Me and My Kinky Ass.

Oh good grief, I am a hot mess today. You see, yesterday was both a national holiday, and my long run day of the week. Great, right? You’d think so. However, because I had, you know, time, I decided I’d do an extra-long stretch session once I returned home. Also great, right?

WRONG.

You see, Saturday was “Bring a buddy to CrossFit” day, and also a bit of a fun CrossFit competition within my box. Kind of like intramural sports. Well, I should tell you that going “balls to the wall” at CrossFit, after finishing your first week of marathon training, is ill-advised at best.  185lb deadlift? SURE! First real attempt at butterfly pull-ups? GREAT! Burpees and row? AWESOME. While we’re at it, why don’t we throw in some power snatches? FANTASTIC.  Things I probably shouldn’t have done two days before my long run and long stretch? A double-day at Crossfit.

I ended up with a kink in my ass. A kink to end all kinks. This was shibari mixed with furries level of kink. This was an American Horror Story themed issue of Hustler sized kink in my glutes. To put it mildly, I was considering rolling out the knot with a ball gag.

So, of course, I followed that up with a day of becoming one with the sofa, and then… FIFTEEN MILES, average pace 7:58/mi.

To be honest, it was a great run. The whole time I was running, I just felt right. It felt damn good. It was 35°F, no wind, my running shirt had thumbholes, and my running vest had fig and honey jellies in it. (I’ll make a blog of these soon. They’re an all-natural, shelf stable alternative to shot bloks and gus. Also, since they’re made with honey, they have additional benefits like combating runners sickness and the nutrients are more bioavailable.) Basically, the entire run, I felt like this…

Until I started foam rolling. Foam rolling was agonizing. Every time I rolled over my right glute, I felt the pain and tightness radiate up my back and down my leg. It was excruciating. It was as necessary as breathing at that point. That knot had to go. I gritted my teeth as the Navajo helped roll me back and forth over the tube of doom.

When the man got home, I said “You’ve got to rub my ass.” The look he gave me indicated he did not understand the massive amount of “ow” I was experiencing. I quickly disabused him of any notion of possible extra-curricular activities that did not include icy hot and extensive discussion of Bart Yasso. (if this is your idea of sexy sexy, please reconsider, that is not what Icy Hot is made for, and I think it could injure the areas we pointed to on a doll that one time in grade school as a place “NO ONE SHOULD TOUCH!”)

It turns out, having your husband massage your ass is not as good a solution as one would hope. It TICKLED. Like CRAZY. This seemed to make it all the more pervtastic, as I was laughing hysterically, and everyone knows that no man can resist a woman who has lost her damn mind and is lazing about in a Batman tee shirt and boxer briefs, while smelling of mentholatum.

It’s a *little* bit better today, and I am hoping that the 6 “shake out” miles that I have scheduled for today will help. For now? Ibuprofen and water. Lots of water.

Until tonight? a recipe.

I make these string beans all the time. My kids just go gaga for them. It’s an easy and healthy way to get them to eat greens without complaint.

Healthy Take-Out Style Green Beans

Healthy Take-Out Style Green Beans Healthy Take-Out Style Green Beans

 

 

Healthy Take-Out Style Green Beans

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: saute appetizer side Chinese

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 lb of cleaned, tipped string beans
  • 2 tbsp high heat oil. (cold pressed grapeseed or canola or coconut)
  • 2 tbsp LOW SODIUM oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1 tsp ground fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp ground fresh garlic

Instructions

steam the green beans in a pot of 2″ of water until they turn bright green

transfer to ice bath

pull out and let dry

heat oil in a wok on HIGH

when oil is shimmering, add beans

toss until each bean gets a bit fried

turn down heat to medium and add additional ingredients.

stir to coat and cook one more minute

serve hot or at room temperature.

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My Beautiful Mind.

(there is a recipe in this post. ^that one.)

