Days: 143, 144, 145, 146. Surprise showers and purse-cake.

Day One Hundred Forty Three (dia um centena de quarenta e tres)

Monday (Segunda-feirda)

24 Fevereiro 2014

I got up and ran 5 before we headed to the gym, where we met Ken and Tori. Ken had tried to prepare Tori for Chest Day, but it’s hard to explain the atmosphere at ALKE. Mondays are generally a busy day, and this day was no exception. We warmed up, stretched out, and got on with it. Chest Day was the same as last week, so I won’t bore you. My friend Krista put this on my Facebook wall. I’m sure she’s not the only one who feels this way.

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Once we were done picking things up and putting them down, we headed for Pic Nic. We walked Ken and Tori back to Ken’s and went shopping at Fatima’s, and then home for lunch. We had run out of dog food the day before so we got Romeo a different kind of dog food then usual (because we usually get it at Antonio’s). Romeo took one look, walked into the hallway, and then dry-heaved for a few minutes before vomiting bile onto the floor. Apparently, he doesn’t like this kind.

Inspired by the delicious meal I’d had at Pic Nic the day before, I cut up the last of the leftover drumsticks, sauteed some onions, and made an omelet. Once I was fueled up, I headed to the fruit market to get my regular goodies; cauliflower, peppers, zucchini, apples, when I saw behind the cash register AVOCADOS. Ken must have missed them on Saturday when he came. There were four left, and two were a little past-ripe and had some finger holes in them from other patrons. I bought the two better-looking ones (1.33 for two!) and practically SKIPPED home to tell John.

John and Ken had practice with the juniors. I started making some coconut curry cauliflower dish I had seen on Pinterest so I could just heat it up for dinner. While I was making it, I told John I needed to come up with my workout for that night. We generally bounce ideas off of each other for workouts, so he asked me a few questions. Not a minute later, I heard from the bedroom “There you go. I just texted you a workout.” Ding. That was easy.

Soon after John took off for practice, I left for ALKE. Lina came upstairs at Toronto in her jeans and looked like she had been hit by a bus. She said she thought she had a double ear infection and was going to the hospital. We were planning to order pizza for dinner (since we had failed on Saturday night), so I didn’t want to ask Lina. She said the over was already on and she had them ready for me by the end of class. Then she took off for her doctor’s appointment. That girl doesn’t miss a beat.

I forewarned the ladies that John was responsible for the workout, so they could direct any and all complaints to him. Everyone laughed, but at the end of the class Saozinha said, “I have one thing to say. F&*!@ John.”


After I ran home to get cash, I scooted back to get the pizzas. I had made coconut curry cauliflower and a salad to have with the pizza. I took the cauliflower out of the over, turned it off, shoved the pizza boxes in (they are just barely too big), and took Romeo on a walk to go get Tori. I was not convinced that Tori had walked the vila enough to find my apartment.

As soon as Tori and I walked back inside my place, the boys arrived and we dug in.


Day One Hundred Forty Four (dia um centena de quarenta e quatro)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

25 Fevereiro 2014

Nike+ told me I had an interval run. I took Romeo for my one mile “warm up” and then dropped him off so I could finish. Again, John and I met Ken and Tori at the gym: LEG DAY. Leg Day was the same as it was last week. The weather was stunning when I ran, but it was a little cloudier and cooler when we got to Pic Nic. I was so excited for lunch, I drank my cafe quickly and John and I went home. Why was I so excited for lunch? I had AVOCADO. 





The day got colder and colder as it went on. I even blew my hair dry before putting my hoodie over it just for warmth. Around 4:30pm our doorbell rang (which it seldom does). It was Lina! She brought costumes for Carnaval over. Carnaval is a giant all-night party that they have all over Portugal (and Brazil, Venezuela, and Italy) before Lent begins. Everyone dresses up like it’s Halloween. Lina brought over a flapper costume, a gangster, a hawaiian grass skirt, a clown, and a few wigs. Carnaval is Monday night into Tuesday morning (the party usually ends around 7:00am) and Tuesday is a national holiday. Businesses shut down. I called dibs on the flapper costumes.

