the tinkerly half-arsed kinda-sorta cleanse/fast thingy.

After months of debauchery, I decided that I’d had enough of my disgusting eating habits (peanut butter from the jar anyone?) and that it was high time for a cleanse!  I had the best of intentions for following the Master Cleanse.  I had lemons and pure maple syrup and cayenne pepper — enough for days!  But things didn’t go quite as expected (as they never really do).

For the 25 people in the world unfamiliar with the Master Cleanse, it was conceived of by Stanley Burroughs in the 1940s, and revised in the 70s.  Burroughs believed that consuming only maple syrup-sweetened, cayenne pepper-spiced lemonade for 10 days would detoxify the body and remove excess fat.  The cleanse is still widely practiced today, despite the obvious chinks in its proverbial armor (lack of nutrients, losing water weight vs. fat).  On the cleanse, the practitioner can drink as much of the lemonade concoction and herbal tea as desired.  There are 3 phases to the cleanse: ease-in, cleanse, ease-out.

This is my tale.

Day 1.

7:00am: Up and at em!  While the idea of drinking lemonade doesn’t sound like the most delightful thing on this great big planet, I’m resolved to do this!  At least for the 4 days until my scheduled pancake breakfast with favorite-landlord-ever, Errol. I decide that I will cheat, just a little, and allow myself coffee (decaf! almost exactly like herbal tea!), sweetened with maple syrup, of course.

7:30am: Lemonade! This stuff doesn’t taste so bad after all!

9:45am: More juice!

10:00am: I’m so very sleepy.  I take a shower and decide I will take the day off to recuperate from the ever-so-strenuous cabin weekend with handsome beau.

11:00am-5:00pm: Squeeze, squeeze, more juice.  At some point in the afternoon, I realize I have forgotten to add the cayenne. I  watch the entire Pillars of the Earth miniseries, plus a few episodes of Mork & Mindy, season 2.

6:00pm: It can’t hurt to have a few almonds, right?

7:00pm: Maybe a little coconut oil (Don’t ask, because I really have no answer as to 1. why this seemed an acceptable exception, and 2. why it sounded appetizing.)

7:35pm: I really don’t feel very good.

8:00pm: Trying simultaneously not to vomit and to fall asleep so I don’t have to experience how awful I feel. At this point, the idea of maple syrup is enough to cause dry heaves.  Eventually I fall asleep.

Day 2.

8:00am: Lemonade?  Please god, noooo! I’m still extremely put off on the idea of maple syrup.  I opt instead for coffee with almond milk, plus water and my daily vites.

9:00am: Running errands, depositing money in the bank.  Stop off at Trader Joe’s to stock up on lemons and maple syrup.  Still not able to stomach the combo, I buy a few bottles of 100% juice.  I know it’s a stretch, but I need to consume some calories, and I’m thinking the lemonade will not be palatable today.

12:30pm: Decide to walk 3 miles to have coffee with a friend, in lieu of driving.  Beautiful day for a walk! Plus, it’s the perfect weather for my Wellies.

1:30pm: Arrive at coffee shop.  Friend Elizabeth is eating a sandwich that I sort of want to rip out of her hands, or at least gnaw on the mostly-empty condiment packets to suck out the last traces of Miracle Whip or yellow mustard. I resist, and a lovely conversation ensues. I buy a Naked Juice, because it’s juice.  Perfect.

2:30pm: For the past hour, my stomach has been jump-n-jivin, and now I start to feel really off.  I ask friend Elizabeth if she’ll drive me home.  I have tunnel vision, and feel like I’m going to vomit, right on the curb in front of Dunn Bros. Grand Ave.  I feel embarrassed like a 3rd grader who’s just puked on the classroom floor. In the end, I prevail in not vomiting, and feel fine by the time I’m dropped off at home 10 mins later. There’s also some time spent in the bathroom, and I will not go into any detail in this department.

4:00-5:00pm: Sweet, blessed nap.

6:00-11:30pm: I’m feeling pretty energetic and spend some time working on websites, catching up on bills, getting stuff in order.  I feel fine!  I’ve also consumed a handful of almonds, drunk some black tea with almond milk and syrup, and splurged on one green olive.

Day 3.

7:30am: Coffee to get me going, and vites.  I have enough supplies to last a few more days, but am still hesitant about drinking the lemonade again.

8:30am: Begin work.  Feeling energetic and good!  Stomach feels hungry, and I may start the day with more of the Trader Joe’s juice, just until I can verify my stomach isn’t going to reject anything.

8:45am: Lemonade still entirely unpalatable.  Drink Trader Joe’s juice instead.

