Buttercream is Awesome. So are running, biking and many other things.

Friday, July 29, 2011

New Layout!

Well, not so much a new layout, as a new background that's preeeeetty!

I was getting bored with the background I had and it was time for a change.  So, I made one.  You might also notice upon visiting to check out the new look that I added two pages to the line up.  Though I haven't been able to figure out how to make these fully functional yet.  Or if I want to.

Anyway, these new pages track my progress through my weight loss journey.  I'll update them as needed.  You'll want to check the progress tab weekly, as I will update it after every meeting/weigh in.  This will be instead of just randomly tacking it on to a post as a lot of my posts aren't weigh ins anymore.  Thank Hades. (Harhar, pun for the heat wave!)  I will update my goals page as I meet them.  And then I will throw a party on that page when I reach goal!

Well, enjoy the new prettiness and I'll be around!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An Open Letter to the United States Congress


Although in the past, I have written in good humor with open letters, this is not one of those times.  This is an out and out gripe fest to the idiots that have been elected to run our country.

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Dear Congress,

I am appalled with the Republicans refusal to compromise.  Do your job or lose your job.  In case you are wondering my exact position on this whole debt ceiling thing here you go:

1) I am tired of hearing about it.  Absolutely sick of it.

2) I blame the Republicans for walking away from the table repeatedly while they try and pander to the idiots who think they are "taxed enough already" and don't actually bother to see that their views and requests of their Representatives are actually more damaging to them than what is happening now.

3) For God's sake RAISE TAXES FOR THE WEALTHY.  It is NOT fair that my tax burden as an unemployed, recent college graduate and my husband's as a grad student who works more than he is paid for, is more than people who make the high 6 figures.  That is ridiculous.  I am more than happy to pay taxes for the programs I believe that this country needs.  I am not ok with the rich people doing nothing to help their country.  I can't do it by myself.

4) STOP GIVING TAX BREAKS TO OIL COMPANIES AND OTHER MAJOR CORPORATIONS WHO USE AND ABUSE THEM.  If everyone paid the same tax structure that we did under Clinton we could reduce the deficit so fast!  Forget Clinton, what about the Republican's golden boy, Reagan's tax structure?

5) End Corn subsidies.  End them now.  Reinstate the FDA's and the USDA's ability to fine the companies and meat packing industries who break the laws.  You want to subsidize something? Subsidize healthy foods that don't make this country sick.  HFCS is TERRIBLE for you, but it's impossible to avoid it because the government has made it so cheap to use.

6) And one final request for you and all of your colleagues: Put what's right for this country instead of what is right for re-election.  Grown a pair and actually help this country instead of hurt it.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Jenny Jensen
A Concerned and Angry American

P.S. I also support excise taxes.

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Thank you all for your patience as I resist the urge to knock all of Congress' heads together until they pull them out of their major donor's bums.

This letter was sent directly to my district's Representative, Mike Rogers and to John Boehner.  Except with an extra "I'm disappointed in you" thrown in for Boehner's letter.  I did expand on a few things here that I didn't in the letters to them.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shut up, Legs!

We are into Week 3 of our Century Training and we have two of our longer Saturday rides behind us.  To the more seasoned cyclists 30 and 36 mile long rides are not long at all, but to me, my longest ride being just under 60 miles and that was a year ago, the work that goes into these longer rides are killer.  Our first ride was way worse because, being from Michigan, riding in 90 degree sun for 3 hours on hills my legs were not conditioned for, was a b*^&#.  Compounded by the fact that we were on roads I was not familiar with, riding with Adam, who is so much more in shape than I am (jerk) and that we ran out of water 10 miles from home made me into a whiny and very tired person who could not sustain what we wanted to be a pace of 17-20 mph.

I was miserable and it is so unbelievably frustrating to know you are gutting yourself trying to keep up with someone and they are still pulling away from you! I wanted to kill him, but I didn't have the strength.  So we spent a significant amount of time going much slower (12-14 mph, and 7-9 mph on some of those g*& d@!#$ hills).

