I Arrived! Then, I Dined At Assaggi.

August 31, 2011

Hello from the Great Lakes State!  I’m writing from Michigan, my home state.  After a wonderfully smooth flight experience (unlike my recent craptacular flight to Colorado), I landed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.  My dad had dinner plans with a friend last night, so my mom and I were on our own for dinner.  I was already starving – I was in the air from 10:40am – 3pm (no, the flight wasn’t 4+ hours, it was 2+ hours, plus a 2-hour time zone change), so I never ate lunch.  My breakfast in Colorado consisted of a banana, a few grapes, and the leftover salad from last night, and after I landed I bought another banana and a small container of watermelon.  You can see why I was starving!

I met up with my mom as she was finishing up at her office:

Me:  “I’m really hungry.  Really hungry.  What do you want to do for dinner?”

Mom:  “Well, I never ate the salad I ordered for lunch, and it’s a big salad, so we could split that.  Or, why don’t we go out to eat?  There’s two restaurants I wanted you to try while you were in town.  One of them is pricey, so you may not want to go there with your friends, so why don’t I take you?”

I don’t think I’ve ever turned down a fine dining opportunity where I wouldn’t be responsible for the bill, and I wasn’t going to start now!

The restaurant my mom had in mind was Assaggi Bistro, a restaurant in Ferndale, a little suburb about 20 minutes away.  She had recently been there with a group of her friends, and everyone loved the food and had a great time.  The restaurant has a totally unassuming facade – you would never guess by driving by that this place was recently named one of the best restaurants in metro Detroit by The Detroit News:

Assaggi has a spacious patio out back, surrounded by lots of greenery, and we got a table back there.  My chair ended up being close to a speaker, and I noticed right off the bat the eclectic selection of music that totally had me laughing – a bizarre mix of standards like “That’s Amore” alongside cheesy wedding-band instrumental jazz versions of recent hits, like Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).”

Assaggi’s menu combines elements from countries all around the Mediterranean.  They have pizzas from a wood-fired oven, a meze plate with hummus, tabouleh, and other Middle-Eastern items, and dishes with French, Spanish, and even African influences.

I was less concerned with watching what I ate that I normally am, on account of the lack of calories I’d eaten so far that day, although I did choose to avoid anything deep-fried or swimming in oil.  For an appetizer, my mom and I split one of their specials, California golden figs wrapped in prosciutto, stuffed with Robiola cheese (a creamy soft Italian cheese), and served with a balsamic reduction.  It was the first fresh fig I’ve eaten since I bought some a few months ago, and, like me, they had come all the way from California!

The fig had so many great textures and flavors – salty, sweet, rich, crispy, creamy – a great way to start a meal.  And how awesome is that photograph?  I normally don’t boast about my camera work – in fact, I’ve apologized for it on more than one occasion – but these pictures came out fantastically!  Probably because of all the natural light.

For my entree, I ordered their Moroccan duck legs, which came with dried fruit and pistachio couscous, spinach, and a pomegranate barbeque sauce:

I don’t eat duck very often – maybe once or twice a year, and always at restaurants.  And it was goooood.  The meat fell off the bones and melted on my tongue, and the pomegranates, pistachios and dried fruit perked up every bite.

My mom ordered the rainbow trout, which came with squash and heirloom baby tomatoes, a creamy dill sauce, and the same couscous I had (minus the fruit and pistachios):

I tried a piece of the fish, and it was smooth and well-cooked, but I liked my dish better.

Oh, and our meal started off with a bread basket that I didn’t photograph – we each had a piece of what seemed like a fresh-baked, warm (steamy, in fact) pita.

The dessert menu looked appetizing – who doesn’t like chocolate lava cake or creme brulee? – but we decided to pass and call it a night.  It was a delicious meal!

A quick update on my lower back before I call it a night:  Today I didn’t experience any discomfort or pain at all.  I’m so glad I’m healing so quickly after my move-induced injury!  Today was another rest day, exercise-wise, but tomorrow I’m gonna head to the gym for some light cardio.  I’m not going to push myself – I just wanna see how it feels, and how my body responds.  If there’s any pain or discomfort, I’ll stop.  With 3 of the last 4 days being rest days, I’m getting antsy to move!  I also have a massage scheduled for Thursday – which Richard Simmons recommended I get – and I’m looking forward to that as well.

Keep it up, David!


Garden Fresh Salad. Literally.

