Day Thirty Nine… sweetbabyMO and Thanksgiving

Day Thirty Nine (trigesimo nono dia)

Seis semana

John was passed out when Romeo and I went out for a run. John had suggested that maybe I take it easy on the running or stick to the treadmill for a few days (treadmill?! When we live in this beautiful place?), but I was feeling better. I took Romeo for 1.8 and did 1.8 alone. Toward the end of my second loop my knee began to bother me. It didn’t really hurt, but it was becoming uncomfortable. I looked down: it was full of green pus. Gross. When I got home I went doctor-Liza on it with my tweezers and after I’d gotten all that I could I cleaned it with alcohol.

When John tried to use alcohol on my cuts Saturday afternoon, I cowered. No way! It was going to sting so badly. I finally let him, but I was not brave. Today, I had my game face on. Once John surfaced, it was clear he in no way wanted to go to the gym. We decided to lift later and I hopped in the shower. John doesn’t sleep well here, and I snore like a grizzly. I tend to do it the worst on my back, but I told him not to make me roll over because of my knee; he didn’t wake me so he didn’t sleep.

We went to Pic-Nic and then met Ken to go shopping at Fatima’s. John went upstairs with Romeo while Ken and I shopped on Mira Mar’s tab and he gathered a bag full of overly ripe bananas so I could make bread. I bought self-rising flour because it has been turning out too dense with my lack of baking soda. With the flour it came out a little dry, but much lighter. Next time I’ll use more butter.

We went to ALKE at 4:00pm and after I warmed up on the bike we did overhead squats, lateral step-ups, upright rows, and back extensions. The overhead squats hurt my hands a little, but other than that I felt good. Ken decided he didn’t have a concussion after all, but he felt like a took a punch to the jaw. We are recuperating.

We went to Pic-Nic for cafes and galaos before I headed back to ALKE and Ken and John headed off to the juniors practice. I had just enough time to make my meat sauce before class so it could simmer. This time, I added some pureed pepper that comes from a jar. They sell it everywhere here in all sizes: from jelly jars to gallon-sized buckets. I didn’t know what it was so I was afraid to try it, but Lina told me what it was yesterday. Sauce was bomb.

John only had the juniors so he was home before 9:00pm. Lina and Ernes had invited us to their lomba for the castanhas and vinho tinto that we missed in the square; they offer the same treat in each lomba on different nights to celebrate what they call sao martinho (Lina said it’s equivalent to Thanksgiving). We opted out of going; we are tired and can’t hang.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, one of the lovely ladies in my class tonight, who is an English teacher at the high school, invited me and “the boys” to celebrate Thanksgiving at the school. They teach them all about American History and they even serve a turkey lunch on the day of the American Thanksgiving. She said we were welcome to join them that day.


Instead of eating chestnuts, John Skyped with his friend Mo (#sweetbabyMo) and I Facetimed with Keith, Nicole and Baby Alex.

IMG_0500I may come home just for this face.

IMG_0553Sweet baby lamb vs. Sweet baby Mo


Day Twenty Three / Sabado!

Portugal: Day Twenty Three… No Propane, No GPS watch, but(!) Rodizio de Pizza @ Toronto Nights

Friday night I thought we were running a little low on propane (which I’ve been increasingly nervous about since Day Two. My shower went from hot to cold, but would continuously go back to hot. Saturday, after my maybe-3-mile run with Romeo, I was pretty sure we were out. We can’t get a new tank until Monday, so I wash my hair under the faucet, and rinse off as best I can with the sub-zero water.

When I was getting ready for my run something terrible, almost unmentionable happened: my GPS watch died. DIED. It had absolutely no display, which is what happens when the battery is dead, too, but I had just plugged it in the day before. The battery, I knew, was charged—my watch was really dead. In a runner’s world, marked by numbers: distance, current pace, average pace, time elapsed, calories… I was lost. I took Romeo and John’s watch out for 29:27 and I called it three miles. At home, when my watch wasn’t charged I would just turn on my Nike+ app. At home, in my completely-technology-dependent life. But, alas, I have no data service here. The lombas are hard to figure out on google maps, so it is hard to even plan a run and then execute it. I am depressed. #firstworldproblems

After my watch incident, and the lack-of-hot-water-realization, I was seriously looking forward to all-you-can-eat pizza coupled with all-you-can-drink beer at Toronto Nights. There was a game on (I can actually tell you that Madrid played Barcelona; it’s easier for me to remember the teams when they correspond to places I want to go), so John headed to Pic-Nic and I met him there after my 29:27 run. Bobby, Ken, and I made a bet for who could eat the most pizza. If you’ve seen me eat, you know I had more than a fair shot to win. And Lina was making me my own nao queijo pizza. I was ready for the challenge.