Ok,

Ever since I had a discussion on twitter with an author (Hannah Moskowitz) about something, I’ve received MANY emails/FB messages/tweets asking me about it. What is it I was discussing?

Synesthesia.

Ok, did I lose 3/4 of you? I’m not surprised. First, let me give you the Webster’s (ok, wikipedia…DONATE) on Synesthesia.

Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia; from the Ancient Greek σύν syn, “together”, and αἴσθησιςaisthēsis, “sensation“) is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.[1][2][3][4] People who report such experiences are known as synesthetes.

Difficulties have been recognized in adequately defining synesthesia:many different phenomena have been included in the term synesthesia (“union of the senses”), and in many cases the terminology seems to be inaccurate. A more accurate term may be ideasthesia.

In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme → color synesthesia or color-graphemic synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored. In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be “farther away” than 1990), or may appear as a three-dimensional map (clockwise or counterclockwise).

To put it more simply, my brain works differently than most. Strangely, most people with Synesthesia go undiagnosed, because A: who in the hell knows what synesthesia is, and B: it doesn’t usually negatively impact the life of the synesthete.

For instance, I had no idea I was a synesthete until a few years ago. I honestly thought everyone’s brain worked like mine. Synesthesia was never something I studied, and when I had learned of it, I only learned of grapheme (letters and numbers as colors) synesthesia. To me, letters and numbers have no specific color. My number line is not Pantone in its complexity.

Up until a few MONTHS ago, I had no idea that I had a THIRD form of Synesthesia, one of the RAREST forms, until I was having a conversation with my husband about the trains, and then he said “you a, what a, huh?” when I was trying to explain my reasoning on a direction to him. My mom confirmed I was sounding crazy, and then my shrink said: “Oh, so you have a third synesthesia. FASCINATING.” I swear, he lives for my visits. I’m a conundrum.

Yesterday, I was trying to explain to another academic about what it is like living as a synesthete. Let me tell you, it’s not the easiest thing to describe.

So what have I got?

Well, first, I have a type of chromesthesia. In most synesthetes, that means that specific sounds induce references to specific colors. That’s not what it is for me. For me, specific sounds trigger specific bits of light in my brain, which feel and look a bit like fireworks.

GAH! I already feel like I’m making a bumble of this.

Ok, so my chromesthesia is both visual and tactile. I’ve been drawn to specific sounds for as long as I can remember. Take for instance, the sound of the shower running. That sound calms my whole being. More than wine, more than sleep, more than shirtless coffee and then….It’s not the showering that relaxes me, but the sounds of the water. What does it sound like to me? Well, it sounds like a shower, but what does it look/feel like to me? Have you ever had someone lightly scratch your skin up and down your arms absentmindedly? Perhaps your mother, or your partner? It feels a bit like that, only more like it’s being done with a very gentle sparkler. (Yes, like on the Fourth or Guy Fawkes Day.) What does the shower sound look like? It looks like hundreds of trick candles have just been blown out, and are working their way back to being relit. Rain gives me an ALMOST similar effect–calming me–but it has to be the kind of rain that drowns reality, and it has to be pounding on a thin roof, like that of the three-season room in the house where I grew up. That room was AWESOME in the rain.

Every sound I hear has a trigger, but most are barely noticeable. I live in a VERY loud place, and if I couldn’t tune most of it out, I’d be overwhelmed. The one exception is music. I can sit on a bed or sofa, or just walk/run with so much Sondheim or John Williams suite, or Dvorak, and be taken away by the sensations.(I love Dvorak, because, for some reason, I feel him in the back of my neck and head.) When I was growing up, I’d spend HOURS in the basement, listening to music loud enough to be heard through the entire house. At that time, my depression and moods were severely uncontrolled, and those moments were some of the only moments I felt ok. Like I could be, o.k..

 
not what I see at all.

