Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

Aug 252015

I should have just started numbering these posts this way from the beginning! It would have been easier. But oh well, I’m starting now. :)

It’s been a busy summer and I’ve gone through a bit of a dry spell lately. I read some books that weren’t that great or just so-so. But here is a wrap up of a few that were worthy of sharing. If you want to follow my reviews on Goodreads, friend me!

1. Spillover by David Quammen 

Non-fiction science book! I do love science and I particularly love viruses and outbreak type books. I don’t know why, because I’m a huge germaphobe. You’d think it would freak me out too much to read stuff like this, but it doesn’t. I find it fascinating. The Hot Zone is a great book. Outbreak is one of my favorite movies. :) I heard about this book on a science podcast I listen to (Talk Nerdy) and got the book from the library right away!

This book is very well written and while it’s scientific, it’s not over your head hard to read. The subject? Zoonosis.

“Zoonosis is an animal infection transmissible to humans, There are more such diseases than you might expect. AIDS is one, Influenza is a whole category of others. [pg14]….When a pathogen leaps from some nonhuman animal into a person, and succeeds there in establishing itself as an infectious presence, sometimes causing illness or death, the result is a zoonosis. [pg 20]”

He goes on to give some examples of zoonosis: SARS, Ebola, Bubonic plague, bird flu, swine flu, monkeypox, Marburg virus, Lyme disease, West Nile fever, rabies, hantavirus, Lassa fever, anthrax, the list goes on and on.

Each chapter is a different story of an animal getting sick from something and passing it on to humans. The first chapter is about the Hendra Virus in Australia, which originated from flying foxes (what a great name for bats!) that moved to horses and the humans. There are several chapters on Ebola, one on Marburg and also AIDS.

The chapter on AIDS was particularly fascinating. It discussed some of the origins of it and how they think it moved into humans. They think the sooty mangabey monkey might be the original host. And boy is it a cute little guy–such a shame!


“The sooty mangabey is treated by local people as an annoying but edible sort of vermin. Sometimes also, if they’re not too hungry, they adopt an orphan juvenile as a pet. What brought the sooty mangabey to the attention of AIDS researchers was coincidence and an experiment on leprosy. [pg 400]” They did some research and “the unlucky three also developed simian AIDS. Suffering chronic diarrhea and weight loss, they wasted away and died. [pg 401]” They did a bunch of other tests on the sooty mangabey monkeys and “revealed that the virus was ‘endemic’ among them. Not just among captive sooty mangbeys but also in the wild. They were infected but healthy, which suggested that the virus had a long history in their kind.”

“‘A plausible interpretation of these data….is that in the past 30-40 years SIV from a West African sooty mangabey (or closely related species) successfully infected a human and evolved as HIV-2.’ It was official: HIV-2 is a zoonosis. But what about HIV-1? Where did the great killer come from? The logical inference was that HIV-1 must be zoonotic in origin also. But what animal was its resevoir? [pg 402]”

Overall the book was packed with information about a lot of different viruses. If you like science and this type of history, give it a try!

2. Dry Bones: A Walt Longmire Mystery Book 11 by Craig Johnson

So good! I LOVED the latest installment of this series. There was quite a big surprise in the book, I won’t give it away, but it came out of nowhere and was really well written. The main story was about a complete T-Rex skeleton discovered on Native land and the fight that follows on who owns the bones. There’s a murder, a mystery and as usual in these books there’s magic and adventure. One of my favorites of this series I think.


3. The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen 

I’d give this book 3.5  out of 5 stars but because the ending was really exciting and really well done I’m rounding up to 4 stars. The story is about a new department in the police unit solving “special cases”–basically a cold case unit. The first case investigated is about a congresswoman who mysteriously disappeared 5 years ago.

I was on the fence for the first part of this book. It started a little slow but the biggest issue for me was the main character, Carl. He wasn’t likeable at all. He was kind of a giant ass and just didn’t come across well. Sure, he’s the jaded, burned-out cop clique with his demons but at least with Harry Hole (for example, another series from that area of the world) you liked Harry despite of his flaws. Not so much with Carl. I just never warmed up to him throughout the book.

I loved his assistant Assad. The story was unique and kind of crazy! (I don’t want to give away any spoilers.) Overall I liked the book and couldn’t put it down once the action ramped up.


4. Red Bones by Ann Cleaves

This is book #3 in the Shetland series and detective Jimmy Perez is back to investigate an “accidental death” on the island. Was it a drunk accident late in the night that shot the old woman? Or was it something else? This book brings back characters from the other two books but also introduces new characters. There’s also an archaeological dig going on on the property of the dead woman. Then there’s another suspicious death. The book was fast moving and I enjoyed the story. The ending was a bit sad but not disappointing.

5. Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

I’ve read a few of the Temperance Brennan books but not in order and I decided to start from the beginning. This is book 1 in the series and it was quite a good read. If you watch “Bones” you know it’s based on these books. Another thing I’ve seen some of–a few episodes here and there but never from the beginning–and now I’m starting to watch Bones on Netflix from the beginning (thank you back injury, right?). I find it confusing because Bones is VERY loosely based on the books. So don’t fear spoilers if you want to read the books. The characters and story seem very different than the TV show.

This book was fast paced and I liked the main character a lot (honestly, a lot more than the tv version). The mystery was interesting with enough plot turns to keep the pages turning but not confusing. I will keep reading the series!

6. A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny

Loved loved loved this book! It’s another one in the Armand Gamache series. This time Armand and his wife are staying at a rustic lodge to celebrate their anniversary. Another family (rich) is staying there as well for a reunion and surprisingly some friends from Three Pines show up too. Everything is going along fine when suddenly there is a murder. It was a cozy whodunit and it reminded me a lot of the movie Clue. :) The mystery was so fascinating and I loved all the new characters. The ending was very satisfying and I was bummed when I finished the book!


7.  Blue Lightning (Shetland #4) by Ann Cleeves

Book 4 in the series. This time detective Jimmy Perez brings his fiance back to the Fair Isles to meet his family before their wedding. It’s a very remote island and of course there’s a murder he must solve! As the story unfolds you discover the murder victim was not a nice or good person, cheating on her husband with everyone…so who killed her? Then there’s another murder and Perez needs to figure out if they are connected. I don’t want to give away a spoiler but the ending is SHOCKING.

Pg 17 Thursday-book
Stay tuned for the next installment. I have a few books that I’m really excited to start reading soon!

Aug 242015

Saturday I awoke to a yellow, glowing hazy outside. The light was very weird, abnormal, and I couldn’t figure out why until I went outside. Then I realized it was all the wildfires in Oregon. Apparently the wind shifted and Portland was engulfed in a haze. It was gross, smelly and hard for me to breathe. Thankfully I already had plans to go to the gym and not try to run outside or go for a hike. I don’t see hiking in the future until the air quality clears up.

It was the first time I was back at lifting weights since my back injury. I took it easy and focused on things like shoulders, triceps and core instead of my back. I was back at doing my PT exercises and glute/core work. It felt good to do it again. Then I did a walk/run on the treadmill. First run since my 5k! I felt pretty good and did 2.5 miles.

I burned 559 calories, went home to clean up and have lunch (leftover turkey enchiladas I made). Saturday I spent most of the day inside to avoid the smoke!

Saturday evening we went to a friend’s house for dinner. It was so good to see them! And to get out of the house and be social. After my back stuff I kind of hid in the house for awhile. I was tired, feeling wounded and a little bit mopey I think. I didn’t do much socializing (aside from our parents visiting) so once I was starting to feel more like myself I was glad to see some friends.

They made delicious margaritas from scratch (limeade, rhubarb compote, simple syrup, lime verbena juice and ice). So delicious and refreshing!! Mine was a virgin because me and Tequila AIN’T friends. No thank you!


Dinner was grilled chicken, corn on the cob and a delicious salad with greens, mint, feta, onions and watermelon.


For dessert they made root beer floats with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. What a treat! I can’t remember the last time I had a root beer float…


It was a fun night. The kids are getting so big.


Michael made french toast for breakfast. It was quite a treat. I hadn’t had french toast in I don’t know how long…at least a year. I’ve been craving it recently and Michael kindly satisfied my craving. He made the fabulous Martha Stewart recipe (it’s a winner for sure).


After breakfast I went to the gym. It was too late for yoga class and honestly I was a bit too sore for it I think. Those jump squats always do me in. I was so sore (hamstrings) from Saturday’s workout. Instead I used the elliptical for a mild workout.


Sometimes doing something like the elliptical can help loosen up the sore muscles. Time will tell. The afternoon was spent in the kitchen working on tomatoes from the garden. I decided to can whole tomatoes. I had so many ripe ones in the garden that needed to be cooked or something. I picked a big batch and got started.


I did a combo of romas and heirloom tomatoes. I love canning whole tomatoes because it’s super easy and fast. I boiled the tomatoes, peeled the skins in no time, cored the tomatoes and then canned them whole. The longest part of this process was the canning part. It took forever to get the water boiling and I had to do the jars in two batches because my pot wasn’t big enough.

Sunday evening we had Michael’s mom and stepdad over for dinner. It had been way too long since we saw them and I was excited to make dinner using the spaghetti sauce I made last weekend. Michael’s mom made a fantastic salad with greens, tomatoes and lemon cucumbers from their neighbor’s garden. I baked a loaf of garlic bread (my weakness).


We did gluten free spaghetti and I cooked up my spaghetti sauce with meatballs. I was so happy with my sauce! It was delicious! Thick and flavorful and just right.


Dessert was a little bit of a cheat. :) I baked cookies.


It was a busy weekend! But a good one. How was yours?