August 30, 2011

You know by now that I love produce straight off the tree.  Or vine.  Or bush.  Most recently, I scored some great lemons and oranges from my friend Robyn’s backyard and some limes from my friend Emily’s.  Although they’ve told me about it, I had completely forgotten that this year, my sister Sarah and her husband Justin put in a little garden along the side of their house, and Justin and I raided it to help put together last night’s dinner.

Here’s the garden:

They’re growing tomatoes, and these two guys were ready to go:

Justin harvested four cucumbers from his cucumber plants (he says they can barely keep up with the cucumbers they’re growing):

There’s also green peppers that are coming along nicely:

And some strawberry plants that haven’t yielded much this year, but I did find this little green guy:

So what did we do with the tomatoes and cucumbers?

We made a salad, of course!

Both tomatoes and 2 of the cucumbers got chopped up.  My 5-year-old nephew Sam helped – I did the chopping, he put them in the bowl.  We added a few more store-bought veggies: baby arugula, mushrooms, and 1/2 an orange bell pepper.  For dressing, we added a little olive oil, some vinegar, and salt and pepper.  This may be one of the freshest salads I’ve ever eaten:


The rest of my dinner was two sliders (each burger was 2 ounces), with tomato (also from the garden), lettuce, pickles, and mustard.  I split 1 bun between the two of them, and ate them open-faced.  I also nabbed about 4 french fries off my nephew’s plate.

My back is doing much better.  If you saw yesterday’s post about pools and high-dives and moving and skyscrapers, then you read about how I threw out my back.  Ouch.  I consulted the fitness professionals in my life today: Richard Simmons, among other things, suggested a massage (which is a great idea), and Craig laid out a plan for when I should get back to the gym, and what I should do.  Over the course of the day, during which I occasionally did stretches, my back improved.  It’s not 100% better, but it’s improved.

Tomorrow I hop on a plane and fly to Michigan.  Hopefully, this travel day won’t be as long and arduous as my last flight!

Keep it up, David!

Are All Colorado Pools Awesome? Plus, an Injury.

August 29, 2011

Do you have a few minutes?  Yesterday was a big, long day, so this may end up being a big, long post.  I won’t waste any time recapping, except to say that I’m currently outside of Boulder, Colorado, where I’m hanging out with Sarah (one of my older sisters), and her family.

Yesterday, Sarah and I wanted to get a workout in, so we did something we both grew up doing: swimming.  When I visited last Thanksgiving, we went swimming at the local rec center, which has this amazing indoor pool complex – lap pool, separate kiddie pool, 3-story water slide, lazy river, hot tub, and sauna (see pictures of it here).  We didn’t really swim laps (except for maybe a couple); it was more of a recreational swim outing.  This time, we went to another local pool – an outdoor one at the local YMCA – and it was also amazing.

Are all Colorado pools awesome?

This complex had 3 water slides, two diving boards, and a kiddie pool and spray park in addition to lanes for lap swimming:

Sarah and I arrived in the morning, after planning our workout while we ate breakfast:

Let me decipher that for you:

  • Warm-up:  500 yards freestyle, then 3 x 200 yards (1 kicking, 1 pulling, 1 IM)
  • Ladder, all free (100, 200, 300, 200, 100)
  • 6 x 100 yards, alternating free and IM.
  • 4 x 50 yards freestyle all-out sprints.
  • 200 yards cool-down.

If you whip out your calculator, you’ll see that, in total, we swam 3,000 yards, in a little over an hour.  That’s 120 lengths of the pool, which equates to about 1.7 miles.   It’s the longest swim workout I’ve had since I started swimming last December after 15 years out of the pool (my first foray back in the water is at the end of this post, and here are the memories that came flooding back).

It was a lot of fun swimming with Sarah.  She’s a stronger swimmer than I am (and always has been), but not by much.  We raced during all 4 of the 50 yard sprints that ended the main set of our workout, and while she won every time, I came in pretty close a couple times, maybe even within a second or two.

We were both exhausted, but soon after our workout finished, Sarah’s hubby Justin arrived with their two kids: my nephew Sam and my niece Allison.  Sam, who’s 5 1/2, had recently passed his swimming test, meaning he could go in the deep end, so we went down the water slides and off the diving board.

Sam, doing a cannonball:

Uncle David’s cannonball splash:

Then, it was time to tackle… the high dive.  I think it’s a 3-meter springboard:

I can’t remember the last time I was on a high-dive, but it’s surely been at least 15 years.  I grew up in Michigan just as many pools and swim clubs were taking out their high dives due to safety and insurance reasons.  It’s high!  Sam got a little nervous, so I went first, and I stood at the edge for a good 30 seconds before making the leap.

