Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 2

Ahhh...Sundays. Today was a pretty relaxing and wonderful day. I'm often awoken by my son around 6:40am, and today was no different. I had a horrible night's sleep; the worst in weeks, honestly, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to accomplish a darn thing today other than grumble. I got my boy started on the day, slugged down a Naked Juice Blue Machine, got my coffee in the press and, also typical, my wife got up reasonably soon thereafter and I headed out for my morning garden rounds: water a few things, pull some weeds, check general progress. I'm so inexplicably intrigued by plants and their growth, I could sit and stare at any given bit of flora for hours. 

Anyway, with the windows open, I could smell what my wife came up with this morning: she decided to make some cinnamon rolls from scratch. (There is no shortage of reasons I love this woman so dearly, and something like this is only one of many.) So I wrapped up in the garden and headed in for the rest of my breakfast: two cinnamon rolls and the remainder of my coffee. 

Then we loaded the boy up in the stroller, leashed up our older dog, and walked the half-mile to our local farmer's market. 

There are lots of foods I don't like to eat. There are more foods I don't like to eat than there are foods I like to eat, by far. I'll blog about my eating some day. Probably soon. But man, we were strolling around the market in the shade of redwoods and valley oaks and a guy was selling nectar-plums, a hybrid of pretty obvious origins. Those things were SO FREAKING GOOD, and I would never claim to like nectarines or plums. I guess I should try harder.

We did our stroll of the market, our old girl enjoying the attention that's always poured upon her, and filled the bottom of the stroller with the weeks' produce, supplementing those things are garden won't or isn't yet providing, like potatoes, greens, corn, and nectar-plums. My stomach was still full from the cinnamon rolls, and the farmer's market samples didn't help that much, but it was great to be so full. 

We got home, unloaded the produce, and changed clothes for an easy family jog. Our younger pup goes along on the jogs, so we leashed her up and were on our way. It was really an easy, pleasant jog. We weren't out to set records. We chatted the entire time, covered a little under 4 miles, and our son fell asleep toward the end. We transferred him in to his crib for his nap and a little while later, my wife went off to do some poolside reading at the gym and run a couple of errands. 

My son woke up shortly after she left, and I had planned to go grocery shopping, but instead decided to do some cleaning so my wife wasn't coming home to such a wreck of a house. I got a couple of rooms straightened up, swept the floors, and mopped the tile. (This would seem like a simple task, except straightening anything when you have a toddler and trying to clean a floor when you have two shepherds is...well, it's futile, to be honest. But it needs to be done no less.) 

My lunch for the day was taken in a grazing fashion: a banana...a pink lady apple (they're my favorite)...a handful of whole-wheat pretzels (fiber is so important)...a nectar-plum (which surprised even me), and my wife returned with some nacho cheese, so we snarfed down a few chips dipped in cheese. That was all eaten over a couple of hours, and some of it was shared with my son, who was doing his best to help me clean, even if his best efforts to clean pale in comparison to his weakest efforts to make a mess. These are things you come to accept as a parent. 

With my wife there to take over with our son, I finally headed out to the grocery. Yes, we shop at a major "natural foods" grocer. And it's not Trader Joe's, because I don't like Trader Joe's. Nor is Trader Joe's closer than our market of choice. I nabbed the rest of what was required for the week's menu and a six-pack of Deschutes Brewing Company's Inversion IPA.
I ended up at my PC soon thereafter, blogging about physical misperceptions. I can only hope you read that, because it describes a really important realization for me, and one I'm not sure others have had the chance to experience. But what do I know? I guess all of this is ultimately for me, although I hope maybe someone reading these things can take some nuggets of info away with them. 

The day was pretty lax from then on. We got some reading in, and we played with our son. I ultimately drank the last glass of wine from my bottle last night, and then we were all getting hungry.
My wife and I decided to tag-team the dinner effort tonight. Granted we'd just had pesto at the fair yesterday, but I'd cut a bunch of basil from the garden a few days ago and kept it in the 'fridge, and I always prefer my own homemade pesto. So lots of garden-grown basil, our homegrown garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a hefty handful (or two) of parmesian cheese went into the food processor. My wife sauteed some chicken and boiled pasta, and we sat down to our chicken pesto on whole wheat spaghetti, with big torn chunks of the best bread in the world: a locally-made garlic parmesian cheese bread. I can't explain how great that stuff is. To quote the great Meatwad, "I would kill someone in front of their own momma" for a loaf of that bread. Okay, I wouldn't really go that far, but it's seriously good stuff. I opened a bottle of Montevina's barbera for the evening's beverage, and I've drank more of that than I really planned, partially a result of not doing much other than hanging around and playing with the fam--not that they drive me to drink, it's just how I fill some of my time. After three successive nights, we finally made it through The Social Network. We only watch TV when we eat dinner. 

