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.

IMG_0216 IMG_0220

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


Day 150.. CARNAVAL!

Day One Hundred Fifty (dia um centena de cinquenta)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

3 Março 2014


I woke up early so I could run 8 miles before the gym—this training run was supposed to happen on Tuesday, but since we were going to Carnaval that night (which was supposed to be an all-night rager) I figured I wouldn’t want to run even one mile the next day. After I finished, I hopped in our car (ooooh, a car!) and went shopping at Fatima’s. John and I met just Ken at the gym—Tori is all set with our gym antics, and who could blame her.

Since it was Monday, the boys did Chest Day. I don’t care as much about Chest Day, and knowing that I was not doing jack the next day, I did Leg Day. We met Tori at Pic Nic for cafes.

I finished mine quickly and then ran home to shower and get ready; we were going into the city since we had a car and it was Tori’s last full day on Sao Miguel. John came home after me and got ready, too. We picked Kori up just after 2:00pm and headed for Ponta Delgada.

I drove and while it was pretty overcast in Povoacao, it cleared up as we drove. I passed someone heading into Furnas and John thought we were all going to die. I lived to tell the tale.


We parked at Portas do Mar where we had lunch. Tori and I had omelets that were made with cooked potato inside (something I had never experienced state-side or abroad) and formed into long, rectangular blocks. They were delicious. John and Ken got burgers and cachorros which are hot dogs covered in mayo, ketchup, and potato sticks on a bun. This is where the cruise ships dock, so all the menus have English translations:

IMG_2051A glass of orgasm, you say?

We walked back to the car and headed for the mall, Parque Atlantico. John drove. After looping the mall once, we went to Continente where I loaded up on healthy snacks (chia seeds, flax seeds, dates, almonds, almond flour…ok, and some chocolates), Tori got chocolates to take back to the states (Kinder Bueno… what else!), while John and Ken stocked up on liquor for the evening activities: Johnny Walker Red Label and ginger ale.

After making our way back to the car, Ken directed us to Pao de Rei, the yummiest bakery. John got a piramides which is literally a pyramid of what tastes like chocolate marzipan covered in chocolate. I don’t know how I have not had this before—it was the most amazing pastry. Ever.

We piled back into the car to drive home—John at the wheel. The sun was just beginning to go down, so the ride was gorgeous.

IMG_2072 IMG_2060

We drove home via the south so we could see the Lagoa de Furnas. We pulled over and looked at all the cooking holes and geysers.

IMG_2082 IMG_2084 IMG_2086 IMG_2087

We stopped again at the teeny foot pool on the side of the road, Poca de Tia Silvina, and put our feet in for a few minutes. When we finally got back to Povoacao it was 8:00pm and completely dark. I was not going to nap anyway, but now there wasn’t much time. We had said we would be at Toronto Night’s around 10:30pm to pregame. While John laid down briefly when we got home, I made peanut butter and protein bars. If I sat down then, I would never make it to 7:00am.


Ken and Tori came over and I was just changing out of my sweatpants. I slid the flapper dress Lina had loaned to me over my head and it clung to me like saran wrap. I hadn’t tried it on before—I just assumed it would fit. It was so tight and so short that if I took more than a few steps I was in danger of breaking the law for indecent exposure. I put a little more make-up and my headpiece on and called it a day. Tori was wearing the same dress that Carla had also loaned to me. John and Ken only used the hats from Joe and Ernesto’s costumes and then dressed to the nines.


We played one round of Kings while drinking (nursing in my case!) whiskey gingers. We got to Toronto around 11:00pm, where there was a full-on dance party already happening. We took several shots and then walked down to the gymnasium before midnight. Yes–the same gymnasium where the boys play futsol.


The party hadn’t really started there yet; the bands were set-up, but the lights were on and a DJ was playing music quietly. We got settled at our table and said hello to people who we recognized. People were dressed up as everything from Dracula (Rui) to Minions from Despicable Me (Candida and Alexandre). There were zombies, and Japanese anime costumes, lots of people in medieval garb, togas, hippies, princesses, and clowns. While there were a few (very few) people not dressed up at all, most people went all-out with their costumes.

IMG_2111Ken, John, me, Lina, Ernesto, and Marco being a creep in the background.

IMG_2110John, Marco and I took our now-traditional “seflie”.

Tori and I decided to hit the bathrooms before the line got out of control. Lina’s dad’s hardware store is right across the street from the gym, so she said we could go there, too. It was still early in the night—the bands still hadn’t started—so we went for it. We only had to wait about 20 minutes before we went xixi and headed back to the party. Because we were drinking, Lina and I almost cried talking about not being near each other anymore when John, Romeo, and I go back to the states. It is not happening soon enough for tears to be anything but hysterical.

 IMG_2121Me, Leila as Rosie The Rivoter, and Lina: CaveWoman.

Once they turned off the lights and the bands started it was mayhem. There were 1,800 people inside the gymnasium and all of them were drunk (except for the children, many people brought their kids). Other than beer, which was for sale, it was BYOB and people brought a lot. It was also BYOS; bring your own snacks. Because it was a marathon, not a sprint, I tried to pound the 5 liter water we brought more than alcohol. I also stuffed my face with all the delicious treats everyone had brought, mostly malasadas which are a traditional carnaval snack. Because I ate (a lot) and drank water, I was still sober when we left at 4:30am.


I had missed a hardware-store-bathroom-trip so I decided to hit the ladies’ room inside the gym alone. Big mistake: I waited in line for an hour and witnessed girls take their shoes off. After I had waited approximately 59 minutes I heard my name being screamed. “LIZA! LIZA!” And then I saw Rosie the Rivoter and Lina: CaveWoman.

Leila and Lina had come to my rescue. Apparently I had been gone for so long, they actually sent out a search crew. At that point—after having waited my turn for so long—I used the confetti-filled but toilet-paper-lacking stall and left with the girls.

We danced, drank, and ate until everyone else was drunk and I was so full my belly hurt. There was a cart outside selling the same cachorros that John and Ken had eaten for lunch. I wanted one so badly, I kept telling everyone I needed to stop snacking so I could fit one in my belly before we left. I took one more bathroom trip with Leila and Luisa, but this time we went across the street to the hardware store. There was no light but Leila had her iPhone. Luisa kept insisting that she was not drunk, but her behavior proved otherwise.

When I got back a little after 4:00am John decided he was ready to go. We gathered our things, said our goodbyes, and headed outside. I had one more line to wait in: I wanted a cachorro. Tori said she absolutely couldn’t eat another bite, so I got three for me, John, and Ken.


We walked home and John said he could’ve eaten another hot dog. I suggested we go back, the night was young!! Since I was sober, I was also totally wired. When we got back I showered (I couldn’t stop thinking about the bare feet in the bathroom… and they weren’t even mine!) and caught up on Words with Friends before falling asleep just before 6:00am.

Days 122, 123, 124, 125.. Rental cars, tattoos, and leftover chestnuts

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

Monday (Segunda-feira)

3 Fevereiro 2014

I got up and moaned about how cold it was. Eventually, after having taken Romeo for his morning stroll, I put my big-girl pants on (figuratively speaking of course, I literally had pants on when I took Romeo out) and went for my run solo.

After my 10 miles the day before, I thought I might be feeling slow. I was not. It may have been me running away from the cold, but I finished my three in just over 25:00, which I was pleased with. John and I got out affairs in order and headed off to meet Ken at the gym.

John wanted to change up his program a little bit—and stay tuned for my new “Fitness” section if you have any interest in what these programs consist of—so I am going to stick with the boys this week instead of creating my own super sets. This day we did:

  • Single arm dumbbell squat-to-OH-press → chin ups
  • Alternating dumbbell bench press → Inverted rows (feet on SB ball)

After feeling like a machine last week doing three sets of 7 chin-ups and one set of 6, I went for 8. I did three sets of 8 and this was my last set:

We did two rounds of core, at 30 reps each: decline sit-up w/weight, SB roll outs, and hanging leg raises. The hardest part about 30 leg raises is holding on to the bar for that long. And while, yes, I do rock the biker chick gloves that Ernesto gave to me (that don’t even match, which makes me more of a boss), I can’t wear them on the bar–they make me slip off. John showed me these wrist-strap-hooks which helped. We went off to Pic Nic.

John was hungry and wanted to go home before going to Fatima’s, but I decided there wasn’t a lot on my list and that I could carry it by myself. Ken and I went off to shop and John headed home.

Majid had already gone shopping for the three of them, so after Ken grabbed a few things for himself, I was on my own. I did my farmer’s walk home.

I finished off the rest of my Couve soup—which will appear under Recipes soon—and started chili for dinner (shameless plug, but will also be under Recipes soon). John had double practices, so I was really only cooking for myself. Since we had finished off the less-than-delicious first batch of Black Bean Brownies, I was excited to try a second attempt. This time I didn’t bother with any sweetener (definitely makes for an acquired taste!) and added the chocolate chips. The end result: delicious unless you get a bite with no chocolate chips.

It was 4:00pm by the time I finally hit the showers. I got ready for my class (these workouts will eventually—hopefully soon—hit my Fitness section) and headed out the door with wet hair. Mistake: It was cold out.


For whatever reason, I was missing a few solid regulars. More than a few, like 5 of them! And the girl who taught these classes last year was in town visiting (she lives on a different Azorean island now, Terceira) and came to my class. These classes last year were much different than the cardio-strength circuit style I do. They were aerobics. I was feeling a little lame since there were so few people, but then she was challenged by all the strength and said she really liked it. So that felt good.

