Tuesday, 30 September 2008

October Rotation

Here's my damage control rotation for October. I've subtracted warmups, cool downs and all that other stuff to add up the total minutes of actual cardio. Workouts without a minute count are weightlifting workouts. A couple of the workouts use AWT (aerobics with weights) and those are counted as cardio minutes:

1-Advanced Step Challenge (31 min cardio)
2-Total Body Time Crunch
3-Kundalini Yoga Dance the Chakras (20 min)
4-Body Sculpt
5-Rhythmic Step (46 min) + a yoga to choose on the day
6-Complete Aerobics and Weight Training (40 min)
Total minutes cardio: 167

8-Total Body Toner + Budokon Beginning Practice
9-Kick Punch and Crunch (46 min)
10-Aerobic Body Shaping (44 min)
11-Super Cardio Sculpt (27 min) + a yoga to choose on the day
12-Get Ripped 1000 (46 min)
14-Low Max (53 min)
Total minutes cardio: 216

15-Jiggle Free Arms + Jiggle Free Buns (52 min)
16-Super Cardio Mix (49 min)
17-Maximum Intensity Cardio (59 min)
18-Tom Holland Total Body Workout
19-Fat Blasting Cardio (21 min) + a yoga to choose on the day
20-Low Impact Circuit (49 min)
Total minutes cardio: 230

22-Bollywood Dance and Beautiful Belly
23-Cardio Sculpt (36 min)
24-Kick Max (43 min)
25-Cathe Push/Pull
26-Cardio Sculpt Blaster (20 min) + a yoga to choose on the day
28-Total Body Sculpt plus abs
Total minutes cardio: 99

29-Calorie Killer (31 min)
30-Ripped to the Core
31-Firm Cardio Dance Fusion (40 min)+ a yoga to choose on the day
Total minutes: 71

Total cardio minutes for month: 783

Monday, 29 September 2008

What have I done?

For the last several months I've been living like it's party time, as far as my diet goes. Eating junk for snacks and anything I fancy for dinner. The months have gone by and my weight has been rock steady at 134--until the last couple of months. A slow increase...maybe it's hormones, I thought. Maybe it's water. BUT TODAY I WEIGHED 137.8 lbs. I haven't weighed this much in years. I can see a difference in the way my trousers fit around my upper thighs and I just feel pudgy. I have gained 6 lbs since this time last year. SIX POUNDS!! That's 21,000 surplus calories now riding my thighs and butt. I put every last morsel of that in my mouth of my own free will. I did it to myself.

It seems so silly, but the only thing I can think of to do is just pray for strength not to eat so poorly! I know there are people in the world with far greater worries than a matter of 6 pounds, but 6 pounds soon can become 60 pounds. I used to be 60 pounds heavier than I am now, and more. I know what's it like. Why would I send myself back in that direction?

I know that in the long run, no Jaffa cake or stupid chocolate digestive is worth it. It's the instant gratification and illogical feeling of defiance that I struggle with. I want to get back to the place where I was before, when I was so smug and self-satisfied at my ability to sit and sip water through an entire break at work, and when I didn't snack on stuff at home because there wasn't anything here to snack on!

I wish I could find a book that was as big a shock to my system as John Robbins was. That book changed my life. I need another jolt.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Post workout smoothie

Here's a good protein shake for right after a workout:

10 fl oz soy milk, sweetened or unsweetened (if using sweetened, you might omit the syrup)
1 banana
1 scoop 90% pea protein
1 tsp maple syrup
dash of vanilla extract

Blend until smooth. Drink greedily, with shaking hands and sweat pouring in your eyes. (Swearing under breath at what the instructor just put you through, optional.)

I find that after a workout that involves weights, I do need a snack to stop my hands shaking and to quell nausea. Smoothies work really well, but just a banana or bowl of muesli will also suffice.

What post workout snacks do you like?

