Category Archives: Lindsay celebrates

TRIed. Succeeded.

Goal #1 is officially complete. I finished a triathlon.

But, that’s kinda cheating. Because when I made that goal, I meant complete an Olympic distance triathlon – 1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run – and the triathlon I did this weekend was a sprint, half that distance. Eh, details.

So, let’s just say the goal is nearly complete. Or better yet, I have two Olympic distance races scheduled for July and September, so we’ll just let those fulfill goals #2 and #3, per the list. So that’s one down, 11 to go!

For the record, I’m not doing so hot on the rest of the Top 12 to Tackle list. But that shouldn’t be a surprise to you, because… I haven’t blogged in FOREVER! Between work and training, life has not allowed for time to write, or do much of anything else, really. So much for follow through. Hopefully I’ll be back soon in all my blogging glory. A social life would also be nice…

Anywho, this blog isn’t called Lindsay Complains, it’s called Lindsay Learns. So here’s what I learned from my first official triathlon:

  • SWIM: Wetsuits are strangely flattering, even though you look and feel like sea lion.
  • BIKE: Chains can indeed pop off the rings. Not cool when it happens during a race, but cool when it happens on the way downhill and somehow fixes itself. THAT could have been treacherous.
  • RUN: It’s ok if 50 year old women pass you. Good on them. In addition, runs are made better when the band starts playing Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” and you pretend like you are Forrest Gump running across the country with doting followers trailing your path.  Talk about getting a second wind.

More learnings to come. Eventually.

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Brothers vs. Sisters

Older brothers suck.

Allow me to give you some background, in the form of an email conversation with my older brother, Kenny:

Kenny: Yo….write a blog about childhood old brother torture. That’d be funny.
Me: That taught me nothing. Other than that you suck.
Kenny: I figured you’d make light and hilarity of it. Everything happens for a reason. After all, you brought half of it on yourself. Or don’t write about it. Whatever.
Me: That sounds like a challenge. And you know I don’t back down on a challenge. So you know you are going to win this, and I’ll have to write it, just so I’m not backing down. Damn you for knowing how to get to me. Give me a week.

Eight weeks later, welcome to my blog post! Drafted just in time for, and in honor of,  Kenny’s BirthWeek. Here are my preliminary learnings:

  • I am the ultimate procrastinator.
  • Older brothers suck because they constantly challenge you (or is this why they rock…?).
  • I repressed a lot of my childhood memories courtesy of said “torture”.

What was this “torture”, you ask? Well, what was once a horrible experience is now a hilarious story, and I actually give my brother props for it…

Picture it: 1990-something. Kenny, age 16-ish; Lindsay, age 11-ish. Lindsay probably did something that irritated Kenny and/or Kenny probably did something that irritated Lindsay. A good ol’ sibling quarrel broke out. Considering Kenny was twice Lindsay’s size, he won. How did he win? By flipping Lindsay upside down, holding her by the ankles, dipping her hair in a bucket of water, and using her head as a mop on the kitchen floor.

In hindsight: well played, sir.

But why were Kenny and I constantly fighting, bickering, and more than anything, competing? Birth order. According to some scientists, theorists and other people trying to recover from troubled childhoods (fair assumption) birth order – first born, middle child, youngest, oops-baby, etc. – affects personality traits and sibling relationships. Today, I learned that those folks are right. Well, in regards to Kenny and me they are.

Here are some theories I learned about birth order. I’ve marked each as true or false, and offered a rationale as to why. (Very scientific, I know):

Claim #1: Firstborns are “dethroned” when a second child comes along, and this may have a lasting influence on them.

  • Assessment: True.
  • Rationale: More than 5 years went by before I was born, and I was better than him. Thus, I got the throne. Only fair. To this day, Kenny is still angry because I look better on it. But who would you give the throne to? The angelic one or the problem child:

Claim #2: Younger children may be pampered and spoiled, which can also affect their later personalities

  • Assessment: True.
  • Rationale: See rationale for claim #1.

Claim #3: Firstborns are more conscientious.

  • Assessment: False.
  • Rationale: We are equally conscientious, just in different ways. Kenny is more diligent and reliable, while I’m more aware and careful – particularly in dealing with others.

Claim #4: Firstborns are more socially dominant.

