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.


98, 99….100! One hundred days in Portugal

Day Ninety-Eighty (nonagesimo oitavo dia)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

10 Janeiro 2014

When John and I got up there was sun, but it quickly began to sprinkle. I don’t mind running in the rain, but it is sort of unpleasant to sit around in my wet clothes, walk to the gym, warm-up again, and then sit at Pic-Nic in my wet clothes again. So I decided to run after the gym. We did five rounds, 10 reps each, of this circuit:

  • Box blasts
  • Decline push-ups
  • SB leg curls
  • Chin ups
  • Plate swings

Push-up challenge Day 2: 50 decline push-ups. Ken is now officially on board with our challenge. This challenge has some rest days so he will be able to catch up.

I was all nice and warmed-up, so I told John and Ken to go ahead to Pic-Nic and I grabbed Romeo for a run. Four miles of sun-running later, I headed home.

Having been successful with the zucchini pasta, I headed back to the fruit market for more. I was making carne asada for dinner and switched out the potatoes for zucchini. It was definitely a lighter fare, but it was good. I wanted to have a sweet potato after I taught, so I prepped it before I left. I had bought a few at the fruit market earlier, but when I went to peel it it was white, not orange. I had bought sweet potatoes here in Povoacao before and they had been orange. I finished peeling it (I even chewed on one of the thicker peels to try and figure out what kind of root vegetable I had purchased), cut it up, and threw it in a pyrex pan with some salt and olive oil. As soon as I got to Toronto I asked Lina what the hell it was.


Turns out, they have white and orange sweet potatoes here. When I got home, I roasted it, drizzled honey & sprinkled cinnamon on it, and devoured it. #delish


John and I have talked a lot about going paleo when we get home, but the more I find out about it, the more I just want to do my own thing. No legumes mean no hummus, chili, or PEANUT BUTTER (how could I survive?). No corn means no cornflakes. No soy milk which is fine because at home I can buy almond. I’m cool with the dairy-free / gluten-free, but the other stuff is going to have to go. Or stay. Whatever.

After I had my incredibly delicious paleo dessert, I headed to Pic-Nic to try to Skype with my dear friend Anna from home. I always have really good wifi there, so I figured I would be more successful than I had been recently at home. Nope, false hope. We ended up iMessaging for a while, which just isn’t the same. Lina messaged me while I was there and invited us over to Luisa and Emanuel’s for drinks after John and Ken got back from practice. Not long after that, Lina messaged me again saying that because of the rain they ended practice. John showed up at Pic-Nic and we decided to just head home (even though Luisa and Emanuel are our neighbors). Lina tagged us on Facebook, so we told Ken to head back out in the rain, we were going!! John wanted me to make sure he didn’t have to put pants on. Luckily, Lina, Ernesto, Luisa, and Julia were all in sweatpants, too.

 Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 10.30.16 PM

Even though we said we were not going to stay long or drink very much, we did both. John and Ken finished off at least a bottle and a half of wine and we didn’t walk home until almost 2:00am. We even stayed a little longer because it was raining so badly, but eventually we walked the three doors home. As usual, we were very happy we went.


Day Ninety-Nine (nonagesimo nono dia)

Saturday (Sabado)

11 Janeiro 2014

I had made plans with two girls from my class to go to the pools in Furnas (I am trying to make more friends. It’s working). After I had ½ a PB&J, John and I went down to Pic-Nic. I had my galao and headed to the gym, he got a Pic-Nic burger and fries and stayed to watch Chelsea play. I took the TRX with me, and I was hoping ALKE would be empty enough that I could use it. There were a handful of people when I got there, but they were all on the cardio side. Score.

  • TRX trail leg squats (w/10kg) → TRX pikes
  • Deadlifts → box jumps
  • leg lifts → decline sit ups (w/10kg)
  • side bends → hanging leg raises

I headed back to Pic-Nic where John, and now Ken, were. Eventually we headed home where I had eggs and a bowl of cornflakes with soy milk and bananas for lunch. John took Romeo for a walk and Romeo’s collar detached and Romeo booked it. John came back soaking wet after running towards the ocean to secure Romeo. This is why my dad refers to him as Chucklehead. We have less-nice names for him.

