Looking Glass Chronicles


Julia, Jaques & Rose: The Adventure

I am adding to my self improvement projects. Over the next 10+ years each week I am going to: make 1 recipe from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. Practice 1 technique from Jaques Pepin’s “Complete Techniques”. Bake 1 cake/confection from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “The Cake Bible”. Why I am I doing this? Cooking has always been a cornerstone of who I am. I grew up in the restaurant and catering industry. My father was never much good for me except that he gave me my stubbornness and a love for cooking. Probably the only bit of real wisdom he passed on to me was that if I could cook I would have one solid social skill no matter what. He put it,” If you can cook good food, you will have friends.” 

Even with all that, at the age of 42 I have never studied cooking. Everything has been self taught or snagged from reality TV shows. Yes, I do pick up a thing or 2 from them.

The J2&R adventure will be an attempt to learn some formal techniques and improve my knowledge. If I can’t post each project I hope to at least post a monthly summary of how things went. 

90 Day Fitness Goal

Today I started a challenge I have set for myself. I am going to attempt to workout everyday for 90 days. No break days in there. Either cardio, strength, dance or yoga. 

January and February were difficult months for getting daily workouts. Between illness, snow days & school holidays. In some ways the break wasn’t a bad thing since I started doing couch to 5k training last June and was mostly consistent in working out until late December.

I hope to get my daily water intake up too. Ideally I would like to take in at least 120 oz daily.

Jan 6

Exercise & Diet Changes

In December I was told I am prediabetic. My triglycerides were also almost 200% what the should be under. This brought about a slew of changes in how I care for myself.

I saw a dietitian.

Seeing her was worth every cent and minute I spent on the experience. We sat for over an hour and went over my history, diagnosis & goals. Diet centers are a waste of money. I am convinced a registered dietitian is the smartest move for anyone looking to get in shape and take control of their health can make. I left her office with a solid roadmap to help me reach my goals. The two big shockers were she told me to eat more and add more fat to my daily intake. This has to do with the activity changes I made. 

I changed 85% of my workout routine. I’ll cover that later.

I fired my old doctor and started care with a new one.

I loved my old NP but hated everything else about her practice. I was giving serious thought to going over to another practice. The way my old NP’s office handled everything around the prediabetic diagnosis was the final catalyst for change. My new NP is fantastic and her office support staff is wonderful. The new NP is also a diabetes specialist so she is able to give me the specialized advice that I need.

I am now on a low dose of medication.

Both my dietitian and NP thought it would be a good move. I am now on a low does of metformin. For the last few years I felt I was experiencing perimenopause. I haven’t had any of the symptoms since starting the medication, switching my diet and exercise. See, the symptoms I was taking for perimenopause are also symptoms of hypoglycemia.

I am following the diabetic diet. 

Prior to the diagnosis I was attempting to transition to vegetarian with an eventual transition to vegan. Given my triglyceride levels and a1c reading that seemed to be one of the worst things I could do. I am now following the diabetic diet ( http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/create-your-plate/ )and eating 4-6 small meals a day. I feel sated almost all the time now and have not experienced many bouts of hypoglycemia symptoms since switching over. 

As mentioned earlier, I switched how I work out. I am doing elliptical for cardio alternating with days of strength training. I am using the app “fitlist” to journal my workouts on my iPhone.

Cardio day:

60 minutes of elliptical (Cybex ARC 750). My inseam is 26 inches. The ARC has not caused any of the stride length issues that a conventional elliptical used to cause for me. I train in intervals.

Strength days:

Core set each strength day - 1 minute each in the following order: prone plank, butterfly crunches,bent knee hip raise (pelvic tilts in the 80’s), lying vertical leg lifts, side plank (each side), rest, side crunches (each side), bridge pose, prone plank, cat-cow. Followed by an untimed sequence of childs pose, cobra pose, downward dog, standing forward bend, mountain pose.

I alternate between strength routine 1 and 2. 2 sets of 10 with 2 minutes of rest between sets.

Strength routine 1: Dips (machine assisted), pull ups (machine assisted), squats, 1 set of calf raises 3 ways (Feet shoulder width apart. 20 slow raises then pulse for 5 {toes forward rolled slightly inward on ball}-stretch- 20 slow raises then pulse for 5 {toes outward} -stretch —then toes in and pulse to fatigue).

