Spin Cycle

I am a runner.

Or, well, I was more of a runner before the accident, but I still love running.

However, I have been advised by my doctors and family to not run at all due to the high likelihood of damaged cartilage and inevitable arthritis.

So, while I still hit the pavement about once a week for about 4 miles, I am transitioning my workouts to include more yoga and spinning, as opposed to running.

I am lucky that my gym is literally right across the street, so there are only a few excuses that can keep me from going there – either the gym is closed or I have the Bubonic Plague. Those two circumstances are not the case during most of my waking hours, so I have decided to get creative as motivation to sweat across the street.

When I was rehabilitating I would go to spin classes at the local YMCA. And despite the frustration of pedaling for over an hour and not getting anywhere, the workout was worth it. Here, I have not had a chance to try the spin classes at my gym as their timing is not convenient for my schedule (not too mention they are instructed in Hebrew), but I have turned to the internet to get my spinning fix.

I write down (print-out) spinning routines, such as these:

FitFabCities

Pinterest

And I set myself up on a spin bike with my iPhone timer and plug into MTV for my pump-up tunes. Then, I simply follow along with the routine pushing myself as best as I can.

Of course, I would be working much harder in a room full of other sweaty spinners and a domineering instructor, but there are times where I yell at myself be all that I can be and reach the summit of the mountain, or I encourage myself to find the fire within and race past the finish line.

spinning

I hope to make it to one of the gym’s spin classes soon to soak up a full spinning experience, and of course, to pick up a few tricks for myself to continue my solo sessions ;)

Do you print out workouts to do at the gym on your own? 

Taco Night

Spicy salsa, crunchy shells and velvet guacamole – sounds like a typical taco night.

However, here in Israel taco nights are few and far between, replaced with Mediterranean flavors and lots of fried chickpeas (aka Falafel).

Over the weekend, the itch for Mexican flavors was satisfied with a homemade spread of dips, chips and tacos.

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I seasoned some chicken with grilling spices, sauteed some onions and peppers, and steamed up a batch of rice.

Of course, no taco night is complete without a giant bowl of guacamole.

I used my recipe of half avocados and half peas (you can’t even taste them), but here in Israel we have avocados with thin skins that make it very difficult to separate. However, I discovered this simple solution and my life has forever been changed.

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Ta Da!

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Using a peeler I was able to slice away the skin without wasting a smidge of precious avocado!

Now that I know this nifty trick I might be making guacamole more often than just for taco night.

Let me know if you try this method. It might just change your life too!

Jordan’s Day

No, it’s not my birthday.

But, today was a day devoted to simply doing things I enjoy.

For the first time in a long time I had a day completely to myself where I wasn’t working and responsibilities were shrugged to the side.

To begin with, I went for a long walk to the outdoor market to purchase ingredients for dinner.

Sneak peak at dinner… IMG_2314 Along the way I picked up a few art supplies to finally decorate our incredibly bare walls.

- A few blank canvases

- Blue, black and gold acrylic paint

- Paintbrushes

Combine all of the above with some free hours and music and you end up with some inexpensive wall accessories. IMG_2311 IMG_2312Satisfied with my work, I treated myself to hunting the beach for sea glass using the sun as my searchlight. IMG_2310 And, while it might have been more relaxing to order in some pre-made food, it is always much more satisfying to cook up an experimental gluten-free pizza while video chatting with your best friend (Check her out here and here)

gluten pizza

I used the following recipe (minus the yeast), and well, as you can see, somehow my pictures don’t look like hers. This could be called a “Pinterest fail” (where the amateur’s final product fails in comparison to the original creator’s picture), but it was mighty tasty.

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And then, there’s nothing better than ending the day with some snuggles!

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Sabotage

Sabotage is the name of the game and I get caught up in it for more rounds than I would like.

I’m not talking about deleting someone else’s file to get ahead at work, or even letting the air out of someone’s bike tires to make him or her late, I’m talking about self-sabotage. You may not acknowledge it, but it manifests itself in ways you may not even realize throughout daily life.

For instance, I had a great workout earlier today. I walked to and from work (about 35 minutes of walking both ways), plus I went to the gym where I pushed myself through a spin workout, and I even ended with a few rounds of yoga sun salutations, but when I looked in the mirror all I could see were my imperfections.

Sabotage.

Or, when I have a great workout and then I undo all of that healthy exercise by eating more sugar products than I would care to admit.

Sabotage.

Or, when I go on Facebook and start to compare my accomplishments to those of others, completely ignoring reality and circumstances, and feel as if I have not worked hard enough and should be leading a different lifestyle.

Sabotage.

Or, even when I let the littlest self doubt creep in…

You, guessed it – Sabotage.

