25 Weeks in Povoacao. Como se diz?

Day One Hundred Sixty Eight (dia cento sessenta e oito)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

21 Março 2014

I got up early enough to run 5 miles before we hit the gym. I got back around 10:30am, and John was still knocked out. I set out to do a little cleaning, mostly the things I hate to do so I just don’t, like wash the windows, and clean the dryer filter (no, not the lint trap). At least I found €1.10 in the dryer. When I finished cleaning the tub of the dryer-filter-debris, John still wasn’t up so I decided to shower. He finally got up around 11:30am, but at that point I was committed to deep-cleaning. I’d go to the gym later….maybe.

I was trying to decided whether or not I should put real clothes on (what? Cut-off sweatpants aren’t appropriate in public? Tell me something I don’t know) and head to Pic Nic when I remembered that we hadn’t given Ricardo any of John’s birthday cake. I scooped some into a glass jar I had saved (John calls it hoarding, but I call it preparedness) and, after changing, went down to Pic Nic where I found John and Ken. I gave Ricardo his jar of cake and got a cafe. It was warm enough to wear shorts.

John went to the Mira Mar office and back to the gym to grab his phone and I headed home to continue cleaning the windows (I hate cleaning windows. I don’t think I cleaned the windows once in Newton and we lived in that apartment for two-and-a-half-years. #judgeme). One of the main reasons I hate cleaning them is because they seem to be instantly dirty again, especially when you have a husky stalking the cats outside of said windows. Yeah, yeah, Romeo. Keep trying to shove your wet nose through the window; you’ve almost got ’em.

After I made banana bread for John (and Paleo brownies for myself which John later deemed “pretty good”), I did finally head to the gym around 5:30pm so I could squeeze a quick work out in before I went above Toronto to teach. I foam rolled thoroughly first because my calves are still swollen and I had 14 miles to log in the morning. I did the same workout John and Ken had done earlier, plus some extra core:

  • :30/:15 4 rounds:
  • SB knee tuck to push up
  • Curl-squat-press
  • Chin-ups
  • Box blasts

I thought I was going to kill the chin-ups because I have been doing so many pull-ups, and the last time I did chin ups I could do 8 in a row (maybe even 9). On Thursday we did strict pull-ups and I did sets of 3-and-a-half or 4. Kill chin-ups I did not; in thirty seconds I did maybe one set of 4 or 5, dropped, then 3 or 4 more. Damnit.

  • Core, :45/:15 3 rounds:
  • leg lifts
  • suitcases (round 1) navy seals (rounds 2 & 3)
  • side bends right
  • side bends left

I headed over to Toronto to teach.


John had practice so I had leftover bacalhau and veggies with lentils for dinner.

Day One Hundred Sixty Nine (dia cento sessenta e novo)

Saturday (Sabado)

22 Março 2014

I slept until 9:30am. I was planning on going for my longest-long-run around 10:30am, but then Carla had to come over with a guy to fix our sliding glass door, because it doesn’t slide. I thought that maybe it was because it’s full of dog hair, but Carla said it has needed new rollers for a while. John ran next door and got toothpaste for us and he tried to buy shampoo for me. I told him the Portuguese word was champu and they sell really really ridiculously big bottles of it in crazy scents for one euro everywhere. He came home and said, “Nothing said ‘champu’ on it. The lady told me they were all shampoo.” The bottle said “shampooing” on it. It was conditioner. I officially hadn’t washed my hair with shampoo since Wednesday, and now I’m thinking I won’t. I also have been trying to dry my hair less, since I totally fried it on our trip to Barcelona. I will not wash, nor dry my hair, for the remainder of our stay. The amount of which has still not been publicly released.

I finally took off with Romeo around 11:15am. The sun was beaming so I opted for shorts and a tank top. Sometimes up in the lombas it is chilly, but it is worth being chilly for a little while just to run in the sun. I dropped Romeo off after mile one. I stopped to stretch my bulging calves at mile three.

I did a little more than 4.5 miles before I headed for lomba do Alcaide. I struggled up the beginning, until I came to lomba dos Pos where I stopped to stretch again, mile five-and-a-half. I stopped one last time at the very end of lomba do Alcaide to get water from the faucet that makes me feel like Alex Owens from Flashdance. Well, it used to make me feel that way, but now there is a hose on the end, so I feel more like a beached whale. Whatever. Mile 7.75.

I ran to where lomba do Loucao starts at Diane’s princess house and another half-a-mile still, before turning around and heading back to lomba do Alcaide and back down the way I came. I passed the faucet where I stopped earlier (beached whale) at mile 11. I found John heading to Pic Nic at mile 13.9 and asked him to run my last minute with me, but he had to meet the juniors. So, I ran around him in circles until my watched said mile 14. done.

Sometimes when I plug my watch into Nike+.com, what my watch called 14 miles, Nike+ calls 13.99. I usually try to run an extra .01 to alleviate this problem, because it stresses me out. This happened. This annoys me.

IMG_2355This is a really old picture, of me with my twins after my first half marathon in San Francisco. I wish I could always go out in public dressed this way.

I showered and ate and went to Pic Nic by myself and put up my Week 24 blog post. I went home to have a salad and I made John and Ken dinner for when they got back from the juniors game. I made another banana bread since they finished the one I had made the day before.

Lina had planned a Desperate Housewives dinner in Furnas for 8:00pm. Her car was full, so I was going with Leila and Lola. I had asked John to drive us there and pick us up in Leila’s car so we could all drink, which he said he would do, but then Leila said she is on meds because she is sick so she wouldn’t drink. Then Lola didn’t drink either, so it really wasn’t a big deal.

Leila picked me up around 7:15pm, just after John had come home and reported another loss (6-1, which actually wasn’t as bad as Arsenal’s 6-0 loss earlier in the day), and we stopped at Pic Nic to get cafes. Lola’s husband dropped her off, we got into Leila’s car and drove to Furnas where we promptly arrived at 7:58pm and were the only ones there for at least half-an-hour.

Alexandra and Liliana arrived next, and finally Carla, Lina, Paula, Luisa, and Catarina. Lorena arrived last, and by herself, coming from Ribeira Grande. We got settled in at the long table they had set for us. When we had the last Desperate Housewives dinner at Toronto Night’s, Lina set a round table, which is so much better. At a long table, you can only talk to the people right next to and across from you. I deliberately sat not at the end, because that is the worst seat. Lola and Leila took the ends, and me and Luisa, respectively, sat next to them. I had Liliana on my other side, who was sick last Saturday when we had dinner together and was still sick. Actually, she might have been a different type of sick now; she left the table twice to throw up. But she and Alexandra stayed until all three courses had been served and cleared.

Everything we had was delicious; Lina had gotten us a fixed price that included soup, dinner, wine and dessert. We started with a fish soup, got to choose chicken or fish, and then had a queijada de inhame (tiny little yam cake) with vanilla ice cream for dessert. I ate all of my food, a lot of Leila’s and Lola’s food, some of Liliana’s food and all of her dessert. I was stuffed.

After we finished the wine we moved on to 3 Bicas for more drinks. Leila hates parking, but we found someone who is worse at it than she is.

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In case anyone was wondering what a typical Portuguese person drives, it is not this.

I was pretty tired at that point and also incredibly full, so one shot of tequila and a bottle of water was more than enough for me.

My pregnant Carla:

Carla CatarinaCatarina, Lina, and me

The service is terrible here, just as it was when John and I went before with Leila and Ze. Once we finally got someone to take our money, we piled into our separate cars and went home. John was passed out, and while I had been almost on-my-face at 3 Bicas, once home and in my own bed, I was wide awake. John and Ken had finished the second banana bread in two days.

I read Ordinary People with my legs up against the wall. #runnerproblems

Day One Hundred Seventy (dia cento setenta)

Sunday (Domingo)

23 Março 2014

I was hoping to sleep like a baby after all that food and wine, but not so much. After falling asleep sometime after 2:00am, I stayed in bed until 9:30ish, but I hadn’t slept well. After I took Romeo for a stroll, John and I went to Pic Nic for cafes.

We went home and I made John pancakes because we didn’t have any cereal. Sleepy Sundays are still a hot commodity, and we’re not going to have many more before we head home and back to reality.

Eventually John went back to Pic Nic for some soccer game that was on. He came back around 2:00pm and said Pedro would drive us to the seniors game. John wasn’t playing (he’s done playing, he only practices). I told John I would’ve hoofed it up to the complex with him if we had to, but I was glad for Pedro. It had started to rain.

Pedro picked us up around 2:30pm and we secured seats inside the box with Serenela, Glebiana, Mufasa, and Mira. Sometime in the middle of the game, it stopped raining.

They played against Nordeste, who they tied twice in the regular season. Mira Mar won: 3-0. Berto with two goals, and Majid with the other. Adam got to play, and Vitor played with a broken toe.

When we got home I immediately got a message from Alexandra inviting me to her house for cinnamon buns. I was supposed to Skype with my dad in a little bit, so I called him on his cell phone using my Skype credits and caught him at Lowe’s. He was surprised it was me, “Liza?!”, and we caught up for a few minutes before Leila picked me up.

Alexandra makes cinnamon buns on the regular on Sundays, and I always complain that she doesn’t invite me. Of course, I had eaten like a pig the night before and knew that if I went to her house I would continue to eat everything in sight. Which is exactly what I did.

Leila picked me up and said she didn’t know where Alexandra lived. “I do!” I rejoiced. She has told me, as has Lola, that she lives in the pink house on lomba de Cavaleiro. I have run by her house and know exactly which one it is. I thought.

It had started to rain again when we were parking. They were a lot of cars in the driveway for the house next to the pink house, so Leila wasn’t sure the pink house belonged to Alexandra. I’m sure! I said, she’d told me a hundred times it was the pink house. The other house was definitely brown, not pink. I knocked on the pink door, but no one answered. We went to the brown house and an older woman answered. Leila asked her if she knew where Helio and Alexandra lived, and she told us they lived downstairs (I suddenly remembered that Alexandra told me she lived with Helio’s Tia). Tia de Helio ushered us inside (after telling us to wipe our feet, because she had cleaned) and showed us the door to the basement, where we found our friends.

Telma, Lola, and their significant others were already there. Alexandra also made an apple cake, chicken wings, and lemonade. I probably ate half the apple cake and at least 10 cinnamon buns. We discussed first impressions, baby names, Portuguese slang (Alexandra loves to teach me nasty Portuguese words and tell me they are other things. Like that time she told me her middle name was pinchelo, which means “pubic hair”).

Leila took me home where I promptly got into bed. John asked if I was going to sleep already, to which I relied, No, but everything I still wanted to do that day could be accomplished in bed.


Day One Hundred Seventy (dia cento sessenta)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

24 Março 2014

I got up, walked Romeo, and then went to Antonio’s to buy cereal for John, where I saw one of the ladies who stopped coming to my class a while ago. Her English isn’t great, but I used some of my Portuguese to tell her we were going home kind of soon. She got a real serious look on her face and gave me three hugs before she left. John is already trying to bet how much crying I’m going to do when we leave. It’s going to be a lot.

When I got back, I headed out for five miles, bringing Romeo for the first one. Ever since I came in second in Ribeira Grande, the lady who cleans my street (who has a Facebook account but not all her teeth) says Bom Dia and Ola! Every time I pass her, which on a vila run is at least 5 times.

When I got back John was getting up. We headed to the gym for Chest Day. Ken was supposed to meet us there, but he no-showed.

We went to Pic Nic after, and sat outside (because it was BEAUTIFUL). Carla came over and sat with us. She found someone for our apartment for when we move out, which is good for her. He is a doctor from continent and he’s living in one of her mom’s apartments until we head home.

