112, 113, 114… packages, peanut butter balls, and more long runs

Day One Hundred Twelve (dia um centena de doze)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

24 Janeiro 2014

I was in bed when John got home from practice the night before (which has been my MO since we started eating dinner earlier) so it was only fitting that he was in bed when I went out to run the next morning. I had two Peanut Butter energy balls that I had made the afternoon before (total experiment and if you are a resident of Massachusetts, don’t even BOTHER, just go to www.realdealsnacks.com like I’ve said before). I didn’t bake them and they were totally sticky, so I figured they might “set” in the fridge overnight. I guess they were slightly less sticky in the morning, and ridiculously delicious so I didn’t care. They also sat very well pre-run and mid-run. Romeo came with me for almost 2 and I finished 5 altogether. On Thursday I had hit 100 mile for the month. Thank you, Nike.


It’s been really warm the last few days—like run-in-a-tank-and-shorts-warm—so after running I need to change or else I will freeze to death sitting in a puddle of my own sweat. I think I’ve mentioned this before but I am a sweater. And I’m not ashamed to admit it; I sweat like a whore in church. Mostly when I’m running or lifting, but sometimes when my coffee is too hot or I’m nervous, or for any number of other tiny instances that require my body to self-regulate.

Anyway, after I ran and changed (and threw some chili together and left the heat on low) we walked over to meet Ken at the gym. We had two packages waiting for us and John was really excited because his mom had sent him new hair clippers a few weeks ago, so he thought they were here. I tried to gear him up for the realization that my dad sent a package before his mom and also our friend Anne and her fiance Joseph had sent something from Turkey. Sure enough, we had packages from P.Diddy and Anne Kranz (sorry JB). There was another package sent from a company in England addressed to Lina, but she hadn’t ordered anything and assumed it was meant for us. John and I decided it was a new pair of cleats that Ken had ordered. Since Ken wasn’t at the gym yet, Ernesto suggested they play a nasty trick on him.

John and Ernesto opened his package and took the cleats out of their signature orange Nike box and replaced them with old running sneakers. They put them back in the packaging and duct taped it closed again. I am not good at keeping a straight face, so I tried to steer clear of the pranksters when Ken showed up a few minutes later.

He was so excited when he saw the package from England; he knew it was his cleats. He tore into the package and his face dropped when he saw the sneaks but then the corners of his lips turned upwards into a grin, “You guys! Nice try. Where are my cleats?” But John and Ernesto didn’t let up, John said, “Oh man. I was nervous when I saw that duct tape. I thought something might be up.” And Ernesto just kept shaking his head, hands out wide. Ken’s face dropped again as he read the packing slip. I actually thought he was going to cry. Once Ernesto showed him the cleats he was hiding under his desk, it took Ken a solid ten minutes to calm down again. He was had.

Once all that excitement was over we started our Friday-circuit-workout, 5 rounds @ 10 reps each:

  • decline push-ups
  • alt v-ups
  • TRX single leg hops (kill me)
  • reverse fly’s (boys did chest fly’s)
  • upright row

I did two :90 planks at the end and then threw my legs up on the tiny piece of wall between the elliptical and one of the bikes for 2:00. I read it on one of my yoga-poses-for-runners articles. The one that is saving my plantar fasciitis from overtaking my life is toes pose. And I had one more for your IT band that it also a lifesaver.


After we went to Pic Nic we went home. My chili had cooked onto the bottom of the pot which totally messed with the flavor. Not my best batch—but I made meatballs for John and Ken which were thoroughly enjoyed, so no one else had to suffer through my sub-par chili-fail. I finished the rest of my sweet potato soup for lunch.


Along with the warm weather we’ve been enjoying we’ve also experienced some increased humidity, which for Romeo means excessive shedding. More excessive than usual. We haven’t had him groomed or even brushed him since we’ve been here (almost 4 months now!). I told John I couldn’t stand to sweep twice a day and then turn around and still see more fur on the ground; we were going to the pet shop/7 lombas rent-a-car. We took Romeo with us and made a pit-stop at Casa Cheia so I could grab conditioner for me and a Monster for John. We went into the pet shop where I found the brushes quickly. The lady behind the desk asked me if I need any help in Portuguese. I asked if she spoke English which she did, very well. John and Romeo came in the store, too, and she went on and on about how beautiful he is. We bought a brush and headed home.

Needless to say I didn’t need anymore loose fur in the apartment so we kept Romeo outside while I brushed him. I thought about using a bag, but I didn’t. More fur came off of Romeo than I’ve ever seen before. I just kept pulling it off the brush and tossing it into the street. By the time I was finished, the whole street was lined with giant tufts of Romeo fur. Lina walked by and marveled at all of it.

IMG_1657Yes, those tufts? Those are tufts of Romeo.

I made meatballs and Ken came over to eat dinner with John. I decided to eat my basically-botched chili after class. It was a little colder on Friday than it had been the two days before, so after we warmed-up outside, we worked-out inside.


At the end, I had them do 10 laps around the pool. One of the ladies in my class, Monica, is also my neighbor. Her son comes with her most days to class. On this particular day, they had seen Romeo’s fur in the street, but didn’t know it was Romeo’s fur. Monica’s son had asked her what was in the street, to which she replied, “Someone must have ripped open a pillow.”

John thought the PB balls were a little crunchy because I hadn’t baked them, so the chocolate chips were whole. I decided to try another batch, but bake them at 350F for 15 minutes like some of the recipes I’ve found suggested. I went home and ate my chili, showered, walked Romeo, started some laundry and got in bed. When John got home I was wide awake so we finally watched Catching Fire. Usually I fall asleep not long after we start movies at night, but Jennifer Lawrence is a rockstar, Hunger Games is great, and this movie was awesome. #teamgale


Day One Hundred Thirteen (dia um centena de treze)

Sabado (Saturday)

25 Janeiro 2014

JB was passed out when I got up so after I had my PB energy balls (I had one unbaked and one of the new baked ones… they tasted almost exactly the same) and walked Romeo, I headed to the gym solo. The gym was almost completely empty. It is very relaxing when you don’t have to worry about if the machine/area you want is taken. I did a nice long yoga warm-up, 5 miles on the bike, and then some TRX & free weights:

  • front squats to weighted box blasts
  • weighted TRX trail leg squats to box jumps
  • TRX core: 15 reps @ 3 rounds: mountain climbers, pikes, knee tucks, and leg curls. DONE.

I headed back home where I found John getting ready to go watch some Cup games at Pic Nic, so I went down with him for my galao. When I got home, I had lunch, showered, and went downstairs to Carla’s salon. Her cousin is finishing up hair school so I asked her to color my hair for me. Carla and I had talked about what color I wanted (dark-dark brown) and she had talked to her cousin for me (who speaks no English). Two hours later my hair was a few shades darker than it had been when I walked in to the salon. But it was shiny and someone else had done it for me—other than Carla pluckin’ my brows on day 5 I haven’t paid for a service. Not a mani, not a pedi, not a haircut. It was so nice to sit in a salon, with other ladies (even if most of what was said was not understood), having someone wash and dry my hair. I felt like a million bucks.

John came home from playing FIFA at Ken’s and we hung out for a little while before going to watch Kevin’s futsol game in the gymnasium. I had been planning to go to John’s game, but then I found out it was at 9:00pm and there wasn’t any room in Serenela’s boyfriend’s car. When we were leaving Kevin’s futsol game—John to go to his game, me to sit in bed and watch Grey’s Anatomy—Filipe told me I could ride in Pedro’s van with the players. Hmmm.. I could. Or I could sit in my warm bed and watch Grey’s. Thanks, anyways. The boys’ lost again because the referees are all corrupt and make call after call against Mira Mar to ensure a loss. I am so glad I was not in that van. As it turned out, I was in bed before their game even started.


Day One Hundred Fourteen (dia um centena de catorze)

Sunday (Domingo)

26 Janeiro 2014

I had been sleeping when John got home a little before 1:00am. I got up around 9:00am, took Romeo for a stroll, had some PB balls and a banana, and hydrated for my long run. It is my second-to-last long run before my actual training plan starts for the Nike Women’s half marathon. I set out with Romeo a little before 11:00am. I felt a whole lot better than I had the week before, trying to run after eating junk food and going to bed late. After I dropped Romeo off and headed for the lombas in a tank top I finished 11.5 miles.


I made chocolate chip pancakes for John and PB-oat-banana-chocolate-chip pancakes for myself—gluten-free(?) & dairy-free. John smothered PB on top of his and said they tasted like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I pinned about a dozen recipes the night before for pancakes, but then I just did my usual throw-a-bunch-of-stuff-in-a-bowl and called it a day. Delish—will definitely make again as a re-fuel. However, while they were delicious, they were not really picture-worthy.

I started my once-a-week clean everything I see routine. Ken came over and eventually we headed down to Pic Nic—me for my galao and John and Ken for Pic Nic burgers. I left them to go make chocolate chip cookies—Carla was having us over for drinks & snacks.

IMG_1666Sometimes I get a double.

Joe picked me, John, & Ken up around 7:30pm and took us to their house in lomba do Loucao. Soon after we arrived Lina and Ernesto and then Luisa and Emanuel showed up. Carla had a whole spread of fruits, cheeses, prosciutto, nachos with salsa and sour cream, vegetables, shrimp pastries that got a big thumbs-down from everyone who partook (except for John), and was busy making chicken quesadillas. I brought my chocolate chip cookies that I had drizzled melted peanut butter on top of. I had one and it was delish. PB always is.

Francisco was a riot—he was playing a game called Talking Ted on Joe’s smartphone and was leaning against John asking John to watch him play, in Portuguese of course. You could make Ted do different things, and one of them was fart. Francisco went around the table showing everyone individually Ted’s “bufa”. We toasted Carla and Joe’s baby-girl-to-be and her to-be God Parents, Lina and Ernesto. We talked about how corrupt soccer on this island is, and Emanuel told stories about when he managed Mira Mar and had the team walk off the field a few times because of bad reffing. After many more laughs, drinks, and cookies, Lina and Ernesto drove us home.