But there was hope!

There was an MS fundraising century ride that was going on whilst we were pounding out our pitiful 30 miles and the organizers were kind enough to let us refill our water bottles so we wouldn't keel over on our way home.  If I hadn't been so sweaty and gross I would have hugged her.  Thank you so very much!

Side note: it probably would have helped if I wasn't wearing my pink and black Fat Cyclist jersey.  Black material and sun are bad choices.  But I was stylin'.

Anyway, we managed to drag my sorry carcass home and continue on with our lives and training for another week.

This past weekend we had our 36 mile ride planned for Saturday, but we weren't going to be in Lansing, we were going to be in Petoskey to go camping with the best people in the world and we weren't comfortable trying to come up with a 36 mile trek in a place neither of us were familiar with.  We felt it would be a poor life decision.  So, we did our ride on Friday riding from my in-laws house in Big Rapids to my parents' house in Reed City to Hersey and back to Big Rapids.  This one was much better.  I was about to sustain our pace much better, in part because a) it wasn't a billion degrees, b) it was cloudy, c) it was mostly flat and d) I am very familiar with the trails we were riding on.

But then! (dun dun dun!)

I rode over something bad on our way back and got a flat. Frick!  But fortunately my handy-dandy patch kit was able to save the day and we didn't have to change the whole tube!  I had never been so glad I had a patch kit in my whole life.  It was annoying to have to stop for a half hour to fix it, but all in all this ride was much more successful than the previous week's.  I only had to tell my legs to shut up 4 times instead of 20!  So glad I had Jens Voigt humor to pull me through.

Even though we have 6 more weeks before we ride our century for the Michigan Pink Tour, I am finally, for the first time, feeling like a century is something I am capable of.  During the first two weeks of training I was rather, shall we say, unsure of my ability to condition myself to do this ride.  But today, after 2 unplanned rest days because of camping and my exhaustion from Friday's ride, we went out for an at pace ride for 14 miles.  And it felt easy! 17 mph? Puh, nothing!  I felt great! I even felt great riding at 17 mph after going up a steep hill at 20 mph from base to summit.  I know that sounds like nothing, I did it.  And I am so freaking proud. I can't believe after 2 weeks of training how much my body has changed and I am really looking forward to where I will be in 6 weeks.

So if you're in Michigan and feel like riding for Breast Cancer Research, I'll be there, with my husband and wearing my 'Fight Like Susan' Fat Cyclist kit.

Come ride with us!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Post From the Road, Quite Literally

We're driving down the freeway, but I wanted to share a celebration with you all, my imaginary audience!

I weighed in this morning thinking light thoughts like air and clouds and fluffy cotton. And hoping that all of my super peeps were thinking light thoughts with me.

It worked! I lost 4.2 lbs this week! :D

Start: 203.8 lbs
End: 199.6 lbs

Woo! I have lost 21 lbs total since I joined Weight Watchers in March 2010. I think I weighed about this when Adam and I got married and I'd like to be 15 lbs lighter than I was when we met.  (I weighed 150 when we met, I was smokin'!)

The real test comes next week to see if I can lose again with the same formula. I will gladly eat the Berry-Cereal Parfait with Maple Yogurt for breakfast every day if that's what it takes! It's yummy, a serving of fruit, and only 2 PP! Yum!

I will continue doing all the good health guidlines, including the 2 healthy oils. I really hope to continue down the road to success, and my goal weight!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Weigh In Tomorrow.....

.....and I hope it goes better that last week.

It's not just this week though, next week is important too.  And really the next several weeks.  I need to start seeing a downward trend instead of lose-gain-lose-gain.

See, I've been in this lovely little plateau for a year now.  I bounce up and down, but generally, I have been in the same place for a year.  Which, I suppose, could be considered comforting in a way.  When I get to maintenance, I will know exactly what to do to stay where I am.  I have got that part down.

