Friday, February 23, 2007

Taking the Laptop into the Kitchen

Last night I was chatting with my friend about how much we enjoy food blogs. There are so many of them out there, and many really well written, and even better are the photographs that these authors share with us. How do they make their own food, in their own kitchens look so good? * Mental Note* Consider the natural lighting in the kitchen when looking for a new house.

I love food.
I love to make food.
I love to read about food.
I love to talk about food.
I even love to clean up after making food (but I have an aversion to cleaning up before making food, so lately not much food making has happened)
and of course I love to eat food.
I also give a large percentage of my income to the bank which funded my food education, so I am bitterly reminded twice a month of my love for food.

On my nightstand you will find more cookbooks and food magazines, then you will fiction. Hmm, actually there is no fiction there at all right now. Yes, a few Bridal Mags, and a self-help book or two, but mainly anything I read is about food.

If I had more time, I'd read more food blogs, but I can't keep up with the blogs that I read now.

Most of my bloggy friends also enjoy food, and many occasionally do a little food post, and even though they don't do it everyday, the pictures and the story and of course the recipe always make me want to run home to make that dish that night (or go to their house and ask them to make it for me).

So, as a little incentive to try my hand at food blogging, and to get my little arse back into the kitchen, I am going to take my friend's suggestion and try to do a food post every two weeks. Likely on the weekend. We'll see how it goes.

I'm excited because I'm terrible at writing down my recipes. I work on one for a while, adjusting here and there, but never write it down. And then a year goes by and I have no idea how I made that special treat. So maybe this will help me take the time to get it all down.

Warning: I will likely say a pinch of this, or season to taste, or cook until done.... but you'll get used that. Savory cooking is not an exact science for me, ever! I'll try to do better with sweets preparations, but I'm not promising anything.

Little Princesses Happen

Baby's coming! Baby's coming!

The baby who is getting my first baby blanket project has decided to come a little early, mama went to the hospital last night. Good thing I finished the blanket last weekend! I still haven't taken a picture of it yet, so I'll do my best to get in a little photoshoot before I head for the post office tomorrow morning.

Eeeee BABY!

I guess I'll be making a trip to LA in the near future to see the new little princess.

At 8:38 this morning, Baby Leila came out to play!

Welcome little one!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Raining On The Inside

We haven't had much rain this winter, but through the night and into the morning it came down hard with a short burst of hail. It was pretty windy too, so the rain was going every which way.

I've been in my home office working today, and have stayed upstairs for most of the day, being able to look out our window at the now sunny blue sky I had no need to go downstairs until I was hungry. Then when I went downstairs to get some lunch, I noticed that the paint around the kitchen window was bubbled up and cracked. Of course I felt the need to poke at it, and down came the paint in chunks. OH GOODIE! The drywall that was exposed is all wet. YAY!

I called the window company that replaced our windows last summer and they are coming out tomorrow. We also removed the patio cover that was protecting that window, so hopefully there weren't any cracks in the stucco which I might have missed in my caulking crusades. The shed that is adjacent to that wall also recently had its roof replaced, so hopefully there aren't any complications with that. If it is due to the shed, at least I can just call the HOA.

Home ownership is fun. Home ownership is fun.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who Says Families Should Talk?

This weekend, my parent's celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary. We went out to eat with them at the restaurant of my father's choosing. We went to.... Wait for it.... The Old Spaghetti Factory. Needless to say my mother was not pleased with 1)his selection, and 2)the fact that he didn't think to consult her of her desired restaurant destination. I mean, he hasn't consulted her on what to have for dinner for the most part from what I remember, so why she should think he'd start now is beyond me. Usually a 40th Anniversary would be a very joyous occasion, but instead it was another odd evening of eating with a lot of awkward silence.

Sitting at a table for 4 with my parents has become a now twice annual event. Their anniversary and Thanksgiving. Strangely enough, we never really did this as we were growing up or even as adults until right before my brother moved to Canada. My family never really learned the art of eating together at the table, sharing stories, having discussions or actually communicating in general.

So when we have these little get togethers, the four of us sit there. Practically in silence, except when myself or my mom thinks of something with which to break the silence. If we're lucky, it'll be a really long story that somewhat sounds interesting so the other person can be thinking up the next story to tell. Or we just comment on the food... a lot.