After we went home for lunch, we both went grocery shopping. We went to Casa Cheia where we found the bread van outside (score) and then to the fruit market where I found avocado (double score). We sat down outside at Pic Nic for drinks, and shortly thereafter, Ken came by. He had fallen back asleep after texting with John that morning, and had done Chest Day solo that afternoon. John and Ken’s junior practice was cancelled (no game this weekend) so I went home to make chili for all of us. I was reading up on Macro diets the other day and tried calculating my own (which I never perfected, and kept getting different macros, but whatever). I downloaded an app to see how my own diet matched up. P36 means I didn’t eat enough protein and those nasty minus signs means I ate too much fat and carbs. I’d call Day One an Epic Fail.


I headed off to class and John and Ken headed off to play Fifa.


Ken and John got home a few minutes after I did. After we ate, John and Ken went to play futsol. They just had one mission to complete first: return the stolen mattress to Fatima’s. We took it when my parents stayed here almost two months ago. It’s time to bring it back. John tied Romeo around his waste and they walked it back up the street. Is there such thing as a un-con mission?

Day One Hundred Seventy One (dia cento setenta e uma)

Tuesday (Terça-feira)

25 Março 2014

Nike+ is the training plan I am following for my upcoming (Nike) half, two other halves, and a 200-mile relay (who’s idea was that?). I have their app, but I also have a We Run DC app that is linked to my Nike+ account. Everyday, these training plans show the same runs. Everyday except for this day.

This day Nike+ said 3.75, but We Run DC said 8. They were both interval runs (1m. warm-up, then .75 fast, .25 recover, repeat, cool-down 1m.). I was feeling a whole lot better than the week before, so I set off to do “at least 6”, figuring I would split the difference. I ended up doing all 8. I felt awesome.

My plan was to bail on the gym if John had left without me (or maybe go later…maybe). But he was still in bed when I got back! He got up and we got ready. We met Ken at the gym. John said he was not doing leg day, I only wanted to do light, and Ken wanted to do heavy legs so we each did our own workout. John did some upper body stuff, Ken did back squats, and RDLs, and I did front squats, step ups, single leg RDLs, and butterfly squats.

After we went to Pic Nic we headed home to meet the guys who were fixing our kitchen doors. Because of Romeo, Carla wanted us to be home when they came by. Rather than work on the doors there, they took our doors, fixed them, and brought them back a few hours later. Unfortunately for us, it was not as warm as the day before and it was flipping cold to not have any doors. But they weren’t gone long, brought them back, put them in, all while another guy fixed our shutters that broke a few months ago. In an effort to get closer to my macros for the day, I had eggs with ham for lunch, and chicken and lentils for dinner. Getting enough protein takes some real effort. Macros Day Two: Epic Win (close enough)?


I applied for Mass Health before the 3/31/2014 deadline hit, and got ready for class. John had practice so I came home, ate dinner, walked Romeo and got in bed.


Day One Hundred Seventy Two (dia cento setenta e dois)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

26 Março 2014

After deciding to run 8 and feeling good, and then doing light legs (light? then why am I SO SORE) running 7 was miserable. I barely made it home. John and I stopped at Pic Nic for a cafe before meeting Ken at the gym, where we did (#thankyejesus!) Arms:

  • weighted dips
  • DB curls
  • tricep cable pulls
  • planks (boys did upright rows)

When John, Ken and I got to Pic Nic it was packed. We secured one 2-person table so I left John and Ken there, and headed to Antonio’s. We needed dog food and dish soap so I caved and bought shampoo (champu). I headed home to wash my hair for the first time in 7 days.

Leila has been asking me and asking me what I want to do before we leave (I don’t want readers to get too excited; we’re not leaving that soon). I don’t really know what I want to do that we haven’t done already. She didn’t have to go to the hospital Wednesday, so she picked me up and we went to Poca de Beija, the small hot pools. Leila tried to tell me at Carnaval (where there was lots of alcohol) that we could never be really good friends because her English isn’t good, we can’t communicate, blah blah blah. Her English is great and we are becoming very close friends. After Poca de Beija we went to Gloria’s where we got bolos and cakes. I got some caramel cake for John and Ken.

When I got home, John and I each had a bolos. I got ready for class and John and Ken went to play futsol with a few of the juniors, since they aren’t practicing this week. Leila and her brother Philip were taking us out to dinner after class. This was the second day in a row I had 12 ladies!


After class I scooted home to shower, John and Ken were at Pic Nic, and I found a giant turd Romeo had left for me upstairs. John came home and they took him for a walk while I finished getting ready. Leila and Philip beeped around 8:15pm.

We were going to Lagoa for dinner, to a place Philip had been before. It turned out to be inside a youth hostel, and was totally dead. This is, on Sao Miguel at least, not a deciding factor for whether a restaurant is decent or not. In the states if we walked into an empty restaurant, we would probably turn around and leave. We ordered bottles of wine and meals, which I took photos of.

IMG_2386 IMG_2387 IMG_2388 IMG_2389 IMG_2390

We thoroughly enjoyed all of our food and our wine. I had pork that had stuffing on the outside, Philip had pasta, Ken had a traditional Azorean steak with egg and french fries. John had a steak that had bacon and bread underneath it. Leila got chicken wrapped in bacon, and on the side it had ananas (pineapple) with cocktail sauce. I know what you’re thinking, but it was actually really tasty.

Ken even asked for bread to slop up the remaining sauces so he didn’t miss a drop. We piled back into Philip’s truck to head somewhere else for dessert. There is a bar on the beach about 10 minutes from the hostel-restaurant that serves crepes. It had started to rain and we had kind of a hard time finding the entrance, but we made it.


Ok, so this doesn’t actually look as good as it tasted. Trust me, it tasted delicious.

We stayed almost until they closed and then headed back to Povoacao. 

Day One Hundred Seventy Three (um cento setenta e tres)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

27 Março 2014

After having gone out to dinner the night before and getting home decidedly late (for an old lady like me), I slept in. I woke up just before 10:00am and peaked at my phone. Leila had messaged me saying her mom, my sweet Lucy, wanted to have lunch with me. My immediate thoughts were; “No, because I physically can’t get out of bed” and then “When I do get out of bed, I have to run 5 miles…” I messaged her back, “Maybe another day is better, I’m still in bed”. I got up, brushed my teeth and put my contacts in (this process makes me human). I messaged her again; I’d love to go for lunch. This is a picture from a different day, but I Love Lucy.


I set out for 5 miles without Romeo (much faster this way), hopped into the shower. Hell, I even styled my hair. Leila picked me up at noon.

We drove to her house on lomba do Alcaide where Philip and my dear Liliana already were. Lucy had made bacalhau, sweet potatoes, and a black-eyed pea salad. and two desserts. She made a custard pie and then a tarte de feijao which means bean pie but isn’t anything like the desserts I’ve made with beans (epic-fail brownies and chickpea cookies). It was sweet, and creamy, and tasted like cinnamon. Lucy’s aunt Mary Jo came by. She is Nedia’s mother and speaks English because she lived in Bermuda for 15 years. Her English was pretty damn good, but amused Lucy and Leila. It’s a lot better than my Portuguese.

Philip and Liliana headed back to work at the bank and Lucy pulled out pictures of Daniela, Leila, and Philip. They were mostly recent pictures, college graduations and such, but there were a few gems of them as little kids. Adorable.

I told Lucy I would give her a picture of me and John. She, like my mother, doesn’t like that digital cameras signified the end of the printed photo. We decided to go to Gloria Moniz (yes, again) for bolos and other treats. We stopped on the way at Nedia’s house where she showed me her DIY crafting skills (like the lamp shade she made out of cassette tapes–genius!) and her greenhouse. We had talked about the greenhouse when we walked the lagoa, because I have been telling everyone that when I get home I am going to grow my own vegetables (I can’t even keep house plants alive, so it’s going to be interesting). She cut me two big heads of lettuce and we were on our way. In the car, I added the lettuce to my bag of food that Lucy had given to me, which included all the leftovers from lunch. #foodfordays

We drove to Furnas and got bolos to take home, and I got coconut cake. Leila tricked me and got a ginormous piece of chocolate cake, and then only ate a few bites, which of course meant I finished it for her. My belly hurt for the rest of the day.

They dropped me off at home and I got ready to teach class. I was going to head to the gym to do Back Day before my class, but I just couldn’t. I decided to go afterwards.


When I arrived at Toronto, Leila had one more thing for me: the tarte de feijao. I couldn’t bring that into the gym with me! I left it at Toronto, did Back Day (with foam rolling, I was in and out in 25 minutes), grabbed my tarte and headed home. I was still full from lunch and snacks, so I had some leftover salad with avocado while I Skyped with Anna.


Week 24! Second place, St. Patrick’s Day, tattoos (again?), and John’s Birthday! (oh my)

Day One Hundred Sixty One (dia cento sessenta e um)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

14 Março 2014

Since we didn’t end up going to Ribeira Grande I got to sleep in (no, this luxury doesn’t get old and I am trying to enjoy the time I have left!). When I did get up, I ran 5 miles and then went to the gym with John and Ken. After a totally haphazard gym week, we did Back Day. After we hit Pic Nic, we went home where John got back in bed and I made Larabars.

I also got the brine ready for my Corned Beef & Cabbage that I was going to make on Monday. I couldn’t find brisket, so I thought that I bought stew meat. I had actually bought some nasty, chewy, on-the-bone beef. But it would have to do. I melted down sugar and salt in a sauce pan of water and added garlic, bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon. I let it cool completely before I put the beef in it. I headed off to class.


While we worked out we discussed the weather for Saturday morning; it was supposed to ran again thus prohibiting me from running in (and potentially WINNING) the Ribeira Grande Women’s Day Race. I just couldn’t bear the thought. We decided who was riding in which car and exited Toronto with promises to go the next day unless it was raining. We would leave at 9:00am.

I went home to eat dinner alone (a delicious stir fry with ground beef, lots of veggies, and cauliflower “rice”) and then indulge in the Best.Bagel.I.Ever.Ate.In.My.Life that Lina had handmade.

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She saved two for me and two for ken. I managed to only eat one and save three for John and Ken. And Majid.

After I came down from my gluten-high, I walked Romeo and went to bed. I (hopefully) had a big day the next day. Ken and Majid came over after practice to retrieve their bagels.

Day One Hundred Sixty Two (dia cento sessenta e dois)

Saturday (Sabado)

15 Março 2014

I got up early to pack a bag with clean clothes and snacks. It wasn’t raining, so it was game-on.


We were going to have lunch afterwards and then drop Julia in the city for her own track event, so I wanted to be prepared. I walked Romeo and grabbed a cafe grande at Pic Nic before I met Lina in the Toronto parking lot, we went and grabbed Julia who told us her mom had walked to Toronto, so we scooted back to grab Luisa. I had seen Liliana at Pic Nic earlier and she told me she was on her way to Lola’s to go in her car with Leila and Telma. Everyone was going.

We got to Riberia Grande around 10:00am and they were just starting the warm-up, which consisted of a group of out-of-shape ladies doing tae bo. Remember that?

I was sizing up my competition and feeling pretty confident until a couple of high school track girls showed up, wearing their team jerseys. Damnit.


After watching about 30 minutes of aerobics, we headed over to the starting line.


womens day

I spotted a photographer and got the girls to pose with me. He came right over, “I understood you,” he said in very good English. “Oh! You speak English,” I said, excitedly. “Yes, but I understood that you were posing because you would like to have your picture taken.” Ding ding!


In addition to the two track girls, another woman appeared who made me a little nervous; she was tall, slender, and wearing Nike tech capris and Aasics (no one here wears name brand stuff). It turns out she is the president of the athletic association who organized the race, and while she may be a competitive runner, she didn’t actually participate in this run.