A lot has happened in the last year, so I guess I am lucky that I didn't gain back everything I lost in the first 3 months I was doing Weight Watchers.  But it is so frustrating to stay the same for so long.  Not just frustrating, absolutely infuriating. For a large part of the last year I wasn't attending meetings, so I don't blame Weight Watchers for my issues.  I do have a doctor's appointment on Monday and I will be mentioning this to her, regardless of my weigh in tomorrow, but if I gain again it will be the first thing I ask her about.

I'm really beginning to worry there is some sort of medical issue that is inhibiting my weight loss.  I work out like a fiend, I eat really well and I just don't know what else to change.  And I'm tired of talking about it because I have thought about it and talked about it so much that I just cannot see it from a new angle anymore.

Enter the doctor.

Wish my luck, I'm going to need it.

P.S. This post was supposed to be more interesting, but today's Tour de France stage is very distracting!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I have a pretty chart

Remember when you were little and maybe you had a chart where you got a star if you did your chores at home, or in your grade school classroom for when you did something good?

Well, I wanted a visual thing like that for my own progress.

So, I went to the store and bought some of that really thin poster board and stickers and made my own chart!


Isn't it preeeeetty? It hangs out on the back of our front door.  Unfortunately, I made this before I decided - after my post yesterday - to train for a 5K.  So I don't have any space to add in my 5K training.  I'm going to end up printing it out separately, I think.  It'll be equally pretty though.


As you can see, I am tracking my century training, % loss up down to my goal weight, Pounds Lost in 5 pound increments down to goal weight, making sure I walk 5K every day and then I have several rows at the bottom to track my weekly losses.  Of which I suppose I could sacrifice a few rows of to track the 5K training, but my zigzag lines make it hard to write in a new goal to track.  Upon closer inspection though, I can spare a couple lines at the bottom.  The zigzags are the only problem, but one of those new labels that block out stuff behind it would work.  Or just a regular label.  I'll post a new picture if/when I do that.  Rest Day for century training tomorrow, so I start 5K-ing tomorrow.  I'm babbling, sorry.


And these are my pretty stickers :D  And the marker I use to record stuff.

I'll need to pick a new sticker out of the ones not shown... or maybe the blue bee ones will be for my trainings, 5K and Century.

Anyway, what are your goals? How do you keep track of your progress?  How do you reward yourself?

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Thanks to Kat at Living Like the Kings for the thought to ask you all questions at the end of a post!

What is Strong? Century Training Days 2 & 3

Yesterday was day two of century training, and we rode brisk, instead of pace like we were supposed to.  It was a good ride, hard ride, but good.  I was toast at the end of it.  Trying to sustain a brisk pace while riding on rather hilly roads is not easy.  And then I went to yoga last night which was great!  We really worked our arms.

Then, today was day three of training.  Windy day today and so our speed wasn't quite what I wanted it to be.  We were supposed to ride at a brisk pace today, but we rode brisk yesterday on accident, oops.  So we were going to ride at pace, which is how fast we want to ride the actual century.  We did alright heading out, but we hit a nasty head wind on the road we take for a significant stretch to come back in.

Slowed us waaaay down. Suck.

But on a stretch of different road I got up to 27 mph, which isn't really sustainable for me yet, but it was fun!

The best part of our ride today though was when we pulled into our complex and rode past a group of kids who attend the day care that our complex provides.  They were all excited to see two bikes, it was so cute!  They started yelling and chattering excitedly, "Bikes, look bikes!"  "Hi Bikes!"

So adorable!

I hope it helps them want to keep riding, and to wear their helmets!

"Bye Bikes!"


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

YUM YUM!!!


About a month ago I felt like pizza, but didn't feel like wasting a ton of points on fast food pizza.  So I did some hunting around for a whole wheat pizza crust that had great reviews.  Which, I found here

I have made it a few times since then, including making several batches and freezing them.  They are all so delicious.  So much so, I had to share.

