Days 140, 141, 142… “There’s a slug in my salad” and more tales from the Azores.

Day One Hundred Forty (dia um centena de quarente)

Friday

21 Fevereiro 2014

I had 5 miles to do before we hit the gym. I took Romeo on the first mile and then trudged along alone—either I was still feeling Leg Day or I am just fatigued from my sniffles (which were pretty much gone).

Friday: circuit day. We each chose two exercises to perform at 50 reps for a 300 workout. John chose curl-squat-press and SB leg curls, Ken chose downward cable rotations (50 each side!!) and hanging rotational knee tucks (25 each side). I chose alternating V-ups (25 each) and laying leg raises. Although we finished quickly, it was definitely difficult. Afterwards we headed off to Pic Nic to recuperate.

I am on this huge sauteed veggies and egg kick, so when we got home I made myself an enormous scramble and then showered.

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I then tried (once again) to make corn flour tortillas (this would be my third attempt. Correction: third failed attempt.) I moved on to eat the black bean hummus I had made the night before—super delicious. While the corn flour tortillas ended up more like polenta, covered in my homemade PB and an Azorean banana, it still managed to satisfy my bread craving.

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Since we stopped eating dinner at 11:00 at night, we got out of eating together at 5:30pm as well. It’s too early for me—when I get back from teaching Estou cheia de fome!! (straight translation: I am full of the hunger). John usually doesn’t even have a snack before practice, then gets home famished and eats a few PB&Js or a giant bowl of cereal. I, alternatively, have been coming home and making feel-good clean eats after class, but just for myself. Determined to form a better pattern, Friday I made a big bag of chicken drumsticks, with rice and veggies for him to eat before practice. I also walked down to the fruit market where I found eggplant. This is a giant score.

After I walked to the fruit market and finished making John’s dinner, I prepped for myself: rehydrated tofu flakes, cauliflower “rice”, and a diced onion. I was going to make myself some “fried” “rice” after class.

John headed off to practice and I went over to ALKE. Inspired by our morning workout, I put them through a 300 routine as well. Ten exercises, 30 reps of each, with a 1:00 plank (front, side, reverse, hands, elbows… etc) in between each set. Modifications included wall sit and jumping rope. Lola told me she had gotten avocados at the fruit market. Avocados? My eggplant were no longer seeming like a giant score. Except for some decidedly un-ripe guacamole Lina made for us when we first got here, I have not had an avocado in almost 5 months. She told me she had bought 3, and that there were at least 4 more. I planned to check on Saturday.

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I love these ladies. I am going to miss each and every one of them.

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I got home and whipped up my tofu and cauliflower “rice”. Which was delicious, but not enough food. I ended up satueing a bunch of veggies and (another!) egg to eat, too. I was going to clean the apartment, which I usually do on Saturdays, but I was exhausted. I was in bed with the light off when John got home from practice. #thisisfridaynight

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

Saturday (Sabado)

22 Fevereiro 2014

I got up around 8:30am to prepare for my long run. I had just gotten dressed and boiled water for my green tea when Ken texted John to say he was at Pic Nic. Ken’s friend, Tori, had arrived from Boston at 7:00am and Ken had gone to pick her up. After determining that nothing in the city was open and the weather was not that nice, they had come right back to Povoacao. John and I got ready to go (which involved me eating a spoonful of homemade peanut butter and grabbing a banana). We had to take Romeo for a walk first anyway, so we grabbed our empty water jugs and filled them up in the spring water spigot near Ken’s apartment while we did so. After we dropped Romeo back off we went to meet Ken and Tori.

Tori lives in New York but grew up in Connecticut and went to RISD. She had not slept at all when we met her, so after a quick cafe (and, in my case, shoving a banana gracefully down my throat) they took off so she could get settled. I had told Ken about the avocados, so they stopped in at the fruit market but told me later they had no more avocados. I took off for my 12 miles in the lombas and John and Ken went to their respective homes briefly, because some English Premier League game was on at 11:45am.

I was a little nervous about my run since I’d been dragging all week. I also got used to putting my rest day before my long run day as a preparation, rather than after. It wasn’t raining out, but the wind was really intense. This ended up working completely in my favor as the wind was blowing in from the water, and was thus hitting my back whenever I ran uphill. I had my fastest lomba run (and probably solo-long-run) to date.