I went home and ate my chili and my non-sweet brownies and Skyped with my cousin. My mom made a comment about how much Meg and I had Skyped recently, but we were roommates for more than 2-and-a-half years. We used to come home everyday to each other and knew everything that went on with each other. It’s almost like that when we get to Skype for an hour and just catch up on the minutiae of each others lives. It makes me feel less far away.

After we Skyped I took Romeo out, read, and then John came home. He had a good practice with the juniors and got to do a lot of performance training with the seniors. A good time was had by all.


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

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

4 Fevereiro 2014

I woke up to my alarm (which I obviously don’t set because I have anywhere to go, just because I don’t like to sleep all day) as well as the sound of rain. And wind. Oh yeah, that 5.0 mile Fartlek I’m supposed to go out and do? Definitely going down later. I was hoping to get it done before the gym because it is leg day.

Instead of getting out of bed to run, I stayed there until Romeo let me know that he had to go out. We went for our stroll, came back, John got up, and we hit the gym at 10:30am. Ken showed up like 20 minutes later—he runs on his own time in the morning. This was sort of on the early side for us, but John & Ken had appointments to get tattoos! I am super jealous and wanted to go with him, but I have another phone interview. I will go next time.

The new Mira Mar goalie is taking John and Ken to his friend’s tattoo shop in Ribeira Grande (which is halfway between Povoacao and Ponta Delgada).



We warmed-up, stretched out, foam rolled and then got to work.

  • Front squat to box jumps
  • Lateral step-ups to single leg RDLs

Our core routine for Tuesday is usually suitcases, leg lifts, and side bends, but we maxed-out for time last week. So, we decided to do a plank circuit: :45 each center, right, and left, :45 rest. Three rounds.

We went home so John could shower (I stayed dirty because I still had to do my Farlek, but the sun was shining by this point) and then we met back up at Pic Nic where they were going to get picked up. John also brought our empty propane tank downstairs so I could get a new one. After I had a cafe, I scooted home to get Romeo.

My first Fartlek. After a one mile warm-up, with Romeo, which turned into at least 1.25 because I paused my watch when he stopped to do his business by Casa Cheia and I must not have hit the button again. I happened to check my pace around the Zoo (about three blocks later) and it was still paused. Damnit.  I saw some of John’s junior players and I almost asked them to run up and down the street holding my watch to make up the difference. #runnerproblems

After I dropped Romeo off I set my Tabata for 3:00 of work and 2:00 of rest, for 6 rounds. The coaches at Nike said I was supposed to run faster for 3:00 and then slow down for 2:00 during the three miles after my warm up. I had never done a fartlek before, and I have to say I loved it. The 30:00 I had set my Tabata for took me until about 4.2 miles and then I took the remainder as a cool down.

When I got home I noticed that the propane tank was new. I won’t lie—my first thought was that John brought down a full one without noticing. But, no way, because it’s like wayyyyy heavier than an empty one. Then I thought maybe Carla had seen it and called the gas guy for us (that is totally something she would do). So I ran upstairs (after I lugged that friggan thing inside; I was going to try to bring it upstairs, but decided to leave it for John), grabbed 20 euros, and went down to Carla’s salon. Carla had no idea what I was talking about and said she hadn’t called him. Then she asked if I left an empty one outside, and I said yes. “Oh,” she said, “then the guy took it and gave you a new one.” Without any money? “He’ll come back for the money—he probably thought it was mine.” ONLY ON AN ISLAND DOES THIS HAPPEN. And that is what I told her, “Oh, that would NEVER happen in the States!” I still gave her the money for when he came back.

I had another favor to ask her. My battle against Romeo’s fur has continued. I sweep (and/or John sweeps) daily, and the fur doesn’t stop. It just keeps coming and coming. Also, his nails are out of control. He doesn’t jump on me, but when he plays with John and Ken he jumps on them. Also if anyone in the outside world acts excited to see him, he jumps. And scratches.

Since we are renting a car for when my parents are here this coming weekend, I figured we could get it a day earlier and drive Romeo to the groomer in Ponta Delgada that Carla used for her dog. I asked if she wouldn’t mind calling and making an appointment for Romeo. She didn’t mind. She even made sure the guy spoke English and told him we, and our dog, were American. Romeo is going to get groomed. #thankyoujesus

Once all that was done I finally went back upstairs to shower and eat. Then I went out to rent the car and get some body lotion at Casa Cheia. When I was leaving our apartment I saw Lina was in Carla’s salon. They were on their way to Pic Nic for a galao, did I want to join them? Twist my arm.

We went down to Pic Nic and leisurely enjoyed our coffees. Eventually I did go off to rent a car at 7 Lombas which is inside the pet store. The pet store where the woman speaks English and loves Romeo. This is not the same woman I rented a car from the first time. I told her I wanted it for 5 days, and I wanted the cheapest one. She told me it would be 106 euros and I could pay when I dropped it off and the end of the five days. #islandlife Only on an island the size of the Houston would this happen. Sometimes I don’t even believe it. But, it’s true. Actually, I think Sao Miguel might be small than Houston.

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 9.25.00 AM Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 9.25.15 AM

After I stopped quickly at Casa Cheia, where I never can just grab what I went in for (it’s like Target for me in this way), where I bought body lotion, guava paste, coconut milk, instant coffee, and fabric softener sheets—did I mention our static cling is out of control? Because it is. Sometimes I can’t find a sock when I go to fold the laundry and it’s always stuck to a Dri-Fit shirt or running tights. John’s shirt stick to him like white-on-rice. I found a sock inside my running tights the other days but not until I tried to sit down. I thought maybe there was something on my chair. Nope. Tried to sit again, felt another lump under my thigh. Oh, it’s a (clean) sock. Obviously.

When I got home I got settled in for my phone interview which I will tell you went very well. The more I spoke to the interviewer the more I wanted the job, and we agreed on a lot of practices and philosophies for the job which I’m applying. I am very hopeful. And while it is (or could be, cross your fingers!) full-time, the hours are awesome and I’d still be able to coach, personal train, and still have time to run for myself.

I took Romeo out for a stroll, left John a note, and headed for ALKE. I had a few more women than the night before, but I think I have lost a few regulars. This is sad, but I still have an awesome group of ladies who do come. A few new ladies have become regulars; a few who struggle because they haven’t worked out in a while (but refuse to give up!), but I have one who came out of nowhere and is kicking serious ass. Both types are fun to work with.


I came home to Romeo and a note from John. He was very happy with his tattoo and would be home after practice. I set out to make chicken lettuce wraps. They were bomb.


I also did a lot of thinking about my friend Krista’s comment on my Facebook about starting a recipe book. I decided the best way to go about this new venture would be to add a section to my already robust blog about it. Now I can separate out my posts into different sections.

I Skyped with my old roommate Cathy from California and since she announced it on Facebook today I guess it’s OK to say that she and her hubby are expecting a little one in August. I am so excited. In fact, even though I already knew, I cried when I saw the announcement pictures on Facebook.

I took Romeo out again and then went back to working on my new blog. I always think I’m computer-savvy until I try to do anything remotely different that what I’ve already been doing. This took me far longer than it should have.


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

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

5 Fevereiro 2014

When I woke up the wind was out of control! It was easily just as bad as during Sunday afternoon’s Mira Mar game. Forty MPH for sure. (OK, so said 29 MPH).

I waited it out for a little while, and then took off for my “easy, comfortable pace” 5.0 mile run. Not thirty-seconds out the door and it started pouring. Awesome, who doesn’t love sideways rain? Right?

Romeo didn’t even want to go out so I let him be. I figured he would wake John up when he really needed to go out.

I contemplated turning around, but I was already soaked so I chose to stay committed. And the thing about wind is, yeah, half the time it is in your face, but the other half it’s pushing you forwards from behind, and that’s not so bad.

The rain eventually let up and I finished my run—but not before the wind literally almost swept me off my feet by the water. If you’ve never experienced this feeling before, it is truly incredible. It reminded me of a backpacking trip I took in high school to Mt. Madison in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We were hiking a ridgeline and had to to turn around because some of us lightweights were having trouble staying on the ground the wind was so intense. Keep in mind we had at least 30lbs. on our backs to boot!

Five miles in the bag. As soon as I got home I immediately put on clean workout clothes (which is one of the mind tricks I use to keep myself going when I’m running; “It’s going to feel so good to go home and put on dry clothes! Keep running!”). John was up and still Romeo was lounging. I bought corn flour on Monday at Fatima’s and I’d been dreaming of making gluten-free banana bread ever since, so I set off to bake in my dry clothes.

photo 1 

John took Romeo out and we were planning on heading to the gym around 12:30pm. When John got back from his walk he remembered that Serenela has asked him to be the referee at some basketball tournament in the gymnasium at 1:30pm. He took off to the gym and I stayed behind with my bread; I would hit up ALKE later. They no longer close midday on Wednesdays because they have that intern.

Since there was a massive snow storm (and yet another snow day!) going on in Massachusetts, I got to Skype for a long time with my BFFL, Anna. She works from home a lot, but she was taking the morning “off” since everyone else was enjoying a snow day. She called me up and it was almost, almost, like sitting right in the kitchen with her. Technology is a beautiful thing.

I finished my Honey Banana Cornbread (shameless plug for my new blog format) which was bomb. I think I could have cooked it a little longer, as it came out looking nice and fluffy but then settled into a more dense loaf. Banana bread has this tendency anyway, but I think cooking it longer might have helped a bit. Either way, totally nutritious and delicious. Win-win.

