Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It Can't Be Worse Than When "Crash" Won...

Today is a very important day: Oscar Nomination day. Nothing was all that much of a surprise this year, perhaps bc I followed the Golden Globes closer than I had in years past. That being said, let me throw out this pre-meat-of-the-blog rant: STICK TO FIVE BEST PICTURES!!! There is no reason to fish around for films 7-10 just to fill out a list. And with that being said, I'll move on.

My favorite five best picture nominees: The Artist, The Descendants, Midnight in Paris, The Help...and I still need to see Extremely Loud, Hugo, Tree of Life, and War Horse. Nmac swears up and down that War Horse should not be on the list. I'll have to watch it to see for myself. Moneyball was fun and well-made, but not in my top five unless everything else sucks. I have a feeling I may enjoy Hugo though.

Movies I still need to see include: Warrior, A Better Life, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (TTSS), Albert Nobbs, Dragon Tattoo, Beginners, Iron Lady, Anonymous, W.E., Jane Eyre, A Separation, Drive, Real Steel, and Margin Call. 

Movies I will pass on, even though they are nominated: Harry Potter, Transformers, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. How did Real Steel make the cut? Um, Hugh Jackman, duh!

I'm glad to see Charlize Theron and Diablo Cody got snubbed. Young Adult was so childish and juvenile. I really didn't care for it at all. Diablo Cody gets all of this hype, which I think is unwarranted.

Melissa McCarthy! So glad she got the nomination. The Oscars are usually a very heavy crowd and it's nice to see a movie with a boatload of levity was recognized. Also glad to see Jonah Hill nominated for Moneyball. I don't think he'll win, but I hope working and learning from Brad Pitt will change the types of pictures he does. I think he has better acting chops than what he's most known for.

Only two songs were nominated, but I already know which one is my favorite. "Man or Muppet" was a great song with a great movie montage to accompany it! C'mon, it featured "Sheldon"! I simply do not think that RIO can top that.

Globe-nominated movies that I can wait to see until after I see all of the Oscar-nominated movies: 50/50 (although I just got this from Redbox so I'll watch it anyway), Drive, J. Edgar, We Need to Talk About Kevin. The last one was an odd snub for Tilda Swinton. I've heard she's fantastic in it.

The Landmark Theaters show all of the animated and live action shorts, which I try to see every year. For a few hours and $14, you can see all of them back to back. AMC runs a similar program, showing all of the best picture nominees. Uff-dah, just thinking about sitting in a theater for that long makes my butt and back hurt.

I always like to see the best documentary feature nominees. Last year I loved all of the nominated documentaries and they really opened my eyes to what was going on in the world (hello, GasLand). I'm excited to get my hands on the current nominees and see if I am equally as impressed. 2010 was the first year that I tried to focus on viewing all of the documentaries and it will definitely be something I aspire to do in the future. 

I will wait to weigh in on who I think should win until I've seen all of the nominations. I'll post my predictions closer to Feb 26. Until that time...I'll see you at the movies!

Tuesday night: 50/50
Wednesday night: The Way
Thursday: Rango (Hopefully - at conferences! Was going to Netflix Beginners, but thought that wouldn't be good to be watching, should any adapted PE parent happen to find my room...)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Dinner

Tonight's dinner included Jeanne Fuller's mac n cheese, flank steak, cooked broccoli, and Tom Byron's mashed spuds! Josh cooked everything (well, except his mom's mac n cheese) and the potatoes were just like Dad's. YUM!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Today was the first day that the temperatures dipped below zero this winter in the Twin Cities. That's officially a record. To give you some perspective, it was -6 on the Culver's (nommmm) thermometer as I drove past it at 11:30 am this morning on my way to the high school. When I got out of the car this morning at 7:50 am, my lungs were shocked and it hurt to breathe in. The boogies in my nose and my jacket were both crunchy immediately upon stepping out of my car. Things are looking up though - it's supposed to hit 30 on Sunday. Heat wave!

