Sunday, January 23, 2011

Catering a winter party.

 I did a wedding lunch last summer, and decided that was my last catering job.  I love the creativity, and the sense of accomplishment, but it seems like my Graves disease gets really bad whenever I have a job.  It really is a high stress situation where the forgetting of one tiny detail, or the mis-scheduling of half an hour can ruin an event.  However, I've got a friend that can talk me into anything, and she asked me to do her husbands work party.  I did their last party and posted about it here.

 They did this party instead of a Christmas party, but we obviously couldn't use Christmas decor, so decided on a winter wonderland-type theme.  I'd done this as part of a party at the University of Utah years ago with my sisters.  I've got a big curly willow tree in my neighborhood that I was able to beg branches off of, and we painted them silver, stuck them in hurricanes filled with salt, and poked a mini flashlight into the middle to shine up into the branches.  Then I took a bunch of glittery fabric and sewed table runners for all of the tables.  Sigh.  I was covered in glitter for a week and my floor still looks like the silver brick road, but it looked pretty nice anyway.

 We probably could have used a little garland or something between the chafing dishes too, but it slipped my mind.  At least all of the chafers were silver :)

 Pork medallions with apples, cranberries, and cherries.

 Tuscan rolled chicken with feta, sun dried tomatoes, pinenuts, and fresh basil.

 Garlic-rosemary roasted red skinned potatoes.

 Balsamic roasted vegetables.

 Strawberry - Wonton salad with strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.

 Dessert!  Raspberry White Chocolate cheesecake, and Chocolate Caramel Decadence layer cake.

I split this job with my catering partner and we each took half the work.  This made a HUGE difference in being able to handle this job, but I still had a bad week or two with the Graves.  I bought a Bodymedia Fit --which is kind of like a bodybug (it tracks the calories you burn all day and night ), and the day before the party I burned 2900 calories.  That's not a typo.  Granted, I was working pretty hard, but that's kind of outrageous a calorie burn for someone my size.  Day of, I burned 3349.  Luckily, I'm getting back to normal quickly.  I taught my weights class, and moved all day yesterday cleaning dishes and the house after a week of neglect, and although I had 200-300 more steps than Thursday (the day before the catering job) I burned 300 calories less.  That tells me I'm getting back on track which is good.  I have an appetite that goes through the roof when I'm Gravesy and I'm a lot more impulsive in my eating, not to mention the heart stuff and anxiety.  I finally feel a little calmer this morning.

I have to say though that Friday night was so fun!  It was hard work (did I mention 3200 calories!?), but I just love doing that stuff.  Maybe someday when I get completely healthy I can take catering back up again regularly.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Sorry I haven't posted.  I got sick.  If you don't know me very well, I have hyperthyroidism --Grave's disease.  This is where my immune system goes crazy, starts attacking my thyroid, and makes it hyper --just like a six year old boy on red 40. The only good thing about it is that I burn calories like crazy.  That also happens to be the bad thing.  My body likes to burn muscle as it's first fuel when I'm sick, so all of my strength gains kind of go down the toilet.  My body fat percentage goes up, and my muscle goes down.  I also can't sleep, have a resting heart rate of around 100 beats per minute, and I feel anxious and dizzy all of the time.

The bummer is that I've been in remission for months --almost a year.  I've had little flareups, but nothing that's made me go on meds for over a week.  I'm pretty sure it's diet.  My diet has been really clean since last year's competition, and my body has rewarded me with good health.  Then Christmas hit, and with it extra treats and extra stress, and down I go.  I'm also guilty of not taking care of it right away.  I should have gone on my anti-thyroid pills when I felt the first symptoms, but in the back of my mind I think I wanted the extra leeway with calories.  Isn't that awful?  It's like I was slitting my wrist to get lower blood pressure.  It doesn't make sense.  Now my metabolism drops because I have less muscle, AND I'm used to eating more because the Graves dialed my appetite through the roof, not to mention the possible damage to my heart.  My only excuse is when I'm sick I'm more impulsive and don't think things through as well.  It's a common symptom and I'm claiming it.

So then about two weeks ago, I got sick sick with a cold/laryngitis thing and then I've been really suffering.  I've shown up to teach my classes in street clothes to keep me from doing it with my students, and I've kept myself from doing personal workouts because I've felt like I just wasn't recovering.  I couldn't kick it. It's been so frustrating!  I've felt like a big fat disgusting slug.  Isn't that funny how quickly your personal identity can change in your mind?  Just a month ago, I was at Jeff's goal weight (Ok. little explanation here --I have a goal weight 4&1/2 pounds lower than what Jeff thinks is healthy for me --he'd be just as happy with me 10 pounds heavier or whatever, but I asked for help in reaching a goal so we bet a big screen tv against clothes shopping money that I'd get there.  He says "there" is 4.5 pounds higher than where I say) and now I'm back up 3 more pounds.  Sigh.  I know when I go from maintenance calories to deficit I lose 3 pounds in water right away, but there's some muscle loss there too, so once I start lifting again it will go up anyway.  Does that make sense? 3 down with water, 2-3 up with water back in my muscles and literal muscle fiber growth.

But, last night I slept with no coughing fits, and the thyroid thing is slowly coming back to normal, so I'm LIFTING TODAY!!! I'm so excited.  Wish me luck in getting back to normal please?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jeff and I sneak out snowshoeing

On the district calendar it said that Tia and Kai weren't going back to school until the 4th.  For some reason that calendar was wrong? and everyone seemed to know that except for us.  Whatever.  Anyway Jef and I were happy because he still had the day off work and we could go snowshoeing together.   All y'all that live here in Utah take this kind of stuff for granted, but where I grew up it looked like this in summer:

This in spring:
This in fall:

...and this in winter.
 After 20 years living here, I'm still not used to this in winter:
 The sun was shining, and Jeff and I didn't even wear real coats.  We used poles, a lot of the trail we went on hadn't had anyone on it before us, and the poles helped with balance.  Most of the time it was just us and the snow.  We did run into Karla and her crazy dogs, and one other couple, but that was over the course of almost two hours.

I still can't believe all of that beauty was real. Do you know when you're experiencing something -say you're eating a piece of cheesecake, and it's so good, you're afraid you're not experiencing it deep enough?  That's what it was like for me.  I kept trying to memorize and internalize how beautiful it was.  To "drink it in" as Anne of Green Gables would say.