@ 32 weeks - and it's a Pingu

Here I am, taken last Sunday, 32 weeks pregnant:

We also found out we're having a little Pingu! We went to a 3D ultrasound at 29 weeks 6 days. So creepy, yet so nifty! I think he looks more like husband of feitpingvin than he does me hehe...


Twelve weeks to go - YIKES!

I'm now entering the third trimester - twelve weeks to go until miniPenguin is due to arrive. Twelve weeks! I can’t believe how quickly things have gone. It’s so unreal. In some ways it still feels as if I had just found out yesterday, although not quite, as miniPenguin is giving me quite the kicking treatment as I write…

Things have been very easy-going for the most part; no real problems or issues worth mentioning. Of course certain things have been a bit strange – all I seem to want to eat is refried beans and rice with salsa and melted cheese. Or pasta and tomatoes. Washed down with a shitload of candy. And I don’t miss wine or beer; giving up alcohol has been surprisingly easy, which is not something I had expected. I’ve been very lucky, I suppose. It’s my first pregnancy ever, and I don’t know if all of this is “normal” or not, as it seems like everyone experiences so different things that it’s difficult to qualify “normal” vs. otherwise…

So it’s just as well I’m writing on one of my few off-days. Because I do get them. Really. I’m exhausted, both mentally and physically right now. The Norwegian Skeptics Conference - Kritisk Masse - was this weekend. Yesterday was especially exhausting as it involved sitting for hours in a dark assembly room, listening to (very interesting) lectures, and then dinner and entertainment afterward. We started at 9 am, I left for home after 10 pm. I think. I attended some of the (equally interesting) lectures today, but my body kept saying “no.” It needed natural light, and fresh air, and some more rest than I had gotten that night. So after 28 weeks, I have discovered that my pregnant body does not like being deprived of natural light or fresh air for very long durations. (How did I manage two different long haul trips?) I suppose not drinking enough water to avoid having to run out and pee during the middle of a lecture didn’t help too much either. Hmmf. I was hoping to do a workout today to perhaps make me feel a little better, but no. I had a headache and figured the best thing would be to lie down or something. I feel a little better now, but still woozy. I should be OK for tomorrow though…

I’m also noticing that the growing Ball of Baby, which will probably be a Death Star of Baby at the very end (especially considering the rate I’m gobbling down M&Ms), is making simple things a bit more difficult. Like bending or even squatting down to pick stuff up. And speaking of squats, barbell squats and deadlifts are rather challenging when there’s a big Ball of Baby in the way of everything. Cardio workouts are also getting more challenging as my diaphragm and lungs are being compressed. I can still jog though, and that’s a good thing. I haven’t really started feeling things too much in my back – I have a very strong back – but I know it will eventually come. However, I will continue working out and trying to live as normally as possible until it is absolutely impossible to do so.

The one thing both husband of feitpingvin and I have not been doing, is actually getting our shit together with regard to preparation for miniPenguin’s arrival. We have some baby clothes and some carrying gear – that’s it. We don’t have any other stash. We really need to do that. Soon. The upcoming Christmas/New Year holidays are going to interfere with getting shit together, and once that’s over there will be three weeks left and anything can happen. We really need to get it together right now

Oh, and we’re going to do a 3D ultrasound in about two weeks. Hopefully, we’ll find out if we’re having a Pingu or a Pinga this time around!


The Ball of Baby groweth...

I have been really busy lately. The last time I posted was after I got back from a business trip to Sao Paulo and before going on a family visit and sort of vacation to the US.

My Ring of Baby has turned into a good-sized Ball of Baby, and it seems to be getting bigger all the time. We had an ultrasound done about a month and a half ago, and everything looked great - healthy here, healthy there. Good stuff. The only thing that didn't go as planned, was the lack of cooperation from miniPenguin with regard to letting us know if we're having a Pingu or a Pinga. Hmmf!

Anyway, was running up until about week 22 or 23 or something. Pulled a calf muscle and it's still not healed enough to start running again. This sucks because I really don't feel like I get as much (and most certainly not the high) out of the elliptical, which is my alternative cardio. Weightlifting is going OK, although I'm quite the weakling now. I'm still going to post a photo of me lifting anyway... just because...

