Happy 2013!

Wow… what a CRAZY, CRAZY, CRAZY year! 42 Take offs and Landings… 91,000 air miles logged. From huge airplanes (Boeing A380) to a small 9 seater. China, Hong Kong, U.S., Japan and the Bahamas.

I completed the Dukan diet in May, having lost 111 pounds! And for the most part have kept it off. I bounce up a few pounds, readjust and it comes back off.

I went from not being able to run for 45 seconds to running 5K and completed one. I am now training for a triathlon next August with bloggy friends Cindy, Sandra and Anna and can’t wait!!!

I’ve also done yoga and a program called D.I.R.T.ย regularly… D.I.R.T. kicks my ass!

Last year I brought New Years in with my dear friend Lucy in Hong Kong…

New Years Eve in Hong Kong Dec 31, 2011. With Lucy Rowney.

New Years Eve in Hong Kong Dec 31, 2011. With Lucy Rowney.

Crazy how much has happened in the past 12 months! Crazy how blessed and fortunate I am to have the people in my life that I do. Crazy how lucky I am to have an amazing job with two crazy women that I adore and love working with!!

December 2012Lorie, Me and Miri

December 2012
Lorie, Me and Miri

The next adventure? Planning a conference for birth workers in Ecuador for July this year and planning my own little trip into Peru to visit Machu Picchuย afterwards. It’s going to be an amazing trip!

What are your plans for 2013?

I hope all of you have a blessed, amazing, healthy and prosperous 2013!

Ciao!
Sandi ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Travel – So long, China

I’m sitting at the airport in Shanghai writing my last blog post from here. My next one will be from the U.S… Some random thoughts…
I can’t believe I’m really moving home! I’ve lived abroad 6 weeks shy of 4 years!
I can’t wait to give my daughter Jenni a hug at the airport! I love being picked up!
I can’t wait to give Tiffany and the grandkids a hug… Lots of hugging!!
I can’t wait to give my mom a hug… That’ll wait until Sunday ๐Ÿ™‚
I can’t wait to start homeschooling my granddaughter Sydnie!

I am going to miss a lot of people in Hangzhou… Saying goodbye was tough! To Jerry, my amazing driver, thank you for knowing me so well that you were spot on picking me up this morning on time and delivering me to the airport 3 hours ahead of time. You are AWESOME!

I am so fortunate that I have a part time job waiting for me at home AND will be starting my own business! So excited!!

I have a chihuahua waiting for me… Bebe! I’ll be picking her up on Saturday morning and I’m so excited!!!

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And in 4 days I’ll be hiking in the Appalachian mountains for a few days!!

Life is good! Boarding in 10 minutes so up, up and away!!!!

Ciao!

Dukan – My Last Walk to Work

Today marks the end of my contract here in Hangzhou, China AND my last day of work. I fly home to the U.S. tomorrow and I am more than ready and SO excited!

I took the east sidewalk today… I would say that 80% of the time I take the west side. It depends a lot on the traffic lights ๐Ÿ™‚ The darker tile is the Blind Person walkway, it is on every sidewalk in China that I’ve walked on. And the lane next to the sidewalk is the bicycle, e-bike, scooter lane. They have their own lane separated from the car traffic.

Last year I walked on my first day of work. I was a month into the Dukan Diet and I weighed 236 lbs/107.5 kgs. I was walking every day in Abu Dhabi for the prescribed 30 minutes. On that walk to work which is 1.5 kms/0.92 miles I decided that I was going to walk to and from work EVERY SINGLE DAY for the whole year of my contract. AND DAMMIT… I DID! I walked every single day to work for 12 months. My estimate (taking into consideration vacations and trips to work in other cities, where I also walked to work) is that here in Hangzhou I walked to work approximately 200 times. That’s 200 miles! Woot!