There are some horribly dorky pictures of me standing with my GPS watch at the ready, waiting for Leila to tell me when I could begin.


The gun went off and a few of us took off sprinting.


I was behind the two track girls, another younger track girl, and an 8-year-old boy. There was a different route for the walkers, and the little boy took the short cut. Not long after, the younger track girl fell behind, then the other track girl fell off, too. It was just me and, I would later find out, Beatriz. My plan was to stay on her ass until the end, and then book it. If I passed her and then she passed me, I knew I would run out of steam before the finish. The first guy I asked told us it was 2km (1.2 miles) but then someone else told us it was 2.5km (1.6 miles), which it was. I finished my first mile in 6:36 (PR!). There was a hill after the second turn, and I figured it had to be close to the finish. I thought I had her, because hills are my bitch now. As soon as she got to the top she took off at a sprint—she must’ve known the finish was soon. I tried to catch up to her, but by the time I saw the finish it was too late. Here you can see Beatriz finishing and me rounding the corner.


And then me. I finished 1.6 miles in 10:52.


As soon as she crossed the line, she took a quick right and threw herself onto the ground. I ran over to her screaming: “Parabens! Bom trabalho!” Congratulations! Good job! And in English: “You won!” but she wouldn’t move. I turned around and saw my friend the photographer waiting for her. I threw my hands in the air, “I came in second! Take my picture!” He very nicely responded, “She won, she must get up. I need to take her picture first.” “But I’m standing!!” I screamed. I went over and tried to pick her up off the ground, still screaming.

IMG_2296In the background you can see my friend Beatriz, to the left of me, on the ground. Maybe I could have run faster.

Lina, Luisa, and Julia had taken the walking route, and were at the finish when I got there.

Lola finished next,


then Leila,




and finally Telma. There was a Step aerobic class scheduled for after the run, while they got the awards in order. Lola tried to participate, but much like the tae bo, they weren’t actually instructing as much as they were putting on a show. She soon got frustrated and waited with the rest of us.


We waited and waited and finally they changed from Step to Zumba and we waited some more. Along with the Zumba came some more trying to participate from our group, but after the 5th song or so, we were all done. I just wanted my second place prize and to go eat lunch.


Finally, FINALLY, they stopped the Zumba-ing and began the awards. They called up Beatriz first, and another high schooler second. OMG, OMG! This meant she was in a different age group than me, and that I had WON my own age group. Me and my 7-person entourage began jumping up and down and screaming with joy. Beatriz enjoyed a rowdy applause. The next age group was called, and the next. To our surprise, they called Telma for 1st place in the Seniors age group (wait, was that my age group? Telma is 22…I am 25…). Our Telma? We couldn’t believe it and neither could she.


She gracefully accepted her flowers and took the podium. Our group, again, erupted in applause. The second and third place winners had already left, so the announcer asked that friends or family members of those runners come and receive the awards on their behalf. Lina grabbed Liliana and they took second and third place.


The announcer asked them to please pass on the trophies to their rightful owners. Lina handed hers back laughing; “I don’t even know them!” We were clearly having the most fun.


The last group to be called were the Veterans; two ladies who looked 50+, and no third place winner (no third place participant!). They thanked everyone for coming out and put down the microphone. WHAT?

Chaos ensued amongst my group; they hadn’t called me up! Luisa immediately went for the announcer and began yelling in Portuguese, “THIS IS A SHAME. THIS IS SHAMEFUL. My friend came from SO far away to participate! You must DO SOMETHING.” As she was yelling, I walked over, “You saw me finish second!” I yelled to the guy, who’s name is Miguel and is now my Facebook friend. “Oh, yes I did. What’s your name?… Oh, I read the wrong line. I’m so sorry.” Telma gave me her flowers and trophy so I could at least get a picture on the podium.


Luisa and Lina were still talking to Miguel and I was just prancing around holding Telma’s flowers. We all got on the podium and took more pictures.


Telma who doesn’t speak English (she claims), turned to  me and said perfectly: “Eliza. Give me my flowers back.” I laughed until I cried.

Miguel procured some flowers and a trophy for me and we made it official looking for pictures. He asked me to compete in another event next month, but I will be back in the states by then. I don’t think he cared so much about me participating as he did about me bringing my posse. Somewhere there is a video of me kicking little boys off the podium just so I could take a picture holding Telma’s flowers. While I obviously wanted to be recognized for winning my age group, I think the way it happened makes for a much better memory.

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Lola, Leila, and Telma took off in Lola’s car back to Povoacao and Liliana came with me, Julia, Lina and Luisa to the city. We went to McDonalds for lunch and it was delicious. It was totally packed, and as soon as I ordered a chicken McWrap and a bowl of spinach and chickpea soup (only at a Portuguese McDonalds, Lina joked) I knew I should’ve ordered more. I was starving! As soon as I finished eating my first lunch I got back in line for another wrap.

We still had time before Julia needed to be at her own track event, so we went to Portas do Mar for coffee. While it had been overcast in Riberia Grande (and was supposedly pouring in Povoacao) it was absolutely gorgeous in Ponta Delgada. The sun was shining. We sat outside for cafes and then went to drop Julia off and return to Povoacao.

John and Ken were away at a juniors game when I got back, so I showered, snacked, and took Romeo for a long walk. I found Rui near the beginning of my walk and he provided company for the rest of my walk. I got him to sing to me. His English is much better than my Portuguese. His singing is also much better than my singing.

When I got back, I finished getting ready and then Leila picked me up. We were going to Telma’s boyfriend’s house in Ribeira Quente for dinner. I had called Pedro from my Skype app earlier and told him I’d pick the boys up at the gas station in Furnas, on the way back from the juniors game. Leila had some missed calls (I had given John her number) so I called the number back from her phone. It turned out to be the captain of the junior team, and they were just a few minutes away from the gas station. We picked the boys up and headed to Luis’s.

We laughed and laughed about all the ridiculous things that had happened at the race. Telma had put a picture of her flowers and her trophy on Facebook with the caption: “I don’t know how… but I won!”

A little while later Lola and her husband, Lino, showed up, along with Lola’s brother Helio and his wife Alexandra, followed by Dino and his wife, Liliana. We snacked on a tuna dip and olives that Lola had brought until Luis went to Dinis’s bar and picked up wings and french fries. He took orders for the bifana sandwiches, too.


All of the girls who were there (Lola, Leila, Telma, Alexandra, and Liliana) come to my classes. We laughed about some of the things that happen when we are there, like why we call Alexandra “Equilibrio” (pron: ick-e-li-ber). We call her this because she couldn’t remember the English word for balance, so she said the Portuguese word with an American accent (this actually works for some words, like “relaxe”, but not all), Equilibrio (proper pron.: ick-e-li-bru).

Alexandra also tried to tell a story about when I had yelled at her the other day. Sometimes she gets a little wild-and-crazy in my class, and she yells at her sister, Berina, more than she works out. She was doing this the other day. She is telling the story, and she says “And then Eliza told me to ‘squeeze my shits!’”. We all burst out laughing. I asked John if he could guess what I really said to her. No? No guesses? I had told her to “Get your shit together”.

After we ate lots of chicken wings, chips, fruit, and bifana sandwiches,


we put our coats on and went to Dinis’s bar to get cafes, shots, and pay for our dinner.

dinis cafe

John was fading; still sick and now also exhausted. Leila had not gotten over her cold either, so I asked her to take us home. Liliana said she had some lemon tea that would help, so we piled into two cars and went to her and Dino’s house. Leila dropped me and Liliana off and then went home.

We went inside where she gave me lemons and then Dino drove us home. Not long after we got home, Dino messaged me and asked if John and I wanted to go to Furnas the next day. I wish! John was a mess and I had 12 miles to run. Maybe another time.

Day One Hundred Sixty Three (dia cento sessenta e tres)

Sunday (Domingo)

16 Março 2014

I slept in because I do that now but also because I was exhausted from the night before. John and I were celebrating three years since our first date, and I was going to cook bacalhau. I headed up to Fatima’s to get some frozen cod (because that’s what Lucy told me to buy) but messed up and got the salted kind instead. I’ll tell you what that means later. But mainly it meant that we couldn’t eat it.

I was graced with a beyond beautiful day for my long run—only problem was that my legs felt like they were trapped in a vice. My calves were pulsating (pulsing?). I took Romeo for the first mile, stopped to stretch, and continued on my way. I ended up stopping again just before I hit mile 5, after I completed the hardest section of lomba do Alcaide because my legs were so uncomfortable. After a few minutes of stretching (and enjoying the incredible view!) I was on my way to finish seven more miles.

John was at Pic Nic watching some EPL games, so after I showered and ate (eggs and veggies..all day every day) I got ready to meet him and Ken down there. I checked out the “frozen” cod that I had bought earlier and realized that while it was rock hard, it was not cold. How could that be? I opened it up and felt the salt water smell hit my face. Damnit—salted. That meant that I had to soak it for at least three days before I could cook it. I guessed we would be having something else for dinner.

Originally, John had asked Lina to cook for us, but then she had to go to Ribeira Grande for her nephew’s birthday. That’s when I decided I would try to cook bacalhau. On to Plan C.

I had just walked in the door at Pic Nic when Lina messaged me asking if I was home. Not two minutes later, Filipe, who was sitting next to me, said that Lina was outside. She and Julia were waiting outside with fresh, homemade fofas. “Happy Anniversary,” she said. Love.her.

I headed home to start brinner, because we love pancakes, potatoes, and eggs. John also wanted to try a banana ice cream recipe he found on Pinterest, so he cut up and froze some bananas which we blended up with Nutella and a little soy milk.


We watched Adult Children Of Divorce which I thought was hilarious and John didn’t.

Day One Hundred Sixty Four (dia cento sessenta e quatro)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

17 Março 2014

Saint Patrick’s Day!

Finally: tattoo day! I got up early so I could run 5 miles and shop before we left for Ribeira Grande. When I was out running, the lady who sweeps my street (instead of unemployment, the Portuguese government gives out jobs like “street sweeper” in 6 month contracts) called out to me; “Parabens!” translation: congratulations. “Facebook!” she called out, as way of explanation. And then “Taça! Taça!” which means cup, or in this case, trophy. Good news travels fast!

I went to Casa Cheia and Antonio’s because Mira Mar is no longer paying Fatima for our groceries (or more accurately they never have…either way, she’s not going to give us groceries for free anymore). I scooted home to try to make some peanut butter before we left, but I ran out of time once I had ground the peanuts down to crumbles. That would have to wait.

We went to Pic Nic where we met Ken. Carla and Joe came in right after us, so they sat with us. Vitor came in and told us we would leave in 10 minutes. We ran home to grab the leftover fofas from Lina to add to the other (healthy) snacks I had packed for the day. Once we were in the car, driving through Furnas, Vitor asked if we had been to Pico de Ferra before, which is an observation point. None of us had, and since we still had time, he said he would take us. We drove behind the Furnas Golf Club and up a steep hill. And up. And up. Until we finally peaked out over the top and Vitor immediately parked.


You could see all of the Lagoa das Furnas and out to the ocean. It was a gorgeous view and we hit it on a beautiful day.


After we enjoyed the view for a few minutes, and took a bunch of iPhone pictures, we hopped back in the car.


John was still sick so he asked Vitor if he would take him to Continente (there is one in Ribeira Grande, too) to get some cough medicine. We were still early by the time we got to Ribeira Grande, so we all went to Continente first. Ken found Guinness which he bought for the St. Patrick’s Day feast we were having that night. We grabbed Halls for John and then headed to Rafael’s.

This is the second time I’d been there, so I knew it would be very cold inside. We waited a few minutes outside before he came down from his apartment next door. He had just drawn up my flowers from the pictures I’d sent to him. It was gorgeous. He put it on the transfer paper and then John helped me place it on my right shoulder. Go time.