It was taken at week 24. It's a weird photo, taken with a compact camera. All of the lifting photos husband of feitpingvin took were a bit strange. The rest are here.



Today's workout:

Warm-up: 10 minutes run/jog on the treadmill

For 15 minutes do:
5 push-ups
5 chins/pull-ups (assisted OK)
5 dips (assisted OK)
15 Bosu ball squats

If you're pregnant, do this at a comfortable pace. If you're not pregnant, do as many rounds as you can.


(almost) barefoot, pregnant, and still running

As most people know, I'm pregnant. Sixteen weeks today. How... interesting...

Things have been relatively good so far, at least compared to what many other experience. I haven't had any major nausea/morning sickness, for example. Sure, food doesn't taste quite the same and I'm for the most part not really interested in food at all, but I can still eat. I've had some bad fatigue and nasty headaches, but they haven't been an everyday occurrence, nor have they really been so debilitating that they have affected work or life otherwise.

The only major issue I've had is that my normally near elite-level athlete lungs have turned into the lungs of a sofa-sitting chain smoker. At least that's what it feels like. Ugh. So exercise has been somewhat tough at times. But I'm still exercising on average 5 days a week...

Yeah, yeah. I know it could be worse, and I know that I'm doing better than "the average woman." Although I am not average. I am used to doing a bit more. Much more. At you're-not-working-out-hard-enough-if-you-don't-taste-blood-in-your-mouth intensity. But even if I didn't suddenly get smokers' lung, I would have to cut back on the intensity level for the sake of my unborn baby anyway. (And Krav Maga is out until the baby is born. I found out I was pregnant a week before G2 grading, so I couldn't do that... boo!) Taking it easy takes some getting used to. But unless I'm on medical orders to do so, there's no way I'm going to give up my exercise!

Anyway, running. Yeah, I'm still running. Well, now it's more like a fast jog. Part of it is due to having to haul around a growing Ring of Baby. It's also the smokers' lung thing; I huff and puff a lot. At least at the start of the run/jog. It's always been this way and it doesn't seem to be getting better. My doc OKed me to use Ventoline, so I'll try to see if that helps. Otherwise, I've found that I have to do a longer warm-up, 10 minutes or so, and mix running/jogging and walking in that warm-up. Once I get past that stage, I'm actually able to do a proper 20-30 minute run/jog.

I've also noticed a major shift in my center of gravity, and this is affecting my technique. This is why I love my Freaky Fuschia Five Fingers more and more. Because I'm not restricted to a certain unnatural running style with these shoes, as opposed to traditional over-constructed running shoes, I can easily adjust to the changes in my body, and still run/jog comfortably. Brilliant stuff! I can't wait to see what kind of looks I will get, once Ring of Baby turns into a Ball of Baby, and I'm jogging along with my FFFFs... :-P



I'm finally able to do unassisted pull-ups (or chin-ups?) again. With my palms facing away from me. OK, it's just one or two at a time, but I can do them!


Eurovision 2010 - my comments

This post will be updated from time to time, as the show goes on and as I get more inebriated...

The previous post has links to the songs. This is just the commentary. I don't have any proper predictions as to who will win this year; a lot of it will depend on how the artists do tonight. Nothing really stands out. I do like Ireland, Israel, Greece, and Portugal, and I think France has a “fun” song. Denmark's song is also “fun.” But other than that... I dunno. Most of the songs really annoy me...

I don't want Norway to win again. Didrik has a great voice and all, but it's bloody expensive to host Eurovision. I will admit it has been fun seeing the Eurovision tourists out and about town. It's a shame I've been too busy with other shit to enjoy the Eurovision activities going on...

Anyway, the commentary:

1. Azerbaijan: I wish someone would drip drop something on her head... Anyway, she was very nervous, at least at the start. She was a bit stronger at the end, but... well... She'll get a lot of votes because she's young (17), pretty, and has a very commercial song...

2. Spain: Very stereotypical Spanish, sung in Spanish. But a bit too whiney for my liking, and I can't stand the clowns as background dancers...

NB! Spain will get a chance to perform again, as a fan jumped on stage as they were starting their performance! Not that it helped. You know when you go to Spain, and there are drunk guys on street corners and park benches singing? Yeah, that's what they sing...