Thursday, 25 September 2008


I'm glad I've emerged enough to remember about flower remedies. I've mixed a bottle today.

sweet chestnut--for anguish, mental torture, exhaustion

beech--for intolerance

holly--for bad temper, vexation, suffering much--without cause

pine--for self-reproach, guilt

wild rose--to restore enthusiasm for life

willow--for resentment, bitterness, self-pity


This is one of the most miserable bottles I've ever mixed, and boy do I need it.


Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Oh my god

You know what? There's no such thing as a former codependent. There's no such thing as 'I used to be codependent.'

Not for the first time, I have been taking the blame onto myself for the choices that someone else has made,for the actions that he has chosen to take or not to take, actions over which I had no control. Actions to which I could make no contribution. There is no 'Yes, but you could have done something' in this. Saying that doesn't make it true. No, I could not have done something. No, I could not, and the reason I could not is also down to him! Not me!

I realize that if the situation were reversed and I was the one doing what he is doing, I would not blame him. This fills me with an incredulous sense of wonder. It would not even occur to me to blame him! I would blame myself. It would be my fault for not providing, my fault for not supporting, my fault for not trying. I wouldn't blame him; I probably wouldn't even think about him, he'd be so far out of the picture. If the situation were reversed and I was the one not doing the right thing, it would be my fault, not his. So why haven't I been blaming him, instead of saying, 'Yes but...'?

'Yes, but' what? 'Yes, but he can't be expected to do the right thing'? 'Yes, but you can't expect him to behave like a normal human being'? 'Yes, but you know what he's like, he is useless, I have to take up his slack, if I don't it's my fault'?? Why? Why? Why is it my fault? Why have I always thought it was my fault? Why do I have to take up his slack, why do I have to pick up his pieces, why do I have to sweep up after the elephant show?? How is it possible that I'm still caught up in this cycle with someone I haven't even spoken to in years!

It's just occurred to me not only that it is NOT MY FAULT when he does or doesn't do something, it is CODEPENDENT of me to think that it is my fault. I really had no idea that I was still codependent. I thought I had shed the last of that. I thought that getting away from him was freedom from it, that not talking to him for 6 years had broken the tie, but no. That old fish hook is still in my cheek. It's been tugging away over 4,000 miles, over nearly 7 years, tearing a ragged hole in me, and me sobbing away over here and wondering why I feel like I'm bleeding to death.

What he does or doesn't do is not my fault. What he provides or doesn't provide is not my fault. I'm not there, but I could have helped out, things could have been so much better, but that fact that HE HASN'T LET ME is not my fault! He's made choices that in no way can be construed as my fault. And yet, I've only thought of him as inconsequential, his bizarre behaviour as to be expected and something I ought to be able to work around, and taken the blame on myself. God!

I can't believe that even now I have automatically absolved him of responsibility.

The only thing I'm sorry for is that a third party was caught in the middle of this and has suffered. But even that is in part due to his own choices, what he decided, and nothing to do me.

I hope that the situation will change soon when that third party comes of age, that I will finally be free to speak to him and do things for him and be a part of his life. The future could be different. The past, though, really is not my fault.

I have got to return to this realisation again and again. This 'raw wound that never heals' has got to start to heal.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Bad day

Only been 8 days since the last one.

Monday, 22 September 2008

New followers gadget!!

Please notice the new feature on the right hand sidebar called 'Followers'. This is a list of my online pals who follow my blog. I know Anna and Morandia drop by often. Hi you guys!!! Snowdragon, have you ever left a comment? Feel free!

If you would like to add yourself to the list, just go over to the right-hand sidebar and click the 'Follow this blog'. It's easy!

I'm going to go now and make myself a follower of some of my own favourite blogs.


Today's food intake

2 slices wholemeal toast, no-sugar strawberry jam on one, a smear of marmite on the other
1 cup of black tea

1 banana

1 veggie burger on wholemeal bun with 3 rice cakes

1 Ryvita

1 cup black Yannoh (barley grain beverage/coffee substitute)

2 tsp chocolate spread

a few bites of soaked meusli straight from the bowl in the fridge

another 2 tsp chocolate spread (uh oh)

1 nut cutlet

modest portion of McCains rustic oven chips with some ketchup

brussels sprouts

Ooh, my sins have caught up with me!

