Best Book in an Eternity of 10,000 Fairy Tales

Many of you know that I drive a lot for work.  Well, my sister, Rosa, does too.  Actually she drives way more than me.  Because of this, we opened an Audible account to share.  I pick one month and she picks the next.  Her daughters and our other sister, Tammy, are huge real readers and they often give us suggestions.

Sometimes we happen upon a great novel on our own.  Sometimes we get some duds.

But oh my!  Was this month ever a winner!  We loved A Man Called Ove from last month so much Rosa picked this beauty from the same author for this month’s selection .

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My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is a story of a young girl and her grandmother.  It’s a story about life and death and the right to be different.  It’s a Christmas story.  It’s a fairy tale.  It’s a mystery.

I loved this book so much and immediately started listening to it again after I finished.  It has references to Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman and all the other superheros, and The X Men.  It has made me want to reread all the Harry Potter’s and watch all the Marvel comic movies and such.  The story is told with such passion and love.

If you are looking for a different type of book (the author is Swedish and has a great sense of humor) then look no more.  I highly recommend “Granny”.  It has been my favorite book of the entire year.  Well maybe second to Unbroken but still very very good.  Rosa liked Ove better so either one I promise you won’t be disappointed with.

Happy Reading!

 

On My Bookshelf

I enjoy my books on Audible so much.  I do read real books occasionally but mostly I listen to the Audible versions.  I drive a lot for work and these books help me pass the time.

My book for last March was Unbroken.

Unbroken

I’m sure by now everyone knows that this book was about the life of Louie Zamperini.  I loved every minute of this book.  In fact, I caught myself listening to it not only in my car.  I listened before bed.  I listened while I was getting ready for work.  I listened while I was making dinner.  I couldn’t stop!  I didn’t want it to end.

When it came out on dvd, Ron and I watched it and the movie was good.  But man!  The book was so.much.better.  The movie leaves out so much.

Over the summer, I followed Scott Jurek’s epic Appalachian Trail speed hike and The Iron Cowboy’s 50 Ironmans in 50 Days.  These were awesome feats of human endurance.  However, they pale in comparison to what Louie and many, many, others have endured.  Holocaust survivors and prisoners of war have endured so very much more.

Whenever I come upon hard thing in my life, I think of Louie and suck it up and know that I really am so much stronger than I think I am.

April’s book choice was The Girl on the Train.  Hmmm.  What can I say about this?  I liked it and I remember eagerly getting in the car so I could tune in.  However, this wasn’t one that I listened to outside the car.  This book provided a good mystery and I thought I had it figured out.  I didn’t.  The end was a super surprise.  It wasn’t as good as last year’s Gone Girl, but it was good.

The Girl on the Train

May’s choice was Ruby.  This book was one of Oprah’s top choices.  Boy was it scary!  I had to turn it off one time I was so scared.  I didn’t really like Ruby very much.  Too much pain and suffering.  It reminded me of something my mother told me once.  She told me that man had the power to be the kindest, most loving, most caring creature on the planet but also the power to be a creature of unthinkable evil.  Some of the characters in Ruby were evil through and through.

Ruby

June’s book was Lies You Wanted to Hear.  I liked this one ok.  Made you really think.  As bad as that mother was, she never deserved what happed.  And as good as the dad was, he was very wrong in my opinion.

Lies You Wanted to Hear

The Power of One was my Audible selection for July.  Powerful!  It was a long one but I really loved it.  I learned so much!  I was crying not 2 chapters into the book.  Who would have ever thought that I could fall in love with a rooster.  Grandpa Chock rules!  I catch myself thinking back to different scenes from this book every now and then.  I highly recommend this one.

The Power of One

Next came Euphoria, The Red Tent, and Us.  Loved Euphoria.  Disliked The Red Tent so much that this is the only book all year that I didn’t even finish.  And as for Us, I liked it just fine.  It wasn’t over the top great but it was a good book.

Euphoria The Red Tent Us

A Man Called Ove was last month’s choice.  Now this one was the very best of all year.  I get the Sunday paper and over the summer they had a selection of books that they recommended.  Ove was one of them.