I also made more PB balls. This time I used slivered almonds and chia seeds, and skipped the chocolate chips.


By the time I finished my bread and making an epic salad bowl for lunch, catching up with Anna, and sweeping up Romeo’s fur (again), it was already 2:30! I had told John I would try to get down to the gymnasium to see a game, but I hadn’t even hit the gym yet. I quickly gathered my things and walked to ALKE (in the rain. because it was raining. again.).

Since they’re usually closed during this time, the place was empty. Just me, the intern—Alexandre—and two guys in the locker room on their way out. How did I know there was two guys in there? The locker rooms and the gym are small, and the walls don’t exactly leave anything to the imagination. I foam rolled a lot, did my yogi-warm-up, and then did a 10-down which inspired my workout for class that night:

  • 10 push-ups to 10 alternating V-ups each leg
  • 9 push-ups to 9 alternating V-ups… and so on. I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish.

Then I did a shoulder-arm circuit for two rounds. First round I did 10 reps of every exercise I could think of, second round I did 5 reps. Done-zo.

I walked home in the sun, showered, and shortly after that John got home. I started sauce for dinner, John took Romeo out, Ken came over, and we stopped by Pic Nic. John and Ken were hoping that the Real Madrid game was on, but Benfica was playing. The world stops here when Benfica is playing. This coming weekend Mira Mar’s game schedule changed because Benfica is playing. No one else plays when Benfica is playing.

I continued on to Toronto Night’s where I took the ladies through 5 different 10-down supersets. One of my diehards finished early so I gave her 50 navy seals as a bonus. Her mom is also a diehard, and during a round of burpees she looked at me with a smile on her sweaty face and said “I hate this”. But did she stop? No. Did she stop smiling? Not even a little. I love these women.


I got home and John and Ken were watching the Real Madrid game on my computer and boiling water for pasta. We all ate dinner (I tried my sauce on raw zucchini pasta…. not as delicious as sauteing it. I need a spiralizer), and then we headed out on a re-con mission.

My parents arrive Saturday morning and stay for three nights. We only have one bed, but the guys have an extra bed in the room where Bobby had lived when he was here. John and I asked Ken if we could “borrow” it for the weekend. We walked up to his apartment, gathered up all the sheets, but left the mattress. John and Ken will move it Thursday night.

John and Ken tied up the sheets like a Hobo bag and I carried them home while they went off to play futsol. I began washing all the bedding that hadn’t been cleaned since before Bobby left in November.

I tried to recreate a “clean-eating” Pinterest dessert which consisted of blending together frozen bananas, PB, and vanilla (I substituted cinnamon). I ate it with a piece of my banana bread–I think I will try it again without peanut butter.



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

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

6 Fevereiro 2014

The weather was poor and only got worse the longer I was awake. I managed to walk Romeo without getting too wet but then decided against running as the rain picked up. I blogged some of my recipes and eventually John got up. As we were getting ready for the gym the doorbell rang. I ran down the stairs but there was no one at the door. I peaked my head around and found Carla’s door open. “Liza!” she said from inside her salon, keys hanging from her open door, “I have something for you!”

Since we were going to the city on Friday to get Romeo groomed I told her I would get her some dog food for her Honey. She gave me some euros and also an empty granola bar wrapper. “Can you look for these?” she asked me. Of course—that is what friends are for. She made the appointment for Romeo, the least I could do what get her some pregnancy-snacks (not the dog food.. hahaha).


I went back upstairs and we walked to the gym where we met Ken and did all upper-body. I did my warm-ups and stretched, but I could not warm-up—the humidity makes it feel colder than it really is. By this time, it had stopped raining. We all did the first superset together, but did different variations of the second one, and all did core together:

  • weighted dips to military press
  • bent row to plate pullovers (or cable flys or preacher curls)
  • Tabata, :30 on / :15 off, three rounds: mountain climbers, toe touches, internal rotation mountain climbers, penguins.

We walked to Pic Nic where I chugged a galao and put my game face on to run. As soon as we walked in our apartment door I got a message from Lina: “You guys home?” I told her we were, and that I was headed out to run but that John was home. She said she had leftover lunch from friend’s day.

In Portugal they celebrate Valentine’s Day, Girlfriend’s Day, and Guy Friends’ Day. Thursday was Guy Friends’ Day and Lina had served her dad and his friends, Ernesto, Emanuel, and many others a great big lunch at Toronto Nights. While I was out running (4 miles; three “easy” and the last one “faster”) Lina brought over chicken, fish, sausage stuffing, garlic bread, rice, roasted chestnuts (my flipping favorite thing), and the best coleslaw I’d When I got back John told me she brought over “a bunch of stuff you can’t eat”. I had about a dozen chestnuts and then made a big fat salad with the chicken and an apple over lettuce and whatever other veggies I had in the fridge. It was all so delicious. I was saving the coleslaw for a dinner treat.

After I ate and showered I went to pick up some veggies at the fruit market and grab our rental car before class. The woman at 7 Lombas rent-a-car spoke such good English that I asked her where she was from. Canada. She has been living in Povoacao almost 11 years. While she said that she liked living here, she seemed surprised when I said we loved it here. She gave me the key and I went to drive home.

The ride is actually longer than the walk because of the one-way streets. It also took me a solid 10-minutes to park on our packed street. The car (a tiny, tiny Hyundai) seemed like it would fit in any number of spots, but when I went to park it I thought I kept hitting curb. Or car. I got nervous and drove until I could pull into a spot. It was only later I realized the noises I heard which I confused with impact were actually the power steering reaching it’s limit. Good to know.

I went off to class and John went off to practice, then burgers at Pic Nic, beers at Cesar’s, and finally a mattress re-con mission at Ken’s (in honor and celebration of Friends’ Day).


I came home and made veggies for dinner to which I added some of Lina’s leftover chicken, which I enjoyed with a side of the best coleslaw ever. I told Lina it was my Friday night treat. It was not until the middle of the next day that we both realized it had been Thursday when I said that.

I also made more clean-eating “ice cream” with frozen bananas, a little soy milk, honey, and cinnamon. After I blended it in my food processor, I added a handful of slivered almonds and a handful of corn flakes as topping. It was delicious–and having been dairy-free (not counting galaoes) for over a year, it was really nice to have a bowl of ice cream. Or frozen-banana-soy-milk-mush. But, what’s in a name?

I cleaned in preparation for my parents’ impending visit, painted my nails and watched Grey’s Anatomy, did laundry, and read until shortly before John & Ken showed up around 1:00am with the mattress in tow. Very good.

Days 115, 116, 117, 118. Hair clippers, YouTube yoga, poolside parties and homemade tea.

I would like to preface this post by saying that since I have been adapting my lifestyle (not really “dieting” since the foods I cut out I don’t plan on eating again) my posts center even more around food than they did before. Which, I know, is hard to imagine. I’m trying to stay away from mostly all processed foods, most grains, and all dairy (haha, except galaoes don’t count. You know that). Not only do I feel better, I am losing some kgs. I am controlling portions, too, because I’m trying to lose some extra lbs, but after I am done losing, I will keep the diet the same and just increase the calorie count. The end.

Day One Hundred Fifteen (dia um centena de quinze)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

27 Janeiro 2014

 Monday morning: I ran with and without Romeo for 4 miles. The sun was shining and it was at least 60F out. I took some pictures on my run (because I never do!) and Lina posted a picture in the afternoon of Ernesto sunning himself by the pool. In a bathing suit. It was that warm.

 IMG_1674 IMG_1684 IMG_1687 IMG_1691

I got home and then John and I moseyed over to the gym to meet Ken. John has been waiting (pretty) patiently for a pair of clippers his mom shipped to us. When we got packages on Friday he hid his disappointment well, but I knew he really wanted to cut his hair. Fortunately, when we arrived at the gym there was another package! From Judi! Hallelujah.

There were a lot of people at the gym. It could be because it’s January, or it might have something to do with Ernesto’s new intern, who is also Candida’s boyfriend. When I first met her, she told me he was like a model. I won’t argue.

Because it was so packed, we split up and changed our routine around a little bit. I did:

  • Single leg RDLs to reverse lunges
  • Single arm squat-to-OH-press to chin-ups
  • core: hanging leg raises, decline sit-ups, SB roll outs x3 rounds @20 reps

Maybe because we were doing pull-ups for a few weeks, or maybe it was letting John assist me, but I did three sets of 7 chin-ups and one set of 6 (by myself!). I felt like a machine. Maybe it’s my new Gluten-free Edge. Ha!

We headed off to Pic Nic and were planning to go shopping later in the afternoon; I had a second phone interview with the undisclosed-company-in-Arlington. However, when we got to Pic Nic I had an email from the girl I was supposed to call that said she was out sick. No worries, I have all the time in the world (well, almost). So after galaoes, we headed to Fatima’s.

We stopped at home to drop off the hair clippers and grab Romeo. John hung out outside Fatima’s while I grabbed our essentials. While Fatima was ringing me up, I noticed the bread van outside. I hollered, “John! The bread van!” I don’t even eat bread, but the smell is actually intoxicating. A few minutes later, the bread van driver opened the back. I handed John a euro and he got some fresh papos secos. Holy yumminess.

