Friday, July 5, 2013

Hej, hej! Oh, crap.

Good god.  I swear I'm the only person I know who can lose a wallet in a foreign country.

Yup, that's me with no money.

Yup.  Yesterday when we were in the city in Luleå I dropped my damn wallet and couldn't find it.  I cancelled my debit and credit cards and my check card for my ING account.  I called the international collect call number for Wells Fargo and they are going to FedEx cards to me here in Sweden.  You have no idea how many times I had to spell the street name "Gnejsstigen" to the southerners on the phone.  Heh.  They kept adding all kinds of extra letters. 

Your word is "Gnejsstigen"
Our friend Joey (an American from Jersey who is the actual owner of Georgia & Per-Erik's dog, Bailey) left his wallet on the bus once and not only did someone turn it in to the police but all his cards and money were still in there.  So Monday morning we'll go to the police station in town and see if someone turned it in.  Otherwise I will have to get a new license when I get home (and gas rewards card for Cub!!).  They can have the $2USD and the 40SEK in the wallet, but it'd be nice not to have to replace everything else in there.  Cross your fingers someone turned it in, OK?

The good news is that I'm still healthy and alive and I had a place to stay and I'm with people who can spot me some cash if I need it before the cards get here.  So, ultimately, everything's going to be OK, I am just pissed off at myself for losing it. 

*Insert favorite curse words here*
Today we're headed to the Jokkmokk!  I get to see REINDEER and meet Sami people!  I'm so excited!  I will post pics here, later....

'Til next time,

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hej frå Sverige!!!

Hi everybody!!!

It's been a LONG time since my last post.  Currently I'm coming to you from
Luleå, Sweden. Approximately 62 miles south of the Arctic Circle.  I'm visiting my wonderful friends, Georgia and Per-Erik Mäkitalo.  

It took 3 planes to get me here.  Now let me interrupt myself and back up a little...

OK, so you know how we discussed me running un the first post of this blog??  Yeah, about that. As it turns out, I hate running even more than I thought I would but more on that later! So now if THIS buy is chasing me:
Remember me?  HUNGRY!!!

Well, he's probably going to grab me with those As Seen ON TV grabbers, roast me off a crackling fire and eat me with Heinz ketchup and some nice French's yellow mustard.  

Why is this relevant, you ask?  (You have to ask that a lot with me, don't you?)  Because today, whether I liked it or not, I HAD to run.  I got to the MSP airport in fine time to catch my first flight (thanks to my intrepid driver, Donna Schader).  I got on the plane, we backed away from the gate and began to taxi.  And we taxied.  And taxied.  And taxied.  And taxied.  At some point, I think it might have been about 10 minutes into a 15-minute taxi, I began to wonder if we were going to DRIVE to Chicago. 
"I think it's the next exit, Bob.  Use your turn signal, I SAID USE YOUR TURN SIGNAL!!"

We got into Chicago O'Hare about 25 minutes late and, after power walking from the gate to the train going to the other concourse I had to literally SPRINT to get my flight to Stockholm.  It's a good thing I lost a bunch of weight because I'd NEVER have made it to the gate which was, conveniently ALL THE DAMN WAY ACROSS THE TERMINAL FROM THAT FREAKIN' TRAIN.  

The nice thing was that I didn't have to sit next to any crazy people or people who talked to me incessantly.  The other lovely thing I noticed is that I don't take up as much room as I used to on planes!  I didn't feel like I was crammed in like a.....well, like a thing crammed into another thing with lots of other things.

"I don't know, Marty.  Do you ever just feel like there's somebody riiiiiiiight behind you?"  
 "Every day, Jerr, every damn day."

I wasn't all sweaty and stinky just sitting there, trying to make myself as small as possible.  I was sweaty and stinky all right, but it was from the 65-mile run from the train to my gate.  I got a few hours to rest in Stockholm and then got on what was probably the nicest puddle jumper I've ever been on.  This thing had leather seats! 

G & PE took me around and showed me just some of the sights in the town, we had a DELICIOUS dinner and now we're watching the "24/7 Rangers v Philadelphia" a documentary made about their road to the 2012 Winter Classic.  There are so many F-Bombs being tossed about I think sailors would blush!!  Ah, hockey players.  Gotta love 'em!  Now we're going to make popcorn and then I'll be off to bed!

'Til next time,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Back to School

Back to school!  What do I mean by that?  Am I going back to college?  Or have I been watching Rodney Dangerfield movies??