Much to my horror, I weighed 136.0 this morning, so I decided to check the measurements. Waist up to 28", hip 37.5". I didn't have the heart to take upper arms or thigh measurements. I can't kid myself anymore. This is definitely a weight gain, first really scary weight gain for a while. Dang!

So I'm going back to my old method of eating NOTHING at break time. I used to sit there for break and sip a glass of water while everyone else ate cakes, chocolates, biscuits, etc. I never ate a crumb. All day long I ate only my lunch. It didn't hurt me. My stomach never even used to growl. When I did decide to have a snack (usually on days when planned lunch was light), I would eat fruit. I'm going back to that. And I'm also going back to choosing the lowest fat options for dinner, rather than curries with coconut milk or full fat pesto sauces on pasta. I've been overindulgent in my food choices and pretty devil-may-care about snacks for the last 9 months, and it's finally caught up with me, most likely because my total workout time has been going down lately. I can't blame Jillian Michaels for what I decide to stuff my face with. That's my fault!

I MIGHT POSSIBLY post food intake here for a while. Feedback and encouragement would be greatly appreciated. I would dearly love to be back to 131 by Christmas, but at this point I'd at least like to get back to a solid 133-4ish and a waist of 26.5 and hip of 36.5, like it was before.

Stupid, stupid junk food! Arrgh!

Friday, 19 September 2008

30 day shred is making me fat

I've been doing 30 day shred this month. Admittedly not every day; some days I do yoga. But that's what I've always done with my exercise programme, alternate heavier workouts with yoga. I'm up to 136 lbs, from 134.

Boo hiss!!!!

I had my suspicions that a 25 minute workout was just not going to be long enough. My total time working out has dropped this month, because I'm doing shorter workouts. Therefore, my weight has gone up. I can't explain it any other way. All this talk about 25 minutes of intensity equalling 1 hour of 'phoning it in', as she puts it is just, well, bollocks!

So I'm going to do try doing 2 levels per workout session, doubling my time to my usual 1 hour and see if that helps. (I would say I'll try to cut down on my food intake, but I know that would just be a big fat lie!)

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Stupid media spin bollocks

All over the web today there are articles shrieking: 'VEGANS 6 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE BRAIN SHRINKAGE!'

According to these stories, eating a vegetarian or vegan diet means your brain is going to shrink. All these articles mention Heather Mills McCartney and Pamela Anderson as examples. They cite 'scientists of Oxford University' as their sources, and usually further down the story there's a reference to B12 and the fact that Marmite is 'the only vegetarian' source of B12. It is usually only implied that B12 is the problem associated with loss of brain volume, and no mention is made of how easy it is for vegetarians and vegans to get adequate amounts of B12, nor what constitutes an adequate amount of B12.

Here are some examples of the media spin:

Brain Shrink Risk of Veggie Diet

'Vegans and vegetarians — such as Heather Mills, Russell Brand and Big Brother's Chanelle Houghton — are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish.'

Going Veggie Shrinks the Brain

'Yeast extracts are one of the few vegetarian foods which provide good levels of the vitamin.'

Meat-free Diet Linked to Brain Shrinkage

Well, this infuriated me, so I had a look for the original study in order to find the truth. This is what the study actually says:

A study conducted by researchers at the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) found that people with higher levels of vitamin B12 were six times less likely to experience brain volume loss.

This study suggests that simply adjusting our diets to consume more vitamin B12 through eating meat, fish, fortified cereals or milk may be something we can easily adjust to prevent brain shrinkage and so perhaps save our memory, says Anna Vogiatzoglou of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at Oxford University. Research shows that vitamin B12 deficiency is a public health problem, especially among the elderly, so more vitamin B12 intake could help reverse this problem. Without carrying out a clinical trial, we acknowledge that it is still not known whether B12 supplementation would actually make a difference in elderly persons at risk for brain shrinkage.