Me, being the big communicator of the family, I find this very uncomfortable. I talk. It's what I do. And sitting there, with the people that gave me life, and the person whom gives me more love then I can imagine, I find myself sitting in silence, or I am drawn to talk about idle chit chat which I know really no one cares about.

The few times I've tried to talk about "meaningful" subjects I see my mom's eyes glaze over, and generally my father isn't listening so I don't really get upset when he doesn't respond. I inevitably feel like a referee at some point in the evening, because my mother will make some comment about my father.. you know, with him sitting right there. But since he is only paying attention to his food, it generally goes unnoticed. But sometimes, he catches on. And then I feel the need to change the subject because it's what I've done for 30+ years.

It's amazing I learned how to talk at all. But this is probably why I put such a heavy emphasis on good communication in any of my relationships, and why I'm so open. Hell, someone had to break the silence in my family.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Most Important Meal of the Day

Along with many others, I am on a bit of a loose weight/get in shape kick right now. When my mostly male co-workers comment on my change in eating habits, I tell them it's for the wedding dress and ask, "Do you want to ask any more questions?" That usually gets them off my back and many of them are actually quite supportive.

So, one of the changes in my eating habits is re-introducing the concept of breakfast. I KNOW it is the most important meal of the day, energy boosting, blah blah blah. But when I have a 1.5 hour commute, all I am thinking about in the morning is getting out of the house.

So last week I started making a big batch of Steel Cut Oatmeal (its the only kind I like now, Mmm its chewy and nutty and so not mushy!). It takes 30+ minutes to cook, so by cooking a big batch, and then portioning it out for the week. I have no excuses! I even sprinkle some dried cherries and rasins on top, so I can attempt to skip my usual pat of butter and heaping tablespoon of brown sugar.

This morning, I came into the office after a lovely and BEAUTIFUL long weekend, with my little glad ware bowl of Mm Mmm congealed oatmeal, and ACK, there was no milk in the fridge. Sadly I had to put blechy water in it to loosen it up, and then I was just sad so I went in search of some sugar to put in it to make it a little better... but I made the mistake of putting in Splenda.

ICKY! Now my gloppy congealed oatmeal tastes like chemicals, except those yummy bites with a dried cherry.

Mental note: Tomorrow put in more dried cherries. They're full of fiber, right?

*updated* - Our office usually is packed high with milk, cream and soy milk, but we were out because of the long weekend and I get in earlier then the milk man delivers. Yes, the milkman delivers to the office.

I also usually use Splenda in drinks, where the taste doesn't bother me, but in the oatmeal, it did. I allowed myself some brown sugar today and topped it off with a few more dried cherries, and all was well.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dermatology Fun

For years I have had a skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris, which appears as red or white bumps on the outer upper arms and thighs & buttocks, and sometimes the facial cheeks (IT'S HOT!). For some it looks like you have permanent red goosebumps, for me it looks like whiteheads (aka "white pustules" as it was put in my file. Um eww.) and it's worse on my arms, its mild on my thighs and its pretty mild on my face, maybe 10 or so little white bumps at a time. It is genetic and incurable. For most it goes away as they get older, but for others is never improves. YAY me! I get to be in the never improves category. For the most part, it didn't really bother me as a kid, although it was there, I was pretty oblivious to my physical appearance, and likely because I was in the sun all the time the condition was really mild.

Now, as an adult it bugs me. I pick at it, which causes scaring, which just makes the appearance worse. I'd REALLY like it to be all clear and the scars reduced for the wedding/honeymoon so I'm hyper sensitive to it right now.

I have the classic symptoms of it being worse in the winter and better in the summer (the UV rays do good I hear), at least on my arms. Last year, it finally bothered me enough to make an appointment with my NP to get a referral to Dermatology. By the time my NP appointment came around it was summer, and my skin was really mild. ARGH! My NP actually laughed that I wanted a referral. She said they would line her up and shoot her for giving me the referral (FREAKIN HMO CRAP!). Said that lots of people have that and they just deal with it. I just sat there. Looking at her. She said, "What do you want me to do?"


So she did. Begrudgingly. And added to the notes that the patient insisted on the referral. I tell ya, why did she bother seeing me if she would give it to me because I insisted?