I have to admit that there were days that I was SO tempted to hail a cab or take the bus (it’s a .35 km walk to the bus stop, then it’s just one bus stop up)… there were 7 weeks in February and March where EVERY SINGLE DAY it was 41F and raining and it sucked… but I walked, because you set goals and you reach them and you feel like I do right this minute! ๐Ÿ˜€

I also walked home 90% of those days. The only days I didn’t was days that I was going into the city for groceries or dinner and caught a cab or bus. So my best guess is that I probably walked to and from work about 380+ miles over the course of this past year.

Did you get in your 30 minutes of movement today???

Ciao!

Dukan – Sunday Celebration and weekly wrap-up!

Consolidation Phase Day 128 of 500!
Weekly Weight: 146-149
Goal Weight: 155
So Consolidation DOES work ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t believe it’s been 128 days since I met my goal weight! This summer has flown by! I am very consistent with my weight, still weighing every morning and still VERY happy with the results!

This past week has been busy! I am moving back to the States on Thursday after living abroad for 4 years. I have been packed for over a month ๐Ÿ™‚ I know, a bit OCD, but what to say. I’ve got 2 large suitcases and a large box as checked luggage (things I didn’t want to risk never seeing again if my shipped boxes disappear into the stratosphere or something.) It’ll be worth paying extra for the peace of mind.

Exercise this past week included running 4-5K 3 times. Walking 4-5K the other 4 nights. I also did 30-45 minutes of yoga 4 times the past week. I hiked the mountain 1 time this past week and hope to do it Tuesday morning as one last hurrah ๐Ÿ™‚

I met Hanna and Diana and Jacob (next photo) on the street a couple of weeks ago. They are from Sweden and here to attend the University just down the block from my flat. Jacob had on a Miami Dolphins hat, so of course I stopped them ๐Ÿ™‚ They’ve been to dinner a few times and I wish I had met them sooner!

Jacob

 

The weather in Hangzhou has been PERFECT this past 4 days. Sunny and a cool breeze. I’ve had the flat windows opened and the whole place is fresh. The summer heat was oppressive! So it’s a nice break.

Let’s see… what did I eat this week. Lots of tea eggs, as per usual. Lunches consisted of leftover roasts (both pork and beef), salad, cheddar cheese and almonds. Dinners were steak stir fry, pork roast, beef roast, shrimp stir fry and my new favorite way to cook veggies; veggies (broccoli, asparagus, carrots and garlic stems) steamed in coconut milk… OH MY you have no idea how good THAT is… a must try! I also had a dinner out with friends at a local sushi restaurant and a hot pot dinner… guests for dinner almost nightly, trying to cook up all the food in the freezer AND say good bye to friends, new and not so new.

Pork roast… Mmm!

Out for sushi with Baby Milva!

hot pot, hangzhou

Out for dinner with Joe, Chiara and baby Nunu!

You throw in the meat and veggies and it cooks in the hot pot… the liquid on the left is spicy, spicy!!! Mmmmmm!

 

 

 

And I did my last water birth lecture in front of a hundred people or so in a nearby town. I hope my message got across to some folks and they have gentler births!

midwife, china water birth

Me and Liang… on our way to my last water birth lecture. She’s the lead midwife supporting water birth at Hangzhou AIMA.

So, that’s my wrap up! How did your week go? Is it cooling down where you live?

Ciao!

Recipe – Low Carb – Roast Dinner

Last week I met 3 Swedish students that are here in Hangzhou to study a semester at the local university. I’m an extrovert (I’m sure most of you figured THAT out by now!) and the young man in the group was wearing a Miami Dolphins cap, so of course, being the Dolfan that I am, I said hello! By the end of the conversation I had invited Jacob, Diana and Hanna to my flat for dinner on Friday. Tatiana, one of my colleagues, also joined us.

On the menu:
Roast (this one was a prime rib hunk of love!)
Spaghetti squash (that turned out to be pumpkin, lol!)
Roasted vegetables – Onions, yam (which ended up being Taro) and carrots **TARO IS *NOT* LOW CARB… just so you know.
Fresh salad

I cooked the roast for 3.5 hours in the toaster oven and it was PERFECT… I had to fight the urge to not consume it before the guests arrived! The meat fell apart with the fork. In the container with the roast I added the onions, taro and carrots.