It’s just as scary and fun as I remembered it, and after a few more jumps, I even tried diving a few times.  Sam was brave, too, and jumped 3 or 4 times.  Here he is, getting ready to jump:

Sam, Allison, and I after we were done swimming:

Between the workout and the fun swimming, it seemed like we were at the pool all day, but when we left it was just after noon.  We stopped by a Subway for lunch (I had a chicken breast and spinach salad), and went back to the house for a few hours, before heading out for our second big activity of the day…

…helping our cousin move.

My cousin Laura just made the move from Michigan to Colorado, and she’s been crashing at Sarah’s place until she gets settled here.  She recently found an apartment in the Denver suburbs, and the other day, her Pod was dropped off, and she asked for help unloading it.  We went down and lent a hand, and it turned out to be the second workout of the day for Sarah and me.

Laura’s apartment is on the third floor, and there isn’t an elevator, so we estimated that we climbed those 2 flights of stairs 20 to 25 times, carrying something each time.  Lots of times it was boxes and stuff, but we also got some big items up there, too, including mattresses, dressers, hutches, and all the pieces to a bunk bed.  We also moved a piano – a piano – that Laura gave Sarah and Justin from the Pod to the back of Justin’s SUV.

The aftermath of the move has good and bad elements.  Let’s start with…

…the bad:  I threw out my back.  I don’t know exactly when I did it, but as we were standing around when we were done, trying to figure out where to go to dinner, I noticed my lower back felt really tight and really sore.  It hurt to bend over.  There wasn’t any sharp or acute pain – it was similar to the feeling after a really hard workout, times 10.  I went home and went to bed early (which is why I’m delayed in publishing this post).  This morning, it was still really sore, although, as the day has gone on, it’s gotten slightly better.  I walked to the corner supermarket (maybe 1/4 mile each way) to pick up some Aleve, but apart from that, I’m not going to exercise today.  In fact, after I’m done with this post, I gonna go and lie down and watch TV or read or something.

There is, however, an upside to all this, which brings us to…

…the good:  I have a new skyscraper to add to my collection!

I add a skyscraper to my collection after every StairMaster workout, and because I ended up climbing so many stairs yesterday (20-25 x 2 flights of stairs = 40-50 flights), I decided a skyscraper is in order.  I didn’t keep track of exactly how many flights I climbed, so I’m staying towards the conservative end.  Since I’m in Colorado, it seems only right to pick a local skyscraper, so I’m going with 1999 Broadway, a 43-story tower that’s the 5th-tallest building in Denver and the state:

Yep, I climbed that!  While carrying boxes and furniture!  And I also climbed back down it, too – which is something I can’t say about any of the other skyscrapers in my collection.

As you can see, 1999 Broadway has a unique circular side, and that’s because the tower was built around the church at the base, so the church didn’t have to be torn down.  Clever!

Let’s add it to the chart:

  • Aon Center, Chicago, IL (83 floors, climbed 8/5/11)
  • CITIC Plaza, Guangzhou, China (80 floors, climbed 12/1/10)
  • JPMorgan Chase Tower, Houston, TX (75 floors, climbed 3/9/11)
  • Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI (73 floors, climbed 6/19/11)
  • The Sail @ Marina Bay, Singapore (70 floors, cilmbed 11/9/10)
  • Yokohama Landmark Tower, Yokohama, Japan (70 floors, climbed 4/11/11)
  • 900 North Michigan, Chicago, IL (66 floors, climbed 4/1/11)
  • Vista Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (62 floors, climbed 7/2/11)
  • Commerzbank Tower, Frankfurt, Germany (56 floors, climbed 8/19/11)
  • 1000 de la Gauchetiere, Montreal, Canada (51 floors, climbed 11/3/10)
  • Hotel Arts, Barcelona, Spain (44 floors, climbed 8/12/11)
  • > > 1999 Broadway, Denver, Colorado (43 floors, climbed 8/29/11.  Climbed down it, too)
  • Ernst & Young Bldg, Los Angeles, CA (41 floors, climbed 10/3/10)
  • City Place I, Hartford, CT (38 floors, climbed 5/11/11)
  • Ocean Towers, South Padre Island, TX (31 floors, climbed 1/20/11)

Keep it up, David!

Two Weeks Until Cedar Point!

