Posts filed under ‘Lent’

A Different Kind of Lent

My family never observed Lent as I was growing up and I’m not sure why I started to observe it as an adult, but I certainly have grown to cherish this time of year. I love the challenge and discipline that comes with each year. Usually I give up something. In past years I have targetted Pepsi, desserts, red meat, cheese, text messaging while driving, credit card usage. One year I also gave up, “Reading my ex-husband’s blog.” : ) This year I’m taking a different approach. Instead of giving up something, I’m doing something. For Lent 2011, I’m spending 20 minutes each day breathing and stretching.

With our move, home renonvations and a crazy-hectic work schedule, I think that dedicated relaxation time will pay divendends. Plus I think it will be a particularly good habit to get into as I get inch closer to labor. : )

It’s only been 14 days and so far so good. Originally I had wanted to do 10 minutes of stretching and breathing a day. Ryan encouraged me to up it to 20 minutes, which sounded like a pretty large commitment at the time. However, I have found most days, once I start, I end up well beyond, often double, that 20 minutes! I did miss one day– a day where I did an hour on the spin cycle which I also find to be very effective in the stress-releasing department.

So we’ll see how the rest of Lent season goes. I do suspect, Easter Supper will be a little less anticipated without being able to indulge in whatever it was I was abstaining from. Desserts taste oh-so-good after a Lent.  : )

March 23, 2011 at 1:00 am 2 comments

links for 2008-06-10

June 10, 2008 at 5:35 pm 2 comments

Easiest Lent Ever

Well, it turns out Lent 2008 was my easiest Lent ever.  The leap to giving up red meat wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated and I adjusted well to the text messaging restriction. 

Courtesy of text messaging, 2008 was also one of more amusing Lents.  I allowed myself to read text messages, but I wouldn’t write back.  This opened the door for a series of taunting messages.  When they knew I was on the road Derek, Sean and Larry all found it fit to send messages like this one:

From: Derek
Mar 17, 12:35 pm

Haha you can’t reply 🙂

Meanwhile, one of my old co-workers took a very different approach.  He simply sent text messages to tell me when HE was driving.

From: Mark
Feb 21, 6:44 PM

I’m driving.  🙂

Giving up red meat, on the other hand, has been educational.  It taught me just how effective ad campaigns are.  You have no idea how many people approached me, insisting that pork is white meat.  It’s not!  The National Pork Board can use its slogan all it wants, but nutrition-wise PORK IS RED MEAT.  From the USDA Fact Sheet on Pork:

Why is Pork a “Red” Meat?
Oxygen is delivered to muscles by the red cells in the blood. One of the proteins in meat, myoglobin, holds the oxygen in the muscle. The amount of myoglobin in animal muscles determines the color of meat. Pork is classified a “red” meat because it contains more myoglobin than chicken or fish. When fresh pork is cooked, it becomes lighter in color, but it is still a red meat. Pork is classed as “livestock” along with veal, lamb and beef. All livestock are considered “red meat.”

As far as post-Lent, I’ve sort of had quite a reunion with red meat (including that deceptive pork).  A Pot Roast Burger from Red Robin, Meatball Sub from Substation II, Pork BBQ from Due South and a Victoria Filet with Horseradish Crust from Outback have all been ingested in just this week.  Hopefully, this reunion is brief and I’ll settle down to substantially less red meat.

But on a positive note, chriggy and ClintJCL may be happy to learn that I’m still not typing away while driving.  I’m aiming for that change to stick!  🙂

March 28, 2008 at 10:51 am 4 comments

Lent ’08

Yikes. Lent snuck up on me this year– I didn’t realize it started this week until Monday when I noticed Mardi Gras decorations up at the local Cajun restaurant. This year I’m giving up two things:

  • Red Meat
  • Text Messaging While Driving

Red meat builds off Lent ’06 where I gave up beef. Text messaging while driving has no precedence, but it is a bad habit I should definitely curb.

For the last 4 years, desserts have always been on the list. This means this year I can actually have cake on my birthday. Others may benefit as well. Apparently my giving up desserts presents a hardship to my loved ones. A couple of years ago, I called my mother one morning.

“Hey Mom, I have a question for ya.”

“Oh gawd,” she groaned, “Are you trying to decide if a pancake is a dessert again?”

