Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holidays!

The cookies are out, the kitchen is still in shambles, but now I must set out to pack for a break from my everyday to travel to the other side of the country to visit my soon-to-be in-laws.

I may be completely entertained by nieces, in-laws and the sites of a world outside of California so I may actually forget about the Internet for a few days. If I don't check back in, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and have a happy new year!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Plea to the Office

Please stop tempting me with the tasty goodness that comes from your kitchens or other well meaning establishments. All of the holiday cheer and sharing is really starting to weight heavy on my waist, butt and thighs. I am incapable of walking by without a nibble, and a return trip is usually hard to resist. (I don't know where I got this need to partake in all foods offered, especially when free).

Yes, I realize that I have happily given to the same cause with a healthy helping of cookies from home, and I found it hard to resist even my own offering. But please! I beg you! Make it stop!

or I'll just throw out my scale when I get home, which could work just as well.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bloglines says I have 94 new posts to read

Just wanted all to know that I hope to be able to catch up on reading all of your blogs very soon. It's been a few weeks of not reading much as I try to re-prioritize things. And my evenings have been a little busy with the baking fun as of late.

Happy Holidays all!

Let the Cookie Extraviganza begin!

This past weekend I started baking. And baking I did!

Snowflake Butter Cookies - predecorationWhen it comes to holiday baking, I don't make one or two varieties, nor do I make single batches. Since my baking is my gift to people, and it is my passion, I take it very seriously. Let's just say that our little townhouse kitchen is in full blown "production mode" and we have been eating take-out almost every meal (except last night when baking stopped so corned beef and cabbage smells could fill the space instead).

I never realize how much prep and shopping goes into this annual endeavor and I think it grows each year. I spent Thursday and Friday evenings making doughs that needed to be refrigerated. Since Thursday, I have been to various grocery stores, craft stores, health food stores and kitchenware stores for ingredients and supplies for this year's holiday baking event and gift giving.

Sunday night I ran out of a key ingredient in the decorating of my one decorated number, and last night I went to 5 stores between work and home, to find that my neighborhood Micheal's had finally stocked the shelf. I so should have just gone to the fancy cake decorating place by my work but I knew I would spend entirely too much time and money there as I would not be able to leave with one little bottle of sparkly goodness. Just see here... how drab would these babies be without that extra wow factor?
Snowflake Butter Cookies
I still have more baking to do, and then the wrapping of the little precious buttery bites will begin. And sometime between then and Christmas day, when we fly off to visit Eric' sister, I will get out to deliver some tasty treats to my family of friends. Hmm... maybe Christmas Cards will wait yet another year. I think I'm running out of time.


Here is what I've completed so far:
Gingerbread Bites
Gingerbread Bites (1"x 1")

Snowflake Butter Cookies
Decorated Butter Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cakes
Pecan Snowballs (aka:Mexican Wedding Cakes or Russian Tea Cakes)

Hazelnut and Dried Cherry Biscotti
Hazelnut & Cherry Biscotti (and one batch without the Cherries because Eric like's them like that, go figure!)

Coconut Macaroons
Coconut Macaroons (these will be half dipped in chocolate..maybe)

Still to come:
Pistachio Spice Cookies
Sand Tarts (Eric's childhood favorite)
Amaretti (for my SIL)
Fudge
Toffee
Caramels
more Pecan Snowballs (because the 100 I made went to the office, although I think I ate a dozen on the drive in)
more Biscotti (office. gone. went poof.)

Special thanks goes out to Amy for helping me laugh while we iced those cookies, and to Liz for going through my many photos to pick the best one's for this post.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Yummy Chicken Goodness

As I watched this year's Biggest Loser Finale last night, I realized that every week while I watch this show I eat my most crappiest meal of the week, and tend to overeat as well. And, quite often my therapy sessions are on the same night as Biggest Loser, so I'm getting home late and justify stopping at Panda Express to get me a fast, yummy, and comforting meal.

Of course this meal is also at least twice the size I would eat if I made dinner at home, and 1/3 of the meal is deep fried, because how can I not get the Orange Chicken! Granted I do get veggies instead of rice or noodles, but that doesn't mean I need to eat all of the spicy sweet fried morsels of chicken even though I know I'm already full and WILL PAY in about an hour when I lay down to go to bed.

I look down at my Styrofoam tray after I have eaten all of the veggies, and the tofu and eggplant I always get. I look at the pile of yummy chicken goodness I always leave to last because I am the type that saves my favorite. I always think that maybe I'll leave some for leftovers and really I shouldn't eat it all because it is the most unhealthy thing on my plate. And then I dive in.

Oh my goodness it's so good. And of course I'm watching TV all the while and not really paying attention to how full I'm getting. And then there are 4-5 pieces left. Enough to be a fine dinner the next night if I stir fry up some veggies. But do I really want to dirty up a storage thingy with these five pieces? Plus they'll get soggy. And the justification continues, and just like that they are gone.

I eat like this as I sit there watching and crying along with these people I'm watching on TV who are changing their lives to be healthier for themselves and their families. The trainers look to the camera and say "You can do it too, and you don't need to wait until January 1st. Start now!". Yea yea yea, just let me finish my yummy chicken and then I'll start.

Over the last year I have been trying to learn when to stop eating, to recognize emotional eating, and to generally just be more aware of what I'm putting into my body. When I first started this process I admit I was a little obsessive about it, even though the primary goal wasn't to loose weight but more to change my eating habits and to take the time for myself. The goal was to change myself before I have kids so that healthy eating and moving was natural and not a big deal. Eric also calls this process 'de-toxing' and 'baby prep'.

Sure, it's easier when the motivation is for someone else, or towards some other goal, but really I'm learning how to love me and to want to do this for me first. But damn, that Orange Chicken is really good.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Honey, You're Getting Drool in Your Cereal!

Eric has a habit of flipping on the TV whenever he is eating. We both know it's not the best habit as you fail to pay attention to what you're eating and tend to overeat, and it is very easy to loose track of time and watch TV much longer then planned.

This morning I came downstairs to him flipping on the tube while he sat down with his Wheatabix and Soy Milk (blech!). He reach for el'Tivo's remote and started going through the pre-recorded selections to accompany his morning meal. He seemed to hover on the Victoria's Secret runway show I had recorded for him (I'm a giver after all). He looked at me guiltily, and I said, "Go ahead, we recorded it for you!"

So he selected it and sat grinning as his Wheatbix slowly disappeared, and I even got up to get him a second bowl so his watching was undisturbed, even though he claimed it was so he wouldn't bother the cat that had decided to bed down on him. I looked at the clock and said I had to head out for work, and he turned off the TV. He claims that somehow, watching it with me there was a little less scummy.

Silly boy! I totally know he turned it back on once I shut the door.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Something happend

On my drives home from work I have been listening to an audio book on depression, The Noonday Demon: an Atlas of Depression, by Andrew Solomon. As you can imagine this isn't the most uplifting thing to pump into your head after a long day at work, but it has been rather liberating. It has taken me a few weeks to listen to the whole book and along the way I have learned a lot about myself.

This book was recommended to me by my therapist to learn about depression as I was asking how to live, love and support someone with depression (Eric has been learning to live and cope with depression his whole life and is finally on a real path of functioning and living). I'm sure my therapist knew that I would also learn about myself through the experience of this book. She gave me the CD's at our last session where all we did was talk about Eric and the difficulties we've had as a couple as he has been learning to let go, experience anger, connect on new levels, discover his passions, commit and grow.

When I saw her a month and a half ago, we knew I was struggling at work and had seen touches of rough patches but things weren't that bad. Then I started seeing a real pattern to my inability to do stuff. Stuff I wanted to do, but couldn't find the motivation to actually do and then I'd be upset with myself for not just getting off my duff to do the simplest things.

Life was getting harder, but there was nothing profoundly wrong, I just wasn't doing much. I was still able to get up and go to work. I showered and was clean but I stopped caring about my appearance beyond not being obviously dirty. I'd get to work and sit. I'd stare. I'd read. I'd think I had worked all day but then when I went to report my progress there wasn't much to report on. Then I'd go home. I'd sit and stare at the TV, or the computer. I wasn't cooking anymore, I didn't care what we had for dinner, and I wasn't doing the dishes (I ALWAYS DO THE DISHES). Laundry piled up. Bills weren't being paid. Mail covered the table. I couldn't focus on the stuff that really mattered. I did the minimum - and somehow part of that minimum was NaBloPoMo, it was something to focus on that didn't feel like real life, it was an escape.