A Man Called Ove

Wow!  This was a short one but oh so good.  Ove loved Saabs.  Ove loved his wife.  Ove really loved life.  This was a feel good story and I took away many things that I hope to make a part of how I live my life.  My sister Rosa listens to books with me and we both loved Ove.  We liked it so much in fact, we are now listening to another book from the same author, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.  This one is pretty good so far too.

The 2 real books I’ve actually read this year are both by Jennifer Pharr Davis.  Jennifer held the record for the fastest hike of the Appalachian Trail prior to Scott Jurek.  Scott only beat Jennifer by a little over 3 hours.  Scott is my hero and for this legend to only beat Jennifer by a mere 3 hours, I became intrigued with this woman.

I read 2 of her books so far and I literally devoured them.  I read Becoming Odyssa in about 2 days.  I read Called Again in about a day and a half.

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I’ve only hiked about 25 miles of the AT but after watching Scott’s adventure this past summer and after reading Jennifer’s books, I can’t get to retirement fast enough.  I know I’m going to hate the rain and the bugs and the snakes and the rain and the bugs but now, I just have to hike the entire AT before I meet my maker.  Ron is on strict orders to stay healthy and strong until we make it to retirement and can head off to this adventure.

What’s on your bookshelf this year?

Irregardless

Last night was date night for Ron and me and we finally made it to a restaurant that has been recommended to me so many times over the last few years.  Irregardless.

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It’s located just off Hillsborough Street in Raleigh near Charlie Goodnight’s Comedy Club.  The restaurant has convenient parking across the street in a gravel lot on the hill.

I loved everything about it from the moment we walked in!  The staff was so attentive and friendly!  We arrived a little before 6:00 on a Saturday night and there were only a few patrons.  Almost everyone that was dining was sitting outside and luckily there were a few tables left.  I adore al fresco dining!

20150502_175125Ron started with an IPA from Mother Earth Brewing and I got a pear martini.  Yummo.  I sipped on this one the entire time we were there.

This was the special menu that was offered in addition to their normal menu.

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We both chose the vegan scallops and decided to share the arugula and goat cheese salad.

For starters, they gave us this little plate of bread and butter.

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And here’s the salad!  I just love it when they half it for you and serve it on 2 plates when you are sharing.  It was AMAZING!

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Here’s the “scallops.”

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Divine!  The risotto was so creamy and flavorful and you could almost believe you were eating real scallops.  (We ate our flowers too.  Smile)

You know I can’t pass up dessert so I asked the server what her favorite was.  She told me the vegan cheesecake.

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Very, very good.

Before we left I stepped inside and got a shot of the inside of the restaurant.  They had a live piano player and the tables had really filled up in the hour or so that we were there.

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It was a little pricy there and our 2.5 entrees with 2 beers, 1 cocktail, and 1 dessert topped out at $88 bucks.  A quick doubling of the 10% for the tip made us just put down $105 bucks and call it a night.

As we were walking back to our car this chalkboard caught my eye from the business next door.  Made me smile.

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The night was still so young and the weather so beautiful, we ended up at our favorite brewery in Clayton, Deep River.  They were supposed to have live music but I guess the artist was a no show.  Ron got a 4 pack of his favorite to take home.

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Later that night Ron mentioned that we had eaten $100 bucks of mushrooms that evening and that we might better really focus on eating like my new book.  I’ve never laughed so hard in a very long time.  He really had me rolling.

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Seriously though, I loved Irregardless and will love to go back.  It’s a special place and worth the splurge maybe once a year or so.

Speaking of how I’m eating lately, I told you I owed you a post.  For most of 2014, I ate a vegetarian diet.  I ate a little meat here and there when we were on vacation but mostly it was always vegetarian.  Honestly, for the past 5 years, I’ve been an on again off again veggie.  More on than off and the only thing that kept me from going vegan were the eggs that I get from my neighbor’s backyard chickens and the cheese that I end up eating at Mexican restaurants and when I have pizza.  I’m cool with no yogurt and no milk.  Almond milk is fine for me.  The cheese is my pitfall.

And it’s really crazy because I hate dairy farming the most of all.  I hate how they impregnate the cows over and over again and take their calves away from them so soon.  It breaks my heart.  Also, those dairy cows get so big they often can’t walk.  I’ve seen 2 movies and when they pick up the cows in the frontloaders to carry them away, I die.