August 28, 2011

It just hit me.  In exactly two weeks from today, I’ll be riding the coasters at Cedar Point!  For any of you that aren’t familiar, Cedar Point is an amazing amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.  It currently has 17 roller coasters, and is the only park on the planet to have 4 that are over 200 feet tall.  It’s been named “Best Amusement Park in the World” for the past 13 consecutive years.  Need I say more?  It ROCKS.

I haven’t been to Cedar Point in 10 years.  But I’m going in two weeks.  I can’t wait!

You’ll be hearing LOTS about Cedar Point on this blog in the next couple weeks.  For now, I’m gonna keep this post short and sweet (I’m really tired), and post a video of one of the rides I’m most excited about: Top Thrill Dragster.  It’s 420 feet high, goes 120 mph, and since it was built after my last visit, I’ve never been on it.  Check it out:

In other news, today was a rest day.  I’ve exercised for the past 9 days in a row, so I was due.  I did go with my sister, nephew, niece, and cousin for a walk to the playground – we were gone over an hour – so I wasn’t completely inactive.  And tomorrow, we’re going for a hike in the mountains.  I gotta remember to bring my camera!

Keep it up, David!

A Loooong Travel Day

August 27, 2011

I finally arrived at my sister’s place in Colorado, way later than scheduled.  My 3:30 United flight out of Burbank was delayed.  Because of the heat (105 degrees), they asked for 19 volunteers to find an alternative mode of transportation – apparently when it’s really hot, planes need to be lighter in order to take off.  Nobody stepped forward and volunteered.  They started boarding the plane: first class and premiere club members, then people with connections in Denver, and then… that’s it.  Nineteen of us got bumped.  The 50-seater regional jet went up with 31 passengers.

There were no other Burbank-Denver flights that day, so United provided us bumpees $400 in vouchers, and offered those of us that were interested a shuttle to LAX to catch a 7pm direct flight.  I took them up on their offer, and squeezed into a passenger van with 7 others, our luggage, and the driver, and we headed out in Friday night Los Angeles rush hour traffic to get from one airport to the other.  Our shuttle driver got us there with a little time to spare (he knew a kickass shortcut), and I made it on the 7pm flight.

As I waited to go through security at LAX, I knew I’d have to find something to eat to bring on the plane.  I didn’t want to land in Denver starving, and I was already hungry – it had been about 6 hours since lunch.  A challenge had presented itself to me:  Get through security (which was moving slowly), get to a bathroom (which was also becoming an urgent need), find something to eat, and get on that plane!

Moving through the terminal, the first option was a McDonald’s.  NO.  Didn’t even humor the idea.  There was also a Wolfgang Puck eatery.  There’s a special place in my heart for Wolfgang Puck ever since he made me a awesome YouTube video after I blogged about dining at his Spago restaurant, but as I cruised by on my brisk walk to Gate 77, it seemed as though all the food was made-to-order, and I wasn’t certain I’d have the time.  Moving on.

I came across a La Brea Bakery, and could see they had a grab-and-go case.  This could be a potential jackpot.  They might have a healthy option or two:

And they did!  I opted for a salad that had chicken, cabbage, radicchio, olives, parsley, and a mustard dressing (that I used about 1/3 of).  I also grabbed a bottle of sparkling water:

Anyone want to guess what I paid?  I’ll give you 5 seconds to think about it…






My dinner only cost me $14.55.   How close were you?

In the grand scheme of things, an expensive meal isn’t that big of a deal on a day that could have ended up much worse (like me missing the 7pm flight, and delaying my Colorado trip by a day), and I know I’d be much more annoyed had I made poor food choices.

The salad hit the spot, too.

I’m finishing up with a link to a post I wrote at the end of last year.  It compares what it’s like to fly now to when I flew at my heaviest, and it’s proven to be one of my all-time most popular posts, and one that has really struck a chord with my readers.  So, if you haven’t read it (or haven’t read it lately), I invite you to click here and check out “How a 400-Pound Man Flies.

Keep it up, David!

What Made Me Blush Last Night

August 26, 2011

Exciting news!  (For me, at least.)

In a few short hours, I’m leaving on a jet plane.  Time to get out of Los Angeles for a while.  My first stop is Colorado, for a long weekend with family, and from there I’m flying to Michigan, where I’m spending about 2 weeks catching up with more family and friends.

Even though I’m on vacation, my blog won’t be.  I’ll keep you posted on where I am, what I’m doing, what I’m eating, and how I’m exercising.  Don’t you worry, you’ll be kept in the loop!

