Friday, June 29, 2012

Row the Kayak

We had an excellent afternoon in Newport Beach! It was a perfect day for kayaking and just being outside. Our troop included Mom, Dad, my nephews Kevin and Derek, my Uncle Bill, his wife Denise and my cousin Marcus. We started out underneath the Newport Bay bridge in 6 single kayaks and 1 double. It was so easy to get the hand of the rowing and we were all underway in just a few minutes.
At times it looked a little like LA traffic :)
A wonderful pictorial representation of poor rowing form. I felt like I was sitting down so low that it was difficult to row evenly without hitting the sides of the kayak.
My awesome nephews and I attempting to get all three of us in the same frame. I failed. I have to point out that taking a picture of three people in three different kayaks while trying to keep your camera dry and watch for rogue uncles who like to splash you is not an easy task. We rowed around Balboa and Lido islands and enjoyed looking at all of the humongous houses and they're matching magnificent boats. Then we went looking for the house that my brother Clay and his wife Olivia use to live in. That house has some good memories for all of us and holds a special place in our hearts. We found it!
They're doing some construction on the back so it looked a little different but if we couldn't tell by the house, they boat was a dead give-away.
It wasn't long before it was time to head back and we were all feeling the effect of sun and rowing... we were getting tired. Fortunately for Derek, his tired looks more like a photo shoot for  a water sport magazine.
What a good looking kid. :)

 I told my Uncle Bill that this was karma for him splashing me so many times. I enjoyed watching him flounder outside his kayak for a few seconds before he got his footing. Paybacks are great! :)
We finished off the day by having a great lunch at Ruby's. I was in such a hurry to quiet my growling appetite that I completely forgot to take any pictures. Oh well, nothing exciting about a good old fashioned burger. Here I am with me "little" nephews. I can't believe how time flies. One in high school and another close behind. I'm so proud of these young men. They are cream of the crop and you can't say that about many teenage boys. :)
Now that we're home and clean, I can see the spots I missed with my sunscreen. (oops again!) I offered to bake a cake for my Mom considering it's still her birthday and what is a birthday without a cake? She opted for a store bought bakery cake so I'm off to find a good 'un!
Celebration, here we come!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chocolate Cake and Sprinkles

What a day! I headed over to my sister-in-law's house around 8:30 with plenty of chocolate and Popsicle sticks in my passenger seat for company. All of the cake balls were already made thanks to Olivia and my good friend Kristina. We realized that the cake balls were a little too big when they wouldn't stay on the Popsicle sticks. Instead of cake pops they became cake balls which are sooo much easier and they came out great!
Some are chocolate cake and some are white. How do you know? Bite it!
I think the chocolate ones are absolutely adorable. I would definitely do these cake balls again.
The strawberries were a different story. We managed but we only got 10 before we ran out of chocolate and the will to continue. :)

Of course both of my little nieces wanted to help in the best way possible; eat sprinkles and lick chocolate spoons. (Pictures to come)
After the cake balls and cake pops were safely stowed away for Saturday's party, I headed home to make a quick lunch before work.
Lunch was a turkey sandwich on sourdough again. In case you haven't noticed, a turkey sandwich is kind of my go-to meal most of the time.
Today I had hummus to add. Woohoo! A kiwi on the side and I was good to go. The kiwi was PERFECT! Just the right amount of sweet and soft.
I had a late dinner after work. Homemade Mac 'n' cheese with a little spinach salad on the side.
Cranberry juice, water, and ginger ale on ice for a refreshing drink.
I have to apologize for the serious repeats in meals; turkey sandwiches, quinoa, macaroni etc etc. I am looking forward to having a little more time to cook and prepare meals. Maybe then I'll have a more varied diet. Who knows when that will be. Maybe never. Oh well, at least it's yummy food. :)
Tomorrow is my Mom's birthday and we are celebrating by going kayaking. It's going to be a pretty early start in order to make it to the rental shop in time. I plan on slathering myself in sunscreen first thing tomorrow morning and throughout the day. No more sunburns for me!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quick Catch-Up

