Monday, February 25, 2013

Kickin' Cancer's SASS part II

 As promised, my heart-felt post about Cycle for Survival appears below, as well as some photos from the event.

  For the rest of my life, when someone mentions Cycle for Survival or Memorial Sloan-Kettering one word will come to mind:  INSPIRATIONAL!
  As the oldest and largest private cancer center, people travel from all over the United States, and world, to gather research, treatment, hope, and a plan from the experts.  And that, as it was made clear from the many people who spoke at yesterdays ride, is exactly who those at Memorial Sloan-Kettering are. They are experts in helping concoct plans for people with rare cancers; cancers that are not only impossible to pronounce, but a million times harder to medically attack.
So many bikes.... so much fun!

  The hope that the first speaker, Dave Linn, husband of the late Jennifer Goodman-Linn (founder of Cycle for Survival) shed was breathtaking.  Dave shared Jennifer's said spirit in his speech, when reminding the crowd to "breathe" and "and take in each day both the good and the bad, but to choose how we react".  Linn also suggested to "be present" in life and love, because it is short and can be sweet for certain (that last part my was my rendition). Dave Linn is obviously still very involved with Cycle for Survival, even after losing his wife almost two years ago.  Listening to this man speak about his late wife, how her face would light up when she got on the spin bike, about her smile, her passion, her laugh, really put it all into perspective:  We need to slow down and enjoy.  We need to do things for today, and not put them off until tomorrow.  Small, trivial things like laundry, cleaning, shopping can wait, and that time can be used to TREASURE those around you .  Whether it be your family, your spouse, old or new friends, or a child- treasure them.  Be present in your time with them, so much so that you can remember a vivid facial gesture as they mount a bike, contort their face into a smile or frown, or simply laugh at a funny joke.
  The second speaker was sister of Lisa Gallup, a former MA resident, who lost her battle with rare cancer in December of 2012. Lisa's team, FabULISA, was VERY well represented at the ride;  adorned in kelly green T-shirts.  She painted a picture of her sister's passion, positive outlook, and determination.  She sparked such a curiosity about this girl, who was younger than me when she passed, that I visited Jennifer Goodman-Linn's blog to inquire.  After she passed, Dave Linn wrote a  wonderful post about Lisa, and how lucky he felt to have met her and equally sad to see her, another great person,  taken by this disease.
Battle Bike signed by those who RIDE!

Memory/Support Wall

  The last speaker, my friend Sarah, shared why she rode yesterday, and did so with such ease, passion and inspiration many people were put to tears.  Sarah shared a similar thought to one found on Jennifer Goodman-Linn's blog: Cancer  CAN"T define you.  Instead, you need cherish your family and loved ones today.  Run, sing, dance, travel, sing, spend time with friends or children today if you told yourself you would;  because "today" is a blessing. Sarah shared that she was riding for her, "because she had to, and because she wants to." Being a brain cancer survivor is a feat, and that positivity resonated in her voice; the same voice I hear everyday while interacting with our students.  But that does not mean the fight is over.  She shared that reoccurrence is likely and that her prognosis is far from great ( I HATE writing that), but why sit around and cry?  Instead, she chooses to ride, in the hopes that a cure will be found, and to fund nontraditional treatments for rare cancers that lack exposure, funding and support.  Sarah shared that she was not only riding for herself,  a brain cancer survivor, but she is riding for those who couldn't.  Those who may have lost their fight, and more specifically a friend who was taken too soon. This friend, like so many others we come across in life, was unable to grow old.

 In closing, this was a moving event to say the least.  Friends and families sharing the common belief that ONE DAY a cure will come.
 I gathered a thoughts to live by, and I would love to share them with you:
1)  Be present in everything that you do.  Embrace the activity and the people around you.
2)  Live your life.  take chances, risks, days off, and don't sweat the small stuff
3) Cherish your family, friends and support group.  They are what matters.

Team SASS... Can anyone find my forehead?

Needless to say, I was moved to tears on my then one occasion.  Cycle for Survival has raised over $11 million thus far in 2013!! I hope, pray and wish they continue to raise funds of this capacity to provide hope, support and a plan of attack for all those affected.  This event ROCKED, as do those from Cycle for Survival!


Links that helped me write this post that you may be interested in:
Jennifer Goodman-Linn's Blog YOUfearless
Cycle for Survival's Webpage

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kickin' Cancer's SASS!

