Join me on my adventures as I try to live a healthier, more relaxed and more spiritual life. In this blog, I narrate my attempts my to do this using healthy recipes, talk about growing my own vegetables, and how I alleviate stress through quilting and positive affirmations. I also talk about those people around me (my family and friends) who make me the person I am.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bad Call, Ref, Bad Call

I'm not sure how many of you have been watching the World Cup lately.  Normally I'm not a huge fan of soccer, but when World Cup time comes around, you can be sure I've seen a lot of the matches.  (My husband is a huge fan, and the television becomes a soccer only zone for a rather extended period of time every four years.)  Although I will not ever claim to be an expert, I was appalled by what I saw during today's USA versus Slovenia match.  Let me start off with this disclaimer:  As I stated before, I am no expert.  I have nothing against Slovenia; this is purely in regards to the calls made by the ref during today's game.

If you saw if, you already know what I'm talking about.  The horrible way in which Team USA's third goal was "disallowed" or, more realistically, was "stolen away" by a bad ref call.  If you haven't seen it, here's a video clip of it. 
 Just as US player Edu started celebrating the goal, the referee declared that the goal was not to be allowed.  This call, along with several others against the US throughout the match, has everyone scratching their heads.  Sportscasters all over, including those who are loyal to other teams, cannot figure out what is the supposed problem here.  The ref, Koman Coulibaly, is not speaking about it either.  He has yet to give anyone a straight answer as to his reasoning for disallowing the goal.  Unfortunately for us here who support our US team, the ref's call is absolute and the US was forced to take a 2-2 draw as the final result to the game.  What could have been a fantastic comeback and victory for the US was stolen from us. This was a bad call, Ref; a bad, bad call.

Just wanted to share that..Video Credit goes to Dave Levy on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A New Goal

For the last few weeks, I've been embarking on a journey of working toward good health.  Although I have thus far been pretty successful, the whole thing lacks a hook.  What I mean is that there is nothing there to inspire me to keep going to the gym, and not open that bag of Doritos.  Although the thought of being a few sizes smaller and a whole lot healthier are appealing, it's not enough.  I want to feel as though I am working towards something specific.

Last August I dislocated my kneecap.  Because of this, I had to wear an immobilizing brace for six weeks, and then take part in several more weeks worth of physical therapy.  Since then, I've devoted a lot of time to focusing on exercises that will strengthen the muscles surrounding the kneecap and holding it in place.  This has made me interested in running.

A few days ago, I read an old article online about a woman who had been 330 pounds and decided to start training to run marathons.  According to, she was able to ultimately run a marathon.  If she can do it, so can I.  Although I know that I have to be very careful not to do damage to the knee, my thought is that I can slowly and carefully train to one day (within the next ten years) run in the Boston Marathon.  I know to some this may sound like a foolish, unattainable thing, (I know that some of the people around me could not help laughing when I told them this idea), but it gives me something to work towards. 

Let me say that I have fully thought this out.  I have given myself a ten year deadline because I know that it will take me at least two-three years to get my knee and the rest of my body into the shape it would need to be in before I'm able to even start training on the running part.  This will help to give me the motivation and focus I need to continue with my healthy living goals.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I'm proud to report that there is progress with the healthy living plan.  After almost two weeks, I am happy to say that I have lost 13 pounds!  On the one hand, I worry that I am losing weight a bit too quickly, but on the other, I know that I am not starving myself or engaging in other unhealthy behaviours. I've just been making sure that I actually eat three meals per day, eat the right combination of foods, and exercise at the gym for at least 30 minutes everyday.  It's working, and I'm very very happy about it. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blueberries on my Sandwich (aka...My New Way of Life)

For the last several years, I've been in the midst of a downward spiral when it came to my health.  Since college, I've gained quite a bit of weight.  It seemed as though no matter what I tried, I couldn't reverse the trend.  (Well, except for when I was pregnant with my son....I lost thirty pounds during the course of my pregnancy, then gained some back during the third trimester; I gained the rest back and more after I gave birth to him). 

Diets have never worked for me.  Previous attempts at losing weight left me feeling starved and depressed.  I was resigned to the idea that I may never feel like a normal human being again.  My dream is to one day walk into a store, any store (not just a "fat-friendly" one), be able to pick something up off the rack and fit into it perfectly.  I had started to accept the idea that this would always be nothing more than a dream.

Until today.  Today I am celebrating the tenth day of the start of a new way of life.  Ten days ago I began to teach myself how to eat properly.  Instead of merely trying to cut portion sizes, I'm really trying to create a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats at each meal.  I've also begun taking notice of just how much sodium I've been taking into my body.  Salt, once my friend, has been banned from my table. 