Well, it's technically Thursday but I didn't post anything today. Oh, I failed at my goal to wake up earlier. Breakfast was on the run (ugh) so no pictures. I tried out an oatmeal, apple and raisin naked smoothie. Given to us to try by our lovely neighbor. She works for naked juice so we get to try out some awesome samples.
Another full day of work. Thankfully this one was much more productive and less busy. Whew!
Lunch was stir-fried veggies with leftover kabob chicken.
I threw on some quinoa (I know I know, again?!) and some hummus. The hummus was an excellent flavor addition I must say.
Oh yeah! and a grapefruit wedge. 1 hr lunch breaks just go so fast. It always seems like I end up eating way to fast. At least I'm close enough to go home for lunch though. That's nice. Tomorrow morning I'm heading over to my brother's house to help my sister-in-law Olivia get ready for my niece's 4th birthday party. She saw my strawberry cake pops and is excited to replicate them. Should be fun!
I got really ambitious this week and penciled in a 5:30 a.m. weight class at the gym tomorrow morning (technically this morning). Considering my late shift tomorrow night and the fact that it's already 12:30.. I'm going to guess that I won't be making it to that class. Maybe I'll try a 6:30 run instead. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Troublesome Tuesdays

Tuesdays are ALWAYS a mess at work but today was especially awful. Two coworkers called in which left us very short handed on our busiest day of the week. Of course I stupidly chose today to wear teetering wedges. How much of my shift did I spend on my feet? oh... about 99%. Poor feet.
Anyway, on to more exciting things, like food.
I made a much delayed trip to Trader Joe's this morning to pick up some "essentials": Hummus, greek yogurt, baby spinach, kiwi, a few apples that looked too good to pass up and... it's too late, I can't remember what else.
Then I rushed home to eat breakfast and pack lunch for work.
Breakfast was quick and I didn't even finish it. =( Oh well, at least there was some breakfast consumed. Yay!
Sorry the picture is kind of grainy, bad lighting in the kitchen in the morning hours apparently. Quick oats, raisins, banana slices and sunflower butter on top. After my first bite I poured in a little grape juice. It was an experiment but the banana was a little green so I needed a little sweet in my oats. Grape juice was  a quick fix. While I ate I threw together a salad that I was tempted to eat right then and there.
Baby spinach, grape tomatoes (generously given by a friend from her own garden), mozarella, quinoa, slivered almonds, and a few basil leaves for good measure. Since there aren't any good vinaigrette dressings in the house at the moment and threw some olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper together for  a quick dressing. Can't have fat soluble vitamins without a fat on top! :)I guess the cheese could count but... who eats salad with zero dressing. (no offense to those who do)
Then, off to work for that busy busy, crazy day that I mentioned. Honestly, days like this are the ones that I get really serious about making this my last month/week/day/hour etc at the library. Oh! In case I haven't mentioned it before, my other job is at the library. The job I like is the teaching nutrition one. :)
It was 2:00 before I got a chance to inhale that fresh summery salad but I still savored every mouthful. I'm not going to lie though, someone came into the library with french fries in hand (permissible in county libraries apparently) and I wanted to grab them and run. French fries are my weakness and they are hard to resist on high frustration/exhaustion days. I did not become the spud stealer though. no worries.
A long awaited dinner break at five. Chicken kabobs with more quinoa and fresh mangos.
Some of the bell peppers got a little over cooked but that's ok. They added a smoky aroma. As Julia Child said "never apologize". I think she was just talking about cooking though :)
These mangos are some of the best I've ever had. A family friend brought over a massive box of them. With a little research I think I've decided that they are Sindheri mangoes. They have a smaller pit and more fruit on them compared to the traditional mangoes you find in stores. And they're so sweet and juicy. I have to take it easy on them though. I don't want to get mango-ed out.
After work my brother Blake and I hit the tennis courts and were pleased with our performance. We're getting better. More and more of our exercise is coming from our volleys than running around picking up balls now. :) We're having fun learning.
Tomorrow is another day, and another however-many-dollars-I-make-in-8-hours. The last couple of days I've been waking up at 6:30, wandering around the house in a zombie like state and then going back to bed. stupid! Just get up! I'm going to try really hard to wake up, get up, and stay up tomorrow morning. I think my body is trying to tell my lazy brain to get up and do something productive. It might make my day at work seem more bearable. It's my goal for tomorrow... to be reported on!
Until then, good night! and sweet as mango dreams!
p.s. I did quite a lot with my organizing project yesterday. I will post pictures after a few final details are completed. Let's just say, I'm in love with chalkboard markers. ;)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Organizing Day

