Fitness vs. Fatness: Birthday Weekend

The past several days have been jam packed with fun. On Friday, we set sail from Baltimore around 4:30 and ran into minimal traffic. About 2.5 hours later, we arrived in my hometown in time for a snack and my parents’ Friday night special: garlic bread with cured ham, provolone cheese, Jersey tomatoes, grilled asparagus, and fresh basil. We then commenced chilling and my sister and I stayed up working through most of Kings Quest 6.

The following morning, I got up around 7 and went to Oh What A Bagel for my obligatory pork roll, egg, and cheese on a poppy seed bagel. My step dad and I loaded the kayak on the roof of his truck and after breakfast, my mom dropped us off at the bay for our trip over to the beach. My mom took several dramatic pictures of us getting the boat into the water, pushing off, and starting to paddle.

About 2 minutes after my mom drove away, we realized that there was no way we were going to make it across the bay. Some maniacal combination of wind and current kept twisting the boat into the wrong position. Nothing short of vigorous paddling one one side of the kayak could keep us straight, and as a result, we made little to no progress.

After a shameful few minutes back to shore, we unsealed our phones from their waterproof bags and hailed my mom to come pick us up. At this point, it was getting to be almost 9:30, we hadn’t picked up lunch yet, and concerns were running high that IBSP may close before we got there. This would have killed my weekend.

Thankfully, we were able to afford a fast stop at Wawa for subs (smoked turkey, american, sweet and hot peppers, and vinegar FTW) and still make it to the beach early enough to get in. Despite my initial concerns that it would not be warm out on Saturday (before we got there) and that the waves would be too small for body boarding (after we got there), my fears were needless. The waves were small, but potent, and actually made for quite fun riding. Regarding the warmth of the sun…my peeling sunburn is a testament to how wrong I was.

Melanoma lures you in with the promise of relaxation.

After several hours of laying, eating, skimboarding, and body boarding, we left the beach and made a pit stop at the boardwalk. One cone from Kohr’s and two caramel apples later, we were back on the road. THEN we stopped at Rich’s ice cream shop for my sister to get ice cream. Don’t ask how it happened, but I ended up with a huge milkshake there too.

One of the many amazing things that started in NJ.

After a nice shower and some more chilling, we had excellent steaks, corn, and tomatoes for dinner. Finally, in one last round of gluttony, we sat down for my mom’s AMAZING carrot cake. Seriously, best I ever had.

It's essentially a health food.

On Sunday, my mom made french toast (the woman has a gift with carbs) before leaving for her business trip. I dragged my feet for a while and finally headed out around 3. My dad and grandparents took us out to eat that night (where I gorged on cheese ravioli with shrimp and a cannoli) and we finally made our way back to Baltimore.

Yesterday, my actual birthday, the three best friends assembled in Baltimore. Work had been especially crazy for some reason, so it was amazing to have a relaxing evening spent exploring my new homestead. We ate at Teavolution (wings and pizza and bread pudding and tea and @#(T^WJEFJSKDNMASKCSD) which was very nice. It also happened to be open mic night, so we got to see some serious characters while we ate.

Thus my birthday concluded with a bulging stomach. My only attempt at health over the weekend, the kayaking expedition, failed so hard that I think it may have made me gain weight. It was all totally worth it though. Now it’s just time to find a gym in Baltimore.

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Fitness vs. Fatness: New Jersey Part 2

It’s interesting how we come to associate certain activities, foods, and senses (read:music and smells) with places. As I mentioned earlier, I’m back in NJ this weekend and no matter how many times I come back, I can never resist going back to a few specific things when I come home.

First, I always feel like I need to go for a run. I ran for years and years in Double Trouble, learning new paths, fusing them, and perfecting the combination for whatever mileage I was in the mood to do. Since I’m home so infrequently now, I feel like I’m insulting my memories if I don’t hit it up for at least one run each time. In case you’re bored and in NJ, check out my favorite route here: Double Trouble Run

Next, a summer morning will never be complete without one of the following: Pancakes or french toast from my mom or a pork roll, egg, and cheese on a poppy from Oh What A Bagel. With my mom gone this weekend, my options were pared down. Of course, it’s not like I minded. Pork roll is notoriously hard to find outside of the Garden State and as far as breakfast meats go, it’s definitely my favorite.

The best part of waking up.