Now for the story that the title alludes to:

Last night, I headed to Slimmons for my last class with Richard Simmons for a few weeks.  He was dressed in a Beatles-themed tank top and played dance remixes of Beatles songs (yep, they’re as strange as you think they are).  It was definitely a fun class, and it was hot, so there was lots of sweat and it came quickly.

The highlight of the evening actually happened before class, when I was stretching a little and staking out my spot in the classroom (a necessity, because classes can get crowded).  Nearby, a posse of women, all of them Slimmons regulars and lovely, friendly gals, were chatting amongst themselves, when, all at once, they all turned and said my name.

Seconds later, the posse had surrounded me.  They moved quickly.  It was almost disorienting.

Posse:  “Hey David, we were all just talking about you right now, and we decided we might as well let you know.”

Me:  “Oh yeah?”

Posse:  “We were all talking about how handsome you are.  You’re so handsome!”

Cue blushing.

Me (fumbling and stumbling a little bit):  “Thank you, that’s really very kind.”

Posse:  “Look at him, he’s blushing!”

Me:  “I appreciate it, I really do!  Thank you – that made my day.”  (Which is true.)

Posse:  “It made your day that a group of old and middle-aged women think you’re handsome?”

Me:  “Yes.  And I didn’t use those words – you did!”

I’m handsome.  I’m handsome.  It’s not, historically speaking, a word that I’ve ever used to describe myself, nor is it a word that I’m used to hearing about myself.  To be honest, up until recently, when someone did call me handsome, my mind immediately had a response ready:  They’re just saying that.  They’re just being nice.  They’re just being polite.  It’s not true.

Last night, though, my mind didn’t race to squash their compliment.  I heard it, received it, thanked them, looked in the mirror, and silently agreed.

Keep it up, David!

I Am The Waffle Doodler

August 25, 2011

I’ve spent a lot of time with my friend Kristy over the last 24 hours.  You know Kristy, right?  She’s popped up on this blog before – she’s a very talented singer-songwriter and she’s even written a song inspired by this blog.

Here’s Kristy and me, in a photo taken just a few hours ago:

On Tuesday night, I worked out with Kristy, as she and her hubby Mike attend the same boot camp class that I do.  Read about Tuesday’s class at the end of this post.  Actually, Kristy and Mike were the ones to introduce me to Craig, who leads our boot camp class and is also my personal trainer.  He trains Kristy and Mike, too.  We’re all one big happy sweaty sore family!

On Wednesday afternoon, I had a session with Craig, which included a new exercise called treadmill hops.  We fired up the treadmill to 9.0 incline and 3.8 speed, and I turned to one side and did sidestep/jump movements.  After 30 seconds on one side, I pivoted, did 30 seconds on the other, and then 30 seconds of regular walking.  That cycle got repeated waaaaay too many times.  Treadmill hops kicked my ass, which means, naturally, that they’re probably really good for me.  But I still think they’re terrible, and I told Craig that.  “I hate these.  I feel like a horse,” I said, because the rhythm is similar to a gallop.  “You sound like one too,” Craig responded.  Then Craig said, “Be sure to tell Kristy you did these, because they’re her favorite form of cardio.”  I could tell by his smile and tone that that statement was probably false.

I was able to ask Kristy in person on Wednesday night, at a little show that she was a part of.  She laughed when I told her what Craig said, and said, “There’s nothing more awkward than doing treadmill hops in a crowded gym.  I hate facing the side on a treadmill when there’s someone else right there on the treadmill next to you!”

Kristy’s show was at a cute restaurant in South Pasadena called Firefly Bistro, which has a weekly singer/songwriter show called Wine & Song.

I was looking over the menu when I saw an entree that sounded so good that I couldn’t stop thinking about it all night:

CHICKEN FRIED DUCK & WAFFLES?  My mouth watered instantly.  Every element sounded amazing:  Chicken-fried confit duck leg?  Yes, please.  Cheddar-scallion waffle?  Can I have two?  Stewed peaches?  Pile them on.  Maui onions?  Mmm-mmm!  House made Tabasco?  You must be kidding me.  Lime syrup?  No, seriously, you’re kidding me.

Two things prevented me from ordering it, though:

1) I had already eaten dinner before I came.