This is a movie that is so bad, it's good!

No, I went to the doc for my annual physical today and when I stepped on the scale I weighed in at a svelte 169.4lbs!  This means that, since they weighed me before surgery, I have lost 64.2lbs!!  I was thinking about it and the last time I was this weight I was wearing a plaid uniform--culottes, a white blouse and a vest with a Crosier cross patch on it!  We've already discussed that I have always been a big girls, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that I was this heavy in the 8th grade. 

But now it's time to kick it into high gear and get some more of that exercise crap--stuff.  I am still one week one of Robert Ullrey's Couch to 5K podcast but it's getting a little easier so I might move on to week 2 next week.  I figure it's my workout routine so I can take it slowly if I like.

Darcy and I went to water aerobics last night and we've decided that we really miss Lacey--she was the only instructor we've had who really knew how to kick some butt in the pool!  So if you know any sadistic people who are certified to teach water aerobics who also need a job, send them on over to apply at the New Hope Y!  Heh.  Wednesday we'll go to the Y in Coon Rapids and THAT lady knows how to kick butt in the pool.  Now if we could only keep the kids out of our panes of the darn pool while we have class, that would make it perfect!!

I think I hear dinosaur feet so I'm off downstairs to do a little running!!

Oh, and check out the OM NOM NOM section of the blog as I've posted a few new recipes on there!

'Til next time!

YUM YUM YUM!  Yeah, it sucks that it's still frickin' cold here in the Great White North, but that just means that we can still do some warm and hearty crock pot cookin'!! 

I know there was something in that old Boston Catechism about not coveting junk other people have, but I truly covet Darcy's crock pot!!  Hers has a TIMER and you can set it to actual temperatures in addition to the traditional war, low and high settings.  I don't know what they cost because I'm afraid to look, but man do I want one!!
It's no golden calf, but I certainly worship this thing!!!!
I've become addicted to Pinterest and for the recipes they have on there!  You don't get fatter by collecting the recipes.  hehe. It's like watching the food channel--it's pretty much porn.  I haven't tried these yet, but they're on the bench just waiting to be called in for a shift.  We'll see if they score any goals!

Naan breakfast pizza!  Bread is still pretty tough for me unless it's pretty crunchy, like toast or a baguette.  But Naan, if you're not familiar with it, is Indian flat bread that is totally delicious!!  And I LOVE breakfast!!!

Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnn............. (say this like braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiins)

Let's stick with that pizza and "bread is too heavy" theme, shall we?  This is a REALLY intriguing idea.  I don't know how you feel about cauliflower but I see it as broccoli's colorless, nasty-tasting cousin.  I'm not going to be eating it by itself.  This recipe for a pizza crust made from cauliflower is VERY intriguing!  I've had pizza since surgery and, while it still tasted fine, the crust was a bit too much for me--even the thin crust. The link has pictures that show you how to do each step.  So I'm going to try this and see how my pizzas come out!

Looks exactly like a thin crust pizza, doesn't it??

And last but not least, a nice, hearty soup that is quite healthy when you get down to it!  This recipe calls for chicken apple sausages and if you want to use those I suggest going to Cub, by the hot dogs, and getting the Johnsonville brand.  They're HALF the price of the fancier ones which taste no better.  Being a frugal German, I can't see paying more for something if it's truly the same but with a brand name.  Heh.  I, however, will be using a "lite" turkey kielbasa because I like the taste of that better.  And don't freak out when you hear Lima bean.  They're better than they sound and when they're in a soup they'll be just as delish as any navy bean or kidney bean you would otherwise use.

crockpot lima bean soup

So that's it for today!  I'll update the main page of the blog and then I'm going to go down and get on my treadmill!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Crock of Dawn

Hey folks!

So I'm back!  I spent the weekend being lazy and cooking.  I also went to see Gaelic Storm in concert at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul.  It was a GREAT show and--get this--I did not fill up the entire seat!  There was ROOM on either side of me when I sat down!  Darcy and Phil noticed that they were more comfortable, too!  Like I said, sometimes this massive weight loss thing feels kind of like being in someone else's body. 

If you've never heard of these guys, go on iTunes and GET SOME!

Last Thursday night I made a pork roast in the oven.  I put a mushroom gravy over it.  I had it for dinner and I brought some for myself and Louise on Friday.  Sunday I took the leftover mushroom gravy, added turkey meatballs, a splash of dry sherry, a pinch of nutmeg and some garlic powder and had Sort-of-Swedish-Meatballs. 

