Night before last Cecilia had some of us over for dinner. Usually dinner parties are at my house and hang out movie time is at Cecilia's. It's good to mix it up. Mix and match. Salsa dance.
The first time I ever had swordfish was last summer in Palermo. We had it the one time we went out to eat. It might be my most favorite fish ever and if it wasn't so expensive I'd probably eat it once a week.
This is what fried swordfish looks like. Looks kinda like strips of pork chop. I bet your tastebuds are watering. Do tastebuds even water? I know mine are.
We got to enjoy swordfish tacos because when Cecilia's husband was home for R&R he bought 60 euros worth of the stuff. At the time that was over 100 dollars worth. Sometimes Cecilia's husband goes a little over the top. It's a typical soldier trait. Above and beyond. Army of one. Hoo-ah.
Jocelyn (who's pregnant belly you can kinda see here) made tortillas from scratch. They were fantastic. Makes me want to try my own soon.
I was going to prepare a celebratory post for being half-way through this deployment. Only 6 more months (give or take) to go.
But then Margo's husband died yesterday in Afghanistan. I know people die in this war every day and that is tragic. There's something different about it though when you go to that person's promotion ceremony from Major to Lt. Col. and when you saw that person dressed up for Halloween as a football coach (Margo was a football player) and when you cared for that person's child at the center where you work. You hurt pretty bad for someone when you were in thier Bible study class on marriage, which Margo was really qualified to teach since she and Tom have been married over 20 years.
Had been married.
That's hard to get used to.
Margo and Tom have two beautiful daughters. Please keep Margo and the girls in your prayers.
I really like to workout. I know, I said it. It's true. I feel so good afterwards and accomplished. Can I tell you a secret, though? I had no idea what I was doing. I'd go to the gym, paddle on the elliptical maybe do a squat, touch my toes and call it a good workout.
But now, oh now! I'm sore. I realize I have a heart that beats at a certain rate and that rate needs to get in a certain range. So much knowledge.
"American's workout far too much," Chiara my Italian trainer said to me. "They do not exercise in the correct way." I believe her because based on my level of soreness I'm pretty sure I've been doing crunches/sit-ups incorrectly my entire life.
I'm so much more confident at the gym. I don't meander through the machines anymore. I don't bounce mindlessly on the elliptical anymore. Can I share another secret with you? Exercising with a purpose is a lot more interesting than just paddle, paddle, paddle. My 30 minute cardio flies by.
So, onward to goals:
currently my heart rate gets up to 180 to even 190 when working out. I want it to cap at 160 when I'm working out intensely.
I want to lose 10 pounds by the time my husband gets home (November or December) 15 in total by some unforeseen date. *digression* I think women are way to obsessed with the number on the scale. There are so many other healthy numbers that we should be concerned with. That said loosing that little bit of weight will help me be my healthiest which is my goal. *end digression*
Run a 5K before my husband gets home, ideally in September.
I'm excited to tackle these goals with my whole sweaty self and will be keeping updates here to track my progress.
Just look at this menu. It's exactly the kind I like: vague. Entree, plate of the day, dessert and coffee.
It started off with a small salad and the best deviled eggs I've ever had. Mamma mia the eggs! The yokes were mixed with mustard and something delicious. The salad also had a mustard dressing. Usually I don't care for mustard because it tends to overpower whatever it is on, but this flavor was muted.
Next came fish with rice and veggies. That sentence is so plain compared to the plate I received. The fish was covered in a cream sauce and had muscles on top as well. The veggies had a heavy, creamy mustard sauce.
Dessert was a small bowl of fruit. The perfect fresh end to a creamy meal.
After lunch we headed down the street to a candy shop. It was a fantastical land. They had a tower of macaroons. I got six and gobbled up before I remembered to take a picture.
They also had beautiful chocolates. We got some orange rinds covered in chocolate. Also gobbled before photo shoot.
Finally at the end of the trip we stopped for crepes. Mine was filled with strawberry jam. My friend's (which you can kinda see in the picture) came with cheese.
This was my third trip to France and the first time I was able to find macaroons. I had never had them before because I wasn't able to find a shop on my short trips there. I'm so glad I did this time.
I'm going on a bus trip to Nice, France this weekend. We're leaving at 2 am on Saturday morning and getting back at 3 am Sunday morning. No hotel. Only bus. I'm not sure yet if this is a good idea, but I figure if I'm going to try it with any place Nice is a nice place to start. Nice is nice. I couldn't resist.
I need snacks. Serious snacks. I know for sure Puppy Chow (puppy food, monkey munch, muddy buddies, reindeer chow, etc). I want some kind of salty mix. And something healthy and/or hearty. Please post your suggestions!
I serve as a board member on our Protestant Women of the Chapel board. I am the special events and retreats person until next month when the new board takes over. This past Saturday was my big event: Rally Day. Even though turn out was lower than I was hoping it was an excellent day. We had a speaker and workshops on the fruit of the Spirit. Lunch was provided and one of the highlights of the day. Our hospitality chairperson made mini-cheesecakes topped with mixed fruit and chocolate spelling out the words: love, peace, and joy.
All of the teachers and the speaker were women from my community. It's amazing how much untapped resources there are in women in our community. Jobs are hard to come by here. Any job, much less one in your chosen field. So ladies who love, support and move with their husbands are often left in a lurch for a few years. This can be good. It can push them into new avenues and have them doing things they love but would never have normally done. This can also be good for me when people like graphic designer, Jackie, is willing to design my fliers because she doesn't have any other designing to do at the moment.
My community is amazing. So are the gifts that God gave the people who live here.