3. Norway: Great voice, boring song. They were showing various interviews and comments from various people before Eurovision started, and someone referred to this song as a "Disney song." Yeah, that's a good way of putting it. Anyway, shaky start, and I think he could have done better, but otherwise somewhat improved English enunciation compared to when he won the contest for Norway...

4. Moldova: WTF is this supposed to be? I do like the singer chick's hair, makeup, and outfit though... had I been a drag queen!

5. Cyprus: *yawn* Too boyband pop-like...

6. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Disappointing. B&H has sent really good artists in past Eurovisions, including last year's. This is quite awful in comparison...

7. Belgium: Another nervous one, with an overly commercial song and even more overly whiney nasal annoying voice. He really should learn how to speak English before attempting to sing it too...

8. Serbia: A bit of that Hatten är din going, but this is otherwise a proper Eurovision song, with the right kind of beat (Balkan Balkan come on) and the right kind of performance. And Milan is... well... a little... um... Serbia did win with a lesbian artist before (in 2007), so why not try with a gay one? (Yeah, I'm just assuming.) :-P

9. Belarus: The only reason why this song is in the final, is because they got enough popular votes from Russia and other political neighbors for the semifinal. Null points...

10. Ireland: Very Irish. Pretty song. Very good performance, but will it be good enough? Bonus points for lack of starved body, overly bleached hair, and need to have boobs and ass hanging out...

11. Greece: Very energetic and masculine. It really brings out the man in me! Excellent performance too; you can tell he's a well seasoned artist. Very confident. This song will be the big summer hit in all the gay nightclubs in Europe and worldwide. Bonus points for the song being sung in Greek! The most "genuinely ethnic" so far...

12. United Kingdom: This does not sound good to me. Now I understand why the UK has to “buy” their guaranteed place in the final. They always suck...

13. Georgia: A bit off key at the start, which is too bad because she has a decent voice...

14. Turkey: OK, so they thought they could get away from their usual belly dancing music to something rock-like, but it's not anything outstanding. Boring text too. Lucky for Turkey that they can get lots of popular votes from immigrants in Germany, etc. Bonus points for the robot though...

15. Albania: Madonna wannabe? Or something... Horrible voice, horrible look, and nothing special about her song...

16. Iceland: Good, powerful voice, and a very energetic dance song. It's a bit weird watching this particular song be performed by an artist dressed in a long sleeved long dress suitable for performing sappy ballads though. It doesn't seem to fit...

17. Ukraine: Is she trying to sing like Björk? I don't get it...

18. France: This is more of a football song (whoa, it actually is a fan song for team France for the World Cup!) than a Eurovision song, but it has a nice beat. It will be one of *the* big summer hits this year... Anyway, what a hot performance! I'm going to have to take a cold shower after watching this...

19. Romania: And this was my cold shower...

20. Russia: And the shower just got colder... arrrrgh! And I can't even drink vodka to drown out the pain, which is probably what everyone else is doing...

21. Armenia: Ape-ree-cut stone? This song would have been good if it had been sung in Armenian, or whatever it is they speak there. The substandard English text ruins it all. It's also very Hatten är din...

22. Germany: Boring performance; she's a favorite so I was expecting much better. Yawn. The "woo" and giggle at the end was especially pathetic. The song is otherwise very German pop. It will be a Euro-hit, but it's otherwise nothing particularly special. Like most of the songs here, it will be completely forgotten within a few months, when the "next best thing" comes along...

23. Portugal: Hey Portugal! Disney called. They want their song back!

24. Israel: Nice ballad and performed quite well, but how does he fare in Krav Maga? ;-) Bonus points for singing in Hebrew...

25. Denmark: What a fun song... very Abba-esque... I love what the wind machine does to the male singer's hair haha... OMFSM his hair *snort'

Eurovision 2010 - the finalists

Here are this year's finalists, with a link to their song. Commentary to come later on...



nosy... (with icky pics)

So, as most of you know, my poor nose was broken during Krav Maga training on the 4th of March, and got it snapped back into place on the 11th. I'm not going to get into the details about what happened. Getting too hung up will only make me unable to continue training. Things get crazy and out of control sometimes. The experience will only help me in future fights anyway. I'm going to be way more careful about getting both arms pinned down or otherwise occupied, so that someone can punch me in the nose. Anyway...

