Poutine post

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I'm assuming most everyone knows what poutine is, but for those not familiar, poutine is a dish that originated in Canada and consists of three primary ingredients: french fries, fresh cheese curds (not fried), and a gravy. I've never had a real poutine, although a year or so ago, I did sample a Wisconsin-variant while at the Sprecher brewery. Sprecher's take included french fries, beer-battered cheese curds, and queso. Yummy. ...man, I really need to get off of this diet...

So... why the unusual title for this entry? I've been extremely busy as of late, and haven't had a ton of time to keep-up with the blog - as evidenced by my 13-day lag between posts. As such, I've got a few things that I'd like to jaw about, and would like to combine them into a single post. I thought about calling it a casserole, a stew, or something "combo-ish" (mmm, Combos), but realized that I've used those titles in the past. And that's where poutine comes in - three stories all combined into a single post. That, and I'm hungry for some serious junk food.

Now let's dig-in to this dish before it gets cold.

First ingredient: running/eating/progress

As I previously mentioned, I'm in the middle of a 100-day commitment to eat well and to avoid going out for any type of drinks. I'm about 40-days along; I've had two cheat days - not any major blowouts, but I did cheat. Not too happy about that, but I've been incredibly dedicated on all of the other days, so I can't complain too much.

Looking back at my totals, I managed to log nearly 95-miles of running in January (averaged 3.77-miles per day; 25 days). My total caloric intake for the month of January was 35,401. I've shed 22-lbs and am sitting at 175 as of this morning. So, not a bad month. I know these last 15 are going to drop slowly, so I'll have to stay focused and not expect any rapid drops in February.

I am embarrassed to say that I didn't do a darned thing today... I slept-in, I watched a few movies on AppleTV, and cleaned the house, but that was all. No running, no riding... I felt lazy. And now I feel like a real slug... I'll hit it hard tomorrow. Guess I needed a break.

Second ingredient: sleep aid

During the winter months, I like to keep the house cool. My thermostat is set to drop the temperature to 60F at night; I can throw extra blankets on the bed and am more than comfortable.

Unfortunately, my new bedmate (FiFi) doesn't share the same enthusiasm for a cool house as I do, and she certainly doesn't like to crawl into a cold bed. In fact, after I place her on the bed at night, she runs to the pillow and sits defiantly, as if to say, "Oh heck no! I will not climb into that chilly bed!"

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I'll crawl into the bed and beg Feef to climb in so that I can go to sleep. I'll raise up the covers, pat on the bed, do a Mr. Miagi-like "hot hands" to pre-warm a spot for her, plead, bargain, and demand that she crawl in. All without any luck. Instead, she usually lies down on the pillow and waits for me to turn off the lights (I have a remote for my ceiling fan).

Once the lights go off, she'll slink over to my pillow and will usually lie on my neck. And while she's only 4-lbs, she's pretty good at making any chance of some sleep (or breathing) seem impossible.

Finally, after an hour or so, she'll cave and crawl under the sheets. Then she'll curl-up into a tight little ball and press as hard as she possibly can into my armpit or belly.

Desperate to get a decent night's sleep, I broke down and bought a Soft Heat low-voltage mattress warming pad. I bought one with dual zones so that I could set one side for Feefer and the cats to be warm, and then leave my side of the bed cool.

It arrived, and I set it up. I read the instructions which indicated I should begin with both controllers set to "HI" and then adjust the temperature down as necessary. "Fat chance of that happening," I said. I set my side on "4" and the critters' side on "6."

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I lifted Feef onto the bed and she immediately ran to the pillow. The pad won't heat the bed unless you're actually lying on the mattress - I was a bit surprised to find cold sheets when I rolled-back the sheets and quilts. But within a minute, I could feel the heat radiating from the mattress pad. And so could FiFi - like a moth to the flame, she instantly zinged under the quilts and burrowed into my armpit. PERFECT!

Perfect until about 2am, when I woke-up, sweating like Scott Walker (our governor has an issue with appearing to sweat uncontrollably). That mattress pad was H-O-T hot! I looked over at the controller, which still showed a "4" for my side. I immediately dialed it down to "1" and began peeling away the quilts.

I looked over to the other side of the bed and both cats were sprawled on the quilts, legs outstretched, snoring. I could feel heat radiating from their side of the mattress. I leaned over and set their side to "4." They didn't seem to notice...

And then I wondered, "Where's Fifi? She's not laminated against my torso."

I lifted the last of the sheets up to look for her, and I found her "straddling" the two zones of the bed, fully outstretched, and slow panting - "Hehhhh!" (breathe in) "Hehhhhh!" (breathe in) "Hehhhhhh!" she was so warm, she was balmy feeling. I tried to move her and her pants turned into a soft growl, as if to say - "Don't even think about it."

I literally laughed at 2:00am. I swear I saw a steam vapor trail coming from her belly... but she loves it. Nights have been a breeze (for her), even if I feel waaaay too warm by 2:00am, even with my side set to "1." I think I'm going to leave my side off tonight, just to see how it goes.

The things we do for our pets....

Final ingredient: Chicago

I've been spending a lot of time in Chicago, thanks to my work project. This past week, I was in the windy city for 4-days, so I took advantage of a free night and visited a few shops along Michigan avenue, including Truefitt & Hill.

You may recall my interest in shaving brushes, creams, razors, and scuttles from a few years' back. Well, I was almost out of my favorite shaving cream (T&H 1805), so I figured I would head over to the Chicago Truefitt store and grab a refill.

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I also grabbed a new shaving brush, and enjoyed a straight-razor shave from the experts at the store (it's also a barber- and shave-shop). Wow. That was awesome. I'm not a huge fan of the new brush, but I'll give it a fair shot...

On my way back from Chicago, I was impressed by the "iced trees" - it was apparently much cooler in Wisconsin than in Chicago... I love it when there's a little moisture mixed with some freezing temps - these photos don't do it justice, but perhaps you'll get some idea of what I'm blabbering about...

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And there you have it. A trio of stories; none directly linked, but I'm hoping you enjoyed them. Now go get yourself some poutine, and have a great rest of the weekend.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on February 4, 2012 9:32 PM.

So... anyone notice how cold out it's been? was the previous entry in this blog.

I love cats... ...but not this much... is the next entry in this blog.

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