I also put the “spaghetti” squash I cut in half, cut size down in a different pan and added the balance of the onions, taro and carrots and baked in the toaster oven (after the roast was done) for 50 minutes. This is when I realized that the “spaghetti” squash wasn’t and went to plan B ๐Ÿ˜€

Plan B was removing the flesh from the pumpkin, mashing it, adding in 4 pkts of Splenda, a Tbs of ghee and a tsp of cinnamon… OH MY GOODNESS was this yummy!

I threw the salad together and welcomed my guests… we had a lovely dinner! Here’s the pics!

After everyone left I did a quick clean up and then went for a short 3 km run around the block… perfect way to end the evening!

low carb, roast dinner, prime rib

Hunk of prime rib love… Mmm! You should always brown each side of the meat before roasting in the oven.

low carb, roast dinner, prime rib

Just browning this made the house smell delish!

roast dinner, low carb, vegetables

Carrots, celery, taro and onion… perfect compliments to a roast!

Seasonings… keep it simple!

Taro, Taro root

Taro in all it’s purply glory… It’s quite starchy, but has a lot of bang for it’s buck… it’s full of fiber and tastes a bit nutty.

low carb, roast dinner, prime rig

Ready for the toaster oven!

pumpkin, squash

My Un-spaghetti squash… it was yummy anyways!

low carb, roast dinner, prime rib

Falling apart with a fork!

low carb, roasted vegetables

The veggies after I removed from the roasting pan… Nom!

pumpkin, squash, mashed pumpkin

Making Mashed Pumpkin

Mixed Salad

Mixed Salad… I love adding purple cabbage for color and taste!

Dinner ready for the guests!

Hanna, Tatiana, Diana and Me… Lovely dinner companions!

One of the awesome things about living abroad is the people you meet. We have choices in life. We can go about our business and walk around with our eyes averted or we can keep our eyes open and look for new friendships. I choose the latter. I have met so many amazing people from all over the world these past 4 years living abroad… treasures, every one of them and lots of stories I have of my journey, as I head back home for good in 10 days.

Do you extend yourself to strangers?

Ciao!

p.s. added a pic of my Blue Sparkly Notebook to the last post ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dukan – Celebration Sunday & Mountain Hike

Sunday was Consolidation Day 114 of 500.
Today’s Weight: 145
Goal Weight: 155

Sunday is my Celebration Sunday day on Dukan. When you enter the third phase of Dukan, the Consolidation Phase, you get one celebration meal a week. You can eat whatever you want. This is in the first half of Consolidation (mine is 500 days long and the rule applies until I hit day 250). In the second half you can have 2 celebration meals a week.

I’ve chosen to remain wheat, gluten and sugar free, so my celebration meals usually include something like french fries (i’m not eating white potatoes) or lots of fruit! That was the case today.

I started the morning out with a 2 egg omelet with onion, asparagus and garlic. I then went on a 5.59 km mountain hike with my friend Tatiana. This is the trail that I try to hike every Sunday morning when I’m in Hangzhou. I have to say that during yesterday’s hike up I realized that I was really going to miss this part of living in China. Moving back to Florida (which I love more than any place in the world) won’t include mountain hiking!

runkeeper, mountain hike

Burned off breakfast and then some!

runkeeper, mountain hike, hangzhou, china

286 meter = 938 feet… not a bad climb ๐Ÿ™‚

mountain hike, hangzhou, china

mountain hike, hangzhou, china

Tatiana

mountain hike, west lake, hangzhou, china

And I wore shorts… in public. You can see West Lake in the background. It’s a beautiful view from the top of this mountain!

And this was my reward… a fruit salad for lunch, along with a iced cafe latte with Splenda and a TON of water… like 2 liters.

fruit salad, hangzhou, china

I shared this delicious fruit platter with Tatiana. So fresh and cool after a long hike in the heat.