I started recognizing parts of my life and my thoughts in the stories told in the book. I began to accept that maybe I was really experiencing depression, something I was scared to death of because I had seen what Eric had gone through and the thought of a mental illness didn't seem to fit. Mental illness means you are crazy, doesn't it? That's what I felt, not what I believed or knew to be true, but it's what I felt. Friends started mentioning maybe I might want to take medication. But I still thought only weak people take medication. I can get through this. But Eric is on medication and look how much better he is. Do I think he is weak? Or is it that if I go on medication that means I have to tell someone what I'm feeling, and have to admit that I need help and that I have a problem.

Listening to the book taught me a lot. It taught me about the emotional, physiological, economical, political and sociological aspects of depression. I gained a greater respect and understanding of what Eric and all people living with this challenge go through. The numbers of who are affected by depression are truly staggering, and so many people don't even know it. Knowing it, really deep down knowing it is actually less scary then I thought.

On Wednesday night, about 30 minutes before I was to leave to go sit in traffic and inch my way to my therapy appointment, I took a regular dose of generic Excedrin and a dose of generic Sudafed. The sinus headache I had was still hanging out and I hadn't eaten much of anything for a few days. My therapist called me to start my session while I was on the road because traffic was worse then I anticipated. I told her all of my discoveries and experiences since I had last talked to her and a few that happened earlier which were still weighing heavily on my heart. As I talked, the headache I was plagued with lessened. I was sure it was the drugs, but after my session ended in her office I was hungry. Hungry for the first time in almost a week.

I had asked Eric to meet me at her office as I was sure it would be an emotional and hard session. But I was happy. I was able to hug him and it felt really good, better then it had felt in a long time.

Sure I still have a slight headache because really I have been sick, and my appetite isn't back 100% but something happened that night when I told my stories. A pressure that no pain drug was alleviating has been lifted.

For the last few days, I have been waking with more energy then I've had for months, and have been more productive and able to focus. I am not full speed ahead by any means, but damn it, feels good to feel again.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ohhh New Food Blog

When logging into blogger today I noticed a new post in the Blogger Buzz (the blogger buzz which is generally used to promote themselves and little tidbits). Harold McGee has a blog and I am most excited about this find.

For those that don't know, Harold McGee is a Yale lit professor turned food science writer. He was fascinated by how stuff in the kitchen worked so he started studying, and researching, and testing ideas, and then wrote it all down.

He has two books which I have perused, but still don't own (they are on my amazon.com wishlist for those of you who might like to know). I adore food science, simply am mesmerized by it. I always enjoyed chemistry and biology, which is probably why the 2 classes I enjoyed the most in school were Food Science and Butchery. I have a rather science focused head, so when I heard about these books I knew I must read them. I have been looking to continue my food learning because I'm starting to loose the information since I'm not using it as much these days, so I see these books and his site as a form of continued learning and exercise for the brain.

Harold apparently already has a site where he had been adding entries, but he is testing out the Blogger Beta and that is how he got the little Blogger Buzz featurette. More traffic for him, and a little good Beta media for Blogger. I don't usually read the Blogger Buzz Blog, so this was a nifty marketing ploy to get me to check it out. Nice work Blogger/Google Marketing!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Boo Hoo Poor Me Time is OVER - It's cookie time!

Ok so I posted it, but I'm so having issues with the fact that I just posted that. Really, it sounds so down and poopy. I hate being down and poopy. So enough of that bid-ness.

It's time for holiday cookie fun!
The rest of my lunch break I shall focus on what holiday cookies I am going to make, while keeping my baking obsession in check and at a sane level if you will. You should see how over-my-head I've been in past years with the number of varieties and number of people I want to give to... ohhh weeee, but they have been mighty tasty!

The goal this year it to do large batches of simple cookies. Because it's something I grew up doing, I will have to do one more labor intensive cookie which is a decorated butter cookie. It has gotten pretty fancy these last few years, but maybe I'll try a more simple design so I can produce a larger number. I also have my other holiday cookie standards, but I like to switch things up each year.

What kind of cookie or sweet treat do you think of this time of year?

Facing the truth

So I'm at work today, and I'm getting lots of people telling me to go home. I'm able to work, and I'm not coughing all the time like most of this office seems to be doing, I just have the headache and the lack of appetite. Ok, and the glowing screens don't help me much, but I was starting to feel really bad yesterday. Not just bad sick, but bad bad. Like more and more depressed, and falling into more and more of a sedentary way of not doing anything.

I'm afraid of depression. It scares me to not be in control. I need to move everyday and to think and to talk to people and to be made to do stuff, or I feel like I am going to fall. And fall hard.

I have been dealing with a low-grade depression for a while now, and I am just now starting to come to terms with it. I generally don't feel sad, but productively doing stuff is becoming harder and harder. I have a hard time functioning at work, at home, and in general my life. The last month has been the hardest as I am loosing the feeling of control, and me getting sick is freakin' scaring me as I found myself just sitting there. Sitting and sleeping. I love to drive and I asked Eric to drive me places, I asked him to be with me all the time. I didn't want to be alone. It's starting to freak me out.

So here I am at work today. Trying to keep a sense of routine and normalcy. I am working and that is good because it has been very hard for the last month. I'm not able to eat though, and sadly the team went to lunch today and I couldn't stomach the idea of sitting in a smelly restaurant. I live for company paid meals and being social at work, so this really sucks.

I really want to go exercise to help with endorphins to help me back onto the upswing I thought I was on last week, but knowing that I'm sick I know that if I do too much that I'll end up with a fever and Eric will have to take a train to take me home. Lots of times endorphins will also help with a headache, but this sinus thing is a real kicker and I loose my balance easily so even just a walk is hard to do right now.

I have a therapy appointment tonight, and besides how hard my first appointment was this will be the hardest thing I've done with her. I'll have to tell her that I am officially battling something beyond me. I've been able to kinda fake it for a while, but this last month has gone past anything that I know how to deal with. I'm not one to ask for help, but I think I need it.

Good times.

By the way, I'm sorry to anyone who reads this. I know I keep writing all of these down trodden posts and they aren't fun to read. Sometimes I think it helps me just to write them and there are a number that have never been posted. But by posting this one, I'm owning up to the fact that I am struggling. There it is.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pain in the...

!!!Whine Warning!!!

It's going around, and I've been fighting it for a few weeks but I seem to have given in last Friday. Halfway through the day my low-grade sinus headache turned migraine and work became impossible. Many drugs were taken and they took the edge off, but the headache never left.

Then came a Saturday I had been looking forward to, which was planned to be chock full of fun with friends. I made it to lunch with friends where the headache got worse and the call of the nap cried loud. Then I decided to go ahead and drive down south for a girls-night out but my eye was really bothering me. Low and behold, one of my contacts had ripped and I didn't have any back-ups. This was a clear sign that I needed to go home, so I drove all the way stupidly half blind, which didn't really help with the headache.

And now it's Tuesday. Headache is still going even with pain meds and decongestants. Appetite comes and goes, as does the ability to look at glowing screens for prolonged periods of time (which kinda sucks when your job and much entertainment relies on glowing screens). I'm tired of sleeping, and tired of getting tired and fevery when I decide to do anything other then sleep and not look at glowing screens.

Good thing this didn't hit during NaBloPoMo or I woulda really blown it more then I did just with everyday life dealings. Hopefully I'll be back to my bloggy self soon, although work has backed up a tad so I may take this opportunity to start a more manageable and reasonable blogging time schedule. It tends to get a little out of control.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Welcome Jax!

My co-worker just got a new puppy and some of the people we work with are going simply gah-gah over its arrival, and I admit, I'm one of them. I think my co-worker is a little surprised by all of the excitement his family's news has drawn from the peanut gallery.

Over the last few months of waiting for the puppy to be old enough to come home, he has been getting all sorts of unsolicited advice, and I have been amused watching how he has been handling all of it. He was getting asked every few days if there were new pictures posted by the breeder, or if he had any news or had purchased any new puppy items. I swear, I think there was more inquiry about the puppy then his recent wedding and house purchase.

He's taking time off this week to be home with the new member of the family, and he was very kind to send us a link to pictures of the new little guy. Surprisingly I even found Eric chatting about the puppy online with a mutual friend of the new puppy daddy. He called down to me to ask if I had seen the pictures. Well of course I have! I had no idea Eric would get excited about a friend of a friend's new puppy.... perhaps cute little babies entering families is becoming more exciting for him...Hmmm, good to know.