First, make the dough, follow the directions closely!  This is the second rising of the thawing dough I made a few weeks ago.  You freeze it before the second rising, and then it'll rise the second time while it thaws.  Be sure to cover it with a damp cloth while it does this or the outer part of the dough will create a kind of a crust when it dries out.


Punch down the dough and spread into a pan or pans as thus. Then, spread your sauce of choice over the dough.  Ours is Chunky Ragu Green Pepper and Mushroom.  It is so good.   I know it's spaghetti sauce, but this stuff is ridiculously delicious.  Try it, I promise you won't be disappointed.  And, there's a serving of vegetables in every half cup of sauce!


You can see the dried out dough on the outer edges, because I didn't cover them with damp cloths. Blech.

Then comes the cheese.  I love cheese, so I use 2 cups of Mozzarella on each pizza.  Or at least two bags of two cups each is used, I may or may not eat some while making dinner....


Now I chop the veggies.  Which we use as our centerpiece until we use them.  Colorful and changes every week!


No, there aren't potatoes on our pizza, that's for a different recipe for this week.


And spread the yumminess on.




Bake it and enjoy!


I figured out the points per slice to be 2 PP for the crust and 1 PP for the sauce and cheese.  Low point and delicious!  Try it, so good.  If you add pepperonis to what we already have on the pizza, make it 4 PP per slice.

We love it so much that we're having the left overs for dinner tonight!

Then for dessert we had these rather scrumptious Pina Colada Cupcakes that I made a few days ago.  You can find the recipe here at skinnytaste.com by Gina.  


They are super easy to make and delicious.

Happy Dining!

I am crazy. Absolutely insane.

Recently (3 days ago) I set a goal for myself to walk at least 5K (3.1 miles) every day.  And I am proud to say that I have managed to do that every day since I started.  Yay!  I also am training to ride a century and I go to yoga twice a week.  But, today a new challenge arose when a friend asked me if I was planning on running any 5K races soon.

I told her I wasn't planning on doing more running until after cycling season was over, but if she found a 5K to run together before that, I would start earlier.

This begs the question: what the hell is the matter with me?!

With everything I'm doing otherwise, how can I do 5K training too?

But I am considering it, I even have the Couch to 5K Program page open right now and my calendar to add the training in as a separate calendar so I'd have it for reference on my phone.  And, conveniently enough, the week after we do our century ride in which entrance fees go to breast cancer research and League of Michigan Bicyclists, is the Capitol City River Run Half Marathon and CCRR Cooley Law School 5K for Education.  We have to drive a bit to get to the century ride and the 5K is right here in Lansing, so, I'd like to do it, even though my friend is already signed up to do the half marathon section of the race.

I've participated in the Weight Watchers Walk-it 5K day in the past (twice, this year and last), but I'd like to do an "official" race where I get a number an everything.

Again, what is the matter with me?!  I'm actually thinking about doing a 5K, where I would have to train 3 days a week, on top of the 6 days a week I'm training for the century?  And yoga.  But it certainly would push me to the 5K every day faster.

I am nuts. Crazy. Whacko.

There is a reason professional athletes are professional athletes, training is so time consuming!

And I have a lot of thinking, deciding and planning to do... yeesh.

http://www.healthwriting.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/running.jpg


Monday, July 11, 2011

Just look at our garden go!

We planted a garden for the first time this year, a little late because we didn't want to have to move it, and since we are still living in apartments, we can't really put stuff in the ground.

So we planted peas, beans, tomatoes (beefsteak, cherry and lemon boy), lettuce, onions (which died), garlic (which some lived), radishes (which died too), green bell peppers and cucumbers and my all-time favorite, watermelon!!

Our watermelon plant is massive, it was starting to grow up the fence and given how big watermelons get, we didn't think that would end well so we had to move it.  We spent some time uncurling the tendrils that had latched on to the fence and near by plants and moved it next to a brick wall so it wouldn't be able to grow up, only out.  And hopefully it doesn't take over the walk way, which may be hard to contain!