I know damn well I can be somewhat vain. While I'm not the kind of penguinette who must put on make up and fancy clothes to go out on a grocery run, I do, for the most part, care about my appearance. This does not mean that I deny my bad hair days, or, in some cases, bad nose days. So, I thought I'd show the few photos I have of my nasal misfortune. I actually wish I had more photos, including a photo of the freshly broken nose. But I don't...

Here's how the nose looked at the end of January:

Here's the only photo I have of my nose being on the other side of my face. Husband of feitpingvin wasn't really willing to take any photos of me and I was in too much of a state of confusion/pain/WTF to pester him for it. I took this with my mobile phone after getting anesthetic strips stuffed up my nostrils by the evil ENT doctor:

And here is the nose after he snapped it back into place – all swollen, with blood dripping out:

The nose is starting to look normal again, although I'm constantly looking into mirrors and paranoid about it falling out of place again. I suppose I'll post a new photo at some point... :-)


(almost) barefoot Tabatas

I am now able to do Tabata intervals on the treadmill with my Freaky Fives. I did two sets, with a four minute jog between sets. I was going to do a third set, but I felt my calves getting stiff when starting the jog after the second Tabata set. I still have to figure out how to get them more loose...


delta males

Normally, I don't pay that much attention to other people at the gym. I'm often too busy doing my own thing to really care about anyone else. The times I do notice other people are when they make themselves so conspicuous in some way or other that you can't help but notice them. Sometimes it's some freak or other with some extreme choice of clothing or footwear (yeah, I know, my freaky fuschia Five Fingers). Or else you have freaks who choke you to death with their stench (perfume trolls anyone?). And of course you have the freaks (and some non-freaks) who bring attention upon themselves by how they are training, for better or worse. Usually worse – blatantly poor technique, making a big deal out of lifting very little, holding on to the guard rails while jogging on the treadmill, etc...

And then you have the delta males. You know, the gym freaks who bring about attention by everything I mentioned above and then some, the gym freaks who think they are alpha males but... well... aren't. You guys have read Brave New World, right? Yeah, delta. A whole package of fail...

The delta male of the day did everything he could possibly do to make sure that everyone noticed him. He spent a good amount of time prancing around, while “flexing” (hah!), in particular near me and near a pair of women training together. It was particularly annoying for me because I was doing squats at the time. He was walking a little too close for comfort behind me, while making grunting noises and “flexing” in front of the mirror as he walked by. This was very annoying and distracting. I could also smell him as he was approaching; his cologne was on that thick. And I could see that the other women were also very annoyed with his behavior...

The rest of his excessive attention-whoring primping and posing in front of the mirror was rather amusing, and I couldn't help but snicker at him. I think he was trying to show off his arms or try bodybuilding poses or something. I was, however, more fascinated by his extended belly. You couldn't help but notice it. Delta didn't have that big of a body otherwise. But his Ring of Fat... wow. The way his forearm and hand rested on his gut was reminiscent of photos of pregnant women. He was even rubbing his belly a lot, the way a pregnant woman rubs her belly. Oh, and at one point he even “adjusted” his developing moobs (I'll bet he thinks they're pecs). Charming. You have no idea how close I was to finding some way to approach the other women to ask them “so, when do you think he's due?” And I can't forget to mention the hair fixing haha... can't have a hair out of place, no can we?

Oh, and when Delta wasn't patting his big belly in front of the mirror, he was doing a “workout” that involved fluffing around here and there with the cable jungle and dumbbells. You knew when he was doing something, because of all the heavy breathing and grunting. With light weights of course, lots of rapid, jerky reps. WTF? At one point he grabbed some dumbbells and started doing biceps curls (like most delta males really enjoy doing), and was all huffy and puffy and grunting about it. Geez. So I walked up to the dumbbell stand, grabbed a set of 8 kg dumbbells, started doing dumbbell curls with them, scowled and mumbled out a “hmmmf,” and then replaced the 8 kg dumbbells with 10 kg dumbbells and did a set of 12 reps. While smirking. Delta gave me a dirty look, slammed his dumbbells down and stomped away. Twat.

Tell me about the delta males at your gym...