108, 109, 110, 111… Chinese food, double runs, and outdoor obstacle courses

I have been completely unmotivated to write this week, but here is my best effort. Before my final edit, this is basically what I had down:

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 8.13.47 PM

Day One Hundred Eight (un cem oitavo dia)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

20 Janeiro 2014 (Lina’s birthday!)

I got up and ran four miles alone. When I got back we got ready and headed for the gym. John has been doing a lot of reading about strength training and he convinced me to try assisted chin-ups. This is a big deal. If you know me, you know I hate help. When I did the Tough Mudder last year with John’s sister and her fiance I did all but one obstacle by myself. It is supposed to a “team effort”. Guess I’m not really a “team player”. At the FH we had large resistance bands that we could put on the squat racks for pull ups, but in this instance I put my toes on John’s thigh. It went very well. I did:

  • Single Arm squat–OH press to assisted chin ups
  • Single leg RDLs and lateral lunges
  • Hanging leg raises, decline sit up, SB roll outs

We headed to Pic Nic for galaoes then to Fatima’s for groceries. In my best effort to eat well (including eating breakfast) I made a ridiculous egg lunch with sauteed onions, zucchini, and ham. Which in the first draft I had written as “crack lunch deliciousness”:


I made more homemade hummus, but this time I didn’t take the time to skin the chickpeas and aside from taking way longer to blend in my ghetto food processor was totally delicious and I’m never going through all that trouble again. John and Ken said they were going to cook dinner for me for a change. I had a phone interview for a job in Arlington (I’m not able to disclose my homecoming date, but I can tell you it is sometime between when my parents leave and April 27th–a.k.a the Nike Women’s DC Half). The boys ended up having to go coach the juniors’ practice. John had facebook messaged the president, Betinho, and asked him if they had practice but he hadn’t responded.

This is how small a town this is: at 4:00pm John and I were walking home from the Fruit Market, which is next to Mira Mar’s office. One of the senior players ran out and said “Hey John! I’m supposed to tell you the juniors are practicing today”. They practice at 6:00pm. Soon after they left for practice I left to teach class.


After we finished Lina served us all fruit from her orchard (oranges, banana, and guava) while we sang Happy Birthday.

IMG_1616 IMG_1617

I Skyped with my sister-cousin Meg until the boys called me for dinner. They made a saffron chicken with mushrooms and onions and a side of baked zucchini. They also made rice but starch is not on my intake-guide right now. I didn’t even do the dishes.


Day One Hundred Nine (un cem nono dia)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

21 Janeiro 2014

I went out to run 5 miles and I saw Carla cleaning her salon windows. All of a sudden Carla looks very pregnant! (But not your nose, don’t worry!) She is 19 weeks. We decided to take Lina out for a birthday lunch in the city on Wednesday. When I got back from running, John and I took off to meet Ken at the gym:

  • Single arm bent row to rotational cable pulls
  • FWD lunges to deadlifts
  • leg lifts, suitcases, side bends; 3 rounds @ 35 reps each

When Ernesto saw me doing my forward lunges outside with 20kg he said I looked like Ronnie Coleman. I didn’t know who Ronnie Coleman was but John said that wasn’t a nice thing to call a woman. When we got home later, John Googled him for me. This is Ronnie Coleman:


After we went to Pic Nic we headed home for what I wrote originally as “epic meal time: salad with tuna and homemade hummus (crackpot)”.


I also made sauce for dinner @ 5:30pm. I headed off to class and John to practice.


When I got home I made a sweet potato for dessert and soup for amanha. I Skyped with Meg again, walked Romeo, and went to bed.


Day One Hundred Ten (um cem decimo dia)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

22 Janeiro 2014

Since we were headed into the city, I got up early and ran. Because I was only going out for 3 miles I ate when I got back. Carla and Lina picked me up at 11:00am and we decided to have Chinese food for lunch (which is not like American Chinese food, but it is incredibly delicious). We got egg rolls, chicken chow mein, Chinese chicken salad, and honey BBQ chicken wings. We went to the American store afterwards and Lina and Carla bought fruit loops. We headed to the mall where I stocked up on leite de soja and chocolates. All three of us kept looking at sweets and Lina suggested we go get our pastries before we bought every sweet thing in the supermarket. We went to Pao do Rei and I got a Natas (which is like a mini custard pie.. SO GOOD) and my galao. Another thing I stopped doing a few months ago was adding sugar to my coffee and tea–it’s an easy way to control your sugar intake.

John mentioned the other day that I write a lot about food in my blog. Well, I do. I also write a lot about training and nutrition is a huge piece of that. You can skim over any workout/diet stuff you’d like–this is a blog about my daily existence. Which happens to revolve around food.

When we got out of the car at Pao do Rei Carla realized she had forgotten to exchange a pair of pants for her mom at the mall. So when we were done with our pastries we went back to Parque Atlantico. That took way longer than expected as the lady at the store took 30 minutes to change out one size for another. We went to the Cash-n-Carry so Lina could get supplies for a baptism reception at Toronto Nights on Saturday. We all agreed that next time we come to the city we are just going to eat and walk along the port de citade. We started talking about the cachorros (hot dogs) and almost went to eat them. Nah, nah, nah… Back to Povoacao we went.

When we got back it was only 5:00pm. I usually run 6 miles on Wednesdays so I decided to go out for 3 more which turned into 4. I never run at that time, so I got to enjoy the sun going down over the water–it was beautiful. I also got to scare the shit of of Majid and his girlfriend who were canoodling in the rocks by the small beach. When I got back I got ready and headed over to ALKE to teach class. Because of the reception this weekend Lina and crew had set up the tables in the banquet hall so we warmed up outside Lina’s mom’s house next door. While we did the workout inside, Leila suggested we do the whole workout outside the next day, because it was so nice.


I got home and warmed up some soup for dinner (John went from coaching the juniors straight to futsol at the gymnasium). When I took Romeo out for his nightly stroll I saw a man walking by the bus station, which wasn’t that strange. But then he started glancing around and then stopped abruptly with his back to us. Weirder. Then I saw a stream of liquid spilling onto the ground diagonally in front of him. PEEING! The man was PEEING! I coughed, he turned, and I made the most disgusted face I could muster. Gross.

As we were walking by the gymnasium, Kevin was walking in. Romeo freaked out and started howling and pulling but Kevin just nodded and kept walking. Romeo was so excited to see him that when Mira Mar’s new goalie walked by a moment later, Romeo dolphin-jumped all over him. Desculpa. Luckily he knows who we are. I Skyped with Anna and went to bed.


Day One Hundred Eleven (um cem decima primeira dia)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

23 Janeiro 2014

I got up around 9:00am, ate half a PB&J, took Romeo for walk, drank my tea, took romeo and ran 4. We went to gym.

Ken wanted to do a  1RM (one rep max) which John wanted to practice going through. While they were doing their thing, I worked out solo:

  • dips to bicep curls (5 supinated, 5 neutral, 5 pronated)
  • squat jumps to RDLs
  • Core: hanging rotational knee tucks, burpees, and stability ball knee tucks, trez series at 15 reps

In case you were wondering what it’s like to workout with John, here is a sneak peak:

Because John and Ken were no where near done I went home and showered and then met them at Pic Nic. I had more soup for lunch and  prepped food for dinner; we were having chicken drumsticks (shake & bake) with peppers, zucchini, onions, corn, and cauliflower “rice”. Since it was another warm day, we were able to hold the whole class outside.


IMG_1651 IMG_1653 IMG_1654

In addition to Valentine’s day, they also celebrate girlfriend’s day and guy friend’s day here in Portugal. Toronto is hosting dinner, dancing, and KARAOKE for girlfriend’s day. I am ridiculously excited as Karaoke is one of my favorite pastimes. I love to sing but am so horrible it can only be condoned when my peers are hammered. Karaoke is a nice blend of the two. After class I Skyped with Cathy, and then Meg (yes, again). This time when Romeo and I went for our walk we found our new stray friend who has a little limp. I would like to adopt him. And I keep calling it a him but I’m pretty sure he has nipples. This is a picture from earlier in the day when we saw her.


105, 106, 107… another weekend in Povoacao

Day One Hundred and Five (un cestisimo e quinta dia)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

17 Janeiro 2014

Up and at ’em with a 5 mile run. Romeo was originally scheduled for 1.5 miles of this, because I think he likes the short runs. However, about four minutes into the run I almost strangled him with his leash. He was in play-mode (read: wanted to wrestle with my face) before we left and he continued to try to wrestle me while we ran. Not effective. I shortened his leash and we finished his leg (I figured dropping him off early wouldn’t help with all the energy he obviously had). I finished the rest alone and then I was off to the gym with John where we met Ken. We picked four exercises and did 15 reps of each for four rounds:

  • SB knee tuck to push-ups
  • Goblet squats
  • V-ups
  • Chin-ups (I did shoulder push-press instead)

I am lamely completing this push-up challenge. The boys did 50 last night at practice, so I guess that was day 4 for them. Day 4: 60 stability ball knee-tuck to push-ups. After I finished one set of push-ups, Ernesto asked me if I knew what they were called. I really like it when people quiz me on my Portuguese. Well, I really like it when I know the answer. “Flexunge!” I said, cheerily. “And what do you call that?” He pointed at John on the pull-up bar. I had no idea. Honestly, I don’t really remember what he said, except that it also ended in “xunge” (google translate doesn’t know either). We finished with a shoulder-arm circuit, taking turns choosing the exercise.

After we went to Pic-Nic, I went home to make soup. Now that I have been fairly successful in this department, it is my new thing. Sans-recipe, I did a spin-off of my sweet potato/white bean/couve soup. I didn’t have any white beans so I scratched those and added chicken, carrots, and zucchini (zucchini has a permanent place in most meals now). I had left over zucchini and carrot centers from having peeled off most of the outsides for other things. This time I also sauteed the onions and garlic first. I let the veggies boil for about an hour before I added the cooked, cubed, chicken. It was really good.

Lola was having me and Leila, and some of her family, over for dinner so John had some soup before he left for practice. I had nine women in class and I worked out with them.


I ran home to shower and Leila picked me up. We both knew that Lola lived in lomba de batao but not where, so Lola said she would pick us up from the middle of the lomba. As we were sitting and waiting for her, Leila turned her car off. When Lola arrived, Leila’s (new!) Fiat refused to start. Lola’s husband and her cousin’s boyfriend showed up, and Lola’s husband got it to start only when he was rolling it down the lomba. I’m pretty sure her battery was dead, but they didn’t want to mess around. After they got it started, they drove Leila and her car home and then brought her back.

Lola was with Claudia, who’s husband plays for Mira Mar, too (remember that fight John got in at practice a few weeks ago? Yeah. That would have been with Claudia’s husband). I piled into a car with Lola’s brother (who I recognized as one of the Wednesday-night-gymnasium-futsol players… and also happens to be married to one of the new ladies in my class!), Lola, and Claudia and headed for Lola’s.

Alexandra, who I now know is also Lola’s sister-in-law, and Lola’s cousin Telma were already there. Eventually, Leila, Lola’s husband Lino, and Telma’s boyfriend came back and we sat down to eat. Lola cooked but she doesn’t really eat. She made potatoes, pork, and bacalhau (a traditional Azorean cod dish). It was all really good. Leila made brownies and brownie-like-cookies (MUST ask for recipe) for dessert and Lola had a spread of pastries, too. She also made an apple pie with egg and cream that had sort of a custard-taste to it—extremely delicious. Of course I indulged and then they pulled out Texas Hold ‘Em and Lola brought out poker snacks. Potato chips, fritos, corn nuts, whole peanuts, and these tiny little donut looking things that are like graham cracker covered in chocolate. #nomnomnom

I didn’t play Texas Hold ‘Em but I did snack. I also learned two new Portuguese words from my new friend Alexandra (which, in Portuguese, is pronounced a-luh-SHAWN-druh, it is also Lina’s daughter Xana’s [Shawna] full name). They are boofa and peido and they both mean fart. A boofa is like an air-fart and a pedo is a loud fart (what my dad referred to as a “ripper” when I told him). I learned them because apparently someone gave a boofa in my class earlier in the evening. You couldn’t hear it, but you could smell it.

