Music Monday! I’ve been listening to these guys for two reasons: 1) I love their sound;  2) I am related to the piano player. True story. Oh, and did I mention that you can download the tracks for free??? Awesome sauce.


That’s all I need right now: coffee and good vibes. I know it’s Monday and all, but I’m convinced it doesn’t always have to be full of the blues. And why not? Today, I’m making it a kick-ass Monday. Won’t you? Don’t wait to set the tone for the rest of the week. Tally ho!

I am a water baby, of the variety that loves to be submerged in it. When I go to the beach or to a pool, I prefer not to sunbathe. I don’t even own a bikini — actually I never have — but I’m a master at the fabled “deck change”. My swimming get-up consists of a tight suit, a drag suit (a bigger, baggier one that goes over it to create drag while swimming laps), a swim cap and swedish goggles. It’s so comfortable to me that I get this relaxed feeling every time I put it on. Even the smell of chlorine gets to me, in an “oh-yeah-take-another-deep-breath” sort of way. You’d think that I’d be splashing away all day long, in between classes, and on my days off! The truth is, I really haven’t been swimming regularly in over 6 years.

A few weeks ago, while I was reflecting on the number of years that I’ve put this passion of mine on hold, all the while justifying my neglect by the amount of reading I had, or the need to check this “one last thing” on the Internet, or how tired I was (mentally), I realized that something was out of whack: my priorities.

I’m excited to say that I’ve joined the Masters Swim Club at my school, and I’m having a blast. Although 50 year olds with better body definition than undergraduate students are kicking my butt, lap after lap, I am overjoyed to be back in the water. We’re practicing at an outdoor, olympic-length course, and I’m learning to differentiate my pace when I have half as many flip turns to do. I’ve also learned a new acronym: DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness). To put it into perspective:

May 8, 2012 – last day of off-and-on swimming. Total distance: 1100 yards (short course).

August 22, 2012 – first day of swim club. Total distance: 1700 METERS!!! (long course)

August 23, 2012 – morning after swim club. Distance from bed to door seems an eternity. Somehow made it to class.

August 24, 2012 – second day of swim club. Total distance: 2600 meters (long course)

I don’t know why swimming has this effect on me, but unlike any other sport that I participate in, I come home after practice hungry enough to wipe out my pantry. A tired, hungry, emotional eater can be a dangerous combination. Instead, I am feeling really fulfilled with the following protein shake. I’m digging it now, but I know that I’ll be looking to diversify my flavors. Anybody have any suggestions?


 The “Best Spinach Shake Ever”

(inspired by Drew Manning, the man behind “fit2fat2fit”)

In a blender, combine the following ingredients: one big handful of freshly cleaned spinach leaves, 1/2 of a banana, two tablespoons of peanut butter, one scoop of protein powder (I like my vegan Sun Warrior Protein), 3/4 cup of milk (or almond milk, etc), and then 2-3 handfuls of ice cubes. If you want it a little sweeter, you can always add a bit of agave nectar (or other). I also like a third tablespoon of peanut butter if I’m in the mood. This makes one very refreshing protein shake. Enjoy!

I’m baaaaack!! I spent 7 weeks sharing teaching and administrative responsibilities in Spain for a group of 33 high school students. After organizing travel excursions, lesson planning until the wee hours of the morning, and eating a lot of tortilla, I returned to the states a little . . . . well, beat.

What does a girl do when she’s tired, overstimulated by the amount of English around her (which she hasn’t really spoken or heard in almost 2 months, mind you), and most of her belongings are still in her luggage??? Answer: She keeps it all there, adds nine or ten bottles of homebrew to it, and hops a plane to NYC to spend a weekend with three of her dearest people in the world: her siblings.

I have to say that New York, New York is a wonderful town. There’s so much to see and do, you could really spend an entire month there and not even get to it all. On that note, nobody ever said that you had to see/do it all. I mean, there are NYC natives we met who haven’t been out of their borough. Ever. They’ve got everything they need right in their general vicinity. I find it fascinating.

For the four of us, we wanted to have a good mix of the touristy (the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island) mixed in with the daily grind, the adventurous (I kept trying to get on the “wrong” metro) and the serendipitous (like this cool bar in Park Slope called “Mission Dolores” or the heaven-sent taco stand “El Diablo Tacos” . . . pun intended.)



Not to mention the “Best Worst Picture Taken By A Stranger”:


I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity to be with my family. Y’all are an exceptional bunch, and this was an experience to remember for a very, very long time. -XO

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