  • Assessment: True.
  • Rationale: I may be good at working a room, but Kenny knows how to own it.

Claim #5: Firstborns are less agreeable.

  • Assessment: True.
  • Rationale: Because he’ll probably disagree with my assessment.

Claim #6: Firstborns are less open to new ideas.

  • Assessment: False.
  • Rationale: This second born can fit into that theory as well. While we’re both very open-minded, we can be very stubborn if we have a lot of faith and passion for our own idea. We can be convinced, but you’ll need one hell of an argument and we’ll still probably counter.

Claim #7: Firstborns are more conservative.

  • Assessment: Mostly true.
  • Rationale: Politically, yes. Fiscally, yes. Socially, eh. Fashionably, no chance. He thought this was a good idea: (Embarrassing)

Claim #8: Firstborns rank higher in achievement.

  • Assessment: True.
  • Rationale: While I make efforts to excel, Kenny makes specific goals and rarely deviates from the plan to achieve them. He’s more about the journey and the goal; I’m more about completion and the win.

Claim #9: Relationships evolve over time.

  • Assessment: False.
  • Rationale: If Kenny had the opportunity, I’m positive he would attempt the hair as a mop thing again.

Happy BirthWeek brother!

Note: These claims were pulled from Wikipedia’s birth order page and its references list.
 

Top 11 and 12 to Tackle

Now that my last mistakes of 2011 have been made, and my vacay is over, it’s time to write again. Apologies for being MIA.

Lindsay Learns recaps the things I learn day-to-day, but as we’re now moving year-to-year, how about I highlight the top 11 things I learned in 2011?!

Ok. Now let’s be serious. I have the memory of a goldfish.

I’m sure my 2011 lessons were important, but I can’t actively remember enough to make a thoughtful list. So instead, I’ll recap the 11 things I learned while on blog hiatus over the past 2-ish weeks:

  1. When the bartender fails, reach over the bar and pour your own drinks. (Fact)
  2. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is an appropriate substitute for grace at Christmas dinner. (Lesson taught by my 2.5 year old niece.)
  3. Boxing is not for the faint of heart. Nor is Hip Hop.
  4. I received a Christmas miracle in the form of a coat. (Hmm, this may need to be separate post, stay tuned.)
  5. Apples to Apples is most fun when you are politically outnumbered.
  6. Good friends usually offer good advice – even if it takes you months to finally listen.
  7. If you have a gluten allergy, don’t test it…
  8. I can swim one mile, non-stop. (I suppose I knew this, but it was harder than I thought.)
  9. I can run 6 miles, non-stop. (Did NOT know this, and it was easier than I thought.)
  10. I hope I can cycle 25 miles non-stop, and then put it together with #8 and #9, because I’m signing up for a triathlon. (Whaaaaat?)
  11. I need a bike.

In 2012, I’ll do a better job of tracking my lessons (via LindsayLearns.com, of course), so expect a more thorough year-in-review learnings list in roughly 365 days, assuming the world doesn’t end. To kick these lessons off, please find below 12 things to tackle (not necessarily resolutions) in 2012:

  1. Per #8 – #11 above: complete a triathlon (I’ll chronicle this initiative in the “Lindsay TRIes” category)
  2. And because it’s a triathlon, I think it’s only fair that it occupies three of these goals…
  3. (See #2)
  4. Stop relying on the Whole Foods prepared section and put my new gluten-free cookbooks to work. If my cooking is anything like my baking, expect some entertaining blog posts in the near future, chronicled under the “Lindsay cooks” category.
  5. Waste two more hours of my life on part two. Do not waste 10 hours of my life watching the marathons on FX…again.
  6. Per #6 on the 2011 list: don’t cheat myself and embrace change – could pay off better than expected.
  7. Increase the ROI and wear my glasses. (Largely in an effort to fish for more Eva Mendes references.)
  8. Finish the Harry Potter book series (a 2010 Christmas gift) some time before Christmas 2012.
  9. Take advantage of my height and make some magic happen for my clients and my teams.
  10. Be more attentive to my phone and promptly reply to voicemails. (Sorry, family.) Also, be more accepting of my generation’s communication preferences by embracing text messages. (And by text messages I mean iMessages – not paying for something I hate.)
  11. Use fewer parentheses because I realize it’s getting obnoxious. (Sorry for being easily distracted.) (And sorry I’m long-winded.) (Also, sorry that I have comments on my comments.)
  12. And of course, follow through.