No horsemeat HERE!  Heh.

I had a bunch of leftover pork roast so I decided to make it into Carnitas.  Click the pic if you want the recipe.  The pork was so tender it fell apart.  We're making carnitas salads for dinner tomorrow!

Slow Cooker Carnitas Recipe
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

So I'm all about crock pot stuff right now and if you have anything to share, please do so! 

Tonight I will run when I get home, then I will have delicious tuna fish for dinner.  I will watch yet ANOTHER evening of James Bond whilst I knit. 

'Til next time,

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What a Crock!!!

I have several coworkers who are foodies like I am.  We have come up with a great idea: Crock Pot Tuesdays.  Each Tuesday one person brings something in a crock pot to feed everybody else.  So you bring once and you get free lunch the next 5-7 Tuesdays!

Last Tuesday I made Lemon Honey and Dijon Chicken.  Ridiculously easy and REALLY tasty!  This Tuesday, Louise brought a Filipino version of Chicken Mechado.  Also delicious!!  I can't wait to see that the next person brings!  The whole idea is to try new recipes and guinea pig your coworkers!!

Tomorrow, my friend Bobbi and I are going to FISH FRY!!  Not sure if it'll be at our high school or at Holy Cross.  Holy Cross has mac & cheese though, and that may be the deciding factor.  Sure, they're going to make money on me because it's All You Can Eat and all I can eat is about one fish stick, but the profit goes to the school or charity so I'm cool.  After fish fry it's back to Bobbi's house for yet another James Bond movie!!  I can never get enough Bond. 

Just about the only time you'll find me willingly going into a church!

I just couldn't make it to the 3rd time running this week.  I'm exhausted.  But I'll get some exercise on Saturday and that will be 4 days this week--possibly a record for me!! 

Well, "Thunderball" is almost over.  So I think it's time for me to get my lunch ready for tomorrow.

'Til next time,

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Eight is Enough

Eight times.  I wish I hadn't heard that.  The first episode of the Couch to 5K podcast has eight running segments.  The first time I did episode 1 I didn't hear that part so I had no idea how many there were.  Yesterday I heard it and then (of course) I was counting.  Good grief but that made it drag!!  But I kicked it's butt and finished it.

Of course, when I say "eight times", the 80s kids out there will be reminded of the principal in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" when he says Ferris has been absent "nine....times..."

This guy's smarmier than the principal in "The Breakfast Club"!

Between that and swim class I'm SORE.  My coworker Louise asked, "But don't you LOVE that feeling?  I LOVE that feeling!!"  She also LOVES soup with tripe in it, and probably durian fruit, so I'm not taking her advice on things to love.  Heh.

Even Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods won't eat durian and THIS guy eats EYEBALLS!

Anybody have any suggestions on other fun things to do that are exercise but...aren't?  I'll take any ideas you have.....

Also, I'd like to use this blog to share recipes.  If you have any healthy recipes that still taste good (heh), pass them on!  High protein ones like fish, seafood and chicken are the best for me--with veggies as the co-stars.  I love to cook but old standbys like Velveeta mac & cheese aren't going to cut it in my new tummy for a bunch of reasons and I'm sure you intelligent people can figure out what they are.  :)


'Til next time,

Monday, March 4, 2013

Oh, the weather outside is #(#$(%&#$(%^(@($#$(^@($!

Ah, March.  In like a jack@$$, out like a lamb. 

I went to swim class with Darcy tonight.  Swim class, you ask??  Hochhalter, don't you already KNOW how to swim??  Heck yeah, I do!  I went through junior life saving and I can not only save your butt, I can take my jeans off in the water before I do it!!  "Swim class" is Karen, Darcy & Phil-speak for water aerobics.  The three of us joined the YMCA last February specifically to do water aerobics.  Needless to say, we're not really exercise people.  In fact, I think I'd rather watch Wayne Newton sing an hour of MC Hammer's greatest hits than exercise.

You know, I never actually wanted to touch that.  Ugh.

We had to have some sort of exercise program in place before we had surgery and we thought water aerobics would be the least abhorrent of the forms of exercise available to us.  Our mantra is, "We're not exercising, we're swimming.  We are not at a gym, we are in a pool." Well, it turns out it's not as detestable as we thought it might be and there are a bunch of regulars who make it a fun social hour in addition to exercise.  I must be fun if we're all still doing it a year later.