John and I took Romeo on a walk to get his regular dog food. It wasn’t nearly as cold outside as it felt inside–this happens a lot here. All the warmth is in the sun, so if you’re not in it, chances are you’re cold.

John got ready for practice and I got ready for class. We both walked up to Ken’s together. John wanted to go over early to play FIFA and I was picking up Tori; she wanted to come to my class.


When I got home I made zucchini pasta and put some leftover sauce on top. I also roasted cabbage using a Pinterest recipe (you can’t go wrong with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, can you?), and Skyped with my cousin, my best friend Anna, and my parents. I made a hearty white bean soup from my new favorite blog My Whole Food Life for the next day and then some banana ice cream for right that moment. I had a frozen banana which I blended with a little soy milk and cinnamon. It was amazing.


John came home and put one of the wigs on to show my parents. My mom said he looked like one of the beetles. John said he looked like his deceased grandmother.


Day One Hundred Forty Five (dia um centena de quarenta e cinco)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

26 Fevereiro 2014

John was sleeeeeping when I went out for 7 miles. The sun was so spectacular that I changed into a tank top and shorts before I went out. Romeo came for one mile, I looped the vila a little bit, and then took lomba do Cavaleiro up as far as I had the week before. I came down the lomba and ran straight home to finish 7.

John was just leaving to meet Ken at the gym when I got back. I generally skip Wednesdays and this day was no exception. I said that I would probably head to Pic Nic after I showered and cleaned up a little bit. I finished off my second, incredible, avocado and tried my Hearty White Bean Soup before walking to Pic Nic in the sunshine.


It was so warm and beautiful when I got there that all the tables outside were taken. I sat at the first table inside reading one of my four new books (have I mentioned that I love to read? But more than that, I LOVE to buy new books. And my Amazon Kindle feeds my addiction a little too easily, damn you One-Click buying) Wheat Belly. I kept peaking out the window, spying on the tables. When the last women got up from the third table and moved to sit with her other dining mates, I quickly scooted outside and secured us a table.

Not a moment later, Tori showed up. She had declined the gym as well. Not only was Leg Day kind of a bitch, she had also come to my class the night before. We were just settling in when John and Ken strolled across the jardim. We soaked up the sunshine for a while and then Ken & Tori went to walk by the water and to pick up some Massa, vodka, and orange juice for dinner. I was making brinner: massa french toast, homefries (regular and sweet potato), scrambled eggs, and screwdrivers. I headed over to Casa Batista to buy a baby shower present for Carla. Lina was throwing her a surprise shower on Thursday.

I ended up getting two tiny little sweaters for unborn Mariana (due mid-June). One size 1-2 months that she can wear twice before she is too big, and one 6-9 months that she can wear in the fall/winter. Lorena rang me up and asked if they were presents. I told her they were for Carla and she wrapped them up for me. In leftover Christmas paper. Whatever, that was the only kind of wrapping paper I had at home, so either way she was getting the wrong holiday. I will not be around to see Mariana wear them, but hopefully John and I will come back summer 2015. Or maybe we just won’t leave.

On my way home from Casa Batista, I spotted the Bread Van near my apartment. I bought six papos secos for John and couldn’t help but notice that they are now selling malasadas, which is like fried dough that is traditionally eaten for Carnaval. I didn’t buy any, but I did take a picture.


I prepped all the homefries and sliced the massa that Ken & Tori had brought over before class. I also made another batch of homemade Larabars. I made them a little differently than I did the first time—I still omitted the protein powder. I omitted the honey, because with the prunes and the raisins, they were sweet enough. I also omitted the raisins because I didn’t have any. The original recipe called for a mix of almonds and pistachios, and the first time I made them I had only used almonds. This time I had pistachios from Casa Cheia, so I used a mix. Because of the purple prunes and the green pistachios, they actually didn’t look that delicious, but they smelled phenomenal and I will keep you posted on their taste.

