July 16, 2013

Here It Goes Again

I remember when I first started training for my first and then my second marathon I was running 6 days a week with my shortest run being 7 miles long.  Towards the end of training my weekly long run was 22 miles - which in the summer heat would take me almost 4 hours to complete.  On top of this I was playing soccer on average 2 nights a week.  The people I worked with - most of whom were many years older than me - were astounded that I could pull this off.  Running.  Everyday.  In the heat.  To me, it was automatic.  Some people get home from work and crack a cold one I would go home and lace up ye olde running shoes.  NOT running rarely crossed my mind and the very few times it did, I gave in.  One extra day of rest wasn't going to break me and I wasn't about to make any world records in the race - my goal was completion with a non-hideous time.  Pretty standard.

That was only 5 years ago but I SO understand what those 'old' people I worked with meant.  I mean, I still play soccer about 2 nights a week and I lift or find other activities to keep active but it feels much more like a chore.  I still love to run but I just can't hack it in the heat anymore so I'm forced to find alternatives that aren't as enjoyable.  The trouble is, I think I was ahead of my time.  When did being healthy become trendy?  Why couldn't it have been trendy when everyone thought I was bananas and how come eating carbs can't be really in right now?  I NEED THE CARBS.  Also, I'm tired of hearing about Paleo this and Crossfit that.  Can we talk about something else?  Like carbs!

Anyway, I'm currently trying to be 'extra good' right now.  It's going alright but the hot, humid summer we're having isn't helping.  Between Key West Trip at the end of the month and the whole Getting Married thing I think I owe it to myself to not look like a doughy P.O.S. so I'm attempting to stay on the straight and narrow although I gander the late night pizza-fest post friends bachelorette this past weekend probably didn't do me any favors.  Also putting a damper on my Plan Du Health was the fact that I had a hematoma on my leg that prevented me from doing anything remotely active for a month.  A MONTH.

Hot, Humid, Natalie sans Excercise for a MONTH.  That's basically the scariest thing alive.  Poor Soldier who lives with me.  There were a lot of moments like these:

Let's just say it's really good that The Soldier is a patient man...and also that he got an air conditioner for the rest of the apartment Idon'tcarehowmuchtheelectricbillisgoingtobe #famouslastwords.  Since that blessed piece of machinery made it's way into our lives I've gone from full on rage to this:

But I digress.

The moral of this story is I'm back and determined to not be lazy.  I'll let you know how it goes.

May 22, 2013

You Don't Have to Believe Me

My Life Since March:

1) I said, "Yes!" to THE dress.  After only two trips I found my bridal gown.  It is lovely and I fawn over pictures of it on a daily basis. Trip Number 1 to the store produced two possibilities and when I made the call on one of them I shortly thereafter realized it had been worn by one Ms. Mego last July in her own wedding.  Other possibility kind of seemed tarnished and not quite me at that point so I returned with pictures and on Trip Number 2 one of the pictures became a reality.  Even a size too small it was clearly the one.  Therefore, I am happy to report I will be fully clothed come February 1, 2014.

2) I witnessed the city of Boston and the surrounding areas survive and overcome trajedy with grace.

3) I've gotten back into running - well that is if I'm not nursing my injury du jour from soccer.  In fact, currently my right shin is a lovely shade of purple and quite squishy.  There was a time when I would bound back from any injury within seconds now it seems that every knock is at least a 24 hour recovery.  I blame this on item number 4...

4) I turned 30.  We had a good old fashioned BBQ in the back yard and I rang in 30 right with about 25 of my friends.  It involved having a cake with a cat holding a bottle of vodka skiing down a soccer ball.

5) Speaking of cats, meet the newest addition to the McBates household:

I'm Linus!

Lucy is still 'warming up' to him but we're taking baby steps away from "I want to eat," and slowly moving closer to "I tolerate you," so...there's that.

6) My lovely friend Gulia from college got married to an equally lovely gentleman.  They are going to have very tall children.  They tied the knot at the Publick House out in Sturbridge, MA and aside from my air guitar breaking one of the photographers cameras (not badly - it was an easy fix) the evening went off without a hitch.  They are currently consummating their union with Tequila down in Mexico.