After we got home and unloaded the groceries I ate lunch and showered. I headed off to the fruit market and Antonio’s for a few more things. I decided to indulge and buy myself the 6 box of chia seeds I’ve been eyeing, along with brown rice, oats, and sesame seeds. After having gone to the fruit market, I was 0.15short on my tab at Antonio’s! I tried to take a pepper out of my bag, but the cashier said it was fine. #islandlife

While I was attempting to farmer’s walk my 5L agua and 6 full shopping bags back to the apartment, I saw John. JOHN! He turned around and helped me carry the bags. He was on his was back from DAP (the electronic store where I got my hair dryer). He had gone to use his clippers and realized the voltage was too much. He asked Lina and she told him he could get a converter at DAP. After about an hour of playing around with the converter, messing with the power switch on the clippers, and literally pulling his hair out, he gave up. I went back to DAP to return the converter and just buy a pair of clippers. Yes. We could have gone down to DAP and bought clippers that are made for Northern European outlets and voltage and not had John’s mom go through the trouble of shipping them and then having to wait for them. But, we didn’t and so here we are.

The very nice English-speaking woman at DAP told me her husband would have to make sure we didn’t blow up the converter before she would let me return it. No problem, except for that he wasn’t there. I asked her if I could just buy the clippers. No, come back later, she said. So, I went home. About half-an-hour later I went back, and after at least 15 minutes of her poking around on the computer, doing some math, and finally ringing up the clippers, she asked me for my name. I tried to spell it for her, “Eliza. E-L,” but she was too confused. I said, you know what? Here’s my license. You can just read it. She picked up my license and I pointed to my name. “OH!” She says, recognition spreading across her face. “E-leeee-za! El-ee-za!”, as if I had been saying my name wrong before and she had just discovered the correct pronunciation. I tried to explain, “Yes, we say ‘Eliza’ in America, and you say ‘E-lee-za’ here in Portugal. It’s Eliza.” But she wasn’t having it. Funnily enough, “Duddy” she had no problem with.

I scooted home with the clippers and John went off to coach the juniors. I changed and headed over to Toronto Night’s for class (back upstairs in the banquet hall!). I had eight ladies who absolutely killed it for 60 minutes. I am going to miss them.


IMG_1696 IMG_1697 IMG_1698

Lina sent me home with a giant container of soup and a handful of lemons to squeeze into it. They were orange, but she swore up and down that they were lemons.

When I got home I started dinner. I had bought some fresh couve at the fruit market earlier, so I sauteed up some onions and garlic and then put the couve in to wilt. I cut up some chicken breast and added that, too. In my ongoing effort to stay away from starchy foods I made brown rice to which I added half a head of cauliflower rice (which is so bland on it’s own) and then scooped some of the onion & garlic mix into it before I put the couve in. I made plain white rice for John. My brown rice/cauliflower rice mix was bomb. John’s was a little too plain so he added some soy sauce. We ate when he got back from practice.

As soon as we were done eating John opened his new clippers and set off to finish the haircut he had started earlier in the afternoon. He had been able to clean it up enough before he left for practice so it didn’t look too botched. After he finished his hair and showered, he asked if I wanted to go to Pic Nic for a cappuccino. It seemed like it had been a long time since he’d been home early enough to do anything except for go to bed. I changed from my scrubbiest sweatpants into my going-out sweatpants and out we went. I got an orange & cinnamon (laranja e canela) tea and John got his vanilla cappuccino. Monica was the one working at Pic Nic and she noticed my cough. She asked me if I was sick, and I told her it was just a cough and that it was only bad at night. She said people here make a special mint tea that makes you better and that you can’t buy it in stores—people make it at home. She told me she would bring me some the next time she was at work. Ken thinks she doesn’t like him, but she and I share the same indifference toward professional soccer, so we get along just fine.


Day One Hundred Sixteen (dia um centena de dezesseis)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

28 Janeiro 2014

I got up and ran 5 miles without Romeo—sometimes it is just easier that way. When I got back, John and I got ready for the gym. We met Ken and totally split up. I was totally dragging, but I did:

  • rotational cable pulls to lateral squats
  • barbell bent row to back extensions

We got back together do to core, tabata-style, at the end. We had been upping our reps on this set, but would’ve been at 40 x3 rounds this week, so we switched it up. Three rounds :45 on, :15 off: leg lifts, suitcases, side plank w/dips R&L. Dead.

We headed off to Pic Nic and then Ken came over for lunch and a haircut. They heated up Lina’s soup and I made a wicked big salad bowl for lunch, which reminded me of my mom. My mom is probably one of the healthiest eaters I know, but she’s also known to throw a bunch of shit (seeds, fruit, berries… etc) in a bag or bowl and just munch on it, kind of like a bird. Her idea of a “meal” is probably different than yours. I took the leftover salad from the night before (romaine, tomatoes, cukes, and shredded carrots) and added to it the last blob of my homemade hummus, a chopped apple, and two hard-boiled eggs (which the boys informed me smelled like farts). Topped with red wine vinegar and EVOO.


It was delicious.

John turned the bathroom into JB’s Barber Shop. I didn’t get a ‘before’ pic, but he did a really good job with Ken’s hair. Tomorrow he’s cutting Majid’s hair—he’s going to give the barber a run for his money.

 IMG_1707 IMG_1709

After Ken’s hair was finished, John and I took Romeo for a walk. I wanted to make granola later, so I needed to go shopping. While there is not a ton of “health food” in Povoacao, Antonio’s has a nice little section. They have brown rice, oats, sesame seeds, goji berries, whole wheat pasta, some digestive cookies, and my 6 box of chia seeds. I bought some sesame seeds, raisins, shredded coconut, almonds, and walnuts. I spent 16. Worth it.

After we walked Romeo around the vila we headed home, where I finished making sauce for dinner. John had practice, so after we ate our early-bird special dinner he headed off to the guys’ apartment and I headed off to ALKE. I am officially addicted to zucchini pasta and am going to buy a spiralizer or spirooli as soon as we get back to the States.


I worked out with the ladies in class and then headed home to shower, make granola, walk Romeo, and indulge in a little Grey’s Anatomy. It was the one where Callie gets sued by an ex-Olympic-athlete-turned-double-amputee for malpractice. Depressing.


  • 1c oats
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • ½ tbs cinnamon
  • 1/4c shredded coconut
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs canola oil

I baked it at 350 for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. It didn’t look done to me, so I cooked it for a little bit longer. I added ¼c raisins, ¼c slivered almonds, and ¼c walnuts after I baked it, because I made some without nuts for JB. I also wasn’t sure if baking the raisins would make them taste funny.


Day One Hundred Seventeen (dia um centena de dezassete)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

29 Janeiro 2014

I got up and ran 4 with Romeo before breakfast. I dropped him off about halfway through. I had my granola with soy milk and a banana when I got back. Other than the fact that it didn’t really clump together very well—so it was just a bunch of nuts and seeds floating around aimlessly—it was really good. I guess I could’ve used more honey to get bigger clumps. I hopped in the shower and eventually John got up. He quickly got ready and headed to cut Majid’s hair. I was just getting another loaded salad bowl together and we decided to go to Pic Nic after we were both done.

I meant to put black beans and chickpeas in my salad, but I accidentally opened white beans instead. So it was about 1/3c black beans, 1/3c white beans, red & green pepper, cukes, tomato, shredded carrots, on top of lettuce. EVOO and red wine vinegar. Delish. John came home with Ken and ate the last few bites of it before we went to Pic Nic.


The boys had decided to go the gym and do some arms, but I was planning on doing some YouTube yoga and going for a second run. After feeling good last week doing two runs on Wednesday, I decided that I would do it again for my longish-mid-week-run.

When I got home I did some dinner prep, and John came home shortly after. I was making fried rice for dinner and I had forgotten to buy frozen veggies. So, after John showered we took Romeo for a stroll to go get some. We got back around 4:00pm and I made John’s fried rice so he could eat before the juniors game. Other than not having sesame oil, I thought this Pinterest recipe came out really well. I used canola oil and threw about 1 tsp of sesame seeds in it for a few minutes before I added the onion and garlic. After John ate I did 30 minutes of YouTube yoga (still struggling to find a full length vinyasa/flow class that I like.. suggestions are welcomed and encouraged!) and then went for the second half of my 8 mile run. I felt good: not sore or achey, but I was dragging for sure. I headed off to teach.


After class I took Leila to the gym; her IT band has been bothering her for at least a week and she can hardly walk down the stairs after class. I showed her how to foam roll and she looked like she was going to cry so I knew she was doing it right.

 IMG_1769This is a really old picture of my cousin, in our old apartment in Newton, demonstrating proper foam rolling technique.

When I got back I made my fried rice with my cauliflower & brown rice mix and it was delicious. And super easy—especially since I had already cooked and diced the chicken and made my “rice” ahead of time. I am really hoping to become an efficient cook when we get home so we can continue to eat whole foods and stay away from processed foods. We shall see.


After I ate, showered, and walked Romeo, I headed back out towards the gymnasium to watch John play futsol. I watched him play for about fifteen minutes before it was his turn to sit out. He say for about five minutes before he gathered his belongings and said his goodbyes. He was done.

We walked home together and got ready for bed. I also made some chia seed pudding for breakfast the next day.



Day One Hundred Eighteen (dia um centena de dezoito)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

30 Janeiro 2014

I got up and ran four with (and without) Romeo after eating my new favorite breakfast: chia seed pudding. Since I finally spent the six euros on the damn seeds, I might as well enjoy them. Half a cup of soy milk (if you have access to coconut or almond milk, use that!) and 3 tablespoons of chia seeds. I put one teaspoon of honey in to sweeten it, and it ended up tasting like tapioca or rice pudding. But healthier. I topped it with a banana and cinnamon. #eatcleantrainmean


John and I walked over to meet Ken at the gym. John convinced Ernesto to do our Friday circuit workout with us. Today, I did:

  • Dips to bench plate pullovers
  • Single arm lateral raise to goblet squats
  • Our core workout (burpees, SB pikes, and hanging rotational knee tucks) were supposed to go up to 20 reps this week. Instead, we did them for time.

