Day One Hundred Eighty One (um cento oitenta e um)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

4 Abril 2014

our last day

I got up early so I could still get my 5-miler in. John and I finished packing and then walked over to ALKE to say our goodbyes. John said the only time he got choked up at all was when he said goodbye to Ernesto.




We also said goodbye to Alexandre, Vitor, Saozinha (at the gym already!), and Marcy (the one who gave me eggs). We walked down to Pic Nic to meet Ken for our last cafes. Leila came, and then Lina and Carla showed up, too. We all walked back to our apartment to say our final goodbyes.

We gave Carla back our keys and everyone said goodbye to Romeo. We brought our bags outside just as Pedro was pulling up. We piled Romeo’s crate and our bags into the backseat, and I made Ken take one last picture of us.

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Pedro drove us to the airport in the Mira Mar van through the Azorean drizzle that had begun somewhere in Furnas. We pulled up to the airport right at 1:00pm, exactly two hours before we were supposed to take off. As soon as we hopped out of the van to start unloading the bags, I heard over the loud speaker: “ELEEZA DOODY, please report to gate number 11 immediately. ELEEZA DOODY, please report to gate number 11 IMMEDIATELY.”

I left John, Romeo, and Pedro on the sidewalk and ran inside to find out what the problem was—I was so worried it had something to do with Romeo and our flight. As soon as I ran in the door, I started scanning for gate number 11. But what I saw first was the lady who had helped me with my cargo bags on Wednesday, standing with a large SATA employee in a reflective vest. “Is everything OK?” I asked, breathily.

Oh, miss I am so sorry. I am new to this job,” she began, apologetically, “I forgot to ask you a few questions. And can I make a copy of your ID card?” She and the other man deemed my license and passport sufficient for that job. The other question? “How much are your belongings worth?” I couldn’t even tell you what I told her, it really seemed irrelevant. While she went to make a copy of my IDs I ran outside to tell John and Pedro that everything was ok. I hugged Pedro goodbye and we wheeled our bags, and Romeo inside his crate on a cart, inside.


I retrieved my IDs from my Wednesday friend, she apologized a few more times, and then we made our way to check-in. One lady took John to weigh Romeo inside of his crate while another lady checked me in. She weighed my one checked-bag: 1.8kgs overweight, “Oh no! Can I take something out?” I asked, “Don’t worry,” she replied. She also tagged our carry-ons and gave me a ticket for Romeo and my one checked-bag, which I was to take to another desk to pay. Romeo weighed in at 39kgs (anything over 23 is considered “overweight”) but she didn’t charge me extra for that either. What I thought was going to be a 450 bill was only 270. Not bad.

We dropped Romeo off at oversized baggage, where John took him out of the crate so they could x-ray it. John secured Romeo back inside, and we went off to go through security ourselves.

On the way out the door earlier, my Chinese store boots broke. Well, just the zipper-holder on one of them. I couldn’t get them off to go through security, so I left them on, knowing that they would set off the sensor and I would get patted down (worse things had happened). They set the metal detector off (four zippers!), a lady came over and violently patted me down, it was practically a crevice exam, and then used a wand, and then made me take my boots off anyways. Really? At least she gave me a paper clip to use. Obrigada.

We sat down at the one cafe and waited for our flight. I bought 60 bags of Gorreana cha verde with our last few euro. I got stopped by border control because I didn’t have a visa. Yes, I know I overstayed my 90 day tourist visa, but I’m going to play dumb because I’m leaving today. No one bothered John, but so far I’d been patted down and yelled at. The man gave me my passport back and warned me, “Next time, get a visa.” Sir, yes, sir.

We took off a few minutes late but mostly made up the time. We filled out our customs forms before we landed and deplaned without event. We got out forms stamped, retrieved our one checked-bag and Romeo, and headed for the US Dept. of Agriculture with Romeo in his crate. John had asked me if he should check off “animal” on the customs form as something we were transporting, “No.” I said, “he’s not a livestock or a bird.” But the guy at the USDA said we should have checked the box. Oops. He made a joke about Romeo being federal property before letting us go about our business. Romeo didn’t have to go through the X-ray machine, but our carry-ons and checked-bag did. I freaked out as we were going through because you’re not allowed to transport fruit or seeds and I had a banana in my bag. Oops. John accused me of being difficult to travel with but then he lost our customs forms. A few minutes later, when we found them inside his pocket he apologized. We were so ready to be home.

By the time we got outside my parents were waiting and we piled in. I broke Romeo’s crate because I was too anxious to get it in the car, and we hadn’t taken all the screws out yet. We sat in a little traffic on the pike, ordered Gianni’s, and once we got home and unloaded the car, my dad and I went back out to pick it up. We ate and crashed. #doesntfeelrealyet


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, 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.

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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, 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 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).

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)


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.