I'm on my final glass of wine of the night now. Just poured. Too much more than half the bottle gone. I've said it before: I drink. But keep in mind, too, I've drank this over a period of about...5 hours. I sit here relaxed and nowhere near drunk. Drunk is an uncommon state for me, although drinking, obviously, is not. 

We had a bit of family music time, which always brings a smile to my face. I hesitate to call myself a drummer, and I have an electric 5-string bass and an acoustic guitar. My skills on each are rudimentary at best, although I guess the drums are my strength of the three. Liam (our son, who does have a name I guess I can share) has shown quite a bit of interest in the music, so I always let him bang around on my drums or slap the strings on the bass or strum the strings on the guitar. His experimentation is inspiring: why wouldn't you hit the bass with drumsticks? Or your feet? We had our bits of drumming, and for a while he and my wife toyed around with the bass while I was drumming. We're not the Partridges; it was cacophonous. But that doesn't change the value of the experience. 

A bit more time in the garden left me frustrated and ready to kill my dogs, who have a great desire to eat whatever organic fertilizer I throw down, no matter the cost to the plants it may surround. Oy. Lately, the garden calms me in the mornings and frustrates me in the evenings. But I (hopefully) salvaged what I could, had some therapeutic yelling and cursing at my dogs (while Liam and Angie [my wife]) were out picking blackberries and couldn't hear my string of nonsensical expletives, and then I sat down to read. When Angie went to lay my son down for sleep, I came to type to you. Or for me. In my mind my blog is for others, but I know it fills a need for me as well. Or maybe it only fills a need for me. Regardless, I'm still going.  

The house is quiet now except for low-volume music, random from our library. Tool, at the moment. My wife is reading. I'm going to join her, and I'm hoping for a good night's sleep. I've enlisted the aid of a pill, and I hope it works some magic. Tomorrow is my long day at the office, and my moods are a bit more volatile when I'm heavily sleep deprived, as I am right now. Ask my dogs. 

So that was it for the day: good homemade food, fresh produce, easy exercise, and lots of family time. That's what Sundays are about. 

Good night, kitty kitties. (We have two cats, too.) I have a bit more reading to do before drifting off to sleep. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 1

I've been contemplating structure for this blog. There are lots of things I'd like to share, but many of them are tangential to the primary goal I've laid out for myself: to share my everyday life to try to illustrate fitness isn't as hard as it may seem. For now I'm thinking I'll line the primary initiative out by days. Then I may throw in some asides. So as I sit here, my family near my side and a glass of wine at the ready, I'll tell you what I did today. I really can't believe anyone would have interest in this, but I (egotistically?) hope they do.

It was another night of poor sleep. Poor me. Okay. So I got up with my son at 6:40 and got him started on the day. Diaper changed, milk in his cup, breakfast in his belly, and then my wife woke up. The garden always needs tending, so I headed out to do just that while my wife took over with our son. Watering, bits of weeding--wait, this is too wordy. I'll break it down more simply, but to add confusion I'll use the present tense to describe the past, and the just start switching back and forth at random.

6:40am: Wake up, put water on to boil for coffee, and get my boy's day started.
7:00am: Out to the garden. Spot-check all the plants. Lament my failure to enrich the soil more after the previous years' growth. Water.
7:45-ish: My wife makes waffles from scratch, 'cause we're like that and she's fantastic. (She could have a blog all her own, as she's a fit and amazing woman. I have to limit my scope somewhat, I suppose.)

~~This brings up a good point: cook from scratch. Not only is your food going to tend to be better tasting and more nutritive, you also burn Calories doing it. ~~

So I had two big waffles, smothered in real butter and real maple syrup (no high fructose corn syrup, thank you), along with some French-pressed coffee: a light roast Costa Rican, cafe negro. I'm stuffed. STUFFED. Painfully so, and it lingers. But man, those waffles were good. (Tense change, see?)