I know it takes me about a minute to do 20 burpee SPLATS, so I started with a minute. I quickly realized I could not do 1:00 of SB pikes, so I did :45 (still wanted to die) and :45 of hanging rotational knee tucks.

I did three rounds, and since I finished before the boys, and was completely drenched from my sunshine-y run and gym training sesh, I ran home to shower before meeting up with them again at Pic Nic. Monica gave me a big bag of dried herbs and told us how to make tea out of it. It smelled like mint and looked like lavender. I just hoped it would help me sleep—my cough is totally absent during the day and then right around 9:00pm it is unstoppable. I have been up every night this week.

After Pic Nic, John and I headed home where I made absolutely nothing for dinner. John said he was going to grab a banana before practice and eat when he got home, but he didn’t even do that.

Because it was so incredibly warm out, we decided to head over to Lina’s mom’s house and lay out by the pool. Ernesto was already sunning himself when we got there–Ken had gone home first and we arrived at the pool before him. John and Ernesto tricked him into thinking they’d already jumped in the pool, and Ken had to as well. Sure enough he jumped in the (unheated) pool. In January. He heard John cackle as he hit the water, and when he resurfaced said, “You guys didn’t really go in, did you?!”

IMG_1727 IMG_1728 IMG_1733


Ernesto brought us a whole ton of fruit from their orchard while we were there; bananas, oranges, guava. And then he brought something we’d never seen. They were like really sour/bitter cherries, inside of tiny paper lanterns.

IMG_1732 IMG_1731

I went off to teach and after class Lina asked me if I wanted to go to the city for lunch the next day. She had to drop her daughter off for her last exam of her first college semester. I happily agreed and then went home and made my super egg scramble for dinner. Leila didn’t show up for class and I got nervous I had made her leg worse by forcing her to foam roll. Either that or she was afraid I was going to make her do it again.


I was trying to use towels (DTT = Darque Tan Towels) to recreate a slideboard, but it was a fail. I had them do stability ball knee tucks instead. I must find another alternative.

I contemplated making the tea before John got home, but I knew he wanted to try it, too. I got in bed and read my newest book This is Where I Leave You (will be a major motion picture this year with Jason Bateman) since I finished And the Mountains Echoed (good but very complicated). John got home and we made the tea. I decided not to scoop out the herbs and just used a spoon to hold it back while I slurped—I choked on a bud, coughed all night and didn’t sleep a wink. John took it and slept like a baby. For real?

108, 109, 110, 111… Chinese food, double runs, and outdoor obstacle courses

I have been completely unmotivated to write this week, but here is my best effort. Before my final edit, this is basically what I had down:

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 8.13.47 PM

Day One Hundred Eight (un cem oitavo dia)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

20 Janeiro 2014 (Lina’s birthday!)

I got up and ran four miles alone. When I got back we got ready and headed for the gym. John has been doing a lot of reading about strength training and he convinced me to try assisted chin-ups. This is a big deal. If you know me, you know I hate help. When I did the Tough Mudder last year with John’s sister and her fiance I did all but one obstacle by myself. It is supposed to a “team effort”. Guess I’m not really a “team player”. At the FH we had large resistance bands that we could put on the squat racks for pull ups, but in this instance I put my toes on John’s thigh. It went very well. I did:

  • Single Arm squat–OH press to assisted chin ups
  • Single leg RDLs and lateral lunges
  • Hanging leg raises, decline sit up, SB roll outs

We headed to Pic Nic for galaoes then to Fatima’s for groceries. In my best effort to eat well (including eating breakfast) I made a ridiculous egg lunch with sauteed onions, zucchini, and ham. Which in the first draft I had written as “crack lunch deliciousness”:


I made more homemade hummus, but this time I didn’t take the time to skin the chickpeas and aside from taking way longer to blend in my ghetto food processor was totally delicious and I’m never going through all that trouble again. John and Ken said they were going to cook dinner for me for a change. I had a phone interview for a job in Arlington (I’m not able to disclose my homecoming date, but I can tell you it is sometime between when my parents leave and April 27th–a.k.a the Nike Women’s DC Half). The boys ended up having to go coach the juniors’ practice. John had facebook messaged the president, Betinho, and asked him if they had practice but he hadn’t responded.

This is how small a town this is: at 4:00pm John and I were walking home from the Fruit Market, which is next to Mira Mar’s office. One of the senior players ran out and said “Hey John! I’m supposed to tell you the juniors are practicing today”. They practice at 6:00pm. Soon after they left for practice I left to teach class.


After we finished Lina served us all fruit from her orchard (oranges, banana, and guava) while we sang Happy Birthday.

IMG_1616 IMG_1617

I Skyped with my sister-cousin Meg until the boys called me for dinner. They made a saffron chicken with mushrooms and onions and a side of baked zucchini. They also made rice but starch is not on my intake-guide right now. I didn’t even do the dishes.


Day One Hundred Nine (un cem nono dia)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

21 Janeiro 2014

I went out to run 5 miles and I saw Carla cleaning her salon windows. All of a sudden Carla looks very pregnant! (But not your nose, don’t worry!) She is 19 weeks. We decided to take Lina out for a birthday lunch in the city on Wednesday. When I got back from running, John and I took off to meet Ken at the gym:

  • Single arm bent row to rotational cable pulls
  • FWD lunges to deadlifts
  • leg lifts, suitcases, side bends; 3 rounds @ 35 reps each

When Ernesto saw me doing my forward lunges outside with 20kg he said I looked like Ronnie Coleman. I didn’t know who Ronnie Coleman was but John said that wasn’t a nice thing to call a woman. When we got home later, John Googled him for me. This is Ronnie Coleman:


After we went to Pic Nic we headed home for what I wrote originally as “epic meal time: salad with tuna and homemade hummus (crackpot)”.


I also made sauce for dinner @ 5:30pm. I headed off to class and John to practice.


When I got home I made a sweet potato for dessert and soup for amanha. I Skyped with Meg again, walked Romeo, and went to bed.


Day One Hundred Ten (um cem decimo dia)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

22 Janeiro 2014

Since we were headed into the city, I got up early and ran. Because I was only going out for 3 miles I ate when I got back. Carla and Lina picked me up at 11:00am and we decided to have Chinese food for lunch (which is not like American Chinese food, but it is incredibly delicious). We got egg rolls, chicken chow mein, Chinese chicken salad, and honey BBQ chicken wings. We went to the American store afterwards and Lina and Carla bought fruit loops. We headed to the mall where I stocked up on leite de soja and chocolates. All three of us kept looking at sweets and Lina suggested we go get our pastries before we bought every sweet thing in the supermarket. We went to Pao do Rei and I got a Natas (which is like a mini custard pie.. SO GOOD) and my galao. Another thing I stopped doing a few months ago was adding sugar to my coffee and tea–it’s an easy way to control your sugar intake.

John mentioned the other day that I write a lot about food in my blog. Well, I do. I also write a lot about training and nutrition is a huge piece of that. You can skim over any workout/diet stuff you’d like–this is a blog about my daily existence. Which happens to revolve around food.

When we got out of the car at Pao do Rei Carla realized she had forgotten to exchange a pair of pants for her mom at the mall. So when we were done with our pastries we went back to Parque Atlantico. That took way longer than expected as the lady at the store took 30 minutes to change out one size for another. We went to the Cash-n-Carry so Lina could get supplies for a baptism reception at Toronto Nights on Saturday. We all agreed that next time we come to the city we are just going to eat and walk along the port de citade. We started talking about the cachorros (hot dogs) and almost went to eat them. Nah, nah, nah… Back to Povoacao we went.

When we got back it was only 5:00pm. I usually run 6 miles on Wednesdays so I decided to go out for 3 more which turned into 4. I never run at that time, so I got to enjoy the sun going down over the water–it was beautiful. I also got to scare the shit of of Majid and his girlfriend who were canoodling in the rocks by the small beach. When I got back I got ready and headed over to ALKE to teach class. Because of the reception this weekend Lina and crew had set up the tables in the banquet hall so we warmed up outside Lina’s mom’s house next door. While we did the workout inside, Leila suggested we do the whole workout outside the next day, because it was so nice.


I got home and warmed up some soup for dinner (John went from coaching the juniors straight to futsol at the gymnasium). When I took Romeo out for his nightly stroll I saw a man walking by the bus station, which wasn’t that strange. But then he started glancing around and then stopped abruptly with his back to us. Weirder. Then I saw a stream of liquid spilling onto the ground diagonally in front of him. PEEING! The man was PEEING! I coughed, he turned, and I made the most disgusted face I could muster. Gross.

As we were walking by the gymnasium, Kevin was walking in. Romeo freaked out and started howling and pulling but Kevin just nodded and kept walking. Romeo was so excited to see him that when Mira Mar’s new goalie walked by a moment later, Romeo dolphin-jumped all over him. Desculpa. Luckily he knows who we are. I Skyped with Anna and went to bed.


Day One Hundred Eleven (um cem decima primeira dia)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

23 Janeiro 2014

I got up around 9:00am, ate half a PB&J, took Romeo for walk, drank my tea, took romeo and ran 4. We went to gym.