12:00pm: Handsome beau comes over for lunch and I successfully refrain from eating from his plate (well, all but one carrot, anyway).

2:00-3:00pm: Nap, obvi.

3:00pm: Decide to take a walk and realize that I will most likely pass out from lack of nutrients.  At this point I realize the cleanse has become a silly exercise in starvation, and that it’s time to stop.

3:15pm: Oatmeal.

4:15pm: Walk at Hidden Falls (see pics below).

5:30pm: Return hateful Master Cleanse ingredients to Trader Joe’s in exchange for fruits and veg.  The idea is to do the ease-out by way of eating mostly raw for a day.

6:30pm: Delicious soup, salad, and rice dinner.

7:00pm: Plus a little peanut butter.  Which makes me feel ill and I throw the dregs of the bottle away.

8:00pm: Clean out refrigerator and cabinets of all trigger and splurge foods (generally speaking, the ones I have difficultyeating in moderation).

So the conclusion here is that the Master Cleanse is probably not for me.  Had I not been so horribly nauseated on Day 1, this may have had a different, and later, outcome.  But, as it is, it may be a long time before I can use real maple syrup on anything, let alone subsist on it for days on end.

I do like the idea of a periodic fast, and intermittent fasting has gained a lot of momentum in the past few years. My reasoning behind attempting the cleanse was to regain some mindfulness about what I eat, how much, and how often.  For a long time I’ve advocated many small meals, but working at home and having the kitchen never further than 10 steps away means that eating was often out of boredom, or to break up the monotony of sitting at the desk.

My weakness is grains.  I cut down, only to find myself imbibing a carb-heavy diet mere months later.  I also struggle to find balance, as my diet has been gluten-free for several years.  Because I already limit what I choose to eat, I’m extremely loathe to adhere to even more severe dietary restrictions — both for myself, and for those who cook for me.

As with everything, this is a learning curve.  In the future, I’d like to do an actual cleanse, perhaps a prepared juice cleanse, or even the Master Cleanse — properly prepared for!  I don’t know that 3 days is enough to make much of a difference in my eating habits right now, but it has got me thinking differently.  It was nice not to think about food prep for a few days, or to think about food at all, really!  It was also highly interesting to know that I can really go a lot longer, and do a whole lot more than I’d have thought on very little food.

I’d love to hear your experiences with intermittent fasting or cleansing — share in comments!

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Tutorial: using Google+ hangouts on the iphone

This week I learned that,  though totally counterintuitive, you can’t start a Google+ Hangout with the Hangout function on the Iphone app.
We were working with clients this week to record some video.  I know not a ton of people use Google+, but it has some great functionality, including Hangouts, which is like video chatting, but better. At the appointed time, my coworker and I entered the Hangout.  All was well, we could see and hear each other, but our client was having some difficulty.  Though we tinkered a bit, we couldn’t resolve the problem.  After doing some research last night, I found that this is a known issue.  Since I wasn’t able to find a solution in my search (at least in the first page or so of search results), I played around a bit to figure it out.*
You’ll need:
  • Iphone with video
  • Google+ account
  • another Google+er, online, who will talk to you

To initiate a hangout from an Iphone:

  1. In Google+ app, go to main menu by tapping list icon in upper left.
  2. Enter the Messenger function.
  3. Start a new conversation by tapping chat icon in upper right corner.
  4. Tap people or type in name to start a conversation with that person. More than one can be selected.
  5. Type something in the text window at the bottom of the screen, hit send.
  6. At the next screen, tap the video icon in upper right.
  7. At next screen, tap Hangout.
  8. This will bring you to a highly deceptive screen saying it’s “Waiting for others to join.” The thumbnail/name of the invitee is listed at the top, with a small blue arrow.  Tap the arrow.
  9. New screen with thumbnail/name of the invitee listed, tap on this.
  10. Invitee’s profile page. Mid-screen, tap on hangout.
  11. This rings through to the invitee on computer.
Taking shortcuts in this process or starting the hangout from the Hangout option on the iphone app menu results in no video.  Also, I wasn’t able to get it to work to invite from my computer to phone.  I was working with a wifi connection, but was logged into 2 g-accounts, so that may have diverted the invite from phone to computer.
*I’m running OS6 on an iphone 4s. I’m not super technical, please don’t ask too many questions ;)

If it makes you feel like you want to vomit.

Just a quick post to commemorate the day, what with it being my last at [international hair and beauty corporation]. I’m officially a stay-at-home freelancer.