My second form of synesthesia doesn’t have a designation. Surprisingly, undesignated synesthesia is pretty common. So many boxes, not enough loading docks. It has to do with my memory. First, I am a diagnosed savant with my memory–even though I have trouble with people’s names–oddly, not uncommon for people like myself. However, the way my memories are organized, is apparently vastly different than most.  I have an almost spatial-sequence synesthesia for my memories. I can see my memories almost like plot-points on a graph, if that makes sense. The thing is, I have hundreds of thousands of graphs for different types of information. Family stories over there, weird historical facts about Elizabethan England over there, science on the right, books front and center, pop culture somewhere over there. (we’ll call that the Andy Cohen graph.) All I need to do is call up a specific graph, shift the points, and I’m where I need to be. Make sense?

It has long amused my family. My mother and siblings frequently like to ask me super obscure crap, then saying “I knew you’d remember.”

The last type of synesthesia I have has to do with, oddly enough, maps. Not just maps that a cartographer would create, but routes I’ve taken, places I’ve been, etc. I see directions in my head, along with possible detours/shifts, in a three-dimensional model in my mind. Like a sci-fi hologram projector. I can map out routes, determine possible traffic, obstacles, etc, like a play-by-play guide in my head. It happens automatically. I have no control over it. I pretty much always know how to get where I’m going once I’ve been there once, or have seen it on a screen, as long as I know my cardinal directions. (not as easy as you’d expect in a big city once you come out of a tunnel!)

What does this mean for me? Honestly, other than the fact that I seem to be more capable of absorbing a lot of material in a shorter period of time than most people, I don’t think it means much other than a very large water bill every month. Yeah, I know, I’m a horrible water-waster. My dream in life is to get a self-refilling shower that doesn’t yet exist to not take showers in.

When I was first diagnosed, I immediately thought, “great, something else that makes me weird.” However, now I think “Great! Something else that makes me unique.” Because it is.

Now? FOR THE RECIPE!!

This one is insane. Lately, I’ve been on a “bacon renderings-as-fat” kick. I mean, I make a ton of bacon for my brood, and I’m left with ALL that fat, and typically, a few slices. The question remains what to do with all of that goodness? Today, I went cray.

I bring you,

Bacon Coconut Granola aka Bacon Coconut Museli. I say museli because they’re just getting “toasted” in the fat on the stove top, not baked for 45 minutes. This is a rich and flavorful granola that makes THE BEST HOT OATMEAL of your life, or over milk like museli, or, if you’re like me, straight out the damn jar.

Bacon Coconut Granola Bacon Coconut Granola Bacon Coconut Granola

Bacon Coconut Granola

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: saute appetizer breakfast side snack dessert gluten-free

Ingredients (3 cups)

  • 4 slices of uncured bacon. (because, sodium)
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup ground walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

chop the bacon into small bits

fry in cast-iron skillet or 10″ pan until they’re crispy little bits

transfer bits to paper-towel lined plate

turn the fat in the pan down to low, add brown sugar and vanilla

stir until melted

add in oats and stir for 4 minutes

add remaining ingredients and stir for another minute or two.

remove from heat.

add bacon bits back to granola.

to serve as oatmeal

add 1/2 cup granola to 1/2 cup whole milk, cook until soft, about 5 minutes

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I Take Tea with My Jam

Oh, holy hell. This is a busy week. I find myself unexpectedly running a marathon in <100 days, and, well, I was not going to do another domestic marathon. Not because I have no desire to run 26.2, I do. I love running for extra-long distances. I’ve just never been in love with the race. When I run, I’m competing with exactly one person.

The next mary I wanted to run was either Sweden’s Vintermarathon or the Shangri-La ultra. I’ve heard that destination marathons really revive your love of the race. While Boston is 4 hours away, it’s an academic town, so it’s really lost its destination feeling for me. Also, while I’ve always wanted Boston, I’m running for charity (Connective Tissue Diseases Research–I’ll do a post on the exact charities it benefits at a later date…because, LONG) it feels like I’m cheating by not racing my way into it.

