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.Β 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 PicchuΒ 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 πŸ™‚

 

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 πŸ™‚
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!!!

20120920-150636.jpg

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 πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ˜€

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜€

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 πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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

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 πŸ™‚
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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ 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!