Image courtesy of Raving Dave

I heard a friend say this once, “If it makes you feel like you’re going to vomit, you’re on the right track!” She wasn’t talking about a night at the bar; rather, she was talking about how to know if a decision or life change was right.  I’ve been thinking about this little saying for the past week or so, because as I’ve gotten closer to my end working date, the uncertainty of what I’m moving toward has become more real in my brain, more prevalent in my thoughts.  It has made me feel like vomiting, a little!  Because I have had a tendency, in the past, to go charging toward something thinking it will be the perfect thing, the solution I’ve been waiting for!, only to find that it, too, has its pitfalls.

This is a much different change, though, and I’m excited.  I’m working with a great company, and the transition feels really natural, not at all jarring.  The timing feels right, and I’m so excited to see what’s next!

 

FOOD! apple skillet cake

It’s Sunday, which means I’m being a lazy-bones.  It started last night, with a Fellini film I’ve had on loan from the Hennepin County Library for the better part of the past 4 months.  The extended borrowing period wasn’t intentional; rather, it was an item I “lost” while packing, and which has recently resurfaced.  [Side note: I just have to say, for the record, I don't resonate with Fellini films.  This particular oeuvre, 8-1/2, is hailed as one of the greatest films of all time.  Interesting, perhaps, but life would have been just as well had I not seen it.]  I slept on the couch, which always feels like a slumber party to me.  I awoke at 6, then fell back asleep at 7 until approximately 8:30 (ok, 9).

This caught my eye whilst checking my social media sites, and, though I initially poo-poo’d the idea of making it, I changed my mind once I realized all the ingredients* were in my kitchen.  The recipe is pretty forgiving, so improvise as needed!

Apple Skillet Cake:

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup soy milk, or your preferred type of milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup Domata Gluten Free Recipe Ready Flour
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons high-heat oil
  • 3 sweet apples cored, and sliced (sweet or tart, depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons sugar (brown, if preferred)
  • thumb-sized knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk warm water and flour together, ensuring few to no lumps.  Add eggs, milk, and salt, and set aside. In a cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add ginger and apples; stirring occasionally, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the top of apples, cooking until caramelized, 5 minutes.
  2. Pour in batter, distributing evenly throughout skillet.  Transfer to oven and bake until cake puffs and knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with 2 teaspoons sugar and return to oven until brown on top, 5 minutes. Or, place under high-heat broiler for 1-2 minutes (watching closely!) until brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

Serves 8 (Calories: 187 / Carbs: 29g / Fat: 7g / Protein: 3 g)

*Before you go telling me how awesome this is, and what a great cook I am, I have to give credit where it’s due.  This recipe was adapted from a little something I spied in my FB feed this morning, from Whole Living.  I adapted it to exclude dairy and wheat, but if these things are of no concern to you, just follow that recipe instead!

it’s coming…

This is it, we’re in the middle of it already! It’s the time of year that requires, to my way of thinking, the most adjustment: from Fall into Winter.  Yes, capitalized, just like that.  Its seems like only a few weeks ago that it was all sundresses, maybe paired with boots, but maybe not, maybe still with a bare leg and a cute heel.  But now! No dice.  Even though the temps can still be into the 50s and 60s, the morning-time is chilly-willy, down to the 30s.  Even I, Winter Lover Extraordinaire, experience some difficulty in acclimating.  No, it’s true.  I love winter, but I become slightly squeamish about getting out and doing stuff when it’s cold-yet not winter, with wind-but no snow.

Par ejemplo, last night, I went for a run.  But it took some mind-wrangling to get there.  I came home from work and, realizing I had eaten way too much office-chocolate (this is not a euphemism, though it really could refer to a number of things… there’s chocolate and candy f’ing everywhere in the damn office.  I look at it as a good exercise in self control, though it usually turns into let’s-eat-so-much-chocolate-at-work-that-it-makes-me-sick-and-I-don’t-want-to-eat-it-anymore, however.  This experiment, as yet, has not proven successful.), and because I had chosen not to visit the gym, I decided on the running.  I got home and started eating corn chips, mais oui.  And I ate a lot of them.  Stress-eating, you wonder? Procrastination-induced snacking? Yes, yes indeed.  Because it was COLD (44 deg F, or thereabouts) and it was windy, and I simply DID NOT WANT TO.  But, I went anyway, and once I got out there it was good.

The tricky part of cold-weather activity is managing the body-temp gap between starting the activity and being at the point of sweating.  Layering! Of course! But if you run, you know it’s a real hassle to take shit off and tie it around your waist.  Plus, you end up looking like an elderly woman mall-walking at 7am.  So I dress sparingly, and hope I’ve struck the right balance.  I did, last night, and the run was lovely.