After breakfast, I was contemplating getting started painting some of the trim on our house when my wife reminded me we decided to check out the California State Fair today, and I'm glad she did.

{{Poured another glass of wine.}}

So I showered, we made our preparations, and sometime around 9:00am we headed for the fair. It was a great time, honestly. We were pushing our boy in the stroller and sometimes running after him while he strolled. We checked out the livestock and the garden exhibits (which made me truly jealous) and the insects but avoided the midway; we had no need for the midway.

12:05pm: I could put off my love off beer no longer. I set out to find a craft brew. Of course, selection is somewhat limited. On the other hand, it's California. So I got myself a pint of the Racer 5 (instead of the 9 other options of I had). What can I say: I love IPAs. And we headed to the photo booth.

HA! The vibrating foot massagers came after. And so did lunch.

Lunch at the fair, that has to be bad, right? Well, not so much. We headed to the wine pavilion and were surprised to find ourselves sitting down with some cheese tortellini in pesto sauce, slices of French bread, and a plate with two cheeses and some grapes. After choosing my allotted three wines to taste, I settled on a Sauvignon Blanc from...a winery I'm blanking on, but it was darn good. The judges thought so, too, 'cause I'm pretty sure it won best of class. But anyway, we had our lunch and left the fairgrounds soon thereafter. It was nearly 1:30pm, and our son passed out. Oh, and we did buy a big slice of chocolate fudge. Good ol' chocolate fudge. And of course I was eating that. Who wouldn't? We stopped and got dog food on the way home. We have big dogs. We buy big bags of food.

When we got home my dissatisfaction with the garden returned, and I knew what I needed: a good organic fertilizer with a fairly specific NPK ratio in mind. (Why would you NOT grow organic?) So I hopped on my bike for a trip to a nursery I had yet to visit. Here it is, you may be thinking: the exercise. And yeah, it was my "structured" exercise for the day. I rode a little under 10 miles total. That's not a big deal, right? You could probably go bike 10 miles right now. Try it, then come back and read more.

I didn't time myself. I only know the distance because of the good ol' Googler. A little under 5 miles there, browsing, checking out the natives (California native plants, not the people [a later aside, perhaps]), and I found the fertilizer I was looking for. (I really need to get this present/past tense thing in order. For I rode home, it was just about 5pm, and it was my night to cook.

Steak, 'taters, and corn on the grill. I experimented a bit, as I tend to do. Corn on the grill is corn on the grill. That's just good. You can't mess with that much. The potatoes I got at the farmer's market last week, a mix of red and yukon golds with some minced home-grown garlic and green onions thrown in for fun. Salt and pepper, of course. I do love salt. I melted some butter, added a bit of olive oil to that (it can keep the butter from scorching), and threw in some chopped up basil from the garden with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Poured that on the 'taters, wrapped 'em in foil, and onto the grill they went. I did something similar for the steaks (petite cut top sirloin because we're not into chewing on fat): melted butter mixed with olive oil, but in the pan I added a minced up mash of our garlic, basil, oregano, green onions (all from the garden), another pinch of the red pepper flakes for consistency, then smothered the steaks in that and the steaks were grilled. I'm no chef, I just mess around. I had one bottle of Racer 5 left, so I drank that, and I had a splash of a petite syrah left, so that helped me finish my dinner. (I do drink lots of water, too. It's necessary.)

I play with my son at various times throughout all these activities. He eats essentially what we eat. Out of alcohol (!!, especially on a Saturday), I went and bought 6 bottles of wine. After spending some time with the family out in the yard and my son getting ready for bed, I found myself here at the PC, typing away. And my son is now asleep. I'm still on that second glass of wine: an inexpensive Chilean carmenere. It's good. I'll probably have another when I finish this and sit back to read. I'm in a Carl Hiaasen novel right now. It's almost 9:00. I'm hoping sleep treats me well.

~~Time passed. New glass of wine poured. Another note on non-exercise (completely unrelated to anything that just happened, promise): sex burns Calories, too. I read that somewhere.~~

It's about 10:00. So goodnight, moon. I have some wine to drink, and hopefully some winks to catch.