Days 119, 120, and 121. Burgers, cafes, Mira Mar…

Day One Hundred Nineteen (dia um centena de dezanove)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

31 Janeiro 2014

I got up at 8:30am (after having been awake all night, coughing) so I’d have time to run and hit the gym before Lina picked me up around 12:30pm. I ate my chia seed pudding with some homemade granola on top (deliciousness) and took Romeo for 5 miles. Well, I took Romeo for about 1.75 and then finished 5. John, surprisingly, got up around 8:45am when I was noisily coughing up a lung. Knowing that he sleeps poorly, I apologized for having woken him up so early. “No way! I slept great! That tea is amazing.” Really? Because I was awake the entire night coughing my brains out and the few minutes I did sleep in between fits I had crazy, horrible dreams. Glad someone slept well.

I headed to Pic Nic for a cafe (saving my galao for the city) and then to the gym. I did my own circuit workout and was only a round in when John showed up. He took Ernesto through a 300 workout, along with Ken, but I did 5 rounds, 10 reps of:

  • front squat-to-OH press
  • barbell split squats
  • decline push ups
  • weighted box jumps
  • v-ups (15 reps)

I did front squats right to split squats, just transferring the barbell to my back. Because I had a narrow grip for the front squats, it was sort of awkward. At least twice I scraped the shit out of my neck. Ernesto told me to use I towel, but I reminded him I am tough like Ronnie Coleman—I didn’t need a towel!

That was the first time I did weighted box jumps (10kg plate). I wanted to make them harder, and since there is not any surface that is higher (the curb is probably only 16 inches) it definitely made them more difficult. I tried it first with two 5kg plates, but found that much more awkward. One plate felt comfortable.

I ran home to shower and change. Lina, Xana, and Xana’s friend came to pick me up and off we went. First, we dropped Xana’s stuff and dinner off at their apartment in Santa Clara. After Xana’s took her last exam she was going to have a bunch of friends over to celebrate their first semester down. Then, we dropped Xana and her friend off at university and hit the mall. Lina and I have become very good friends since I got here in October. One of the ways you can tell is we didn’t even have to discuss where we were going for lunch: we just knew we were going to get hamburgers at H3. I was going to get the super bread for my cheat meal, but we were talking and talking about eating healthy and working out and losing weight… and we both got our burgers with salad, no bread or rice. They were still super delicious. We didn’t even go for pastries—after lunch, we went to the super market downstairs and picked up a few things. I needed cocoa powder for brownies I’ve been wanting to make (the only kind of cocoa powder they sell in the vila has sugar as the first ingredient) and Lina wanted to see if they had mushrooms.

We stopped in the health food section which is much more impressive than the one at Antonio’s. I showed Lina the chia seeds and she bought some for Ernesto. I bought some more (because of course they were cheaper here) and I also got some tofu for when my mama is here NEXT WEEKEND! Yippee.

We didn’t get pastries, but we did stop at the cafe at the front of the supermarket for cafes and Lina opened a box of blueberry granola bars she had bought in the health food section and we each had one of those as our treat. #eatcleantrainmean

It was another beautiful day in the city, and with our few errands done we headed back to Povoacao.

When I got back I was super excited to make my brownies. I found a recipe on Pinterest from (whom I loathe most of the time*) that used black beans as the base. I already had a can of black beans, and now I had my cocoa so I went to work. The recipe also called for egg substitute (no.) and like 24 packets of truvia (no.). I used two eggs, two tablespoons of honey, and ½ a cup of shredded coconut. It also called for sugar-free chocolate syrup in addition to the cocoa powder, so I just added more cocoa powder. It called for sour cream so I put in half a banana instead. I topped a third of the tray with chopped walnuts, for me. #makeityours #icantfollowarecipe

 *I loathe because, like many other such websites/magazines, they tout workouts that will get you flat abs! six pack abs! tight buns! in 4-6 weeks by doing crunches and bodyweight squats. #onwhatplanet?


Because my shredded coconut was unsweetened, it didn’t actually do the trick of making my brownies sweet, as I had hoped. You could just feel the coconut texture. And even though I used a ton of cocoa powder, they weren’t that chocolatey. They were however pretty delicious and were gone by Sunday afternoon. Next time I am nixing the coconut and honey and putting in chocolate chips instead. They will definitely be a win. I also found a recipe for peanut butter cinnamon raisin protein cookies whose main ingredient is chickpeas on my new favorite blog She is vegan and sugar-free, salt-free, oil-free, gluten-free. I love her.


I made chicken drumsticks for dinner which John ate with the leftover fried rice and I saved mine for after class. We did:


Leila (whose leg is slightly better and didn’t skip class for any of the reasons I feared—she was just in the city) brought me a container of the brownie-cookies she made for Lola’s a few weeks ago. After I made her go back into the gym to foam roll again, she gave them to me and we wished each other a good weekend. Bom fim de semana!