I laid on my belly for just over an hour while Rafael did his magic on my shoulder. I think it hurt more than the other tattoos I have, but I can’t be sure. John talked to Rafael about one more tattoo he wants, and he said we could come back the following Monday. Vitor said we would go get ice cream in Ponta Delgada before we went back to Povoacao. It was another stunning day at Portas do Mar.


Vitor’s girlfriend, Carla, goes to the University of the Azores in Ponta Delgada. She and some of her friends met us at Portas do Mar where we first ate cachorros and then grabbed ice cream—I know, I know!!—before we got back in the car. I got a maracuja flavored soft-serve and it was bomb. Carla and her friends got ice cream from Burger King.

At that point it was 5:00pm and John and Ken had practice with the juniors at 6:00pm. We raced back to Povoacao in time for John to change and run down to the Camara where they get picked up and then turn around and walk straight home; practice cancelled. Not enough kids. I rinsed my beef off and set it took cook on very low while I was at class. I also cut up potatoes and carrots to boil in beer and spices while I was gone.


When I got back I took the potatoes and carrots out of my broth and put my chopped cabbage in. John, Ken, and Majid came over and we feasted. Majid is Muslim, but he took a short hiatus from some of his religious obligations while here in the Azores. While he never ate pork, he did drink some. Apparently he is back on the Muslim band wagon and isn’t drinking. I told him I cooked the veggies in beer, and at first he didn’t believe me. (But it loses almost all the alcoholicc content when you cook it, right? And then I drained it, yeah?). He looked upset, but he ate my veggies.


After dinner I pulled out the fofas and told Majid they were full of pork. THIS he believed; “But it looks like there’s just chocolate on top…”

All three of them headed off to play futsol at Vietnam and I laid down to watch The Boondock Saints alone. John came home and finished watching it with me.

Day One Hundred Sixty Five (dia cento sessenta e cinco)

Tuesday (Terça-feira)

18 Março 2014

My legs were still killing me from sprinting Saturday and then all my runs since then. I crawled 9 miles up lomba do Alcaide. As I was leaving for my run, I asked John what time he was planning on going to the gym. 11:30am, you say? What a shame, I won’t be back in time. No, no. Don’t wait for me.

When I got home from my miserable 9 (the sun was out, so I’ll take that as a win!) I ate more sweet potato and white bean veggie burgers, showered, and met the boys at Pic Nic. When I got home I painted my nails, went down and visited Carla, got a new gas tank, Skyped with my cousin and finally went off to the gym. I went really early so I could foam roll my swollen calves. Nike+ has titled this week of training “Test Your Limits” with a total of 45 miles, and I still had 31 to go.

John is still sick. Romeo is still a weirdo.

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I warned the ladies that the next day was my 100th class, and was sure to be a doozy.


I went home to a quiet house—John was at practice. I Skyped with my adorably pregnant friend Cathy in California, ate dinner, and went nuts on Pinterest looking for a recipe for John’s birthday dessert. See what I made on Wednesday.

Day One Hundred Sixty Six (dia cento sessenta e seis)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

19 Março 2014

John’s Birthday!

I got up before John (usually the case, but this day was extra important!) to decorate. I used the only paper we had (lined) and the only writing instrument we own (pen) to make a banner for our bedroom doorway.


Then I taped the leftover bow from my Valentine’s Day flowers with a note to the bathroom mirror. After a quick breakfast, I was off to do 7 more miles.

After my lengthy foam rolling session the day before, I felt great. I finished my 7 miles with a pace more than a minute/mile faster than my 9 miles. Hallelujah.

When I got back John was just getting up. He was surprised he hadn’t heard me decorating. He was still feeling sick, and told me he needed just one more rest day before he was going to 100 percent. I went off to the gym alone.

I did two mini circuits for four rounds each (weighted dips, push-press, hanging leg raises and SL RDLs, butterfly squats, decline sit ups) and about halfway through my second circuit, Ken showed up. “Where’s John?” he asked. “Didn’t he text you?” I asked. Apparently, Ken had no internet. We wondered if in addition to groceries, Fatima had also cut off their internet access due to lack-of-payment. Not five minutes later, John showed up!

I finished up my circuits and headed home to shower. After I met the boys at Pic Nic for my cafe grande I went home to make a cake (YES a real cake with butter and sugar… and wheat flour!) Martha-Stewart-style.

After spending what felt like hours on Pinterest and allrecipes.com, I finally decided to make a trifle using Martha’s Dark Chocolate Cake. I didn’t actually have a trifle recipe, and I’d never made one before. I decided to use chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, and chocolate frosting for the other layers. I bought chocolate pudding (Instant Jell-O brand) at Casa Cheia the other day, so I stopped to buy vanilla at Antonio’s on my way home from Pic Nic. I got a Portuguese brand because it was so much cheaper. I couldn’t really read the directions, but understood the ½ liter of leite and something about mixing until dissolved. Very good.

When I got home I whipped up the cake batter (almost) following Martha’s recipe. I didn’t have brown sugar, so I used ½ cup less white sugar plus some honey. I also added some instant coffee and cinnamon instead of vanilla. While it was baking, I whipped up the puddings following the Jell-O Instant (and English!) directions. Five minutes later the chocolate pudding was pudding-like, but the vanilla was still totally liquid. I had, of course, thrown away the directions and changed the trash bag, so I went to google to see what I had done wrong. I googled “Boca Doce Baunilha Pudim”. Sure enough, this was not instant pudding and I was supposed to have boiled it before letting it set. I took it out of the fridge, transferred the pudding to a sauce pan, boiled it and mixed it, and then returned it to the fridge. I didn’t think it was going to end well.

In the meantime, I took the cake out of the oven for about 15 minutes so John could toast up some bolos levedos, and then I put it back in to finish baking. The cake ended up more dense than fluffy, kind of brownie-like. Probably because I messed with the cook time. But whatevs, brownies are good, too.

While the cake was cooling I made a Chocolate Frosting recipe I found on allrecipes.com. Once the cake was cool, I divided it into three sections.


I cubed the first section and put it on the bottom of my “trifle bowl” (read: my salad spinner with the spinner removed. #ghettofabulous).


I then covered that layer in chocolate pudding.


Then I cubed the second section of cake and spread it out on top.


Since I didn’t have any vanilla pudding yet, my trifle would have to chill like this for a while. I made a giant salad to go along with our smorgasbord of goodies for the evening and headed off to teach my 100th class.


I ran over to Fatima’s on my way home and got Instant Vanilla Jell-O pudding and beers. I quickly cleaned myself up, and finished making my trifle (vanilla pudding, cake, chocolate frosting).

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I walked Romeo and then scooted back to Toronto to pick up the pizzas that Lina had made for us. I went home to meet Leila who had brought wine, vegetable quiche, and the biggest apple pie I’d ever seen. We sat down and drank until the boys came home from futsol.

John and Ken had to shower when they got home, but we dug into the quiche as soon as they walked in the door. Leila and her mom, Lucy, had made it and it was delicious. Lina’s pizza is always amazing and she made my cheese-free pizza with whole wheat crust, because she is the best. Toronto isn’t even open this week, but she said she would make pizzas for John’s birthday anyway. After we had eaten dinner, Ernesto stopped by with a tray of homemade cinnamon buns, also a la Lina. #dowehavetogohome?

Majid came over, too, and he couldn’t believe Lina made the pizza (Lina made one with no pig products for him), and we couldn’t believe he’d never had it before (Ken said: “Welcome to Povoacao”).

After we finished eating our faces off, Vitor and his friend Tiago came over, but I couldn’t get them to eat (we had SO much left over food!). I put candles into my trifle (mud pie?) and we all sang to John.

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I still couldn’t get Vitor or Tiago to eat, but the rest of us enjoyed Lucy’s apple pie and my trifle. Which was super rich and much more dense then any trifle I’d ever had, but John loved it so that’s what matters. I somehow managed to get all the leftover food into our fridge and around midnight Leila said she was leaving. I told her when she left I would go straight to bed. Which I did. While all the boys were still in the kitchen, I crept into bed and read Wheat Belly.

Day One Hundred Sixty Seven (dia cento sessenta e sete)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

20 Março 2014

It was either all the excitement of the day before, or all the wheat in my belly, but I slept until almost 10:30am. It was raining, so I decided to run after the gym. John and I got ready and headed to meet Ken. Back Day. I packed a few glass jars with leftover mud pie/trifle and gave one to Ernesto. I brought two more to Pic Nic for Nilson and Monica. Nilson? We thought his name was Ernesto. I tried to tell John and Ken before that I thought his name was Nilson, and Ken finally decided to ask. I should’ve made a bet (because Ken is always wrong. For such a smart guy, he makes really poor bets). Ken couldn’t understand how we called him the wrong name all these months and no one had ever corrected us. Because they’re too nice, I tried to tell Ken. Just like they all call me “Lisa” and I never correct them. They are too nice.

We brought Ken home with us to help us eat leftovers. I got ready to run and took off before I could think too much about it. It wasn’t really raining anymore and I briefly thought about dropping off my long sleeve when the sky opened up and it began to pour. Nevermind. The rain stopped, the sun came out, and then it rained again. I finished 5 and went home soaking wet. After I showered, I heated up some quiche for lunch. Then I heated up some more. It was really good.

I brought some apple pie down to Carla, because Leila refused to take any home with her (“We made two!” she told me). I also cut another huge piece and put it on the plate Ernesto had brought the cinnamon buns over on. You’re never supposed to return a plate or tupperware empty, right? I would bring it to Lina when I went to class.

I had to do a follow-up questionnaire for the Institutional Review Board at Northeastern for research I barely got to do a year ago. It took me so long to get approval that my group hardly did any research. Now that my approved project is “ending” I have to tell them what I did. I almost completely forgot about the project. I went through my notes from 11 months ago and filled it out. #gradschoolproblems

I finally was able to cook the bacalhau I had bought on Sunday. It had probably soaked long enough by Wednesday, but we were having pizza for John’s birthday so I had let it sit one more day. It definitely wouldn’t be salty. I rinsed it off and boiled it in milk for 5 minutes, just like Lucy told me to do. I then put it in a pyrex full of azeite, cebola, y aho (olive oil, onion, and garlic) and put it in the oven on super low for about an hour. I was going to have it for dinner, by myself, when I got home from class. John had practice. John also needed my phone to make a phone call, so I took his iPad. His iPad that only had 4% battery. Greaaaaaat.


Because I use a bluetooth speaker, his iPad managed to last the whole hour. I got home and made some veggies to go with my bacalhau and Skyped with a woman in Massachusetts who might hire me when I get home.

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She is a friend-of-a-friend looking for some after-school help with her kids (read: chauffeuring). Not an ideal job, but it will be immediate income, it won’t be difficult, and she said she would take me as long as I wanted to do it. So I can keep looking for another job and not feel weird or bad about it. She seemed lovely.

Romeo and I went for a long walk and I put myself to bed. I read up on lean body mass and Macro diets for fun.


Week 23 in Portugal! Tattoos (or not), bleach, and lulas.

Day One Hundred Fifty Four (dia cento cinquenta quatro)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

7 Março 2014

I only had a 2-mile run planned and John slept in (he was still sick), so I took my sweet time getting ready. John got up after 11:00am and I finally went for a solo-run. When I got back John was up so we walked down to Pic Nic, where he got a galao and a fofa, so I guessed his appetite was back. I left John there pondering soup.

I went on to the gym where I struggled through Circuit Day alone. I don’t know if it was because I was by myself, or just because I’m feeling tired and lazy, but either way it was super hard (5×15 weighted box jumps, cable rotations, SB knee tuck to push up, hanging leg raises, navy seals).