2) $24.50 is a lot of money, especially for a guy who is unemployed between jobs.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that goddamn dish all night, and how much I wanted to eat it.  Since I had a pen on me, and since the menus were printed on regular sheets of paper, I turned one over and started doodling.  I doodle often.  I am a regular doodler.  Last night, I was a waffle doodler.  My first doodle:

My friend Ashley saw the doodle and asked to finish the equation:

Me: “Why is the eye crying?  Because the duck and waffle dish is so delicious?  Or because it’s sad because it’s not eating any?”

Ashley:  “It’s open to interpretation.”  What an artist-like thing to say! 

My friend Dan also saw my doodle (we were all sitting around one big table) and said that my waffle doodle looked appetizing, so I started a new doodle just for him.  Here’s what I came up with:

That’s syrup getting poured on a waffle garnished with mint and fresh assorted berries.

My final doodle was also waffle-inspired:

That is one sexy lady waffle!

On the drive home, the thought crossed my mind that I could stop at the store and pick up some waffles.  I’m currently out, but I usually have a box of frozen waffles in my freezer.  I eat 1 or 2 a week, with a drizzle of honey, a little jam, or some fresh fruit (I don’t use syrup).  But I didn’t stop, because I knew that indulging this craving could result in me going a little crazy and eating the entire box of waffles in a matter of minutes, and I didn’t want to open the door to that possibility, especially on a day where I had such a good workout, especially one day after an exciting weigh-in, and especially not at 10pm at night, which is a horrible time to load up on carbs.

So.  No waffles for me.  Waffle doodles, yes.  Actual waffles, no.  I have a hunch that my waffle craving will be gone in the morning.

Keep it up, David!

Chart Update and My Week In Workouts

August 24, 2011

Yesterday was Tuesday.  You know what that means…

Time to update my chart!

I won’t hold you in suspense:

DOWN ONE POUND!  That puts me at 234 pounds, a new low.  My weight loss now stands at 168 pounds, and I’m 14 pounds away from my next goal.

Here’s my whole chart:

My eating was good this week, and I’ve been working out a lot.  In fact, it’s occurred to me that I haven’t done a “My Week In Workouts” post in a couple months (since this post from early June), so it’s time to fix that.

Welcome to My Week In Workouts!  It’s a run-down of all my exercise from the past seven days:

WEDNESDAY, August 17:  Rest Day.  Not a thrilling way to start this run-down, but it was well-deserved… I had worked out for 6 days in a row prior to this.

THURSDAY, August 18:  Richard Simmons’ class at Slimmons.  He started the class wearing a robe, which only means one thing: there was a costume underneath that he was excited to reveal.  Here’s the video from that class – and sure enough, it starts with the reveal:

It was a fun class – good music, and not jam-packed, as a lot of his classes can be!

FRIDAY, August 19:  A session with Craig the trainer.  I talk about it here – my workout was tough, but I got to add a new skyscraper to my collection!

SATURDAY, August 20:  I worked out in the little gym in my building.  I used the recumbent bike for 45 minutes total.  For the first 30, I rotated through 7 different arm and shoulder exercises while pedaling, using 15-pound weights in each hand.  It was 4 minutes of weights, and then a 1-minute break (though I still pedaled), and I did that 6 times.

SUNDAY, August 21:  A 35-minute run with my cousin Aaron.  I talk about it at the end of this post.

MONDAY, August 22:  At the gym.  I started with a 5 minute treadmill warm-up, then did 35 minutes of weights (including 80 bench presses and 80 leg presses, among other things).  I wanted to finish with about 15 minutes of cardio.  The ellipticals and treadmills at my gym have their own individual televisions, so I got on an elliptical just as an episode of “Judge Judy” started airing.  I love me some Judy, so I plugged in my headphones and watched.  But the connection between the TV and my headphones wasn’t great, and the sound went in and out, so after 7 minutes (and during the first commercial break), I switched to a treadmill, and did 14 minutes of brisk inclined walking, while watching Judy finish up the case on the treadmill’s TV.  Who has two thumbs and alters his workouts to watch daytime TV?  THIS GUY! (You have to imagine me pointing to myself for that joke to work, I suppose.)

TUESDAY, August 23:  Boot Camp Class with Craig.  We used Steps and did a lot of stepping while doing bicep and shoulder exercises, and then Craig had us rotate through a circuit that included burpees (which I hate), two different types of kettlebell exercises, and push-ups where you’re standing and pushing off a wall and clapping in between each one.  That was the first time I’ve ever done those, and they’re kinda fun!  Note to self: incorporate those into my gym routines.

Keep it up, David!