When I got back I ate one of my homemade protein bars and took a warm shower (it had started to sprinkle at the very end of my run). Once I was clean, I went to cleaning the apartment and then making myself pancakes. #willrunforpancakes

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I was trying to get ready quickly so I could get to Pic Nic for the Arsenal game at 2:00pm. Not because I give two hoots about Arsenal, but so Tori wouldn’t have to sit through a second soccer game with just John and Ken. I was sort-of-almost about to get dressed when John came home and announced that Pic Nic couldn’t play the Arsenal game because they don’t get the right channel. He also said that Tori was still napping, so then I didn’t feel quite as bad for not having left the apartment.

He had come home with a box of pastries. It was Rui’s birthday the day before (we totally missed it). We had seen Rui at Pic Nic that morning and he had reminded us. We said happy birthday to him, and also that we were sorry. “Parabens! Desculpa!” John bought him a cafe.

When John went back to Pic Nic an hour or so later, Rui presented him with a box of pastries and, just as quickly, turned around and left Pic Nic. I went to making some more chocolate-sweet-potato-”cookies” because I didn’t want to eat those treats. #eatcleantrainmean

Since the Arsenal game wasn’t on at Pic Nic and it had started to absolutely down pour after John’s return, we didn’t leave the house for the rest of the day.

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We were planning to have Toronto Night’s pizza for dinner, but when we walked Romeo over a little before 6:00pm no one was there. No one was at Lina’s mom’s house either, so we decided to eat leftovers. I roasted up the eggplant I had gotten at the fruit market and put my leftover meat sauce on top to make little Italian treats. John heated up some of the drumsticks, and I made some more Tofu and “rice” with onions and zucchini. And a big fat salad.

When I was cutting up the lettuce for the big-fat-salad to put in my relatively new salad spinner I had spotted something brown on a lettuce leaf. At first I thought it was just a piece of soggy lettuce leaf, but upon closer inspection I saw what it really was: a slug. A SLUG. I began yelling frantically to John, who was in the bedroom: “JOHN. JOHN. JOHN. COME HERE. COMEHERERIGHTNOW.” He ran into the kitchen where I pointed with my carving knife (thanking god that I hadn’t chopped the damn thing in half!.

John watched quietly as I point down the knife and grabbed a paper towel to grab the slug with. Just as I went to reach for it, he “caw-caw”-ed loudly. I began screaming obscenities at him as he rolled onto the floor and then on to his back laughing. And crying. Once he finally got his act together, and I stopped screaming, he picked the slug up and threw it away. I finished washing the lettuce. #theshowmustgoon

That was pretty much the most exciting thing to happen to us on a Saturday night in a while. After we ate, we watched Disney’s “Up”, which I had never seen but John and Ken were quoting earlier in the week. As soon as it was finished I read one chapter of my David Sedaris book (laughing periodically), John walked Romeo, and we all went to bed.

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Day One Hundred Forty Two (dia um centena quarenta e dois)

Sunday (Domingo)

23 Fevereiro 2014

Since my Nike+ Coach has moved my long-runs to Saturday (and the gym isn’t open on Sundays) I am trying to embrace my rest days. I got up early enough to take Romeo for a stroll around the whole vila and do a tiny bit of DIY kitchen yoga (which is harder than it sounds because Romeo thinks that just because I’m on the floor, I want to play. And by “play” I mean have him scratch my head and run into me repeatedly). John had a juniors’ game at 11:00am and the seniors were playing at 3:00pm. I was just really glad they were both home games.

After he took off for the complex I finished getting ready and then walked up to Ken’s apartment to get picked up with Tori. She told me Ken had texted her saying Pedro would be by a little after 11:00am. So we waited. Around 11:45am I asked how she felt about walking—it really isn’t that far, the sun was out, and I wanted to see at least one half of the juniors game. We started our uphill journey.

About halfway up lomba do Cavaleiro Pedro pulled up in his rental van. He had gone to my apartment and to Ken’s apartment and hadn’t found us. He plays pick-up soccer on Sunday mornings, and that was where he had been. We piled in and made it up in time to see the second half.