In the beginning, I was unsure as to how I would feel about this project.  I've discovered that this time, for some reason, it's been a lot easier than I originally imagined.  This is because I'm not just paring down portion sizes and cutting out fatty foods;  I've started being a bit more creative with my diet.  For one thing, I read about using blueberries in a peanut butter sandwich to replace jelly.  My first thought was that this would be a bit disgusting.  After trying it, I admit, I'm hooked.  Simple little things like this make such a huge difference.  It's amazing to me.

On top of reforming the way it is I eat food, I've also started going to the gym.  My thinking here was that I'm paying for use of the university facilities each semester.  I might as well get something for it.  So each morning I wake up, head off to be at the gym at 7, and work out for about 45 minutes.  Because of this, I'm noticing changes already.  Since I began, I've lost 4 pounds.  My energy level is already picking up, and there is a lightness to my mood that wasn't there before. 

I know it sounds a little silly, but I walked into the grocery store yesterday and noticed a bit more pep in my step.  Having just weighed myself before going to the store, I saw my four pound weight loss.  I was so excited about it, I walked around the store feeling like I had just lost a hundred pounds.  I felt like the most beautiful woman in the place, all because of four measly pounds.  How silly is that?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

After Vacation Funk

Today I am experiencing that 'After Vacation Slump' or 'Funk' that you have when you've come home after a really great vacation.  One of those states you get into when you realize that the fun, carefree period is over and the time to start in on the mountain of laundry has begun.  When it hits you that real life has started again, and you no longer have time to do things such as picking up shells on the beach or ponder the direction of your life while watching the waves roll in.  Instead, it's back to deadlines and school, responsibilities and menial labor.

My family and I just returned from a week long trip to the New England area.  This is one of our favorite places to be, having lived in Boston for three years.  One of my greatest heartaches was the day that we had to move several hundred miles away.  During our trip, we tried to cram as many visits to our favorites haunts as we possibly could; this included visits to various beachs on the Atlantic Ocean.

What is it about the ocean that can make us forget all of the worries and anxieties of day to day life?  Maybe it's not the same for everybody, but the sight and sound of the water just makes everything melt away for me.  I could sit and watch the waves all day.  My favorite beaches are the rocky beaches of Maine...despite the ice cold of the water, there is nothing like it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Celebrating the Single Parents and the Helpful Husbands of the World!

So again, I've been away from the blogging world for several weeks....almost a month in fact.  It's been a hectic time trying to finish up a lot of projects and spend quality time with my son.  During this time, I've gained a real appreciation for what a single parent goes through on a day to day basis.  I complain (well, 'whine' is how my husband puts it) about how difficult it is trying to juggle a job, being a full-time graduate student, and being a mother, all the while having a partner who is able to pick up a lot of the slack when it comes to raising our child.  I wouldn't even begin to be able to accomplish everything that I need to without my husband.  So this Mother's Day, I'm celebrating all the single parents who manage to keep it all together without having the extensive support system that I enjoy (and fully utilize) every day. I don't know how you do it, but you deserve recognition. At the same time, I am applauding all of the husbands who are willing to do whatever they can to support their wives and allow them to try to reach their goals.  Everything you do is greatly appreciated....and will be rewarded. ;)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


First off, let me start out with an apology.  I have not been very diligient about keeping my blog updated.  My goal was to be able to send out a new post at least once every three days, but that has not been happening.  So my sincerest apologies, dear readers, and I will try to do better.

I've been a bit behind because I've been busy working on projects for my graduate school program.  Thursday we had to present as teams in front of a room full of potential employers.  (Full meaning about forty some people representing some very large, very well recognized organizations like Bristol Myers Squibb, Johns Hopkins University, Tyco Electronics, etc.).  Talk about a lot of pressure. 

Yesterday I sat down and interviewed for jobs with some of the people who had been watching our team presentation.  Overall, I felt that a lot of the interviews went well, so I'm hoping that I will be hearing back from some of these companies very soon.  Hoping, hoping....keeping my fingers crossed.

On top of all of the stress associated with the presentation, job interviews, work for other classes that couldn't be put on hold, the full time job I'm currently holding to help pay for graduate school, etc., I came home yesterday to find out that our refridgerator decided to call it quits.  It's an old one anyway, but I couldn't help but chuckle a bit at the timing of it.  There's nothing like finishing up a long day of interviews to find that all of your ice cream has melted and the milk has probably spoiled.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Healthy Eating...Part II

Tonight I am continuing in my quest to be healthy.  I came home from class tonight, and instead of opening the big bag of Doritos my husband brought home from the grocery store, I made a salmon/vegetable dinner. This may not sound like much, but it's really a big deal.  Doritos are my weakness. If I were Superman, or in keeping with my gender, Supergirl, Doritos would be my Kryptonite.  I am especially fond of the Spicy nacho ones.  I am guilty of making a bag of them my entire dinner at various times.