2. I decided, on a whim, to get a massage this afternoon at Lifetime. It was 1 hour of certified bliss. All of my aches and pains went away. It was warm, relaxing, and worth every bit of the $75 I paid ($56.25 with my 25% Lifetime employee discount...after taxes and tip...$75). I think my favorite part of a massage is the warm electric blanket that toasts everything up before I crawl under the blankets on the table. Happiness is an electric blanket when you are cold and sore.

3. I have a very extremely scientific way of judging how my back is doing. Simply put, I sneeze. If it hurts, I'm not aligned. If I'm like every other normal person whose back doesn't hurt when they sneeze, I'm doing okay.

This has been a long week and I'm looking forward to the weekend. TGIalmostF!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

On Saturday night a few of us went to the Red Bull Crashed Ice event in St. Paul.

The course started by the St. Paul Cathedral and then finished up at 35 E.

Racers went down the icy course on hockey skates, four at a time.

Even Goldy Gopher joined in the fun!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Movie Reviews

This weekend I saw three movies - two Oscar-likely flicks from 2011 and one documentary that was nominated last year for an Oscar.

If you haven't seen this documentary, throw it on your Netflix now. I think I had been carrying around this DVD since July and had added it last January in hopes of watching it before the Oscars. Whoops. I should have watched it sooner!

The documentarian lives in northeastern Pennsylvania, where his land, inherited from his parents who also built the house themselves, is slated to be leased out to natural gas companies. These companies will build gas pads on his land, which he can lease to them for a good price. Curious, he set out to see what had become of other communities who had sold out to the gas companies. What he found was scary, frightening, mind-blowing, and sick.

He found water, coming out of spigots, that could be lit on fire. He found dead animals, sick people, and animals losing their fur. Every state and town he visited had the same symptoms. And in every town the people complained to the natural gas companies who, in turn, denied any wrong-doing. Some had even signed non-disclosure reports and could not complain or bring media attention to their problems at all.

The natural gas companies use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to break up the rock and dirt below the ground, in turn releasing the natural gas. They do this with a fracking fluid that has upwards of 600 deadly chemicals in it. Where does this fluid, transported through pressurized water, end up? In the streams, groundwater, and wells.

The gas companies say that we should desecrate our own land so that we're less dependent upon foreign oil. Really? At what cost? Thousands of people and animals are residing less than 1000 feet away from these caustic gas pads. They are becoming sick and they are dying of cancers. All so Halliburton can make millions of dollars.

Yeah, that's right - Halliburton. When tricky Dick Cheney was the vice president, he helped pass a law that exempted these gas companies from EPA regulations such as the clean water act. Right now the government is trying to repeal that exemption. Watch the documentary. It's amazing what the rich bastards will do to make even more money.

Wow. Don't see this one with your mother, or on a first date. If you're not familiar with the film's description, I'll let IMDB fill you in:

In New York City, Brandon's carefully cultivated private life -- which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction -- is disrupted when his sister Sissy arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.

That puts things mildly. The reason I decided to see this NC-17-rated movie is because Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre, 300, A Dangerous Method) was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of best actor for his performance in this film (and bc he has a cute smile!). Meh, he can be nominated, but I don't think he'll win an Oscar (the Golden Globe for best actor-drama went to George Clooney in The Descendants and best actor-comedy/musical went to Jean Dujardin in The Artist). I actually thought that Carey Mulligan (An Education), who plays his sister, did a better job in the supporting actress category. I'd like to see her get the nod.

So if you're feeling randy, go see it. Or better yet, wait for it to come out on DVD. But if you don't get around to seeing it, you're not really missing all that much.

I was a little afraid that I wouldn't like this film. It is adapted from a play and those adaptations don't always carry over.

The premise is two couples who meet to discuss one son's "attacking" of the others' son with a stick in a park. The cast is fantastic - Jodie Foster plays a terrifically pious, manic wife to John C. Reilly's "dressed up as a liberal" husband. And Kate Winslet's character can barely hide the fact that she loathes her lawyer husband (Christoph Walz) and his incessant cell phone calls.