But really, isn't he so cute? Welcome home Jax!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Movie MeMe

J tagged me, and really I'm not very into the movies or the business so this one is hard, or really it's not very hard because I don't really don't specifics. I thought about not doing it because who wants to read about me saying that I don't know, but MeMe's are about sharing info about me, and well, some info about me is that I don't really care much about the movies. I enjoy them but not usually something I put much thought into.

1. Popcorn or candy?
I love both, but can't justify buying or eating both so I usually go for popcorn with extra butter in the middle please!

2. Name a movie you’ve been meaning to see forever.
I really don't go to the movies much, and when a movie is coming out that I think I want to see I add it to my Netflix queue. I looked through my queue and there isn't anything that really fits. They are all just movies of interest, but nothing that I've beem meaning to see forever. I'm sure in conversation in the next few days one will be mentioned and I'll be like... DAMN! Why didn't I remember that one for this post?

3. You are given the power to recall one Oscar: Who loses theirs and to whom?
Oscar's are the movie awards? Which are the one's for TV? I don't follow this stuff.

4. Steal one costume from a movie for your wardrobe. Which will it be?
Eee... I hardly remember a film's name, let alone the actors or what they were wearing.

5. Your favorite film franchise is…
A few years ago I would only have one possible answer without question and that is Star Wars but then someone went and ruined it. I thought about saying The Lord of the Rings because I did love those, and it got me to finally read the books. But I'm going with Harry Potter. Mock me if you will. Go ahead. I know the snickers and the eye rolling has begun and I have just lost your respect. I like the simplicity of the series. The characters are endearing even though the acting is a little painful at times.


6. Invite five movie people over for dinner. Who are they? Why’d you invite them? What do you feed them?
I'd like to think that I don't follow actors enough to be interested in getting to know or talk to any of them, but really, as I'm sitting here I might as well have a few over for dinner so I can just look at them and know they are real people too...but mostly to look at them. Here are a few that come to mind, and they can have anything they wish to eat but they must not talk as we don't want to ruin the illusion:

  1. Orlando Bloom
  2. Jake Gyllenhaal
  3. Matthew McConaughey
  4. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
  5. Luke Wilson

7. What is the appropriate punishment for people who answer cell phones in the movie theater?
Evil looks and boo's and hissing would do nothing because they already do not care about the people around them so there is no point in going there. I would say a healthy dose of soda and popcorn poured over their heads, but that's just childish and we don't want to be childish now do we? So then I could go down the route of them being respectfully ushered out of the theatre but they obviously do not respect others so the respect would be lost on them. So I shall return back to throwing things at them. Yes, I feel this is a good punishment. Make it good and sticky.

The general disrespect of others in theaters is one reason I don't enjoy going to the movies anymore. I'm old and crochety and I have little patience for people who feel they are more important then others. I used to blow it off as kids being kids, but it's not just kids anymore.

8. Choose a female bodyguard: Ripley from Aliens. Mystique from X-Men. Sarah Connor from Terminator 2. The Bride from Kill Bill. Mace from Strange Days.
Who?

9. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen in a movie?
My fear of the dark, what's under the bed and the closet, and walking down a dark hallway all started with one scene in a movie. I can't watch scary movies as I have a VERY active imagination and will have nightmares for days. When I was in 4th grade I went to a slumber party with a bunch of 5th graders (they were so old and cool!), and we were watching Creepshow. For those that don't know, this movie is a series of short horror or suspence films all tied together. It was just like the TV show, but with a little more money behind the project. On of the short films was exceptionally scary to me, The Crate. I sat with my head behind a pillow for much of it. This was the image that the evil girls paused it on and then took my pillow so I'd have to see it. It still totally gives me the willies.

10. Your favorite genre (excluding comedy and drama) is?

I would normally say Romantic Comedies, but I guess I will say documentaries. We've been really into them lately.

11. You are given the power to greenlight movies at a major studio for one year. How do you wield this power?
Initially I think that I don't really care enough to do anything, but really the cinema is a very powerful form of media. So I would want to do some good with the power by getting money into the hands of people that want to make a differernce. And what does that mean? I don't know, why must you ask me such hard questions. It sounds good don't it?

12. Bonnie or Clyde?
I've never seen it but duh.... Bonnie! Girls rule!

13: Who are you tagging to answer this survey:
I know I've gone there before, but I'm going to go there again because she's in "the biz". Take it away Star Shine!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Looking to Jump Ship

I like Blogger, I even like the beta and I really like that it is all hosted for free, but I'd like to be able to have more of an actual website, with multiple pages, and the ability to access files. So I'm thinking of jumping ship. Perhaps going the externally hosted route (since I'd rather not pay for the bandwidth or the utilities to run a web server out of our house, but maybe it really is cheaper in the long run, I dunno).

Now I am also considering a different publishing tool. Lots of people are using WordPress and TypePad, but I'm comfy with Blogger. I might just have to try them all out, which will take time and patience. And of course there are some open source utilities out there too, and I could build my own but why re-invent the wheel (and I obviously have so much free time on my hands to undertake such a challenge).

So since I'm considering shaking things up a bit I am also considering changing up a few things. Obviously I want to change my template. I have been so limited with photo sizes by using this stock one, and I really don't like it... it just worked and I didn't have to deal with it looking differently in different browsers. I have also been considering adding some additional anonymity by changing up some names that are used. Not that many people read this, but I've been thinking more about the "future" and have noted that a standard practice in hiring a person is looking for info about them via a search engine. I try not to write much about things that might look negatively on me especially about work, but I can't please everyone so maybe a touch more secrecy would be smart. Plus then there is the kid stuff to factor in, whenever that happens (You note that I am a planner and am already thinking about that stuff). But that isn't really a me thing to do. I'm just so gosh darn open.

So if this becomes a more anonymous type site, which I don't really see happening, then I need to pick a domain name that doesn't include my first name. If I jump and go all incognito, then it doesn't makes sense to link back here. Or do I really care? So much to think about. So much to consider.

Have you jumped?
What kinds of things did you consider when you made the switch?
Feelings about staying in the shadows versus putting it all out there?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

You Know It's Time When...

You know it's time to pull out the down comforter when:
  • You find yourself smooshed up on "his" side of the cal-king bed 3 mornings in a row, giving him the bare minimum of bed space
  • You go to bed with PJ pants, fuzzy socks and a hoodie sweatshirt with the hood on, and you wake up with it all still on
  • You fall asleep on the floor in front of the heater vent attempting to get warm before hitting the chilly sheets, and end up with dried on contact lens and very chapped lips

Monday, November 27, 2006

Does This Smell Bad to You?

It is such a Monday morning. Apparently over the long weekend our office building experienced some power issues, as we have no overhead lights and the refrigerator in our kitchen was off for a period of time. I just smelled about 6 cartons of milk and had the joys of "finding" the bad ones.

The scary thing is.... I'm sure I'm not the first one to get my hot beverage this morning.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And the weekend keeps coming

Weeee. It is Saturday morning and I have officially gotten through my usually weekend dealings.
  • Watching- A normal weekend you would find me sitting on the couch all day Saturday or Sunday (usually just one of the days but on bad weekends, it's both), catching up on Tivo and other random shows I happen to stumble on. - Check. I did that yesterday and I'm so done with the couch for the next few days.
  • Surfing - I will usually surf the net for a few hours sometimes spread through the weekend or all lumped up on one day and then not touch the computer the rest of the weekend. - Double Check - I thoroughly did this two nights ago when I was up in the middle of the night with an "I ate too much Thanksgiving Feast and am now giving thanks to the makers of TUMS" tummy ache, and since I was up all night on Thursday night, I went to bed early last night to awake well before the sun today and well... it's 8am and I have been surfing and NaBloPoMo Randomizing for 3 hours already.
  • Cooking - I usually cook at least two complete multi-course meals and do a touch of baking - Check, Check and will likely still be checked some more - We'll call the Thanksgiving feast 2 meals and plenty of baking has been done, but I'll likely do more since I like that part of my weekend.
  • Shopping - Of course I like to do my grocery shopping on the weeknights so I don't have to deal with the weekend crowds, but it is inevitable that we will end up at Trader Joe's with everyone else. - Our refrigerator is packed with leftovers so I'm thinking I can't do this, but the shopping list has already started to grow. And I do want to cook something else today since I can only do leftovers so long. Ok, so I'll still do this, but I like to grocery shop... I'm weird.
  • Cleaning - Usually I am all gung-ho and start cleaning and doing laundry Saturday morning and then we stay up late on Sunday night waiting for the sheets to be dry because I loose track of where I am in the weekend. -SOOO CHECKED! - This weekend.... oh yea baby, it's all done already. Plus while I was cooking on Thursday, Eric got the house all spic and span! NICE!
So what will I do with the rest of my weekend? I have some apples that are asking to be baked in some way, and there are some closets that would like to be organized, oh yea and that wedding planning thing. But now? I'm off to brave the mall and it's completely packed parking lot. I'm telling myself to immediately park on the outskirts of the lot. It's exercise right?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Belated Thanksgiving All

The last two days have been filled with planning the Thanksgiving meal, shopping for the Thanksgiving meal, cleaning the house in preparation for the Thanksgiving meal, and finally cooking the Thanksgiving meal, oh and there was some work in there, a healthy portion (or not so healthy portion) of TV watching, a touch of sleeping in and the whole sticking the cat business too. It was actually really quite enjoyable. Very easy going and laid back planning this year, not so much multitasking. I need less multitasking in my life.