For the study, 107 people between the ages of 61 and 87 underwent brain scans, memory testing and physical exams. The researchers from the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) also collected blood samples to check vitamin B12 levels. Brain scans and memory tests were also performed again five years later.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that people who had higher vitamin B12 levels were six times less likely to experience brain shrinkage compared with those who had lower levels of the vitamin in their blood. None of the people in the study had vitamin B12 deficiency.

Many factors that affect brain health are thought to be out of our control, but this study suggests that simply adjusting our diets to consume more vitamin B12 through eating meat, fish, fortified cereals or milk may be something we can easily adjust to prevent brain shrinkage and so perhaps save our memory,” says Anna Vogiatzoglou of the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at Oxford University. “Research shows that vitamin B12 deficiency is a public health problem, especially among the elderly, so more vitamin B12 intake could help reverse this problem. Without carrying out a clinical trial, we acknowledge that it is still not known whether B12 supplementation would actually make a difference in elderly persons at risk for brain shrinkage.”

Previous research on the vitamin has had mixed results and few studies have been done specifically with brain scans in elderly populations. We tested for vitamin B12 levels in a unique, more accurate way by looking at two certain markers for it in the blood,” adds Ms Vogiatzoglou.

Ms Vogiatzoglou says the study did not look at whether taking vitamin B12 supplements would have the same effect on memory.

The study was supported by the UK Alzheimer’s Research Trust, the Medical Research Council, the Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust, the Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation through the Norwegian Health Association, Axis-Shield plc and the Johan Throne Holst Foundation for Nutrition Research.

For more information please contact Professor David Smith on david.smith@pharm.ox.ac.uk

Or the Press Office, University of Oxford, 01865 280528, press.office@admin.ox.ac.uk.

Source: Vitamin B12 May Protect Against Brain Shrinkage in Baby Boomers

So the study had nothing to do with vegetarianism, veganism or the implications of a meat-free diet. The study was to see whether a higher level amongst those with adequate levels of B12 had any impact on loss of brain volume in the elderly. That is it and that is all.

I am so sick of the media taking any opportunity to bray the supposed health benefits of meat and dairy consumption. They will take absolutely anything and turn it on its head to make it mean you better eat your steak smothered in blue cheese sauce and follow that up with some cheesecake and whipped cream.

Or else your brain will shrink.

That being said, there is some truth every strict vegetarian must face.

The truth about B12 is that it can only be found in meat, dairy and eggs. It comes from bacteria, and the unattractive truth of the matter is that it is consumed by animals through contact with dirt. To be perfectly truthful, fecal material. This is how it gets into meat and dairy and passed on to other animals who consume that meat. Herbivorous animals such as ruminants (cows, buffalo, goats--cud-chewers) have a digestive system which allows the fermentation of bacteria. Primates have a tendency to eat small amounts of insects, dirt and yes, feces. Even gorillas, the closest 'vegan' relation to humans, occasionally eat insects and feces. Many wild herbivores get dirt in their diets when they eat plants. But B12 is not passed on through plants, only through dirt, feces or meat or dairy.

I'm not prepared to eat big hunks of meat, drink milk, and I'm not particularly excited at the prospects of eating dirt or poo poo! So that's why I take my B12 supplements and buy products fortified with B12. It's also why I'm not terribly strict about avoiding any and all items that contain traces of egg white, tiny amounts of cheese, or dairy. (Such as breads or nut cutlets or something that might contain those). I figure those traces are the equivalent of a gorilla's occasional bug, and with our B12 supplementation, should be more than sufficient. A person only needs 100 micrograms of B12 a day. That's not much!

Monday, 15 September 2008

Some days are better than others

Yesterday was a rough day for me. They come around about every 6 weeks.

If you've never struggled with depression, it can be difficult to understand what happens to a person. I compare it to being sucked into a vortex. You can feel it happening, but you're powerless to stop it. Then you give yourself up to it and you just have to bide down there in the pit until it's over. That's how it is for me. Every negative thought you can have about yourself bombards you from all sides at the same time. It's like you're lying there being kicked from every direction by an angry mob, and while you know you're doing it to yourself, you can't seem to stop. One side of your brain is saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you, that this whole thing is ridiculous, while the other side is saying you're nothing, you're worthless, everything you have ever done or ever will do is meaningless, hypocritical and pointless.