I went home to shower and have lunch and I asked John if he got soup at Pic Nic. “No,” he said, “your soup is better.” best.answer.ever. I said I would make soup, but it probably wouldn’t be ready for a while; we could have it for dinner. Because I am trying to eat better, one of the things I switched out was canned beans in favor of dried beans. Main problem: you can’t just grab a can, rinse them, and eat them. They take a lot more prep time. I grabbed a bag of white beans and set about to soaking them (they didn’t really need to soak overnight, did they??)

I made banana bread Big Al style for John and attempted to make muffins for myself. I bought these cute little silicone muffin molds a few weeks ago that I’d been wanting to use. I only have 6 of them and I ended up with a lot of muffin batter, so I bagged it and made bread. Somehow this was incredibly disappointing; I had really been looking forward to a muffin.

I used one ripe banana, and then shredded some leftover zucchini centers from zoodles I had for dinner the night before (note to self: even if you think the zucchini is “dry”, it is not. And you should squeeze the water out before baking it). I also shredded up a carrot, used one real egg, one chia egg, and one flax egg.. I added almond flour. I had a flashback to being in my best friend’s kitchen when we were high school-aged. Her mom used to make these crazy muffins with whatever vegetables and/or fruit (but mostly vegetables) she had laying around. Carrot/raisin, zucchini/bran… I think she made some with kale. She never used sugar—I have to admit I used a little honey in mine. The memory only made me wish more mine were muffins instead of a loaf.


I have decided to call them Kitchen Sink Muffins. Romeo ended up enjoying the banana bread more than John could, but I’ll get to that later.

John and I took a walk with Romeo so I could get eggs, bananas, and apples. We spotted the bread van and got a bag for John and another for Ken. We stopped to have cafe at Pic Nic and found Ken, along with a few other Mira Mar players.

I decided my beans had soaked long enough, so when we got home I started to de-gas them (something else I was new to). Luckily my girl from My Whole Food Life has a simple explanation for how to prepare dried beans. They seemed a little hard still, but I began making the base for my chili anyways. I wanted to make white chicken chili, but all the recipes I found included dairy in some form (sour cream, cheese, heavy cream… etc), so I just used my own chili recipe, and subbed white beans for kidney, and chicken for beef. #thatwaseasy


I let the beans soak while I went to ALKE to teach, hoping that this one extra hour would finish softening them. No such luck. I popped a tray of veggies in the oven, John went to play FIFA, and I walked to Toronto. A bunch of us had been planning on going to Ribeira Grande the next day for International Women’s Day. The Camara was hosting a race, an outdoor aerobics class, and fun & games for kids. There was a big storm (supposedly!) rolling in, so we decided not to go. While I was looking forward to going with everyone, the storm didn’t change my running plans; I was still going to log 12 on Saturday. Rain or no rain.

I had the biggest class I’d had in a while; 9 ladies. Now that all of Povoacao knows when we leave, I think ladies are starting to bail. I have had a few newbies start, but I have had more women leave. We did:


When I got home I added one cup of not-quite-crunchy-but-de-gassed beans to my chili and John and I ate. Since he didn’t have practice, this was the first night since I-don’t-know-when that we got to sit down and eat together and even watch (…well, start) a movie. We watched 12 Years a Slave and I maybe made it an hour before I passed out. When I woke up the next day, John told me how it ended.

Day One Hundred Fifty Five (dia cento cinquenta cinco)

Saturday (Sabado)

8 Março 2014

So, it did rain. A lot. And while someone had told me it was going to be the worst overnight, it was still pretty bad at 10:00am. And still pretty bad at 11:00am. John took Romeo for a walk and confirmed my worst fear: that in addition to it being rainy and windy it was also cold. Damnit. I checked Ribeira Grande’s Facebook page: they were postponing their Women’s Day festivities. Score!! Maybe we could all still go.

He headed off to the gym to make up for skipping the day before. The juniors had a game at 4:00pm at home and the seniors had a game at 9:00pm in the city. I was not the only one planning on skipping that little adventure—John wasn’t planning on playing. Or even going.

After he left I geared up and headed out for 12 miles. I did my usual lap-the-vila until I was dizzy and then headed for the lombas. It wasn’t raining very hard—it was really cold—but the wind was killer. I only made it about ¾ of the way up lomba do Alcaide before I had to turn around. I ended up doing three more miles in the vila to finish. My clothes weighed about 10 pounds and my sleeves were covered in boogers. I hung my clothes up outside and took a hot shower. It made my hands burn.

John got home not long after I did and we discussed the culture of soccer. Mainly the Portuguese culture. John was worried he was not going to be able to field a team (two kids are sitting out their last game from their red cards). I was planning on going to the game, but Pedro couldn’t drive me. I will run 12 miles in the rain, but walk ¾ of a mile to sit in the rain and watch a soccer game? I don’t think so. We walked to Pic Nic for cafes and I told John there was no way I was going. The sun was trying to peak through the clouds, but that wind could blow you over. Oh, and it was still raining. #sorrynotsorry

I walked into Pic Nic (which was full—FULL—of German tourists… they are always German) but John walked to the Jardim to see if he could find a ride. I ordered a cafe grande (double espresso) and Ricardo gave me a giant galao. “Is this for me?” I asked. I told him not to worry, John would come and drink it. Only he didn’t—because he found a ride. Uh oh, I couldn’t let that beautiful thing go to waste! And I did do my long-run… I would have to splurge 🙂

After I drank both coffees I walked home and found a ton of crumbs on the floor. That’s weird, I thought, did John drop his plate or something? Then I walked around my kitchen counter and found what was left of Big Al’s banana bread.




Romeo was already hiding under the bed, aware of his bad behavior. I swept that mess up and then my weekend cleaning commenced and I began cleaning everything. I was just procrastinating mopping when I got a message from Lola: “I’m bored. Let’s go to Pic Nic”. The rain was clearing up so I told her I just had to walk Romeo and I would meet her down there.

I walked Romeo around the block and then walked to Pic Nic which was FULL of a different group of tourists. I waited a few minutes and then Lola poked her head in and waved me out the door. She had tried to call Leila but she didn’t answer her phone. Therefor we were going to her house to scoop her up. Leila has been crazy busy working, but is desperate for some fun weekend activities. She was just as bummed as I was about not going to Riberia Grande. Even though she drives to Ponta Delgada and back every week day, she wanted to go to the movies this weekend. #youcouldntpayme to do that drive 6 days in one week! Did I mention she is going everyday for an unpaid internship??

So we went to Leila’s house and found Lucy (sweet sweet Lucy, who I am going to miss desperately). Lucy told us that Leila was bored, too, so she went to Carla’s to get her nails done. My Carla? Leila had been at my apartment! So back to the vila we went.

Carla was just finishing Leila’s nails when we got there so we chatted for a few minutes and then headed to Pic Nic (again!). We were talking about going to Furnas for bolos levedos when I saw that Lola’s cousin Telma had made a yummy-looking coconut pie for Women’s Day on Facebook. Telma understands English, but doesn’t speak it very well (or just isn’t confident… I’m thinking it’s the latter) and sent me the sweetest message a few weeks ago about wishing she spoke English so we could be friends. I commented on her photo and she wrote back “Tell Lola to take a coffee in Ribeira Quente!” So we did.

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We all piled into Lola’s Fiat, drove first to Furnas to pick up bolos…and caramel cake, and walnut cake… and then headed to Telma’s boyfriend’s apartment which is right behind the tent where we eat bifanas. Telma’s coconut torte was just as good as it looked. We snacked, had tea, and then headed back to Povoacao.

I found John cooking meat sauce and pasta. The juniors had 13 players and lost 4-1 using their second-string goalie. I cubed up an eggplant, steamed it, made some tomato sauce, and added some white beans (because, not thinking clearly, I soaked the entire bag of beans so I now had 5 cups to use in the week). It had stopped raining, so after dinner we walked to Pic Nic for tea and cappuccinos. Because Romeo ate all the banana bread, I made some sugar cookies (REAL sugar cookies) for John.

Day One Hundred Fifty Six (dia cento cinquenta seis)

Sunday (Domingo)

9 Março 2014

Lola, Leila, and I had made a plan to walk the lagoa in Furnas on Sunday morning. We were going to meet at Pic Nic at 9:30am (ridiculously early if you asked me, but you didn’t). I set my alarm for 8:00am so I would have time to get ready and take Romeo for a nice long stroll. When I woke up it was raining and windy, so I was not disappointed at all when Lola messaged me saying Leila was sick. Leila and John have both been sick on-and-off since before Carnaval.

I took Romeo for a long stroll, made soup (I have named this day Soup-er Sunday because I think I’m clever), and John and I went to Pic Nic. There was a game on (couldn’t tell you who!) but I sat and read. At some point in the middle of the day, it stopped raining. John went to Ken’s to play FIFA and I took Romeo for a walk to fill up our water containers. We invited Ken over for brinner. I made regular and sweet potato home fries, buttermilk pancakes, scrambled eggs, and a veggie egg-white omelet for me. #restday

Day One Hundred Fifty Seven (dia cento cinquenta sete)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

10 Março 2014

Nike+ had given me another rest day (really? TWO?), but I was feeling good and the sun was out so I went for 3 miles before we met Ken at the gym. Chest Day.

It was almost 1:30pm by the time we left Pic Nic and one of the juniors’ was coming over to get his haircut at JB’s barbershop. I went shopping at Fatima’s alone and ran home because I was starving. I had soaked some lentils and I was dying to try and make a veggie burger. I threw some in the food processor with some cubed and boiled sweet potato I had prepped the night before, with an egg and some oats.

They were sort of pancake-like in texture, but inside lettuce wraps with tomato and piri piri, they were pretty delicious. Ken got his hair cut, too, and after I fed my near-starved self, I set off to my latest project: de-molding.

I think part of the reason John and I were sick recently was the mold taking over our third floor. We hardly ever go up there, but we slept there the three nights my parents were here and we both got sick right after. Since then, the mold has crept down the walls and ceiling of the bedroom and bathroom. I grabbed some latex gloves, a bucket with warm water and bleach, and took a rag to the third floor (which is what Lina told me to do). While it was sort of time consuming, it was actually really easy to get the mold off. I did everywhere I could reach on the third floor and also in our bedroom (which I decided was the most important). It took me over two hours, and at one point I ran out of bleach and John took a break from cutting Ken’s hair to run next door for me to get more. I hoped this would help John not be sick.

I headed off to class and John went to coach the juniors.


I got home and cooked chicken, rice, and veggies for dinner. I also baked a carrot cornbread (using my kitchen sink muffin recipe, but subbing corn for zucchini and corn flour for almond flour..and omitting the honey) and made some “clean fudge” with prunes and cocoa powder. John doesn’t even know what to say.


Day One Hundred Fifty Eight (dia cento cinquenta oito)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

11 Março 2014

I had sort of been missing my Fartleks because they keep my training runs interesting. I hadn’t had one for a few weeks, so I was pretty excited that Nike+ was giving me an 8-mile Fartlek on Tuesday. I took Romeo for my mile warm-up, did a 6 mile Fartlek (4:1) and then a cool down. I felt awesome. And the sun was shining again. Although I felt great, I was not looking forward to Leg Day. I had another 7 to run the next day.

Thankfully, John didn’t want to do a heavy leg day either, so we changed it up a little and did two mini circuits:

  • goblet squats, box jumps, and hanging leg raises
  • SL RDLs, lateral step-ups, and SB roll outs

After we hit Pic Nic for post work-out cafes, we stopped at Antonio’s for dog food and bought some salsa, which I threw on top of my lentil veggie burgers. Delicious.