Since this year it was just us and my parents, I didn't get into any fancy plating or special dishes. Mainly just staples that my parent's enjoy.

This year's menu included:
Mixed Greens Salad with Balsamic Vin, Bosc Pears, Persimmons and Blue Cheese (this is as fancy as it gets folks)

Prime Rib Au Jus - my father's favorite meal and no special occasion can happen without him getting some.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Thyme and Garlic - imagine Costco container o'white buttons all sliced up with a little olive oil, 4 huge garlic cloves, a few thyme stems tossed in (obviously taken out before serving) and a splash of rice vinegar, cooked down until almost dry. And now imagine the dish emptied by my father even after he consumed at least a 16 oz Prime Rib portion. :-( no leftovers

Green Beans - provided by my father which were lightly boiled in chicken broth and coated in olive oil (low sodium diet for mom requires some thought into adding flavor without salt).

Baked Potatoes - made for my father (who ate too much meat, mushrooms and rolls that he couldn't eat a potato). Scrubbed russets were smeared in butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper and wrapped in aluminum foil. Baked mostly through before the roast was put in, and then warmed with the last 20 minutes with the roast.

Sweet Potato Souffle with Bacon and Rosemary - Mom found a recipe in a magazine and it was really good. Not too sweet, with a great balance of flavors. The rosemary very elegantly perfumed the dish. I must get the recipe from her.

Herbed Dinner Rolls - Soft and buttery, with hints of basil and thyme. There were 4 of us, I made 24 rolls, they are all gone (my father took half of them home)

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce and Chantilly Cream (that's slightly sweetened and vanilla flavored whipped cream to you, but it sounds fancy don't it!) - This was a HIT! Pumpkin Pie flavor, not too sweet (even with the caramel), moist and very tender. I tried to do a little photo shoot so once I work with those photos I'll post my edits to the recipe.

Pumpkin Pie - Eric was scared of the unknown that is bread pudding, so I made him a pie. He's had bread pudding before, and has enjoyed it, so I don't know what his problem is. Oh yes I do, change... he doesn't like change, and his mom makes pie on Thanksgiving so he must have pie! Needless to say the pie went untouched as the bread pudding was such a success. I do believe I'll have some for breakfast.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving all!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

No Pie

I didn't do it.
I just couldn't.
I just sat there, surrounded by recipes, with the ingredients all at the ready, but I couldn't do it.
No pie came out of my kitchen yesterday.
I sat there.
Not baking.
Freaking out that I wasn't baking.
But still... couldn't bake.
Couldn't do anything.
I just sat.
Suddenly it was late.
It was 9 at night.
There will be no baking.
I forgave myself.
Let myself off the hook.
Today will be a better day, at least I showered!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Can't take the country out of the girl

Dixie Chicks 2006 - Oracle Arena, Oakland CASo most of y'all that read this, also read Py Korry's blog and already know that we went to see the Dixie Chicks last Friday. I had full intention to write about it, but somehow the weekend went by and other topics flew from my fingers. I need to first thank Py for getting us some great seats, and second to thank J and Eric for letting us go gleefully off to a concert you two so did not want to be subjected to.

It really was a great show. It brought back a lot of memories for me, some warm fuzzy and some pretty painful. They played songs from their new album and as Py mentioned, a good number from their older albums. Knowing that he is not a country music fan, I kept looking over at him when a older song would come on to see his reaction. I would almost jump out of my seat with giddiness, when he was sitting there thoughtfully watching and enjoying the musicianship from the stage. They really are great performers and very, very talented musicians.

Previous shows of theirs were much more about the show, with fancy sets and tons of lights and the girls very choreographed moves. This show was so much more about the music. About showcasing their talents and those of the band. It wasn't about their fancy clothes or the fame (although I was totally watching in awe at how effortlessly they floated about the stage in their 4 inch heels that for possibly the first time in my life I thought..... I want to squish my toes into gorgeous shoes like those and risk my life to walk in them. Stunning really! Eeeee I feel so womanly suddenly.)

Py noted that he knew when they played a song that was one of their older hits, as the crowd would go wild. Although most of these songs he didn't know, he still appreciated them for their musicality. But it made me wonder if I loved these songs for their story, or their melody, or was it really that I loved the memories and the thoughts that I attached to them.

When they played one of their controversial songs, "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice" the crowd roared. They stood. Clapped their hands and yelled their support of a girl country group that was once one of America's favorites and is now hated and banned in much of the south. Some of this crowd was there to see their old favorites and would prefer not to have been reminded of the girls' liberal nature (yes even in Northern California). But there was such a sense of support that it really was overwhelming.

I admit, I went to the concert to hear my old favorites and to remember my memories but mostly I felt the need to be there to support a group that believes what they believe so strongly that they would sacrifice the fame they worked so hard to obtain. Some tell me they think I went out of pity, but I feel I went out of support. Supporting a couple of girls who had a dream and made it happen. A couple of girls who have touched my life more then I ever realized. They are part of my memories and part of a voice in me that is mostly too afraid to speak out of fear.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Needlework

Friday night I received a call from my mother. One of her cats, Mr. Grey, is experiencing kidney failure and is very dehydrated and needs mass amounts of fluid. Our vet no longer boards animals except in extreme emergency and since Mr. Grey is stable, he had been coming home every night and then going back in the morning to receive his fluids and meds.

Well guess what? The weekend was here and my mom needed to care for Mr. Grey at home over the weekend. Mom called to see if we were home this weekend and if I could meet her at the vet's office the next morning to learn about what Mr. Grey needed. My mom mentioned that he needed fluids and that we needed to learn how to administer said fluids with a needle.

I assumed she was talking about giving him subcutaneous fluids (aka Sub-Q), which basically means injecting fluids between the skin and the muscle and allowing the body to absorb what it needed. (I worked with rescuing marine mammals in a former life so this was a normal task for me many moons ago -- oh the many lives I've had.) Most anyone who has had a pet that has gotten into any sort of trouble has been sent home with their loved one with a hump of fluids under their skin. This is exactly what I get to do to my mom's cat. Joy!

While at the vet we learn that Mr. Grey needs 200ml twice a day and it sounds like we'll be doing this for at least a few days. My mom didn't know any terms or what the cat's condition is called but from what I've heard so far, and from what I've read on the Internet, this is going to be part of the ongoing care. That means I get to stick this poor sick cat way more then I thought.

Eric has gone with me to each visit to my parent's house and we've all become quite the team. Mom holds the cat still talking to him softly (except when he bit me tonight), I perform the duty and scratch his head, and Eric squeezes the bag to make it all go faster. My mom is OK with needles but doesn't like to see her babies in pain. Eric HATES them and gets queasy when I talk about something too graphically. And me? well I'm the type that asked to be propped up so I can watch the doctor stitch up my leg when I got a gash behind my knee (he did a terrible job by the way!). Maybe I went into the wrong line of work.

Mr. Grey goes in for another blood panel on Monday. That will tell us if he is stabilizing or if other actions will be required. Mom is somewhat prepared for any news, but my dad not so much. Perhaps I'll go with my mom to the vet so I can hear the whole story. Sometimes I think she might choose not to hear the details. Sometimes it's easier that way.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

All Dried Up

I know I missed a post this month and have thus lost the NaBloPoMo challenge, so I should stop feeling the need to post everyday. But you know what? I signed up, I missed a day early on, but I am going to finish this thing damn it!