I had no idea what the score was, and I didn’t recognize any Mira Mar fans as English-speakers. I saw our crazy fan lady, Pedro’s mom. Pedro got a red card last weekend after the juniors’ game was over. I didn’t even know you could get a card after a game was over. He will be out for the next three games. Two other players got red cards, so John’s line-up was a little different this day. We got to see Saco score for Mira Mar (he left his shirt on this time) and Santa Clara score at least three times. Rui came and sat with us and kept speaking in Portuguese. I said “Falas Ingles, Rui! I don’t speak Portuguese.” When suddenly the sweet teenage girl sitting behind me said, “He’s asking if you’re going to watch the second game”. English?!” I said, “You speak English?” and she nodded politely, “What’s the score?”

At that point, it was 5-1 (including Saco’s goal). The game finished 7-1. Santa Clara is an incredible club, well-known and well-funded, and with Mira Mar missing three of their starting players, 7-1 wasn’t a terrible loss.

I tried to give Tori the low-down on who was who in the Mira Mar cast of characters. We had two hours before the seniors’ played, so we told Pedro we were walking down for lunch and he said he would drive us back up for the second game. We, along with Rui, started our descent.

Rui, who had generously given John his birthday pastries the day before, extracted from his pocket two keychains: one was a whale that said “Villy” for me, and another similar for Tori. We thanked him and wondered where they came from.

About halfway down the lomba, Pedro pulled over with the van, already containing two juniors players (Jose, and I don’t know who else) along with Ken and John. We jumped in, too, and it was not until we were sitting inside Pic Nic that I realized Rui had not gotten in the van with us. About 15 minutes later he walked in and sat down at the table next to us.

We all got omelets, which is something Ken regularly orders there but John and I had never gotten. I got mine just like I get my pizza; loaded with ham and veggies, sin queijo. It was delicious. We all got cafes and we heard Pedro honk from outside. The boys left in a hurry for their own game and Tori and I took our time leaving. We still had an hour before Pedro was coming back for us.

We paid our tab and walked back to my place to get Romeo. Tori loved him immediately (seriously, who doesn’t?) and Romeo made sure to put a show on for her. He was howling and hopping, running on the bed and snuggling. I put his collar on and we walked to Ken’s apartment. Tori needed to get some euros, so she grabbed her card and we walked down to one of the ATMs. While it was still very sunny, the wind was picking up. We walked Romeo home and headed back to the jardim to meet Pedro.

We walked over to the box where we found Glebiana with Mufasa and Serenela with her dog, Wendy.

liza&mufasaThis is me and my friend, Mufasa

Because there is no sun on that side of the field, we were pretty cold for the next two hours. John and Ken both started (no more funny business) and Mira Mar began the game moving the ball around very well. Berto got taken out inside Aguia’s box and was awarded a penalty kick (the ref started out relatively fair), which he scored. They ended the first half Mira Mar: 1, Aguia: 0. In the second half, Mira Mar was awarded three free kicks, one right after the other. They were like Goldielocks shots: Ken took one and over shot it. Alex took one and kept it on the ground, which hit the wall of players. John took the third which was a beautiful shot, but the goalie frantically saved. Aguia hadn’t had any good opportunities yet, so when Marco headed a ball in a few minutes later, I thought the game was ours, even when Aguia scored with 15 minutes left. What I didn’t realize until Ernesto was driving us home was that the ref had (inaccurately) called Marco offsides.

John literally knocked knees with an Aguia player in the first half, but brushed it off. In the second half, one of their players elbowed him in the nose. The ref “didn’t see it”, but John was bleeding pretty profusely. I didn’t even see him go down, so I was surprised when the lovely lady who works at Euromotas (the store next to our apartment) leaned over to me and said, “John! John!” pointing to the far end of the field. I didn’t even know she knew who I was. I watched John get up, lean over, and bleed his way off the field. After several minutes of rinsing his nose with their spring water spigot, he returned to the game, only to be taken out with 10 minutes left. They still didn’t put Adam in, this marking at least the third game in a row he hasn’t played a minute of.

When the game was over (and my self-indulgent ass was cheering like we had won..mainly because I thought we had), Tori and I ran our cold bodies to Ernesto’s car. I had told her he always drives me home, like it is an unspoken agreement. Even though he tends to be the first person out of the complex, he has never left without me. I introduced Tori to him and to Kevin (who had scored the winning goal in his futsol match the night before) and then we got into the warm car. It was then that Ernesto told me the game had ended in a tie, and that Marco’s goal had been called offsides. Bummer.

He dropped us off and I immediately made my favorite Gorreana green tea for me and Tori to warm our souls. John and Ken got home shortly after and we all walked down to Pic Nic so that the boys could have their Sunday beers. I got more tea on account of still not being able to feel my toes.