Coming up next...

BRIDESMAID DRESS SHOPPING and SALLY'S WEDDING and TRIP TO P-TOWN.  So much summer goodness.  I'll try my best to be a good blog mommy - no promises though.

March 20, 2013

Anything Could Happen


So, don't judge me but this happened again.  The Worst Bruise Ever in lesser form returned for an encore.  On the same cheek (notice tasteful hiding of crack in the picture).  I'm fairly certain that when I'm 60 my right bum is just going to melt away.  It's going to sag down behind my knee and I'm going to have to invest in special underpants to hold it in.  I just find it really hard to believe that two bruises of this severity in the same place can't have long-lasting consequences. 

In my defense, this injury was incurred under far less irresponsible activities.  Also, it happened a mere few days after Big Sis told me the tale of her taking Stage 5 Digger going up some stairs so maybe it's like sympathy pains.  I was going the other way, down the steps of a friends porch, so gravity really contributed to this beauty as well.  I hit a patch of ice at the top and I was heels over head in the air only to land half where down the stairs on my, you guessed it, right derriere.

Good times.

So ice your side-walks and porches everyone!  Oh, and happy first day of Spring from Snow Covered New England.

February 21, 2013

You Got to Hold On

In case you missed it, New England got whaled with snow about 2 weeks ago.  The Soldier and I shoveled three times the day the snow came in and when we woke up the next morning it looked like we hadn't done a stitch.  Both of our cars looked like snowballs for giants with a 5 foot snow drift in between them to boot.  While one of our kind neighbors was willing to snowblow half the driveway, we still had a mighty bit of shoveling to do.

Now, we are once again faced with an impending storm.  The Boston area is slated to get around a foot of the white stuff this Saturday into Sunday.  I will naturally be in NH pretending I'm 13 again at a 90's themed 30th Birthday slumber party.  Because that is what you do when you are an adult.

But I learned a lot during the last storm, I feel prepared to take on the next one.  Here are some knowledge treats to snack on in regards to weathering the storm:

1) Power up that i-pod - nothing makes shoveling easier than listening to some good tunes and pretending you are in your own Snow Shovel Inspired Music Video.

2) Playing in the street in a snow storm when there is a driving ban is fun...until a plow fails to stop in time and slides into your body...even though you were clearly there first and he could see you...

3) Messing with said plow driver is almost as equally as fun as playing in the street and the bruise is worth it so carry on.

4) Snow shoes make shoveling and walking around easier when snow comes easily up to your waist but are challenging when you forget they are on your feet and you trip yourself.

5) You may want to jump in a pile of snow but make sure you have a buddy to pull you out because you will get stuck.

6) Remember, vodka is just awesome water.

7) P90X is totally working, you guys.  I'm so much stronger now.  I love it.  Except for the yoga video - that one can die in a fire.

8) Did I mention we got a photographer?  Her name is Erica Ferrone.  Peep that.  She's amazing.  I've been obsessed with her forever and I'm so excited we landed her for the big day. 

9) I just remembered I made a snowman in the last storm and I think it might still be under a snowbank.  Snowman also make 2+ feet of snow much more bearable. 

10) Sometimes the Kia surprises you.  Sometimes even though it's frosted into the side of your house and you think, "Kia is never going to drive again," it does.  And it only shakes like something scary is about to happen for the first 20 minutes of driving it around.  10 points to Kia.

Well, that about sums it up.  Good luck out there this weekend everyone.  Drive safe, salt your driveways and remember the beer.

I eated it.

January 25, 2013

I've Been Trying to Do It Right

So planning a wedding is a treat, huh?  I can tell you this we have a venue and a date!

Venue: LaBelle Winery, Amherst, NH

Date: February 1, 2014
Planning is...going.  You know, I thought it was going to be really magical.  I thought that when I got engaged the whole, "Planning a wedding, yay" gene I was so certain was inherently in the lady-DNA would kick in and all of a sudden I'd be really into things like designing invitations and organizing a binder and browsing through wedding mags.  It's sort of happened but not quite to the level I anticipated, or frankly, NEED in order to pull this thing off. 