So, due to the fact that it is 11pm on Saturday and I'm quite tired dispite my sleeping in and my long afternoon nap (Napping is hard work man!), I am going to give you a list of some lovely dried fruit which I do indeed enjoy (since so many of you seem to have a dislike for fruit of the dried variety). Usually I snack on the "regular" dried types, but sometimes I splurge and buy the freeze dried kind....MMMMmmm

Now I realize that many of you have lost interest and have moved on through your RSS feed, and that's just fine. I understand that people prefer the fresh over the dried. It's ok. Really. But I am going to finish this darn list just for the fun of it, plus I know that many of you will start wiggling with disgust at how someone who proclaims they enjoy food can enjoy such foul treats, and making people gag is really a secret passion of mine.
  • Tart Montgomery Cherries - Most definitely my favorite, and no not because of my name. In fact I usually despise things with cherries on them even though many people find it "CUTE" to gift me such things.
  • Apricots - Probably one of the first my mother introduced to me. I grew up drying apricots from our backyard tree, and if we had the time we'd make fruit leather. Many fine memories of making and eating our own dried goods.
  • Apples - A little spongy yes, but perfect for in the car when you are stuck in traffic or out on the trail. Not sticky, and tasty.
  • Crystallized Ginger - I suppose this isn't a fruit, but it's still in the dried foods arena and I store them with my dried fruits so it counts right? I keep a bag of crystallized ginger around the house when I have a sweet tooth but don't really want to break into the ice cream. The sweetness of the sugar and the heat from the ginger cools my need for the sweet. But when I feel extra luscious, I nibble a bite of dark chocolate with my ginger, Mmmm. Good night!
  • Cranberries - Tart. Tart. Tart. Love em
  • Pears - Always the first to go in a mixed dried fruit bag.
  • Banana - I tried to stay away from banana chips as they are usually fried in coconut or palm oil, not the best for you when you are going for a healthy snack. But so good.
  • Prunes - YES PRUNES. Mmmm fiber! And those new one's that are individually packaged are so juicy.
  • Pineapple - Now this I due prefer freeze dried, but Trader Joe's has a lovely non-sulfured variety that is addicting as an afternoon, sitting at the computer all day snack. My co-workers and I have found that bringing just a few rings in a baggy each day is the only way not to eat the whole bag.
  • Mango - Specifically I enjoy the kind with li hing powder. My friend Lei used to bring this back from Hawaii and I'd enjoy every bite. Sweet and Sour and Salty
  • Figs - these are a new addition, but again a great trail food. They tend to be sticky but packed with energy.
  • Blueberries - I mainly use these in baking where they plump up and impart a strong blueberry flavor without adding moisture.
  • Dates - Old Timey I know, but still a tasty treat. This one totally reminds me of my grandma. Especially those date rolls, that are rolled in coconut and often have an almond in the middle.
  • Raisins - Yes, I am putting raisins last. These seem to be the most hated of the dried fruits. I have a friend who calls them horse boogers. I suppose they do look a little odd but they add a great sweetness to baked goods, and it is one of my favorite add-ins to a big bowl of oatmeal (next to butter and brown sugar of course).
So there you have it, a probably unread list of dried fruits I enjoy. I'm sure I left a few out, but no one will tell me because no one made it all the way though. It's ok... I understand. Really I do.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The start of the Thanksgiving feast planning

In researching for this year's Thanksgiving feast, I thought I'd mix up two of my favorite winter desserts and look for a recipe that incorporates the flavors from pumpkin pie with the ease and rich, sweetness of bread pudding (with an awesome sauce of course). So off I go to plug into Google -- "Pumpkin Bread Pudding".

Guess what? I'm not the first one to think of this. There were many results. The below recipe was the first one in the search results and it looks mighty tasty and I think I might have to try it. If you want to try it I recommend checking out the site as there are many comments left by people who have made it and they include their findings and how they adjusted the recipe. If this makes the cut, I'll let you know how it turns out. Oh, and if I make it, I'm so not using the golden raisins.... I'll either completely omit them or substitute dried cranberries or tart cherries. Mmmmm


PUMPKIN BREAD PUDDING WITH CARAMEL SAUCE

Bread pudding
2 cups half and half
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 cups 1/2-inch cubes egg bread (about 10-ounces)
1/2 cup golden raisins

Caramel sauce
1 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream

Powdered sugar and whipped cream for garnish

For bread pudding: Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk half and half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and vanilla extract in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread cubes. Stir in golden raisins. Transfer mixture to 11x7-inch glass baking dish. Let stand 15 minutes. Bake pumpkin bread pudding until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare caramel sauce: Whisk brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.

Sift powdered sugar over bread pudding. Serve warm with caramel sauce and slightly sweetened whipped cream

Makes 6 servings. (many reviews said it makes up to 12 servings)
Bon App├ętit
R.S.V.P.
November 2000
Wildfire, Oak Brook, IL

Pie Contest Update

Participation in the pie contest is low (likely many people going on vacation next week), so another email was just sent out to rally the troops and it gave me a chuckle so here is an excerpt:
RISK PUBLIC RIDICULE. WIN A PRIZE.
Individuals who are capable or willing to bake a pie, risk public ridicule and who are not current participants in other pie contests should enter the pie contest NOW!

Let us know that you're one of the cool kids by bringing in a pie.

RULES
1. Pie must be homemade by employee or family member
2. Store bought crusts are ok, but looked down upon
3. Pie must be edible.
4. Pot Pies ok (the kind with chicken)
5. Steak and kidney pie also ok, but guaranteed not to win a prize.
6. Pi = 22/7 is neither a good approximation nor an valid entry.
You so know that I want to make a steak and kidney pie now!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Let Them Eat Pie!

I'm relatively new to this company and I'm still getting used to all of the "activities" that are sponsored by the "Culture Team". They are very big on establishing the "culture". A few days ago an email went out to the company to announce the 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Pie-Luck and Contest. PIE? I LOVE PIE! What? I have to make pie? And bring it into the office for people to taste, and judge, and I have to stand by my pie and people will know what pie I made and, and, and... I don't know if I can handle that.

People here expect me to bring pie. Multiple pies. Multiple Tasty pies. People here are foodies. Big time foodies. And they are foodies that know I went to culinary school and worked in the industry.

My pie making skills.... not so good. I just don't bake pie very often. Pie dough is something I have not mastered. Seriously, I can count all of the pies I've made on one hand. Usually I make cookies, cakes, custards, tarts with cookie crusts and cobbler (again so I can avoid the crust situation). This Thanksgiving I even decided against making a pumpkin pie so I can bypass the need to make a crust (a possible stand-in will be in tomorrow's post). Oy! I put too much pressure on myself to impress.

Win? do I care if I win? Hmm... I don't want to care, but yea I care. I guess I wouldn't enter if I didn't care. I'd like to say I just want an excuse to bake and to practice the pie making skills, but really, I like the attention. This is where I battle with the pull to be an extrovert, but really I'm a timid introvert. I battled with this a few weeks ago when we had a Halloween costume contest. I like to make the costume and to dress up, but I don't want to get up in front of the company (luckily my group won so all the time wasn't totally wasted.)

I talked to a few people that were here last year, and they said that there were many very nice traditional fruit pies that had a lot of love and care put into them, but the only ones that people paid attention to were the chocolaty, gooey, piled high with whipped cream, and heavily sprinkled with tasty goodies.

We are allowed to enter 2 pies, so to stay true to the introvert that is dieing to be an extrovert that is me, I will succumb to the need to be noticed and make an ungodly pile of goo for the masses and a lovely fruit or custard pie for those that notice that sort of thing.

I am pretty sure I have the dainty pie covered. Anyone have any ideas for the Pile o'Goo pie? If you could have anything in a pie crust, what would it be?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's that time of the year

We have had a few consistantly chilly days here in the SF Bay Area, and the holiday decorations are starting to appear in the shopping center parking lots. This weekend I experienced my first craving of what now makes it the holidays for me.

Starbuck's Eggnog Latte

Yes, I know many people do not care for eggnog, and the thought of throwing in a shot of espresso sound revolting, but it has become my holiday treat. I don't drink them full fat with whip anymore. I go skinny no whip now that I actually read the nutritional information. HALF the fat for no whip! And by going with non-fat milk I can still get a grande. Granted it practically becomes a meal replacement, but I'll eat salad if I can get my latte.

Last weekend we stopped in at our local Trader Joe's (LOVE THAT PLACE), and noticed the holiday decorations on the buildings and I could smell the coffee a brewin' at the Starbucks on the corner.