I’m not proud to admit this but Ron talked me into trying the Whole 30 diet with him last month and for 26 days, I did eat meat.  On the Whole 30 all you can have is meat and veggies and limited fruits.  No sugar, breads, or grains.  I lost 7 lbs. very quickly and I did feel good.  Ethically, though, I felt horrible.

I recently saw the movie Cowspiracy and it was very different than Forks over Knives or other documentaries I’ve seen.

It focused on the environmental impact that factory farming has on the earth.    I really care about the environment and I am really trying to reduce, reuse, and recycle like crazy.  For me though, the treatment of the animals is my main concern.

Cowspiracy-Infographic (1)

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Even though Ron eats a lot of vegan and veggie meals with me happily, I don’t see him giving up meat entirely.  Same for the rest of the family.  I cook a lot of meat for Andie, Jonathan, and Lydia.  I try to get grass fed beef and meat from small farms when I can.

I’ll give a a review of how I do on the new recipes in Vegan on the Cheap next week.  I’m excited!

Hoping to get some good runs in this week along with my 2 CrossFit nights.

Happy Week Ya’ll!

Belle and Books

It has been a snowy, icy, sick few weeks for us here at the Cupit home and today we were itching to get out.  Our grandson, Mason, was just getting over a stomach bug last weekend when we kept him when our granddaughter, Daphne, was born.  Ron came down with the sickness a few days after Mason but I thought I was in the clear.  No such luck.  It hit me hard on Friday and I had to take a half day off from work.  That’s the first time I’ve missed work in over 4 years.  I was feeling so much better today -really back to my old self.

After church, Ron and I ventured out even though the weather was still cold and rainy.  We were heading to Whole Food in Cary to pick up a few things and decided to stop in and try a new farm to table restaurant we saw featured on UNC-TV, Belle of Cary.

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Belle is located right in the heart of downtown Cary at 324 S. Academy St.  The UNC-TV special let us know that when the owner finished decorating it and she looked around, it reminded her so much of her grandmother Belle’s place, that ended up being the name.  It wasn’t crowded at all today and I know it had to have been because of the weather.

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I started off with a mimosa and Ron had this huge cup of coffee.

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I didn’t crop out the chair in the background of Ron’s coffee shot because I wanted to report that Ron did not like these metal chairs. He didn’t think they were comfortable. I loved them however. So cute!

I had cream of broccoli soup and the veggie quiche.  Delicious.  The fruit was so sweet and fresh!  The quiche was perfect!

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Ron got a house salad and the veggie wrap with cole slaw as his side.
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He got the salad because he especially wanted to try the goat cheese. He had heard it was from a local farm in Hillsborough and he was dying to try it out.  Ron love everything he ordered.  He let me have a taste of the veggie wrap and I immediately knew it was the most unique veggie wrap I had ever tasted.  (And you know I have had a LOT of veggie wraps!) I couldn’t quite figure it out and even after we asked the server we still weren’t sure what it was.  Then it hit Ron.  It was cinnamon.  I took one more tiny taste and that was it.    So flavorful!  Ron is the master of cole slaw and we are happy to report that Belle’s was very good.  Just a little sweet and perfectly seasoned.

We were too full for dessert but as we were leaving we noticed that Belle is a bakery too and you can stop by just for sweets if that’s what you are in the mood for.

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I had to get something and I ended up with a raspberry white chocolate scone. A few hours after brunch we were still out and about today so I dug into it and loved every bite. I tried to only eat half but it didn’t work. So yummy! I’ve had scones before but this one was very different. It reminded me of my mother’s biscuits.
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Ron and I loved Belle but I can’t give it a completely glowing review. I hate this because I was so excited for it after watching the special on UNC-TV.
I think what got me was when we walked in we weren’t immediately greeted. We had to stand around a little while and we were confused. We didn’t know if we should seat ourselves or if there was a hostess. It probably was only a couple of minutes but when you don’t know what to do it seemed like forever. Also, between each course and getting our bill we ended up waiting. Remember, I mentioned that they were not busy while we were there and I didn’t think there needed to be so much down time. Our server was nice and there were others about helping out but it just felt off to me. Ron said if we had been there on a beautiful Spring day it might have felt totally different. I’m going to give them another chance the first warm day we have. I’d love to dine out on the porch.
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Now for a little of what I’ve been enjoying lately:
These La Croix waters are so good! Ron and I each got one when we were at Target today.
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And here’s what I’ve been reading listening to lately:

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Rosa shared this with me this month. She has been driving a lot more than me lately so she has been going to the library as well as listening to our monthly Audible selection. Winter Garden was to the fall of Leningrad as The Book Thief was to the US and allied bombings in Germany.  I was shaken to the core.  What those poor souls endured was so awful!  War is very very ugly.  Now I’m not saying Winter Garden was anywhere near as beautifully written as The Book Thief but it was a great little book.  I’m so glad Rosa shared.  Since I listen to books, the narrator is very important to me. I didn’t like the narrator at first but when she starts telling the story of the war she uses a Russian accent and I loved that!  I’ve got to book a cruise to Alaska stat and I must have caviar and shots of vodka soon!

Our January Audible selection was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

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We are late to the party on this one and boy was it a doosey!  I absolutely loved it!  I’m not going to give too much away because I think you might find yourself loving it more if you don’t research the book beforehand.  I highly recommend the Audible recording.  The performer was OUTSTANDING!  I was laughing so hard in some of the parts.  Right after I finished the book, Ron found the movie on Time Warner on Demand for me.  It was a good thing it was free because I didn’t love the movie.  That’s the problem when you enjoy the book first.  Often it is a great movie on its own but nothing will ever compare to the Audible performance I listened to.  Ron and I are planning on a trip to Savannah soon.  I can’t wait to find that statue and take a picture by it.

Our December Audible selection was The Snow Child.

The Snow Child

What an enchanting and magical fairy tale.  I loved the Alaskan setting and found myself drawn into this beautiful little book.  If it’s still snowing in your area, I urge you to get this book and enjoy!

Two other selections were The End of the Affair and The Aviator’s Wife.  The first one I didn’t like but I loved The Aviator’s Wife.  I want to watch the movie The Spirit of St. Louis so bad but I can’t find it anywhere.

In my Audible account I have Unbroken waiting for me.  I plan to start that tomorrow.  What’s on your book shelf lately?

What good restaurants have you been to?

On the running front I am doomed.  I did get in one good treadmill run this week (a 5k in 28:42!) but that is all.

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We have the Tobacco Road Half Marathon coming up in 14 days and I am no where ready for it at all.  I’ll finish but it’s not going to be pretty.  Since I’m not trained up well enough I’m planning on doing intervals if I need them and go into the race with a joyous attitude and just have fun.  Hopefully we’ll have pretty weather.  I am so ready for Spring!

Born to Run

I’ve been running 3 and half years and I have just gotten around to reading Born to Run.

Born to Run

Well listening to it that is.  I downloaded it from Audible and really enjoyed it.  Have I mentioned how much I love Audible? In the past, I would get books on cd from the library.  I even got them once or twice from Cracker Barrel.  But Audible!  It’s the bomb.  For only $14.95 per month, I get to download one book each month.  After that, I can get more books and enjoy 30% off.  It’s actually not that cheap compared to FREE at the library and only $3 at Cracker Barrel but you do get to keep the books forever and you can get best sellers and not have to wait on the library’s waiting list forever.

Anyway!  Back to Born to Run.  It was absolutely amazing.  A very inspirational book for runners and non-runners alike.

The book is about this person known as Caballo Blanco (White Horse) and his love for running.  Christopher McDougall, the author, is one of the best storytellers I have ever heard.  All through the book, I felt like I was right there with them all.

I won’t pretend that I can give a synopsis of the book but what I can tell you is you will learn about the Tarahumara Indians of northwestern Mexico and their amazing ability to run long distances.  You’ll learn all about the beautiful Copper Canyons and be ready to somehow hike them for yourself one day.  You will meet a guy named Barefoot Ted and get so excited  you will be ready to bust out of your shoes and try barefoot running.  You’ll become entranced with this woman named Ann Trason better know to the Tarahumara as la bruja (the witch).  You’ll meet the party kids, Billy and Jenn and be ready to fill your fuel belt with Mt. Dew and Coke.  You’ll get to know Scott Jurek, the deer.  (And by the way, Scott is my hero.  I read his book Eat and Run last fall and was so inspired.)  You will learn so much about running the facts will make your head spin.  You will be inspired.  Go out and get Born to Run.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

My sister and I often listen to the same books at the same time and we love to have our own little book club chats.  It wasn’t long after I had finished the book, she was calling me to get my take.