Yo.
Yo.

^I really only compete against that strange ranger.

Also, I’m a fairly solitary individual–if you don’t count family and wolfpack–so all those thousands of people in one place, doing one thing? yikes. But, so many people in my family have been affected by Loeys-Dietz Syndrome, and damn, for a long time I was told “you could probably…maybe…have it.” Before a genetic test proved I did not, it was like the sword of Damocles hanging over my head. LD took my aunt Bonnie on a morning she was to babysit me and my sister. It took my PawPaw when my mother was just 16. My uncle had more than one open-heart surgery. My cousin, only 2.5 years my senior, has already had open-heart surgery. (Don’t worry, she kicked its ass, and birthed the latest ginger in my family! Oh wait, you want a picture? Oh don’t worry…)

HE'S SO CUTE I'M GONNA DIE

(my arm is flattened against the sofa awkwardly. ignore that bit. focus on the baby.)

So I will run, because they can’t.

Alas, I rose this morning at a startlingly early 4:30 am to run 12 miles, (2-split on each end of which would be walked as a warm and cool–and stop at Dunkin) and it was RAINING ICE. So I’m doing my now 11 miles indoors tonight. I follow a similar plan to the popular Hal Higdon advanced plan, but with a few more miles tacked on to the lower weeks because my brain cannot settle without them. Sometimes I opt for the elliptical for those miles or rowing if weather permits. I also run my weeks a day later because Sunday evening Crossfit is my JAM.

We take tea after the WOD. I use real milk. However, I also use honey…which they’re pale-a-ok with me doing. Not that they judge my grain addiction, they just totally judge my grain addiction.

So, what does that make my week?

Today 10 or 11 mi
Tue     4 miles plus Crossfit
Weds  6 miles and yoga
Thurs LT run
Fri       3 miles and Crossfit
Sat       naptime and books and coffee
Sun     5-6 miles plus yoga butt workout and Crossfit

Sometime in there I’ll also continue making up more recipes for you scamps! Thankfully, I made this recipe shortly before the Navajo told me, “Our team is down a runner and you’re now it. The race is on your birthday. You’re welcome.” He’s lucky he’s my zen master, or I’d have been mighty cheesed about being conscripted into a marathon.

The recipe to which I’m referring?

Oh, just some BANANA COCONUT BLONDIES.

Anything with browned butter and coconut really gets my engine going. I mostly added banana because the Peanut loves banana. It was an inspired idea by the three year old, because HOLY MOIST COWS!

banana coconut blondies banana coconut blondies banana coconut blondies

 

Banana Coconut Blondies

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Keywords: bake appetizer bread breakfast dessert snack

Ingredients (16 bars)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 overripe banana
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour

Instructions

preheat oven to 350F

cook the butter on the stovetop until it begins to turn brown

remove from heat and pour over brown sugar in a separate mixing bowl

stir until combined

add in the banana and mash

stir in the eggs and vanilla

stir in the flour until just combined

pour into a 9″-9″ square pan

cover the pan with foil and bake 15 minutes

remove foil

bake ten more minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly.

cool 10 minutes before cutting.

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I’m a Joiner…or Not.

I admit that I typically love New Year’s resolutions. I’m not a naysayer of the tradition. There’s something innately beautiful in the idea of renewal with every new year. Hell, just the fact that you’ve lived to see another New Year is pretty awesome. I know I have a bit of a panglossian view of what’s possible, but you can guess how many fucks I give about that.

I don’t love the “new year new you” articles that are the diverticuli in the colon of periodicals this month, but I love the idea of improvement. With the exception of reading Poor Folk by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, which I 100% did not read in 2014, I achieved a goodly number of the goals I set for 2014. (I did, however, read Notes From the Underground, which was like getting kicked in the ovaries by despair. It was quite good.)

This year, I am making some achievable goals that I feel good about.