After Mira Mar’s practice ended, Lola’s husband went and picked Claudia’s husband, Berto up. John asked later if he was nice to me (they have since gotten over the disagreement they had at practice—part of the problem is neither one of them speaks the other’s language), and I told him he didn’t even glance at me. I have found this is true of lots of Portuguese men—they stick to their side of the table. Around midnight I could barely keep my eyes open:

22 or 33 

Lola noticed and offered to drive me and Leila home. Boa Noite!!


Day One Hundred and Six (un centisimo e sexta dia)

Saturday (Sabado)

18 Janeiro 2014

I got up and felt like a snail getting ready for my long run (probably all that junk I put in my body the night before!) and eventually headed off for ten miles.


John headed to Pic Nic for the Arsenal(?) game with Ken. When I got home from my run, I quickly showered, ran to Antonio’s for some weekend necessities (bread, cauliflower, oats, and bananas) and met them for a galao. We went home for lunch (leftover soup from the day before) and John and Ken went back to Pic Nic for another game. I took advantage of this quiet time to paint my nails while watching Grey’s Anatomy (which is the only time I watch it). I made gluten-free chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal and peanut butter. I have had a hard time figuring out if oats are really gluten-free, but this recipe claimed they were. Some people with Celiac, like Lina’s niece Julia, can’t have oats.


Although they looked exactly the same when I took them out of the oven as when I put them in, they were delicious.

John came home and we got ready for the Rodizio de Pizza at Toronto Night’s. Lina said she wasn’t expecting many people, and when we arrived we noticed that the (few) tables were especially reserved. We found my table:


Yes, that says “USA LISA”. Ernesto meant to write a “z”, he told me. Although many of the Portuguese people in Povoacao say my name “Leeza”, Ernesto is one of the few that knows my real name.

I was graced with John, Ken, and Marco as seatmates which meant there was lots of talk about soccer, giant muscles, and what makes you sound more gay. The boys had a game the next day, so we didn’t stay for Nights. But that’s cool because:


Half a pizza and two pieces of garlic bread count as one serving of gluten, right?


Day One Hundred and Seven (un cestisimo e setimo dia)

Sunday (Domingo)

19 Janeiro 2014

I got up and dilly dallied for a while until John got up. I walked with Romeo to fill up our water containers and cleaned what I could without being too loud. Once John got up and we had both showered we headed down to Pic-Nic. I had my galao and headed back to the apartment to do some YouTube Yoga and finish the laundry before Pedro picked me up at 2:30pm. The list of things I wanted to do during this quickly-dwindling-time-frame only increased. The next thing I knew it was 2:18pm and Pedro was honking his horn outside! He is never early! I wasn’t even dressed, I hadn’t brushed my teeth, I was just pulling some clothes off the line out back. I filled up my water bottle, grabbed John’s iPad and a pair of flip flops (flip flops?!) and ran for the door. Thank goodness Pedro noticed I didn’t have a coat and made me go back inside, where I also hastily looked for gum to no avail. And back outside I went.

We got to the game early, but Pedro still had to go home and shower so he just dropped me off. Luckily, I saw Serenela and Glebiana (another player’s wife or girlfriend.. but I don’t know which one, she doesn’t speak any English and smokes about 7 cigarettes per game). We sat on the wall behind one of the goals in the sun instead of the seats.


Soon after the game started Marcelo and his girlfriend Andreia showed up and sat with us. Andreia doesn’t speak a lick of English but she is an absolute sweetheart. We watched almost all of the first half from there, until the sun set (my feet were icicles.. flip flops?!), and then we moved to the box seats.


It was a pretty warm day out, and aside from the wind was quite comfortable.

IMG_2746Typical January Azorean weather,

Mira Mar had possession of the ball most of the first half. Of course, as soon as Sao Roque got the ball, they scored. Mira Mar got lucky on a corner kick and tied the game 1-1. John had an incredible opportunity but the goalie saved it. Serenela said to me, “That’s not the really John. The really John would have scored.” because her English isn’t that good.

A few failed opportunities by Mira Mar later, and the game was over. Even though they tied, they played really well and out-possessed Sao Roque. Sao Roque only had two opportunities and happened to score on one. Mira Mar had about a dozen and only scored one. Ce la vie. I learned later that Pauleta (a famous Azorean soccer player) was at the game, because his son was playing. John and Ken were pumped to be able to say they’ve played in front of him.

Ernesto drove me and Zeze home (the guy who flew like a bird when he scored in futsol). I walked Romeo and then shoved two pieces of last night’s cheese-free pizza in my mouth. I was planning to meet John and Ken at Pic Nic (John wanted a Pic Nic burger for dinner) but they arrived when I downing my second piece. We walked over to Pic Nic for beers and burgers and beans (I had green tea). The place was packed when we got there because the Benfica game was on (77th minute) so we stood around awkwardly until the game was over.

When we got home I had my last two pieces of cheese-free pizza and made a sweet potato for dessert. John and Ken watched some English Premier League game on Ken’s laptop until it died, and I gave them mine. I Skyped with my parents about their upcoming trip. They booked a flight that allows no checked bags (I did the same thing for our flight home!) so they won’t be able to bring us as much stuff as we greedily desire. But since we now have limited space to bring stuff home, that’s probably a good thing.


101, 102, 103, 104.. the end of Week Fourteen (Semana Catorze)

Day One Hundred and One (un centesimo e primeiro dia)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

13 Janeiro 2014

After being duped by Harry Potter we slept until 10:30am. I decided to run after the gym (which has pretty much been my MO since I started eating breakfast—I changed a few other parts of my diet, which I’ll share below). We went to ALKE without Ken (because maybe he was sleeping) and did John’s Day One workout, but I did my own thing.

  • Single arm squat to press → reverse flies (JB: pull ups)
  • John: DB incline → something else
  • I did: Single leg RDLs → alternating lateral lunges
  • Core: hanging leg raises, stability ball roll outs, and decline sit ups. Part of John’s new regimen is increasing reps or weight. So for core we increased to 15 reps (and since I do ball roll outs on my toes and not my knees, I did 30). DONE.

John and I have gotten off track with our push-up challenge and failed to do any this fine Monday. We headed to Pic Nic and went off to shop at Fatima’s before I finally headed out for a four-mile run. I then popped over to the fruit market—I had decided to make a white bean, sweet potato, and kale soup for dinner. Only I really wouldn’t know where to find kale (I never even bought it in the states) so I bought couve because I now know that it is collard greens and it is all over this island. I told my dear friend Anna I was making this (she told me the other day that “avoiding dairy makes me think of you”) and she asked if I had a recipe. Recipe? What’s that? I see it as more of an ingredient list. I have previously confessed in this blog that I never measure anything, but it turns out I don’t follow the order of operations too well, either. There was a recipe that had me sauteing onions before adding vegetable stock (which I replaced with chicken bouillon cubes).. blah blah blah. It’s soup! I put a bunch of water, three bouillon cubes, a can of white beans, one gigantic sweet potato, an onion, a couple handfuls of couve, and three cloves of garlic in a pot and let it simmer for hours. It was probably one of the best (and healthiest!) things I’ve cooked. BAM. This picture doesn’t do it any justice, because once the beans and potatoes had cooked for a while longer, the base became much creamier looking.


Part of my new diet (which I toyed with calling a food-intake guide, because I don’t want to mislead anyone) is eating less gluten. I am keeping it to one serving a day (which is mostly used as a vessel for PB&J in the morning) and I am sticking to my one serving of dairy, in the form of my galao. Other than that I am just trying to eat more veggies and less junk. Today I went for a four-mile run. While I was whipping up my soup (i.e. throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot) I made a big fat salad with two hard-boiled eggs that John made for me while I was running, a can of tuna, a cucumber, some shredded carrots, on top of a bed of lettuce. Delish.

John didn’t have practice with either team so he met Ken at Pic Nic to watch Arsenal play while I went to ALKE. I finally got some new New Year’s ladies. I had three new women (two who speak English very well, and one who understands me. Sort of. I think.) and twelve altogether. It was a fun class, and I had them partner-up to do the exercises. They started by taking turns doing 1 rep each, then 2 reps each, all the way to 10. Some of the new ladies didn’t get to 10 reps every time, so it was a good intro workout.


I headed home and painted my nails, which had been on my list of things to do with my me-time on Sunday but I got too busy cleaning and cooking. John came home and said, even though a month ago he didn’t like sweet potatoes, that he loved my soup.


Day One Hundred and Two (un centisimo e segundo dia)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

14 Janeiro 2014

John and I met Ken at the gym. I did bent rows and back extensions with the boys, but then did forward lunges and goblet squats for my second superset. We all did three rounds of leg lifts, suitcases, and side bends at 25 reps each. We finally did another day of our push-up challenge after the workout: Day 3: 50 push-ups.

We headed to Pic Nic and then I went off to run, and before I knew it it was after 3:00pm! I had completely missed the bread van’s Tuesday-whole-wheat-papos-secos 2:00pm stop across the street. Which is OK really, since I’m not eating gluten right now.

Romeo came with me for half of my five miles and I think he was pissed because we found later (much later), for the first time since we got here, pee upstairs! He peed on the floor. I might have to reevaluate his running schedule.

I decided to make chili for dinner—it has been so cold here! Lina even said she cannot remember a winter so cold. I put both the blankets we have on the bed that night. We ate the chili at 5:30pm because John was heading off to practice. We are sticking to eating early, which is much better than eating at 10:30pm.

I figured I wouldn’t have quite as many women in class, and I didn’t. Six ladies (all diehard rockstars in my book) showed up and rocked out. It occurred to me that I haven’t incorporated any hurdle drills into my classes, so we did:


Skype is working on John’s iPad we learned when he Skyped his friend Mo that morning, so when I got home I got to talk to my old roomie in California until the iPad died ten minutes later. Oh well, better than nothing.


Day One Hundred and Three (un centisimo e terceira)

Wednesday (Quarto-feira)

15 Janeiro 2014

With two blankets on the bed I slept like a baby until 10:30am. I realized that there has been something significant missing for days now: the church bells have stopped. Abruptly. Maybe after the three kings’ day (January 6th), when they turned off the lights and the Christmas music in the square? I’m not even sure how long. Even though they drove John nuts, I kind of liked them. Especially in the morning, because they are like a really gentle snooze alarm. OK, it’s 9am…9:30am…10am.. and it’s a nice, gentle way to wake up. I have been setting my alarm just to know what time it is, and it’s much more alarming.