Yesterday's attack went on for some time. I finally managed to pull myself out of it with a big slug of straight brandy. Yes, at 11.30 AM. I hardly ever do that, but I was desperate and it helped. The rest of the day was fine after I pulled out of that.

I don't know why this happens to me. I don't know how other people cope with their emotions, with bad days. I guess I don't know and have never really known what normal is. Maybe I'm normal. Who knows.

I do know that I am not a bad person, in spite of what I say to myself at those times. I have never done anything really bad. I do try hard to live the best I can. So why I can't let up on myself, I don't know. Why I have to constantly pick at and worry over everything, I don't know. Why I need to know why, I don't know. It just feels like, sometimes, it would be so nice to just shut all systems down and see, hear, feel, think and do nothing, for just a short period of time, to recharge myself, to take a break from existence, just a short one. Too bad we can't do that.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Interbeing: 14 Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism

'This small book is one of the gems of spiritual literature. Thich Nhat Hanh' Buddhist precepts of acceptance, patience, and extending onself are as necessary as rain to parched earth. Short, sweet, and direct...a book to read and treasure.' ~Academic Library Book Review

This lovely book explains in detail how Thich Nhat Hanh created the Tiep Hien Order ('The Order of Interbeing') in Vietnam during the war in the 60s, his concept of Engaged Buddhism, and how the precepts of this order have evolved into today's 14 Mindfulness Trainings.

I know that the 14 Mindfulness Trainings are posted all over the web, but I feel compelled to add them to my blog as well, as I feel they so thoroughly and completely and encapsulate my personal philosophy and spirituality. Thich Nhat Hanh says,

Mindfulness trainings are practices, not prohibitions. They do not restrict our freedom. They protect us, guarantee our liberty, and prevent us from getting entangled in difficulties and confusion. When we fail, we lift ourselves up and try again to do our best. In fact, we can never succeed 100 per cent. The mindfulness trainings are the North Star. If we want to travel north, we can follow the North Star to guide us, but we can never expect to arrive at the North Star.

With that in mind, don't think I am anywhere near fulfilling any of these trainings. But they are my North Star. They make sense to me, they resound within me deeply. Please read the 14 Mindfulness Trainings. Read slowly and absorb the meaning, and before you move on to the next, pause for three breaths for reflection. It's a wonderful practice.

1. The First Mindfulness Training: Openness
Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, we are determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist teachings are guiding means to help us learn to look deeply and to develop our understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill, or die for.

2. The Second Mindfulness Training: Nonattachment from Views
Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We shall learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to others' insights and experiences. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.

3. The Third Mindfulness Training: Freedom of Thought
Aware of the suffering brought about when we impose our views on others, we are committed not to force others, even our children, by any means whatsoever - such as authority, threat, money, propaganda, or indoctrination - to adopt our views. We will respect the right of others to be different and to choose what to believe and how to decide. We will, however, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness through practicing deeply and engaging in compassionate dialogue.

4. The Fourth Mindfulness Training: Awareness of Suffering
Aware that looking deeply at the nature of suffering can help us develop compassion and find ways out of suffering, we are determined not to avoid or close our eyes before suffering. We are committed to finding ways, including personal contact, images, and sounds, to be with those who suffer, so we can understand their situation deeply and help them transform their suffering into compassion, peace, and joy.

5. The Fifth Mindfulness Training: Simple, Healthy Living
Aware that true happiness is rooted in peace, solidity, freedom, and compassion, and not in wealth or fame, we are determined not to take as the aim of our life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure, nor to accumulate wealth while millions are hungry and dying. We are committed to living simply and sharing our time, energy, and material resources with those in need. We will practice mindful consuming, not using alcohol, drugs, or any other products that bring toxins into our own and the collective body and consciousness.