Like I previously mentioned, today was my first (hopefully of many) team cycle-a-thon for rare cancers.  The ride, Cycle for Survival, is put forth by Memorial Sloan-Kettering, the world's largest and oldest private cancer center.  Team SASS raised almost $7000 for rare cancer research, and had a blast kickin' cancer's sass this afternoon.  The host gym, Equinox Boston, was by far the nicest, cleanest and moat luxurious fitness club I have ever be to!  This place was posh from the moment you walked in the door!
  Lucky for me and my hungry self, Cycle for Survival had a well-stocked food station set up with a wide variety of food options.  While there, I munched on Cabot's new 75% fat free cheese (which was great, but I am always concerned with melting capabilities with reduced and low fat cheeses), a vitamin water, an Odawalla banana nut bar, and an apple. Smartwater was a sponsor of the event and they were everywhere!  So in the words of the great Forest Gump:  " I had me about 7 Smartwaters!"
  Tomorrow I will write a more serious post about my experience with the cycle-a-thon, the speeches made,  and the inspiration and perseverance observed by participants, survivors and families,  BUT I need a day to compose my thoughts.  I also want to include photos, and I will need a few hours to do so.  It will be worth the wait!

Before I left this morning, I made a Greek Yogurt Banana Blueberry bread that was VERY tasty.  I will share the recipe with you folks below:
Greek Yogurt Banana Blueberry Bread :)

Ingredients (Adapted from

1 1⁄2 cup
 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
3 tablespoons
 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoon
 Baking Powder
1⁄2 teaspoon
 kosher salt ((optional))
1⁄2 cup
 Brown Sugar (or 1/4 cup agave nectar)
1 teaspoon
 Vanilla Extract
 Large ripe bananas (I only had two so I used what I had)
6 ounces
 Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt (or Blueberry) ( I used plain)
1 cup

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Start by combining flour, baking powder, salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mash bananas with a fork until they are gooey and liquid-like.
  3. Add eggs, vanilla and brown sugar… mix thoroughly.
  4. Add greek yogurt
  5. Whisk until everything is well combined and there are no lumps.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.  At this point, add berries
  7. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and distribute evenly. ( I also floured the loaf, because I wasn't reading the directions and assumed.  It came out fine though)
  8. Put into the oven and bake for one hour, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Happy Eating!  Stay tuned for a detailed post about the ride!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I'm dreaming of a sandy beach...

BOOOOO We are getting more snow!!! I can't help but wonder, why and how I can make it stop!  I found this quote while surfing around facebook this afternoon, and found it VERY fitting for any fellow Bostonian  or New England readers who may be craving similar summertime pleasures...
Not as good as the real  thing, but the picture provides a visual reminder that the snow will one day melt and warmer weather will arrive!

   My mom stopped by around lunch time and we headed out to the 99 for a quick bite.  I had a cup of tomato and basil soup, which surprisingly sat quite nicely.  I am definitely not feeling 100%, and am trying to choose light foods  that won't upset my healing stomach.
  Once we got home, my mom and I started our quest for a tropical getaway for this April.  We LOVE Aruba, but the  prices are astronomical; so we decided to go to Jamaica.  The flights are short,and often direct, so we felt this could be a good fit for us.  My mom will stay for the first part of the week, and then Mark will join me for the second portion.  Best of both worlds!  We agreed on a hotel and have a call into our travel person, who is probably looking into flights as I type (Thanks Kelly).  It will be great to get away for a bit and feel the warm sun and salty breeze!
  My plan is to spend the rest of the evening grading these pesky book projects I had the students complete RIGHT before vacation.  What was I thinking? Oh right, I was trying to get ahead, when in reality I feel more like they're driving me insane.  Mark is working until later, so I guess my excuses are limited.....

I will leave you with the following photo of Tucker and his lady friend Clover, the lab we have been watching this week.  These pups are too cute, and Tuck will be VERY disappointed when Clover heads home tomorrow morning!  Perhaps we should find a playmate for  Tucker sooner, rather than later.
"No Mom, I don't want her to leave!!!"

Question of the day:
Have you visited Jamaica?  Where did you stay?  Any "must sees" that you would  recommend?

Over the Hump...

 Well, my fever is down to 99.4, so I think I am headed over the hump!  I decided to postpone my long run this morning, for obvious reasons.  My plan is to  do a much shorter run this afternoon, if I feel up to it, or tomorrow morning.  Then, perhaps Tuesday or Wednesday, run the nine miles I was slotted for this week.  I am very bummed that I need to interrupt my training schedule, simply because the race is around the corner; but I know if I ran today it wouldn't have been pretty.
  Since I had some time this morning, I made a nice healthy breakfast for Mark and I.  The last two days have been dismal to non existent in the nutrition department, so I went to town this morning concocting a healthy, nutrient packed meal!  
Bon App├ętit!

Looking very Patriotic!