Before I went to meet the girls, I stopped downstairs at Carla’s salon; she was finding out the sex of her baby that morning. I opened her door but she was with a client in the back. She ran into her lobby still wearing her plastic gloves, which were covering the fists she was throwing into the air as she sang: “I’m having a GIRL!” I gave her a big hug. The thing about Carla is she makes you feel like you are having a girl, too. She makes you just as happy as she is. Francisco gets a sister.

I met Leila and Lola back at Pic-Nic at 3:00pm and we headed into Furnas. I have been to the big pool at Terra Nostra a few times now, but Leila said she really likes Poça de Beija (trans: Puddle of Kiss) which are smaller, hotter pools, so we went there instead. I was talking about how Ernesto always takes us because he really likes the pools but Lina doesn’t like them. Lola ‘fessed up that she doesn’t like them either, she just came to hang out with us. She didn’t even bring her bathing suit. So Leila and I enjoyed the pools. She tried to get me to go into the river where the water is NOT warm at all, but I figured it out after only committing my feet.

 IMG_1540 IMG_1543 IMG_1553 IMG_1545 IMG_1547

We stopped for bolos levedos and papos grossas (which is pudding made with corn that Leila loves and bought for me to try) on the way back at the same place Ernesto always takes us. Leila let me drive her Fiat back to Povoacao. While I was driving we saw the Mira Mar van driving to the Juniors game with John passed out in the front seat. Back in Povoacao, we got coffees at Pic Nic and made more plans to hangout.

The Juniors were playing in the city at 6pm so once I got home I made more zucchini pasta and sauce, and another sweet potato (batata doce) for dessert. John and Ken got home around 9:00pm (the juniors WON! Again!) and after I made pasta and sauce for them, I hit the hay.


Day One Hundred! (um centesimo dia)

Sunday (Domingo)

12 Janeiro 2014

Just as soon as John came home from playing soccer, he was gone again. He had a game in the city and they were taking the team out to breakfast first so he had to be down at the jardim around 9:00am. Romeo and I took our sweet time getting ready, I ate a bolos levedos leftover from yesterday’s trip to Furnas with some PB, and out we went. Romeo came for almost 3 miles with me and then I finished 5 more by myself. I went to lomba do cavaleiro past Mira Mar’s complex (heading towards Furnas) instead of lomba do alcaide. Driving there the day before had reminded me how long it’s been since I ran that way. I was glad I did.

I swept and mopped and wiped the whole apartment down and then I went for my galao. I must have hit the after-church crowd, because shortly after I arrive the place was packed. I went home and took Romeo out (the sun was shining.. it was another beautiful day), and got dinner ready for me and the boys.

I made chicken with rice and vegetables (no rice for me). John and Ken brought a bottle of Jameson home with them because they lost. Again. After dinner we played our version of the game Headbands. We each wrote down the name of a character—fiction or non-fiction—and then passed it to the person to our left, we then stuck the one that was handed to us to our foreheads without looking at it. You could ask as many yes-or-no questions as you wanted on your turn until the answer was “no”, and then it was the next person’s turn. Ken is really good at this game, and John and I are not as good. John had “Bruce Springsteen” stuck to his head for almost an hour. John then rigged the game by giving both Ken and me “Hermione Grainger” and convincing us we weren’t the same person. Douche.

Days 93 & 94.. Plus more thoughts on the New Year

Day Ninety-Three (nonagesimo terceiro dia)

Saturday (Sabado)

4 Janeiro 2014

No running, just gymming. John has a game on Sunday so he just wanted to ride the bike and foam roll. I did some sun salutations to warm up and then did core:

hanging leg raises, decline sit ups, and suitcases @10 x4 rounds. I finished with a 2:00 plank.

