Jeannette’s Blog: Hallowe’en and the drama queen

autumn-leavesToday, I write this as the first snow of Winter falls in Albany even while the trees are still showing off their autumnal colours and Hallowe’en is moving in for the kill.

It’s already snowed in the Adirondacks, and I’m secretly hoping that this weekend, I can hibernate and spend some time cooking and binge-watching “Gilmore Girls”. (I am late to the table when it comes to Gilmore Girls and I feel like I have discovered the Koh-I-Noor diamond!). Don’t get me wrong, I love to be outdoors and walking etc, but we’ve been doing stuff for the past few weekends, and I need to do nothing. I need to veg out. I need to have someone wait on me, hand and foot, indulging my every whim and fancy! (I tell myself, I need to conserve energy for the hordes of trick and treaters that pour into our neighbourhood.) Call me a humbug, but I’m not a big “Hallowe’ener”. Once year I went to a Hallowe’en costume party where everyone went all out. I left it to the last minute, and the ever lovin’ hubs and I ended up wearing shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and Christmas elf hat and said we were Santa’s Elves on vacation. True story.

Our hiking adventures continue, and since last writing, we have been a lot more active and spent a lovely couple of hours a few Sundays ago, hiking Vroman’s Nose in Schoharie and spending time at the top, sitting on the rocks, admiring the beautiful fall colours and view of the Schoharie Valley as well as people’s choices of hiking footwear, including flip flops and slippers! One of our TKFC members is doing 20km hikes in Patagonia right now, taking GORGEOUS photographs and looking like she’s having a ball; and so compared to that, my hiking adventures are like a casual saunter in the park. Hope you’re having fun, Kelly!

At the Kettlebell Fitness Center, I’m still working on my right shoulder torque issues, trying to strengthen it so I can do get ups once more. It’s a series of small progressions, which is good, but I’m so impatient! Nancy’s been giving me all kinds of things to try to strengthen and help the issue, and the thanks she gets is my whining. However, when I get into that “I’ll never be able to do get ups again!” drama-queen conversation in my head, it diminishes all the accomplishments I have achieved. Is it weird that I have these private head-space conversations? (I am hoping you have private head-space conversations too, because if not, then I expect to see you all giving me a wide berth next time at class):

Drama Queen Self: “I can’t do it! I’ll never be able to get up again! I’m such a loser! My right shoulder is a jerk! Everyone else can do get ups, but me!

Rational Self: “Calm down. It will get better. Just takes time. Look at all the stuff you CAN do.

Drama Queen Self: “What does that matter? I can’t do get ups. I. CAN’T. DO, GET. UPS!”

Rational Self:Sigh. You can deadlift 245lb, you can snatch 16kg, your static swings are a thing of beauty, you’re looking awesome, you ARE awesome, you are more than a get up…..”

Drama Queen Self: “Stop being reasonable! Get ups! Get ups!

Rational Self:I’m off for a cup of tea, wallow in your self pity then….

Drama Queen Self: “But…but….get ups…..oh, ok. Ooh! Look! We’re deadlifting today! Excellent!” ***runs up to the barbell ready to get it on***  I kind of feel like I should have a Drama Queen costume for these moments (and also so that I don’t have to search for an outfit on Hallowe’en), so that I can flounce and pout with style and flair. Or, of course, I could just suck it up and have a good attitude instead.

kb-oct-2-handMost classes at TKFC end with a ballistic finisher; swings, snatches, high pulls, to get the heart rate up and to end on a high note. One week, we were all comparing hands. Most of us have some kind of callus on our hands or fingers from the swings and snatches. However, cultivating large calluses is not a good thing. It’s not big or clever. Large calluses can rip, causing pain and possible infection. It can put a stop to you swinging or snatching for a while until it heals. I’m sure we’ve all been there at one point or another, right?

At home, I have a pumice stone and a little callus file that is used regularly on my hands and fingers, after showering and before using hand cream to keep my lovely British hands smooth, soft and worth curtseying to and kissing, like royalty. It really does make a difference. For further reading, click on this coloured link for great advice on looking after your hands and how to care for blisters and/or calluses: Dragon Door Hand Care. I can’t guarantee you’ll have people curtseying or kissing them, but I can guarantee many more healthy years of swinging and snatching.