After I ate, I began Bleaching Everything: Day Two. I hit the few small spots on the kitchen ceiling that were moldy and then took my tools to the bathroom. The bathroom is small, so it didn’t take me very long, but we only have one tiny little light bulb that works. I also attempted to use the shower rod as a handle to reach a far corner. Giant. Fail.

John tried to help me put the rod back up, but we actually managed to break it. So once I finished bleaching I went next door to Euromotas and bought a new one. John had started to feel more sick, and laid around until practice started. I headed off to class.


After class I headed home and made myself brinner. All I ever want is pancakes.

Day One Hundred Fifty Nine (dia cento cinquenta novo)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

12 Março 2014

Leila didn’t have to go to Ponta Delgada for work (because she is still sick!) so we made a plan to walk the lagoa in Furnas with Lucy and Lucy’s cousin Nedia, who I met on Girlfriend’s day. We were meeting at 10:30am, so I got up early to do my 7 miles. I love Fartleks because they make me faster even when I’m not doing them (read: this is the point). I had an awesome run.

I ran home to shower and meet the girls. We met at Pic Nic where we had a quick coffee and then we headed off to Furnas. Lucy was the only one who had ever walked the lagoa before, but I didn’t think it could be that hard. How could we get lost walking in a circle, around a giant lake? I’m pretty bad with direction, but even I wouldn’t get lost. I didn’t think.

I used my Nike+ GPS watch because I wanted to know how far it was around, and I couldn’t figure it out online. We took our time looking at all the pretty things there were to see, like the carved animals that were made from trees.

IMG_2179 IMG_2180 IMG_2181 IMG_2182Leila isn’t pretending to run out of this picture. It happens to be one of the many things she fears, such as driving, dogs, and having her picture taken.IMG_2186 IMG_2195 IMG_2194

A carpenter/artist goes each year and makes something. Nedia’s husband works for the Camara of Furnas and makes benches and bird houses for the park around the lagoa. We found one.


We also found this sweet-spot for tourists. And their cameras.


Which meant I could get a picture of everyone.


We looped back around to the main road (the one that takes you to Ponta Delgada via the south) and Nedia started to tell me about this hotel across the street whose rooms sit above the water—I had no idea what the heck she was talking about. She tried to point it out to me, but it was down a long windy driveway with a sign marked “HIKING IS NOT ALLOWED”.


Just then Lucy spotted a young man (who turned out to be her cousin, or her nephew, or both on each side of the family… it’s a small island) and she called out to him in Portuguese, “Do you work here?” He did, and he invited us to walk down the driveway with him.

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At the end of the driveway there were about 8 cabins, all elevated on stilts, above some man-made bodies of water. There was a white horse basking in the sunshine. It was like a little hidden paradise.

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We finished walking the lagoa (approx 6.5km / 4.5 miles) and then headed off to grab lunch.


We went to a beautiful little place right next to the Poca de Beija pools. We walked into a dark and empty dining room and loudly sat down, trying to grab someone’s attention. I went to the ladies’ room and when I came back no one had come out yet. We could hear them in the kitchen, so we continued to chat loudly and make noise. One woman poked her head out of the kitchen; “Ola!” I said to the door as she slid back into the kitchen. Another women poked her head out and went right back in. Finally, a little old man came out and told us it would be a few minutes. Oh.

He took his time coming over to us and the other couple (Canadian!) that had joined us in the dining hall. He spoke English and Portuguese and was from the same lomba as Lucy, Leila, and Nedia (do Alcaide). He began taking our orders (finally!) and then realized he didn’t have a notepad. We waited again. Lucy leaned to me and said he used to be a smart guy, but then he had a stroke. A little while later he admitted to having some trouble getting around, and said he had not one, but four strokes. All things considered, the guy looked pretty friggan good to me.

I had the BEST omelet I’d had yet with chorizo and vegetables. Leila still wasn’t feeling too hot, so she didn’t finish her bifana steak or salad. Since we are friends now, I put her plate on top of mine and finished eating her lunch. By the time we got home I thought I was not going to make it to class—I had not done had so much physical activity or had so much excitement since we’d arrived. Neither John nor Romeo were home, so I had some #snacksonsnacksonsnacks and face-planted on the bed for an hour or so. I had been planning on going to the fruit market, but I just couldn’t.

John and Romeo came home, John got ready for practice and I got ready for class. I managed to gather enough energy to actually instruct my ladies, but barely. Being around them and all their energy perked me up, which was good because Lola, Leila, and I had plans to go to dinner.


There is a little restaurant by the gymnasium. I had no idea they were even open during the off-season (i.e. not summer) because it is on the second floor. It turns out to be a really nice restaurant that is, supposedly, full at lunch time. At dinner on a Wednesday night there was only one other party.


John and Ken were in the gym playing futsol. We ordered lulas for dinner which Lola tried to tell me about the other day; “They have really good guacamole there. Wait, no, not guacamole… what is it..” We threw around lots of words until I finally decoded what she and Leila were talking about: Calamari. Not fried, but deliciously grilled.


We all ordered the same plate. We also ordered a sausage for a starter, stuffed with bread and meat, which was yummy. They had a nice little salad bar, too.

It was so nice to have a dinner out with girlfriend’s I’d made. We are leaving soon which is sad, but these girls will continue to be part of my life, I am pretty sure. We talked and talked and talked and got dessert. I had ice cream, which was a mega-cheat, and delicious, but not as good as Lina’s homemade cinnamon cookie ice cream. I went home where I found Ken just leaving. John and I climbed straight into bed. Boa noite.

Day One Hundred Sixty (dia cento sessenta)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

13 Março 2014

John was still sick and sleeping. And it was raining. I slept until I couldn’t hear the rain anymore, then got up and ready for my run. Five “easy, comfortable” miles. As I was getting dressed I realized that my ears had misled me; it was, in fact, still raining. I took Romeo for a walk-turned-run and although it was drizzling, it was pretty warm. Warm enough to drop my long-sleeve when I dropped Romeo and finish my run in a tank. The rain picked up some as I went, and by the time I got back it was raining pretty heavily.

John was sort of awake when I got back and I asked him if he wanted to go to Pic Nic, but he didn’t. I went by myself and then went to the farmacia to get him some nasal spray—the poor guy couldn’t breathe out of his nose. Since I was already out, and I was already soaking wet, I stopped at Antonio’s to get the few things I was going to go to Casa Cheia and the fruit market for, but Antonio’s is closer. I grabbed some veggies and some eggs and headed home to give John the spray.

When I finally got to the gym it was pretty much empty, which is always lovely. It was Back Day but I can’t do pull-ups alone (well, not very many) and I was pretty sure (CROSSING MY FINGERS) that we were going to skip the gym on Friday to go to Ribeira Grande and get my tattoo. I have had a hard time scheduling an appointment, mostly because we are relying on Vitor to drive us and the tattoo artist doesn’t like responding to my messages. Or Vitor’s. Anyway, I did two mini circuits instead of Back Day:

  • weighted dips, single arm bent row, and mountain climbers
  • front squat to OH press, split squats, and decline sit ups

I went home, showered, made the most delicious lentil-white-bean veggie burgers (with homemade salsa, since we ate all of the kind we bought), and met Leila at Pic Nic. We were going to visit Lola at work.


Lola was working at a store in Furnas selling the baked goods she usually makes in Povoacao. It was still raining.

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The store (basically a tourist shop) is located in the caldeiras park in Furnas. The caldeiras are the stinky geysers that make Furnas famous and allow the natural hot springs to be hot. They smell like burning ass-hole, but they are pretty and in the rain seem much more exotic. In the parking lot I saw the street art that John saw on his first trip back in June 2013 and that we saw a copycat of in Barcelona.


We sat with Lola for a while, just chit chatting, and then Lola mentioned she hadn’t eaten anything all day and she was starving. I said we would go get her bolos levedos and I would bring the rest back to John. Leila and I took off again, got bolos, and returned. One of the first things I’m going to do when I get home is attempt to make gluten-free bolos. Because it is crack.

We sat around for a while in the rain and just before 5:00pm Leila and I drove back to Povoacao. We passed a group of cloaked men, maybe 30 or 35 of them, walking from Povoacao toward Furnas. I asked Leila and Lucy about them the other day, because John and Ken said a group of these men entered the complex during their practice and used the locker rooms to shower. Apparently, they are called Romeiros and they are religious groups who walk the entire island during lent. They sing hymns and people feed them and let them stay in their homes during their 7-day walk. The group leaving Povoacao leaves this Saturday. There are groups of Romeiros from every vila on Sao Miguel.

John had been sleeping when I left in the afternoon and he was barely awake when I got home. He said he felt really sick and I begged him not to go to practice if it was still raining (I may have said something along the lines of “I am putting my foot down!”). It stopped raining, I went off to teach at ALKE, and John went off to practice.


Since I ate a little bolos (cheat ! But it is just too yummy) I made the workout something I would want to do (burpees, lateral handwalks… fun stuff!) and did it with the ladies. The Women’s Day Run in Ribeira Grande that was postponed last week has been rescheduled for Saturday, so all the ladies discussed going. Alexandra told me there was going to be another storm. Great.

After class I headed back home where I ate sauce on eggplant, made chickpea cookies, and Skyped with my BFFL Anna. She said it had snowed again in Boston. I am hoping the weather changes its tune before we get back. John came home and told me we couldn’t go get my tattoo the next day, but we would definitely go on Monday (called it).

151, 152, 153… Post-Carnaval & Paleo Brownies

Day One Hundred Fifty One (dia um centena de cinquenta e uma)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

4 Março 2014

The Morning After

I got up around 10:00am to take Romeo out and my feet were killing me! I had worn sensible shoes to Carnaval (because I’m no longer in my early-twenties) but I think they hurt from standing up all night. There were people sleeping all over the vila; on the grass, near the pier, in front on the bank, in their cars with the doors wide open. I saw a kid throwing up outside Antonio’s while his friends stood around him in a semi-circle, watching. I saw men walking around in skirts, obviously still wearing some part of a costume from the night before. I saw a man peeing as his wife/girlfriend picked up their make-shift camp site. I took note that Pic Nic was open. Romeo pooped and we went home.

I made pancakes for lunch. John got up. We went to Pic Nic where there were still people in costume. I roasted what I thought was a pumpkin (turns out, it was!). I made gluten-free vegan refined sugar free pumpkin bread using My Whole Food Life’s Gluten Free Butternut Squash Bread recipe. Which turned out awesome–I am either getting better at gluten-free baking, or more tolerant of sugar-free eating. I even used Chia seed eggs, so it was vegan, too.


I Skyped with Cathy about her baby shower, which I will be home for. I made carne asada for dinner. I took Romeo out for a stroll, watched 30 minutes of Winter’s Tale, and fell asleep.

Day One Hundred Fifty Two (dia um centena de cinquenta e dois)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

5 Março 2014

I had 7 miles to run. I woke up and took Romeo out for the first mile. My calves felt like they were going to explode. Around mile 3 my left foot fell asleep—I’m guessing from the lack of circulation. I managed to get through all 7, finally feeling normal around mile 6. I was suddenly glad for the random extra rest day Nike+ was giving me the next day.

I got home and John and I got ready for the gym. We met Ken and I was glad things were back to normal—Tori is a nice girl, but I was so used to everything being me-john-and-ken. We did Shoulder/Arm Day and I was sure I wasn’t going to be able to lift my arms the next day.

  • Weighted dips to BB bicep curls
  • Lateral raises to upright rows
  • Tricep extensions to planks (boys did cable curls.. no thanks)

Off to Pic Nic and then a quick pit-stop at Antonio’s to get ham & cheese because I forgot to get them at Fatima’s the day before. The weather was beautiful (again) and the sun was stronger than it had been. After I ate and showered I took my laptop back to Pic Nic to sit in the sun. John and Romeo came down and met me for a drink before they walked on and I hit the fruit market.