Eric said, "Is it time for a Pumpkin Spice Latte?"
I said "No, that was last month. It's Eggnog time."

I find it slightly revolting that Starbucks marketing has entered our vocab for describing the seasons/times of the year.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Taking-Care-of-Business-No-Feelings Woman

A few weeks ago, Gina asked about the wedding plans. And then this past weekend Py and J's daughter, Maya, asked if we know where we are going to get married yet and when and what should she wear. And then today I got an email from Eric's cousin's fiance asking if there is any news on our date.

Oh yea, I'm supposed to be planning some big, life milestone event huh? Right. well...

I haven't even gotten to write about the proposal... which happened weeks ago (I even have a picture all ready for the blog). So I have ring, which has it's own story, but for some reason I have not taken the time to write all these stories down. For some reason my brain has gone into matter-of-fact mode. I'm no longer in dreamy fantasy mode since this is all really happening now and I feel that I have to actually do something about it.

When I get stressed and have to take care of something, I turn into taking-care-of-business-no-feelings woman. I make mental and physical checklists, and I forget about the experience and enjoying the journey and it becomes about checking off tasks, getting all the ducks in a row, and honestly I don't like it. Sure, it's more efficient, but do I really want to look back and say... "look at how efficient our life was!" No, I want to be able to remember the joys and the sorrows and have memories and stories.

We are also in a bit of a slump at home right now as I am in some weird half functioning depression, and Eric is struggling with starting a business. Oh yea and we are trying to do house improvement projects in order to sell the place, so we can buy a place closer to my work so we can start some life improvement projects... namely shortening my commute. And all of this takes money, and so do weddings, so eloping sounds grand, but I want the dress and the pictures and the blah blah blah. So everything has just sort of stopped.

Every weekend we say we are going to do this and that, and then magically it's Sunday night and little has been done. Perhaps right now checklists and taking-care-of-business-no-feelings woman are needed to help get us out of this rut.

Hopefully I'll have some news soon, and if not it's ok. We'll get married someday. Maybe Eric will get the Autumn wedding he wants afterall.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Verbal Processor

Tracy at The Star Shine Report posted a MeMe that noted that she is a Verbal Processor. I am currently fascinated by this term, as I have been at a loss to understand why it is that I feel the need to talk EVERYTHING through with someone or at least write it down.

I have often felt a burden to my friends, and that my need to talk my thoughts out was a weakness. I truly feel that I question my decisions until I talk them out. I don't have to actually talk to someone in person either, most of the time I can do so via online chat and sometimes no one has to be on the other end at all, and I feel better and more clear by just writing my thoughts down.

I found this on careerknowhow.com:
If you’re a verbal processor, you may know intuitively that until you say something aloud or at least move your lips, you’re not quite certain of your thoughts or their implications.

This is so me.

I am also the type of person that learns by doing, even if it means having a discussion about a topic, rather then just listening. I have always struggled with listening, as I want to repeat what I've heard and interject, perhaps this is my way of really understanding what is being said to me. I have always struggled in lecture scenarios, but thrive in discussion style classes, and maybe knowing that I am a verbal processor will help me understand why one scenario works more then another.

I'm finding it exhilarating that everyday I'm learning more about myself through this blogging thing. Thank you Tracy for helping me accept a part of me that has always been there but I didn't quite understand.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Getting back on the trails

Sunol Regional Wilderness Park - Creek TrailGetting out to hike used to be something we did multiple times a week. It was fun, we enjoyed it and looked forward to it. Three to four years ago Eric and I would hike a 2 mile loop with plenty of short butt kicker hills to stay in shape and to prepare for backpacking trips. We would try to do longer hikes on the weekends to take advantage of all of the wilderness parks we have in this beautiful area we live in. I also was a member of a women's hiking group that hiked every week during the summer, and did 4-5 hour hikes one Saturday per month . Oh what fun it was to be in shape.

In the last few years, our hiking habit has waned. Hell, it takes practically begging from Eric to get me off of the couch to go for a walk around the park on the weekend. I just don't seem to want to move much anymore. Perhaps it's depression, perhaps I've gotten lazy, and perhaps I don't want to really own up to the fact that I'm not a teenager anymore and moving kinda hurts. OK, so there are no 'perhaps' involved, it's all of those things.

CowsToday we were invited to join some friends on a hike in a park we haven't visited yet. It was great to see our friends, and even better to actually darn those hiking books and get out into the sun. I really don't know why I complain about getting out when Eric wants to. I do love it out there. I did fall behind the group a few times because my cardiovascular health isn't doing so great, my hip flexors started shooting me with pain with every step up those freakin' hills that were not ending, and by the end of the hike the back of my knee was hinting to me that I'd be sore tomorrow. Even though I was already anticipanting the difficulting I'd have getting out of bed in the morning, the burn in my butt and thighs and even the shooting pain in my hip, all told me that I was working my body and it felt great.

This Way FolksA few hours later I'm already sore, so I'm drinking lots of water, I've taken Motrin, and I'm taking it easy tonight. Getting back in shape doesn't happen overnight.

I hope we are able to get in some more great hikes before the trails are all pure mud... but even then hiking will be fun.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Belly Laughs

I hope everyone is able to learn a lesson from this video. We've all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and there have been numerous studies done to prove it (check out some articles here here, here, and a whole bunch of links to others here). So remember a really good belly laugh can do wonders for your physical and mental health. It's fun, good for your heart and you can check off that daily ab workout to boot!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Know Thyself MeMe

Madame J tagged me for this last week, so let's see if I can look inside and share a little something about myself.

What is/are YOUR:

Easy how-to ways to beat a bad mood? Hmm... Well, I sort of inherited my mother's way of dealing with a sucky mood, and that is to be totally confusing to those around you and just switch to a happy mood. I swear, as a kid I was baffled by my mother's ability to flip-flop moods. No, it doesn't deal with the actual issues at hand, but it keeps the day moving, and sometimes that is exactly what I need. And when willing the badness away doesn't work, as my friends are probably rolling their eyes right now completely not believing the flip-flop theory, a quick walk outside will usually do it. Especially if it is sunny, but there is an invigorating chill in the air.


Never-fail lip color? I am not much of a lipstick wearer as I'm not a fan of my lips. I really don't see a point it drawing attention to them. Plus, I can't keep the stuff on my face, and if it makes it on my lips, it seems to migrate. No I don't wear lipliner as I know that is suppose to help and I've tried the long-lasting, dries out your lips and starts peeling kind during catering gigs which works ok, but I have to constantly re-apply gloss. In general, I wear a slightly tinted lipgloss but it only goes on in the morning, and then I tend to forget about it.


Personality type (via myersbriggs)? I'm mostly on the fence in all of the categories. I am the Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging type (ISFJ), according to the test I just took here. It said that I am slightly introverted, sensing and judging, and moderately feeling. Even without the test I know that I often struggle with being on the fence as I have feelings of wanting to be an extrovert, but really I'm an introvert. Sometimes it makes it difficult to know myself because I can be easily effected by the situation at hand. If I'm really comfortable then I'm a total extrovert, but if I'm even slightly uneasy I become an observer and go silent.


Greatest strengths and weaknesses (like in a job interview)? I used to say that I was able to see the big picture, but that doesn't seem to happen as much anymore. My general outlook has become much more focused over the last few years, as my world around me has been changing along with my priorities. So now, both my greatest strength and weakness is really one in the same, I've become very analytical and detail oriented. Sometimes I'm so stuck on the details that I take too much time and over analyze my work. I'm working on the skill of letting go, and its getting easier.


Names of the trees in your yard? Sigh. I have no yard. I have a townhouse with a small concrete pad for a patio. I do have a few ficus trees out there from friends that have moved away and needed new homes for their house plants. Someday soon I hope to have a little patch of dirt to call my own, and then I'll plant a tree. And likely.... it'll be a fruit tree. Most likely a lemon, or an avocado. Mmm


Mother-in-law'’s favorite flower? Seeing as I do not have a Mother-in-law, I don't know how to answer this. I do have a very soon to be mother-in-law though but sadly, I have no idea what her favorite flower is. I do know that she has crocuses and irises planted in her front yard, but that is as close as I can get.



