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.

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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

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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:

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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.

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ROMEO!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Which meant I could get a picture of everyone.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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