I told her what I got out of the book was to truly excel at running or anything really, you had to find the joy it it.  She said she agreed but what she took out of the book most was that you must be humble, giving and compassionate.

In the very last part of the book, Scott catches up with one of the Tarahumara runners and instead of speeding past him, he slaps him on the back, gives him a huge smile, and says, “Come on!”  Then Scott goes over to another Tarahumara and gives him a slight bow, a gesture to let that Tarahumara know how much he respected him.  Jenn saved Billy a sip of her Coke.  Barefoot Ted and one of the Tarahumara become best friends.  One man hikes 5 miles just to give Chris some mango juice.

Yes, I think my sister is right.  Compassion and love for each other is the key.  It is the key to the universe.  It’s the key to opening your heart and letting God flow to you and through you.  The key to letting you leak Jesus as I am learning in my new book, Love Does.

Love Does

Love Does is a fast one.  Full Review coming soon.

Happy reading.  Happy listening.  Happy running.  Happy Memorial Day Weekend Friends!

Falafels!

After reading the awesome, Eat and Run, by Scott Jurek, I have been toying with the idea of going vegan.   Scott Jurek is an ultra marathoner and this book is his autobiography.  He has been vegan since 1999.  So inspiring!

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Eat and Run has a recipe at the end of every chapter and they all looked wonderful.  The only problem was that my copy was from the library and I had to return it already.  I want to get my very own copy soon so I can try all Scott’s recipes!

Even though I didn’t have the book, I picked out five vegan recipes from the internet for this week and I’ll be sharing them with you each evening.

I found this wonderful Falafel Sandwich with Tomato-Cucumber Salad recipe via No Meat Athlete.  I fell in love with falafels when I first heard about them a few years ago.  Tonight’s version was light and delicious.  We didn’t deep fry the falafels like they do in so many restaurants.

All you do is food process up all the ingredients and then form 12 little patties.  Next you fry them in EVOO and then warm them in the oven.

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The tomato and cucumber salad was perfect.

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I had two pitas with one falafel in each and I am very satisfied.

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The only animal product that I have had all day was a little caramel macchiato creamer in my coffee this morning.  I cannot do almond milk or soy or rice milk in coffee.  Not sure how I’m going to solve this problem.

Have a great week everyone!  I’ve got a 5-5-16 week ahead of me.  (5 miles, 5 miles, and then 16 miles)

Happy Eating and Running!

Wonderful Read

The Help by Kathryn Stockett 

We did not have a maid when I was growing up.  And as an adult, I’ve only had someone clean my house one time in my life.  I come from a family of servers.  My mother was a waitress and homemaker her entire working life. 

I was a waitress too.  I worked at my uncle’s restaurant and my mother worked for my aunt.  When my girls were little, I cleaned houses so I could stay home with them.  

I have a lot more in common with Aibileen, Minny, Constantine, and Celia than any of the other characters in the book.  Well maybe not Minny.  But I wish I did.  

The cool thing to me was that I actually remember my aunt talking about “the help.”  She had some black ladies that worked as a cook and a dishwasher in her restaurant and that was how she always referred to them.  It wasn’t in a bad way.  Remel and Ms. Griffen were our friends. 

The setting of this story is in Mississippi in the years juuuust before I was born.  Growing up in central Florida, I was oblivious to everything that had happened and was still taking place.   My sisters talked about the civil rights movement sometimes but it never really meant anything to me.  I have never seen a color.  Only the person.  I thank God for this and my mother.    

The Help is beautifully written and a real page turner.  I loved every single chapter.  My very favorite story line was that of Ms. Celia.  So sad.  

As I said before, even if you have seen the movie, you will enjoy the book.  It is so good!

 

Help! I’m drowning in Food Facts!

I just love the library.  My mother would have never in a million years thought I would be saying those words, but I do.  This is coming from a girl who always tried to find the movie or the Cliff Notes of any book that was assigned in high school.  I can vividly remember from back in the 80’s laying on the couch with my head in my mother’s lap while she read to me.  Can you believe she did that for me?    She did this without judgment or criticism.    No lectures on me using my time more wisely, just out of love.  I also remember watching A Christmas Carol late at night with my copy of the book open right in front of me.  “Marley was dead:  to begin with.”  The first line of the book and the first words from the screen.  The version I was watching had to be word for word I reasoned.  It’s a wonder I made it through English at all! 