That was a mighty fine exercise. Perhaps doing MeMe's are not as bad as I thought. Thanks for going along with me on that journey.
Now for the tagging part of this MeMe thing. Since I'm usually the one that breaks chain letters because I don't like imposing on people, I am fighting the urge to not follow the MeMe tagging protocol, but part of life is getting over self-induced hurdles so I will tag Tracy at The Star Shine Report. I've been enjoying her writing and she sounds like a really fun and insightful person, plus she's IN LOVE so you know she's already looking inside herself and is aware of her feelings.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

LOOK OUT FOR JELLYFISH

While wandering about drugstore.com's FSA store, looking for ways to spend some left over FSA dollars, I came across this product. Safe Sea, Sunblock with Jellyfish Sting Protective Lotion.

I suppose I don't swim in the ocean enough to know that this product exists, because I had never heard of it. Facinating.

Thought you might like to join me in tilting your head to one side and making a sort of a questioning "eeerrrrRRRRP" sound (you know like what a dog does when it is questioning something -- I do it often).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dress Code

This morning I was forced to find clothes to wear to the office that did not include jeans. NO JEANS? WHAT ON EARTH WILL I WEAR?

The project team is going out after work for a little celebration with a dinner cruise on the bay. I've never been on one, and apparently neither have many of my co-workers as we were all shocked to be told of a dress code. A DRESS CODE! No Jeans, no shorts, no t-shirts. Pretty basic really, but I have sort of let things go a tad, and I haven't touched 90% of my wardrobe for at least 6 months because... most of it doesn't fit, and I've gotten lazy. Such the dilemma.

I do admit I've become a bit of a slob in my non-girly, I work in software so why do I need to wear anything fancier than jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops everyday sort of dressing, and it has been weighing heavy on my psyche. Giving up on one's looks, does not play well into a healthy self-esteem. Sure. Sure. I still spend way too much money on fancy hair care products and cuts and highlights, but I never do anything with it. I get out of the shower, brush it, and fly out the door with it wet. And rarely does any make-up land on my face even though I own the basics.

This morning my bedroom was suddenly covered in almost every item of clothing in my closet that wasn't a t-shirt or jeans. I tried on all of it. I settled on a cute outfit but then realized that I didn't have shoes to go with the skirt except flip flops. Darn. But amazingly... with the help of some "constricting" undergarments, I was able to wear a pair of black, stretchy cropped pants that I don't think look too stretched out, if you know what I mean. Throw on a pair of sandals that are work appropriate, and one of the 3 cute tops that I own and bam! Suddenly I feel like wearing make-up and pulling out the curling iron.

Though I have no money to shop (yea yea, money woes, who doesn't have them), I would like to find a way to start paying more attention to me without going on a shopping spree. I would like to remember that I am a girl. That although we say that looks don't matter, and that the work I produce speaks for itself, I really should dress a little nicer at work and in my everyday life. Show that I do care about how I present myself. Maybe it'll help me at work, and in my head.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Magazine Subscription Renewals

Freakin Magazine Subscription Renewals!

I get them in the mail all the time, and yet I only have 2 subscriptions. How can these 2 publications think that I need to renew so often? They are both annual subscriptions, both set up in the summer so I know they don't become due until next year. Yes, yes I don't want to miss a single issue, and I do have a gift subscription out there for a friend, but her's doesn't expire until next November ... so leave me alone already!

Perhaps some people get scared and send more money when their subscription doesn't actually expire for another 8 months, but that's what the internet is for people! Many publications have a site you can view the status of your account, so you do not have to fall prey to their renewal scheme. Don't do it! Look it up and be aware.

Argh to Marketing schemes!
(no offense meant to those in marketing and sales)

Monday, November 06, 2006

CARP

Well CARP (really its crap but I often miss type it, so it's become an inside joke with those I IM with regularly, and now you're on the inside so go with it already.)

I missed a day of NaBloPoMo. I admit it. I also admit I considered back dating a post, but I shall be honest and admit that I blew it. Oh well. Life happens.

And oh what a yummy life we had yesterday (instead of posting). Eric went to JAM with Py, so I went to hang out with J and Maya (and yes I find it odd that I'm using code names for our friends, but using their daughter's real name). We took a lovely walk to Best Buy and Maya bought herself a new game for her Nintendo DS. She bought Sims2, and seeing as I am one of the many that are obsessed with Sims2, Maya and I bored J to death as we chatted like little girls about the game. Seeing as Maya is a little girl, it was appropriate for her, but me being the 32 year old semi-computer geek that I am... well, it was just fun.

I too had every intention to buy the new Sims2 Pets expansion pack this weekend, but I resisted as really...I can't afford it right now, and its not worth going on the credit card. Food, emergency house repairs, Gasoline to get me to work... those can go on the card, but not a game that is a little stress relief, a little stress producer, and a whole lot of "time suck" (thanks J for the new description). I've also found that I tend to turn to the Sims when I'm depressed and looking for an escape, so its probably not good to facilitate that pattern by buying a new game right now. J also reminded me that there are holidays coming up and that maybe right now is not the best time to be buying myself a gift.

J is very wise.

Then J cooked us a lovely lovely dinner from recipes she got from Py's cousin, Stealthybean, and she crafted a salad with greens, mandarin oranges, green apples & pomegranate dressed in a Blue Cheese vinaigrette. YUM!

It's important to keep good friends close. Especially ones that can cook. Thanks J, Py and Maya for a wonderful day.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Blue Men Rock

3If anyone of you enjoy a good show and great music, I highly recommend checking out The Blue Man Group if you are ever presented with the opportunity.

GREAT GREAT NIGHT!

Of course it helps that we had 3rd row seats and Meet-N-Greet passes and were surrounded by some really great people that were all equally excited about the show, and just plain nice. Nice people in a crowded setting can always help the night go more smoothly.

Seriously.... check them out if you can. I hope to see them again whenever I make it to Vegas, as I hear their Venecian show is even bigger and more amazing. Can you tell I'm geeking out? I so am.

Vegas trip anyone?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday blatherings about the weekend

Ack.. it is day 3 of NaBloPoMo and I'm already finding a loss for words. So so sad. Who ever thought I'd have a problem coming up with things to say?

So I shall just chronicle our plans for the weekend. Of course then I'll have to come up with things to say this weekend, but I'll attack that situation when I come to it (and I'll have you know that I just typed 'we' instead of 'I' multiple times like I am a we, or like you are in my head and are actually part of my psyche and go with me everywhere.... scary)

Tonight we are going to see the Blue Man Group. Most of you are probably rolling your eyes, but I'm so excited. I've seen clips about them on TV, but never in person. I paid way too much for the tickets, as I got them through a Ticketmaster auction..... soooo stupid, but I know we will have a great time. We have 3rd row tickets, and will have VIP passes for a meet-n-greet after the show. Perhaps a tasty meal will preclude the fun times, but my purse is thinking a lovely hot dog at Costco will satisfy the meal requirement.

The rest of the weekend will be filled with the joys of merging finances, financial goals, budgets, and all that fun stuff(you know you're jealous!), Eric will go JAM with Py Korry at some point and I will hopefully get to visit with J while drinking yummy winey goodness. Of course the normal house cleaning, errand running, grocery shopping duties will commence between all the fun, but they do seem to fade into the background.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mom in the 21st century

Last year my brother and I bought my mom a new computer and got her an Earthlink account so she could get emails and IM with us, since my brother was moving to Canada. She has used MS Windows since it came out, but still has never quite grasped some basics like understanding the file structures to find a file, or using IE to surf the web. She still calls to ask how to get to a website when someone has told her the URL but she doesn't have a hyperlink to click on.

Last night I was IM'ing with her and she did 2 things that thoroughly amused me.

#1 - she used Google as a verb, so maybe one of her piano students have shown her how to use a search engine and have taught her the lingo

#2 - when she said goodnight, she "signs off" like she is writhing a letter with --- "Goodnight. Mom"

Perhaps I'll have to show her how to get to my blog.... or maybe not.
Welcome to the age of computers mom!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spread the Love

OmmmmOn Monday, Py Korry wrote a post on Hate, and I had commented about how my mother would remind me how powerful that word really is and to make sure I thought long and hard before I ever used it. So often we find it too easy to say we hate this vegetable, or that person's actions, or ultimately that race of people (ok, maybe that one isn't as easy for most, but frighteningly easy for some). Py's post stuck in my mind through the day.

After work, I had to drive down to San Mateo for some Halloween costume shopping, and then had to merrily head back up a crowded highway 101 (101 at rush hour, either way, is horrid). Traffic was actually moving along at a decent pace and everyone was spaced out. And then traffic slowed (as it always does), and I as I let off the gas and let my car come down to meet the new speed of traffic around me, I rolled up a little closer to the car in front of me. I didn't get close enough that I would say I was riding up on his bumper, but I was at least 15-20 ft away... a perfectly fine distance in my book for the speed we were going. The person in front of me turned on their dome light and very poignantly flipped me off. I was shocked. I felt a touch of anger in me that I did not like, and then felt guilty for upsetting this person. I adjusted my distance and speed and continued to ponder what just happened and why I felt such a strong feeling in my tummy.