(almost) barefoot running - getting faster

Monday and Saturday seem to be my cardio days for now. It fits in well with the rest of what I do - Krav Maga on Tuesdays and Thursdays, weightlifting on Fridays and Sundays, training-free on Wednesday...

Anyway, I started working on faster intervals on Monday. I did a 10 minute walk/jog warm-up, followed by intervals of 4 minutes fast jogging/running and 1 minute walking. I started my 4 minutes at 9.5 km/h and worked up to 11 km/h before my right calf started cramping up. And yeah, the toe blisters were starting to form again. Ugh...

Today I did a steady state, slightly faster (than last week) run. I started with a 5 minute walk/jog warm-up, followed by 5 minutes at 9.5 km/h, 20 minutes at 10 km/h, and 10 minutes at 10.5 km/h. At the start of the run, my left ankle started bugging me, and I made a few short stops just to work out the kinks. After a little while, everything was OK and it stopped bugging me for the rest of the workout. But then my right calf started cramping up again, after around 15 minutes into the run. After a few stops to rub/shake the darn thing, everything seemed to be OK. But then, after 30 minutes into the run, the calf started cramping up again. Not good. So I had to stop. I don't want to provoke a long injury...

I'll have to look into changing how I do my warm-up. Perhaps something where I walk/jog, and then stop and do light stretches, and then walk/jog again? Hmm. This is the first time I'm dealing with this kind of issue when running. Before it was the darn knees; they feel quite fine now. The annoying thing about all of this is that the cramping is the only thing now that is stopping me. I've managed to deal with the blisters by wrapping my affected toes with silk tape. That really helped out a lot. I don't get tired otherwise; in fact I feel I could run much faster for much longer...

And regarding the cramps, hydration and mineral intake are not issues. It's just a matter of adjusting to the running style. (Almost) barefoot running is hard on the calves. That's just the way it is. They just have to toughen up a bit. Sooner than later, I hope...


(almost) barefoot weightlifting

In addition to my freaky fuschias, I have a pair of black KSOs. I've been using these for my past two weightlifting sessions...

All I can say is WHY HAVEN'T I DONE THIS SOONER? Oh yeah, I did have a few sessions here and there between acquisition of my five fingers and now, but at that time I had injury issues and wasn't really "into" my lifting. But now... wow!

I'm not sure how to explain it. I feel a lot more sturdy on my feet when doing squats and deadlifts, and this enables me to do heavier lifts. Well, of course it makes sense. I'm not limited by the boundaries of the sports shoes. I'm also able to do a lot more on the leg press; the darn padding in the shoes had been getting in the way of progress. Who knew? (And hah! I actually freaked some random guy out big time by pressing a mere *cough* 220 kg. And this was after maxing out for the day at 250 kg.)

Fun, fun, fun! :-D

pink and punchy

In honor of that ridiculous fake corporate holiday designed for mass consumption and making the weak-minded feel inadequate, I bring you the following:

Roses are red
Punches are pink.
Beware of my penguins
They'll make you extinct.


(almost) barefoot running update

The (almost) barefoot running with my freaky fuschia Five Fingers has been going quite well. Aside from one training session where one of my calves was stiff and didn't want to loosen up, and one training session where I used my black KSOs instead of my freaky fuschias (these were inducing blisters on the sides of my feet), I've been progressing quite nicely.

Today's workout:
- 10 minutes of mixed walking (6.5 km/h) and jogging (9.0 km/h) as a warmup.

- 40 minutes of steady state running (well, fast jogging) at 9.5 km/h.

Everything felt really good for the most part. No stiffness in the calves at all. I felt a “twitch” in my right hip at times, but that was resolved by sucking in my navel and pushing my hips slightly forward; it's good to be forced into proper posture. The only problem I had was just as I hit around 38 minutes; I could feel the blisters morphing onto both big toes. Ugh. I just finished to 40 minutes. Had it not been for the darn toes, I could have easily gone for an hour.

Forty minutes is a pretty decent duration, even though I was going at a relatively slow pace. I should be able to run faster now. I think I'll be ready for hard sprints in a few weeks. Good fun!

On a side note, it's rather amusing to be (almost) barefoot running to Brenda Fassie's “Zola Budd” :-D


(almost) barefoot running

So I did a session on the treadmill with my freaky fuschia Five Fingers!

