joseph and I are allergic to different things.
When he has his, I am fine.
When I have mine, he is fine.
We alternate weeks of misery.

We are a fun group.


Independence Day

I like to say Independence Day rather than the usual "Fourth of July" or "July Fourth." I know what day it is, for crying out loud.

It always reminds me of the basic principles upon which this country was founded, the foresight of the founding fathers, and the freedoms for which we continue to fight today - whether through peaceful civilian actions or otherwise.

I like to say Independence Day because it reminds me that we all want independence from oppression, suppression, tyranny, ravages of famine, being born on the wrong side of the tracks, taxation without representation, and the freedom to pursue our dreams - the freedom to worship, to work, to find opportunities, to make our fortune and to find acceptance for who we are, what we do, and how we live. And with each passing day, we can hopefully do that regardless of our color, creed, religious, beliefs, gender, and sexual orientation.

I like to say Independence Day because it gives a face and name to all that we celebrate. All that is real. All that we can believe in.


Happy Independence Day, everyone.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Week 26 Training Recap

Last week was a debacle. I traveled for work, was trying to function on an East Coast schedule, working on a West Coast schedule, and had to not only work my regular job, but also act as sort of a "host" along with the vendor for 40 of my nearest and dearest collegues across the company.

Then I got home, had a restful massage which was short lived because in the afternoon, we packed up and went camping to be close to Joseph's half ironman that he was doing on Sunday.

Given that, it is no wonder that I started breaking out in eczema yesterday due to stress and lack of rest and that I could barely wake up from a deep sleep this morning. My body and brain were not happy to give up it's finally-found rest.

So last week's debacle of a training schedule was like this:
Monday: Run 20 minutes - Nothing. I had to pack last minute things in the morning before the limo came to pick me up to take me to the airport.

Tuesday: Bike 30 minutes - Of course not. No Bike. Instead I managed a short 20 minute run in the crisp dawn air. Felt good.

Wednesday: Run 45 minutes - Nothing. I had to do some user Testing for a DEBACLE of a system going in at work and even then, I didn't finish. I said it would be impossible. No one listens.

Thursday: Bike 30 minutes - Did. Not. Feel. Like. Running. But I talked to Joseph and he told me to get out for 5 minutes. Ended up going out for 5 and staying out for 35 minutes. As much as I hate to admit it, I was glad AFTERWARDS that I ran.

Friday: Rest - Nothing. Left the hotel at 5:45 AM to catch a flight home. Happy happy!

Saturday: Bike 20 miles - I was going to bike but had to switch the massage to 9am instead of 12:30 because of the camping trip.

Sunday: Run 10 miles - By this day, inertia had set in and was taking root. The plan was to run while Joe was on the bike portion of his triathlon. Instead, I decided to hang out with his parents. I made a lunch run to Dunkin Donuts and kept them company for the day. Easy decision once inertia grabs you. Anyway, I did nothing. Nada.
Next week, I will be repeating this week. Since I am not training for anything and only trying to lose weight, I can do this. It's the rules. LOL!

So next week's schedule is the same as last week:

Monday: Run 20 minutes

Tuesday: Bike 30 minutes

Wednesday: Run 45 minutes

Thursday: Bike 30 minutes

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Bike 20 miles

Sunday: Run 10 miles

On another note, I really like camping. I am hoping to post some pictures of the campsite some time this week.