But the reason I love my library so much is that they have this awesome website and you can request books.  I don’t ever worry if there is a long waiting list.  I know my number will come up and I’ll have whatever title I’m interested in very quickly.  It is such a joy when I get the email saying my requested book is now available and on hold for me.  They even have audio books that you can download for free!  Sometimes I like to have my own copy of a book but since I don’t tend to re-read very often, I like the frugalness of checking them out. 

My number came up this week and 3 books that I had requested all became available at the same time.  In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan the audio version was first.  Second came, Food Rules also by Michael Pollan.  And lastly, Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. 

I am so very happy that In Defense of Food came to me in the audio version.  If it hadn’t, I’m not sure I could have gotten past the first chapter.  Michael Pollan goes on and on in a very technical way about the Western Diet (high intakes of red meat, sugary desserts, high-fat foods, and refined grains) and all the chronic illnesses that are caused by it.  I’m only on the 4th cd out of the 5 but what I am taking away from this book is that I have been born and am living in the worst nutritional time in history.  No more is a person’s diet dictated by culture or heritage.  I’m sure I eat nothing like my mother let alone my grandmother. 

From my very earliest memories I was using Sweet-n-Low, drinking Tab and Fresca, and consuming every low-fat, no-fat item that the food marketers were directing me to.  This makes me very sad.  I remember swearing by Susan Powter’s claim that it was the fat that was making us fat!  Then I remember embracing Dr. Atkins and his claim that the carbs were the enemy.  I even bought and used the ketosis sticks.  Did you? 

Even now I’ve gone from Vegetarian to Flexitarian and now back to Vegetarian.  Why does my diet have to be so complicated?  Why in the world am I spending as much time thinking about it as I do? 

The next book from Michael Pollan was Food Rules and you can read it in one sitting.  I recommend Food Rules wholeheartedly.  No need to get In Defense of Food unless you just love all the technical stuff.  Food Rules gives you all the main points made in In Defense of Food.  Some of the rules that I like the most are as follows: 

Rule number 2:  “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”  When I read this toLydia she immediately commented that meant tofu was definitely out.  I wonder what Michael Pollan would say to that? 

Rule number 13:  “Eat only foods that will eventually rot.”  Ever find a French fry under the seat in your car?  Looked pretty much exactly they way it did when it first fell there I bet. 

Rule number 20:  “It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.” 

Rule number 37:  “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead.” 

Rule number 44:  “Pay more, eat less.”  I can give you an awesome example of this one.  I made a pot of soup out of Eat to Live that I will review later and it cost me over $20.  It called for leeks, raw cashews, and carrot juice among many other ingredients.  Click her for the complete recipe.  The only leeks I could find were organic and the two cost me over $5.  The raw cashews were $5.26 and the carrot juice was $5.49.  I did only use 1/3 of the bottle of carrot juice but wowzer, I was up to over $15 at that point.  I estimated the entire pot of soup to cost around $25 and we got 6 servings out of it.  That will never make the Dinner on a Dime show!  It was very good though.  Even Mason loved it! 

And my very favorite rule of all….   Rule number 64:  “Break the rules once in a while.”  After a week of 3 nutrition books, I’m about to return to being a Flexitarian.  I will probably add back wild salmon or other fish and maybe some other animals if they are truly organically fed and humanely treated.  I’m also going to learn to be more like the French as Michael Pollan reports.  When I think of a chocolate cake, I’m going to think celebration instead of guilt.  After all, as Oscar Wilde says, “Everything in moderation, even moderation.”

The last book I read, or rather skimmed was Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  This one, like In Defense of Food, is very technical and long.  I skipped over most of it and got right to the diet he recommends and the recipes.  Dr. Fuhrman embraces a plant based diet way more than Michael Pollan but they are very similar in many ways.  The perpetual dieter in me almost wants to take his 6 week challenge and take out ALL animal products from my diet.  He claims that you can lose 20 pound or more in the 6 weeks.  Even with this claim, he really is more concerned with health rather than weight loss. 