I normally don't do cardio on Fridays, but we had a rather taxing Krav Maga training last night. Among other things, we did lots of groundwork, followed by 20 minutes of doing as many rounds of 7 squats + 7 sit-ups + 7 push-ups as possible, followed by 200 squats. I just couldn't handle doing strength training today...

Anyway, here's how I set up my treadmill session today:

2 1/2 minutes walking at 6.5 km/h, 2 1/2 minutes jogging at 9 km/h for 30 minutes, and then 2 minutes walking and 3 minutes jogging (same speed) for another 15 minutes

I didn't want to start too rough, but I didn't want to have a too easy workout either. I'm not sure how my body, especially my calves, will react to this. I think it will be OK, but you never know...


my name is feitpingvin, and...

...I'm an exercise addict.

Today is my day off. People struggle to go to the gym; I struggled to not go to the gym today. I'm still obsessing about what I wanted to do...

It's Time Magazine's fault for this article about barefoot running. It made me want to test out my Vibram Five Fingers on the treadmill. I didn't get to play with them much last summer, due to an injury. And injuries happen when you don't take breaks like you're supposed to...

Oh, and quite often after Krav Maga training, typically high intensity training for 90 minutes, I get the urge to train some more. Hmm...

I think this is the first time I've been pissy about a scheduled day off though. At least the first time I've been this aware of it...


Chest out, stomach in!

Argh, am I the only one who gets really bothered by people who slouch? What ever happened to good posture? You know, the whole chest out stomach in thing, keep your back straight, blah blah... now all you see are people slumped here and there, curved spine, hunched up shoulders, looking down... what gives?

Ladies, slouching makes you look fat and dumpy. All the fancy clothes and shoes and whatnot in the world won't make you look attractive if you don't have the posture to pull it off. Gentlemen, slouching makes you look like a knuckle-dragging doofus. Especially if you're tall. (What is it with tall guys and extremely poor posture anyway?)

Get your act together already, people! Sheeeesh!


birthday RoF stuffing - Statholdergaarden!

As tradition dictates (gourmet RoF-stuffing rather than gifts), husband of feitpingvin took me to Statholdergaarden for my birthday dinner. Statholdergaarden has one star in the Michelin Guide; they are located in the city center, in a building originally built for the Master of the Mint in 1640...

We had quite an excellent evening; both we and our RoFs were very satisfied. Dinner included the following:

Aperitif (house specialty) – Tia Maria and bourbon topped with Cava

Amuse bouche #1: Salmon tartar with dill cream.

Gone in one bite ;-)

Amuse bouche #2: If I remember correctly: a mussel and a tiny salad in the spoon; creamy seafood soup; veal croquette.

We ate them in the “wrong” order – just as well to eat the hot food first – and started with the croquette. Yummy. The soup was like drinking a tasty bowl of seafoody cream :-D

First course: Grilled scallop served with artichokes, cauliflower, and marinated snow peas. Pomegranate vinegar and saffron foam.

Wine: Weingut Knipser Riesling Kabinet trocken 2008

The scallop was perfectly prepared. It was seared just so on the edges, but raw inside, although warm. The wine was very citrusy and refreshing, and went nicely with the scallop...

Second course: Foamy shellfish soup served with halibut, fennel and feve. (husband of feitpingvin had king crab instead of halibut because the fish was encrusted with nuts)...

Wine: Vicar's Choice Sauvignon Blanc 2009

More creamy seafoody goodness, this time with tasty bits of perfectly cooked fish. The (NZ) Sauv Blanc was absolutely lovely. We really should do a wine safari in New Zealand...

Third course: Fried cod served with Welsh shallot cream and a spinach and leek- tomato samosa. Garlic sauce.

Wine: Meursault Domaine Michelot 2006

We also got a glass of Terras Gauda Albarinio Rias Balixas 2008 since we told them we aren't overly crazy about Chardonnay. We thought this was a better match...

This was in the running for favorite dish of the evening. The cod was very fresh and perfectly cooked; the skin was nice and crispy too. The shallot cream was flavorful and caramelly savory-sweet. The samosa was crispy on the outside, flavorful on the inside... wonderful! I could have easily gobbled down several more servings!