After about an hour of sitting, I was starving. We discussed the food situation, and I knew I had plenty to feed everyone (especially knowing that we would go shopping the next day). I went home to start dinner alone. Tori offered to help, but I warned her that I get kind of Nazi-like in the kitchen. I would text them when it was almost ready.

I had pulled some meat out of the freezer before we had left for Pic Nic, but it was no where near defrosted. I plugged the sink, threw in the packaged meat, and began to fill it with warm water. Meanwhile, I chopped up my beloved eggplant, a zucchini, and red and green peppers to roast. All of a sudden I heard a “tic-tic-tic” sound that I could not identify. I looked toward the stove, and then to the sink. The water was still running and the sink was overflowing. There was water all over the counter and the floor, and a few minutes later I discovered it was also inside my drawers and cabinets. Lovely.

I mopped up what was on the floor and grabbed rags to wipe the rest. I continued cooking until I had roasted veggies, honey-soy-garlic pork, meat sauce, pasta, and salad. The boys and Tori came home and we feasted. Somehow, water was still dripping.

I found out Tori tries to eat clean, too. She doesn’t eat white flours or dairy. I told her about all my gluten-free, sugar-free baking experiments and failures and she tried one of my sweet potato cocoa cookies. She said it was good, but I know they are an acquired taste. We told the previous night’s story of the slug, and I couldn’t help but notice that after that, Tori didn’t eat any salad.

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Day Thirty… Ribeira Quente and Bifanas

Week Five! Sabado, cinco semana.

Day Thirty (trigesimo dia)

Today John had his first game as the Juniors coach. I went for half a run with Romeo and half without (3.0 total). I showered and met the boys at Pic-Nic for some important match. John had seen Ernes at his son’s futsol game that morning. Ernes said he was going to take us somewhere special to have sandwiches for dinner (score!) and we got Pic-Nic burgers for lunch (our once-a-week indulgence). I headed home to catch up on my blogging (massive fail) and Ken and John got picked up by Pedro. I said as long as it wasn’t raining I would hike up the lomba to see the game. It wasn’t, so I hoofed it to the bottom of lomba de cavaleiro where Pedro saw me and stopped to pick me up (score!). I arrived about ten minutes after the start of the game and to my surprise John and Ken were in the stands. They were not officially on the roster as coaches, Carlos A.K.A. “Dragon” (as in Dragon-Ball-Z) is, so they can’t be “in the box” during the game.

The Juniors played very well, and although they eventually lost 3-2, it was a valiant effort. One punk (Mira Mar) player got a red card. They had lost 6-0 the weekend before, so this was definitely an improvement. I sat with Serenela and she helped me practice some of my Portuguese swear words, encouragement phrases, and most importantly my body parts (for ALKE)

Ernes drove us back down to the vila and dropped us off at Pic-Nic to watch the rest of the Arsenal v. Liverpool game and said he would pick us up afterwards and take us to dinner. After Arsenal won, Ernes picked us up and we drove through Furnas into Ribeira Quente (trans: hot river) which has a river right down the middle of it’s vila that flows from Furnas and the hot springs. We parked on the left side of the river.

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He took us behind a cafe to some outdoor picnic tables with big tarp-like curtains and a roof. It was the coldest it’s been since we arrived a month ago, but with long sleeves it wasn’t unpleasant. A waiter brought us drinks and I asked where the bathroom was; Ernes took me through a hallway off to the side where I am pretty sure I ended up inside someone’s home. Soon after, someone brought us a baking tin full of roasted castanhas (chestnuts). This coming Friday, there is a festival in the square where they serve castanhas and vinho tinto. Once we got the hang of peeling them, we found out they were delicious. We were starving so it felt like forever before they brought out sandwiches. Someone brought out ketchup and mayonnaise and my stomach audibly growled.

Ken

After several handfuls of castanhas, a waitress brought us five bifanas. If you know me, you know that when they brought out only five bifanas and nothing else I was worried there would not be enough food—but when Lina and/or Ernes is involved, I really shouldn’t be worried. She then brought french fries. Then someone else brought a plate of chicken wings. Then someone else brought six more bifanas. We each had two and Ken obliged in eating his third and our team’s eleventh bifana. I ate another two dozen chestnuts, and we went home.

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