Not hitting the gym today, so after my one serving of gluten (the last of the bolos from Saturday! With PB) Romeo and I headed out for 6 miles (I didn’t know about the pee incident yet, so Romeo came for almost three miles). I was feeling pretty good, so I finished 10km. BAM. Officially, my training for the Nike Women’s Half in DC starts on the 3rd of February. I’m ready.

This time last year, it was so cold (in Massachusetts) and I was working so much (and finishing my master’s) that I was only doing two training runs most weeks, one short and one long. I felt like crap but on race day I PR’d. I’m hoping I can crush that record (1:56) this year.

I still had a lot of collard greens (couve) so I checked out some recipes. I met John and Ken at Pic Nic post-run for my galao. They stopped by the gym (which was open, even though it’s usually closed, because Ernesto has an intern right now) to see if they were playing futsol that night. When they got back to our apartment they made chili fries with the last night’s dinner. Then they went upstairs to watch the Hobbit, and that was when the pee incident was discovered.

I had some leftover sweet potato soup and a big salad for lunch while I Skyped with my parents. They’ll be here in just over three weeks, so we’re all very excited. Especially Romeo.

IMG_1581Okay, so that’s not my mom on Skype. It’s The Book Thief which we watched this week. Spoiler alert: not as good as the book.

I made garlic chicken with collard greens before I left for ALKE. I don’t have a Crock Pot, which is what the recipe called for. So I used my skillet with a pot-top on it.


This time I had fourteen ladies (all three newbies from Monday came back!) and it was Julia’s birthday. At the end of class we sang Happy Birthday. Well, everyone else sang it. In Portuguese. I clapped along.


When I got back I made cauliflower “rice” to go with it. I ate my half, but saved the rest for John to eat after futsol. I was impressed with the outcome. Thank you, pinterest, for making me a healthier, more well-rounded individual.


I Skyped again with Cathy so we could more fully catch up. I took Romeo for a walk and we tried to sneak into the gym to watch John play, but someone who was in charge was there and John thought I was going to get in trouble. So we went home.

Day One Hundred and Four (un cestisimo e quarto dia)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

16 Janeiro 2014

We got up and headed to the gym, where we met Ken. I did cable curls and dips with them, but did squat jumps and RDLs on my own. One-hundred squats later, we reconvened for core: burpees, stability ball pikes, and hanging rotational knee tucks. The boys did 12 reps, but I did 13, 13, and 14 on the last round for 40 reps total.

After we hit Pic-Nic, Romeo and I went for our run. I was planning on doing 4.0, and even though I’ve said this before, I continue to re-realize it; Romeo and I are both much, much happier when he only comes for a short leg, especially after the pee-incident.


He did 1.5 with me and we were both pleased.

Before I left for my run, I put sauce on for dinner. This time I used two fresh tomatoes and no piri-piri. After it sat for about 3 hours, John ate it with real pasta and I had mine with zucchini “pasta”. Delish.

I had 9 women in class and I put them through an obstacle course.


Next week, Lina has a baptism dinner in the banquet hall we use for class, so we are going to have to relocate downstairs to Toronto Nights’ dining hall for a few days. Speaking of Toronto, they are having another Rodizio de Pizza on Saturday night, followed by a dance party, and I could not be any more excited.


John had practice so when I got home I made myself a little dessert of smushed bananas, a spoonful of PB, and a handful of chocolate chips and read my newest book “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini (author of “The Kite Runner”). It started to sprinkle so I waited for it to clear up before Romeo and I took our nighttime stroll. The only nice thing about it being so cold is it keeps the rain away.

98, 99….100! One hundred days in Portugal

Day Ninety-Eighty (nonagesimo oitavo dia)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

10 Janeiro 2014

When John and I got up there was sun, but it quickly began to sprinkle. I don’t mind running in the rain, but it is sort of unpleasant to sit around in my wet clothes, walk to the gym, warm-up again, and then sit at Pic-Nic in my wet clothes again. So I decided to run after the gym. We did five rounds, 10 reps each, of this circuit:

  • Box blasts
  • Decline push-ups
  • SB leg curls
  • Chin ups
  • Plate swings

Push-up challenge Day 2: 50 decline push-ups. Ken is now officially on board with our challenge. This challenge has some rest days so he will be able to catch up.

I was all nice and warmed-up, so I told John and Ken to go ahead to Pic-Nic and I grabbed Romeo for a run. Four miles of sun-running later, I headed home.

Having been successful with the zucchini pasta, I headed back to the fruit market for more. I was making carne asada for dinner and switched out the potatoes for zucchini. It was definitely a lighter fare, but it was good. I wanted to have a sweet potato after I taught, so I prepped it before I left. I had bought a few at the fruit market earlier, but when I went to peel it it was white, not orange. I had bought sweet potatoes here in Povoacao before and they had been orange. I finished peeling it (I even chewed on one of the thicker peels to try and figure out what kind of root vegetable I had purchased), cut it up, and threw it in a pyrex pan with some salt and olive oil. As soon as I got to Toronto I asked Lina what the hell it was.


Turns out, they have white and orange sweet potatoes here. When I got home, I roasted it, drizzled honey & sprinkled cinnamon on it, and devoured it. #delish


John and I have talked a lot about going paleo when we get home, but the more I find out about it, the more I just want to do my own thing. No legumes mean no hummus, chili, or PEANUT BUTTER (how could I survive?). No corn means no cornflakes. No soy milk which is fine because at home I can buy almond. I’m cool with the dairy-free / gluten-free, but the other stuff is going to have to go. Or stay. Whatever.

After I had my incredibly delicious paleo dessert, I headed to Pic-Nic to try to Skype with my dear friend Anna from home. I always have really good wifi there, so I figured I would be more successful than I had been recently at home. Nope, false hope. We ended up iMessaging for a while, which just isn’t the same. Lina messaged me while I was there and invited us over to Luisa and Emanuel’s for drinks after John and Ken got back from practice. Not long after that, Lina messaged me again saying that because of the rain they ended practice. John showed up at Pic-Nic and we decided to just head home (even though Luisa and Emanuel are our neighbors). Lina tagged us on Facebook, so we told Ken to head back out in the rain, we were going!! John wanted me to make sure he didn’t have to put pants on. Luckily, Lina, Ernesto, Luisa, and Julia were all in sweatpants, too.

 Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 10.30.16 PM

Even though we said we were not going to stay long or drink very much, we did both. John and Ken finished off at least a bottle and a half of wine and we didn’t walk home until almost 2:00am. We even stayed a little longer because it was raining so badly, but eventually we walked the three doors home. As usual, we were very happy we went.


Day Ninety-Nine (nonagesimo nono dia)

Saturday (Sabado)

11 Janeiro 2014

I had made plans with two girls from my class to go to the pools in Furnas (I am trying to make more friends. It’s working). After I had ½ a PB&J, John and I went down to Pic-Nic. I had my galao and headed to the gym, he got a Pic-Nic burger and fries and stayed to watch Chelsea play. I took the TRX with me, and I was hoping ALKE would be empty enough that I could use it. There were a handful of people when I got there, but they were all on the cardio side. Score.

  • TRX trail leg squats (w/10kg) → TRX pikes
  • Deadlifts → box jumps
  • leg lifts → decline sit ups (w/10kg)
  • side bends → hanging leg raises

I headed back to Pic-Nic where John, and now Ken, were. Eventually we headed home where I had eggs and a bowl of cornflakes with soy milk and bananas for lunch. John took Romeo for a walk and Romeo’s collar detached and Romeo booked it. John came back soaking wet after running towards the ocean to secure Romeo. This is why my dad refers to him as Chucklehead. We have less-nice names for him.

Before I went to meet the girls, I stopped downstairs at Carla’s salon; she was finding out the sex of her baby that morning. I opened her door but she was with a client in the back. She ran into her lobby still wearing her plastic gloves, which were covering the fists she was throwing into the air as she sang: “I’m having a GIRL!” I gave her a big hug. The thing about Carla is she makes you feel like you are having a girl, too. She makes you just as happy as she is. Francisco gets a sister.

I met Leila and Lola back at Pic-Nic at 3:00pm and we headed into Furnas. I have been to the big pool at Terra Nostra a few times now, but Leila said she really likes Poça de Beija (trans: Puddle of Kiss) which are smaller, hotter pools, so we went there instead. I was talking about how Ernesto always takes us because he really likes the pools but Lina doesn’t like them. Lola ‘fessed up that she doesn’t like them either, she just came to hang out with us. She didn’t even bring her bathing suit. So Leila and I enjoyed the pools. She tried to get me to go into the river where the water is NOT warm at all, but I figured it out after only committing my feet.

 IMG_1540 IMG_1543 IMG_1553 IMG_1545 IMG_1547

We stopped for bolos levedos and papos grossas (which is pudding made with corn that Leila loves and bought for me to try) on the way back at the same place Ernesto always takes us. Leila let me drive her Fiat back to Povoacao. While I was driving we saw the Mira Mar van driving to the Juniors game with John passed out in the front seat. Back in Povoacao, we got coffees at Pic Nic and made more plans to hangout.

The Juniors were playing in the city at 6pm so once I got home I made more zucchini pasta and sauce, and another sweet potato (batata doce) for dessert. John and Ken got home around 9:00pm (the juniors WON! Again!) and after I made pasta and sauce for them, I hit the hay.


Day One Hundred! (um centesimo dia)

Sunday (Domingo)

12 Janeiro 2014

Just as soon as John came home from playing soccer, he was gone again. He had a game in the city and they were taking the team out to breakfast first so he had to be down at the jardim around 9:00am. Romeo and I took our sweet time getting ready, I ate a bolos levedos leftover from yesterday’s trip to Furnas with some PB, and out we went. Romeo came for almost 3 miles with me and then I finished 5 more by myself. I went to lomba do cavaleiro past Mira Mar’s complex (heading towards Furnas) instead of lomba do alcaide. Driving there the day before had reminded me how long it’s been since I ran that way. I was glad I did.

I swept and mopped and wiped the whole apartment down and then I went for my galao. I must have hit the after-church crowd, because shortly after I arrive the place was packed. I went home and took Romeo out (the sun was shining.. it was another beautiful day), and got dinner ready for me and the boys.

I made chicken with rice and vegetables (no rice for me). John and Ken brought a bottle of Jameson home with them because they lost. Again. After dinner we played our version of the game Headbands. We each wrote down the name of a character—fiction or non-fiction—and then passed it to the person to our left, we then stuck the one that was handed to us to our foreheads without looking at it. You could ask as many yes-or-no questions as you wanted on your turn until the answer was “no”, and then it was the next person’s turn. Ken is really good at this game, and John and I are not as good. John had “Bruce Springsteen” stuck to his head for almost an hour. John then rigged the game by giving both Ken and me “Hermione Grainger” and convincing us we weren’t the same person. Douche.