My point being, though, that I have to remind myself every year that, while it stinks sometimes to get out there, it’s a matter of wearing the appropriate clothing, and then you can do anything.  Right?  I saw a guy driving to work yesterday morning, on a motorcycle, in 40-something degree rain.  But he was wearing a nice motorcycle suit and I thought to myself, I’ll be he’s real comfy.  And he probably was.  Because he was protected by his clothing, which is the whole point. Here’s a good frame of reference:

Image courtesy of The Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions.

This may seem like the most asinine pastime in the whole world, but there are those who love ice-diving.  I’ve heard it’s beautiful, though I can’t say for certain I’d ever endeavor.  Properly clothed, though, it’s nearly the same as any other cold-water diving.  It’s all about the equipment.

confessions of know-it-all’ingness.

Thought of the day: it’s not that the customer/client is always right, but rather that I don’t always need to be right. Right?

I have a tendency toward know-it-all’ingness.  It’s not pretty.  I think there’s a gene in the family, probably on both sides, where we must be right, and we must know that you know that we are right.  I’ve also been known, not willing to recognize the fault in myself, to scrutinize others for the same flaw.  But, as with anything, knowing is half the battle.

I had a moment working with a client today where I held my tongue, made the requested edits, and moved on to the next task.  Now, you can understand this was difficult, as the issue at hand was whether autumnal allergies could be caused by pollen, because isn’t pollen more a springtime thing?  I looked it up, of course, and thought about tossing in an off-handed remark about knowing that, in fact, allergies at this time of year could indeed be pollen-related, because I, personally, suffer this particular malady, at this time, every year.

You can just hear the peevishness in my tone, can’t you.  It’s there, and repeating it here makes it that much more obvious.  And annoying.  And petty-sounding.  I mean, really.  Why is it so important to expend energy thinking about setting him straight?  And did I need to verify the facts on WebMD.com (and yes, this is the link to the Fall Allergies info page)?  Or consider sending a link just so they would know I was right, or that this type of allergy was valid?  A-nnoy-ing.  Do you ever have moments when you wonder how the people around you even like you sometimes?  I’m such a pain in the ass sometimes!

downtime.

I am foraying into the world of self-employ.  While I’ve been freelancing for almost a year, I am now at the point where the work I’m doing is enough to cut back my office-work schedule to 3 days/week, and I have more than enough work to do the remaining 4 days/week for my main client.  I’ve fantasized for years about working for myself; it’s quite a different story when confronted with the reality of the thing, am I right?  I don’t say this as a negative, it’s simply an adjustment in both daily habits and practices, and in mentality/perception. I’m loving it so far, and getting more disciplined about my work habits, primarily because I can see how easy it is to simply work all the time. Although, this isn’t really anything new for me, I’m fond of being a busy-busy-bee! I can also see the necessity of getting out and spending time with people, ie volunteering, and participating in a writing group (of which, incidentally, I found a really great one last week! through the Hennepin County Library system.  Have I ever mentioned how much I looooove the library? Home away from home for this word nerd!).

What I love about working from home, more than anything, is that I get to decide my schedule.  I do not enjoy the necessity of being at an office for a prescribed number of hours during a set time frame. This has always made me a little cray-cray, though I’ve spent years trying to convince myself that it’s what I need to adjust to to make a living in this world.  I’m soooo happy to be finding out that there are other options- and they’re even viable options!  What I love about freelance writing is, well, writing.  Because the more you do of something you love, the more you do of something you love! Or, something to the effect of, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” While some may debunk this as bad career advice, I say it’s completely true!

At the moment, I’m taking a break from writing about various types of cancer for clients (just a little light writing for a Monday, thank you very much!).  These are the ways I like to give my mind a rest:

  • More writing, ovbi.  Though it’s nice to be able to vent the randomness in my brain
  • Trail running.  Today @ Lebanon Hills Regional Park, which is a bit of a jaunt, but definitely worth it.  It was grey and dreary, which made the leaves still clinging to the branches scream their vibrant colors.  I f’ing love autumn in Minnesota!
  • Regular running, too.
  • Or walking along the mighty Mississipp’, which is nearby.
  • Doing headstands, a la B.K.S. Iyengar. Like this:   Ha!  No, more like this:Except sh!ttier, with a lot of confused adjusting happening throughout.
  • Playing Words with Friends with a guy I used to date.  I suppose he would be considered some sort of ex, though he wasn’t technically a boyfriend (of course, this is my attitude about our relationship now. Had you asked while we were dating, he probably was considered a boyfriend.  Still, there needs to be some sort of nomenclature pertaining to people you formerly dated.  Ex… datees? No. Come up with something and leave it in the comments, if you would!).  Anyhoo, it’s weird because we don’t talk, but I soooooo want to beat him, so we keep playing.
  • Eat food.  Make food.  Think about going to get food or ordering food.  Looking at food in the cupboards. Making more coffee to drink for when my break is over.
  • Facebooking, tweeting, et cetera.  Truly, an addiction.  (Feel free to friend ‘n’ follow, btw.)
  • Daydreaming about getting a French Bulldog.
  • Perusing adopt-a-dog sites, searching for vicarious puppy-love
  • Many, many other interesting things.