We went out to lunch with some friends and came back and whilst I was inspecting the plants, we have little beans and watermelons and pea blossoms!!  And lots of little tomatoes too.  I can't wait for our yummy homegrown veggies to ripen to eat!  We're not going to be able to eat all of them, so we'll be sharing with our neighbors who water our plants when we leave for an extended time, family and friends.  I will also be trying my hand at canning this year too.  Which reminds me, I need to see if I can borrow my Mom's pressure cooker.....

Canning should be an interesting adventure, which of course I will gladly share here!

Pictures of our yummy garden below!

Our garden, with the watermelon in the upper right corner!

 Garlic that Adam planted just 2 weeks ago!

Looking good cucumbers! 

Lemon Boy Tomatoes, I really wanted to plant Pear Tomatoes, those are like candy and so delicious!  But we couldn't find any in plant or seed form :-(

Green Bell Peppers! YUM!

Pea Flower...

Cherry 'maters

Beefsteak plants looking good!

Look at how big they are!

Tiny bean....

Beans!

Lettuce, looking a little rough after the storms today...

And yummy, massive watermelon!  I can't wait for these, there are so many little buds and flowers!  We're going to have a TON! YAY!  Watermelon Pops for me all winter!

Are you growing a garden this year?  Whatcha growin'?  What are you most excited about?  Are you going to try any preservation methods to last longer that you hadn't tried before?  Let me know! Link up!

What is Strong? Century Training Day 1

As I mentioned previously, Adam and I want to ride a century.  Adam already rode one a few months before we got married, but he wants to do longer training this time, instead of the short training he did before.  He told me the other day that he was 80% spent by the time he made the halfway point and did not want to do that again.

So, we started training today.  What better day to start training than the first rest day of the Tour? It was rather short, only 6 miles at an easy pace, but there was an element of excitement in training this morning.  We awoke to a Severe Thunderstorm Warning and the storm front was bearing down on us quickly. We ate and dressed quickly and headed out.  With what it seems 90% of Lansing under construction we had to zig zag a bit to get to the River Trail, but we rode 3 miles out and 3 back.  We rolled in about 2 seconds before the storm hit, whew!  It was a great ride.  I felt so good after.

And since I had a brand spankin' new cycling computer from Meijer it was great fun to watch how fast we were going and our distance.  I also was able to watch my heart rate closely too, since Adam found my heart rate monitor yesterday in a box (we are still not unpacked!).  That was a kick too.  If only we were able to get a cycling computer like the pros have and I would only have to look at one thing instead of three!

This weekend I also tried the iMapMyRide that they've been pushing for the Aquaphor Challenge against Levi Leipheimer.  It's an interesting app.  There are some things I don't like about it.  For example, I can't get it to stop automatically posting my rides/walks to Facebook without revoking it's publishing rights, but if I do that I can't post the rides/walks myself when there are ones I want to post.  Kind of annoying.  And when I try and log in on the website, I can't because I never got a password, I only have a username and they didn't ask for a email when I signed up, so I can't have them send me a password.  ARGH!

Other than that though, it's a pretty app!

Great ride, fun stuff to play with and I can't wait for the actual century!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Where did they go?!

As the few of you who read me regularly will have noticed, I have not posted in roughly a month, until a few days ago.

Along with that, you will have noticed that I ceased posting the weekly weigh ins.  Even without the vacation from blogging that was completely unplanned, I would have stopped posting those.  At least in the format that they were being posted in.

It's not that I am uncomfortable with what I am putting out there, although I am queasy every time I post how much I weigh.  I hate the amount I weigh right now.  Blech.  The problem is, that they format I was posting in was so boring!  I felt like I was just saying the same thing a different way every day week after week.  If it was boring for me to write, I can't imagine how bored you guys were.  I wouldn't blame you if you just looked at the numbers at the top and left.  Gah! I suck!

So, I'm thinking I'll just do a short post with the numbers, and post whatever I think is pertinent to the week. This means that on my weigh in day, which is now Thursday, I will post the changes.