My question was not related to Lent at all, but her reaction certainly said a lot about our past conversations. 🙂

February 6, 2008 at 9:38 am 3 comments

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from Montana.   Larry, Lindsay and I conducted a quick celebration at the stroke of midnight (Mountain Time).  We sat in the lobby of our hotel and each ingested a complimentary DoubleTree Chocolate Chip walnut cookie.  It was delicious and satisfying – well worth waiting for.

On the cheese front, I’m not that enthused about being able to eat cheese again.  Cheese was definitely the tougher of the two to give up, but it was also the most eye opening as well.  I really don’t need cheese.  I discovered most of the items I ate before with cheese tasted comparable without it.  There were even a few dishes where I couldn’t tell a difference with or without cheese.   That means I was eating extra calories and fat for no noticeable gain. 

Most eye opening was when I had a Sub Station Meatball Sub (one of my favorite dishes ever) without cheese.  It was just as delicious than it was when it was drowned in melted mozerella cheese.  Similiarly, tacos and turcos (turkey tacos Sean and I make) tasted just as good with avocado or guacemole.  My rosemary tomato sauce was just as satisfying over penne as it was over three cheese tortillini.  The Red Robin Bleu Ribbon Burger still calls my name even when it is missing Bleu cheese.  It was easy to get and eat salads that did not include shredded cheese.  Last week I had a SubShack Philly Cheese Steak without cheese and actually had to look after a few bites to confirm there was in fact no cheese– that’s how similiar it tasted.  Almost every sub I had ranging from Subway Tuna to Blimpie Club to the sandwiches we made in our Vail hotel room– no cheese was needed.  Breakfast biscuits didn’t need cheese (and one day I discovered they don’t necessarily need bacon either!).  In fact, during all of Lent, there was only one item I think suffered from the cheese abscence.  Jimmy John’s #12 on French Bread. Definitely not as good without prevalent provolone. 

It will be nice to eat a slice of pizza again or indulge in a Nacho Cheesier Dorito here and there.  But overall, I think this Lent may provoke a new lifestyle change.  I don’t think my cheese intake will ever reach its previous levels. 

And that, I believe, is a darn good thing. 

April 8, 2007 at 1:57 am 1 comment

Sicky Sawyer and the Kiddie Meals

Well I guess I decided I was jealous of Christina’s 32nd birthday.  So I went ahead and secured a case of strep throat for myself.  I’m on the appropriate antibiotics now, but given that I recently got up for the day and am about ready for bedtime, I think my birthday hike will be hindered (if not cancelled) tomorrow.

On side news, my Uncle Mark talked me into having chicken noodle soup for supper last night (a Friday during Lent).  Uncle Mark said if G.I. Sawyer (my grandfather) were around he would say it was an acceptable exception because it wasn’t out of selfishness and I have an obligation to nourish my body back to health.  I think it might have actually made me happier to spend a few moments remembering my grandfather than it was to hear I could have Campbell’s Double Noodle Soup for supper.

Ann stopped by the store for me and picked up a can of the Double Noodle Soup before heading over to our house for March Madness.  She arrived with the bounty and shared an embarrassing observation.  When she was at the store and she got to the Campbell’s section of the soup aisle, she couldn’t find the Double Noodle Soup right away.  “It was in the kid’s section!” she revealed. 

That isn’t the only childlike facet of my diet–  I’ve been eating a lot of popsicles.  Normally, I probably would have written them off as a dessert without a second glance.  But you know what?  They really aren’t that bad for you.  They are only 40 calories a piece and are just water and fruit juice.  In fact, you get a good dose of vitamin C with each chilly pop.  I never would have noticed that if I hadn’t fallen ill.  And boy, that icy texture feels so good on my sick throat. 

I guess if I don’t get better soon, I’ll have to invest in a lot of chicken nuggets, tatertots and Capri Suns….oh, and some Cheerios.  🙂

March 17, 2007 at 8:17 pm 8 comments

Caesar Salads and Other Cheese Discoveries

Today was my 11th day without cheese or dessert.  I’m a lot hungrier than usual but so far so good.  As expected, the cheese is tougher than desserts.  I’ve had a few pleasant surprises with dishes that taste just as good without cheese.  But more often than not, I receive some tough reminders of my fast:

  1. There are a heck of a lot of commercials on TV that deal with cheese.  That Cheez-it commercial with the rolling boulder of cheese and the “Happy Cows Come From California” campaign never really stuck out that much in the past.  Now it seems they are on constantly.
  2. Last Saturday I went into CCS to catch up on some work.  I got hungry and decided to hit the snack machine.  Between sweets and cheese, the vending machine only offered me a handful of viable choices – Chex Mix and Peanut Butter Crackers.  That was a little eye-opening.
  3. Before Sean and I saw Breach on Tuesday, we went to eat dinner at Red Robin.  Guess what Red Robin’s featured burger is this month!  The “Mo-Cheese-Mo Cheeseburger” – a burger that sports four different type of cheeses.  Sean was quite amused by the abundant marketing for that burger on all the tables.
  4. Thursday, Derek, Sean and I had lunch together at Red Lobster.  When we were ordering, the waitress gave me a choice between a House Salad and a Caesar Salad.  I always get the House Salad but Caesar sounded pretty darn good so I went with that.  When the dish arrived, I inadvertantly gasped outloud (the poor waitress).  The entire salad was buried in paramesan cheese and doused in a paramesan cheese dressing.  I completely forgot what was on a Caesar salad.  Once again, my agnostic husband demonstrated great patience for my Lent selections.  He voluntarily switched his cheeseless House Salad with my Caesar Salad. 
  5. Today for lunch I suggested a new pork BBQ place in Blacksburg.  I picked it because my body was craving some meat and I figured it was a safe choice.  They don’t even put cheese on BBQ!  Well as sly and as calculated as I thought I was, I forgot about side dishes.  So I ended up getting to watch Ledman, Sean and Andy all enjoy macaroni and cheese and something called “twiced baked mashed potatos” (which sounds freaking awesome!) There was nothing about this scenario that wasn’t my doing.  I picked to give up cheese and I picked the restaurant.  What a nice little predictament I architected for myself.  🙂  On a side note, I’m definitely going to have to try that place again after Easter.

Welp, only 29 days left to go!  Hopefully poor Sean won’t have to switch any more dishes with me.

March 3, 2007 at 7:24 pm Leave a comment

The Sacrifice of Lent

Yesterday Mike E called me up for lunch.

“Sure,” I said, “But I can’t eat meat.”

Mike hesitated and said, “I thought that was cheese?”

“Well, that too!” I laughed and went on the explain the Friday meat restriction.

Patient Mike ended up picking a good lunch place– Sushi Factory at University Mall! He brought along a co-worker who was also observing Lent. As we enjoyed our meals, Mike’s co-worker pointed out that often on Fridays he ends up eating more extravagantly than usual, because he splurges on seafood.

I never really thought much about it, but that guy sure did hit the nail on the head yesterday! Last night for supper, Ann and I took her kids to Kabuki Japanese Steakhouse. Kabuki turned out to be the perfect place for my Lenten diet. It has plenty of fish and seafood to choose from, lots of veggies, not a single slice of cheese to be found…AND at Kabuki, one is always too stuffed to even think about dessert! 🙂

Kabuki was also the perfect place for the kids. We had a wait for our table, but they had plenty of aquariums to keep Penn and Gwyn occupied:


Penn enthralled with the Kabuki fish

The chef’s cooking performance mesmorized the children while the food is prepared:


Penn and Gwyn are too interested in the onion volcano to look at the camera.

Finally, the staff really seemed to take to the kids. The chef, in particular, was very Penn-friendly. He let Penn play with his spatula. He let Penn try to catch a shrimp with his mouth like the adults (Penn missed…twice). He encouraged Penn to show off his Tae-Kwon-Do moves to the entire table. Finally, when Penn annonced, “I LIKE RICE!”, the chef responded by giving Penn a whole plate full of rice!


Penn and his plate full of rice

So here I am at the beginning of my season of sacrifice and I had sushi for lunch and then Kabuki for dinner.

Yeah, I’m not quite living a deprived life at the moment! 🙂

P.S. Watch out Cafe de Bangkok. I have my sights set on you and your divine tofu for next Friday!

February 24, 2007 at 11:54 pm 1 comment

Spring Plans – Lent and Birthday Hike

Each year as spring approaches, I have two key decisions to make– what to give up for Lent and where I want to go on my annual birthday hike.  I still have time for both decisions, but here are my thoughts so far.

Lent 2007
This year, I’ve been throwing around a few ideas.  I would really like to tackle “Eating Out” with an exception for travel.  I actually pitched that idea a few years back.  My co-worker and frequent lunch buddy, Deanna, objected.

“Vicky, noooo!” she said, “That hurts the ones you love!”