~ Peach ice and blackberry sorbet ~

The sorbet was especially lovely... mmmmm....

Fourth (main) course: Honey and lime-glazed breast of duck served with glazed quince, pickled oyster mushrooms, walnut purée (husband of feitpingvin got a similar purée, but without the walnuts), and bok choi. Cranberry sauce.

Wine: Barbera d'Alba Carlo Giacosa Lina 2007

This was probably my favorite dish; it helps that duck is one of my absolute favorite meats! The walnut purée was especially amazing with the tasty, tender, perfectly prepared duck meat...

Om nom nom nom!

Fifth course: Well-ripened cheeses garnished with banana bread and fruit compote. (We each got different cheeses due to allergy issues.)

Wines: Markus Molitor Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese 1994 and Pineau des Charentes Lheraud

My cheeses were very delicious, and husband of feitpingvin was also very happy with what he received. Also, I really liked getting two different wines for this, one to go with the first two, the other to go with the other two. The Pineau des Charentes Lheraud was especially interesting. It is made from the same grapes used to make Cognac. It smelled like Cognac and tasted like Cognac, minus the high amount of alcohol. I really enjoyed this one. But the Riesling was also quite excellent...

Sixth course: Cherry mousse on mazarin and blood orange, crispy almond pastry, and yoghurt sherbet.

Wine: Tokaji Aszú Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos 2005

I got my dessert with 'Gratulerer!' written in chocolate. For my birthday and all :-) My favorite part of the dessert was the pieces of blood orange. I could have dropped the rest of the dessert stuff and just eaten a big bowl of the blood oranges... yum! The wine was also quite nice, very cloudberry-caramelly... :-)

Coffee, amaretto for me, whisky for husband of feitpingvin, petits fours

Aside from the meal, the service was amazing. Our main waitress was actually an apprentice (she wore a badge that indicated this), but if she were not wearing the badge I would have never guessed.

Oh, and here's a crap photo of yours floozie. Bad angle, hair from hell (hat hair + winter static electricity), but otherwise not bad for 39, right? ;-P


As 39 approaches...

Yeah yeah. So I'm turning 39 very soon. Which means 40 is just around the corner. Which means the usual “40 things to do before 40” crap (in the same style as those “30 before 30” and “50 before 50” lists). I found this 100-item list on some random website. It seems to be slightly US-centric, which is OK since I grew up in the US, and there are enough “worldwide” elements on the list. It would be easy enough to replace some of the US-centric stuff with local equivalents too, but I don't think I'll bother. This particular list is a lot better than some of the other lists I saw while searching for lists in general. Some of the items on some of the other lists included having an affair (that is, cheating on your spouse), losing a loved one (what an awful thing to even think that someone should die so that you can tick something off on a list), speeding in traffic (encouraging illegal activities hmm?), getting blind drunk in strange places (uh?), and having children (breeding should be something out of free choice, not out of forced obligation, and it's also a wrong thing to do just to be able to tick something off on a list).

However, some of the things on this list are, well, a bit peculiar. Join a prayer group WTF? There are also a few things that are missing. Like eating dinner at a restaurant that has at least two Michelin stars. Or trying “unusual” foods in general... oh wait, there's a tripe question. Hmm. Forty means... having visited (at least) four continents, right? Or having studied and/or worked in a foreign country, right, with the new globalized economy and all? (Yeah, BTDT all around.) Oh wait... Here's a doozie for ya: how about getting over issues such as body image by the time you're 40? Conquering your fears? Hmm...

Anyway, the list. I've bolded what I've done, and commented some of the list items, whether or not I've done them...

1. Started your own blog – if you're reading this, then...

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band – I've played in an orchestra. Several actually. Does that count?

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower – more than once

6. Bathed in a river – this can tie in with the skinny dipping question...

7. Been to the Taj Mahal

8. Walked on a glacier in Alaska

9. Caught and held a snake

10. Spoke in front of a big crowd

11. Bungee jumped – not allowed :-(

12. Had a whirlwind love affair that broke your heart – oh yeah, that...

13. Found an arrowhead or fossil

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Rescued an animal

16. Ate sweet breads, glands or tripe – mmm, sweatbreads...

17. Seen Mount Rushmore in person

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France – overrated

20. Slept on an overnight train – many times

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hiked to base camp on Mt. Everest – perhaps some day, but not before I'm 40 I'm afraid...