Ken wanted to do a  1RM (one rep max) which John wanted to practice going through. While they were doing their thing, I worked out solo:

  • dips to bicep curls (5 supinated, 5 neutral, 5 pronated)
  • squat jumps to RDLs
  • Core: hanging rotational knee tucks, burpees, and stability ball knee tucks, trez series at 15 reps

In case you were wondering what it’s like to workout with John, here is a sneak peak:

Because John and Ken were no where near done I went home and showered and then met them at Pic Nic. I had more soup for lunch and  prepped food for dinner; we were having chicken drumsticks (shake & bake) with peppers, zucchini, onions, corn, and cauliflower “rice”. Since it was another warm day, we were able to hold the whole class outside.


IMG_1651 IMG_1653 IMG_1654

In addition to Valentine’s day, they also celebrate girlfriend’s day and guy friend’s day here in Portugal. Toronto is hosting dinner, dancing, and KARAOKE for girlfriend’s day. I am ridiculously excited as Karaoke is one of my favorite pastimes. I love to sing but am so horrible it can only be condoned when my peers are hammered. Karaoke is a nice blend of the two. After class I Skyped with Cathy, and then Meg (yes, again). This time when Romeo and I went for our walk we found our new stray friend who has a little limp. I would like to adopt him. And I keep calling it a him but I’m pretty sure he has nipples. This is a picture from earlier in the day when we saw her.


Week Eight… Burpees and Thanksgiving

Day Fifty (quinquagesimo dia) Friday (Sexta-feira)

Semana oito

John and I both took Romeo for his morning stroll because the sun was shining and it was warm and beautiful out. After heading home and having homemade powdered galaos (not that bad! And I can make it with soy milk!) John, Ken, and I hit the gym:

Friday’s 300 Workout

  • 20 curl-press
  • 20 plyo push-ups
  • 20 inverted rows
  • 20 hanging leg raises
  • 10E rotational cable pulls


Ernes had bananas and eggs for us, but no plastic bags. No worries—we wrapped the bananas in a gym towel and put the eggs inside John’s thermal pocket on his backpack. The shells are really hard, and if one broke in there it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to clean (what is the worst thing? Cooked on food? Bodily fluids? … hmmm).

The eggs and bananas made it home safely after we stopped at Pic-Nic for galaos, fofas, and a sopa do dia. Ken made it safely home to our apartment, too. He had left his pizza there days before and John was threatening to eat it. After we all ate leftovers for lunch, Ken left and John and I went to work planning our Spanish vacation.

Ken is leaving Povoacao on December 17th, so we are too. After looking at what was the best way to go about things, we booked a flight to and from Barcelona. We are probably going to spend three of the seven days in Madrid, but we didn’t book anything. We also have a 7-hour layover in Lisbon on the way home, so we will have a little time to venture out and see that city, too. I have so many frequent flyer miles on my United card from the many trips to and from Sao Miguel already this year (and maybe a few trips to San Diego to see Cathy and Dave) that we aren’t paying anything for hotel rooms. Here is a heartwarming video of me surprising Cathy in San Diego for her birthday. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about 5 weeks from living in Portugal. And here we are.

We just have one minor detail to firm up: Romeo care. There are a lot of people here who could possibly contribute. We are going to have to settle this pretty soon as we leave in just over three weeks. We arrive home to Povoacao on Christmas Eve and are planning on spending Christmas day with Lina and Ernes’ family. They feel like family.

We took Romeo on another long walk just as the sun was going down. If you don’t follow me on Instagram, or you do but you happened to miss this gem, here is a photo I took the other day of the sun beginning to set. This happens around 5:15pm.


I headed off to teach at ALKE and John headed off to his make-up practice for the juniors. Both teams have games tomorrow in different spots, so John and Ken won’t be at the juniors game to coach. Ken also learned earlier that they can only send 12 boys to play because the seniors are taking the one van (that actually belongs to the school that Pedro drives for because Mira Mar’s van has been broken since around Day Five). Lina and I are not going to the game, but she is making dinner for all of us to have afterwards. See? Feels like family.

I love teaching at ALKE. There were 11 ladies tonight and Xana and Julia kept popping in and out. After the workout, I had the ladies help me complete my 30 burpees. Day 4: 30 burpees. We went five for five. They started with five, then I did five. We went for six rounds. Muito obrigada, queridas!


I went home and made pasta and sauce and a big salad. We always share with Romeo. Here is his area after he ate:

IMG_0667Really, Romeo?

In honor of Catching Fire opening in the States, John and I re-watched The Hunger Games. If you’re a fan of Jennifer Lawrence and totally sick of Miley Cyrus, please enjoy this parody so you can think of it when Wrecking Ball is stuck in your head.

Day Fifty One (quinquagesimo primeiro dia) Saturday (Sabado)

Long run Saturday. I took off for two hours in the lombas and John took off for Pic-Nic to watch some matches with Ken. The weather was beautiful and I didn’t fall. I did however fail to hydrate properly and the sun was beating down. About fifty minutes in I started glancing down peoples’ driveways to see if they had hoses or spigots I could turn on. There are several public spring water spigots all over Povoacao, but I had passed several and was on a stretch of lomba do alcaide that had none. I kept going, peaking down alley-ways and driveways to no avail. When I came to the end of lomba do alcaide to the turn where I took a digger, there is a old cement structure. Up a few cement steps there was an open pipe, but no faucet and it looked dry. I paused my watch and went closer. There was a handle above the pipe inside a covered box and as I stood under that faucet I felt like Alex Owens in Flashdance. HA.


That was around 1:05:13. I plugged along through the almeda, which is what I learned a tree tunnel road is called here. When I came to the princess house, which belongs to Diane the nurse who comes to my class sometimes and was present at our Desperate Housewives dinner, I took a left for lomba de loucao. This time, instead of descending this lomba, I crossed back over to lomba do alcaide at the dreaded V-shaped hill. I made it maybe 2/3 of the way up before I had to pause my watch and catch my breath. This was around 1:27:30. I finally completed the ascent and began my descent down lomba do alcaide which takes longer (and I wanted to run further) and is also less-steep and therefore more pleasant. The steep descents put a lot of pressure on my lower back, and of course the descents are at the end of my run when I’m already fatigued. I cut up and down Lina & Ernes’ road, lomba de pos, and bro do caridade which runs directly above the river road I lap with Romeo daily. I finished in 2:00:16. I’m calling it 11.5 miles. Mission complete.


almedaThe Almeda: Photo cred. I still refuse to carry my phone, so I got this picture off of Google Images.

Unfortunately, I forgot about my #30burpees30days challenge before I got in the shower; I would have to do them later. I took my sweet time getting ready and then met John and Ken at Pic-Nic. They were getting picked up at 5:00pm for their game against Sao Roque. Sao Roque is a really good team–probably the best in their division–and the last time the juniors played their junior team, Mira Mar lost 10-1. This is John’s second regular season game, after drawing against Nordeste 2-2 last weekend. I blogged and walked Romeo and completed my #30burpees30days challenge. I did 3 sets of 10, non-SPLAT, without push-up, and tried not to sweat. Day 5: 30 burpees. Lina, Emanuel, Luisa, and Julia picked me up around 8:30pm. We grabbed Xana from Pic-Nic and headed to their house in the city. Ernes went to the Mira Mar game with Kevin and we were going to meet them in Ponta Delgada afterwards for dinner. Lina had make chicken pot pie, salad, and arroz doce (rice pudding). Lina had talked to Ernes at halftime and Mira Mar was winning 1-0. Winning! I couldn’t believe it. We all hoped the second half would go as well. Lina called Ernes when we were close to their house and Ernes announced that Mira Mar had won 2-0. Our overcrowded car erupted with joy.

The boys arrived shortly after we did, and Ernes ran out to buy celebratory beers. We feasted. Lina was upset because somehow during the car ride, the top crust of her pie fell in to the filling. It didn’t look like chicken pot pie, but it tasted like it and was delicious. After dinner and wine we walked down to the marina, which is about 10 minutes up the road. Every bar, restaurant, and cafe was brimming with people. There are a couple of GoodHeart soft-serve ice cream huts along this street and on the walk back Ernes treated everyone to ice cream. I was too full from dinner, but I had a lick of John’s caramel-swirl. He got Xana with his classic “does-this-ice-cream-smell-funny-to-you” HAHA “I’m-going-to-push-it-into-your-face-while-you’re-smelling-it” trick.

We walked back in the dark, warm, barely misting, night to the house. We piled into the two cars and made a sleepy, full, and happy return to Povoacao.


Day Fifty Two (quinquagesimo segundo dia) Sunday (Domingo)

Our toilet stopped working sometime on Saturday. It was doing the same thing it did after I flushed some paper towel on Day Eleven. It was trying to flush, but the bowl would just fill with water and then drain very, very slowly and never actually empty. When we got up, we walked with Romeo to the guys’ apartment and let ourselves in with our key to use their facilities. I planned to tell Carla when she came to work on Monday—there are enough public restrooms in addition to Ken, Adam, and Majid’s toilet. We are fine.

With no serious plans for our day other than watching soccer, we went down to Pic-Nic. It was cold and rainy. After several hours there we went home and watched Argo. We had dinner which looked like a frozen TV dinner but was homemade fried chicken (looked like chicken nuggets), rice, and (sigh) frozen vegetables. Ernes said he wanted to go to the pools in Furnas today if he wasn’t driving Xana back to the city. Luckily, he drove Xana back to the city, because it was so gross out. After dinner, John cheered me on for Day 6: 30 burpees of my #30burpees30days. I did 2 sets of 15 with push-ups. We walked back to the boys’ apartment to powder our noses.