I headed off to ALKE and Tori was already there chatting with Lina. Leila came even though she told me she was too busy working (which is true). I am so full of mixed feelings about leaving this place—I love it so much and finally feel like I can communicate with (most of) the people around me, and I’m forming great friendships, but I also miss my friends and family at home. And the FIELDHOUSE. I really miss the FH.


Tori said she was just going to run home and shower. She would come over after—the boys only had the juniors so would be home around 8:30pm. I was pretty much done cooking when she arrived, and the boys showed up a few minutes later. We feasted.

After we ate every last little morsel I had cooked, we cleared the table and started to play our own version of Headbands (remember that time John gave both me and Ken Hermione Grainger?). First we started with 90s Pop stars which just made the generational gap between me and John and Ken and Tori seem larger than it is (only a few years, but in terms of 90s pop music, apparently these were epic years). Tori couldn’t name one member of New Kids on the Block, actually she couldn’t even name the group, (I had given her Joey McIntyre!!) and Ken couldn’t name Nelly Furtado. John guessed Usher correctly first, and I followed immediately with Oasis. Ohhhh, the 90s.

Next we did Disney characters including Pixar, which went a little better (Ken was Pocohontas, I was Dopey—really, John!?). We finished with fictional characters, and John gave me Kimmy Gibbler. I was the last person to figure myself out (having ruled out Full House as my TV show because they told me I didn’t have any sisters). Finally, in the style of Ron Burgundy, I asked, “I’m Kimmy Gibbler?”

Ken was Christian Grey from 50 Shades, and he could barely name the title let alone the main character. John was Homer Simpson which prompted a racial discussion when he asked “am I white?” to which I could only respond “you represent the white community”. He told me that was a bull shit answer. Tori, Ken, and I laughed hysterically at his confusion. Ultimately, he guessed his correctly first. Again. Tori was Meg Griffin from Family Guy, which she has never even seen.

Ken and Tori washed all the dishes and eventually went home.


Day One Hundred Forty Six (dia um centena de quarenta e seis)
Thursday (Quinta-feira)

27 Fevereiro 2014

I got up and could tell from the sunshine pouring into the kitchen that it was another warm day. I got ready and took Romeo for a walk-turned-run. I dropped him off after about a mile and finished four more. When I got back I had to change—I was totally soaked through with sweat. The sun is pretty intense, but as we’ve previously discussed, I am a natural sweat-er.

As soon as I changed and I shoved a homemade protein bar down my throat, we walked to the gym to meet Ken & Tori. Back Day.

For those of you who give two hoots about our work outs (<1%) I can now do four pull ups by myself. I do the other six standing on John’s thigh.

  • 4 x 10 pull ups
  • single arm bent row x 4 rounds
  • lat pull downs x 4 rounds
  • reverse fly x 4 rounds

Tabata core, :30/:15, x3 rounds:

  • back extensions
  • alt V-ups
  • mountain climbers
  • leg lifts

We walked to Pic Nic, basking in the sunshine. All the tables outside were taken, so we sat inside and enjoyed our post-gym cafes. I had a Skype date at 2:00pm so I took off quickly.

I caught up with my friend Krista and she got to bitch about the cold weather and the massive amount of snow there and I told her how good we had it (right that second.. because the weather often changes). John came home in time to make some funny faces and flex his muscles into my Skype camera.

After I ate, showered, and painted my nails, I started making hummus for Carla’s surprise shower. I cut up a couple cucumbers and carrots and because I didn’t peel my chickpeas, it took me a lot longer to process-until-smooth. By the time I was finished with that, it was after 5:30pm! I put together a workout, put some make-up on, and went off to ALKE.

I told the ladies we were going to finish a few minutes early so I could run home, grab my snacks and gift, and change for Carla’s shower.