A few things have changed since I last posted a weekly weigh in.

1.  Weight Watchers Online just wasn't working as well for me as going to the meetings.  So I am now going to meetings on Thursdays.  I really like my new leader, Amy, she's fun, approachable, personable and entertaining.  I think the meetings just work better for me because there is more accountability and the idea exchange is wonderful.

2. My weigh in day is now Thursday. (duh)

3. I have a mantra now.  "Strength is just what you have left when you've used up all your weak."  This is surprisingly effective.

Well, that's all she wrote.  Numbers below!  I am happy to report despite my inability to not eat all of my Grandma's and my Mother-in-Law's amazing cooking, I still lost this week. :D  My exercise must have been just enough.

6/30/11: 203.8 lbs
7/7/11: 203.0 lbs

Have a good week everyone!

An Open Letter to Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen and Matthew (the other announcer on the NBC All Access Pass)

Dear Messers Liggett, Sherwen and Matthew Announcer Guy,

Hi guys!  How's your experience at the Tour de France going? Well, I hope.  I just wanted to drop a line to you guys and say how much I enjoy listening to your commentary on the race, I really learn a lot.  You see, my husband and I are fairly new to the professional cycling world, we've been watching the Tour for four years now and we've become avid cyclists.

We love it here, it's a great place to be, active, fun, and highly entertaining.  I've found several blogs I like to read involving biking, including Fat Cyclist.  He's great, I've never met him in person, but he writes funny blog posts.

But, I digress.  Phil & Paul, without your commentary in past years and this year, the Tour experience just wouldn't be the same.  And Matthew, you are a welcome addition this year since where we live doesn't have VS so we hear your commentary before and after Paul and Phil go live on the All-Access Pass from NBC.  And you are all British, or at least sound that way, which is fantastic, I love a good accent.  I'm from Michigan (USA) and don't get to travel all that much yet, so I love hearing accents from around the world.

Because you are British you are seemingly pre-disposed to liking Mark Cavendish (I personally like Tyler Farrar much more), that's fine though, Cavendish's a great sprinter and an incredible athlete. But every time you talk about him, do you have to say all the versions of his nickname/birthplace?  I mean really!  He's from the Isle of Man, we get it!  And he can be kind of a jerk too sometimes, I know you probably feel the need to defend him, being a countryman and all, but sometimes, people are jerks and there are no excuses - which is unfortunate - I wish everyone could be nice all the time.

So, from your humble fans, please just say Cavendish's name once, we all know he's the Man from Manc.

Thanks, and keep the great commentary coming!

Sincerely,
Jenny

P.S.  He's not the only man on people's lips for this Tour, sorry.  I think a lot more people are concerned with the whole Schleck/Contador thing.  Not that it makes a difference, but I'm on Team Schleck.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What is Strong?

"What is strong?"

The answer is so varied.  What do you think is strong?

"Is it muscle?"

I'm not going to pontificate and try and answer it.

"....Or something more?"

I know that there is always more, more that you can give, 
more that you can do.  A well of determination to dip into.  
I'm trying to keep mine.  I start training for a century ride 
(100 miles) on Monday.  We have eight weeks of training 
before we rock out this ride.

"Is it measured in miles or milliseconds?"

It's going to take us 6 hours, at least, that's what we expect.
I'm nervous, incredibly so.
128.7499 miles.  It seems so insurmountable.
Lansing to Big Rapids.

"Is it your best time or your worst day?"

But training builds you up slowly, which is exactly what I need.
One turn of the cranks at a time.

".....Maybe strong is just what you have left when you've used up all your weak."




Great commercial by Saucony, a shoe company based in the US and Canada. It is one of the most motivational commercials I have ever seen. I saw it this weekend for the first time while watching the Tour de France. Excellent commercial.

**Authors note: I am not sponsored by Saucony, this post is not, nor is this blog, affiliated in any way with Saucony.  I liked their commercial and decided to write about it.