Days Ninety Five and beyond.. Ken comes back and I find Romeo’s twin

Day Ninety-Five (nonagesimo quinta dia)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

6 Janeiro 2014

Romeo and I went for a run in the morning. It is getting “chilly” here, and by that I mean in the 50s. It’s also incredibly humid here, so the air feels especially cold. Now, I know what you’re thinking Mass. Residents, and I am fully aware that I am turning into a baby about the weather. When I get back in the Spring, it will be 50 in Boston. I don’t care, it’s cold here! And there is no heat in houses or apartments (unless you happen to have a fireplace, which some people do) so I sleep in my sweatsuit and hiking socks. It’s so cold, Romeo even sleeps on the bed with us for the whole night (which he usually does for about 10 minutes, and then he gets too hot).

We went out for 3 miles. I dropped him off at 1.5 and finished with 15 sprint intervals. Then, John and I went to the gym, Pic Nic, and Fatima’s. John wants to get on a more regimented program at the gym, some of which I change up because I don’t want to look like the female version of the Hulk who happens to also skip leg day.

  • Single arm squat to OH press → pull ups (and some chin ups…)
  • Alt DB press → lateral squats (JB did lat pull downs)
  • Core: hanging leg raises, roll outs, decline sit ups. 10E @ 4 rounds. My core was still burning from Saturday.

We headed to Fatima’s to grocery shop and then I made a third (and if it turned out bad, it would have been my final) attempt at chicken soup. John only had practice for the Juniors, so we were going to eat after that. I bought a bunch of bananas because the Costa Ricans ones I bought the week before were still lime-green. I read an article about how you can speed-up the ripening process, but I’d say I was fairly unsuccessful.


I boiled the bone-in chicken breasts with salt and pepper, took them out once they were cooked-through, put an onion, two potatoes, and two carrots in the broth. I let those cook for about an hour before I put the now cut-up chicken back in. I taste-tested the broth and it was a little weak. I was worried about putting too much salt in, so I added more pepper. This was my only faux pas.

John left to coach the juniors and I went to ALKE. I thought about all the New Year’s Resolutioners and I got nervous that my routine wouldn’t work if I had too many women (it was only designed for 12, and I only have 13 black bands). But I needn’t have worried; I had 6 women. It was my 50th class.


My soup was delicious, albeit a little too peppery. After my other two failed attempts, I’m calling this a win.


Day Ninety-Six (nonagesimo sexta dia)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

7 Janeiro 2014 

John’s phone started tweet-tweeting at 7:00am, which is not a time we are usually awake. It was Ken. Ken was in South Africa for a wedding after spending the holidays with his family in Geneva.

Ken is a very smart kid, so I naturally assumed he was hammered if he thought texting us at that hour was appropriate. He kept saying he was arriving that day to Ponta Delgada and could John make sure someone would be there to get him? And then he stopped texting. I was now incredibly confused because I know it is a 12-hour flight from South Africa to Lisbon and then another two-hour flight to Ponta Delgada. John said he was going to land at 1pm, but I knew this wasn’t possible, especially since Ken also said he was chilling at his hotel and wasn’t sure when his flight was even leaving.

We got up and I decided to run after the gym. Again. This whole eating-before-I-run thing is messing with my schedule. My previous routine consisted of getting up, making green tea, getting dressed, chugging water, all while catching up on FB before taking Romeo out to run. I still want to have my cha verde first, but then after I eat I have to wait an hour before I run. This takes too much time, so I ate my PB&J and we went to the gym:

  • Single arm bent row → RDL (JB did flys)
  • Cable throw downs → back extensions
  • Core: leg lifts, suitcases, side bends. I did six rounds at 10 reps, John did three rounds at 25 reps. My belly was still sore from Saturday.

We headed to Pic Nic and on the way we saw Betinho. Betinho doesn’t really speak English, but he sort of understands it. Just like we don’t speak Portuguese, but we understand some of it. It is a funny conversation to watch: John speaks English to Betinho who responds in Portuguese. Apparently, Ken told both Marco and Betinho that he is arriving on the 8th. Which makes sense, even though he said he was coming back on the 7th. We decided it must have been an overnight flight and continue on to get our galaoes.

Before we moved here my Dell died a tragic death. Me being my-sort-of-anti-computer-self just let it sit dead. For months. I didn’t need it; I had (finally….finally!) finished my master’s and I had a sweet Apple computer at work. What did I need my nasty old Dell for? Oh yeah, all those pictures, songs, and documents… hmm.

For my 25th birthday I bought myself a MacBook. Along with that I got discounted data transfer, the only problem with that was I had waited so long that my hard drive was actually dying. Who knew? Not I, obviously.

My options were either pay thousands of dollars to send my hard drive to Oklahoma or New Orleans, or somewhere else in the vague “south” or cut my losses. And then I found the prince-charming of Geek Squad. He told me whoever had tried the transfer before had neglected to realize the important difference between my PC and my Mac. He said he would try again for me. Free unless he could transfer all my files. I left him with a detailed list of things most important to me.

Twenty-four to 48-hours later and he had moved a few photos. Not totally successful, but it was possible! He told me I could only move one file at a time, otherwise the transfer would crash. He showed me how to do it, and made some joke about if I had hours and hours of time to kill I could spend them doing this. WELL, then I quit my job(s), sold my car, and moved to an island the size of Houston. I finally have the time.

But I didn’t do it right away, which is silly because my hard drive was still dying a slow death (along with all things electronic and sentimental stored therein). I gave up on the tunes a while ago because they don’t transfer in whole songs, but short clips that don’t even sound like the original. Which is too bad because I bought a lot of music…. Is Napster still around? Ha ha ha…

I finally started transferring 6 or so years worth of photos and word documents (the second half of my bachelor’s and all of my master’s work). It is the main reason I am behind on my blog.

I made sauce for dinner which we ate at 5:30pm before I left for Toronto and John went to practice. I had a big fat salad when I got home and then went back to transferring files. Ken did not come back to Povoacao.


Day Ninety-Six (nonagesimo sexta dia)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

8 Janeiro 2014

I asked John if he wanted to go to the gym, but he reminded me Wednesday is a rest day (which sometimes it is). I went out for a five mile run. Romeo came for half.

I think the reason Romeo can’t run as far hear as he could at home–I could always take him for 3.0 and I could stretch it to 5.0 if it wasn’t too hot, and one time he did 8.0 with me–is the humidity. It is so humid here! Even when it’s not raining (which it often is), the air is like a wet blanket. I think this is why Romeo can’t hang.

The other day when I took Romeo for a long walk I saw his twin. His twin! Remember that time Serenela told me she saw Romeo on the loose but he was really chillin’ with John at Ken’s? She swore up and down that she saw a dog that looked just like Romeo. But I had never seen such a dog.

Then on Christmas Lina told us that one morning after walking Romeo she went shopping at Casa Cheia. She was pretty sure she’d deadbolted the door behind her. However, upon leaving Casa Cheia she saw “Romeo” in the jardim. She said her heart dropped and she went for a closer look. She said this dog was a little too dark and his fur was matted on his but. It wasn’t Romeo.

Romeo and I were just rounding the corner by the gymnasium when I saw the beautiful creature (I didn’t have my phone so I couldn’t snap a pic!). He(?) looked just, JUST just like Romeo! He was a few shades darker, but the same exact color. He looked older, and his tail didn’t stand up anymore so it just fell flat on his back. Also, he wanted nothing to do with Romeo.

There are a lot of street dogs here who wander without owners. Some of them are nice, but a lot of them are nasty. I was worried about letting them play and having no help to break them up if it went poorly so I let Romeo sniff a little but, ultimately we left the doppelganger alone.

After I ran, John and I went down to Pic Nic. John asked me if I wanted to go to the gym then. We can’t, I replied, because on Wednesdays (just Wednesdays) the gym is closed from 2-5:30pm. It was 1:30pm. If we want to go on this day, we have to decide early. We had our galaoes and then went home, where I desperately tried to Skype with my darling friend Carrie but the connection was just too terrible. I started at the top of the stairs where reception is usually the best. Every time I lost her I moved down a step. Finally I was at the bottom and we still couldn’t finish a sentence without “Wait, what? You’re frozen.” Just when I was giving up, the doorbell rang. It was Ken!!

Ken brought us more Swiss chocolates (which are really just Lindt truffles, but he swears they are different) and we caught up on the three weeks we’ve all spent without each other. We took Romeo for a walk and Ken went to get a snack at Pic Nic. In all the excitement of Ken coming back, neither John nor I grabbed a key. We had locked ourselves out. Again.

Never in my life have I been such an incapable human being. Probably because in my past life I just straight-up didn’t have time for that shit. One time in Newton John and I locked ourselves out when we walked to have breakfast and I had to crawl into my bedroom window (luckily we lived on the “garden level”). But seriously, twice in one week? Not to mention all the laundry that falls off my line in between Carla’s salon and her storage room. What can I say? I am not a fan of laundry pins.

Wednesdays are Carla’s day off, so she wasn’t even next door to come to our rescue. And she doesn’t have a smartphone. And we don’t have a regular phone. We walked over to Lina’s mom’s house and Lina called Carla for us. Again, we thank our lucky stars that Carla just happened to be at Pic Nic having a coffee with a friend. A decaf coffee. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but Carla found out she was pregnant right before we moved into her apartment. She was only a few weeks pregnant at the time, but now it is public knowledge. Her belly is starting to pop and Saturday she will find out the gender. Francisco will have a little brother or sister in June.

John and Ken went off to coach the juniors and I went to Toronto Nights. Lina made us pizzas for dinner and Ken came home with John. We get them fully loaded with ham, bacon, pineapple, olives, onions, and peppers. And of course, one has half-cheese.


Day Ninety-Seven (nonagesimo setimo dia)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

9 Janeiro 2014 

After I ran 3.0 with Romeo, we met Ken at Pic-Nic instead of the gym, where he was having breakfast. Switching things up for the day, I had my galao before working-out and John didn’t have a fofa. We headed to the gym where Ernesto made fun of Ken for having skinny-legs from not working out. While I gained 3kg on vacation, Ken lost 3kg. The difference between men and women #45,749.

We did:

  • Single arm preacher curls → dips
  • Inverted rows (feet on SB) → lat pull downs (boys did military press)
  • Core: hanging rotational knee tucks, burpees, SB pikes

I opted out of military press because after doing this workout last week, I couldn’t lift my arms until yesterday.

John and I started a 30 day push-up challenge today. Day 1: 45 kitchen push-ups.