Friday, I took a “mental health” day to do some things for myself. Taking a mental health day every now and then is pretty essential to well-being. It allows you to just do what you want to do in your own time. Sometimes I’ll take the day and just lie on the sofa and read. Other times, I may meet a friend for coffee. I try to do things that will mentally nourish me though, rather than using it to finish housework or something that HAS to get done.   I went to the library and browsed for an hour, rather than a rushed 10 minutes during my 30 minute lunch break. I sipped a large latte with extra shot at Perfect Blend cafe for another hour, while reading one of my borrowed books and then went to do a little grocery shopping so I could enjoy some time in the kitchen baking and cooking that afternoon. Until the past year or so, I didn’t realise that cooking relaxes and nourishes me (excuse the pun). If I have time for it, I love to get out the pots, pans and trays and cook favourites and to try new things. So that afternoon, I made a favourite soup, and a new dessert recipe, listening to Norah Jones Radio on Pandora – because who doesn’t love some Norah Jones?

chicken-and-kale-soupFirst up was a huge pot of chicken and kale soup from scratch. I put a chicken in some water and brought it to a boil, adding the ends of the veggies I had peeled and chopped, and let it boil for 45-60 minutes until I had a stock. Once I strained the stock water into another saucepan, I added a little more low sodium organic Vegetable broth from Trader Joe’s, the chicken (taken off the bones and chopped), kale, chopped garlic, onions, celery and carrots and let simmer. We were eating it all weekend, and it was perfect for that rainy Saturday and cold, windy Sunday.

As the spirit of Julia Child/Betty Crocker entered me, I also summoned up a recipe of Elana Amsterdam’s and went on to make a totally delicious Paleo Apple Tart from Elana’s Pantry website. It really was so very easy. The crust was made of pecans, coconut flour, a little salt and an egg. The filling called for Jonagold apples, but I used Cortlands instead, tossed in lemon juice, arrowroot powder, honey and cinnamon.  – here’s the link for the filling: Paleo Apple Tart and for the tart crust, click on this link: Paleo Pecan Tart Crust  The crust came out beautifully, and held up really well. The apples were sweet without being overwhelmingly so.

To make a whipped cream topping, you’re supposed to put a can of organic unsweetened coconut milk in the fridge for 24 hours, and then 30 minutes before whipping it, place a bowl in the freezer until it’s really cold. Carefully scoop out the coconut cream that has risen to the top of the can and put it into the chilled bowl to whip.

I put the can of coconut milk in the freezer 3 hours previously and forgot about it. Trying to scoop frozen coconut milk out of a can is not easy at all! However, after I managed to get it out, and thawed it a little, I added a small amount of pure Vanilla Extract from Penzey’s Spices to the cream and whipped it up with my wonderful immersion blender. The coconut cream whipped up, and tasted so creamy, it was hard to believe it wasn’t actually cream.

kb-oct-2-pieThe final test was putting a slice of it in front of my Paleo Guinea Pig (the husband) and watching him eat it. He pronounced it “honestly, one of the the best apple tarts I’ve had”, so thank you Elana Amsterdam from the bottom of my heart for a great and healthy alternative apple tart recipe! If you make it, let me know what you think. It’s going to be a favourite in the Sheehy household, for sure!

Winter approaches. The hubs is up for cross country skiing, learning to snowshoe, and other activities. I’m up for the sofa, mulled wine, books and Gilmore Girls. I’m sure we’ll come to an understanding, and I’ll be out in the cold weather most weekends! Let me know what kind of activities you like to do in the winter, so I don’t end up turning into some kind of lazy sloth.

In the meantime, stay strong, stay active, stay warm, eat well, (stay away from the Hallowe’en candy), and enjoy life! – J x

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One Response to Jeannette’s Blog: Hallowe’en and the drama queen

  1. Kayla Harlow says:

    Jeannette, reading this makes me feel like i’m sat on the sofa next to you while you tell me all this stuff. Your writing is so effortless to read. Thanks for sharing your life with us, it sounds like such a good life.x