If it’s the summer, dinner is never complete without something grilled. Steaks, veggies, burgers, hot dogs…it’s all good in my book. I can, and always do, pound an obscene amount of Jersey corn when I’m here as well. Since I’m just cooking for me and my sister tonight, I decided to stick to the some basic burgers and corn (protip: for awesome corn, boil water, add a splash of milk, add corn and remove from heat until tender). Again, not complaining.

I also made a massive batch of my mom’s lemon iced tea, the greatest summer beverage in the world (sorry, not much of a drinker here).

I'll drink the hell out of this though.

On a side note, when I fired up the grill for the burgers, I had a bit of deja vu. I can still vividly remember the first burger I ever cooked. It was the summer after my freshman year of high school and I was chilling at home playing some Morrowind. My brother stopped in to see if I was hungry, which I always am, and we scoured the house for some grub. Our search yielded a few frozen patties, Thomas’s bagels, a slice of cheese, and some House of Blues hot sauce. Not too fancy, but without a license, a car, or a job, times were tough.

It was half raining, half misting at the time (just like it is now), but we grilled the burgers outside (as I am now), and I retired to my room with the burger and some tea. As someone who loves the rain, I pulled up my blinds, opened my windows, and listened to the rain while I ate the burger. Then I continued playing Morrowind, in which it was also raining, and marveled at how awesome my day was. It’s seriously bizarre how some moments in life stand out so incredibly clear, while more important and practical things evade our conscious. I also really, really want to play Morrowind now, but I’m afraid that I won’t go to sleep at all tonight if I do.

Then again, it would be totally worth it.

Anyway, my mom’s coworker has a birthday on Monday, so Jesse and I baked a carrot cake for her to take in. I siphoned off some of the batter before baking to make a few cupcakes for us too.

I’d better hit up Double Trouble again on my way back to Maryland.

Fitness vs. Fatness: New Jersey Part 1

Oh Jersey. Oh Jersey, Jersey, Jersey. I didn’t have the highest of
hopes for you last night. Sometimes, a week worth of 3 hours commutes takes its
toll and I begin to doubt that I’m up for a 3-4 hours drive back to
Jersey on a Friday; however, I sometimes agree to come back to help
out, and I’ll be damned if I back out of it. Still, It doesn’t help that
I get up around 5 on Friday’s to go into work early. Sprinkle some insomnia in from Thursday night with the fact that I’d be making the drive without my two miniature travel companions, and things
were looking dismal.

But Jersey…dear, sweet Jersey. Before I go any further, I should
insert a disclaimer. I love my home state a whole lot. People like to
dump on it and I don’t take it well. I always liked it, but going out
of state for college and work has only increased its siren-like call,
constantly beckoning me back. I tend to enjoy things more when I’m
here, I become enter a semi-euphoric state, and stress drains out of me in pools.
Therefore, please expect to hear about the state a lot. Now, back to
Friday.

I figured today was going to be a traffic-filledĀ  wash. Leave it to Jersey
to bring things back around. While driving back, I began to feel
guilty about my recent laziness. I haven’t been running as much as I
used to and I didn’t feel great about it. Unfortunately, it was
absurdly hot and humid and I’d been low on energy all day. Then I got
back to my hometown and the air became sweeter. The temperature
dropped by about 15 degrees. I felt alive again.

I decided to take a detour before going back to my house. I pulled
into Double Trouble, my all time favorite running haunt, changed into
running clothes in my car, and took off. The bugs were pretty awful
today actually, but it was so damn nice that I couldn’t help but get a
big, stupid grin. After a nice little jog, I took a dive into Cedar
Creek, threw a towel on my seat, and went home.

Not a bad way to start the weekend.

It’s pretty good that I decided to run too, because dinner was
delicious and I didn’t hold back. My stepdad Jim has a knack for
simple, amazing dinners with fantastic Jersey grown ingredients.
Steaks with corn and grilled squash, onions and eggplant; Egg noodles
with locally grown brussel sprouts; plenty of other delicious things. Today’s
was garlic toast, sliced provolone, spicy sliced ham, fresh tomato,
asparagus tossed with garlic, and fresh basil.

Also not a bad way to start the weekend.

All in all, not a terribly unhealthy meal, but nothing is too healthy
in bulk. Oh well, I’ve come to expect some splurges when I’m back in
NJ. Everything takes me back to a tastier place and I’m afraid I’d be
missing out on the experience if I was nitpicking. Here’s to health.