So months later, my Dermatology appointment rolled around. I was only seen by a nurse, and she gave me a name for my condition, and told me to exfoliate and use a lotion with AHA twice a day. I also told her that I have been using my boyfriend's prescription acne medication for face acne, so she said, "Would you like your own prescription?". Bam.. just like that. I had some fancy acne stuff, and it was officially in my records that I had acne.

If anyone looks at me, they know I don't have acne. I have always had pretty clear skin, except the arm/thigh thing and the occasional major zit that hangs out for 3-4 weeks.

2 questions here:
How does the referral system save the HMO money, when all I had to do was insist, and then I got any prescription I asked for?
Anyone else have experience with Keratosis Pilaris and have found a solution which works for them? Or even just something to reduce the scaring? I really want to get my arms all cleared up and pretty for the big day.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love Quiz

I saw this over at Stealthybean and I think it's pretty accurate. Ok, ok, maybe I dig the Valentine's day thing a bit. But I still don't need all of the hoopla.

You Are A Romantic Realist

You tend to be grounded when it comes to romance.
Sure, you can fall hard... but only for someone you've gotten to know.
And once you're in love, you can be a total romantic goofball...
But you'd never admit it to your friends!

Company Love Fest

Yesterday my company threw a little Valentine's Day party of sorts. I found this a little odd because in general I'm one of those anti-Valentines people, at least I don't like to whoop it up like some people. I pretty much see it as just another day, since I feel that everyday we should remember our loved ones (but I'll never refuse the See's chocolates that Eric gives me every year. Mmm Mmm).

So anyway... back to the party.

They rented a popcorn popping cart thingy from the deli across the street, and you REALLY don't want to know the butter like orange stick o'goo that is used to pop and flavor the corn, really you don't

They had all sorts of Red, Pink and White candies and cookies, which were heavily frosted and sugared of course.

And, they showed a movie. Yes, a movie at the office. Please take a moment to imagine a room with 30 or so tech geeks continuing to work on their laptops, sitting in the dark, watching none other then the great 80's teen star John Cusack in "Better Off Dead". CLASSIC!

Well at least now it's classic, since I had never heard of this movie before, and I asked J over at Thinking About, if it was worth my while to stop working for a bit to go watch, and she had never heard of it and she knows all things good about the 80's, so I was skeptical. And then I thought, HEY, I get to totally work half-assed for an hour or so, see a probably crappy movie and then go home, sounds like a good deal to me!

So yea, it was a pretty bad movie although funny at times. It was probably one of those movies where the director was going for the type of show where they threw in all sorts of really bad jokes and stunts and such to get the kids laughing, or maybe the bar was just set really low for 80's teen romantic comedies because you know the teen romantic comedies of today are so good! But it was a fun time, and moments were shared with some co-workers that I don't usually hang out with. So all in all, it was a good choice (but eating those 2 frosted cookies were probably not).

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sesame Street Personality Test

You Are Cookie Monster

Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.

You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.

You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and unsual way of speaking

How you live your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Weekend where I catch up

So this weekend was going to be the weekend I catch up on everything I've fallen behind on.
My list included:
  1. Work
  2. Groom Kitties including trimming the nails
  3. Filling up the car with gas at Costco - a tank a week adds up
  4. Doing my nails
  5. Work
  6. Knit another skein worth of the baby blanket
  7. Scrub the bathroom
  8. Laundry - including putting it all away
  9. Bills
  10. Work
  11. General errands
  12. Vacuum
  13. Scrub those spots in the carpet which I swore I already scrubbed before
  14. Organize Closets
  15. Make Goodwill run
  16. Work
  17. Organize pile o' papers in office
  18. Call friends I never seem to call
  19. Work
  20. etc.
Guess what? It took me longer then a weekend to fall behind, and therefore I should have considered that when I took on this challenge. At least I got one hand worth of nails filed (while sitting on the toilet no doubt..yes, yes, TMI), the knitting part completed, the cat's got groomed but their nails were not trimmed and the bathroom scrubbed! Holy Crap! My bathtub and shower curtain are supposed to be white! Perhaps I'll put that load of laundry that is in the dryer away next weekend, when I start another cycle of weekend catch up.

Oh yea, and one other thing that has been on the list for weeks and it was finally completed... pouring Draino down the bathroom sink. We try to keep to a pretty low-toxin household, but now that it's draining just like it did when we put in that sink, I suppose I have to admit that hair + greasey build up (and no I do not want to think about where the greasy build-up comes from) = slow draining sink + caustic chemicals = smooth drain. So do you? Do you ever think about where the greasy build-up comes from?