After the game, I took Romeo for a walk, John confirmed there was no propane by attempting to shower, and we walked over to Toronto Nights. Joe and Carla were already there and we were quickly joined by Ken&Bobby. The last time Lina held a Rodizio de Pizza she seated 70 people and she turned away another 30. This time there were only about 30 people. There was salad and garlic bread, and literally all the pizza you could eat. Ernes brought my pizza over to our table; pepperoni, bacon, pineapple, pepper, onions, and mushrooms. I couldn’t resist the salad and garlic bread (and beer) so I copped-out at five slices. Ken&Bobby each finished eight, and tied for first place.

We sat with Carla, Joe, Ken, Bobby, Xana, and Marco. We were the “English-speaking table”. Joe grew up in Providence, and Carla lived in Dartmouth, MA for a year, so there was a lot of American culture at our table. We got into a heated debate at one point about the definition of racism; which, at its core, seems to be a cultural one. What highly-sensitive American’s find racist, doesn’t seem to be racist in present-day Azorean culture. We were able to move past this increasingly-awkward and increasingly-heated debate and finish our pizza-and-beer (which felt very American). Once we were done stuffing our faces with pizza, Lina and Ernes (along with her brother Emanuel and his wife Louisa) doled out dessert: homemade cinnamon cookie ice cream, or homemade chocolate mousse. I opted for the mousse, but when Carla couldn’t finish her ice cream, I obliged her by finishing it.

We walked home full and happy.

Day Nineteen! Payback for Romeo.

Day Nineteen (decimo-nono dia)

After Romeo’s shenanigans yesterday and generally being a pain-in-the-ass now that he knows the world is bigger than our apartment, I punished him with a four-mile run.

Once I got home, Barbie&Ken stopped by and invited us for a walk down the beach. I had just gotten out of the shower and hadn’t eaten yet, so I told John to go without me. I had a minor freak-out after he left: I couldn’t find Romeo! Then I realized his leash was gone and ascertained that John had taken him. That pooch didn’t move for the rest of the day after that.

John came back and we went to Pic-Nic for galaos. I had been trying to cut back: before we moved I had not eaten any dairy (except for chocolate, which doesn’t count) in over 9 months. I am still not eating cheese, but I decided that Azorean milk would be OK. On Sunday night, I noticed a little rash on the left side of my chest. It wasn’t itchy or red, but just bumpy. I vowed to only have one galao per day, and if by the end of the week the hives were still there, I was going to have to cut out dairy again. I have been drinking a lot of verde cha (green tea). We saw Carla at Pic-Nic and we finalized our plans to head into Ponta Delgada on Wednesday. 

I know I have mentioned this before, but we live across from a church. A BIG church. A church with bells. These particular church bells rings every hour. They ring a shorter tune on the half hour. They ring once on the quarter hour. They don’t bother me–in fact, I am basically oblivious to their existence. On Saturday night at Lina’s, Carla’s husband asked us about them. Carla and Joe lived in our apartment for five years before they bought a house in lomba de loucao and started renting this apartment out. Apparently, the bells drove Joe crazy. “I like them,” I said, “I never notice them at night.” Lina said they don’t ring from 9:00pm-9:00am. They only added the bells a few years ago, and residents and business owners signed a petition to get rid of them! They drive people nuts. John said he hears them in the morning when he is trying to sleep, and they bother him enough to warrant shutting our bedroom window-doors. I remain completely oblivious to the bells, but when teenage hooligans walk down our rua at 4:30am, THAT I hear.

Because Mira Mar has a game on Wednesday this week, John had no practice Tuesday. After my class at ALKE, I met the guys at Pic-Nic to “watch the Arsenal game” i.e. work-on-my-blog. John and I went home after Arsenal lost (to who, I couldn’t tell you) to make our own Pic-Nic burgers. We toasted the papa secos (bun-like bread) and piled them high with two ¼ patties, a fried egg, and ham (and cheese for John) with ketchup and mayo. They were incredible. Lina had also left some fresh basil and oregano from her garden at the gym for us, so I cut up a tomato, two cloves of garlic, a whole bunch of basil, and covered it in olive oil before I went to my class earlier. We cut up another papa secos and had our bruschetta. It was also amazing.

I Skyped with Anna and we watched Stuck in Love and fell asleep. Boa Noite!


Day Eighteen! Runaway pooch and stealing after dark.

Portugal: Day Eighteen (decimo-oitavo dia)

Monday morning. John and I leisurely got up and made our way to ALKE where we met Barbie&Ken. I am very excited to use the new jump ropes we bought in Ponta Delgada on Saturday. John and I warmed up with them outside, and after a minute of shooting gravel into my legs, I moved onto the wooden platform in front of Toronto Nights’ back door. This platform happens to be fenced in. Later on in our workout, it become known as the “Burpee Box”. After we all warmed up, we did four rounds:

  • Burpee SPLAT x15
  • Box jumps/squat jumps x15… read: oversized curb jumps
  • Curl-squat-press x15
  • Pull-ups xMAX

I took out the curl & the press, but amped up my weight for the C-S-P, and I only did pull-ups (MAX=7) for rounds two & four. For rounds one & three I did 15 decline push-ups. #idowhatiwant

In between rounds 2 & 3 I did 2:00 of jumping rope inside the Burpee Box. There is no room to do burpees inside, and they hurt on the gravel. The platform makes for a nice spot, but the fence makes you feel like a caged rat. I finished with three one minute planks (each side), supersetted with 1:00 of jumping rope. Barbie&Ken showered and we all met at Pic-Nic.