I then really watched this person in front of me. They were totally tailing the person in front of them, and then started weaving in and out of traffic, tailing anyone they followed. Clearly this person was already agitated and just wanted to get wherever they were going.

While all of this driving, flipping off, observing business was going on, I was listening to a segment on NPR called "This I believe" where people tell a story about something they believe. The woman that was speaking during this week's segment was talking about how peace starts with one person being kind to another and then that person is more likely to be kind to another and so on (it spreads like syrup). Likewise, I feel that hate and hateful feelings do the same thing.

I continued to think about this phenomenon through my long drive home, and continued with a conversation with Eric. Sure we all have bad days, and bad thoughts and feelings happen, but if we can be more mindful and aware of how they effect others and our environment as a whole, there might be more motivation to be kinder to ourselves and those around us, whether we know then or not, then the love and peace might spread a little more easily.

Monday, October 30, 2006

My pretty pretty bride

This weekend we attended a Halloween party at a friend's house. I generally either go all out, or don't do anything at all, and this year we decided to try a Bride and Groom get up seeing as this goes along with the topic of many of our conversations. But now of course, we couldn't just do your everyday bride and groom... oh no. Eric wanted to be the bride.

A few weeks ago we started looking at thrift stores and craigslist and eBay to find a used dress that wouldn't cost us too much for a costume. We were all into it and then got busy with life and such, and forgot about it. Of course a few days before the party a bit of a panic set in (just for me... he was totally cool with whatever we did). The night before the party I all but gave up on the bride and groom idea and just wanted anything that would make due for a costume.

Of course we ended up at one of those overpriced Halloween stores with just about all the other procrastinators in the area. I was stressed, disappointed at the lack of merchandise left, and got... well... pissy. Eric put me in my place and reminded me that this costume business was about having fun, not about being perfect. He was right, but even though I knew I needed to have fun and try to salvage the fun of our hunt, it was hard to get passed my gloom.

Eric suggested we go to Target, that maybe we would be inspired there. I totally poo-poo'd his idea but went along anyway. Some hunting through the aisles was not turning up anything, and the grumpy me was creeping back. Then we just decided to shop. Low and behold..... a white strapless dress casually tossed over the clearance rack in the Junior's area. It was a size 18, so I had plenty to work with to get it to fit on Eric's not to girlish figure. Finally a breakthrough in my mood.

Add a little handy work with some Safty-pins, a bunch of tulle, Costco flowers, an old headband, fake eyelashes and make-up....Voila! My pretty pretty bride.





The pretty pretty bride is pictured here with our friend Omar as the Mayor from
The Nightmare Before Christmas. Sadly I have no pictures of both of us as I was behind the camera... funny how it worked out like that.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

MSG?

Last night the project my team at work has been working on finally came to an end. Not like we won't have follow-up work to do but it was a wonderful milestone for a lot of long nights and weekends. I felt such a huge sense of relief that I threw my budget to the wind and brought home $40 of Chinese food for Eric and I to feast upon.

Sadly, soon after eating said feast, Eric retreated to the bedroom where he rolled around in pain with a migraine and then he had Chinese food again... but the wrong way... a few times.

He was feeling a little dehydrated but generally ok before the food eating began. We both ate the same food so its likely not food poisoning, and I don't know of a food borne thingy that would cause the migraine. I went to the "fancy" Chinese place and assumed they don't use MSG, but I could be wrong. Does anyone know if MSG can do this to a person?

(update: Eric woke up (on the couch) feeling just fine this morning and went to work with a lot of energy so thankfully he got out or slept off whatever it was)

(update to the update: Not thinking about the headache, nausea and all the fun he had with the Chinese food the night before, he ate the leftovers the next night with not a hint of understanding as to why I was concerned. Thankfully there were no repeats.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

To wash or not to wash

Over the last 6 months I have noted a behavior that I find most puzzling. I have always believed that women were superior in planning skills, in knowing the right thing to do and when (DUH) and many other areas over the men-types. I also used to think that they were the more clean of the two sexes. But I have noticed something that is making me question my beliefs.

NOT ALL WOMEN WASH THEIR HANDS AFTER USING THE TOILET!

I admit I never really paid much attention to the hand washing practices of others whom I am sharing a restroom with, but recently I have begun listening to the post-toilet-using-activities of fellow ladies' room users to see if they just walk out, of if they stop to scrub the little nasties off their hands before touching the OUT handle of the door. To my shock, almost every person whom I have had the fortune of listening for these activities have headed straight for the door.

Now I'm not a germaphobe, really I'm not. In fact I still chuckle when I think of my MIL-to-be tell her granddaughter to not touch anything in the bathroom because its icky and dirty, but then encouraged her to push the button for the elevator. I figure the more germs kids are exposed to the better. But still... the bathroom door OUT handle is usually the cleanest place in the public restroom, but sadly not here.

My world is forever changed.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Game On!

Today I stumbled (via Maggie) upon a Blog writing challenge that has me strangely intrigued, NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month started by Mrs. Kennedy over at Fussy.

There is only so much time in the day that I can devote to blogging, and most of the time that I have is spent on reading and commenting. I generally keep my blogroll short, and I still don't get to all of your posts everyday, and y'all know my spotty posting habit so I'm going to see if I can play by someone else's rules and get a better posting habit started. My goals will be to document the happenings of my brain, and to somehow establish a well written and entertaining way of sharing said happenings.

I don't usually like to play by other people's rules if they aren't the rules that I would play by on my own, and I am pretty bad at doing anything consistently, but I do work well with deadlines (as long as I have one and I will be held to it). The challenge is for the month of November, to post everyday. There will probably be a ton of wedding planning banter, house project joys, and capped off with stories of a Thanksgiving feast that has gone amok. Join me and wish me luck.

Look out November, I've signed-up and ready to blog.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I gotta go

The office in which I work is oh so very quiet. If you take a phone call at your desk, all will hear what you are saying. Most people go to a conference room when they are on the phone for personal or business calls. I find it a little strange, but at the same time is all makes sense.

Eric and I end every call with an exchange of I Love You's and I find this uncomfortable when I am too lazy to get up and I call him from my desk, so we came up with a code phrase to end our little chat ....

Me: Hi Love! Can you go to the grocery store for me today to pick up some stuff for dinner?

Him: Sure thing, what do you want me to get?

Me: I'll send you an email with a list. (We're so high-tech)

Him: Ok, sounds good.

Me: Thanks! I gotta go.

Him: I really gotta go too!

Me: I really really gotta go! I'll talk to you later! Bye.

Him: Bye.
Doesn't that make you want to just GAG?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jumping on the wagon

A few people have written about loosing weight, getting in shape, and generally being healthy today so I will go ahead and jump on the train.

I have been in self-hate mode for a few days now. Perhaps it's the realization that I will be in many photographs coming up, and will be put into dress after dress to find the best one for me and my body. While going to wedding websites and reading wedding books and magazines, I am bombarded by the media's view of beauty along with lots of "Wedding Dress Shape-up" tips and advice.

Yes, I look down and I don't like my thighs, belly and butt. I see jeans that I bought not too long ago in a larger size showing signs that its time to go shopping again. Some of the changes in my body are due to the fibroids and I'm starting to understand and accept those. But they aren't the cause of the stretch in the jeans being put to the test around the backside and thighs.

I know that I'm not "fat" (whatever that means), but I do know that my body is changing and I'm not healthy cardiovascularly. I break into a sweat and heavy breathing when I walk up the very slight hill in the parking lot or the 1 flight of stairs at home. Whether its due to the lack of exercise or to my metabolism changing, (or both) I know that if I want to be healthier, I need to get to the gym, or walk at lunch, or do anything other then walk from the door to the car and back. I've been mindful of what I eat, and understanding that sometimes a buffet of catered food at the office is ok to splurge on occasionally, but I really should not have a biscotti or baklava just because its there and free (although it was REALLY GOOD! I was going to take a picture of the baklava today to post here... but I seems to have disappeared.)

I used to be very active. I used to hike multiple times a week, and dance dance dance. But the last few years I have lost the drive. I want to get it back. I need to get it back. I will get it back.

Doughnut anyone?