What’s In The RediSetGo? Part Nineteen

August 23, 2011

I tend to be gravitating less and less towards my RediSetGo ever since it replaced Guy Fieri at the top of my shit list.  I’m sure Mr. Fieri is a nice guy, and he hasn’t done anything to me personally, but man, I can’t stand watching him on TV.

Anyhoo, despite the fact that the RediSetGo isn’t my favorite kitchen appliance anymore, it’s still good for a lot of things, and over the weekend, it was perfect for something I was putting together.  And that means it’s time to play the biggest online game since Bejeweled Blitz…

What’s In The RediSetGo!

It’s easy.  It’s fun.  Invite your friends to play, and then talk about it tomorrow at the watercooler.  If you’ve never played before, you’ll catch on quickly.  And if you want to play more, check out the archives on the My Favorite Posts page.

So pop in your earplugs and slide on your safety goggles, because it’s time to play!



Normally in these What’s In The RediSetGo? posts, this is the part where I explain how this is one step in an exciting and healthy recipe of some sort, but this post is a little different.  Let me explain.

I was invited to brunch at my aunt and uncle’s place on Sunday to celebrate my cousin’s birthday.  I can’t believe that Aaron is 17.  SEVENTEEN.  Yikes.  How old does that make me?  Anyway, I wanted to contribute something to the brunch, and I offered to bring a fruit tray, and that idea went over well.

And yet, those are sausages, so you’re probably wondering, what gives?

My cousin Erik (Aaron’s older brother) is a complete weirdo that, for some reason, doesn’t like fruit.  At all.  No varieties.  He doesn’t eat it.  I don’t understand it at all.  Who doesn’t like fruit?  Erik, that’s who.

I should backpedal and clarify that Erik’s not a complete weirdo.  In fact, the fruit thing is quite possibly the weirdest thing about him, and if someone’s weirdest quality is that they’re a finicky eater, well, then, they have less problems that I do.  Maybe I’m the complete weirdo for thinking he’s a complete weirdo.

Anyway.  I didn’t want to bring something that everyone couldn’t enjoy, so I had a brainstorm that fruit and meat can go well together, and, when I was last at Whole Foods, I picked up a cantaloupe and some prosciutto:

Prosciutto is a dry-cured Italian ham that is usually thin-sliced and completely delicious.  And, you can wrap little strips around melon and the combo of salty and sweet is amazing:

I thought this was a clever solution, until I remembered two things:

  1. These prosciutto and melon bites STILL HAVE FRUIT IN THEM.
  2. Erik’s a vegetarian.


Well, to be fair, Erik’s a vegetarian except that he eats meat.  He and his wife (also a vegetarian, but, thankfully, also a fruitatarian) don’t buy meat and don’t cook with meat, but Erik still sometimes eats meat when he’s out and about.  Maybe that’s the weirdest thing about Erik.  Sheesh, I hope Erik doesn’t read this, because it sounds like I’m really bad-mouthing him, but I love him to death and I’m happy he has a healthy sense of humor.  Right, Erik?  Ha ha, this is all VERY FUNNY.  And who am I kidding, of COURSE Erik will read this, because I’ll probably send him the link myself.

So, after rolling up a bunch of melon/prosciutto bites, and realizing they don’t solve the problem of providing something that everyone could enjoy, I went to Plan B – the vegetarian breakfast sausages:

I pulled out the RediSetGo because I knew they’d brown well in it, and I wouldn’t have to tend them – I could continue working on my fruit platter without any worry.  Sure enough, after 6 or 7 minutes, they looked great (see second picture) and I cut them into pieces and impaled them on toothpicks:

Then came lots and lots of fruit, and VOILA!  A finished fruit plate:

From left to right, we have: the melon/prosciutto bites, the veggie sausage bites, strawberries, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, and meat-free cantaloupe.

The platter was a hit with everyone, including Erik, and it turned out to be a really nice day with the family.

After brunch, Aaron and I went for a run.  The last time I went running with Aaron, in the spring, he gave me a little lesson on proper running form, which he’s familiar with, as he’s on his high school’s track and cross-country teams.  He basically noted that I was heel-striking, which is bad on your knees and hips, and gave me some pointers on how to combat it.