  1. Read Poor Folk by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I am confident this will be on my list next year.
  2. Support National Adjunct Walkout Day in any way I can. (I make good tea!)
  3. Do more yoga. Get Yoga ass. Name it Brigitte. *or some variation
  4. Read 150 new books. Make sure at least 50% aren’t romance novels.
  5. Adopt a puppy/dog. (Or steal the Highlander’s new rottie. I’m sure he’d not notice.)
  6. Volunteer more. Perhaps Girls Write Now or Girls on the Run
  7. Apart from milk in my tea or coffee, go vegan before 5-6pm, unless I’m out.
  8. Donate more of my kids’ toys. Don’t let them keep so many. It’s gluttony.
  9. Read the Hobbit series with the Captain. (boy loves a dwarf.)
  10. Spend more time with people who aren’t family/my wolfpack. I’m extra-insular.
  11. Hold no fewer than six dinner parties. That’s bi-monthly. I can do that.
  12. Finish novel WIP. Edit. Start another.
  13. Memorize at least 4 poems and at least 10 sonnets. (Petrarch, Donne, Shakespeare.) It’s excellent for memory.
  14. Learn to either knit or crochet. Maybe attend a group function for this.
  15. Drink more water.

These are all simple, I know. Hell, people who want to give up smoking, and that’s their ONLY resolution, have it harder–I know this from experience. I still feel really hopeful and warm and gooey about my list. Granted, 1 & 15 are going to be an absolute bitch, but I know that the bestie from another teste, Jenn will chew my ass out about the water thing. Not unlike the past three years. Girl can pound some water….and she LIKES it. So weird.

Before I give you the recipe, I’ll give you the first sonnet I plan on memorizing. It’s Petrarch. (translation by Higginson)

 

Soleasi Nel Mio Cor

She ruled in beauty o’er this heart of mine,
A noble lady in a humble home,
And now her time for heavenly bliss has come,
Tis I am mortal proved, and she divine.
The soul that all its blessings must resign,
And love whose light no more on earth finds room,
Might rend the rocks with pity for their doom,
Yet none their sorrows can in words enshrine;
They weep within my heart; and ears are deafSave mine alone,
and I am crushed with care,
And naught remains to me save mournful breath.
Assuredly but dust and shade we are,
Assuredly desire is blind and brief,
Assuredly its hope but ends in death.

And nowwwww….So you have several partial bottles of champagne that are beginning to go flat. What do you do? Do you drink it all in one morning, ostensibly regretting this life decision and also texting your high school boyfriend that his love of Pulp Fiction doesn’t automatically make him cool? No. You do not. You make this.

Champagne Custard French Toast.

champagne custard french toast champagne custard french toast champagne custard french toast champagne custard french toast

Champagne Custard French Toast

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: fry appetizer bread breakfast dessert

Ingredients (a loaf’s worth of french)

  • 1 cup champagne (any, but a sweeter variety is best.)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 loaf of day-old French bread
  • a lot of butter to fry it in
  • orange wedges and strawberry slices for serving
  • butter for serving

Instructions

in a saucepan, combine champagne, cream, milk, and sugar

bring to a slow boil

let simmer for 5 minutes

stir in zest

slice french bread in 1″ slices

place in a big baking dish in a single layer and pour custard over it

let sit 5 minutes and flip

let sit 2 more minutes

heat a skillet to medium and add a dollop of butter

fry the toast for 2 minutes on either side

top with strawberry slices, a bit of butter, and squeeze orange wedges over the toast.

serve with more champagne.

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Gift Guide for Your Annoying Fit Friends

HELLLOOOOOO,

This is my THIRD AND FINAL gift roundup post! You know, unless I decide I want to passive aggressively suggest more gifts I think the man should gift me. Because, obviously, I’m a CATCH. I deserve, like, at LEAST a cheese grater or new dustbuster. (For the record, I’d be totally ok with a cheese grater. If the man got me a dustbuster, I’d use the cheese grater on him.)