The basics of the 6 week challenge: 

Unlimited raw veggies and try to eat at least one pound a day 

Unlimited cooked veggies and again, aim for one pound daily 

Unlimited fruits but at least 4 per day 

Limited starchy veggies and grains 

No animal products, no dairy, no processed foods, no caffeine, and no alcohol 

A point that Dr. Fuhrman makes that hit home to me was that in some ways, eating meat is far better for you than being a vegetarian that gorges on rice, breads, and other vegetarian junk foods.  He leans very heavily towards a plant based diet but after the first 6 weeks, some meats may be added back. 

I did finish one more book this week but this post is already way too long.  I’ll review, The Help, next week sometime.  If you haven’t seen the movie, wait.  Read the book first!  If you have seen the movie, don’t wait!  Go get the book.  It’s that good.

Deep in the Meadow

What a wonderful day.  I skipped my Galloway run so I could take care of Mason this morning.  He is so smart and such a blessing and joy to me.

Here he is with his mower at his 1st birthday party.

Mason with mower

Here’s another good one.

bday cake

Around lunchtime, Andie and Jonathan came and took him to the pool.  Love this shot of Jonathan and Mason from last week’s pool outing.

Mason at pool

After that, Lydia and I had a lunch date at New Japan Express.  We shared a Hibachi Vegetable and an order of King Crab Rangoons.   Delicious!  Lydia spent a little of her BoJangles earnings and got the cutest Vera Bradley wristlet.  I’m so excited that she is enjoying working and appreciating learning how far a dollar goes.

Next on the agenda was a slow and easy 5 mile run with my good friend and best running partner ever.  Didn’t get a shot of us today but here’s a good picture of us in April when we ran the First Flight 5k at the Wright Brothers’ Memorial.

Lisa and me

Today, Lisa agreed to brave the heat with me and we covered 5 miles in 53 minutes.  We did the run-walk-run method and we really must have been bookin’ it during the running parts.  The Neuse Riverwalk and Buffalo Creek Greenway is pretty nice.  The part near the water treatment plant had a slightly unpleasant odor for a bit but other than that, I liked it a lot.  It is really secluded so if you decide to go, take a buddy.  We even saw a snake.  Thanks Lisa for pointing it out to me.  I would have run right over it if you hadn’t.

river_walk_map

Lisa and I reminisced about our 2 marathons each and many other half marathons.  Lisa talked to me about an interesting thing that can happen to runners:  distance disorientation.  Made a lot of sense to me because sometimes when you’re out there on a long run, nothing plays with your head more than not knowing exactly where you are in your mileage.  Even your Garmin can play with your head sometimes.

When I got home from the run, I whirled up a delicious green monster.  Earlier in the week I had made one with spinach / arugula mix and it was disgusting.  The arugula is not meant to be blended up.  Today’s version was all spinach, one banana, 1/2 cup of milk, ice, and one scoop of vanilla protein powder.  Just what I always want after a run.

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The last thing I needed to do was to water my neighbor’s garden and flowers.  She goes to Florida one time every summer and she asks me to do this chore for her.  She makes a big deal about it and goes on and on about how much she is grateful to me for helping her out.  I try and try to tell her that it’s no bother at all.  I love it!

I turned on her sprinkler and sat on her awesome deck and read.  I’m re-reading Hunger Games and tonight I was on the part about Rue.  So sad.  Now that I am reading it again, I can just see the little actress that played her in the movie and I was crying big fat tears as I read.

Here’s Rue’s song performed by none other than one of my favorite singers in the whole world – Sting.

After a bit, I got up and took the watering cans to the rest of my neighbors flowers.  Aren’t they all just gorgeous!

I’ll sign off with this cheesy shot of a hopeless romantic and loony runner.

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Wanna Race?

Audio Book on a Mountain Road

I’ve wanted to write this review for some time now but the past few weeks of the crazy Christmas schedule hasn’t allowed it. I’m so glad that I have a minute now so that I can jot my thoughts down on this wonderful book.

I rented it on audio from Cracker Barrel Restaurant. They have an awesome program where you can conveniently pick up a book at one location and then return it at the Cracker Barrel of your choice. What you do is pay $35.00 and then when you return it, you get $32.00 back. At 3 bucks, that’s a pretty good deal! Sure you can get some free audio books from the library but I’m finding that I am willing to pay (some) for convenience in my busy, busy, life. Continue reading