My driver Jerry met us at the restaurant and took us to the wet market. I’m going to have to go back and get pictures… I’m always so busy picking out my stuff that I don’t pull out the iPhone and take pics! The wet market has the freshest veggies, fruits, meats and live poultry and fish to choose from. I get my veggies, pork and beef there. The stands that I purchase my pork and beef from both have range free farms. The meat is butchered the day before and I can pick my cuts. Tatiana picked out a 1/2 kilo of live jumbo shrimp to make us a late afternoon snack.

We got home, I separated out all the meat and spent time reading for a while. Around 4 Tatiana simmered the shrimp with fresh ginger, sea salt and pepper corns. I made a wasabi & tamari mix and we had some yummy shrimp!!!

Didn’t have dinner, as I was stuffed. I had a couple of bites of cheese and a handful of almonds to round out my evening.

What did you do on Sunday? Were you active?

Ciao!

 

 

 

Dukan – Consolidation Day 108

Monday was Consolidation Day 108 ๐Ÿ™‚

Today’s Weight: 146
Goal Weight: 155
Still lovin’ that ๐Ÿ™‚

Back to work in Hangzhou. Kind of a frustrating day. Went to the bank to make a deposit and they wouldn’t let me because I didn’t have my passport… to make a deposit… sigh. Then I went to the post office to ship off the last 4 boxes to the States and the guy went through all my stuff to make sure it was packed well enough to not break anything and DROPS the package with my Chinese china!!!! Breathe IN, Breathe OUT… I flew off the handle… I couldn’t help it… I am not perfect, I threw a tantrum. They quickly finished me up, I apologized a million times to my driver, Jerry, who is the most patient person in the world (besides Kitty)… he smoothed things over and got me the hell out of there before, well before I got into trouble!

My granddaughter Sadie represents the 3rd generation of epic tantrum throwers ๐Ÿ™‚
My daughter Jenni, however, was the Queen of them!

Then back to work where I managed to upset the apple cart by providing a not so glowing audit about hand washing that had the doctors doing better than the nurses. I was on a roll!

Went home and had me some dinner and felt better ๐Ÿ™‚ I also am tutoring a Chinese midwife in Medical English and passing the NCLEX-RN exam. So we worked on that last night.

Sunday I got in a 5K run in under 40 minutes after not running for 9 days due to my bout of food poisoning, but I pushed myself and did it… which makes me feel so good ๐Ÿ™‚ I then went up to my flat and did 30 minutes of stretching, yoga and exercise bands. I have SO much energy when I’m done running… it’s amazing!

I also got a few pictures from Rose, my personal assistant in Guangzhou from my multiple stays there this past 5 months. Here’s a couple I want to share:

Water birth training in April 2012. Guangzhou.

Grand Opening of the Water Delivery Center in Guangzhou Elizabeth Women’s Hospital – April 2012

I’ve been saying that I haven’t felt like I accomplished much in the past year. Maybe I set my expectations too high for myself… I’m a perfectionist. But when I look at these pictures I do realize that I’ve accomplished quite a bit. The hospitals keep referring to me as their International Water Birth Expert… and I’ve come to realize, I really am! I mean who better to be called that than someone who has delivered hundreds of babies in the water (all over the world, including on 4 continents!) and has taught water birth all over the world? The 5 hospitals here in China that I’ve done the water birth trainings in have collectively performed over 100 water births in the past year! I am proud of their accomplishments and that the midwives and doctors at these 5 hospitals have accepted water birth as a “normal” way for women to deliver their babies. And delighted for the women and babies who have experienced this amazing way of birthing!

Breakfast: 2 slices of bacon and 2 tea eggs
Snack: FF Greek yogurt with Splenda and flaxseed meal
Lunch: 3 ham slices with 3 slices of Pepper Jack cheddar… Mmmm!!
Dinner: Stir-fry pork with onions and asparagus (cooked in coconut oil).
Snack: Beef jerky… eeek that out a couple little pieces at a time to make it stretch (thanks, Suzanne for bringing me the 3 bags!!) ** Kira… Titters LOVES jerky!