So tonight, I made a dinner inspired by Alton Brown.  If you're a Food Network junkie like I am, you know that he is the host of the show "Iron Chef America" and "Good Eats."  A couple weeks ago, I saw an episode of "Good Eats" about making "pouch dinners."  They are basically simple dinners created on the premise of being really quick and healthy.  It's supposed to be really good for fish dinners; you basically chop up a bunch of aromatic vegetables (carrots, celery, leeks, fennel, onions, etc) and wrap them with fish in a parchment paper pouch.  Add a little bit of lemon juice, wine, or vegetable broth and let it bake in the oven for twenty minutes, and you've got a little slice of nutritious heaven on your plate. 

To be honest, I've had a lot of setbacks with the whole "healthy living" thing.  Like I've said happens.  Between a job, graduate school, taking care of a two-year-old, etc., I usually feel like I have no time to spend on making an involved dinner.  That's why a recipe like this fish pouch one is so takes me all of five minutes to prepare everything for the oven, and I don't have to worry about anything burning while it heats.  If anyone has any more recipes like this one, please feel free to share it.  I'm always on the lookout for new, creative and delicious recipes...I need them to keep me from heading out into the kitchen and opening those Doritos...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Plants in the Window

There are a number of things that I love about mornings.  I love waking up to the sound of birds chirping, seeing the sun shine through the windows, and hearing my son tell me to "Wake up Mommy" as he repeatedly jumps on my stomach.  One of my favorite parts of the morning, however, is going with my son to our living room window, and checking out the plants.

For the last month, we've been conducting an experiment of sorts.  I've been trying to grow an assortment of herbs, fruits, and vegetables in boxes in our huge living room window.  We've got cilantro, hot peppers, mustard greens, and tomato plants all sprouting up.  At some point, when the weather is a bit more reliable, these boxes are all going to move out to our deck, but for now they live in our bay window. 

So far, the experiment is going well.  Everything seems to be coming up as it should, and my son loves to point at and count all of the plants. (We get up to about thirteen, and then he starts all over again.)  I'm looking forward to the moment when we can start harvesting what we are trying to grow.  I already have plans for making jars of homemade salse with the tomatoes, peppers and cilantro.  The mustard greens are for my husband...apparently they are a Nepali delicacy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Need to Be Healthy

"Tomorrow I am going to start living healthy."

I find myself saying that a lot.  You all know the story.  Tomorrow comes and life happens; suddenly, trying to live healthy takes a back burner to everything else that's going on.  The job and the schoolwork and the family all take precedence, and it seems like there is no time or energy left.  So you (meaning I...) make excuses as to why I can't do it today, and I find myself saying that line all over again:

"Tomorrow I am going to start living healthy."

Life is giving me little nudges though.  It's saying "Okay Rachel, enough with the excuses.  How long do you really think you can put this off?"  The truth is, there will come a point where it will be too late.  I really don't want to ever reach that point.  Today, I'm taking a step back and looking at all of the things I want to accomplish, all the places I want to go, and how I want my life to be.  Today I am saying to myself that I am worth the time and energy needed to be healthy.  I'm going to start by heading to the kitchen and making a salad for dinner instead of picking up the phone and dialing for a pizza delivery.

"Today I am going to start living healthy."

PS. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hello Everyone!

Hello world! Welcome to my blog.

Normally, the first blog entry tends to be an introduction to the author.  Here I would write all about my education, career, family, likes, dislikes, pets, etc. in an attempt to make you find me an interesting enough person to keep reading.   I hate to disappoint you, but that is not how I intend to start my blog.  I've tried that before and never got past the first one or two entries.  Instead, I'm going to tell you about what my son and I did tonight. 

Tonight my two-year-old and I sat at the dining room table and dyed Easter Eggs.  Although I was hesitant about undertaking such an activity with him (I had images in my mind of the beige rug looking tie-dyed by the end of the evening, as well as of cherry-colored handprints on clothing and walls), it turned out to be a lot better than I ever could have imagined. 

There is nothing more entertaining than watching a child play with colors.  Despite all the work that I knew was waiting for me tonight, I was able to forget everything and experience pure joy just watching my son.  I loved hearing his squeals of excitement as his eggs turned blue, pink, yellow and green.  It made me wish for a moment that I could be a little kid again.