Friday, February 09, 2007

East Coast / West Coast

Last night, Eric's best friend in Pittsburgh called up to check in on the wedding plans. Since he is a resident doing his fellowship (a 3 year Cardiology fellowship, plus more if he chooses to specialize in a specialty of his chosen specialty) and needs probably the most notice of all those that need to travel. Magically, this phone call sparked a few decisions on our part. Because HELLO, this was one of the main reasons I was pushing Eric to start planning last year, since it's mainly his side that needs to travel (assuming we don't elope to Hawaii). Of course now, it's me that is slowing the plan train down.

So we talked about the March wedding in a blooming orchard and agreed that it was just too close. Although gorgeous, we should have thought of that sooner. BUT, we can do engagement photos in a blooming orchard! Not quite as magical, but still VERY us and very special.

Eric's best friend said that he wants to be there no matter how small we go, which is something that I know means a whole lot to Eric, since he is out here on the West Coast with me, and his entire family and childhood friends are all back in the Northern East Coast. Eric went to his friend's wedding in India, where he spent a month travelling around the country and had the wonderful opportunity to stay in Kerala with his friend's family for quite a long visit. These two are brothers that just happen to have different parents. When his friend called to tell him he was getting married, and the wedding was going to be in India, Eric said, "Well I guess I'm going to India". There were no questions about it.

Out here, Eric has me, the cats, his business, and some newer friends mostly met through me. He is still very attached to the East, and sometimes we have struggles since I am a girl that is so very tied to the West, and his decision to start a business that is also very much dedicated to this area. We could move elsewhere and he could still have his business, but he'd really have to start over. Besides, its cold in the North East!

Right now, he's good. He's happy to be here. He's happy with me and the cats and the lack of snow. But when we have kids, someone is going to be on a plane a lot. I just don't quite know who it's going to be yet.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Breaking News

I was at a tech convention today and wandered about with some old co-workers talking about the industry we work in and best practices and such, and then we came upon a booth that had video games, TVs, and pinball machines. - hey anything to keep the geeks in your booth! - On the TV was the CNN Situation Room with the BREAKING NEWS! ANNA NICOLE IS DEAD!

Ok someone please tell me how this is breaking news? And why is this story getting so much coverage?

Really, it can't be helping the family. It is purely fueled by our celebrity sensationalism, which is what she lived off of - well that and drugs, and an extremly painful life and somehow an outwordly plush lifestyle - why do I know this?

I stood there with my friend watching the news while being totally shocked at the fact that he even knew who she was, and that he knew her whole story, and that it was on CNN, AND the fact that we were both standing there watching and discussing it.

And now I'm shocked that I just took the time to write about it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

You Mean I Have to PLAN the Wedding?

I seem to think I'm going to get married soon, yet I've planned not a thing and the potential date we settled on, is starting to get really close. We have much to do. Much to decide on. Much shopping and planning and... oh hell, let's elope. Oh wait, eloping still involves planning. CRAP!

So I mentioned this wedding thing up there... yea, right up there, it was mere seconds since your eyes scanned over it. So I keep saying to everyone, "Yea, so we might elope, but I still want the dress, the flowers and the pictures! Oh, and a few people there would be ideal." The thing is, if I still want all of these things, then I still need to make plans, sign contracts and write checks (which require money to back them up, have you heard?). My mom says she is fine with whatever we decide, but I totally heard the pain in her voice when she said that. Eric's mom is actually hoping we elope (don't know what that's about). And our siblings are both down with the date we've given them, but are waiting on confirmation before any flights are booked.

We had finally agreed on a date in June that seemed good for the "must have" guests. But then we think about how much money we could save if we elope now and get Eric on my benefits, and just do a really little thing. But that isn't very romantic or memorable, or really what falls in line with what I want. I know I need to find that balance, and balance is not something I'm really known to find in any aspect of my life. It's one extreme or the other. I admit that I want to be smart with this wedding, and I'm not really an extravagant person, even my dream wedding has a small number of guests but in a location that isn't really easy for people flying in, and therefore pricey.