She’s actually right.  Let’s focus on one loved one in particular.  I’ve spoken about Unsung Sean before and his support for my hobbies and beliefs he does not subscribe to.  Lent is another thing he has consistently demonstrated a lot of patience for.  He tolerates seafood and vegetable dishes on Fridays.  During a year I gave up TV, he would turn off the TV or turn it to news coverage on the newly commenced Iraq war (the only exception I set for myself ahead of time) so we could eat together.  Last year, he worked around meals with beef.  But, eliminating eating out for all meals…. that is probably pushing it a bit too far.

So…. I’m thinking 2007’s fate will be “Desserts and Cheese.”  Desserts after all these years is going to be child’s play.  Cheese, on the other hand, is going to be a formidable challenge.  I love cheese and I do ingest way too much of it.  I am particularly gluttonous when it comes to the cheese dip at the local Mexican restaurants.  🙂

As far as losing calcium intake, I’m not putting myself at a risk.  I eat plenty of calcium rich vegetables (brocolli, asparagus, snap peas, spinach) and I take a vitamin supplement.  Plus I’ll still have yogurt, milk and soy milk at my disposal.  So all I’ll really be losing is the fatty, salty, gooey goodness.

Birthday Hike!
I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail maintained by the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.  However, that isn’t one long continuous stretch of the AT.  It’s two sections that are seperated by a 20 mile stretch of trail that is maintained by Virginia Tech. 

This year for my birthday (Sunday March 18th), I would like to work towards connecting the two sections by doing at least some of that 20 mile stretch (from New River to Pine Swamp Shelter).  I’ll have to keep a close eye on the weather conditions as March comes around to determine whether I want to attempt an day hike (ambitious at my pace for the shortened days of late winter), do a backpacking trip with my new tent or just do a more managable dayhike using the Groundhog Trail to split the mileage.  Remembering all the snow on Sugar Run Gap during my 30th Birthday Hike, the Groundhog Trail option looks the most promising at the moment.  We’ll see. 

If, even after all this indecisiveness, you are in interested in joining me, let me know.  I’m sure Unsung Sean won’t mind sleeping in that day instead of helping set up cars.  Plus, I suspect I would rather enjoy the company!

February 12, 2007 at 9:13 pm 1 comment

Early Birthday Cake

This past weekend, Sean’s parents (Barbara and Ted) visited.  Barbara surprised me by presenting Sean and I with a homemade co-birthday cake.  If I thought about it, I would have expected a cake for Sean.  His birthday was in January.  But I would never have expected cake honors for me– my birthday is still over a month away! 


Happy Birthdays, Sean & Vicky

Turns out, Barbara’s gesture was even more thoughtful than it appeared! 

“I checked the calendar and Lent hadn’t started yet,” she said.

Smart lady.  I may not attend Mass every Sunday (or…ahem…every month), but one thing I am religious about is Lent.  I won’t eat meat on Fridays and each year I pick something to give up.  I’m actually quite fond of the exercise.  Quote from an email to Ryan Somma during last year’s Lent:

…I get the opportunity for a similar affirmation each year. It’s called Lent. I used it to test my resilience to my own addictions—most notably TV and desserts. I appreciate the trials I give myself and find pride in my successes. Truth be told, I look forward to Lent and discovering will power I didn’t even know I had.

The most common item I give up is desserts.  As a non-smoker and a pretty rare drinker (wine during football games is about it), my biggest weakness is desserts.  Even when I give up something else, desserts usually earn a spot on the list as well.  For example last year, I gave up beef and desserts.  One year I gave up desserts… and credit cards. 😉 

Anyway, since my birthday always falls during Lent, I haven’t had a birthday cake for quite some time.***  I don’t even remember the last time I ate a birthday cake for me.  So it was a very nice and thoughtful treat Barbara provided me!


***This isn’t to say I don’t get special birthday treats.  I am very lucky to have supportive (and creative!) friends.  Last year, Meredith Webber threw me a birthday dinner.  The dinner fell on a Friday so she made a vegetarian lasagna.  Instead of a dessert, Tony Airaghi provided some freshly sliced mangos.  They were just as fulfilling as any cake!  And each year for my birthday, Ana Sanchez makes me a batch of her divine taco salad (it is DELICIOUS!!!).  Last year, she thoughtfully made her recipe with ground turkey to accomodate my beef restriction.  With friends like this, who needs cake?

February 12, 2007 at 7:38 pm 3 comments


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