There were lots of laughs in this comedy and I highly suggest seeing it. It all takes place in a New York apartment and the writing is smart, funny, and witty. The alliances between the adults change on a dime and show everyone's true colors and how this becomes the "worst day of their lives". Go see it!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Week 2

...was not as good as week 1.

This past week was really tough for me. I was able to eat decently, but not being able to add exercise into the mix was frustrating.

After you enter in all of your food and exercise for the day, My Food Diary gives you a number - if every day was like "today," how much you'd lose per week. I aim to lose at least 1 lb per week. When I averaged out week 1, the number was -1.46/week. In comparison, when I averaged out week 2 it was only -.82/week.

I usually bring a Chobani or Fage Greek yogurt and an Amy's frozen meal (spinach/feta pocket, mac & soy cheeze, paneer tikka) to school every day for lunch. I think I'll try switching up the Amy's meal for soup. It cuts the calories in half, but I'm wondering if it will keep me full. I'm also concerned about the sodium. Some of Amy's meals are high in sodium too so maybe it won't be that much more. At any rate, I'll have to be very careful about my intake at dinner.

Onto the back front (haha)... I saw the chiropractor on Wednesday and Friday this week. I was feeling pretty good after I left on Friday. We had a discussion on exercises I can and cannot do (sorry, Katie - he ruled out a majority of yours due to my extra vertebrae and spondylolysis) and I made another appointment for Tuesday. He wanted to push it out two weeks, but that made me nervous. I'd like this thing checked in on sooner than that, just in case. Until then I am limiting myself to walking for this upcoming week, and not on a treadmill and most certainly not on an incline. Incline on the treadmill = BAD FOR AL.

I also found out this week that the temperpedic mattress would put me in the hospital. Good to know. Now I don't need to feel bad for not spending $2000 on a mattress. I prefer the rock hard variety of mattress. It's not fancy. It doesn't have a pillow top. It's simple and it keeps my back in alignment. What more could I ask for? I now know why Tutu slept with a board under her mattress. It feels darn good! One of the best night's sleep I had all year was actually on Rudi's dining room floor. Straightened me out from a long flight and an hour of bad sleep on her hammock of a mattress.

Free Fridays are what we're calling the four Fridays in January. Last night we went to Stanley's in Northeast Minneapolis. It's one of our favorite haunts, they make all of their food from scratch, and it's delicious! I had the tomato vegetable soup to start and then the veggie burger with a slice of gouda for the main course. The soup was packed with veggies and it was savory and scrumptious. The burger was made from lentils, had a bit of spice to it, and was super yummy. It came with a side of chipotle dressing, which Josh used for the sweet potato fries that came along with his walleye dinner. And what a dinner it was. Salad to start and then the best looking walleye I've ever seen - it was pecan-crusted! So even though we got to eat out, we still ate pretty well. And most of my meal was veggies, which was a double score.

Tonight I'll have to try and be good again, as we're going out to Bennett's. They have a free shuttle to the Red Bull Crashed Ice event that starts by the St. Paul Cathedral. The clips I've seen on the news have been absolutely crazy! I'll be sure to take pics. Watch the video on the website - that guy makes it look easy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. I scheduled an appointment to see the chiropractor yesterday, two days before my next scheduled appointment. My back was not getting better and the pain was circling my pelvis and down to my right knee. The verdict? If this adjustment does not hold and I do not have a reduction in pain, it's time for an MRI. I skipped rollerblading last night and took it easy, sitting on hard surfaces and icing my back. I just want everything to be okay. I want to be able to elliptical and rollerblade. I don't want to be in pain.

2. All of this is really making me question my ability to skate in September at the North Shores Inline Half. Sten and Josh were able to do 4 miles in just over 30 min last night at the dome. I was so jealous, but could only sit on the sidelines and read my book as they passed me 10 times.