We headed home to clean up and have lunch and then I took off for some errands. We somehow forgot to buy milk (leite de vaca, cow milk) on Monday. We had it sitting next to our cart and that is where it remained. John’s been drinking my soy milk, but since I can’t count on Casa Cheia to have more I want to buy him a little until we go real-shopping again on Monday. We also don’t have enough towels for when my parents come (or for when Ken comes over after practice sometimes, like yesterday), so I stopped at Euromatos next door to us and bought two nice white towels for 6.50. On New Year’s Day I broke the only real bowl we had (sorry, Carla…) so I went to Euromatos and bought four new bowls for 3.50. I like this store

While I was out I saw the bread van again! And this time he had fofas! I bought seis papos secos e uma fofa. When I got home John and I split the fofa that I heard was better than Pic-Nic’s. It definitely had more cream, but John said it wasn’t better.

John headed up to Ken’s to play FIFA before practice. When I went to leave for ALKE I couldn’t find my key (yeah, here we go again). I assumed John had at least one (hell, he had them both) so I sent him a quick “please-drop-a-key-at-toronto-so-i-am-not-locked-out-all-night” text and headed over to teach.


The end of class came and gent and John had not appeared with a key (the wifi at the guys’ apartment doesn’t work) so Lina offered to drive me up to Mira Mar. Luckily, as I was walking up the street I saw Pedro driving them to practice. #notlockedout

I am attempting to eat a little healthier (read: eat less crap). So for dinner I made zucchini pasta (#Pinterestrulesmylife) and ate it with leftover sauce. Now, I must admit it doesn’t actually taste like pasta but it is so delicious you don’t care that it isn’t pasta.


Days 93 & 94.. Plus more thoughts on the New Year

Day Ninety-Three (nonagesimo terceiro dia)

Saturday (Sabado)

4 Janeiro 2014

No running, just gymming. John has a game on Sunday so he just wanted to ride the bike and foam roll. I did some sun salutations to warm up and then did core:

hanging leg raises, decline sit ups, and suitcases @10 x4 rounds. I finished with a 2:00 plank.

We headed to Pic-Nic, of course, where we saw Adam for the first time. He had come back from New Bedford on an overnight flight that was delayed because of all the snowstorms there. We walked home where I cleaned everything. I swept and mopped all the floors and wiped down every fixture in the kitchen and bathroom. We really didn’t have anything else going on.

There was a game on (Arsenal? Liverpool? Maybe it was one of those Manchester teams) and rather than watch it on my MacBook, I convinced John to go back to Pic-Nic. Majiid, Adam, and Filipe were there, too. I mostly burrowed in my computer. I went home before the game was over to make meatballs for meatball subs. I am getting a little too comfortable with the piri piri sauce, so they were kind of spicy but still totally delicious and we ate them with the fresh bread-van papos secos.

I am currently reading Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller which is the second book about the Holocaust that I’ve read since we’ve been here (I also read The Book Thief, which was awesome). I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.


Day Ninety-Four (nonagesimo quarto dia)

Sunday (Domingo)

5 Janeiro 2014

I had dedicated myself to long-run-Sunday and John had a game in Arrifes against Aguia. The weather was kind of crummy when I got up and John took Romeo for a walk. By the time I had a PR Bar and my tea the sun was coming out. I usually don’t eat before I run, but I’ve been reading a lot of those “16 Beauty Resolutions You’re Making Today” and “Eight Weight Loss Mistakes Runner Make” because they clog up my Twitter feed so I might as well. One of the things I read about running and weight loss (not that I’m trying to lose weight, but I certainly don’t want to gain any!) was about running on an empty stomach. I do this all the time. Everyday. I know a lot of people warn against it, but a lot of people get light-headed or nauseous, etc. and I don’t, so I figured it was OK to workout without eating, but this article says no. Rather than burn up excess fat sitting in your body (which I believed I was doing), your body first burns the glycogen in your muscles. Once you’ve burned all that, then you go on to burning fat but your energy plummets and your performance suffers. Shit. So, they say, if you’re going out for more than 30 minutes, you have to fuel-up at least an hour before so as to not burn the glycogen your body needs to keep going. Ok, this I can handle. I will get back to the Beauty Resolutions later. Which I #canthandle.

Today I was planning to do 8 miles, so I probably would have fueled up either way. I took Romeo for a little more than two, finished three down in the vila before I headed for the dreaded lombas. I saw Pedro picking up some kids in lomba do Alcaide. Usually when I see him and I’m running I just wave and blow kisses but I don’t stop. Well, today I was in the middle of a long hill so I stopped and took advantage. He thanked me again for the Benfica scarf we bought him for Christmas. He was so excited to tell me that Benfica has won twice since we gave it to him. I wished the boys in the car “Boa sorte!” and started to run again. A moment later the red car behind Pedro and the Mira Mar van stopped and the driver started talking to me. In Portuguese. “Falas Ingles? Falas Ingles?” “You speak English? You know that man?” he said, pointing to Pedro’s van. “Pedro! Yes, I know Pedro!” I replied, still thankful for the break this man was giving me. “Pedro is my nephew! My name is John!” I stuck out my hand as I said “My name is Liza” but then I remembered my Portuguese manners and gave him the kiss-kiss. “Keep running!” he bellowed as he pulled away.

I underestimated my loop a little bit, but once I topped the lombas it didn’t really matter. I still ran the tree-tunnel road and came down lomba de Loucao. I ended up doing 10.0. Bam.

When I got back, John was already on his way to Arrifes with Mira Mar. I showered and ate some leftover chili and finally headed down to Pic-Nic where I had my one galao and looked at jobs, cars, and car loan rates. I took Romeo for an extra long walk around the whole vila before we snuggled up in bed and waited for John to come home. Earlier, when I pulled chicken out of the freezer to make soup, John said “We can have soup, or we can have our weekly Pic-Nic burgers…. we haven’t had them this week yet,” and I heard: “You don’t have to cook if you don’t want to,” so I didn’t. I read The Storyteller and waited. And waited. Finally, I looked on Facebook to see if anyone had posted the result of the game. Marco had, because everything that happens to or around Marco he puts on Facebook. I saw that Aguia had won 3-1. Marco had written a whole long post and tagged two guys; one I was pretty sure was Mira Mar’s new goalie, and the other one I didn’t know.

I copy-pasted it into google translate and saw that Mira Mar had been up 1-0 but then the goalie had gotten a red card. What luck. Of course he got a red card. This is the goalie’s first game with Mira Mar; he was playing for a team in a better division (one that actually pays players) but told John and I the other day that he wanted to have time for his studies, and is from Povoacao and loves Mira Mar… and aren’t we so lucky? Because the man we call Bolacha (which means cookie) is not a good goalie. We finally got a good one (and he speaks English, and John said “he’s cool” so that can only help Mira Mar become more cohesive, right?). Because he got a straight-red (without a yellow card first) he could face up to a three-game suspension! Awesome. That’s awesome. Apparently, Marco questioned the ref about this call and the ref (who was the other person Marco tagged in his Facebook post) told him he “had to show some cards”.

Because Bolacha is already playing for another team, Cricket (the second string goalie) stepped in to play for the rest of the game. They took John out and Mira Mar fell 3-1. Marco, and at least five other Mira Mar players were awarded yellow cards. One Aguia player got a yellow card. Marco got his for yelling at another teammate and then told the ref if he gave him one more yellow card, he was going to kill him.

I met John at Pic Nic where we ate Pic Nic burgers. We went home and watched Enough Said with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, and Toni Collette. It was James Gandolfini’s last movie before he croaked and P!nk tweeted that she loved it. It was definitely enjoyable.

But back to the 16 Beauty Resolutions [I’m not] Making Today, which I found on The Huffington Post. Seriously, Huffington? I thought you were progressive, but this just goes to show how archaic thoughts and ideologies surrounding women and appearance are still circulating. “You will never leave the house with chipped nail polish.” Really? Never? Well, Huffington Post. Maybe I will.

When I read the first one, which is technically part of the headline, I was intrigued; “You will never ever go to sleep with your makeup on. No matter how sleepy and/or drunk you are.” Now, I am basically guilty of this daily. It is a combination of being lazy and creative. I am too lazy to wash it off and deal with makeup remover, and I don’t want to waste my pricey Mary Kay eye makeup remover on bedtime. I am also now able to wear eyeliner and mascara to the gym without actually putting makeup on. See?? I clean up the raccoon eye, but leave the makeup on for that casual no-I-don’t-wear-makeup-to-workout!-look. Pshhhh.

Now I will continue to not wash my face out of pure defiance. “You will exfoliate your body once a week.” Like, who is this article actually written for? I don’t even have a job or children and this list sounds exhausting. “You will start exfoliating your lips before wearing bright lipstick.” I’m more of a chapstick kinda-gal anyway, so I won’t be partaking in that particular resolution either.

You won’t wait until your toenails are in the worst shape possible to get a pedicure.” Ok, Huff. Two things here: right now I am my own pedicurist and I happen to do them often. When I was gainfully employed and residing in the US I frequented nail salons twice a month. At least. And two, I am a runner, so my toenails (which sometimes only amount to 8 or 9.. or 6) are constantly in the “worst shape possible”. So again, eff off.

You will actually attempt adventurous eye makeup.” Followed by a GIF of a girl wearing bright pink Las Vegas stage makeup. Again I say No Thank You.


Lastly, I give you this: “It’s officially the new year, and you’ve no doubt made plenty of promises to yourself already about what 2014 will hold. But did you forget to amp up your beauty regimen?”

Apparently, being female I am obliged, along with my resolution to be more patient, to also be more beautiful. I’m sorry, Huffington, but I am losing my patience. Now you’ve gone and messed up my real resolution. Damnit.

New Year’s Eve, etc. DAYS 89, 90, 91, 92

Day Eighty Nine (octogesimo nono dia)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

Even though the gym was closed, Ernesto said he’d be there around 11:00am and that we were welcome to go workout. I decided on a midday run instead of my usual morning run (yes, 11:00am counts as a morning run in my new life!). After I took Romeo out I did some YouTube yoga in the kitchen. I woke John up with my Lion’s breath.You don’t even have to watch the whole video for it to be funny. Ten seconds should be enough.

Cathy had ‘fessed up the night before that she sent us a package. We hadn’t gotten it yet, so she checked the tracking and told me it had gone through customs (much more easily than my GPS watch!). Lina sent me a message that it had arrived!

 IMG_1459I texted Cathy right then, even though it was only 3:11am in San Diego.

We got over to the gym right around 11:00am, but the lights were off and the door was shut. Ernesto’s car was there, and he had said if the gym was locked just to knock on his mother-in-law’s door. Well, the door to the gym was unlocked. Ernesto was not inside, but another man, shirtless, doing cable chest flys. Oh. Sorry to interrupt. He quickly put his shirt on. John started talking to him–he spoke English well–like he knew him. I have never seen this man before.

We got to working out in the dark anyways. VH1 I love the 90s was on. Hell yes.