If only we were this coordinated

After swim class I came back to Darcy & Phil's and decided that, in light of the 10" of snow we're supposed to have by tomorrow morning, I will be sleeping over.  Monday it took me an hour to go the 18.1 miles from my house to work.  This morning it was an hour and 10 minutes.  From here it's less than 5 miles and it's all on surface streets--no highway!! 

MAN, Highway 100 is a BEYOTCH this morning!!! 
Well, I think I'll be off to bed now to make sure I'm rested for tomorrow's drive to work.

'Til next time.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

There are dinosaurs in my house....

Hey everybody!

For anyone who doesn't know, I had bariatric surgery on November 16th, 2012.  I had what they call a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.  I've included a handy (but not gory) illustration below so you can see what they did.  Basically they removed 90% of my stomach.  I was starting to develop some of my Dad's less desirable health conditions and I've been a "big girl" for most of my life.  So last year, with the support of all my family and friends, I did something about it.  It's been a huge transition and very frequently now I feel like I'm in someone else's body because I find myself doing things I could never do before--or couldn't do without major difficulty.

So now when someone asks me to do something I don't want to do I will just tell them, "Sorry man, I just don't have the stomach for it!"  

The big part on the right they just pulled out and tossed.  OK, that was gory.  Sorry.

This was me at my Last Supper.  Two of my friends, Darcy and Phil Grendzinski  also had bariatric surgery in the last 12 months and each of us got to pick somewhere to have our Last Supper the night before starting the 10-day liquid diet prior to surgery.  I picked Chili's.  This is how most of you know me:

Buffalo chicken ranch sandwich.  My favorite pre-surgery meal.

As of my 3-month clinic visit I have lost 55.6 pounds, 7" off my hips, 10" off my waist and my BMI went from a horrible 39.5 to a "just too high" 30.0.  My pants fell off in Target one day and I decided I should get smaller ones.  This what I looked like 2 Saturdays ago (I'd like to add that Darcy has now lost OVER 100LBS!!  GO DARCY!):

Aren't we freakin' HOT?!?!?
My friend Sandy Doze kindly took some pictures of me in Minneapolis on St. Anthony Main.  This one is my favorite.
In my new coat my sister Cathy bought me!  You can't lose me in a crowd, now!

 Now the introductory portion of this post is done.  You won't need to read that again.  I'll demystify the title of this post for you.

There must be dinosaurs in my house...BIG ones.  Why, you ask?  Do I hear roaring?  Are things being demolished?  Have my annoying neighbors been devoured by pterodactyls??  Nope.  None of the above.  If you know me (and you probably do if you're reading this because who else would want to?) then you know one thing about me.  I DO NOT RUN.  Not for love nor money.  It used to be "not unless a cute guy was chasing me" but now, it's only if I'm in real, imminent danger of being feasted upon by a dinosaur like the tasty morsel I know I am.  Like this one:

I need a t-shirt of this!

So get to the point, Hochhalter.  Stop beating around the bush.

Well, today.......I RAN.  My wonderful friend Gina Lamb introduced me to a podcast, Robert Ullrey's Couch to 5K that will help someone who has never run get conditioned to do do. (You can get it on iTunes if you're interested.) Her fantastic husband Will has been a runner for quite some time and Gina has taken it up herself in the last couple of years. 
My wonderful friends Gina and Will. Runnin' fools. They're far too adorable for their own good!

Today I actually DID IT.  It's a half-hour eipsode with 5 minutes walking and then alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds at a brisk walk to keep from keeling over--he calls it "resting".  Just before the second to last run I said, "That's it.  I'm done."  (Well, I thought it, I was panting pretty hard.)  But I decided I'd keep going (mostly because I mistakenly thought it was the LAST run, heh).  After that one I was definitely going to quit, but when the last run came up I just did it.  I was puffing like an asthmatic with emphysema but I made it through the whole thing.  I honestly can't believe it.  Am I running a 5K any time soon?  Nope.  But it's interval training and I know that's very good and works wonders.

This is a 9-week program where you do each episode of the podcast 3 times in a week.  I may have to do episode 1 for a couple weeks before I can move on, but I am pretty amazed.  And, while I'm not ever planning on running any 5Ks, my friends Sandy and Louise have vowed that they would dress up like dinosaurs and chase me if I ever decided to.  Girls, you'd need to be convincing so get something like this:

I hope there's a flap in there so he can go pee...
I hope you like to sweat! 

Well, that's it for now.  I'll keep you updated on how I'm doing and I'll keep up this running thing while trying not to end up in traction. 

'Til next time!