We headed to Pic-Nic, of course, where we saw Adam for the first time. He had come back from New Bedford on an overnight flight that was delayed because of all the snowstorms there. We walked home where I cleaned everything. I swept and mopped all the floors and wiped down every fixture in the kitchen and bathroom. We really didn’t have anything else going on.

There was a game on (Arsenal? Liverpool? Maybe it was one of those Manchester teams) and rather than watch it on my MacBook, I convinced John to go back to Pic-Nic. Majiid, Adam, and Filipe were there, too. I mostly burrowed in my computer. I went home before the game was over to make meatballs for meatball subs. I am getting a little too comfortable with the piri piri sauce, so they were kind of spicy but still totally delicious and we ate them with the fresh bread-van papos secos.

I am currently reading Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller which is the second book about the Holocaust that I’ve read since we’ve been here (I also read The Book Thief, which was awesome). I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.


Day Ninety-Four (nonagesimo quarto dia)

Sunday (Domingo)

5 Janeiro 2014

I had dedicated myself to long-run-Sunday and John had a game in Arrifes against Aguia. The weather was kind of crummy when I got up and John took Romeo for a walk. By the time I had a PR Bar and my tea the sun was coming out. I usually don’t eat before I run, but I’ve been reading a lot of those “16 Beauty Resolutions You’re Making Today” and “Eight Weight Loss Mistakes Runner Make” because they clog up my Twitter feed so I might as well. One of the things I read about running and weight loss (not that I’m trying to lose weight, but I certainly don’t want to gain any!) was about running on an empty stomach. I do this all the time. Everyday. I know a lot of people warn against it, but a lot of people get light-headed or nauseous, etc. and I don’t, so I figured it was OK to workout without eating, but this article says no. Rather than burn up excess fat sitting in your body (which I believed I was doing), your body first burns the glycogen in your muscles. Once you’ve burned all that, then you go on to burning fat but your energy plummets and your performance suffers. Shit. So, they say, if you’re going out for more than 30 minutes, you have to fuel-up at least an hour before so as to not burn the glycogen your body needs to keep going. Ok, this I can handle. I will get back to the Beauty Resolutions later. Which I #canthandle.

Today I was planning to do 8 miles, so I probably would have fueled up either way. I took Romeo for a little more than two, finished three down in the vila before I headed for the dreaded lombas. I saw Pedro picking up some kids in lomba do Alcaide. Usually when I see him and I’m running I just wave and blow kisses but I don’t stop. Well, today I was in the middle of a long hill so I stopped and took advantage. He thanked me again for the Benfica scarf we bought him for Christmas. He was so excited to tell me that Benfica has won twice since we gave it to him. I wished the boys in the car “Boa sorte!” and started to run again. A moment later the red car behind Pedro and the Mira Mar van stopped and the driver started talking to me. In Portuguese. “Falas Ingles? Falas Ingles?” “You speak English? You know that man?” he said, pointing to Pedro’s van. “Pedro! Yes, I know Pedro!” I replied, still thankful for the break this man was giving me. “Pedro is my nephew! My name is John!” I stuck out my hand as I said “My name is Liza” but then I remembered my Portuguese manners and gave him the kiss-kiss. “Keep running!” he bellowed as he pulled away.

I underestimated my loop a little bit, but once I topped the lombas it didn’t really matter. I still ran the tree-tunnel road and came down lomba de Loucao. I ended up doing 10.0. Bam.

When I got back, John was already on his way to Arrifes with Mira Mar. I showered and ate some leftover chili and finally headed down to Pic-Nic where I had my one galao and looked at jobs, cars, and car loan rates. I took Romeo for an extra long walk around the whole vila before we snuggled up in bed and waited for John to come home. Earlier, when I pulled chicken out of the freezer to make soup, John said “We can have soup, or we can have our weekly Pic-Nic burgers…. we haven’t had them this week yet,” and I heard: “You don’t have to cook if you don’t want to,” so I didn’t. I read The Storyteller and waited. And waited. Finally, I looked on Facebook to see if anyone had posted the result of the game. Marco had, because everything that happens to or around Marco he puts on Facebook. I saw that Aguia had won 3-1. Marco had written a whole long post and tagged two guys; one I was pretty sure was Mira Mar’s new goalie, and the other one I didn’t know.