I hope everyone is having a great week! I have 23 days until I fly home… for good… or for now… LOL
What type of exercise or movement did you do on Monday??

Ciao!

 

Travel – Typhoon Haiku

So yet another tropical system is mucking up my travels! I was suppose to fly to Guangzhou this morning, but I ended up walking to work dressed like this…

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In this…

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And why would my crazy self walk to work in that? Because last September I promised myself I would walk to work every single day for a year. I have honored that! I have walked to work on beautiful days, freezing days, snowing days and 7 weeks of raining and near freezing days, scorching heat and now typhoon (aka hurricane). It is .98 miles to work, it takes between 12-15 minutes depending on my mood, the weather and traffic. I even walked there 36 hours after my lipo, now that was just stupid, lol, but I did it ๐Ÿ™‚

I wrote this out this morning, while lounging in bed, listening to the wind howling and the rain coming down through my open bedroom window…

A Haiku for Typhoon Haikui

As the wind does blow
I watch a leaf settle down
Then blown away gone

Flight rebooked for tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

Running With Dreams

“A runner must run with dreams in his heart.”
– Emil Zatopek

I run with dreams in my heart. My first goal in running was to run more than 45 SECONDS without falling and/or crying. It took me a week of calling the “Voice of C25K” every name in the book, to be able to do that… that was back in January. 8 months ago. I had been walking, in fact FAST walking, but I hadn’t run. And I truly couldn’t run 45 seconds without gasping for air. Some of the things I said to myself then:

  • I’m never, EVER going to be able to do this
  • EVER
  • This sucks
  • I hate you C25K lady… you’re a liar!
  • It’s been MORE than 45 seconds, dammit!!!

And then I got on with it. Because I’m not a quitter. And I set my next dream, which was to finish Couch to 5K (C25K). And then I signed up for my first 5K in March… scheduled for June 9th in Ocala, while I was home.

I completed Week 8 Day 3 of C25K on April 22nd, just one day after meeting my True Weight goal! Triumphant! Crying HAPPY, HAPPY tears. There were 24 different runs in C25K leading up to the completion. I ran 22 of them in the rain and most of them in the rain and under 50 degreesย Fahrenheit! Oh, in the hot summer, do I long for those days now… ๐Ÿ˜€ This was me after completing a run in the rain:

Lots of emotion finishing a run!

Then on May 9th I had my liposuction surgery done and couldn’t run for 2 weeks. I didn’t feel like running, either! I did walk… every single day, because that’s what you do to keep the weight off!

On May 24 I ran for the first time in 2 weeks and couldn’t take in enough air. Just didn’t seem like I could get a full breath in! Ack! I was running a 5K in a couple of weeks!! But run I did… and I kept running, even though I wasn’t able to run more than 10 minutes w/o slowing my pace to a walk.

June 9, I ran and walked my way through my first 5K!ย I didn’t do as well as I wanted. I just couldn’t catch my breath and took off from the start too fast. I HAD A BLAST! I met a lady in her 50’s doing her first 5K and we chatted while we ran a few minutes/walked a few minutes. We then ended up walking and picking up trash… LOL. My time was 48 minutes. I had been averaging 44 minutes before my surgery.

Well, last night I did this…

Yes…. a 5K in 37 flippin’ minutes!!! WOOT, WOOT!!!

Here it is in miles… LOL

A record for me ๐Ÿ™‚ And the RunKeeper reevaluated and gave me more calories burned!