Protein Pancakes:
3 eggs
1/4 cup almond flour( wheat, soy, or traditional white flour can work too)
2 ripe bananas ( The original recipe calls for three, but I prefer just using the two)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup nut butter ( I have used almond, soy, and peanut butter)
 optional*  I add chia seeds while the pancakes are cooking for added goodness

- Place all ingredients in the immersion blender and blend away!
                                                                                                                                                                          - Pour  into a sprayed pan and cook away!
 -  Add  berries if you'd like      
** Adapted from the original recipe, courtesy of Carrotsncake


Mark loves these!
Spinach, Garlic and mushroom Egg Scramble:
-place a tbs of margarine and a tbs of garlic into the frying pan on high
- once hot, add baby spinach and 'shrooms
- While cooking, blend together 2 whole eggs and three egg whites
-add egg whites to veggie mixture and stir
* optional- add shredded cheese if you desire


What to do today....
  Well other than my run (I'm still hopeful), I plan on getting together with my mom to plan a potential getaway for April vacation.  We are thinking of visiting Destin FL, or Jamaica.  I also need to grade MANY more projects!!!  

Other exciting pieces of news:
  Tomorrow I will participate in my first Cycle-a-thon for rare cancers!  We are cycling at a gym in Boston, and I am super excited.  The event was supposed to be Sunday 2/10, but was rescheduled due to our IMMENSE amounts of snow, driving ban, and parking restrictions.  Tomorrow will be a ton of fun, and I'm thrilled to share that our team has raised almost $7,000!!!!!

Links you may be interested in:

Question for the morning:
Do you ever get worried when training for something and "things"(ie life, illness etc) get in the way?
What's your favorite nutritious and delicious breakfast?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Full of Surprises

Today was full of surprises!  Although kicking this Bubonic Plague was not one of them, I will embrace the positive that came my way!
  First off, The Fed EX man arrived around lunch time with a small package.  The dogs, of course were VERY excited to have a visitor!  I figure the package would be addressed to Mark; perhaps a customer returning sunglasses, or some time of part.  I was mistaken!  The small package was for me, and inside was a  on-of-a-kind lime green Tshirt from my Friend Ashley in NYC!!! Accompanying the Tshirt was a cute note from Ashley, pumping me up for our upcoming trip to Las Vegas.  Talk about awesome!!  
This is will be PERFECT for our trip!!
 Ironically enough, Ashley, Mark and I met last February while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.  She and three friends happened to be there the same week, and we became long lost friends ever since!  Ashley and her friend Kelly reside in NYC, but we still see them quite frequently. 

Ready for surprise number two....???
  Tonight I joined a friend to look into a potential venue for our Grey Matters Benefit this Spring. She has connections through her parents at the pub, and her dad met us there to make the introductions easy.   The owner pretty much gave us EXACTLY what we were looking for an then some.  His offer is beyond generous, and I can't wait to pack the place and raise a ton of money for such a worthy cause!  We set the date for May 4th, 2013 at 7pm.  Wahooooo!!!!
Have a great Friday night!'
ps... sorry for the lack of food pictures... I haven't really been eating much, but am working on a Gatorade as we speak!

Question of the day:
  Have you seen any creative raffle ideas lately? We are concocting new and improved items ideas to raffle off at this event. 

The Bubonic Plague

Yesterday after I finished up my afternoon post and the grading I had set aside for Thursday, I hopped on the treadmill for a 10k (like I planned on).  No such luck!!  About a half of a mile in I started feeling nauseous....... very very nauseous.  Needless to stay, I stopped at 2 miles and got sick on the treadmill ( super gross and TMI I know).  It was actually quite puzzling, because I felt fine all morning.
  I attempted to rally for my afternoon gym session by laying in bed with the dogs until it was time to leave.  I felt "okay" leaving the house, so I assumed the gym would be "okay" as well.  Wrong again!  I had to alter my workout, because I was unable to lift the amount of wait I had planned for the afternoon.  I ended up leaving after 45 dreadful minutes and putting myself to bed.   I fell asleep around 8, and it was one of the worst nights of sickness I have had; second to maybe one stint with the flu last spring.  Finally at 3 am, I headed into the spare bedroom so I wouldn't bother Mark, and because it is closer to the bathroom.  I opened up my macbook and starting to watch mind numbing MTV reality: everyone's favorite medicine!
   This morning I didn't feel much better, but my temp was down to 100.4,  which I was happy with.  I willed myself to shower because I had a coffee date with a good friend from a past district.  We were meeting at a nearby Panera, and although I knew I wouldn't be able to eat that much, I made myself a tea before leaving to see how it sat.  If the tea was a success, I would order it at Panera.  I love ordering tea there ( wait I'm lying, I love EVERYTHING there!).  They have many to choose from, all unique flavor combinations I wouldn't typically choose.  Today I got a peach and ginger hot tea, and it was delicious!
My Pre-Panera Tea!!!
My friend met and talked for hours!  Don't you just love reconnecting with old friend?  It felt like there was no time between us at all!  I love that.  She still works at my old school/ district.  She also runs the afters school program that I used to before I was laid off.  Damn budget cuts! Anyways it was great to reconnect.
  I am hoping I feel better soon, because I am slated to meet with a potential venue for our  "Ladies Night" grey matters benefit this evening, as well as for a 9 mile run Saturday morning.  I will definitely have the reschedule the run if I can't eat today, because my energy level will be zippo.  