I copy-pasted it into google translate and saw that Mira Mar had been up 1-0 but then the goalie had gotten a red card. What luck. Of course he got a red card. This is the goalie’s first game with Mira Mar; he was playing for a team in a better division (one that actually pays players) but told John and I the other day that he wanted to have time for his studies, and is from Povoacao and loves Mira Mar… and aren’t we so lucky? Because the man we call Bolacha (which means cookie) is not a good goalie. We finally got a good one (and he speaks English, and John said “he’s cool” so that can only help Mira Mar become more cohesive, right?). Because he got a straight-red (without a yellow card first) he could face up to a three-game suspension! Awesome. That’s awesome. Apparently, Marco questioned the ref about this call and the ref (who was the other person Marco tagged in his Facebook post) told him he “had to show some cards”.

Because Bolacha is already playing for another team, Cricket (the second string goalie) stepped in to play for the rest of the game. They took John out and Mira Mar fell 3-1. Marco, and at least five other Mira Mar players were awarded yellow cards. One Aguia player got a yellow card. Marco got his for yelling at another teammate and then told the ref if he gave him one more yellow card, he was going to kill him.

I met John at Pic Nic where we ate Pic Nic burgers. We went home and watched Enough Said with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, and Toni Collette. It was James Gandolfini’s last movie before he croaked and P!nk tweeted that she loved it. It was definitely enjoyable.

But back to the 16 Beauty Resolutions [I’m not] Making Today, which I found on The Huffington Post. Seriously, Huffington? I thought you were progressive, but this just goes to show how archaic thoughts and ideologies surrounding women and appearance are still circulating. “You will never leave the house with chipped nail polish.” Really? Never? Well, Huffington Post. Maybe I will.

When I read the first one, which is technically part of the headline, I was intrigued; “You will never ever go to sleep with your makeup on. No matter how sleepy and/or drunk you are.” Now, I am basically guilty of this daily. It is a combination of being lazy and creative. I am too lazy to wash it off and deal with makeup remover, and I don’t want to waste my pricey Mary Kay eye makeup remover on bedtime. I am also now able to wear eyeliner and mascara to the gym without actually putting makeup on. See?? I clean up the raccoon eye, but leave the makeup on for that casual no-I-don’t-wear-makeup-to-workout!-look. Pshhhh.

Now I will continue to not wash my face out of pure defiance. “You will exfoliate your body once a week.” Like, who is this article actually written for? I don’t even have a job or children and this list sounds exhausting. “You will start exfoliating your lips before wearing bright lipstick.” I’m more of a chapstick kinda-gal anyway, so I won’t be partaking in that particular resolution either.

You won’t wait until your toenails are in the worst shape possible to get a pedicure.” Ok, Huff. Two things here: right now I am my own pedicurist and I happen to do them often. When I was gainfully employed and residing in the US I frequented nail salons twice a month. At least. And two, I am a runner, so my toenails (which sometimes only amount to 8 or 9.. or 6) are constantly in the “worst shape possible”. So again, eff off.

You will actually attempt adventurous eye makeup.” Followed by a GIF of a girl wearing bright pink Las Vegas stage makeup. Again I say No Thank You.


Lastly, I give you this: “It’s officially the new year, and you’ve no doubt made plenty of promises to yourself already about what 2014 will hold. But did you forget to amp up your beauty regimen?”

Apparently, being female I am obliged, along with my resolution to be more patient, to also be more beautiful. I’m sorry, Huffington, but I am losing my patience. Now you’ve gone and messed up my real resolution. Damnit.

