Sunday, August 31, 2014

Doing Something That Scares Me (and Also Cooking, Because Hey – Gotta Eat)

The local adult ed. catalogs all came in the mail this week, tempting me with all the ways that I could improve myself with a small investment of time and money, two things I'm oozing with, ha. I'm intrigued to see that zumba with the Italian Spitfire is now a drop-in class, $10 per session, rather than committing to a three-month deal; I think this will work much better for me, given how often I've cut class in the last year.

My Monday teacher, Shy Jeny, is off to Nepal to care for her ailing mother, so yet another new teacher is taking over her class . . . and this gave me pause. Do I really want to keep doing zumba? High-impact does not seem to be good for me right now. My leg is much better (I was kneeling in the pool and Li'l Martini, whose name is now a misnomer, jumped on me, causing my poor arthritic knee to bend more than it really can and wrenching my muscles) though still not 100 percent. But I clearly need to do something. What should it be?

And the answer came to me in a vision:

Well, actually, it came to me on the page of the catalog, but you know what I mean.

Husband did Tai Chi a year or so ago and liked it a lot, though he found the Chinese male teacher impossible to understand. This class is being taught by "Judith," who sounds neither Chinese nor male, so I'm reasonably sure this is a different teacher (though no guarantees she'll be any easier to understand — and I am remarkably moronic, believe me). And the class is designed for the begin-iest of beginners, which is me.

And guess what? I've coaxed Husband into doing it with me!!!

I am nervous, because it will be totally different from anything I've ever done before (I've tried yoga twice and HATED IT), but I'm also proud of myself (and Husband!) for taking a risk and trying something new. Face those fears, girl! Don't back down!

The character Puddles in Ruth Doan MacDougall's excellent Snowy series suffers from arthritis, and she does Tai Chi; it's always been in the back of my mind as something to try. I am hopeful!

The dream
The likely reality. C'est la vie.

Switching subjects now, let me tell you about last night's awesome dinner. I wanted to make something easy after Chore Day, and I'm trying to cut down on the number of meals we eat out or carry in (for both weight loss and financial reasons). We had Chinese sausage in the freezer, and I'd bought the ingredients to recreate Costco's kale salad, which Martini and I fell in love with in California. I needed a third dish, and I decided to try to make "fried" rice in my rice cooker. I hunted down a bunch of online recipes, got the general idea, and then I went maverick and flew without a net! And the result was delicious! As was my kale salad!

To make the rice, I cut off about an eighth of an onion (for the salad dressing) then diced the rest and browned it lightly in a dab of olive oil. I then added a cup and a half of rice, a handful of frozen peas, and a dash of Paul Newman's Low-Fat Sesame Ginger salad dressing, and I let all that cook in a frying pan, under a lid, for a couple of minutes before pouring it all into the rice cooker. I threw in about a tablespoon of Penzey's minced garlic and rice-cookered the whole thing in beef broth. A few minutes before serving, I whisked an egg (tidily using the beef broth can), poured it over the top, and let it sit a minute to cook before stirring it into the rice mixture. The final touch was 2–3 tablespoons of soy sauce added at the very end.

My kids don't get excited about rice, per se, but everyone loved this!

To make the salad, I bought a bunch of stuff at Trader Joe's: kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, broccoli slaw, dried cranberries, and pepitas. I also threw in a little Spring Mix that Husband had bought. I cut up the kale and Spring Mix chiffonade-style, and made a few knife slashes across the slaw (Mom says she dislikes the long pieces because they're hard to eat), then threw everything into a bowl and tossed it. To make the dressing, I threw sugar, cider vinegar, dry mustard, olive oil, canola oil, fresh onion, and poppy seeds into the blender, and blended blended blended. (Next time I will use a food processor, because that onion never did pulverize completely. But it tasted fine.) Unlike other salads, this one should be dressed ahead of time, so the kale has some time to soften and wilt.

So so so good! A wonderful combo of flavors and textures. And look at all that roughage! Husband and Mom both detest Brussels sprouts, but they don't mind them shaved and raw in this salad. And the kids scarfed it down!

In my final news of the day, before returning my attention to HARVARD, my new client, here's what I just read and loved:

AWESOME books. Four stars! Two thumbs up from me!

And here's what I'm reading (and loving so far) now, both of which kept me in the bathtub longer than I meant to be last night:

On today's docket: work, walk, supervise Li'l Martini's summer reading homework, which he needs to finish today, and take Mimosa practice-driving. And dream up a dinner. Man, the every-nightness of this dinner thing — it really gets to a girl.


— Lady C


  1. I love reading your blog and have missed your posting. I lost 20 lb this winter and have stalled. The only thing that works for me is eating a lot less and smaller portions. Sugar and alcohol are my downfall. Hang in there, Lady C! Just think - you have maintained this lower weight of yours instead of gaining more when you started this journey.

    1. Congratulations on your 20 pounds! I think of you as so thin already - you must be a sylph now. And I think you nailed it re: less food/smaller portions. My zumba teacher always says, "Great abs start in the kitchen." (So do great meals...) :)

    2. Oh, no, I've gained 40 lbs since I saw you in 2009.

    3. More of Cindy in the world sounds like a good thing to me, but I suspect you might feel differently . . .

  2. Tai Chi is a GREAT idea! It is NOT like Yoga! You remain upright. You can move very slowly and gently, and know that if you speed up those moves, you could, you know, kill someone with them! Good on ya! And Mr. C too - it's a miracle! Straight A's for the C's!!
    Mrs. Cynicletary
    Also, I agree with Brunie. It seems that within minutes your kids will be off driving themselves to jobs, and then you will be free to take over the world to the degree you desire!

    1. Thanks for the pep talk re: tai chi vs. the hated yoga! We shall see. I told Husband he should stand a little behind me, so I don't fixate on what he's doing wrong, ha ha ha. I think it will be fun to do it together.

      see you soon, sweetie! xx