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Then it was back home again where I got stuffed peppers ready for dinner. John had double practices so he left before me and got home way after me. I headed off to ALKE where I had a small post-Carnaval class.


I went home to cook my gluten-free, dairy-free, stuffed peppers (ground beef, onion, garlic, cauliflower “rice”):


Skype with my cousin, Facetime with this cherub:

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and make Paleo brownies (almost… I topped with PB frosting.. !) which I didn’t take a picture of, but they looked pretty much the same as the website. I made my own PB frosting which was just homemade PB and soy milk. Next time I would add honey. The next day, the frosting had soaked into the brownies, which made them even more delicious.

I finally Skyped with my parents and John got home around 10:45pm.

Day One Hundred Fifty Three (um centena de cinquenta e tres)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

6 Março 2014

I had a rest day from Nike+ (thank you, running gods) so I headed to the gym about an hour before the boys to stretch, foam roll, and ride the bike (while reading A Wrinkle in Time and getting Mira Mar gossip from a girl who works in their office). John showed up, and then Ken, and we started Back Day. I was still dying from Shoulder/Arm Day. Pull ups, BB bent row, Rev fly, and Lat pull down.

While the weather was certainly still nice, it wasn’t nearly as warm as it was the day before. We sat inside at Pic Nic and then went home where John got straight into bed which is where he stayed for the next 24 hours (aside from attempting to go to practice that night…and coming straight home). At the gym, he said he felt like he was getting a cold, then completely crashed when we got home. Headache, belly ache… for those of you who follow his health history I think he is starting to flare-up. Hopefully all the rest will keep him from getting worse. #crossingfingersandtoes

I tried to feed him every five minutes, but he wasn’t hungry. I made pancakes for lunch, because I am mildly obsessed now that I’ve mastered gluten-free varieties. I decided that if almond flour is just ground up almonds, then maybe for coconut flour I could just use ground up unsweetened shredded coconut. I made my Corn Almond Pancakes (GF) with coconut “flour” instead of corn flour and topped them with homemade PB and bananas. They actually got pretty fluffy and were delicious, but I Wikipedia’d coconut flour and that isn’t it.


I tried to get John to eat again before practice (actually, I tried to get him to skip practice, which he refused to do), and he finally submitted to eating some bolos levedos. I wasn’t feeling sick, but was still tired from Carnaval (is that possible? It’s been more than two days. I’m not feeling 22). I went down to Pic Nic to get a cafe so I could stay awake during my class.

I went off to teach and John got ready to go to practice. Leila, Lola, Lina and I are planning on going to Ribeira Grande on Saturday for International Women’s Day. The Camara is hosting a run, walk, and family fun event. Nowhere on their Facebook page does it say how long the run is, but it begins at 10:30am and they award prizes at 11:30am. I know there are no runners in Povoacao, so I’m hoping the competition isn’t too great. I keep telling John I’m going to win (it’s possible!!). Alexandra told me there is supposed to be some big storm, but I’m not worried. I have to run 12 miles on Saturday whether it rains or not.


I went home and ate my homemade sauce with chicken (delicious sub) over zucchini pasta. I was halfway through eating when the doorbell rang. I called out, “Who is it?” because even though I was hoping it was John, he should’ve been up at the complex. Sure enough it was he, looking worse than before and claiming he couldn’t move his body. We got cleaned up for bed, I had two (TWO!) of my Paleo brownies (sooooo good) and we both were in bed before 9:00pm.

Kitchen Sink Muffins… or loaf

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45-55 minutes

Yields: 6 Muffins or 9 Squares

Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan option, refined sugar free

My best friend’s mom used to make the craziest muffins when we were teenagers. They were always loaded with fruits and vegetables (mainly vegetables) and never contained sugar.

I made Big Al’s banana bread for John the other day, so I set out to making an alternative for myself. I wasn’t thinking about Cynthia’s muffins when I started, but then the memory hit me so hard. We still have a few (several?) weeks left living on Sao Miguel before we head back to the states, and while I will miss it here, I am glad to be going home to things like my friends who have mom’s who used to make crazy muffins.

Here is what I made the other day, but you could easily swap ingredients depending on your tastes/what you have in your kitchen:

  • 1 cup zucchini, grated AND squeezed dry
  • 1 carrot, grated AND squeezed dry
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 2 eggs (or egg replacements like chia eggs or flax eggs–I used one real egg and one chia egg and one flax egg)
  • 1 T honey or maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 400F.

I started by mixing 1 T of chia seeds and 1 T of flax seeds with 6 T water and putting in the fridge to use later. I then began mashing up my banana in a bowl.  I made the mistake of grating the zucchini right into the same bowl. I had some leftover zucchini middles from making zucchini pasta, so I didn’t use the peel, but you definitely could and it would add flavor, texture, and color. This made my batter very wet, so make sure you grate the zucchini (and the carrot!) onto a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb some of the liquid.

Once I had grated the zucchini and the carrot I folded it into my banana. I added one egg and the chia egg and flax egg I had made first. Then I added 1 T honey. Once I had mixed all my wet ingredients, I began adding the almond flour. At first I only used 1/2 cup, but it soon became clear I would need more. This is probably because I had so much excess water due to the zucchini and carrot mishap. I would start by adding 1/2 a cup and then adding more as needed.

Place in greased muffin tins (should make six decent sized muffins), loaf pan, or 8×8 Pyrex dish and bake for 45-55 minutes. The batter will not rise, but will become golden brown and firm. I used an 8×8 pan and cut 9 squares.

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Day 150.. CARNAVAL!

Day One Hundred Fifty (dia um centena de cinquenta)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

3 Março 2014


I woke up early so I could run 8 miles before the gym—this training run was supposed to happen on Tuesday, but since we were going to Carnaval that night (which was supposed to be an all-night rager) I figured I wouldn’t want to run even one mile the next day. After I finished, I hopped in our car (ooooh, a car!) and went shopping at Fatima’s. John and I met just Ken at the gym—Tori is all set with our gym antics, and who could blame her.

Since it was Monday, the boys did Chest Day. I don’t care as much about Chest Day, and knowing that I was not doing jack the next day, I did Leg Day. We met Tori at Pic Nic for cafes.

I finished mine quickly and then ran home to shower and get ready; we were going into the city since we had a car and it was Tori’s last full day on Sao Miguel. John came home after me and got ready, too. We picked Kori up just after 2:00pm and headed for Ponta Delgada.

I drove and while it was pretty overcast in Povoacao, it cleared up as we drove. I passed someone heading into Furnas and John thought we were all going to die. I lived to tell the tale.


We parked at Portas do Mar where we had lunch. Tori and I had omelets that were made with cooked potato inside (something I had never experienced state-side or abroad) and formed into long, rectangular blocks. They were delicious. John and Ken got burgers and cachorros which are hot dogs covered in mayo, ketchup, and potato sticks on a bun. This is where the cruise ships dock, so all the menus have English translations:

IMG_2051A glass of orgasm, you say?

We walked back to the car and headed for the mall, Parque Atlantico. John drove. After looping the mall once, we went to Continente where I loaded up on healthy snacks (chia seeds, flax seeds, dates, almonds, almond flour…ok, and some chocolates), Tori got chocolates to take back to the states (Kinder Bueno… what else!), while John and Ken stocked up on liquor for the evening activities: Johnny Walker Red Label and ginger ale.

After making our way back to the car, Ken directed us to Pao de Rei, the yummiest bakery. John got a piramides which is literally a pyramid of what tastes like chocolate marzipan covered in chocolate. I don’t know how I have not had this before—it was the most amazing pastry. Ever.

We piled back into the car to drive home—John at the wheel. The sun was just beginning to go down, so the ride was gorgeous.

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We drove home via the south so we could see the Lagoa de Furnas. We pulled over and looked at all the cooking holes and geysers.

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We stopped again at the teeny foot pool on the side of the road, Poca de Tia Silvina, and put our feet in for a few minutes. When we finally got back to Povoacao it was 8:00pm and completely dark. I was not going to nap anyway, but now there wasn’t much time. We had said we would be at Toronto Night’s around 10:30pm to pregame. While John laid down briefly when we got home, I made peanut butter and protein bars. If I sat down then, I would never make it to 7:00am.


Ken and Tori came over and I was just changing out of my sweatpants. I slid the flapper dress Lina had loaned to me over my head and it clung to me like saran wrap. I hadn’t tried it on before—I just assumed it would fit. It was so tight and so short that if I took more than a few steps I was in danger of breaking the law for indecent exposure. I put a little more make-up and my headpiece on and called it a day. Tori was wearing the same dress that Carla had also loaned to me. John and Ken only used the hats from Joe and Ernesto’s costumes and then dressed to the nines.


We played one round of Kings while drinking (nursing in my case!) whiskey gingers. We got to Toronto around 11:00pm, where there was a full-on dance party already happening. We took several shots and then walked down to the gymnasium before midnight. Yes–the same gymnasium where the boys play futsol.


The party hadn’t really started there yet; the bands were set-up, but the lights were on and a DJ was playing music quietly. We got settled at our table and said hello to people who we recognized. People were dressed up as everything from Dracula (Rui) to Minions from Despicable Me (Candida and Alexandre). There were zombies, and Japanese anime costumes, lots of people in medieval garb, togas, hippies, princesses, and clowns. While there were a few (very few) people not dressed up at all, most people went all-out with their costumes.

IMG_2111Ken, John, me, Lina, Ernesto, and Marco being a creep in the background.

IMG_2110John, Marco and I took our now-traditional “seflie”.

Tori and I decided to hit the bathrooms before the line got out of control. Lina’s dad’s hardware store is right across the street from the gym, so she said we could go there, too. It was still early in the night—the bands still hadn’t started—so we went for it. We only had to wait about 20 minutes before we went xixi and headed back to the party. Because we were drinking, Lina and I almost cried talking about not being near each other anymore when John, Romeo, and I go back to the states. It is not happening soon enough for tears to be anything but hysterical.

 IMG_2121Me, Leila as Rosie The Rivoter, and Lina: CaveWoman.

Once they turned off the lights and the bands started it was mayhem. There were 1,800 people inside the gymnasium and all of them were drunk (except for the children, many people brought their kids). Other than beer, which was for sale, it was BYOB and people brought a lot. It was also BYOS; bring your own snacks. Because it was a marathon, not a sprint, I tried to pound the 5 liter water we brought more than alcohol. I also stuffed my face with all the delicious treats everyone had brought, mostly malasadas which are a traditional carnaval snack. Because I ate (a lot) and drank water, I was still sober when we left at 4:30am.


I had missed a hardware-store-bathroom-trip so I decided to hit the ladies’ room inside the gym alone. Big mistake: I waited in line for an hour and witnessed girls take their shoes off. After I had waited approximately 59 minutes I heard my name being screamed. “LIZA! LIZA!” And then I saw Rosie the Rivoter and Lina: CaveWoman.

Leila and Lina had come to my rescue. Apparently I had been gone for so long, they actually sent out a search crew. At that point—after having waited my turn for so long—I used the confetti-filled but toilet-paper-lacking stall and left with the girls.

We danced, drank, and ate until everyone else was drunk and I was so full my belly hurt. There was a cart outside selling the same cachorros that John and Ken had eaten for lunch. I wanted one so badly, I kept telling everyone I needed to stop snacking so I could fit one in my belly before we left. I took one more bathroom trip with Leila and Luisa, but this time we went across the street to the hardware store. There was no light but Leila had her iPhone. Luisa kept insisting that she was not drunk, but her behavior proved otherwise.