Day Forty Four…Liza strikes back & Mira Mar takes on Nordeste

Day Forty Four.. (quadragesimo quarto dia) 

Semana Sete

Romeo and I awoke leisurely, I had my tea and put my game face on, and then we went out for our long run, which I guess I have permanently moved to Saturdays. He came for his normal 1.8 mile loop, I dropped him off, chug-a-lugged some water, and headed for the hills. Literally. Not one to let anything or anyone stop me from doing something, I needed to conquer the running path that struck me down last week. After I dropped Romeo I doubled-back through the vila so I would have 3 miles done before I hit the lombas. I ended up stopping back at the apartment at 2.5 miles to drop my phone off. I grabbed it when I dropped Romeo off to take pictures but I hate wearing an armband and I’m not carrying my phone for 8 miles, sorry guys. No pictures.

I headed for the lombas and did my normal turn-off-at-lomba-de-pos-for-respite and then continued onwards. This section of lomba do alcaide is the hardest section of hill running I have encountered here, save for maybe lomba de pomar where I ran my very first run and have not been back since. Once I reach Lina’s street it is basically smooth sailing. I ran all the way to the end of lomba do alcaide this time planning on running my tree-tunnel-gravel-road through to its end. I ran like there might be ice lingering under each step I took, but I did it. The ground was so soft and the rocks jut out so far I found it slightly distracting to my beautiful surroundings because I kept my gaze mostly downward. After about a mile the rocks got smaller, the road levels off its descent, and the terrain is mostly smooth. The tree-tunnel looped all the way around to the very very end of lomba de loucao. There was some more tree-tunnel path that continued on, but I couldn’t tell where it would lead and there were no signs. I hung a left at a house I later described to John as looking like a princess house. Why? He wanted to know. What makes it a princess house? Oh, you know, because it is pink and stone and has turrets. Unlike the other mansions out here which are white and stone with turrets. Seriously.

I was a little hesistent because I wasn’t totally sure this was lomba de loucao because as-per-usual, there were no signs. About a mile–a mile and a half?–after I had turned at the princess house I saw the V-shaped hill I would’ve traveled if I hadn’t taken the tree-tunnel. I was on lomba de loucao. I descended all the way into the vila and after one small loop at the bottom finished 1:45:00. I am calling it 10ish miles because I don’t really know and that sounds good. On a nice flat course I can do 10 in 1:30:00, so this seems reasonable. I feel good, except that it was kind of cold and windy at the top of the lombas and my shirt is not only wet from sweat, but wet from being used as a tissue. #runnerproblems

When I finally made it home the only thing I wanted was Gatorade. GATORADE! How American. I settled for a gulp of John’s peach iced tea and then water. I had a bowl of cereal with soja leite and two peanut butter balls. I don’t like to eat before a long run (unless it’s race day), so I was famished. John wasn’t feeling well, and he has to be at the complex for at least 6 hours tonight, so he was taking it easy. At some point, we walked down to Pic-Nic so he could have a cafe before Pedro picked him up. I had my one galao but when I was done with it, Ricardo brought me another one “on him”. I know he is super nice and likes me and John a lot, but I think this particular gesture has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the peanut butter ball I gave him yesterday. You may think I’m being dramatic, but they are that good.

John went off to find Pedro and I walked home to be domestic. I wanted to make sauce so that when we got home at 11:00pm we could have dinner ready. And I wanted to sweep the house and mop the bathroom floor. And walk Romeo. Then I gathered my things: snacks which consisted of a Lara Bar and Halloween Pretzels, warm clothes, and, of course, my Mira Mar scarf. I headed off for the complex.