  • Bent row to tricep cable throw downs (JB did back extensions)
  • Single leg RDL to plate swings (JB did single arm curl to press and single arm cable throw downs)

I took my sneaks off and finished with some slideboard work. The floor is really slippery (which sucks for most other things, like lateral squats and anything on the TRX), but awesome for slideboarding-without-a-slideboard. I’ve been wanting to try it, and I took the empty-gym as the prime opportunity to bare my socks.

I did 100 plank hip abductions, 100 mountain climbers, and 25 pikes. Lina came over with our package from the California Trails. We scooted home to open it (and grab Romeo) before heading to Pic Nic. Peanut Butter, gatorade, OPI nail polish, Mary Kay moisturizer, People magazine, and chocolate. She knows me so well 🙂


After our galaoes I headed out to run without Romeo. I did 5.5 and was still feeling good. It was definitely harder to run after doing heavy legs at the gym.

John and I had still had a lot of time to waste before Toronto Night’s opened its doors at 11:15pm.


John made plans to play with his buddies again so Romeo and I went to visit. John came home around 7:00pm and told me he hurt his toe. Again. We made Pic Nic burgers for dinner and went to Pic Nic for coffees before finally getting ready for Toronto.

 IMG_1455Still embracing the selfie.


John made several costume changes before finally ditching his Mumford & Sons vest (he hadn’t packed his black pants to wear with it). I had gone to the Chinese store earlier to buy a skirt, but I bailed, too, in favor of running tights. Yes, those are running tights.


We were the second group of people to arrive at Toronto Nights, behind a women and her two 10ish year old daughters. A lot of people spend the actually passing of the New Year at home with their families and then go out to party. Toronto shut the doors from 11:55 until 12:05 so we could pass the year in peace.

Right at midnight, we did the countdown, snuck a kiss, and then began to eat twelve raisins. You are supposed to make one wish for each raisin and they represent the twelve months (doze meses). After you finish eating them, you go around to everyone you know, double kiss (or man-to-man, shake hands), and wish each person a good year, “Bom ano!”


I only wore my heels until 1:15am. I packed my Chinese-store-boots, they fit inside my big purse. Score.

Lina was serving food at 5:30am, so naturally I asked Luisa all about it.


I knew from the signs around the vila that there was going to be green soup. Her English is much better than she thinks it is, but there was one word she couldn’t figure out. Most of the ingredients I knew in Portuguese anyway: batatas, cebolas, churizo, couve. Couve? What is that? She took me into the kitchen and showed me two GIANT vats of the soup. Couve is a green leafy vegetable, and as John pointed out, it’s in most of the soups at Pic Nic. We enlisted Emanuel’s help. He kept saying it was like an open cabbage, you know, like cabbage, but the leaves are open? This was not helpful. He pulled his iPhone out and tried a translater, but none of its responses made any sense. Finally, we caught Lina. “Co-lard?” Collard greens!! It was collard greens.

We danced and drank and drank and drank. We had made a game plan on the walk over to stick to hard alcohol; I was going to drink vodka tonics and if I took any shots, they were going to be tequila or vodka. John wasn’t sure what he was going to drink but he decided on rum & Coke. I only had two drinks but I couldn’t tell you how many shots I had—it was a lot. When we first walked in I took a tequila shot with Xana and her friends. Later on, I’m pretty sure I took a caramel vodka shot with Emanuel, and I took many, many shots in between. John and I also drank lots of water, and John even made a red gatorade (thanks, Cathy!!) for when we got home. Wait—which color makes a hangover worse, blue? Jessie?

Marco takes more selfies than anyone I know, yes, even me. We took one in honor of spending New Years together. Someone offered to take it for us, but we waved him off. No, thanks. We want it to be a selfie.


Around 3:00am, the music shut off, lights went out, and the emergency lights came on. The power was out! Emanuel ran outside to hook up the generator, the one he had nightmares that they made need tonight. It seemed like it took a long time, but he probably got the music on again in 15 minutes. We continued to dance, but we were fading. John and I talked about leaving early. “But what about the food?” I asked. “What do we have at home?” “I can make pancakes,” I offered. “No, I want real food.” “Then we have to stay.” It was 3:45am. We decided to try to stick it out until 5:30am. Soon after that Lina found me. “I’m going to serve the food in twenty minutes, people are starting to leave.” Hallelujah!!! We stayed, but Marco left after he wrote us this note.


Around 4:00am the power came back on. At 4:30am, Lina and Luisa served the collard green soup, rolls, corn bread, ham, turkey, prosciutto, and cheese. We stuffed our faces. After we had discarded our bowls I asked John if anyone was looking. “No,” he said, “why?” I grabbed a piece of corn bread and dipped it in the pot of soup. “LIZA!” I couldn’t help myself; it was 5:00am and the soup was too good. There was a line to pay tabs, so we talked to Figuras who introduced us to his girlfriend. I asked if she had grown up in Povoacao, and she said she had. It dawned on John that while we had seen Figuras many times that night, we hadn’t seen his girlfriend, John asked “Wait–have you been here the whole time?” While her English was good, she didn’t understand the context; “Yes, I’ve always been in Povoacao.” I was really digging Figuras’ bow tie.


We paid up (big 28 euro bill!) and walked home where we guzzled gatorade and I remembered to take my contacts out.

Day Ninety (nonagesimo dia)

Wednesday (Quarto-feira)

We stayed in bed. All day.

I made PB&J pancakes.


Lina brought over hangover soup.

We ate in bed.

I changed the sheets, we got back in bed.


Day Ninety One (nonagesimo primeiro dia)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

The gym was closed, so I was just planning to run. John and I took Romeo for a walk and we saw Ernesto driving. He pulled over and told us he’d be at the gym at noon if we wanted to come by. So we went.

  • Single arm preacher curls to dips, 10E x4
  • Single arm lateral raise to military press, 10E x4
  • Hanging rotational knee tucks, burpees, SB pikes, 10E x4

Then I went for my run. I had Romeo with me and he was being a super-running-buddy (not always the case!!) so I was going to keep him. Then around 2.3 we passed our street and he pulled me towards it. OK, buddy, you can bail. I finished 4.

Sometime while John was at practice, I went through my entire blog and wrote down which days I ran how far when I didn’t have a GPS watch so I could put it into an excel spreadsheet. I have a few of these things going for ½ marathon training schedules, so I just input the miles. Without a watch I ran approximately 140 miles. While going through my blog I realized (a) how full of typos it is and (b) how horribly tediously it is written.

I finally had a big group of ladies in class! Nine women came and tore it up with me.


Happy 2014. I made Honey Soy chicken with DIY stir-fry rice and vegetables. #pinterest


Day Ninety-Two (nonagesimo segundo dia)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

Semana Treze

5 mile run. Gym. Pic Nic.

  • Goblet squat to box blast @ 10E/15E x4
  • Split squat to decline push up @ 10E/15E x4
  • 5:00 core; planks, bicycle crunches, leg lifts.

Neither of us grabbed the key when we left for the gym. Romeo was super tired from our run, so I didn’t think he would try to get out (because in locking ourselves out, we also lost the ability to deadbolt the door so Romeo couldn’t get out). Luckily, after the gym Carla was at Pic Nic and I used her key to get ours.

At first I didn’t believe that John didn’t grab the key. Those of you who know John know that he is the eternal jokester. DAILY when we leave he acts like he forget the key, patting down his pockets dramatically. This time, we really didn’t have the key.

I made homemade chili and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies from scratch while we read Facebook posts about snowstorms at home (Massachusetts).


John tried to fix his hair-clippers for a while (the cheap pair I got him in Ponta Delgada). I ran to the hardware store to grab him a screwdriver when low-and-behold I saw the bread van! The bread van that brings fresh papos secos and I had heard fofas, too, down into the vila and up to the lombas. At first I passed it and went straight to the hardware store. I have seen it before, but only running when I don’t have any money (or the capacity to hold a bag of buns). There was a line of people, so I hoped it would still be there when I got out. Even though John’s coach works the register at the hardware store, I just said hello quickly and went straight for the key-counter. That guy speaks English. He pointed me to the screwdrivers and I quickly counted out change for Jose. I ran back outside and the van was still there. I got six rolls (they didn’t have any fofas) for one euro and excitedly walked home.

John ended up throwing his clippers away, but I was happy enough that my screwdriver-mission also coincided with the bread-van.

John asked if we could eat dinner before his practice instead of after because he has so much trouble sleeping at night. I am fine with that because I know eating late at night is not good for you, and we have been spoiled for the last few weeks being able to eat early (or whenever the flip we want). We had chili and papos secos at 5:30pm.

The other reason he can’t sleep at night is that he is starting to worry about our return. Our return to Massachusetts (cue the broad, vague terms) where we have no apartment, no jobs, and no cars, or even bikes. Our plan is to move right back into my parents house, but of course we need at least one car if we plan on securing employment. We were able to share a car for the last three weeks we lived in the states (which were also spent at my parents house), but it was made possible by working together at the FH and the generosity of my parents occasionally giving us rides. I am not sure we could do it long-term.

 0103141222Here is my cute mom and her German Shepherd rescue, Nyla.

We are going to start budgeting, researching, and applying ourselves. Lists calm me down. I am hoping I can pass this OCD trait on to John in the New Year.

I had 7 ladies in class Friday night. I am expecting Monday to bring the New-Years’ fitness-&-weight-loss-resolutioners. I did most of the workout with them, and I practiced my Portuguese.


I have an app called PocketLingo. It sends me a daily phrase or word in Portuguese, followed below by the English translation. I really love it when I already know the word (like bolo: cake), even though it’s not helpful; it boosts my confidence. I really dislike when they’re not helpful for other reasons:


I came home from class and worked on my blog (New Year, New Blog Format) and walked Romeo until John came home. He got home a little early, and he hadn’t showered (which he usually does at Mira Mar’s complex). I learned that this is because he went ape on another player and walked out of practice. Remember my posts about how John & Ken are teaching the juniors to be positive and supportive teammates (which is working)? Well, the seniors need the same lesson. Unfortunately, the kid John tried to explain this to speaks zero English, which only escalated John’s fury. John started to walk down the lomba but one of his teammates picked him up and drove him home. This is normally something we would hash-out over dinner, but instead I listened while slurping cereal in bed. #newyear

New Year, New Blog Format

Same delectable content, new format.

I am not one for resolutions (because why? If it was something you wanted to do, you could Just.Do.It like NIKE. But you haven’t. So you arbitrarily begin to do so on January first only to…not), but while we were at Toronto Nights on NYE John and I both made resolutions.


I resolved? Resoluted? To be more patient. John resolved to be more creative. He was listening to John Legend’s “All for You” which was playing while they served food at 4:30am and he made reference to Valentine’s Day. This could be good, stay tuned.

One thing I have managed to become over the years is more practical. After I traded in the skirt I had planned on wearing for running tights (yes, running tights) I packed my Chinese-store boots in my oversize purse. These heels lasted me two hours. We were there for 6.


