A Story (it's kinda long, but I promise it's worth it)
On my walk home from the metro, I usually pass a big, brown station wagon in which an elderly black man appears to live. I say appears because, while there are pillows and blankets laid out in the back like a makeshift bedroom, he's always very clean and orderly. I've seen a lot of homeless folks around the city and clean is not often a word I'd use to describe them (not a judgement-just an observation). Also, he's usually smoking a joint and those tend to cost money. So I don't really know his story. The only things I know for sure are that his car is parked across from an auto shop 95% of the time and he's usually probably stoned
This man and I, we've had a few interactions. The only time we exchanged actual words was on a rainy day this past spring when he yelled across the street, "No disrespect, ma'am, but you're gorgeous!" As far as I can tell he's a nice man and I've never gotten a "creepy old man" vibe from him, so I rather enjoyed the boost of confidence and smiled the rest of the way home. Since then, he waves and smiles when he sees me and I always wave and smile back.
Today as I slogged up the street in the 100 degree heat, I saw him sitting in the back of his car/bedroom so when I got closer, I gave a little wave and hello. He nodded and said hello back like usual, but then he stood up and walked a little closer to the sidewalk. What he said next was both the nicest compliment and biggest insult I've ever received. (These are his exact words- I know because I wrote them down as soon as I got home 3 minutes later.)
"Hey, I just have to tell you, girl- I am so proud of you. So proud of you. So proud. So proud. I mean, you've always been such a kind and gracious spirit to me, always, and I can tell you have a kind heart. But girl, you used to be a barrel and now...you're perfect. You're fine, girl. And I'm not just speaking of the flesh, girl. Your everything is beautiful. You are my soul sister, and I mean that."
I stood there a saying "thank you" over and over again and smiling like a goon because I was so embarrassed and then he said, "alright, I just had to tell you. You go on now, get home."
I walked away, embarrassed as all hell but smiling still, and, despite all of the really nice things he just said about me, the only part I could focus on was "a BARREL?!"
My original plan was to do the same old medicine ball workout I'd been doing, but after being reminded that I used to look like a barrel, I decided to step it up. I popped in 30 Day Shred and went right to Level 3. I wanted to see how I'd do after nearly a month of regular working out.
The verdict? I did pretty damn well! I still couldn't do some of the plyometrics, like jumping lunges and rock star jumps, but that's because of my ankle, not the size of my ass. I'm not willing to jeopardize my ability to walk just to make Jillian happy. But, other than that, I found it very doable. I was still a sweaty heap by the end, but it took me until the end of the first round to even start breathing heavy. By contrast, I used to be out of breath by the middle of the warm-up! That's excellent progress, if I do say so myself. And that's also Day 29.
After my workout (and a shower) I headed straight to the kitchen to get started on dinner. I figured I owed you guys a recipe since I've definitely been slacking in that department. I've been making up plenty of meals, I just never document them because I'm usually in a rush to get dinner done so we can eat at a decent hour. But today I went in with a recipe in mind and a camera in hand.
|Pretend there's a big batch of chickpeas included here...they were busy draining in the sink at the time.|
This recipe is not my own. In fact, it was just posted by another blogger today. It's a fortunate coincidence that I recently bought a bunch of fresh parsley at the grocery store for the sole purpose of whipping up and documenting a batch of falafel wraps to post on the blog. When I found Ashley's recipe, Falafel with a Twist, it looked so good in salad form that I decided to just try out her recipe and add a few twists of my own.
I followed the patty recipe exactly, right down to the last sprinkle of salt. I was worried about the texture at first, thinking that I over processed them, but they turned out perfectly.
I plated my version on top of a salad just like Ashley did, but I added my own tahini dressing (tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water) and a quick cucumber sauce (Greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, a clove of garlic, a squirt of lemon, and a sprinkle of dried mint). I also threw a sprinkle of feta on top as an afterthought.
This is my kind of salad! I loved the freshness of the salad topped with the heartiness of the patties. Along with the sauces, everything mixed together perfectly to create a trifecta of deliciousness. I recommend you throw an extra can or two of chickpeas in your cart the next time you're at the grocery store and give this one a shot.