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort – of course!

25. Watched an animal being born – eeewwwww

26. Gone skinny dipping – many times

27. Learned a foreign language – more than one

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse – more than once

30. Stayed up for more than 24 hours – more than I care to have done such a thing

31. Trained a dog to do cool tricks

32. Been on a cruise – does 'danskebåten' count? (hahaha)

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Can drive a stick shift car

37. Won over $1000 in a raffle or lottery

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Been serenaded

44. Visited AfricaAfrica sweet Africa... *swoon*

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Broke a bone – I must have. I've seen a photo of myself at age 2, with a cast on. So...

47. Started your own business 

48. Quit a job because you were totally unhappy

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the Eiffel Tower

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling – PADI Rescue Diver. But I haven't dived in ages :-(

52. Kissed in the rain passionately

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in – oh man, it's been ages. Do they still exist?

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Joined a prayer group – now why would I want to do such a thing?

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching whales!

63. Received flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job – is 'laid off' the same as 'fired'?

76. Seen the changing of the guards in London – don't remember if I did or not. I've seen it in Oslo, Copenhagen, and Moscow...

77. Broken something extremely expensive

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle – no, but I have been on a speeding ostrich. Why isn't ostrich riding on the list?

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican – nope, and no desire to either...

82. Got a tattoo

83. Been to a coffee shop in Amsterdam – also overrated

84. Seen the aurora borealis in person

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating – fish are animals...

88. Had chicken pox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury – have never been asked

91. Met someone famous – I've met lots of famous people but... I CUDDLED WITH A REAL LIVE PENGUIN! So who cares about the famous people? :-P

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one – boo!

94. Toured the UN – both in New York and in Geneva

95. Hiked to Machu Picchu – probably won't make it there before I turn 40 :-/

96. Swam in the Indian Ocean – I put my feet in the Indian Ocean. Does that count?

97. Conversed with someone when neither of you spoke each others language – waving your hands around like a bunch of chimps works perfectly fine ;-)

98. Dirty danced

99. Been stung by a bee

100. Acted in a play


10 for 2010

I don't do resolutions for the new year. I find them rather asinine. The typical example of new year's resolution asininity (is there such a word) is the gang of wannabes who join the gym, hog all the equipment and otherwise pretend they know anything about training (every year, at least someone tells me that lifting heavy weights will make me look like a male bodybuilder), and then disappear in February...

Still, it's nice to have life goals. I had been thinking of some things already, independent of the change from 2009 to 2010. Here are some of my goals for the near future...

1. Learn to use my camera properly, with all the manual settings and stuff. I guess the user manual and husband of feitpingvin's photography books, plus the nature photography book I got for Yule, would be a good start for all of this...

2. Visit at least two new countries. I've already ensured one new country, since my Yule gift to husband of feitpingvin is a long weekend in Dublin. Yes, I'm sneaky...

3. Stop setting fitness goals. The typical “I'm going to bench press 80 kg by the end of summer” kind of goals I usually set for myself. Every time I do that, I either get injured or in the case of this past December, I get sick. The sickness thing doesn't come too often. I'm just really fed up with the injuries...

4. Start writing in my blog(s) more often. I've been neglecting them due to “personal problems” or whatever my lame-ass excuse is, and I should cut out the excuses, because they're just lame-ass...

5. Learn a new, preferably marketable skill. Just because.

6. Learn more about wine. I'd like to take the knowledge I do have to a whole new level. This may involve going on more wine safaris. Oh the pain ;-P

7. Not get hung up regarding Krav Maga grading. When I started training, I said I wouldn't get hung up over grading, but I ended up doing so. If I grade this year, I grade. If not, I'm still the highest graded girl in my club. Unless someone who is G1 or higher shows up at our club. That would be nice though...

8. Try to keep my crap in order. Everything is a mess. It doesn't and shouldn't have to be...

9. Do more volunteer work, or at least try to. Hopefully with wildlife (bird rehab?) but maybe with people too...

10. Spend more time outdoors, for example by going hiking more often. Or cycling (which means I have to find a clever way to get out of downtown Oslo without getting killed, before getting onto the nicer cycling trails).