Another day off! I just can't believe this. I'm trying to not waste time because these rare jewels won't last long. Pretty soon I'll be back to very long days of work.
Today I'm planning on doing some serious organizing and getting rid of. I also have some clothes I need to alter to accommodate my vertically challenged condition. This sounds ambitious of me considering it is nearly 1:00 and I'm moving slowly due to seared and pan-fried shoulder blades. We'll see how it goes. Before getting knee deep in organizing tactics I had a summery lunch that I thought was "light" until I saw it through my camera lens. :)
Shredded chicken salad with scallions, pepper and mustard on poppy seed crackers, watermelon, 1/4 of a beautiful California avocado and some leftover macaroni salad.
Isn't it beautiful!? Perfect green, no spots, dark brown seed. It was creamy too!
Now I'm off to throw away, give-away and organize! Wish me luck!

I'm alive! Burnt, sore, bruised... but alive! There were quite a few mix-ups before we actually got to the beach and because of them, it worked out better than if we had actually planned it. :) Proof that going with the flow sometimes pays off.
We all packed lunch before heading out. I had a turkey sandwich on homemade sourdough (yum!) with half a slice of provolone, mustard (my hummus was bad boo!) cilantro and field greens. I think everyone else ended up with pb& j. Smart people! easy is best :) I took some carrots and blueberries too. Image
After finding the right beach, we had to find the surf/paddle board van to get our rentals. I thought this was the hard part until I got out into the water on the board.
We finally found them, got four boards for 7 people and decided the guys would go first. We were so glad they did because we enjoyed watching them struggle until we realized... if three buff guys were struggling, we were probably going to die.
It was a beautiful day in Santa Monica but just as the guys came back to shore, the wind started picking up. Wind = cold and white caps. Not the best conditions for a paddle boarder, much less 4 who have never tried it before. At this point we found out that the "Surf School" we rented from wasn't even giving lessons because of the wind. Yikes!
But, we toughed it out, stretched on spring suits and gave each other pep talks while we watched seemingly massive waves crash 200 yards off shore. Oh yeah... and it took me three tries to get the stupid wet suit on right. Yes, I have blonde moments even though I'm not THAT blonde.
We all look pretty cheerful considering we all thought we were going to drown out there.
After a few quick tips from the guys about staying on, getting through crashing waves and not killing each other or ourselves, they helped us out into the water. We were very grateful for the help. We all got out and two of us quickly got washed/tumbled back to shore. I stayed out for a few minutes my first try before I got in the middle of a crashing wave and lost it all. Water can be so terrifying when you are totally under it's control. I caught my breath back at shore and tried again. This time I stayed out for I would guess 10-15 minutes but it was probably more like 3. :) By this time however, the wind was even stronger and the waves were bigger. It was a vicious cycle of exhaustion from paddling and fighting big waves that were steadily pushing you toward shore where you then had to fight  the waves as they crashed which caused more exhaustion. Finally me and two of the girls ended up back at shore grateful to still be alive while our brave friend Christianne stayed out by herself for over an hour. She was rewarded for her bravery and perseverance though. She got to share some waves with playful dolphins.
We all decided we definitely wanted to try again another day but only after watching the wind and surf advisories. Or... try paddleboarding in a harbor or pond. :)
We packed up our stuff and trudged back to the car with sore muscles, windswept hair and many welts. California Pizza Kitchen was our yummy yummy dinner. We couldn't tell if the food was really as good as it seemed, or we were just so hungry that we could have eaten dog food and thought it was equal to the  finest Italy could offer. I'm guessing it was a combination of the two conditions.
Now, I'm paying the price of my lackadaisical application of sunscreen with pins and needles all over my back and my legs. Thank goodness for ibuprofen and aloe vera.
Despite the welts, the bruises, the sunburn, and my life flashing before my eyes, it was such a great day! It's always fun trying something new.