After class I did run home and do those things, as well as straighten my hair. Which, because I have less hair than John’s grandpa, only takes me 6 minutes (one of the only times I’m grateful for such unfortunate follicles). I was back at Toronto putting my hummus & veggie platter on the table by 7:45pm. Aside from olive-slices-turned wheels on deviled-egg-baby-carriages, mine were the only veggies on the table.


While we were waiting for Carla to arrive, someone told Lina that she had to sprinkle water on Carla as she walked in, because it was a “shower”. She grabbed a bowl of water and flicked it into Carla’s face as she walked in to what she thought was a Desperate Housewives’ dinner. As Carla wiped her face everyone thought she was crying. She wasn’t. She was so shocked that when Lina went in for a hug, Carla pushed her off like “Wait, I haven’t seen everything yet!”


The Portuguese do not usually throw big wedding or baby showers, but Carla had mentioned that she really wanted one “like they do in the states”. Lina went above and beyond most showers I’ve been too. Everything was decorated in pink ribbon, from candles to overturned wine glasses, to over-sized champagne glasses full of popcorn (PINK popcorn!). If you want a party, ask Lina to throw you one.

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On top of the dinner table full of potluck delights, pizza, deviled-eggs, chicken wings, chicken drumsticks, beef liver, bacalhau, rice, hummus(!), tuna salad, bread… there was also an equally large spread of desserts including three different Flans, two types of brownies, a red velvet cake, an almond pie, a cherry pie, chocolate pie, chocolate mousse, maracuja mousse (passion fruit… or dragon fruit, I can never remember), a giant Natas (custard), and something called Marguerites which were like egg blondies. I LOVED them. When I found out that Luisa’s sister made them, I told her so. I asked if she used a lot of eggs. “No,” she replied, “only four”. She tried to send me home with half of them, but I very willfully declined.


More than half of all the desserts were leftover (even after I went up for thirds… YES, thirds. Read: “cheat” “meal”). I was so full when they cut into the actually baby shower cake (made by the bread van guy’s daughter, so I’m sure it was delicious) that I couldn’t even try it. Carla’s mom made me take home a slice for John. Luisa made me take another for Ken. Somehow I walked home with three slices in my purse. Along with half a red velvet cake, a third of a gluten-free yogurt cake, three lemon loaf cupcakes, and a bag of pink popcorn.

I was wondering whether or not Carla would open her presents (mine was one of many wrapped in Casa Batista’s leftover Christmas paper) in front of everyone—I wasn’t sure what the protocol was for a Portuguese shower. She did open them all, but not in the same way Americans do, where they shout out who the gift is from while some good friend who didn’t want to, but somehow got roped into doing it anyways, writes down the gift and it’s givers name, while the opener opens and then presents the gift for all to “ooh” and “aah”. Carla just ripped right through them all, collecting her own trash as she went. There were no cards, there was no exaggerated fanfare. Instead of cards, Lina had us write messages on diapers for Carla to read as she used them. I wrote one about how Romeo, John and I will be back in American by the time she uses it. The thought alone made me sad.

Lola, whom I sat with, left around 10:00am. Soon after, Luisa and I talked about walking home together, too. The cake had been cut, the presents opened, and people were beginning to clean up their dessert or dinner dish to take home. We sat down at our table, Lina, Carla, Luisa, Catarina, and me, the only ones left. Lina’s mother and Carla’s mother, whom I had also sat with for dinner, had left.

Luisa filled up her wine glass again and we all got to talking and laughing. Everyone at the table spoke Portuguese, except for me, they all speak English, too, except for Catarina. Lina is really good at translating quickly either to English or from English for my sake, but she must’ve been tired from throwing the party-of-the-year, because she kept speaking to Catarina in English, who just nodded and smiled. I was so excited that someone else understood how I felt 50% of the time. We ended up getting half of a Desperate Housewives dinner, and everyone promised we would have one more before I left for the States. Luisa and I finally left just after midnight.


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