Strength routine 2: 1 arm dumbbell row, dumbbell bench press, stiff legged dead lift, 1 set of calf raises 3 ways (Feet shoulder width apart. 20 slow raises then pulse for 5 {toes forward rolled slightly inward on ball}-stretch- 20 slow raises then pulse for 5 {toes outward} -stretch —then toes in and pulse to fatigue).

Run List Update 10/23/2013

In order:

"New Religion" Duran Duran

"Trespassing" Adam Lambert

"Blue Monday" New Order

"Mindfields" The Prodigy

"Don’t Go" Yaz

"Technologic" Daft Punk

"Subway to Venus" Red Hot Chili Peppers

"Close (to the Edit)" Art of Noise

"Down Low" Cheeks

"Diamond Crowned Queen" Raja

"Slide" Goo Goo Dolls

"Hungry" Sam Sparro

5k Playlist Revamp

I have started using Zombies, run! The last playlist revamp didn’t work as well so I fiddled with it. Here is my new set of running jams.

"New Religion" Duran Duran

"Trespassing" Adam Lambert

"Technologic" Daft Punk

"Mindfields" The Prodigy

"Don’t Go (Tee’s Freeze Mix)" Yaz

"Blue Monday" New Order

"Diamond Crowned Queen" Raja

"Hungry" Sam Sparro

5k Playlist Revamp

I am signed up for a Zombie 5k in October. I am back to using Cto5k to train. I am using yoga after and the combo feels good. Next week I will add BL Bootcamp back into the mix for alternating days. The Zombie 5k is an obstacle course. 

Rhapsody had been descending into being completely buggy for a while. This week I got frustrated by it’s tendency to fail to play the playlist I wanted it to. I uninstalled it and was about to install iTunes. Then I started to wonder if Amazon had a decent player for Android. They do! It’s excellent. And…any albums that I had previously purchased on CD from amazon had been loaded to my mp3 library! Total win. I purchased some additional tracks and now have a fab new 5k playlist.

"New Religion" Duran Duran

"Trespassing" Adam Lambert

"Technologic" Daft Punk

"Down Low" Cheeks 

"Subway to Venus" Red Hot Chilli Peppers

"Mindfields" The Prodigy

"Diamond Crowned Queen" Raja

"Still Hungry" Sam Sparro

Cross Training: Change in Plans

Change in plans for my fitness plan. According to an article on the livestrong website, the Mayo clinic”…you should allow 48 hours between strength training workouts.” If I consider that information then it may serve me better to workout using the BLBC dvd 3 times a week, contrary to the dvd recommendations, and workout with yoga and belly dancing the other 4 days.



BC: Day 1, Week 1

I am dropping working out with couch to 5k for now. VA summers are too hot for me & I didn’t feel like running was giving me a balanced work out. 

This morning I did my first workout with Biggest Loser Boot Camp dvd. I am on day 1 of week 1. It was a 30 minute work out and my body is drenched. It is formatted to be a 6 week training dvd and then go to maintenance. For maximum benefit they suggest training with the dvd 4-5 days a week. I plan to do 4 days and cross train with “Serpentine” by Rachel Brice for the other 3. Belly dance x circuit training workout with some yoga thrown in. 

Let’s see how this goes.

Plant Based Eating: Going for It

Today I have had enough. I am not liking how my body feels. I am not a fan of meat & dairy anyway. To that end. Today I have decided to plunge into a plant based way of eating. I have been dabbling in it since January of this year. 

I don’t want to say going vegan for a few reasons: A) My motivation is self centered. I am not doing this to be less cruel or have less impact on the environment. I want to feel better. B) I have no intention of giving up animal products in my clothes. I have never been a real fur girl but I do love my leather clothes and shoes. C) PETA has fouled the word vegan so much that there is all sorts of nut job stigma attached to it. I don’t have respect for PETA and have zero desire to be associated with the group in any way, shape or form. 

When I am travelling I will be eating lacto-ovo vegetarian because trying to eat exclusively plant based away from home is a huge pain in the butt. My decision is health based and not ethics based so there is no conflict.

This is day 1. I have no idea how long this will last. It seems worth giving it a try.

Jun 5


A list for me to look at when I feel like I am not doing anything other than normal household and childcare stuff that any stay at home spouse would do. Using it as a tool to stay focused on the things I want to do.

  • Teaching OWL (grade 7 through adult)
  • Navigating IEP process
  • Preschool homeschool
  • Various fen essays in queue
  • Yarn craft queue
  • Sewing queue
  • Craft queue
  • Hobbyist photography
  • Get back into singing & pick up a string instrument