6. The Sixth Mindfulness Training: Dealing with Anger
Aware that anger blocks communication and creates suffering, we are determined to take care of the energy of anger when it arises and to recognize and transform the seeds of anger that lie deep in our consciousness. When anger comes up, we are determined not to do or say anything, but to practice mindful breathing or mindful walking and acknowledge, embrace, and look deeply into our anger. We will learn to look with the eyes of compassion at ourselves and at those we think are the cause of our anger.

7. The Seventh Mindfulness Training: Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment
Aware that life is available only in the present moment and that it is possible to live happily in the here and now, we are committed to training ourselves to live deeply each moment of daily life. We will try not to lose ourselves in dispersion or be carried away by regrets about the past, worries about the future, or craving, anger, or jealousy in the present. We will practice mindful breathing to come back to what is happening in the present moment. We are determined to learn the art of mindful living by touching the wondrous, refreshing, and healing elements that are inside and around us, and by nourishing seeds of joy, peace, love, and understanding in ourselves, thus facilitating the work of transformation and healing in our consciousness.

8. The Eighth Mindfulness Training: Community and Communication
Aware that lack of communication always brings separation and suffering, we are committed to training ourselves in the practice of compassionate listening and loving speech. We will learn to listen deeply without judging or reacting and refrain from uttering words that can create discord or cause the community to break. We will make every effort to keep communications open and to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

9. The Ninth Mindfulness Training: Truthful and Loving Speech
Aware that words can create suffering or happiness, we are committed to learning to speak truthfully and constructively, using only words that inspire hope and confidence. We are determined not to say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor to utter words that might cause division or hatred. We will not spread news that we do not know to be certain nor criticize or condemn things of which we are not sure. We will do our best to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten our safety.

10. The Tenth Mindfulness Training: Protecting the Sangha
Aware that the essence and aim of a Sangha is the practice of understanding and compassion, we are determined not to use the Buddhist community for personal gain or profit or transform our community into a political instrument. A spiritual community should, however, take a clear stand against oppression and injustice and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.

11. The Eleventh Mindfulness Training: Right Livelihood
Aware that great violence and injustice have been done to our environment and society, we are committed not to live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. We will do our best to select a livelihood that helps realize our ideal of understanding and compassion. Aware of global economic, political and social realities, we will behave responsibly as consumers and as citizens, not supporting companies that deprive others of their chance to live.

12. The Twelfth Mindfulness Training: Reverence for Life
Aware that much suffering is caused by war and conflict, we are determined to cultivate nonviolence, understanding, and compassion in our daily lives, to promote peace education, mindful mediation, and reconciliation within families, communities, nations, and in the world. We are determined not to kill and not to let others kill. We will diligently practice deep looking with our Sangha to discover better ways to protect life and prevent war.

13. The Thirteenth Mindfulness Training: Generosity
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, we are committed to cultivating loving kindness and learning ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. We will practice generosity by sharing our time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. We are determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. We will respect the property of others, but will try to prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.

14. The Fourteenth Mindfulness Training: Right Conduct
(For lay members): Aware that sexual relations motivated by craving cannot dissipate the feeling of loneliness but will create more suffering, frustration, and isolation, we are determined not to engage in sexual relations without mutual understanding, love, and a long-term commitment. In sexual relations, we must be aware of future suffering that may be caused. We know that to preserve the happiness of ourselves and others, we must respect the rights and commitments of ourselves and others. We will do everything in our power to protect children from sexual abuse and to protect couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. We will treat our bodies with respect and preserve our vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of our bodhisattva ideal. We will be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world, and will meditate on the world into which we are bringing new beings.

(For monastic members): Aware that the aspiration of a monk or a nun can only be realized when he or she wholly leaves behind the bonds of worldly love, we are committed to practicing chastity and to helping others protect themselves. We are aware that loneliness and suffering cannot be alleviated by the coming together of two bodies in a sexual relationship, but by the practice of true understanding and compassion. We know that a sexual relationship will destroy our life as a monk or a nun, will prevent us from realizing our ideal of serving living beings, and will harm others. We are determined not to suppress or mistreat our body or to look upon our body as only an instrument, but to learn to handle our body with respect. We are determined to preserve vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of our bodhisattva ideal.