I had the drumsticks, a salad with some of the beans leftover from my brownie-experiment, and a gigantic pan of roasted veggies. I had at least two more brownies. Yum.

I decided to give the tea another go ahead.


Day One Hundred Twenty (dia um centena de vinte)

Saturday (Sabado)

1 Fevereiro 2014

I got up and ate my latest chia seed pudding recipe (2 tablespoons of shredded coconut and no honey) and that is when I discovered for certain that the coconut was unsweetened. It was not delicious. I threw some granola on top and finished it quickly. Once I had walked Romeo, I scooted off to the gym. I was hoping for the same scene I had enjoyed the Saturday before—an empty gym. I was not so lucky; the place was packed.

I realize I am missing more than just my friends, family, and certain foods/places from home. I miss driving around in a car that I own, blasting country, and singing along unabashedly. Sometimes (ok, most days) Ernesto sings along with the radio at the gym, and that helps a little.

After I did my yogi-warm-up in the weight room, I did a whole bunch of supersets:

  • cable inner thigh/hamstring pulls
  • inverted row to reverse fly
  • dip bar mountain climbers and leg extensions
  • SB lotus & single leg curls
  • decline sit up to side plank thread-the-needle
  • 15:00 on the bike, with moderate resistance

I met John & Ken at Pic Nic afterwards for a cafe (trying to have a few days a week without dairy!). The juniors had a game at 4:00pm, so eventually I moseyed over to the fruit market for some fruits and veggies, then home to have lunch, make soup, make meatballs, clean, and finally get ready for the game. Pedro was at another game with the van, so everyone (players, coaches, and me) was on their own in terms of getting to the complex. Marco drove Ken and John up early, but I walked. As always, I was hoping some kind individual would descend upon my route and scoop me up, thus saving me from hiking the lomba, but alas—I walked.

It is actually not that fat (maybe .75 miles) but the large portion of that that seems straight-up makes it seem so much further.

The Mira Mar juniors were in a new group of teams (I guess that is how it works here) so they were playing Santiago for the first time this season. They played really well, but couldn’t score. I had sat down by myself, sort of near our crazy fan lady and her posse. One of the juniors’ girlfriends motioned for me to go sit with them, but no one in that crew speaks English. Luckily for me, Ernesto and Kevin showed up for the second half.

At one point during the game, another vocally active mother began screaming. Our crazy fan lady put her in her place and then turned to me and calmly explained, in Portuguese, what that lady’s problem was. I shook my head and reminded her that I don’t speak Portuguese. Which she acknowledged, and then continued to tell me what was going on, in Portuguese. John told me later that the other mom was pissed because John was all set to start her two sons, and then some starting players showed up (who were late, because they also had to walk). This lady was mad that her sons didn’t get to start (they never do). A couple kids went out injured, so they actually both played the last few minutes of the second half. She was not very happy.

The boys lost 1-0 and I nearly froze to death because I never dress appropriately. It was warm when I left our apartment, I had to walk up that big hill, and I brought my cute Barca gloves, but the jean-jacket-over-T-shirt just wasn’t cutting it. Ernesto drove me home where I immediately put on a second pair of pants and socks, a sweatshirt and a jacket, and took Romeo out.

The boys came home and Ken hung out for a little while before he headed home, too. John and I sat down to eat dinner and then settled in to watch a movie. We watched Dallas Buyer’s Club with Matthew McConaughey. It was really interesting. Ken said to have tissues near by when we watched it (especially since I am a notoriously prolific movie crier) but I guess I wasn’t feeling emotionally invested in this particular story.


Day One Hundred Twenty One (dia um centena de vinte e um)

Sunday (Domingo)

2 Fevereiro 2014

Long run Sunday. My last self-directed run for the next 12 weeks as I hand over my training program to the brainiacs at Nike Plus. I decided to do 10.0 miles.

I got up and had two of my PB balls (with coconut, which I now never want to eat again.. since the chia seed pudding incident as well as the black bean brownie incident) and a banana. I took Romeo for a super long walk and chugged a liter of water. Romeo and I took off.

I dropped him back at the apartment just before 2.0 miles. Then I saw Lina who told me I was crazy—did I mention it was cold and raining? Because it was. This was the first (and hopefully only) long run I’ve done in sub-par weather. The worst part about it is trying to dress appropriately, which you already know is not a skill I possess. I had on my Nike tech tights, an element half-zip and my Red Sox hat. Of course, around mile four the sun came out and I was friggan hot. But at the top of the lombas it cools off significantly, so I just rolled up my sleeves and pant legs and continued on.