Although the Bubonic Plague deemed yesterday uneventful, I did connect with a fellow blogger who runs and maintains the Healthy Living Blog circuit.  We exchanged emails, and I think I may join!  She also  made some great suggestions for those just starting out like me, and informed me of a "Fit For You" blogging conference this summer.  All very exciting things on the blogging horizon!
  See you later,

Questions of the Day:
  Do you LOVE Panera Bread?  What do you get when you go?
 What foods make you feel better when you have an "upset" stomach?  How are they prepared?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pinterest Fail x 2!

As many of you already know, I have a mild addiction to Pinterest.  Pinterest is also my primary recipe source these days.  As obsessed as as I am with the dynamic of pinning items, recipes, pieces of inspiration and clothing I can't afford, there is a downfall.  This is known as  the PINTEREST FAILS!!!  This is when you are all excited about a recipe you discovered on Pinterest, and it is NOT what you expected.
  For example, this morning I made egg cupcakes which I have made before (see "good morning" post), and I tried to make my life easier and use muffin miners, as opposed to scrubbing egg off the pan for three days.  Well shame on me for seeking out convenience!  This time the egg stuck to the liner, making the muffins impossible to eat ( Although somehow Mark managed; what a trooper!).  Pinterest fail number 1: breakfast.
  For my mid-morning snack I wanted to try and use some over-ripe bananas that have been hanging on the counter for far too long.  Low and behold I found a cottage cheese and banana blend that you can serve with pita bread while pinning.  This appeared perfect, since I have some of Joseph's Flax and Oat Pita break on hand.  WRONG!  Pinterest fail number 2...... The banana was far too sweet for the cottage cheese, and the texture was simply unbearable!  Hopefully I will have better luck come lunch time.
My workout today...
  I haven't yet completed my workout, since I had a lot of blogging and grading to complete.  My plan is to run a 10k on the treadmill, since my running gloves are missing and it is quite cold outside today!  Gee, I wonder who could have taken them? (I would put money on the fact the the "thief" is furry, has a big, block-like head and resembles Simba from the Lion King!!).  So off to the treadmill I go...  I also have an arms, legs and abs session at the gym later.  The Thursday workout I do  is as follows:
3 x 8 backwards lunges with weights ( the weight varies per person obviously).
3 x 8 unassisted Push ups making sure my hips are up, but not my butt (very tough  for me to remember this).
3x8 Pull ups.  These are by far my least favorite exercise on the planet.  I typically do the first 3 or so assisted with a band, and then attempt the rest on my own.  It is NEVER pretty.

After this I will do...
3 x 8 shoulder press with 2 20 lb dumbbells in the reclined bench
3 x  45 second plank on the half ball
3 x 15lb should pulls for stability and flexibility.

Good times.... visit my Pinterest page for some fun and less involved workouts you can do in the comfort of your own home!
Links you would like:
Exercise and Motivation

One Room Workouts (using mostly body weight)

Field Trip to RI!!

On Wednesday, Mark and I headed off to Rhode Island to see sone of the projects he is working on there, and to dine at Longo's Meatballs and Martinis, in Westerly.  We received a gift certificate to this restaurant from a close friend this Christmas and I have been dying to try it.  The name really lures me in!  We left the house around 1, and head to the ocean state.  Mark packed a dog  bed in the back seat for the pups to have a more comfortable trip.  I thought it was silly initially, but the bed REALLY paid off in the end!
Here we go!!
After a long hike and a couple stops along the way, we arrived at Longo's.  The restaurant offers a large parking lot, as well as a front and back entrance. We sat at a table in the corner in front of a beautiful textured panting.  We started with a glass or prosecco and a glass of riesling.  They quickly arrived with bread and water, and recited a vast variety of special.  We decided on the following food items:
antipasta platter (assorted meats. cheese, tomatoes and basil with a balsamic reduction)
calamari ( lightly breaded and pan fried, sauteed with sweet peppers)