Upon not seeing anyone, I walked all the way up to the complex. Which from the bottom is maybe a 5:00 run, so I believe it to be less than a half mile. By the time I got to the top I was down to my tank top and on the verge of sweating. People in the stands probably thought I was crazy because they’ve been wearing long sleeves and floral leggings since October 1st. I settled into a seat in the back and watched the junior game. John and Ken, officially on the roster as coaches, were on the sidelines. I know they have been working hard as coaches to get the juniors to play together. The Mira Mar juniors were playing the Aguia junior team from Arrifes where the senior Mira Mar team played last weekend. It was an incredible game; edge-of-your-seat exciting. They played really well, came from being down 2-0, and tied 2-2. Well, I thought they had tied. Turns out in the 10 minutes I missed one of the Mira Mar players got a red card (third game as coaches and three red cards: one each game) and then the other team scored on the penalty kick. Mira Mar played almost the whole game one man down. They lost 3-2, but I celebrated like it was a tie. Serenela, Marcelo, and his girlfriend showed up somewhere in the middle of the second half. Marcelo got up toward the end of the game and said he was going to get ready. I was so excited—Marcelo never plays, is never even on the roster—“You’re playing?” I asked. “No,” he replied, “But I’m going to put my uniform on and sit my ass over there.”

Mira Mar was sporting there new kits for the new season:


After a 30 minute intermission, the seniors took the field. Since it is the first regular season game, the whole complex was packed. A lot of fans drove from Nordeste, too, including a one-man-band who played the drums 90% of the game.

I sat with Serenela who is from Nordeste and said she wanted both teams to win, but after a few minutes it was clear she was rooting for Mira Mar. Ken will blog in great detail, but the key elements of the game were as follows:

  1. John rolled his ankle five minutes in and limped around for 10, briefly got ice and, deciding he could continue to play, did just that.
  2. Shortly after he stopped limping, he went up for a header near the goal and the goalkeeper accidentally punched him in the nose. He played on. Still.
  3. Ken went up for a header that an opposing player decided to high kick but kicked Ken’s face instead. He played on.
  4. After two incredibly exciting halves, with Mira Mar scoring the first goal then falling 2-1, they tie the game up with 10 minutes to go in regulation time.
  5. Adam came in for John.
  6. 30 seconds left in stoppage time, Adam got a red card.
  7. Game over. Tied 2-2. Crowd went nuts.
  8. John brought Ken over for dinner and announced that we were going to drink beers to celebrate Mira Mar not-losing.
  9. The three of us went to Pic-Nic and celebrated not-losing with 5 colossal beers, 1 small bottle of Heineken and 3 shots.
  10. And drinking games.
  11. Our tab was €8.50.


Day Forty Two… the spiderman crawl

Day Forty Two (quadragesimo segundo dia)

Seis semana

My knee is crusting-up nicely and is just a little tight in the morning. I slabbed some of Carla’s antibiotic cream on my wound to soften it up a little and Romeo and I took off. Now that I am getting better at lomba running, I refuse to lap the vila. I do it with Romeo so he can relieve himself and I can have a level warm-up. I drop him off at what I think is 1.8 (waiting patiently for my GPS watch!!) and head towards lomba de cavaleiro again. I figured I’d do just a minute or two more up the lomba and complete 6.0 miles (ish).

AND I remembered to bring my iPhone.

IMG_0561These are the signs I was talking about. This one is telling me that I’m leaving the vila de Povoacao and then shortly after there is a sign welcoming me to lomba de cavaleiro.IMG_0571

I ran up past Mira Mar’s complex and up past Carla’s mother’s house which is where I turned around on Tuesday.


IMG_0569Mira Mar celebrated it’s 75th year (75 anos).

IMG_0562Here, you can see Mira Mar’s complex from above.

I forged ahead another minute and came upon the church where New England Rush slept on the floor during their first trip in June. After a few pictures were snapped I began my descent.

IMG_0568 IMG_0567

When I got home it was just after 11:30am and John told me he was planning to meet Ken at the gym at noon. My overactive sweat-glands were at it again (if you’ve seen me run, workout, or stand in a warm room, you know what I’m talking about!) and the cream I had put on my knee was running into my sock. I changed and we headed over to ALKE.