When I discovered the Tiep Hien Order, I knew I had found the right thing for me. It so perfectly captures the spirit of the times and what I feel we must strive for to find peace and happiness in this life. If only I could find a practice centre nearby.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Oishii deshita!

Today's my day off so after my driving lesson, I cooked some brown rice and made onigiri to put in the fridge for our work lunches tomorrow. ('Onigiri' are just rice balls. You take still-hot-from being-cooked short grain rice and squeeze it into a ball, triangle, cylinder, or whatever shape you like. You can leave them plain or put something in the middle. Traditional filling is umeboshi, or preserved plum. It's salty and hard to describe. You can then wrap the onigiri in nori, sprinkle with sesame, etc, or grill it!) I couldn't resist having one myself, though, so I grilled one to create yakionigiri (see photo) and whipped up a small bowl of red miso soup with wakame, using the simmering liquid from last night's potatoes and daikon radish. (I've learned that when you make Japanese simmered vegetables, it's sensible to reserve the simmering broth and use it to make soup. It's yummy!)

I have made triangular onigiri by hand, but I bought an onigiri mold at the Japan Centre last month and thought I'd test it out. It worked like magic! That was a good purchase. (The tofu mold I'm not sure about yet...gotta psych myself up to try that again!) All you do is scoop in some hot rice, put in a dab of filling, top it up with rice, put the lid on, push it down, take off the lid and bang the mold upside down on the cutting board. Sorted! Here's an article that shows both methods--my mold is a double one, and easier to use than hers, but you get the drift.

I put umeboshi paste in the middle of the onigiri, and to make the yakionigiri, I brushed the outside of the onigiri with chili oil and pan fried it. It was yummy!!

I've found a website that sells Japanese stuff supercheap--but it's in the US! Maybe I can get some of my lovely American friends to post things on to me from there...

Ichibankan USA

Now I'm off to Learn Direct to start my Excel spreadsheet module. Then I suppose afer that, I better do a workout to get rid of all the junk food I ate over the weekend when DH and I went to see his parents!!

Friday, 5 September 2008

Curses, failed again.

I just spent 2 hours of my life trying to make homemade tofu. It didn't work out.

I am not to be deterred, however. I intend to learn how to make tofu! To be honest, I feel a bit guilty about the amount of water I've wasted washing up all the pots and pans in the house. Between the gas for cooking and the water for cleaning up, I'm not sure making homemade tofu is going to save me any money at all. But I still want to learn how to do it, though!

Thursday, 4 September 2008


Why is it that I do okay when I'm practising driving my own car, but when I get in the instructor's car to do a lesson I fall apart? I don't know. Yesterday I must have stalled the car 4 times. She told me I was trying to everything too fast. But I wasn't going any faster than I do in the KA, it just wasn't working the same. It took me half the lesson to get used to her VW Polo. Another £25.00 gone. At least she let me do more turning in the road for practice. To be honest, I have very little hope that I'm ever going to pass the test. If I fall apart like this on a lesson, I will projectile vomit on the examiner. It seems so impossibly far away.

Yesterday, DH and I did the Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred workout. We did Level 1. It was short but tough. For the first time, DH actually broke a good sweat during a workout. In the past, he has always lifted really light weights and skipped cardio. This workout is all 4-limb movement with cardio bursts in between, and it got him. It's good for him to have to breathe. He needs to improve his cardiovascular fitness. I was really sweating, too, and am a little bit stiff this morning. Maybe we will try Level 2 tonight and see what we think. We can always modify if it proves too much. I intend to do it every day this month. Of course, we won't be able to do it Saturday or Sunday because we are going to see DH's parents in Great Yarmouth, but every other day, for the most part, will be all right. Of course, I know already I won't see any weight loss if I don't reduce my calorie intake. *sigh* Am I prepared to do that?

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

30 day shred

I ordered Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred and intend to use it during the month of September. She claims you can lose 20 pounds in a month. Presumably that's if you are overweight and sedentary when you start. I want to go for 4-5 pounds. We'll see if I get any results!