What do you do on your breaks, peeps who work from home and otherwise?  I’m always fascinated by how people spend their downtime… or procrastinate-time.

FOOD! refrigerator pickles

I made these today.

I don’t love pickles, not really.  Something about dill pickles just doesn’t suit my palate.  Dill itself I think is quite divine, but dill pickles don’t interest me at all.  Bread and butter pickles (I think this is the type, the sweet ones?), on the other hand, I do like these.  Which are basically the same as refrigerator pickles.

All summer long I’ve been splitting a CSA share with a friend.  Every week we’d get something different – lemon cukes, edamame, kale, thyme, what-have-you.  More than anything else though, we got BEANS.  Every damn week, BEANS.  Green beans, wax beans, I don’t know the exact nomenclature, but there were OODLES of them.  And I loved to eat them, but I wasn’t creative enough, and got bored, and a lot of beans went to waste, unfortunately.  The whole time though, I was thinking how great it would be to pickle them! But it seemed too daunting, and so I didn’t.  I think I’m a little scared of canning because of something I read in a book once about botulism, maybe in East of Eden, or similar.

But, I digress. Refrigerator pickles, on the other hand, so easy!  I found a few recipes, like this one, and just adapted it, because some of the recipes I found seemed like they wanted to be fancy and I just wanted the most basic one I could find.  No fanciness of ingredient for me, just a plain old McDonald’s burger, thankyouverymuch. Also, I had this big old jar, so I adapted for the size of the thing.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups cucumbers (pickling cukes are great, but no need to discriminate), thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups vinegar (I used 4 cups white, 2 cups apple cider to cut the tartness)
  • 3 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon celery seeds

Prep:

Place cukes and onion in a gallon jar.  Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Carefully pour liquid into gallon jar and refrigerate.  Let chill 3-4 days.  Pickles can be kept for up to 6 weeks.

Voila! I tried mine after they’d been in the fridge for about 12 hours.  The cukes were still very raw and crunchy, but the flavor of the wash tastes about right, so I’m excited to test them again in a few days!

Are you a pickler, or a canner?  Leave your tips in the comments below!

Oscar P

liberty, luna, and the pursuit of pistorius.

Two things today.  Well, maybe 3.

1. Happy Fourth of July!

Interesting.

2. Full moon!  Yesterday at 12:51pm.  I couldn’t sleep, which got me to thinking about why we associate so much cray-cray with the full moon.  I couldn’t find anything substantive (which is sort of a given, considering it’s all very woo-woo anyway), though I did familiarize myself with the myth of Luna (Latin), aka Selene (Greek), à la Edith Hamilton‘s Mythology:

Endymion the shepherd,
As his flock he guarded,
She, the Moon, Selene,
Saw him, loved him, sought him,
Coming down from heaven
To the glade on Latmus,
Kissed him, lay beside him.
Blessed is his fortune.
Evermore he slumbers,
Tossing not nor turning,
Endymion the shepherd.

Basically, we have the crazy-town, love-obsessed moon-goddess Luna, smitten with the shepard Endymion, who she turns into Rip Van Winkle, so she can gaze upon him nightly, eternally.  And this, in a roundabout way, might give insight why the condition of lunacy is so named, if Luna was the goddess, and the moon’s phases are intrinsically connected to menses, and the goddess was cray…  If, then.  If you follow my line of reasoning.  Which may be faulty and disjointed after a sleepless, moonstruck night.

3. Lastly, a friend posted this amazing story about Oscar Pistorius, a double-amputee who will compete on South Africa‘s Olympic track team.  This snippet is thought-provoking:

Pistorius, 25, was born without fibulas and had his lower legs amputated when he was 11 months old. He runs on carbon-fiber blades known as Cheetahs, which have stirred international debate over whether they give him an unfair advantage.

It’s a little mind candy to play with.  A double-amputee.  With carbon-fiber prosthetics.  Yes, the material is probably superior to the good ol’ human leg, but is it an advantage?  Discuss.

Oscar Pistorius