Whenever I’m nearing the very top of lomba do Alcaide I always feel like such an amateur, plugging along like a turtle stuck in peanut butter (which, if I was, I’d be trying to eat the PB as I went). Then I finally get to the top and start running down the tree-tunnel road (where I took a digger all those weeks ago) and I remember I am a runner, and I start chugging along at a normal pace again. The quick change is both daunting and motivating. I am vowing to only do heavy legs at the beginning of the week, as this week I did them Friday and Saturday, and I felt it trying to get up the hills.

 IMG_1748These suckers are toast. 

When I got back John was about to head out the door on his way to Pic Nic. I made a different kind of semi-healthy pancakes this week:

  • 3/4c oats
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼c soy milk
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tbs nutella
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

This time I saved the PB and the other half of the banana for garnish. They were delish.


I don’t think I mentioned this in my last blog preface, but I am also (trying) not adding any extra/refined sugar. Hence the black bean brownie incident. Nutella was my way around that in this instance.

John came back to get ready for his game and to grab his stuff. I asked him to ask Pedro to pick me up (’cause I’ll be damned if I’m walking up that lomba again. Especially after running them that day). I showered and headed to Pic Nic for a galao (two days off dairy, one day back on). I went home so I could be ready for Pedro who showed up almost as soon as I walked back in my door. It had started to rain again and it was still 40 minutes before the game, so Pedro suggested we get cafes. Back to Pic Nic we went.

Pedro learned English while working in Bermuda a few years ago. He is good to hang out with because he doesn’t just let you speak English. He gave me a brief Portuguese lesson (whilst making fun of my accent, or lack-thereof) while we had cafes and drove up to the complex, where the sun was shining. The wind was also blowing at top speeds.


Mira Mar was playing Ideal, who are in a different division, in a friendly, so there was less stress. I sat in the box with Serenela, Glebiana, and Andreia. Serenela pointed secretly to her lap. Where there was a puppy. A puppy! Glebiana and her husband (boyfriend? I’m still not sure who on the team is her S.O.) just got him. But if there is a dog in a 100 meter radius, it is surely with Serenela. She has one of her own (Wendy), is always feedings strays, and taking in lost puppies. This puppy is snuggled in a sweater in her lap the entire game. His name is Mufasa.


Mira Mar played incredibly well, especially given the conditions (the wind had picked up so badly, at one point during the second half the other team’s goalie punted the ball and it boomeranged right back out of bounds behind him for a Mira Mar corner kick), and the fact that Ideal is in a better division.


Ideal got lucky in the first half when the wind was blowing towards the Mira Mar goal. A Mira Mar defender (don’t ask me which one) went to shoot the ball to the other side of the field—he was outside the 18 yard box) and the ball hit an Ideal player and ricocheted into the net, right past Vitor (our new all-star goalie). It was the only goal scored.

Toward the end of the second half, John got subbed out (after landing straight on his head) as did Ken (who rolled his ankle). Since it was a friendly, they were not sticking to normal sub-rules. In fact, Ideal put an entirely new line-up in for the second half. Serenela’s boyfriend Filipe hurt his leg and John got subbed back in to finish the game.

Ernesto drove me home where I, again, put on two pairs of pants and socks. John and Ken came home to find me making a new kind of cookie: peanut butter cinnamon raisin protein cookies. From my new favorite raw vegan blogger, Lipstick and Berries. The main ingredient is chickpeas. She used pure maple syrup as a sweetener, but since I didn’t have any I totally omitted any kind of sugar. I may try to add honey next time I make them, and I will definitely make them again.

John and Ken were heading back out to get Pic Nic burgers. On the way out the door John grabbed a black bean brownie (which he said earlier tasted like dirt…and then later asked me to never make again), I ate the last one for dessert with a shmear of Nutella on top.


Say what you will, but I made them Friday and by Sunday afternoon they were gone. I fully plan on trying to make them again with no honey (couldn’t taste it anyway! Just a waste of perfectly good honey), no coconut (gross), and instead I’m going to add ½ cup of Tollhouse chocolate chips. This stops them from being dairy-free, but you could use dairy-free chocolate chips, too.

After I finished baking the cookies and had a bowl of soup I headed down to Pic Nic for an after-dinner tea. I walked back home and made the second part of my dinner; a crazy salad bowl with tuna, corn, and leftover beans.

Aside from having left out any sweetener (recipe called for pure maple syrup, which I don’t have…and I already know honey doesn’t suffice) I thought the cookies were good! Maybe a little bit dry. John came home and we Skyped with my parents who will be here Saturday morning! Woop woop

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

Day One Hundred Twelve (dia um centena de doze)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

24 Janeiro 2014

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_1657Yes, those tufts? Those are tufts of Romeo.

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


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

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


Day One Hundred Thirteen (dia um centena de treze)

Sabado (Saturday)

25 Janeiro 2014

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

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

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

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


Day One Hundred Fourteen (dia um centena de catorze)

Sunday (Domingo)

26 Janeiro 2014

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


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

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

IMG_1666Sometimes I get a double.

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

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