I know I want a wedding.  I know in my brain the basics of what I want that wedding to look like.  But the details, MAN, they are overwhelming.  I'm operating at about the 45 minute mark in that I can focus on the wedding and be joyous and excited for about that length of time before I need to take a break for 24 hours. 

I'll put it this way: I have an extensive Wedding Ideas Pinterest board...


So there's THAT.

In other news, have you stumbled across these masterpieces yet? 

Apparently these guys have their kids act out a certain scenario and then the adults act it out.  Kind of like those Subway commercials!  There are bunches.  I suggest you watch all of them because they are hilarious. 

December 1, 2012

I Think I Wanna Marry You...

I got engaged.  Yes, it's true.  On black Friday.  At my favorite place in the world.  In the same spot the Soldier and I shared our first kiss 3 and half years ago.  I'm not sure if it's quite sunken in completely yet but I have an amazing sparkle on my finger and that's doing a pretty good job of reminding me.  It looks particularly spectacular in the elevator at work - which may be why I haven't minded taking guests up and down that way instead of using the stairs despite it being slow and scary.

In any case, no real plans yet but this should give me lots of fodder for the blog.  For example, my engaged bliss lasted approximately 6 hours at which point panic set in at the thought of now having to plan a wedding and I woke up the next morning with a cold sore.


Also, can we talk about how my mother told the Soldier she was "honored he chose me," as if I were picked out of the line up or they would somehow make out with hearty dowry of cattle and fresh cheese.

In any case, it's been a fun week and once we lock down a venue (and thus a date) I think I will feel a lot better.  In the meantime my mother is sharing a "small but important tradition" with me tomorrow and I really hope it's not a sex talk.

Time will tell.  For now it's December 1st, snowing, hanging with my Fancy and I have a sparkly ring on my finger.  Kind of feel like this:

Happy Holidays everyone.

November 21, 2012

Horace Wimp, This is Your Life


Hey, tomorrow's Thanksgiving!  Let's talk about that and not talk about the fact I have been invisible since August.  Today I saw this and I thought, "OH THE IRONY":

I have never taken part in Black Friday.  Ever.  The same cannot be said for The Soldier who pre-being The Soldier was in fact The Sixteen Years in Retail Worked Every Black Friday Witnessed a Man Punch an Old Woman in the Face.  This year, I will be travelling north on Black Friday with said Soldier to sit on a couch in a cabin in front of a fire and probably drink far too much wine.  My Black Friday will in fact be spent continuing to be thankful for the things we have and all the obstacles we've overcome.  After 3 years spent apart, we not only get to spend the holidays together but neither of us has to fly anywhere afterwards.  And that is just boss.

So hugs to you all and stay tuned...I think another 30-Day Challenge is in my future.

August 20, 2012

May the Past Be the Sound of Your Feet Upon the Ground

Hi Mid-August. 

You sure showed up fast. 

Last thing I wrote about was how I had trouble getting through my weekly vegetables and looking up garlic scapes.  And now...well now I've been co-habiting with the Boyfriend for over a month, I've gone to 2 more weddings, a bachelorette, a bridal shower, the Twinners birthday party and I got a job. 

Mid-August, where did my summer go?  In between the weddings, being unable to pay off my credit card bill and having negative excercise routine it's probably for the best the summer is almost over.  Plus, it's been hot which = Natalie has been cranky. 

Next week is my second to last wedding of the year.  That's right, Suits is taking the plunge and I get to witness first hand as a bridesmaid.  Then August is nearly over and in comes Autumn.  I, for one, am very much looking forward to cooler weather, hearty pumpkin beers and being able to get back into running full force.  This summer has really put a damper on my fitness levels and the pants are feeling just a WEE bit tighter. 

It will be good to have my own schedule again instead of working around 8,000 other activities.

So, Summer 2012, I bid you a fond farewell.  You went by faster than usual and you really broke the bank but it's been (mostly) very fun.  On to the next great financial leap - paying off my school loans.

June 28, 2012

Livin' On Money That I Ain't Made Yet

I returned to the working world this week.  Nothing, of course, that has to do with EITHER of my degrees but a paycheck's a paycheck, right?