3. I need some good news. Any good news. Hearing about my house would be great. Winning the lottery wouldn't be bad either. I got into this weight issue bc once I get to this point with my back (as I did 3x in 2011), I get depressed and all I want to do is eat. I'm so frustrated bc I have the motivation to work out and I can't.

Since this is such a downer post, I'll leave you with this glimmer of hope: so far in January, I've lost 4 lbs! Yay!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Facts

I wasn't going to do this but since Rudi and Katie did it, I decided to as well. And I have nothing to do but think about how much my back hurts. Maybe this will take my mind off of it.

1. Yeah, my dad has a blog, and it is going to be awesome.

2. I have six emails in my personal in box. This makes me happy.

3. I really want a beer right now because I'm crabby and my back hurts, but I'm sticking to my dry January plan.

4. I've decided that Fridays are going to be Flexible Fridays - I get to eat something I want, to hell with the calories.

5. I saw a mailman in shorts today. Shorts. In Minnesota. In January.

6. I make a big deal and cheer and hooray when my chronic skippers show up in class at the high school.

7. I hate when my heart rate monitor doesn't work correctly. I've even left the gym because of it.

8. I love that the temps have been really mild this winter.

9. My feet go a little numb in my inline skates.

10. I'm looking forward to getting new inline skates at some point this spring!

11. Today my chiropractor told me to keep trying to mess up my spine. I said I'd try my best.

12. I'm only allowed to sit on hard surfaces. So I make sure to LAY on the couch.

13. I have a slight Kohl's addiction. I like to buy sweatshirts and Nike sneakers there.

14. By Jan 31 I will know if I have a house or not. I'm afraid it's going to be the latter.

15. I love Victory 44's desserts. Nom.

16. I always do things in the shower in the same order (face wash/shave/shampoo/conditioner). If I do it out of order, it feels funny.

17. I have started drinking Diet Coke. I feel dirty.

18. I don't cut my nails until two of them have broken off.

19. I like to wear socks at least twice before they go in the dirty clothes bin.

20. And since Ru and Katie posted about purses: I've switched to a small North Face backpack during the week. I'm afraid my side-slinging purses are throwing off my spinal alignment.

Tonight I'll be test tasting at Bullfrog Cajun Bar in Minneapolis. Happy Flexible Friday!

Week 1

Tomorrow I will finish up week 1 of the new year. So far I've logged every meal and workout in My Food Diary. As of today I've lost a total of 2.2 lbs. I was -2.6 on Wednesday, but then I decided to put my body through hell with workouts on the bike, DDR, elliptical, and inline skating. My body is still recoverying and my legs and lower back are not fans of me right now.

The beginning of the week was super easy. I was able to eat right, workout every day, and maintain a positive attitude about the whole thing. After taking yesterday as my rest day, I'm disgruntled today. My back hurts and I just want to eat terrible, terrible things. I'm hoping this has more to do with an impending hormonal flux and not an indication of how hard this is really going to be.

I signed up for three races this week: February's Valentine's Day TC 5k, April's Fitger's 5k, and June's Lederhosenlauf 5k. The last time I signed up for a race (January's Polar Dash 5k), I immediately threw out my back the next day. I'm knocking on wood, hoping that doesn't happen this time, and at 3x the intensity!

I had a minor freak out today regarding the North Shore Inline Half that I'll be doing in September. I was able to complete 4 miles (10 laps) in the Metrodome on Wednesday night, but it was slow-going. It took me about 40 minutes, which is not a pace that will let me finish the half before the inline marathoners race over my dead, lifeless body. I think the main factor in all of this is my skates. I'm going to try renting skates next week and hope that my 4-mile time decreases. My goal right now is to be under 7.5 min/mile, which would be 30 minutes total. Ultimately, I think I'll need to purchase racing skates. And then I'll have to learn how to stop in them.

This weekend will be my first food and exercise challenge. Tonight is my first ordering off of the menu while keeping in mind how many calories I can eat experience. I looked that the menu for the Bullfrog Cajun Bar and everything looks so good! It's also going to be hard to order Diet Coke (yes, I have crossed over to the dark side) or water instead of a nice cold beer. Sniffle. But I know a lack of boozing it up tonight will be a gain tomorrow morning when I want to get up (after sleeping in, natch) and go see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Speaking of which...next blog up: All of the movies I have to see before the Oscars!