Day Fifty Three (quinquagesimo terceiro dia) Monday (Segunda-feira)

I got up around 9:30am and took Romeo out. Carla was in her salon (Francisco was finally back at school after a 7 day fever! Poor kid) so I opened her door and told her of our toilet woes. I had to clarify: when she said not to put any paper in the toilet, did she mean toilet paper too? She did. She called her husband Joe to come over and he was at the apartment having already removed and replaced the toilet by the time Romeo and I got back. It wasn’t clogged with paper at all, but one of those chalky toilet bowl refreshers. It has probably been stuck in there since toilet fiasco #1, since I have never purchased one. Thank you, Joe. He then ran to his father-in-law’s hardware store to grab us some light bulbs while John and I mopped/bleached/cleaned the bathroom.

I took Romeo for a 1.5 mile run and then went out alone and did 15 sprint intervals (jog :35, sprint :15, walk :10 = 1:00). I know I have been running slowly without my GPS watch (although I’m not sure how slowly), and just generally feeling a little stagnant in my workouts and running. I have been trying to lift heavier, so I decided to pump up my speed, too. It felt great to sprint. John and I went to meet Ken at ALKE. We did four rounds:

  • Goblet squats x10-15
  • DB bench x10-15
  • SB roll outs x15-25
  • pull-ups for John and Ken x10-12
  • burpee to pull-up for me

I wanted to do my 30 burpees for the day, so I tried to do 3 rounds of 10, but I quickly figured out (after 5) that that wasn’t going to happen. I did 5, 5, 4, 3, 3, 2, 3, 2, 3. I also did two half pull-ups that I really couldn’t count. It’s hard because the pull-up bar is so high, but I did it. #hardworkworks #30burpees30days Day 7: 30 burpee pull-ups. I finished with a four-minute plank, 1:00 each center, right, left, center.

We left Ken at the gym to shower and said we’d meet him at Pic-Nic. This is what weather on Sao Miguel Island is like: It was barely sprinkling when we walked out of ALKE. About a block later, the rain began to fall a little heavier. A block later it began to pour, and John and I sprinted the last block-and-a-half to Pic-Nic. As soon as we got inside Pic-Nic, it stopped raining.

Monday included shopping at Fatima’s, making banana bread, buying and sending a postcard to my parents, and going to Antonio’s to get papos secos (Portuguese bulky rolls) because Fatima’s didn’t have any. John had practice for both the senior and the junior team. He and Ken couldn’t be present to coach the juniors on Saturday night because they had their game against Sao Roque. While the senior Mira Mar team won 2-0, the juniors lost 9-1 in Rabo de Peixe. NINE to ONE. At least none of the players got ejected from the game.

I went off to teach at ALKE, but I get tomorrow night off. I will still be attending class, I just won’t be teaching. Another girl, Gina, who has been coming 3x/wk to my class has been temporarily subbing at the high school as gym teacher here in Povoacao. Her time there is up, so she is going home to the continent. She is a certified personal trainer and BodyAttack instructor. She and her boyfriend are going to lead a BodyAttack class Tuesday night. I am hoping that John and Ken come with me, but John’s foot has been hurting him and Ken thinks that we don’t share the same definition of “fun”. Hm.

I had eleven ladies. Right before I left the apartment for my two-block-walk, it started to rain. Once safely inside Toronto Nights, it started to pour. By the time I left it was only sprinkling. #getusedtoit #goingtobeawetwinter

Day Fifty Four (quinquagesimo quatro dia) Tuesday (Terceiro-feira)

Tuesday’s weather was much like Sunday’s. Cold, wet, and rainy. I took Romeo for a walk and it was barely misting. When we went out to run it had stopped and the sun was shining. I ended up dropping Romeo off a few minutes earlier than usual because it began to rain again. By the time we got inside and I had dried Romeo off, it was no longer raining. I went back out and finished 4.0 miles. I think. I still have no GPS watch and am beginning to believe it was sniped in the mail. Either that, or the midwest is incredibly slow. It is coming from Chicago. I hope something else comes from Chicago. It’s name is Jackalope.

When we got to the gym, Ernes said he had something for us: “Everyday, something for you guys,” he mused. It was John’s Nike ID cleats! My dad sent them about (if not less than!!!) two weeks ago. My watch has been in the mail twice that long, but I tried to be happy for John instead of bitter for myself. He was like a little boy on Christmas. So thankful, so sweet.

 IMG_0690Opening them at Pic-Nic.IMG_0691Explaining their purpose to Ricardo: “They go on my feet.”IMG_0695Awwww.

John was wishing aloud that ALKE had a dip bar when Ernes pulled two attachments, seemingly out of nowhere, which he and John connected to what I believed to be a weight-rack and tah-dah: dip bar. Two gifts in one day. We have a lot to be thankful for. We did:

  • Dips
  • Military Press
  • Reverse Flies
  • Hanging rotational leg raises
  • Box blasts for the boys / burpee to box jump for me!

#30burpees30days Day 8: 40 burpee to box jumps. Now, I am not a very good tweeter (twitter-er?), but I have been tweeting my blog (actually, wordpress does it for me) and I have been tweeting Spartan Race about my burpees (what has my life come to?) and they tweeted me back! #excited They say you can measure a man’s life simply by counting his friends, but I, apparently, prefer to count burpees.


Fastforward: Pic-Nic, reading My Booky Wook, rain, rain, rain. I decided I wanted to send postcards to a select few at home, but I didn’t want to brave the rain. I waited for the break (isn’t there always a break?), but none came. John left to watch some Champions League games with Ken and I headed for ALKE.

I had the night off from running the class and became a participant instead. Gina and her boyfriend Carlos, both certified BodyAttack instructors, were going to attack our bodies with aerobics. I could write an entire blog post on aerobics, and I think I will.

What I Like About Aerobics vs. What I dislike About Aerobics

I almost began with “I’ll bet you can imagine how I feel about aerobics”, but you probably can’t and that’s why I’m going to digress here for an important moment.

First, let me say that I love physical activity. I am not an incredible athlete, and I don’t care if you are. Run, dance, play, jazzercise, skip-to-your-loo. Go nuts! Be active. I love it.

That, my friends, is probably the only I like about aerobics. I was a dancer for many, many years, seriously and then for fun. I love and can appreciate the art of choreography (Travis Wall: you are a god), but I do not love clapping along to the music while doing jumping jacks in sync with Britney Spears. And I love Britney Spears.

BodyAttack includes something called the “Superman”. I’m not sure if it’s better or worse than the Urban Dictionary definition. I couldn’t find a YouTube clip short enough that included the “Superman” but here is another:

I was the captain of the cheer leading squad in community college, and I’m not even embarrassed to write about it. I wasn’t dancing at the time and it got me to stay active and involved socially in a completely commuter-based school. I wish I had a picture from this time in my life, but I do not. It doesn’t really matter, it is as good as your imagination. There were three cheerleaders. Not three “other” cheerleaders; three including myself. I was the biggest by about 6 inches and 20lbs.

I am not only aware of the obesity epidemic in America, but am deeply troubled by it and feel personally involved in turning it around, or at least changing the future surrounding the problem. I read on Fitness magazine’s website today that two thirds of Americans are obese. Two thirds. For this fact alone I love CrossFit, I love Zumba, and I love aerobics. I love that CrossFit is popular because it makes working out and being strong “cool”. Being healthy is cool. I don’t personally enjoy Zumba, but I love that other people do. The same goes for aerobics and BodyAttack.

I have this Nike shirt that I bought a million years ago in a Florida outlet mall. It says “Strong is the new Beautiful”. This is something that is re-tweeted, instagrammed, and Facebooked daily and I. Love. It. The world does need more strong women: physically strong, mentally capable, emotionally well, healthy leaders. I love empowering young women to know what they are capable of, and that includes physical strength and endurance, as well as career, education, and life goals.

we can

I do not love bikini competitions, but that is a post for another day. I love strong and fit women (and men), but donning a bikini and being judged in your highest heels does not a feminist make. #icanteven

Back to my experience with BodyAttack

I did the Superman, I did the walking burpees, and I did the clapping and the jumping jacks. I sweat. We all had fun. Fifteen women showed up! This is the most we have had in a few weeks. Lina said it was a coincidence, but I think women like aerobics. I will be teaching my cardio-strength circuit class again tomorrow, and I’ll let you know how many women show up.


Day Fifty Five (quinquagesimo quinto dia) Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

Carla’s birthday: Take two. After having a fever for seven days, her son was finally back in school. I did a quick 2-mile sprint interval workout, and then Lina and I joined her for Chinese food in Ponta Delgada to celebrate. Chinese food is just as delicious here, and the restaurant looked like any and every other chinese restaurant I’ve ever been to. It was awesome; we started with spring rolls, had lo mein, tempura calimari, Chinese chicken salad, and honey barbeque chicken wings, and finished with fried ice cream. Afterwards, they took me to a store next door that sells all American products.The American store (Liberty) definitely has some stuff you can’t get anywhere else on the island, but it comes attached to a heavy price tag. I bought some Pop-Tarts for John (3.50) and a 60-pack of Nature Valley bars that were on sale (9.99!).

IMG_0703 IMG_0702

We picked Carlas niece up and went to a store like Michael’s or A.C. Moore. I eyed the Christmas decorations (every here owns a fake tree), but didn’t end up buying anything.

IMG_0706Portugal is very progressive.

We got pastries, of course, and the woman at Pao de Rei commented on how much I love the bolos de berlim because she remembers that I always get them. This time, I brought one home for John, too.