When I got back a little after 4:00am John decided he was ready to go. We gathered our things, said our goodbyes, and headed outside. I had one more line to wait in: I wanted a cachorro. Tori said she absolutely couldn’t eat another bite, so I got three for me, John, and Ken.


We walked home and John said he could’ve eaten another hot dog. I suggested we go back, the night was young!! Since I was sober, I was also totally wired. When we got back I showered (I couldn’t stop thinking about the bare feet in the bathroom… and they weren’t even mine!) and caught up on Words with Friends before falling asleep just before 6:00am.

Days 147, 148, & 149… Bifanas, caramel cake, and the end of Mira Mar’s regular season.

Day One Hundred Forty Seven (dia um centena de quarenta e sete)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

28 Fevereiro 2014

Friday marked the end of another week in Portugal, and it brought with it the blazing sun. It was so hot! I took Romeo for a walk and quickly realized that even in my tank-and-shorts I was going to be really warm. Uncomfortably warm. I sweat my tush off for 5 miles, changed, and then John and I were off to the gym to meet Kori (Ken&Tori = Kori). Friday: Circuit Day. And for those of you who care; we did 20 reps, 4 rounds:

  • SB knee tuck to push up
  • DB push press
  • Thrust frogs
  • Box jumps
  • Plate swings

Tori hung back with me and I showed her what all of that meant. After John and I had rattled off the exercises, reps and rounds, she looked at me and said “Ok, that is like gibberish to me,”. I know, Tori. It’s gibberish to half the people who read my blog.

After we finished our four rounds, we walked to Pic Nic where there were no seats available, inside or outside. We hovered awkwardly for a few minutes until a table outside opened up. We settled in and enjoyed our cafe grandes (I am officially OFF the galaoes!)

John and I headed home where I finished off my pink popcorn and ate some leftover hummus. John went to meet Mira Mar’s president so he could (finally) get paid. Then he met Ken and they walked down to rent a car in the pet shop. The juniors had a game in Nordeste on Saturday, we wanted to take Tori to the natural hot pools in Furnas, and Ken had to drive Tori to the airport on Tuesday. We are going to have wheels for four whole days. We are as excited as kids at Christmas.

I walked down to Antonio’s and the fruit market. I bought what I thought was a big piece of cantaloupe at Antonio’s. Read on for what it really is when I try to eat it on Sunday.

By the time I got home it was almost 6:00pm. I quickly got my things together and headed off to teach at ALKE.


When I got to the gym I asked Ernesto if we were going to Ribeira Quente for dinner; we have been trying to plan a night to go back for bifanas and wings (and McDonald-like french fries) since we went with Bobby in October. The boys had practice that night, so Ernesto just had to see if they would serve us at 11:00pm. They said they would, so Ernesto would take us for dinner. I worked out with the ladies in preparation for bifanas and chicken wings. On top of all that deliciousness I was going to eat in Ribeira Quente, Leila had stopped in Furnas and bought me FOUR slices of the torta de caramelo she knows I love:


After class I went home to eat a gigantic tray of veggies (as if I could wait to eat until 11:00pm!!), took Romeo for a walk to grab Tori, and then Ernesto scooped us up and took us to Mira Mar’s practice.

IMG_2012 IMG_2013 IMG_2014

Even though Ernesto goes to watch their practices most nights, I have not been once since we arrived on Sao Miguel. We stood on the field and watched as they finished up one drill and then scrimmaged for the rest of the practice. We waited for the boys to shower, I saw someone’s bare ass, and we piled back into Ernie’s car for the trip to Ribeira Quente.

We drove through Furnas towards Ribeira Quente and the restaurant where you sit outside in a tent, where Lina, Luisa, and Emanuel were already sitting at a long pic-nic table. Wine was passed around and stories were told before a regular at the gym brought over chicken wings, bifanas, and french fries. We laughed and ate and drank until we couldn’t anymore. Ernesto drove us home.

ribque ribque2


Day One Hundred Forty Eight (dim um centena de quarenta e oito)

Saturday (Sabado)

1 Março 2014

I woke up, got ready, and headed out for my long run. It has been sunny every single day since Sunday, and this day was no different. I took Romeo for the first loop, we saw John and Ken driving the rental car, I dropped Romeo off, and I headed for the lombas to finish 12 miles. I didn’t make quite as good time as I had the week before, but I felt great and was only a few seconds/mile slower. When I got back I buzzed around making my post-run pancakes, meatballs for dinner, and showering to look like a (semi-)normal human being.

IMG_2017They had strawberries at the fruit market so I pureed some with honey to put on top of my pancakes.

We were driving to the juniors’ game in Nordeste, but following Pedro in his van because we weren’t sure how to get to the field. Like most other destinations on this island, there is only road to Nordeste, so we could make it that far. Turns out there is only one turn once you get into Nordeste to find the field. We arrived early and Tori and I secured posts in the sunshine.


It was another beautiful day, which marked the 7th of its kind in a row. We stood on the field until the policia asked us to move to the other side of the cement wall. We stood the whole game which was much nicer than sitting on the dilapidated seating available. Two of John’s starting players were still on red card suspensions, at least one kid was sick, and one kid was failing so badly in school he had to stay home and study. The youngest senior player offered to play with the juniors, but even with Marco playing, this still left John and Ken with one available sub. They played very well, dominated possession of the ball, and had several opportunities to score. Nordeste scored twice in the first half on two of their only opportunities. Mira Mar finished the first half 2-0.


They came back stronger in the second half and Saco (my darling little Saco who took his shirt off when he scored the winning goal against Maritimo, and who I decided I adore so much because he reminds me of John) scored twice in the second half. Once on a penalty kick, and once on a solo run. After the second goal he took his shirt off. But unlike last time, he didn’t run and slide toward the fans, he ran straight into John’s arms for a bear hug. They held Nordeste off from scoring any more and finished the game 2-2.

While Tori and I were waiting in the car for John and Ken to be ready to leave, John went off to the side of the parking lot to pee. While he was relieving himself, he found a dead bird which he put on the windshield using some branches.


Tori and I laughed hysterically and I accidentally hit the wiper wand on the steering wheel. Rather than knock the bird off the car, I lodged it inside the well at the bottom of the windshield. Pedro quickly grabbed it and tossed it back into the woods.

Ken got in the car and John drove home. The drive to and from Nordeste is beautiful—it is straight north from Povoacao and it has the highest elevation on the island. Last time I drove up with Filipe and Serenela, the fog was so thick I didn’t get to enjoy it thoroughly. This time, the sky was clear and the drive was delightful.


We dropped Tori and Ken off to grab their bathing suits and went home where I finished making meatballs for dinner. I made a huge dish of lentils, tofu flakes, onion, zucchini, and cauliflower “rice”. I indulged for dessert when Tori and I split a leftover piece of Luisa’s red velvet cake from Carla’s shower. John and Ken ate the caramel cake that Leila gave to me. #cakesoncakesoncakes

Leila came over and we piled back into the car and Ken drove us to Furnas. We went to Poca de Beija where there was not one empty spot in the parking lot. The few other times I’ve gone there have been maybe two or three cars total in the lot. Apparently Saturday night is a busy time.

While there were many people in each pool, we found one with plenty of space. After a while we moved into the teeny-tiny pools where you can sit. Tori loved them and I got to talk to Leila more about her internship at the hospital. Leila and I are becoming very good friends and I am going to miss her. #cuethetears We’re not even gone yet and all I want to do is cry.

I thought Gloria Moniz and her bolos levedos were going to be closed when we left the pools after 9:30pm, but Leila suggested we drive by anyway. Between Leila and I, we figured out how to get there quicker than any other time I’ve tried to. Furnas is kind of like Povoacao; there are only three real roads, connected by myriad of crossroads, but most of them are one-ways. Sure enough, Gloria Moniz was open.

We got five bolos levedos and John, Ken, and Tori got caramel cake (yes, for the second time). I had left my pink camelbak water bottle at home, which 99% of the time is attached to my right hand. So I was almost as excited for the garrafa de agua as I was for the bolos. We piled back into the car and drove home, full and happy.


Day One Hundred Forty Nine (dia um centena de quarenta e novo)

Sunday (Domingo)

2 Março 2014

Sunday is supposed to be a Nike+ rest day, but since we are celebrating Carnaval Monday night—all night—I figured I would move my rest day. So when I got up, I ran five miles. Romeo got to come for the first mile. When I got back John was still sleeping. They were having a team lunch at Restaurante Jardim at 11:00am. I hopped into the shower and heard him get up. I walked up to Fatima’s to get detergent and couve so I could do laundry and make soup, respectively. After their team lunch, I drove John and Ken up to the complex for their 3:00pm game. On the way up, we saw Zeze (who flew like a bird in futsol) and I stopped to pick him up. I had just enough time to drive home, finish my soup, change the laundry, and then I was off to pick Tori up. What I thought on Friday was cantaloupe turned out to be pumpkin. I think. I will find out when I roast it on Tuesday.

Mufasa was at the game:


The boys were playing Micaelense in the last regular season game. If they won, Mira Mar would end in 4th place, securing a spot in the top half of the first round of post-season games. If they lost, they would finish the season in 5th place and secure a spot in the loser’s cup.


Micaelense plays hard, and unlike other Sao Miguel teams who dive to get cards, these guys prefer taking opponents out as often and as hard as possible. Luckily for Mira Mar, this meant being awarded several free kicks. However, Micaelense still scored first.

In the first half, their captain took Berto out inside the box (by grabbing his face and throwing him down onto the pitch). Berto was awarded a penalty kick while their captain argued the call (really?). Berto never misses a PK, so I thought we were golden. This would tie up the game. Did I say he never misses? Because he missed.

Mira Mar never did score, John got taken out shortly into the second half (and was so frustrated he left the field, showered, and joined us in the stands—something he never does and never would let a junior player do). They lost 1-0. Loser’s cup here we come.

While we waited for Ken to shower, I ran to the bathroom. When I got back outside, John was standing with Ernesto discussing the game. He asked me if we were waiting for Tori. I affirmed, “Yes. And Ken,”. “Ken?” he replied, confused, “I don’t think we can all fit in Ernesto’s car.” Ernesto’s car? “John. I have a car!” “Oh my god. I forgot,” he said as he grabbed his backpack out of Ernie’s trunk. We are so used to being dependent on the kindness of others. Ernie, Kevin, and Julia left and John, Tori, and I walked over to our rental. Ken met us and we drove to Pic Nic for post-game beers. And green tea. It was still beautiful out.


The boys and Tori had their beers and ordered Pic Nic burgers but I ran home to make dinner. I was going to Lola’s mom’s house for fresh bread so I wanted to pound some veggies first. Most of the team was outside of Cesar’s so while I cooked some eggplant I took Romeo for a walk. Along with most of the team, Serenela was at Cesar’s with Wendy and Glebiana was there with Mufasa. We let the puppies play for a few minutes before I went home to meet Lola.

I followed Lola up lomba do Botao in my rental so I could drive myself home after. We got to her mom’s house and she showed me the wood-burning stove outside where the bread was cooking. You couldn’t see anything in the dark, but you could tell that from Lola’s back porch she has an unobstructed view of the ocean.

Lola’s mom doesn’t speak English, and neither does her mother-in-law, but there were a lot of people I knew there. Alexandra from my class and her husband Helio, (Lola’s brother) who plays futsol with John and Ernie, were there. Marco’s brother Dino and his wife Liliana, who comes to my class, arrived shortly after. And then Lola’s cousin Telma and her boyfriend showed up, too. I shoved my face full of bread, bean & chorizo casserole, pudding, and malasadas. The bread was incredible. All the food was incredible. I drove myself home around 10:30pm where I found John eating a bolos levedos fried PB&J sandwich.