This was the last piece of my stress I needed resolved so it's really been a breath of fresh air.  I'm eating better, sleeping better, drinking less and exercising more.  While I love me some FUNemployment, I thrive on having a schedule and something to do during the day either than sleep late, work out, look for jobs and wait until it's bed time.  The thing about free time is that it's only fun if you have the money to do things.  And you only have the money to do things if you have a job.  And if you have a job, you have less free time.  There has got to be some way around this but I haven't quite figured it out.

Also, my adventures in CSA continue.  I was away this past weekend so of course I failed to get through anything and today was pick up day.  I made last weeks recipe of the week, Napa Cabbage Salad, on Monday and it was QUITE a treat.  I was going to make this weeks recipe of the week, Different Napa Cabbage Salad, tonight but because I gorged myself with leftover lunch I'm not very hungry.  I'm sensing one of my awesome mayo and lettuce sandwiches happening later.

I'm just saying it's a possibility.

Anyway, since I picked up today and still had some left from last week my crisper drawers are now overflowing with the following: two heads of Napa cabbage, Kale, two ginormous collard greens, a head of romaine lettuce, a head of read lettuce, radishes, baby beets, scallions, garlic scapes and two summer squash.  BEHOLD:

What you can't tell in this picture is that both those drawers ARE STUFFED WITH GREEN THINGS.  I definitely have my work cut out for me.  Long story short, stop by some time and eat vegetables with me.  I have plenty and they're not really Lucy's scene.

June 14, 2012

It's Not Easy Being Green

Many moons ago in school I learned about things called CSA's or Community Supported Agriculture.  Essentially, at the beginning of the summer you pay a certain lump sum of money for a 'share' of a farm's offerings.  In return, once a week typically from June to November you get to pick up a whole load of fresh, tasty veggies that should "feed a family of four or family of two vegetarians".  In all honesty, it's a pretty awesome set up: you get fresh, local produce and the farm get some much needed support.  Often, your CSA will include pick your own and bulk discount rates as well as classes, events and opportunities to volunteer on the farm.  Of course there is a shared risk and you can't pick and choose what you get but it's exciting and it introduces you to some great food and good people.  So, it's all very cool.

When I mentioned this phenomenon to the Soldier those many moons ago he was ecstatic about the CSA idea and has since been obsessing over it for two years.  Part of me thought maybe it was just a phase.  Like when a little kid gets really into some ridiculous toy and then completely loses interest once they can call it their own.  But no, the Soldier stuck to his plan and I'm happy to report I'm on week two of our Crop Share experience.  It's been great having all sorts of leafy greens to mow on but at the same time I find myself obsessed with having to consume, share or give away all the goodness lest it go to waste.  After all, I am but one Natalie with enough vegetables for four adults.  Every week.

...these are garlic scapes!
That being said, our little CSA farm which is based out of Amherst, MA, Brookfield Farm, has been awesome so far!  Every week I walk all of two blocks to my pick up site, grab my box and the newsletter and head home to make their recipe of the week.  Both of which, so far, have been really good and really healthy.  SO KUDOS TO THAT.  Week One was Brookfield Greens and Pasta.  I actually made homemade angel hair because I still have no job and it makes me feel useful to be Happy Homemaker and that sent this dish over the roof delicious.  Tonight I made Scrambled Tofu with Garlic Scapes.  Now, small tangent: there are vegetables they have sent me and I have NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE but part of why I love me some Brookfield so far is that they give you little descriptions and ideas of what you can do with stuff like Garlic Scapes and Komatsuna and Mizuna and other strange leaf types.  Also, up until two days ago when I went to the grocery store I had no idea there were different types of tofu.  I had only had marinated.  Or Whole Foods buffet tofu.  YOU OPENED NATTERS EYES TO THE TOFU CSA.  So I made the tofu stuff tonight and it was also so very tasty!  I actually just finished my earlier leftovers and after sitting and marinating a little more it was even YUMMIER.

I would highly recommend looking into local CSA's.  The up front costs aren't cheap but the long term savings and benefits totally pay themselves off.

Plus you learn about weird vegetables like French Breakfast Radishes.

Until next week's culinary adventure!

It's Like a Rainstorm in Your Browser...