Chicken Marsala ( Mar's all time fave!)
Penne alfredo with chicken 
a side of  broccoli rabe ( sauteed with a little red pepper, garlic and olive oil)

 We did not order dessert, but the owner, Gerry Longo, brought us house-made peach cello which was to-die-for!!!! I would highly recommend getting it!!
  We  leisurely ate and drank, and a friend met us for an after dinner cocktail.  On the whole, the place was incredible.  I just wish it was closer to home!!
* I left my camera in the car during dinner, and didn't want to be that annoying blogger who  ruins dates due to picture taking!!!   So sorry, but I'm sure there are more uploaded photos on Trip Advisor.

Other links you may be interested in:

Tucker's Dream Vacation!

Friday was a CRAZY day at school!  Not only did we have two recent snow days, but is was the day before vacation. Historically we run a fun "team building" type day before the February break, but this year's recent snow did not permit as much time for the "fun".  I am usually the softy that advocates for a fun-filled day, but I was in the same boat as everyone else this year:  too many loose ends to tie up before the break!  The Student Council did run a charity basketball tournament  to benefit the American Heart Association.  They started on Tuesday after school with preliminary games, and then the four final teams played 10 minute games the day before the break.  It was a nice way to break up the day a bit, and most students look forward to cheering on their peers etc.    
  In the midst of charity basketball and presenting our International Book Projects, I offered to watch  a colleagues Yellow Lab, while his family visited family on Sanibel Island.  I was so excited at first, but as I left school I became increasingly anxious.   

The following Questions ran through my head (literally):
-What if Tucker and this pooch didn't get along?
-What if I lost her, or she got hurt or sick?
-How can I feed them separately (I know from obedience that dogs can fight over food)
Oh boy... typical Jeanie over thinking things!

Upon arrival this dog was PERFECT, and she and Tuck were great friends from the start!  (See above for initial play session.)  In fact, watching little Clover has been a fun activity, since Mark and I had no real plans for the week.  He actually had quite the jam-packed work week, so the two fur balls have kept me company quite nicely.  They pretty much play every morning for about two hours outside in the fence, followed by an extensive sleep session until late afternoon.  Then we will walk, hike, or play fetch.  After their second meal, they seem to fall back into  slumber again. I would definitely take Clover again, and I would be lying if I said  the thought of a second pup hasn't crossed my mind more than once this week! 

Other links of interest:
Hoops for Heart information

Comment Board:
  Have you ever dog sat before?  Was it a positive or negative experience?
 Do you own two dogs?  If so what are some tips for those of us considering it?

Good Morning!

Good Thursday morning to you!
  As usual I awoke very early this morning due to two dogs beckoning for their breakfast.  It amazes me how scheduled these furry friends can become! Although it was early, I was well rested and ready to start on the 43089 projects I have left to do before vacation concludes.  I immediately fed Tucker, then Clover, the dog I am watching this week, (see dog sitting post), and put on a pot of New England Coffee Roaster's French Vanilla.  I also unloaded the pesky dishwasher ( I wonder how much one would be that loads and unloads itself?!? now that would ROCK), and started in on a surprise healthy breakfast to share with Mark when he returns home from the gym.  He has been working very hard to shed some extra lbs lately, and I have been trying to help him in the areas or portion control, making wise choices, being cognizant about the time of day and the exercise you've completed, and adding cardio to regimen.  He is weighing in at the gym today, so I am hoping this more diligent approach will pay off!  Breakfast this morning consisted of  of the following:

Egg Cupcakes:
3 large eggs
3 egg whites
6 slices of thin cut turkey bacon
2 tbs mozzarella cheese
- whip the eggs and egg whites together in a bowl.  I actually used the measuring cup for easy pouring
- take the bacon and wrap it around the muffin tin piece by piece. *  This is where you can alter the recipe a bit.  In the past, I have heavily sprayed the muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and cooked the eggs right in the pan. Although the eggs didn't stick too badly, the left an egg residue that take some serious elbow grease to remove.  This time I tried muffin liners and am thinking they are the better way to go.
-Pour the egg mixture into each muffin slot.  fill about 3/4 of the way to the top.
-Sprinkle cheese on each one.  You could also add cut veggies here too.
-Bake @350 for about 15 minutes.  If the eggs look watery, keep baking!

Enjoy your Morning!
Question of the morning?
 As you know from my blog title, breakfast is my favorite meal and I can eat it at any time of the day!  What are some of your favorite healthy (or not so healthy) breakfast recipes?