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 1, 2012 Polar Dash 5k

We got a little crazy the night before the Polar Dash:

So driving to the race on Sunday morning was a tad rough. I was thinking that perhaps this was a bad idea, but I had already paid $50. The maximum wind gust, by day's end, was clocked at 48 mph. Sustained winds in the 20-mph range were common yesterday. It was a tad chilly.

We got there right on time and even found on-street parking, just over the (very icy) footbridge across I-94. Oh yeah, temps had been in the 30s and 40s for most of the past two months. New Year's Eve brought rain, heavy, wet snow, and then the temps dropped and everything froze. They had pre-treated the course with salt so it wasn't too snowy or icy. I started out with two pairs of pants, two shirts and a fleece jacket, my cute skull hat, and my wool buff and mitties. Wool buff was definitely too hot and I had to unzip my jacket shortly into the race as well.

The race took place on the East River Parkway, with the Mississippi River just to the west of the course. The 5k run was down to Cretin and then a turnaround. There were a few hills, but overall I really liked the course. The parkway is just a two-way street so we ran up one side and then back down the other. Everyone was pretty spaced out and I didn't have to slow down if I didn't want to. I hated running around Lake Harriet at the 2010 Reindeer Run. The trail was so small that there wasn't enough room and I felt like it slowed me down unnecessarily.

About 11:30 into the race I was around .8 into the course. That's when I started to see high school kids running back towards me. I didn't catch their bib numbers, but I think they were finishing up the 5k or in the front of the 10k and half-ers. There was also a 10k and a half that were joining us at some point. They seemed to be a much more serious crowd - you know, the people that actually look like they enjoy running and do it often. And who most likely didn't drink their weight in alcohol the night before...

I jogged for the first five minutes and then on all of the downhill areas. My goal was just to get under 49 minutes. I knew I could do it, but wasn't sure how my back or ankle would hold up. I came in at 46:57, but stopped to tie my shoes twice. Garmin said my total was 46:05, which I think is pretty good considering that I have been a bump on a log for most of 2011.

Josh crossed 10 minutes before me at 36:38. It was his first 5k and he was nervous, but did a terrific job! He was super proud of himself after the race. I knew he'd probably be able to get a time in the 30's. We both thought the swag was pretty fun too - the whole reason I picked the Polar Dash as my first race of 2012. Not only did you get a warm, well-made fleece sweatshirt with pockets, upon completion you also received a fun medal!

Aside from the swag, I really liked that this race had a bag drop. That's one thing I haven't figured out how to do - run with all my stuff, or at least with my car keys, wallet, and phone. I'm not to the fanny pack point yet like those cute tiny little runners. I've run with a cinch pack before, but that, too, is cumbersome. This race (and the Get Lucky) is coordinated by "Team Ortho" and they do a really good job. The packet pick-up was well-coordinated, before race day, and organized. Also, you could try on the fleece sweatshirts and exchange them if they didn't fit. How cool is that?! They had people dressed up as penguins at the pick-up and at the race. As I crossed the finish line, I high-five'd three penguins. The treats at the end were normal; your basic banana, water, chips but also string cheese and a mini candy bar. 

The next race I'll run is the Valentine's Day TC 5k (2/11/12). They have candy at the halfway point and Valentine-themed treats at the end! In March we're going to go crazy and up it to a 7k at the Twin Cities Get Lucky (3/17/12). Again, I picked this one because of the fantastic sweatshirt that has thumb holes on the arms! It's worth running an extra mile for.

My breakfast had THREE veggies in it!

Omelette turned into an egg scramble with leftover filet mignon, cheese, asparagus, green onions, and broccoli. It was so good that I forgot to take a pic of it until I had already consumed half of it. Yum!

353 calories, 27g protein.