I actually walked for about 5 minutes to cool down after reaching 5K, but I stopped my RunKeeper on purpose to preserve this moment ๐Ÿ™‚

This is what I wrote to Anna this morning:

I bawled my eyes out when I realized I hit 37 minutes ๐Ÿ™‚ My Chinese neighbors must think I’m nuts… LOL. Although the security guards have watched me transform over the past year and always say encouraging things while doing a thumbs up (I presume they are encouraging me… lol). Running is super emotional for me, for some reason. When the C25K lady says “walk now” at the end of the long runs I get very teary… last night was a bit different… I KNEW I was WAY ahead of my norm… and I wasn’t winded. I knew it because I take the same boring route every night and was getting way past the usual 5 minute updates from RunKeeper. I actually did 5.3 kms, but purposefully stopped it right as it rolled onto 5K to see how I did… I then let out a series of woots and then cried, with a huge smile plastered on my face. ๐Ÿ˜€

I find running very emotional. Not sure why. But it’s an awesome emotional, not a bad one! These are things I say to myself now, when I’m running:

  • It’s only 40 minutes
  • Just get your shoes on and walk out the door
  • You can stop whenever you want (I never do!)
  • Yes, Yes, Yes!!! You’re doing it girl
  • You’ve got this
  • You totally rock
  • WOOOOOOOOOO! I DID IT!!!!!!

You get the picture. I say these out loud. They are affirming. They are gifts to myself. They push me to the next level. They, apparently, are working ๐Ÿ˜€

My new goal/dream… running a triathlon with Anna, Sandra and Cindy in August 2013. What a great way to celebrate the year I turn 50! I am so looking forward to seeing this dream come to fruition!

Ciao!

 

 

 

 

Dukan – Consolidation Day 86 – Sunday Runday

Sunday was an awesome day… food wise, Dukan wise and exercise wise!

Daily weight: 148 lbs/67.2 kgs
Goal weight: 155 lbs/70.5 kgs

I started my morning early with a half hour of yoga and some housework. Then at 0900 out for a walk/run. It was HOT! Here’s how hot…

Feels like 101F… bring it on!

So I did this route… which the GPS is off a bit… I walked along the little river, across the bridge and back… so just move my route (in your head) down a bit… LOL

And these are the scenes along my walk…

The path leaving my complex going towards the river.

The construction site has taken over 1/2 the Buddhist Temple and torn it down… they moved the Big incense burners across the walking path to the river side.

The construction site hasn’t taken the temple half… yet… I sure hope they don’t!

A real working lock!

Guarding the lock.

I could smell a funky smell, likeย manure, and couldn’t figure out where it was coming from!

This lovely lady was fertilizing the lush greenery along the river walk… Thank you! You make my walk much more beautiful!!!

Continuing on…

 

I then crossed over the river to come back on the other side.

Incoming barge… an old way of transport with all new construction in the background!

Close up of the wake from the barge.

As I crossed over the bridge once more, I got wolf whistled at… LOL. That made me feel good and gave me the energy in the melting heat to finish…

Out of the 1:20 I only ran 35 minutes. It was just too darn hot… but it gave me the chance to slow down and enjoy the scenery!

Food:
Brekkies: 2 tea eggs… good protein fuel to get started!
Snack when back from walk/run: 2 ounces of an amazingly good aged cheddar that crumbles when you bite it… Mmmmmm and some Jerky… thanks, Suzanne for bringing that!
Dinner at 430 p.m. at Surbhi and Andy’s… OH MY GOD!!! My very favorite Indian dish, ย Palak Paneer, made just for me! Yummy, authentic Indian food. I am SO grateful for the people I have met on my 4 years of living abroad! I also had a little bit of rice, dalย and aloo! Of course this was a celebration meal ๐Ÿ˜€

When I got home from my 1 hour 20 minute bus ride… standing (now that must have burned some calories) and dancing to my own tune (Rocking out to Rock of Ages soundtrack in the bus… smiling and dancing, sure makes the locals give me a little space) I opened my email to this picture…

Yummy, juicy, delectable Helena… who is almost 5 months! I am SO lucky that I get to be there when these little cutie patooties are born! Can’t wait to make a trip to Boston to cuddle you!

And before bed a pot of 2% Greek Yogurt with Splenda and flax seed meal. Yum!

Awesome day all around… How did your weekend go?

Ciao!