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.