I certainly don’t spend all day sabotaging myself, but if you take a moment to scan your own day you might find that there are moments where you put yourself down, you don’t give yourself enough credit or you simply fail to pat yourself on the back.

So, starting now, I choose to play a different game and I am going to try harder to be nice to myself. Who wants to play?

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You’ve Got Mail

Sometimes you live in a far away land.

Sometimes you enjoy living in said far away land, but also miss your loved ones.

And, sometimes you enjoy living in said far away land and simply ache for some Ziploc bags.

That’s where the loved ones come in.

My dear family put together a care package of American goodies not available in Israel such as, Justin’s almond butter and Trader Joe’s trail mix (both essential to daily living).

The package was sent well before the holidays, but it took some time to get through customs, and last week we were notified it was finally available for pick up at the post office.

I put on my running shoes, grabbed the package slip and was off on a four and half mile odyssey to collect my prize.

Once securely in my possession I proudly carried the enormous package on the bus back to my apartment, where not even one minute went by before I ripped open the packing tape.

Of course we documented the joyous occasion…

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Let’s just say I never thought I would be so excited to see packaged food with ingredients written in English.

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And because Ziplocs are only sold on the black market here, I had to have my own supply shipped in.

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Plus, it’s never too late for a Chanukah gift, even if it is only half wrapped.

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And Dave, of course, also received some well deserved chocolate and love from abroad.

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Thanks again family for the amazing gifts, thoughtful treats and extra love sent in the mail. We miss you!

By the way, Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Oh wait…am I a little late? Must be the time difference here in Israel, it tends to throw me off. Or more likely, it’s just the fact that life has gotten ahead of me already in 2014. In all of my math and science classes over the years my teachers failed to mention the fact that time gets exponentially faster every year you get older. I took a moment to flip through my photos and couldn’t believe how many things happened in the span of one year. In 2013… I completed rehabilitation from my broken hip accident in the Summer of 2012 and started running again (slowly)!

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I spent weekends working as a day-of coordinator for weddings IMG_1641 I saw my sister graduate college :) Yay Avery!

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I went to Chicago to visit one of my best friends IMG_1819 I got ENGAGED!

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I moved to Israel (yea that was a big one)

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I traveled to Budapest

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I enjoyed a long-weekend with my mom in London

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And I enjoyed many adventures with friends and family

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Bedouin tent dinner - YUM! Already this year I have grown into my role as a pet parent, tending to our very ill (now completely healthy) cat.

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And I’m learning the ropes of living in another country.

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It’s only been the first few weeks of the new year and already I feel like 2014 is an old friend.

Happy belated New Year

Reaching for the Rungs

Well, all I can say is that I am living life and it is moving more quickly than I ever could have imagined.

My days of Bay Area-living seem hazy and distant, but it’s only been a few months since my feet last pulled me up the steep steps of Fillmore Street. I can almost hear the fog horn off in the distance – or wait, is that just someone’s TV that I can hear through their open window on this warm December evening?
There are often times I have to remind myself that I am living in the Middle East because -other than a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean out my office window – I still go to work, I still cook dinner and I still go to the gym, just like before. The daily routine is more or less the same…
But then there are those times when I am forced to remember I am not living in America, such as: having a full body rash for more than 8 weeks and having to deal with jumping through the hoops of the public healthcare system. Or wanting to go to the specialty food store to buy gluten free flour to bake and having my efforts thwarted due the fact that everything is closed because it’s Shabbat. Not to mention the foreign language that fills the air. Though I am learning more and more, so I am not completely lost in the fog.
It’s been hard to be away from close friends and family during the holidays, but creating a life here with my fiance, old friends, and new friends reminds me that I have passed another rung in the ladder of adulthood. I have reached that point in my life where I am confident enough to welcome new situations and then create comfort and normalcy.
I carved out a place for myself here and so far I have made it fit in the Tel Aviv puzzle. Of course there are still daily challenges that attempt to create wrinkles in the masterpiece, but that only adds to the excitement of daily life here and enhances my character (at least that’s what I tell myself as I mumble incoherent swears at the painfully slow grocery cashier).
I don’t know if this ability to find comfort in new situations and circumstances is part of everyones’ climb in life, but I have accepted the challenge and have moved one step further in my journey.
I know most of you would rather see pictures of my cute cat or my latest adventure or even a smiling face of me than hear about my revelations abroad, so if you have made it this far in the post I will reward you with all of the above:
Nubbins feels right at home here in Tel Aviv

Nubbins feels right at home here in Tel Aviv

Just a little desert scenery

Just a little desert scenery

Bedouin tent dinner - YUM!

Bedouin tent dinner – YUM!

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Oh - that's just me, eating a delicious taco night dinner chez moi

Oh – that’s just me, eating a delicious taco night dinner chez moi