This selection of suggestions is for that really annoying person in your life who posts their workouts on instagram, facebook, twitter, daily mile, random post its that you find around the house, stands on street corners to tell everyone they’ve qualified for Boston. They eat Paleo. They have a designated sparring partner. They tell you all about these weird people that make them do awful things—Mitch, Fran, Isabel, and Roy– They count the macros of their nutritional intake and tell you at Christmas dinner that this is their “cheat day.” I’ve done most of these but qualify for Boston, eat Paleo—because, cookies–and have cheat days.(Only days that end in Y!)

 

I totally make post its to remind myself that I need to run or I’ll be forced to go more often to the head shrinker. And I don’t like talking about my feelings to anyone but the cold sterility of the internet.

I never said I was evolved.

The first group is fitness WEAR. These you would get for the person in your life who lives at Athleta, Dick’s, and prays to LuLuLemon. You haven’t seen them in jeans since they started taking yoga in 2008. You’re now certain they only have one large boob.

*click pic for link.

 The 2XU contour sport bra. It is SO comfy, and has just enough padding as to hide your/their headlights. Thank all the gods. EYES ARE UP HERE, GUYS!

just ask anyone.

 

 

everyone has a fucking beard.

 

 

 

 

This tank from ReEvolve Clothing and this tee shirt from Bear Strength Fitness are not only funny, they’re functional. Combed cotton and not skin tight, it’s exactly what one wants wear when one is bitching at Mitch.

Wrist wraps for weight lifting. I have the world’s weakest wrists. I’d NEVER MAKE IT as a dude. I hear they need a lot of strength in theirs…to use on a daily basis. These wraps provide comfortable support and make me look more credible as a weight lifter, even though I basically just wing it.

 

 

Running tights from Oiselle and men’s “base layer” running gear from Under Armour (because dudes can’t POSSIBLY wear tights!) Are the perfect way to say “I’d love to see you in stretchy pants. That ass, though.”

 

 

 

Now? Gear. Because, the $100/mo gym membership isn’t enough.

Kettlebells. I think Stalin or, perhaps, Attila the Hun invented these instruments of torture. The bane of AMRAP (as many reps as possible) WOD-doers everywhere, of course people want them at home, too!

An activity tracker with extras, this combined HRM/step/sleep tracker, is a perfect extension for your fitness fanatic’s neurosis. Also, it finally gives people a chance to check their wrist again to get out of conversations. “Hey, would you look at that! I really have to run.”

I hate pull ups. I hated them in elementary school, I hate them now. Every time I step up to the bar at Crossfit, I can hear Bryce Lepley from my third grade class yelling “I bet you can’t even do one! You can’t even kickball!” Bryce Lepley was really bad at talking smack. I can SO DO THE pullups now, and he’s probably still bad at talking smack. This comforts me. I’ll use this to practice at home. HOW YA LIKE ME NOW, BAD BULLY FACE!?

And finally, for that person you hate. That person who got you a month’s subscription to Weight Watcher’s and a year of Of Course You’re Not Fat, magazine….

Happy Christmas, you smell awful.

 And now…I DID IT ALL FOR THE COOKIES.

I’ll just leave this one here.

Today’s cookie is PERFECTION for the holidays. They’re like little mouth miracle.

Chocolate Candy Cane Chewies

Chocolate Candy Cane Chewies Chocolate Candy Cane Chewies Chocolate Candy Cane Chewies

Chocolate Candy Cane Chewies

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: bake appetizer breakfast dessert snack cookie

Ingredients (3 dozen)

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup crushed candy canes
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F

sift together dry ingredients and set aside

cream butter and sugar

add in vanilla and eggs, slowly

add a little of the flour mixture at a time until combined

stir in chips and candy cane pieces

drop 1 tbsp drops onto parchment or silpat lined cookie sheets, 1″ apart

bake for 9-11 minutes or just set.

let cool on sheets for 4 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

store in an airtight container.

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