We did 3 rounds of 15 each:

  • TRX: (5) flys? flies? (WHAT IS THE PLURAL?), (5) Ys, (5) rows
  • decline sit-ups
  • military press


  • TRX pike to push-up
  • SB leg curls (20)
  • the boys did RDLs but I did deadlifts, because I did some RDLs the other day

I saw one of my friends from ALKE at Pic-Nic on Wednesday and for the purpose of this blog post she shall remain mostly anonymous. I asked her how she liked this week’s workouts and she told me she wasn’t going to say anything (she may have been cited in an earlier blog complaining about the ease of one or two classes….), but she wanted more cardio. This was the first moment of concern I experienced over publicizing our Portuguese life. I didn’t want anyone to behave differently or censor themselves because they were worried about it popping up on the internet, and for the most part (except at the expense of myself or John) I try to be respectful about what I write about others. This definitely gave me pause, but I think what she actually wanted was to not be “that girl” in class who reminds the teacher that they forgot to assign homework, so to speak.

I added extra cardio+strength to last night’s workout with two set of 3:00 of quick feet in place to burpee splats on my word. It was difficult, but everyone was giggling by the end, so at least it was enjoyable. Thursday, I introduced Spiderman crawls:

Yeah. We looked just like that.

We also did 2:00 of cardio+strength work in between each strength round, just for kicks.

John had practice with the seniors and I was experimenting with chicken again. This time I smothered it in barbeque sauce before I added my caramelized onion. It was delicious, but I am buying split chicken breast next week, because I don’t know what I’m doing.

Mira Mar was able to reschedule a regular season game for this weekend, so John will play on Saturday night. His junior team will play at 6:00pm and John and the seniors will have their first regular season game at 8:30pm against Nordeste. #pleasewinpleasewinpleasewin

Day Forty… Pic-Nic burgers and Rui

Day Forty (quadragesimo dia)

Seis semana

I, again, surfaced long before John (don’t worry about him too much, he starts sleeping better tonight and night forty-one). I took Romeo for a stroll, he wouldn’t poop, and when we got back he kept trying to wake John up and I was doing my best to be quiet. I decided to leave Romeo and his antics at home and run by myself. #puppyproblems

As I was saying the other day, I am so done lapping the vila. I took the long way around (up the river past the boys’ apartment) and then down past Toronto Night’s and the high school to lomba do caveleiro. I figured I would at least run to Mira Mar’s complex and see how I felt. I’ve never run this lomba but John and I walked it once to get to a junior’s game and it wasn’t so bad.


It wasn’t so bad. From the bottom of the lomba it took me about 6:00 to get to the complex, so I kept going up. I ended up running to Carla’s mom’s house which took me 15:00. I turned around and ran through the Mira Mar parking lot for a few minutes to make up for the pace differential up:down and then headed back to the vila to finish what I believe to be 4.0 miles. John was just getting up when I got home, and again, we decided to hit the gym in the afternoon. I got cleaned up and we went to Pic-Nic. Before Ken got there, Rui appeared and tried talking to John. I know you have been dying for a visual, so here he is:

 IMG_0502He is writing on the table. This is one of his many means of communication.

Ken showed up and Marco did, too, and they all talked at length about what Mira Mar needs to do to start winning games (because they really need to start winning games). They are supposed to have this upcoming weekend off, but the league is working to move a game up from December against Nordeste to this weekend instead. The juniors have a game Saturday and Mira Mar is hosting the Honor Cup final on Sunday (Micaelense vs. Furnas’ team). I didn’t have too much input, so I went to work on devouring The Art of Racing in the Rain which Bobby told me to read before he left. I am loving it.

