china travel update: our passports arrived! mmmm, all those blank pages... it only took three weeks for them to come in, & neither of our photos are crappy! yay! i filled out the shitton of china visa paperwork & am getting all our documentation in order for november. too bad we don't have a longer layover on the way back - it's nonstop there, but we return through tokyo. three hours isn't long enough to find a tattoo artist, haha; just as well, it'd hardly be in the spirit of the memorial to add japan then.
i bought electronics: we needed an outlet converter (picked up this well-reviewed model),
by the way, look at "2. Standards of Sockets" on this page & tell me that's not racist.
new travel update: living social actually tried to spoil part of joe's birthday weekend by advertising this deal the monday previous, which mentions both vancouver & the capilano bridge in its details. fortunately, i got the email first & joe agreed to stay logged out of his email until we could log in together so i could delete it. (yes, my man has integrity. jealous?) amusingly, i actually wanted that deal for our anniversary this year, so i was glad it was an 8-day run, haha. we were able to snag it & reserve time in december, & i'm having "Canada" added to the GMT then, too. :)
grammy memorial tattoo update: omg it begins so soon! i decided that i want a bit of her ACTUAL writing with the fish, not just words pieced together by me; however, it feels way overboard & desperate to add "i love you very much" or a similar line from one of her letters. that reads to me as "no really you guys, she LOVED me! SEE?? SHE DID!!@#!" i thought about it, & she almost always signed Grandmama with XXOO next to it... though they're just four printed letters, not script, it feels right to add that to tie the picture to the writing.
i've improved so much with making the writing that i decided to rework the first six country names i made. the new efforts are on the left, & include two for her favorite france (i'm unsure yet which i'll use) & missing scotland yet as it's being tricky. i think the difference is significant:
i have a near-constant low-level excitement brewing to find out where free-money-deals will send us next year. make me an offer i can't refuse, groupon! i'm hoping for france, spain, switzerland, italy, or japan, but we're open to basically anything. i'd also be into visiting mexico early in 2013 (which may - MAY - already be a vague plan with journalface & our men...) & somewhere overseas later in the year. TRAVEL TO ALL THE PLACES! GMT tattoos in all the places. ^_^ & to that end, with the above in mind, i made up the following:
this round is of particular note because of switzerland. it's the first time i've used a letter i couldn't find - i have neither a capital nor lowercase Z in her writing. i noted early on that i guessed her lowercase z to look this way stylistically, & i realized i could put that together from a 3 & y. it pleases me that it's still her writing, technically! i also had some questions about the validity of making switzerland this way - it's SUCH a long word, & she often broke long words up into two instances of script. but i think had i asked her to write it out for this project, she might've tried to make it all connected, & i pulled characters from a more spaced-out letter to indicate it may've been written slower - & then the "and" part trails off a bit like she just got tired of writing so much. :)
& yes, japan should be on the above image too, but japan is proving itself as absurdly difficult as egypt. rest assured i will see victory! & soon - i want to have japan made JUST IN CASE we happen to get delayed a day in tokyo... >_>
new bodyart update: i've determined my second major cutting is going to be another bird - a starling on my chest, to oppose my heart tattoo. i identify with starlings because they're a tiny, introduced species which is highly invasive & destructive, just like me. :D it's mildly backburnered for now, but the next steps are to find the proper pose, draw it up, & then try for enough seattle-area folks to commit to their own cuttings that we can import ryan instead of my having to trek to him again.
fun update: we get to have silverwood v2 this year - travis has invited us to join him for scarywood in october, with the same swanky hotel provisions & all. plus we get to bring my new friend/coworker paul, who is ridiculously well-built, utterly gorgeous, & a kinsey fucking 6. *snaps fingers* it'll be great to have a new person to make it a new trip instead of déjà vu, & i especially look forward to riding the aftershock with a not-scared-shitless travis. :D
fitness update: i'm now able to make an hour on the elliptical without hobbling home afterwards, as my thighs & calves aren't so sore anymore. i've started doing an hour 4x/week instead of 40 minutes 6x/week - the calories come out exactly the same, approximately 1080 burned per week, plus a 150 calorie deficit per day if i stick perfectly to my nutrition plan (which i usually do for ~26 of 30 days in a month), totaling 2130 per week - meaning i could feasibly go over a month's calories by 1520 (~50 extra per day) & still lose 2 pounds in a month. it's nice to have more days off, & i appreciate being able to do an hour as concrete proof that my body is stronger - i could barely manage a half hour when i started in may, which is part of why i was forcing myself to go so often. it's easier now. (new max distance record: 4.38 miles in 60 minutes; new fastest one-mile record: 13:34!)
food logging update:
i quickly nearly-dry-sauteed organic zucchini, red pepper, criminis, & sweet onion, with basil, coriander, & oregano. i had some lunchmeat chicken breast (low sodium) with this, too. my total meal was 303 calories, 26g carb, 47g protein, 7.5g fiber, half A, double C, & a third of potassium.
meals for the week! this is italian chicken sausage & chicken apple sausage (both were on sale & i couldn't decide), organic carrots, zucchini, eggplant, red garnet yam, sweet onion, & lots of basil. i made eight 419-gram servings at 230 cal, 28g carb, 22g protein, 7.5g fiber, 156% A, 53% C, & 20% potassium.