 IMG_0709 IMG_0711

We went to the Cash-n-Carry and that is when I knew we were going to have an American-Portuguese Thanksgiving afterall. There in one of the freezer cases sat some frozen birds. I picked out a 4kg turkey (about 10lbs) ringing in at 16. I also grabbed 10 apples to make Cathy’s apple crisp. Thank ye, Jesus! Thanksgiving comes to Portugal.

They didn’t have any stuffing and neither did the Sol-Mar supermarket we went to next. I decided to look up a recipe—how hard could it be? Bread, onions, butter? We would figure it out.

The girls dropped me off at 6:10pm. I had just enough time to drop my turkey in a bucket of warm water, change, and scoot over to ALKE. I worked out with them (all that Chinese food and pastries!) and had burpees as a station. We ended up doing 4 sets of :30. I did 32 burpee-with-push-ups. #30burpees30days Day 9: 32 burpee-push-ups. After class, I went home and attempted to defrost the bird.


When John got home, he helped me look up a recipe and prep the turkey. I have to admit a couple things: (a) I have never cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving or any other holiday, and (b) I did not know what “giblets” were, but I knew they were in this bird. The label said so.

I was washing the bird like Lina told me to when I noticed the organ-like-mass sticking out of the turkey’s ass. I am usually pretty tough when it comes to gross stuff—baby vomit, dog poop, etc—but I couldn’t handle this. “John! John! You take it out! YOU DO IT!” I was on the verge of losing it. “I don’t want to touch it! You do it!” he laughed back at me. I took a few deep breaths and reached into that bird. Because it was frozen, the organs were stuck and did not break free easily. As soon as I touched the organ, John poked my sides and made a pterodactyl sound. I broke into hysterical tears.

John got out what he could, but it was still too frozen. We rubbed the whole thing in salt and put it in a cold bath to spend the night. I hoped the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner prep would go differently.



Day Fifty Six (quinquagesimo sexto dia) Thursday (Quinta-feira)

Thanksgiving. Just like any good Thanksgiving day in the States, I wanted to start mine with a nice Turkey Trot. I took off for a chilly six-miler. It misted a little, but for the most part was just windy. Just as I hit four miles, Lina passed me and jokingly offered me a ride. I told her I had two miles to go, and I waved her on. Not even two minutes later, the sky opened and I almost drowned to death. I sprinted home in the sudden downpour. Should’ve taken that ride!

I changed and John and I met Ken at the gym. Lina gave me some corn starch for my gravy (something else I’ve never made!) as well as many encouraging words. We did two triple sets:

  • Single leg RDLs, ALT frontal/lateral raises, back extensions
  • Decline sit ups, tricep cable throw downs, incline bench

I finished with 30 burpees splats for time. #30burpees30days Day 10: 30 burpee SPLATS in 1:52.

We went to Pic-Nic and game planned our Thanksgiving dinner. Ken was making a roasted vegetable side dish, and would come over early to hang with us and cook it. We told Adam and Majid to come over at 8:00pm (after my class). While we were sitting, we heard something so familiar, we almost didn’t notice it at first. The woman next to us was speaking English! With an American accent! We commented quietly about it but didn’t say anything to her. A few minutes later, she leaned over to us “I can’t help but notice that you’re speaking English!” she said, “Where are you from?”. Turns out she grew up in Virginia, but went to Tufts dental school and has a dental practice in the financial district. She was here from Boston visiting family. We commiserated on how strange it was—it didn’t feel like Thanksgiving at all. Alas, it is just another rainy Thursday on Sao Miguel.

After having checked out some recipes earlier for stuffing, we got a loaf of whole wheat bread to make it with. We got everything else we needed: butter, onions, peppers, carrots, chicken bouillon, and dog food.

I started the apple crisp first while John checked the bird and removed the frozen neck (blechhhh!). I used my friend Cathy’s recipe, but made it a little bigger. I don’t measure because I suck at math and I’m better eye-balling it. The only thing I changed was I used a mix of white and brown sugar (because the supermercado had it!). I put in too much water, but it didn’t turn out to matter.

IMG_0718The finished product.

Once that was in the oven, I wanted to work on the stuffing. A loaf of bread, cut into cubes, two onions, a stick of butter, thyme (which I substituted with oregano #usewhatyougot), and chicken broth. I am never buying a bag of stuffing again! This was one of the easiest things I’ve ever made (google Betty Crocker’s classic bread turkey stuffing recipe). They don’t have celery here so I omitted that, and it was so delicious I practically had to hide it from John so we would have enough for dinner. I had a few moments where I didn’t think it was going to work; Betty gives you an option for “dry stuffing” where you omit the chicken broth. One stick of butter(ish) over an entire loaf of bread makes for very dry stuffing. Betty also leaves it up to you to determine how much chicken broth you want to add. My Portuguese chicken bouillon cubes didn’t have a measurement (in any language) for how much water:cube. We guessed and it worked.


When I was done with that, John went up to Ken’s to get a roasting pan for our turkey and a chicken we were commandeering to supplement the small turkey. Ken didn’t have one that was big enough, so John stopped at ALKE and Ernes got one from Toronto Night’s for us to use. John and I covered the bird in butter, stuffed it with half an onion and my Betty Crocker stuffing, put the rest of the onion and one carrot around the pan, and drizzled white wine on the veggies. #thatwaseasy

It was small, but we still thought it would take at least three hours. I prepped the chicken the same way, but I didn’t have enough room in the oven! John took the fully-prepped bird back up to Ken’s to cook at their apartment. After I stuffed both the birds, I still had about half the stuffing leftover, which I saved to toast up for out-of-bird stuffing.

We also made mashed potatoes. John looked at Fatima’s for a masher, but she didn’t have one. Knowing this ahead of time, I just cut the potatoes up super small and made sure I boiled them until they were really soft. I melted a lot of butter and put three giant garlic cloves in it. I smashed the potatoes with a fork, added the garlic-infused butter, some left over chicken broth, and some milk.


Other than too-much-water in my apple crisp, my only other faux pas was the gravy. I used all the corn starch Lina gave me, but it was still watery (John and Ken took all the juices from the chicken and the turkey). I added some flour. And then some more flour. It looked good.


By the time John carved both the birds and we all sat down, my gravy was the consistency of pudding. It tasted delicious, and the boys didn’t mind. John and I were very proud of our first attempt at hosting. Thank goodness it was only for five people.


It was especially nice to have Adam and Majid there—the more celebrating Thanksgiving the merrier. After dinner, we played some drinking games and I headed to bed before anyone left (classic), but got up again when I heard the guys opening the desserts Adam and Majid brought over.


They were like Portuguese Hostess cakes: one chocolate and one vanilla. I shoved my face and went back to bed. #thanksgiving #friendsgiving



Day Forty Eight… NOT celebrating Carla’s birthday :(

Day Forty Eight (quadragesimo oitavo dia)

Semana sete

Carla took her son to the the doctor because his fever was getting worse instead of better—turns out he had an ear infection! She got him antibiotics but tapped out for the day. Lina had to do some grocery shopping and drop some food off for her daughter, Xana, so we went to the city without Carla. 😦

It was starting to rain when we left and it poured all day. Good thing I bought those new Chinese-store-factory-scented-boots, otherwise my toes would’ve been freezing. We went to the mall for lunch and grocery shopping. I had a bifana and restocked on my soy milk. I even found clippers for John so he could cut his hair.

We went to the cash-n-carry for the restaurant and Pao de Rei for pastries. Finally, we stopped at Xana’s to drop off food. No one was home. The weather wasn’t getting any better, and the clouds seemed to be getting lower. We made one pit-stop on the way home to another mall in Vila Franca de Campo which is a town like Povoacao (only flatter) on the southern part of the island. It is known for having a beautiful beach, but we went to a giant Chinese store (two floors!) inside the mall. Lina’s mother needed a few random things that we were able to get there: magic markers and shoelaces. When we left the mall, you could hardly see 20 meters in front of you. Driving home this route takes you past the lake John wanted to (and succeeded to) show me when we rented a car all those weeks ago.

When I got home, John tore open his package of clippers and immediately set to fixing his hair. He took Romeo for a stroll in the downpour and inquired about practice. Betinho, the president of Mira Mar, said the juniors could stay home but the seniors would practice.

I grabbed my umbrella and set off for ALKE. I had 13 women and I worked out with them because I had neglected my running that morning. I did two sets of burpee splats: a :45 interval and a 1:00 interval. I know I did 20 during the second interval, so I am calling Day 2: 30+ for my 30 day burpee challenge.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 9.51.18 PM

I had thought ahead and made carne asada before I left that morning and had thrown it in the oven before I went to class. John cut up the potatoes and carrots, so when I got home I just had to throw them in to the oven with the meat and onion marinade. When I walked in the door, Romeo didn’t greet me. What is that old saying about dogs? You know they did something bad when they don’t greet you? Now, those of you who know Rome-digs know that he is incredibly aloof anyways, so this doesn’t always ring true for him. Some times he is just being a weirdo. But this time it was true. I had left my coach umbrella on the bed for John, but he must’ve decided not to take it (the rain lightened up shortly after I went to ALKE) but Romeo had decided to make it his play thing. Niiiiiiice. He took the button off the top, which was no big deal and I screwed it back on, but then I noticed that he had chewed up the wooden handle. #whybuynicethingsanyway ?!

John came home and we ate our carne asada. For dessert, we indulged in eating Oreos that I bought in Ponta Delgada earlier. They come in a single sleeve of about 18 cookies for one euro and the creme tastes the same but the cookies taste a little Portuguese. They were double stuf. #nomnom