We sat lazily outside for almost an hour. A couple from Belgium who we have talked to a few times are there (he is a soccer fan). Tessa, the female half of this environmentalist couple who are in Povoacao temporarily saving an endangered bird species, came up to me and asked about my class at ALKE. She promised to see me there at 6:30pm. Monday is the day we go shopping on Mira Mar’s tab, so we pay up at Pic-Nic and leave to get Romeo so John can walk him while I’ll shop with the boys.

John and I open the door to our apartment and are surprised to find that Romeo is not sleeping in his normal spot at the bottom of the stairs. John goes up and into the bedroom, calling for Romeo. He’s not under the bed, he’s not on the back porch, he’s not in the tub, he’s not upstairs. Romeo. Is. Gone.

We have been waiting for this moment since we got here, but especially since Saturday night when we heard him jumping at the door when we were outside waiting for Lina and Ernes. He used to open our office door all the time, and if he was lucky enough, some clueless stranger or pack of oblivious teenagers would hold the lobby door open to ease his escape. He jumps up onto the handle and once it falls vertically, he walks backwards. He figured out that our apartment door works the same way.

I took off with Romeo’s leash toward the guys’ apartment to enlist their help and John took off toward the beach. We haven’t taken him many places, and he is too much of a scaredy-cat to stray. Bobby, Ken, and I head toward the square. Someone has already called Fatima, Marcelo’s mom who works below the guys’ apartment, to let her know they saw Romeo by Jardim, a restaurant near Romeo’s friend Lele’s storefront. I decide to pass by our apartment in case John found him. I had our keys and the leash, so if John had found him he would be holding him by the scruff waiting for me. There was no sign of them so I dropped my keys on our stoop in hopes that John would see them. I turned to walk toward Jardim and there was Romeo! Running straight up our street into my arms. Douchebag. I hooked him in his leash and we headed off to find John. We found him in the square a few minutes later.

With that excitement over, we headed back up to the guys’ apartment to food shop. When we finally did make it home, Romeo had the nerve to try to open the door while we were home! John put a chair downstairs until we did something more permanent.

IMG_8445Douche. Bag.

I sent a Facebook message to my new Portuguese friends who are moms asking for a baby gate. I figured we could put it on the stairs. Even if Romeo could jump it, he wouldn’t jump it to land downstairs. Carla told me we had a deadbolt. HA. We can use our key from the inside to lock it—I had been wondering why there was a keyhole on the inside of the door…

We ate and I showered and went to sit in the square to work on my blog in the sun. Staying true to Azorean weather, about an hour after I’d been sitting, the sun was quickly replaced with scary clouds and it began to rain. I headed home and got ready for my class at ALKE.

IMG_0311My workspace.

IMG_031213 women, 5 stations: jump rope, plate swings, lateral box blasts, dips, drop squats. :40 on / :20 off. Four rounds.

IMG_0320Supersetted with 1:00 planks. #beasting

Since it’s the first day of my second week there, I can get a little bit more creative with the women. Instead of all doing the same exercise at the same time, I was able to separate them into five stations and cycle them through. We have more and more fun each time I am there. Everyone speaks (or at least understands) English, but many women have been helping here and there: “vez is time!” and “serie is round!”.

John had practice so I had some time to kill after class and before he came home for dinner. I took Romeo for a walk down to the gas station. John and I have been planning a secret mission that we can only carry out at night, and thus far we’ve been too lazy or non-committed after practice and after dinner to finish it. Since I had the time and it was dark, I decided to carry out the mission solo.

I have been bitching and bitching about the leash we bought Romeo before we left; it is really long and the handle-length is adjustable. I just couldn’t see the point. Until. Until I got tired of pulling him while running, so I adjusted the length of the handle until it fit around my waist and we run connected. See picture below.

 IMG_1709The poop-bag doubles as a decorative bow.

I put Romeo around my waist and walked toward the center of our mission: a large abandoned tire near the gas station. It is perfect for tire flips and will be a great addition to our ALKE workouts. We are slowly acquiring the equipment to which we’ve grown accustomed: resistance bands, jump ropes, TRX… a tire is a must-have. I flipped it up and began rolling it toward ALKE. A few cars slowed down to give me funny looks, but for the most part people left me alone. Just when I was getting to the nasty hill-of-a-driveway up to ALKE, our friend who works at Pic-Nic and puts bacon on our burgers was descending the hill post-workout. He took the tire from me and beasted it up the hill. Mission completed.

I went home and made pasta and sauce for me andJohn and to eat. Each time I’ve made it here, I’ve made it differently. This time I browned the beef, added an onion and a clove of garlic, added salt (and a little sugar), and tossed in the polpe de tomate. Success.