five kinds of green in my dinner tonight! solid albacore tuna, organic avocado, three ribs of celery, basil & sage, wrapped in butter lettuce leaves. crunchy & delicious, & just what my body wanted after my triumphant return to the gym. (new foot tattoo took seventeen days to heal well enough to trust in sneakers, sheesh!) 282 calories, 14g carb, 37g protein, 11g good fats, 9.5g fiber, 191% A, 62% C, & 1050mg potassium.
this one's for wissabo1684, who dared me to make a healthier version than hers:
two servings shown: 99/1 ground turkey with rosemary, organic spaghetti squash, criminis, spinach, & purple garlic mixed with tomato basil sauce & baked into green peppers. a huge 553g is 253 calories, 28g carb, 32g protein, 7.5g fiber, 64% A, 194% C, & 21% of the day's potassium. this was DELICIOUS, & i'm very happy to have another for tomorrow. (for comparison, a similarly sized pepper with beef & cheese ranges from 500-700 calories with half the fiber & 20 times more saturated fat.)
spaghetti squash, chopped clams, olive oil, fresh lemon, basil & coriander. this was an experiment, so i made a light portion, but it was really good & will be repeated. 155 calories, 25g carb, 7g protein, 4.5g healthy fats, 4.5g fiber.
still on a spaghetti squash kick, here it is with pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, & a bit of olive oil. i purposely went a little thanksgiving-y since i ate it alongside half a smoked turkey leg. with the meat, my meal is 342 calories, 29g carb, 36g protein, 5.5g fiber.
my dinner was boring, but my work food for tomorrow looked so good i photographed it instead. every morning when i arrive at work, i eat a packet of low-sugar oatmeal & an emergen-c (both stored at my office); my morning snack is carrot sticks & red/green/black grapes; lunch is maple honey turkey breast wrapped in lots of romaine with a pile of grape tomatoes; & my afternoon snack is a yellow nectarine. all the produce is organic (as always), & i really enjoy this ritual every night. all of the above (including the oatmeal) is 1088 grams, 637 calories, 107g carb, 49g protein, 19g fiber, boatloads of A & C, & half my iron & potassium for the day. this leaves me room to have a pre-gym snack, a good dinner, & a small dessert (usually a sugar-free pudding or similar).
forget chopping a salad, just put it right on the sandwich! lean turkey burger with lots of rosemary, organic sweet onion softened in the pan with the burger, & one slice of double fiber bread, topped with a roma tomato & plenty of romaine. yum! 281 calories, 27g carb, 29g protein, 10g fiber, full A, half C.
fine dining update: we used our amazon local deal to the coterie room, & it was fucking PHENOMENAL. the deal was for two signature cocktails (mine a ~mocktail, thanks), two appetizers, two entrees, & two desserts - but all from the tasting menu, so it wasn't too much food overall. we started with a light little rosemary bun & cultured butter, which has a higher fat content, & our drinks - mine was lemon, lime, ginger beer & bitters; joe's was a cognac-based version of the same. delicious & bright, definitely palate-awakening.
our first course was foie torchon, fresh huckleberries dressed with black pepper sherry gastrique, toasted brioche, & arugula. this was some of the best foie gras i've ever had, the fattiness perfectly cut by the vinegared huckleberries. the second course was iberico pork cheeks, cavatelli carbonara, mayble farms chicken yolk, pea vines & mint. click that link if you don't know what iberico pork is - it's from black iberian pigs & is cured for 12-48 months. it pulled apart easier than any slow-roasted rib ever could, & paired SO well with the yolk-drenched cavatelli that held just the barest hint of mint.
the dessert was incredibly playful - a rectangle of bread pudding, bourbon peaches, brie ice cream, & vanilla caramelized white chocolate. the brie ice cream was fluffy & light with such an interesting flavor that was a match for the peaches in scale & scope, brought down to earth with the bread pudding but re-elevated by the caramelized white chocolate. the chocolate was tempered in such a way as to leave it looking like rocky sand, & it added a great textural element to the dish. we couldn't have been happier with the meal, & are sincerely considering doing the full tasting menu for thanksgiving this year. definitely the best meal we've had since last christmas.
a new star is born - http://stretched.livejournal.com/5644810.html:
just kidding, it's a whole galaxy! i picked up a second pair of gws andromedas from faintsmile, because really, who WOULDN'T want them after seeing her natural light photo:
yay for other people downsizing; without a major change, i sincerely doubt these would've come back to market. :D
here are my pics. the new set:
the 4ga is acrylic paint on gg clear glass. i'm very pleased with how it came out:
can't forget in-ears:
funny that i'd wanted andromedas for years but never liked a specific example enough to buy; then i found two pairs within two months! these are so different from my other set, & fit quite well into the full planetary spread:
l-r: earth, mars, neptune, nebula, andromeda , andromeda , diy supernova, listed generally according to their distance from the sun.
here they are, all safe in their home:
enjoy! i know i will. :D
hawk update: okay! it's been ONE FULL YEAR since i had this sweetheart cut into my ribs & stomach. i've at least partly forgotten the searing, horrible pain of the cutting, the nearly intolerable agony of the first night, & the raw, abraded torment of the nerve recovery. i'm not yet ready to go through it again, but it was definitely worth it!
at one year, the hawk has white bits (feet, tail, wingtips, feather lines), but is mostly still pale to medium pink. as it's become fairly useless to try to tell vague pinks apart, this is the last healing-specific hawk update until the 1.5 year mark, so enjoy 'em until february. :)
& for the fun of it, a month-by-month montage:
ps. apparently "i love you" in chinese sounds like "what i need". i find that charming.