On a separate note… A Christmas Story on TV is great; but A Christmas Story on a boat, even better. Enjoy:

Read Labels or have Pink Cheesecake

Right now, there is a pink cheesecake in my oven. (I know that sounds questionable/dirty, but read on…)

Thanksgiving is upon us. This means turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, casseroles of various sorts, and pumpkin pie. If you are like me and you don’t like pumpkin pie (slash can’t eat it), you need an alternative. Enter: cheesecake.

I’ve been gluten-free for almost a year and half now. This was driven first by my being a trend-follower, and also in an effort to improve my swimming stamina, until I learned in January 2011 that I actually have a “gluten sensitivity” and must be diligent in reading labels. I’ve also been sugar-free (-ish), so dessert options are hard to come by. That’s when I began making my own gluten-free, sugar-free cheesecakes which have been praised by my friends, family and coworkers.

And that’s about all I can cook.

So, while preparing to make my cheesecake for tomorrow’s festivities, I decided to get creative and add two of my favorite ingredients to the mix: chocolate and coconut.

Everything was going well. I followed the preparation instructions correctly:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Pour glass of wine for inspiration
  3. Turn on holiday music (which was “Little Dummer Boy” and not very cheery, so I switched to the 90’s station and the first song was Usher’s “Nice and Slow”… win!)

Then I started the rest of the recipe…

Crust went fine. Almond meal is mad expensive, but almonds are mad cheap. So I make my own by placing blanched almonds in a coffee grinder. If my cheesecake tastes a bit like DD coffee = bonus.

Then I moved on to the filling… Again, everything was going fine until I got to the “1 tsp of vanilla extract” part. Now on my second glass of wine, and busy rocking out to Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love” then playing on the 90’s channel, I reached into my spice cabinet and pulled out what I thought was vanilla extract…except that is was red food coloring.

Two seconds later, my filling mix was pink. (Damn it!)

Not in the mood to start over and/or walk to Whole Foods for more organic (yes) Neufchâtel cream cheese (yes, again), I decided to go with it. I added the coconut flakes and chocolate bar crushed into morsels and popped that bad boy in the oven. (BTW – the chocolate was crumbled by the end of a power screwdriver because I couldn’t find my hammer and I don’t own a rolling pin…)

Thirty minutes later: my cheesecake looks like a freckled Elmo. Silver lining: if it doesn’t end up tasting great, at least it looks friendly.

What I learned today: I’m good at reading labels in the grocery store, not so much my kitchen. Also, perhaps the 90’s music station should wait until after the cheesecake goes in the oven (FYI – it’s now Ace of Base’s “The Sign” – amazing). Lastly, one could do worse than have pink cheesecake for Thanksgiving; it could be pumpkin pie.

Anywho, here’s the recipe…

Lindsay’s Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Cheesecake in Pink

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2 tsp melted butter
  • 1 Splenda packet (or another sugar substitute)

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 cream cheese blocks, 8 oz each (I like Neufchâtel because there are fewer calories. Judge.)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 20 packets of Splenda (or another sugar substitute)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract red food coloring
  • 1 ounce no sugar added coconut flakes (make sure it’s GF)
  • 1 ounce no sugar added chocolate (make sure it’s GF)

Directions:

  • Combine crust ingredients in a bowl and press into the bottom of a pie dish.
  • Place crust in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes until golden brown, then remove from oven.
  • Mix cream cheese (soften it by microwaving for a minute), eggs, sour cream, and vanilla food coloring in a large bowl and beat with a mixer or wisk until fluffy.
  • Once ingredients are well blended, mix in coconut flakes and crumbled chocolate morsels.
  • Place in the oven, mid rack. Immediately change the temperature from 400 degrees to 200 degrees, allowing the cheesecake to bake in a slowly dropping temperature environment.
  • Bake for about 60 to 90 minutes, until firm to the touch.
  • Get creative by dripping leftover melted chocolate and coconut flakes on top.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to the refrigerator.
  • Allow it to cool completely before serving. Consider serving with fresh berries and topping off with no sugar added whipped cream. I plan to serve it with raspberries and strawberries just to confuse everyone about the color/flavor – why not?

Happy Pinksgiving!