We headed home to get ready for the gym. We met Ken there and did weighted squat jumps, plate pull overs, weighted back extensions and then plate swings, tricep pull downs (with cable) and hanging rotational knee tucks. I said I was toast, but when Ken and John decided to finish with a shoulder-arm circuit, I did not sit out. #hardwordworks

John had practice with the senior team and I had class at ALKE, so shortly after we left our workout I headed back. I had 12 ladies. I put them through 6:00 of a push-up circuit and then we did a strength circuit including lateral squat jumps, hand walks, fwd/lat/bkwd lunges, reverse bear crawls, and single leg Romanian deadlifts.

We were having DIY Pic-Nic burgers, so after “work” I cleaned up and headed to Pic-Nic to blog for a little while. I am getting better at planning ahead, so while I made the Pic-Nic burgers and hash browns I began to marinade meat for tomorrow night’s carne asada. Every time I cook this dish it is different and this time I thought I bought chuck beef but it was more like very thin flank steaks. Whatever; after marinading overnight in beer and onions, I’m sure it will be good. Romeo and I went for our nighttime stroll and John came home. After we ate our delicious burgers, I went back to reading. #bookworm


Day Thirty Four… Lomba running

Day Thirty Four (trigesimo-quarta dia)

Cinco semana

Wednesday. What used to be my “day off” has turned into a short run day. However, I wasted my short-run-day yesterday so I could lift with the boys. I took Romeo with me for 1.8 and then headed to lomba de alcaide. This time, I did it without the intention to conquer it, because it is further than 3.2 miles. I got up to lomba de pos and took that as my “break” because it is flat for a while. Then ascends. I play number games with myself while running, especially when hill running. Two more minutes and then I’ll turn around. Fifteen minutes up, and then I’ll run home. After I ran six minutes up lomba de pos which runs alongside a cliff overhanging the ocean (didn’t I say the ascent was always worth it?) I turned around and headed back for lomba de alcaide. I hoofed it up to the bottom of Lina and Ernes’ street, and then booked it back down to the vila. Until the GPS watch from Jackie and Gunter arrives I will not know how far this is, but I think it was 5.0 miles.

John was going to wait until I was back to go to Pic-Nic but I told him to go ahead and meet Ken (we don’t want him to be lonely without Bobby). After I showered, I made my way over. They had already had their galaos and were walking aimlessly when I found them. We went back to Pic-Nic and sat outside in the ridiculously-warm-for-November sunshine. John and Ken strategized about the juniors, who had a game that night against Sao Roque. John and Ken have played against their senior team and lost (see Day Nine). This time, John&Ken (it just doesn’t have the same ring!) were on the roster as coaches, along with Pedro the driver. I was excited to have a night to myself: I planned on eating as soon as I got home from ALKE (instead of waiting three hours) and settling into bed with my book and hitting the hay super early.

John and I scooted to Pic-Nic for one more galao and then he waited for Pedro to take them to the juniors game at Sao Roque. I walked up to Toronto Nights; I had sixteen women in my class. I did isometric-holds immediately followed by similar movements. It was demanding strength-wise, but not cardio. Lola told me it was “soft”. I will get her back on Thursday.

My night-in didn’t exactly go as planned. I got home from ALKE, walked Romeo, and then showered while I made my meat sauce. Ernes gave us a bag of food earlier at the gym. It included canned tuna, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, tri-color rotini, and bolos levedos (because he knows!!!). I used the whole wheat pasta and it was crack. I decided to paint my nails and watch Season 10 of Grey’s Anatomy. Before I knew it, it was 11:45pm and I waited just a few more minutes for John to come home. He ate his pasta and I ate two bowls of Fitness Cereal with chocolate soy milk because I was starving—I’m not used to eating early!!

The juniors lost 10-1. John does something with them that he cannot do with himself or his own team: he is proud of their effort. He says their goalkeeper got a red card 15 minutes in, and they played with a man down. He says they were 3-1 somewhere in the first half, and they finished the first half 7-1. He told them at halftime to think of the second half as a new game, blank slate, 0-0. They lost the second half 3-0 and he told them to be proud. I am glad John & Ken are teaching their players to be so positive, so when they are the senior team the attitudes are different. We all wish the senior team could do the same.