We ate 12 raisins at midnight (making a wish for each one, they represent the 12 months), drank champagne and lots of other alcohol, we lost power, Emanuel hooked up the generator, we continued to dance, Lina and Luisa served a feast at 4:30am, and finally we went home.


In addition to being more patient, I am going to change-up my blog. The day-after-the-day-after New Year’s Eve I went through my past posts. Originally, I went through them because I wanted to know, roughly, how many miles I had run when I didn’t have a GPS watch. The answer to that question was about 140.6, but I learned more than that. I learned quite a few things (which is weird, because I wrote it, right?), but these are the most pertinent to this blog and the ways I’m going to (hopefully, because it was a resolution I have like a 90% failure rate compared to deciding to do this any other day) change it.

(1) My blog is full of typos. I know this. I go back and fix my posts long after I’ve published them and fix some, so it’s better. But there are still so many. Mostly I have a really hard time staying in the same tense. I am going to be more patient in my proof-reading.

(2) It’s, and I know you know this, incredibly tedious. Some of you like the detailed minutiae of my day, I know. But some may become bored in my ramblings. or lost. I ramble.

So, I’m going to do a better job of proof-reading and I’m not going to do daily posts. I may post daily (but probably not), but if I do, they won’t be laundry lists of my daily activities. But don’t worry, I’m working hard to ensure my readers are satisfied with my antics and sarcasm.

Here is my last daily blog post:

Day Ninety (nonagesimo dia)

Wednesday (Quarto-feira)

New Year’s Day

We stayed in bed. All day.

I made PB&J pancakes.

IMG_1500Lina brought over hangover soup.

We ate in bed.

I changed sheets, we got back in bed.

#85, #86, #87, #88… Back into the swing of things

Day Eighty Four (octogesimo quarto dia)

Thursday (Quinta-feira) … December 26th

The gym was closed but I didn’t care because my legs were still dying from not running (and trying to the day before). After I took Romeo for a walk I knew I was not going to even bother trying again. I took John’s iPad to our third floor loft-style living room that we never, ever, ever use to do some YouTube yoga. After 45 minutes of stretching out I felt a lot better than I had in days. I hadn’t realized that taking 8 days off (with one small hallway workout in the middle) would mess up my routine so royally. John and I went off to get dog food and detergent (we had neither). I noticed on my walk earlier that Pic Nic was closed, too. John and I brought Romeo with us and walked first to Antonio’s to get dog food, but they were closed. We continued walking to Casa Cheia. Closed. We walked back up toward ALKE and checked Barraca. Closed. Last stop: Fatima’s. We walked to the top of the hill under the guys’ apartment. John said, “Ooh! Lize—we’re in luck. They’re open!”. Liar. They were closed, too. We went home as empty-handed as we left. I had bought some food before we left, but only of the frozen meat variety. We had three papos secos, but no vegetables, fruits, or anything to eat it with. John made rice for Romeo and we put a scoop of the soup Lina’s mother brought over to give it some flavor.

After my yoga sesh and lunch, I felt up to running. I took Romeo with me and we (barely!) completed three miles. The mistake I made the day before was in trying to go uphill, so I stayed away from that as best that I could. It wasn’t pretty, and I never eat before I run so more than my legs, it was my belly that was uncomfortable. I could feel my corn flakes and soy milk sloshing around.

I went home and got ready for my first class back at ALKE. They worked out once in the week that I was gone, so even though the 26th is still pretty much a holiday here, we had decided to hold class. People go from house to house “visiting” (read: drinking) around the holidays. They go to friends’ houses, ring the doorbell, and ask some variety of “o xixi do menino Jesus?” which roughly translates to “Does baby Jesus pee?” They then go inside for a drink. I can’t make this shit up.

I had five ladies and I worked out with them too. We did:


When I got home, John was not there. He had gone down to Cesar’s bar (no absinthe!!) to watch the Liverpool game with Majid before I left. His flats were gone, so I assumed he went to play futsol, which he did. I made myself a couple of eggs and had cereal for dessert. Jackie, Nikki, and Gunter FaceTimed me before John got home. I am missing my friends and family!


Day Eighty Five (octogesimo quinta dia)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

Semana Doze

Going to Barcelona has gotten us in the habit of waking up at a more reasonable time. We got up around 8:00am and I put my game face on to go for a run. I wanted to do 4 or 5 miles Friday, rest Saturday, and hopefully do 6 or 7 Sunday.

When John came home last night he tried to unlock the door while my key was hanging in the other side. We learned the hard way at least two months ago that this doesn’t work. I went down and let him in, but then this morning the key wouldn’t come out at all unless the door was locked—which made leaving the apartment somewhat difficult. Luckily for me John was going to be home while I ran.

Romeo came with me for the first two. I tried a hill (the beginning of lomba de cavaleiro) and my calves cramped up again. When I dropped Romeo off, John spent a few minutes with both keys in the door (one in the outside, one on the inside) turning them back and forth, hoping to reset whatever we had thrown off kilter. After about four minutes, he had fixed the door. I don’t know how he does it—the man literally has more patience in his pinky finger that I have in my entire body. I went off to finish two more miles, very thankful for the break. I felt great the second half (segunda metade).

We went over to the gym (FINALLY) and did three supersets, four rounds each:

  • DB bench to (L)SB knee tuck & pike (J) Decline push-up
  • Pull-ups to (L) Deadlifts (J) Lat pull-downs
  • 20 full sit ups (w/10kg), 20 leg lifts, 15/15, 10/10, 5/5

I was beginning to feel human again. Traveling is exhausting.

Off to Pic-Nic for a galao (the best coffee is in Portugal, don’t let anyone tell you different). And finally, finally, to Fatima’s (which was open). We went to Antonio’s first to grab dog food and then stocked up at Fatima’s on real produce so we could eat real food. Fatima usually sells Lina & Ernesto’s bananas, but Ernesto told us the weather hasn’t been good for bananas. Fatima didn’t have any so I got a whole bunch of some that had been imported from Costa Rica.

We went home and I immediately set about having a big bowl of cornflakes with two Costa Rican bananas and soy milk. It was amazing. Humanity. I also was finally able to do laundry—Romeo had slept in our bed all week and made a bed with our blanket on the floor. I only had enough detergent to do a tiny bit of our vacation-laundry so I had some catching up to do. I also went about mopping the whole apartment.

In honor of having real food, I took some frozen bone-in chicken breast out to defrost. I wanted to make a garlic-infused olive oil chicken and pasta. Thanks to Pinterest, it was easy.

I made hummus and prepped the chicken before I left for class. I peeled all those little chickpeas again, but this time I set up my kindle so I could read (The Shoemaker’s wife) while I did it. After I finally finished that, I got to work making the sauce for the chicken: two minced garlic cloves, a couple swirls of olive oil, sauteed until the garlic was “golden”. I put the garlic-infused olive oil in a bowl and added two spoonfuls of brown sugar. I drizzled it on the chicken and headed off to ALKE.

This night I had six women, and I worked out with them again. We did:


I went home and threw the chicken in the oven. I made some more garlic-infused olive oil (sans brown sugar) for the pasta. It ended up being kind of plain—next time I would make more sauce and probably add butter, too. I was afraid of making the pasta too oily, so I didn’t use very much. The chicken was moist, but probably could have used a little more marinade, too. John is kind and told me it was good while he washed the dishes. We tried to Skype with this little cherub, but we missed his mama:


Day Eighty Six (octogesimo sexta dia)

Saturday (Sabado)

Having struggled through my last three runs I decided to give it a rest and just hit the gym with John. I would try for at least 6 miles on Sunday. We woke up early(ish) again and after John walked Romeo and we had some tea and coffee, we headed to the gym right at 10:30am when they open. We brought the TRX and took turns doing four rounds of three supersets:

  • TRX trail leg hops to TRX rows
  • TRX Flys and Ys to TRX roll outs
  • TRX knee tucks toTRX leg curls

Ernesto had the best of the 90s music channel on. Nothing makes a work-out more fun than belting out “Don’t Stop Believing” and “It Must Have Been Love”.

We strolled down to Pic-Nic for galaoes and I felt even more human today. We went home and I started to get dinner ready. The weather has turned quite cold (muito frio) here in Povoacao, so I decided to make chili. Now, my mom is far from the best cook in the world (sorry, mama) but her chili is pretty bomb. I made a Portuguese variety based on my supplies: piri piri sauce instead of chili powder, no celery and no crock pot. I also used two fresh tomatoes instead of canned diced. I had a 15oz. can of kidney beans, but when I went to open them, the pop-top came off without the top. Damnit. I couldn’t use the can opener, because the pop-top-top was too thick. John came in and saved the day (again). He somehow used a knife and fork and pried the lid open. Genius. I sauteed an onion, browned the hamburg, chopped the tomatoes, and rinsed the beans. I added some tomato paste, salt, pepper, and piri piri sauce. I let it cook for about 6 hours.

John and I headed back to Pic-Nic for some game. He had a Pic-Nic burger, but I am still attempting to detox from vacation so I had uma sopa e salada. John made plans to play futsol with a bunch of guys so I finally had some time to catch up on my blog. I wrote a lot while we were away, but never had anything finished enough to actually post. Of course, by the time I post this, all my Barcelona stuff will be up. Oh, time, you are fickle.

John brought Majid home for dinner and we slurped down my chili. After my chicken semi-fail, I came back strong tonight.

Day Eighty Seven (octogesimo setimo dia)

Sunday (Domingo)

I was in bed by 8:00pm Saturday and even though I was awake for a while, I didn’t get out of bed until 10:00am. I took my sweet time getting ready, too—the weather was looking a little sketchy, rainy and windy, so I was waiting it out. And after walking Romeo and having my cha verde (now I buy the tea that is made on the island, here in Gorreana), we headed off to run. Sometimes Romeo is a good running buddy, sometimes he is not. Depending on how much he wants to pee, chase cats, kill birds, etc. This time he was a phenomenal running buddy, so I kept him with me for three miles. I ended up finishing 10k in just under an hour. It’s official: I am human. I came home and rewarded myself with nutella and banana pancakes. Bam.


There were some games on, so we headed to Pic-Nic. I never really watch them, I just bliggity-blog away while John and whoever else is in there watches and exclaims. I can only tell you that Arsenal lost and Liverpool lost (editor’s note: upon reading this, John informed me that Arsenal, in fact, won). It started pouring while we were there, so we timed our exit according to the whims of Azorean weather. Once it lightened up a little we ran home. I made a Portuguese shake-n-bake chicken for dinner, which took a while because I had to translate (iTranslate, not Google translate) all the directions to make sure I did it right.

We tried to watch The Spectacular Now (the first 25 minutes were GREAT) but then it stopped loading. I think I recommend it. Instead, we ended up Skyping with my parents, and then Keith, Nicole, and baby Alex.