Plus the thought of asking people to spend 100's of dollars for a weekend where we can only provide one meal, just seems like asking too much. I've never flown anywhere for a wedding, but I'm sure I would for a close friend or relative. We're flying to New Orleans for a wedding in April, so I know people do it, but it just seems so foreign to me. And then it comes down to actually choosing and sadly, ranking people, and not wanting people to feel obligated to come if we do choose to invite them when it just doesn't work for them.

Then Eric came up with the idea to get married in an orchard in bloom. Great idea! Sounds gorgeous! Guess when orchards are in bloom? NEXT MONTH! I contacted our orchard of choice and they don't feel comfortable with the liability of an event, but are open to us taking pictures there, which sounds great... but that means I need to find a dress and photographer in um... a month. Not to mention the cake and someone to marry us, oh and what date is good for you?

Oh yea, and then I'd like to be in better shape because my arms are starting wave back at me, and I have a touch of acne on my shoulders that I'd like to go away for the day.

So June is sounding more reasonable, but still, we need to get our butts into gear and get some decisions made, so people can make plans, cakes can be ordered, photographers can be booked. Huh... SF City hall is looking more and more pretty! Or maybe Hawaii. Hawaii is nice!

Monday, February 05, 2007

No More Green Yarn

So as you've no doubtly noted, I've been in a bit of a stuck place. Depression, stress, procrastination, yadda, yadda, yadda. Unfortunately it is a topic that is very on my mind because, well, it's kinda stopping me from being very productive in my life, work and just being. I am soooo freakin tired about writing about it though, but if I don't write about it, does that mean I'm not being honest with myself? Eh? So there, I mentioned it, it's been documented and now I shall move on with my day.

So this weekend I made a grave mistake. I bought yarn and needles for 2 more knitted projects before I was finished with my current one. Gasp! I KNOW! I have had to stop myself from doing just this for the last week, because I'm growing slightly tired of the baby blanket which I have taken on. This blanket is also stressing me ever so slightly because the baby it is a gift for, is due in a month. I know the baby will be a baby for a little while after that, so really receiving a gift of a blanket will be completely fitting if received a month or so later. But I might pull my hair out, if I only work on this same green yarn, though soft and pretty, and this same pattern for a whole month.

I am quite proud of myself with this blanket though. It is my 3rd project and my first with a pattern, and I'm on my 3rd out of 7 balls of yarn. I have estimated that I must complete 8 rows a day to finish it by March, and I'm no speed knitter so 8 rows takes me over 2 hours, assuming I don't have to stop and fix anything (which I've had to do almost every day for the last few days).

The biggest bonus with making this blanket right now is that it is keeping my lap nice and warm on the cold mornings while I ride the train. Perhaps I'll take a day or two off to give me a break and work with some other pretty... non-green yarn. Maybe a quick scarf so I can feel a little more sense of accomplishment.

Oh, and while on the topic of knitting... the doctor said I have inflamed tendons which are causing the pain and numbing tingling sensation. So resting more often, doing more stretches and being able to knit with my elbows resting on something is totally helping. Taking about 6 days off from it helped... but totally put me behind!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Random thoughts on why it's hard to write sometimes

Sometimes I think I'm a much better commenter then a personal post writer. Either I have posts coming out of my ears and I don't have time to write them all down and then of course forget the ideas, or there's nothing there. And then I read some of your posts, and then I suddenly have a ton to say and I write paragraphs in your comment sections, which I find kinda rude and self centered - but please feel free to do this to me, because I'm just hyper-sensitive to people's perception of my self-centeredness and I loves me the comments, but only if you want to comment, I'm not begging for comments here or measuring my self-worth or how much people like me based on comments. Ok, maybe I am. No I'm not. yea yea, I am.

So I was sitting here thinking... why is it that sometimes I am one of the most talkative people around, yet I feel I don't have anything to write here, or I'm totally the opposite and I sit around silent, and feeling awkward, but I can write a mile a minute here.

I guess it comes down to the moment of inspiration, and frankly whether or not I'm awake, or have already told a particular story and once its out there, I don't think to tell it again. I do often think that once I tell a story to a friend, that since those friends read this, that I don't want to bore them with writing it down again. But really that's silly because I'm not writing this for them. It's for me.

So in the spirit of the original concept of my blog, I am going to stop being so concerned about impressive stories and writing, and just go back to my random thoughts and stuff, because really, that's how my mind works.