This time around, Aaron said my form had improved a lot, which was great to hear, although I know I slip back into my heel-striking ways when I get tired and sloppy (which he noticed too).  For our run, we drove to Aaron’s high school, and we ran a loop around the sports fields that equaled about 1.25 miles.  Then, since my slowpoke pace was holding Aaron back, he took off so he could complete his own running goals for the day,  and I veered from Aaron’s course and ran around the entire campus, ducking in and out of courtyards and around buildings, and we met up on the track at the end for a few final laps.  Altogether, we ran for about 35 minutes, in the hot hot sun, but I have no idea how much distance I covered.  No matter, though – it was my first run since I ran two days in a row in Seattle, and it felt great.

Keep it up, David!


August 22, 2011

How was your weekend?  Mine was fantastic.  It was jam-packed.  It was fantastically jam-packed.  I saw three and a half movies, attended a kick-ass barbeque, had a great brunch, and saw a fun Cirque Du Soleil show.  Add in a workout in the little gym in my building, and a run with my cousin, because those happened, too.  And now it’s ending with me sitting at my dining room table, across from Kenlie, who’s hanging out at my house.  I can’t complain about my weekend at all.  I hope you can’t either.

Remember last week, when I wrote about the limes I plucked from my friend Emily’s lime tree?  I also mentioned in that post my friend Robyn, who has a variety of fruit trees in her backyard, including lemon trees that she thinks are about a month away from being overflowing with lemons.  It turns out her other trees, a meyer lemon tree and a tangelo tree, have plenty of ripe fruit, so the other day I headed over there and stocked up on some citrus.

Here’s Robyn and me:

We’re on her front porch, and her head is blocking out a few digits of her address, but she is totally a ten.  I’m sure her hubby Jake would agree.

I made two new friends at Robyn’s house:

Robyn’s dogs are adorable.  Here’s an action shot – they both loved licking me (what can I say?):

On to the backyard!  Robyn and Jake have 3 or 4 lemon trees, the meyer melon tree, and the tangelo tree.  Meyer lemons are a hybrid of lemons and oranges, and a tangelo is a hybrid between a tangerine and a grapefruit.  Whether or not the tangelo tree is actually a tangelo tree is not entirely certain, it’s Robyn’s best guess (they haven’t lived there too long yet).

The lemon trees:

They have lots of lemons, but they’re still green and growing:

Here’s something I did not know about lemon trees: they have thorns!  Check out this bad boy:

Those trees are covered in them.  Ouch.

There’s one more lemon tree on the other side of the yard that had a few lemons that were ready to go, so Robyn grabbed a few for me while I headed over to the meyer lemon tree:

I pulled a handful of these beauties, and then Robyn got out her picker pole thingie, and I picked some fruit from the possibly-a-tangelo tree.  An action shot:

Here’s my bounty, in one of Robyn’s baskets:

The basket would be perfect for Little Red to load up with sweets and take to Grandmother’s house, don’t you think?

OH! There’s one more tree in Robyn’s backyard that I forgot to mention, and it was completely ready to be harvested.  It’s a rare protein powder tree.  Check out what I plucked from its branches:

It’s been a good season for protein powder trees – that specimen is 4.6 pounds.  I should take it to the county fair and enter it in a contest.

OK, you got me, protein powder doesn’t grow on trees.  But Robyn did give it to me.   A while ago, she became vegetarian, and got that tub as a protein source, because she was concerned that she wouldn’t be getting enough protein.  She made a lot of protein shakes and protein smoothies, but then, more recently, she transitioned from vegetarian to vegan, and had to give up the protein powder, because it has egg- and whey-based ingredients in it.  She thought I might provide a good home for the remaining contents, and so it ended up in my car along with the citrus.

This is the first time I’ve ever had protein powder in my house.  I’ve been good, throughout this whole weight-loss process, of getting protein from food (egg whites, jerky products, fish, chicken, beans and dairy being my biggest sources), so this is all very new to me.  Having another protein option around seems like a good idea, especially if I need something quick before or after a work-out, so we’ll see how much I use it.  I’ve tried it once, and it was OK – it reminded me of the shakes I used to make 5 times a day when I was on a liquid diet in college, but that’s a whole different blog post.

In the meantime, I have a giant tub of protein powder sitting on my counter, because it’s too big to fit in my limited cupboard space, and a big bowl of citrus that I’m slowly making my way through.  I wonder if I juice one of the tangelos, and mix it with the vanilla protein powder, if the resulting drink would taste like an orange creamsicle?  It sounds like that would taste either really good, or terribly bad.

I wonder which it will be.

What do you all like to do with your protein powder?  Any kick-ass smoothie or drink recipes out there?  Share in the comments section!

Keep it up, David!