Monday, October 29, 2007

Gettin' out of the house

Eric and I don't get out much. We tend to be home bodies, and this frustrates us, because there is no other reason other then laziness. We both enjoy being active participants of life but our asses are very heavily drawn the couch, the bed, or to the comfy office chairs I spent way too much money on.

Last week, my co-worker announced that she had some tickets to a Taiko concert/show in Napa, on Saturday and she was no longer able to go. I quickly jumped at the chance because we both enjoy these types of shows. It is cultural, it is worldy, it is full of energy and it's just pretty cool! Plus, it's a great reason to drive up to Napa which really is only a 40 minute drive from our house but we tend to forget that it's so close.

We had hoped to get in a casual but tasty dinner before the show, but we got a late start and my mom had asked us to fill up her car with gas (she breaks out in a rash if she does it and there just aren't full-service stations around anymore), so we let go of the idea of dining at a lovely Napa restaurant. We took our time getting ready and still found we had 45 minutes before the show, so we got our casual but tasty dinner of In & Out burger, fries, and a shake and Dr. Pepper to share. And honestly... the best part of that meal was the Dr. Pepper (we don't drink much soda and it was so luxurious!)

We arrived at the Napa Valley Opera House to find that we were TOTALLY overdressed. I put Eric in a casual but nice button down and some black slacks and I was in a cut little matte jersey dress. We don't have reasons to dress up much (since we tend to not leave the house), so we took the opportunity and ran with it. The rest of the play house was dressed rather casually... good to know for the next time we head to Napa for a show.

The show was fantastic though. So full of energy and rhythm. If you ever get a chance to see a Taiko Drum group, I would highly recommend it. I wish that I had thought of inviting some other friends and their kids because it was a perfect show for kids. Perhaps a little late running, but I think I know a few pre-teens who would have really enjoyed it (and their parent's too).

This week we have 2 parties to go to, so we are feeling all grown up and social suddenly. It's very odd! But the big question now...what will I wear?

Friday, October 26, 2007

More goings on about the hair

I wrote that little post about the perm right after I walked in the door from the salon and I was still reeling from the sudden decision to frizz out my hair. Now that it has been a few days, and this morning I was finally able to wash it, I don't think its THAT bad anymore.
It's a "body wave" done with big perm rods and it was way curly the night I got it done. Then the next few days it was looking sad from the not being allowed to touch it business (for those non-perm havers, you can't wash, brush or generally do anything with permed hair for the first few days to allow the hairs to "remember" the curl since the chemicals are still doing their thing).
So now that I got to play with it.... I don't love it, but I don't totally hate it either. I blew out my bangs so they aren't one big cork stew anymore (think Squiggy), and I put in some de-frizzing serum and shine stuff. I don't like the way it hangs and its more kinky then curly, but maybe when I go back on Tuesday for a cut, she can make it have more shape. I dunno.... I miss my shiny, wash and go hair, but maybe I needed a little change to spark things up a bit.

The night I got the perm I couldn't sleep. I was having little anxiety pangs. Little freak outs about the hair, and then fearing the teasing I would get at work, and then realizing that I have to stand up in front of my whole department and do a training in a few days... WITH THIS HAIR! And then of course I started freaking out that I hadn't finished writing my presentation and had no idea what I was going to do with my hair for the presentation. And things just spiraled down from there.

And now today... I have ok hair, I am dressed in a casual but sharp sweater (I was so not going to wear a costume like most people in the office), and my presentation is at 1:30pm. So far I'm not all that nervous, just a little.. if I think about it, so I will stop thinking about it now.

Oh... and by the way... IT'S FRIDAY! and the best thing about that.... I get to SLEEP IN tomorrow AND my presentation will be over, oh and we're going to a Taiko Drum group concert in Napa.

May you all have fabulous hair this weekend!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What was I thinking?

I have fine hair. Very straight fine hair. It hangs there, and if I touch it through the day, which I always do, it ends up even more flat from the oils on my hands. My hairstylist has been trying to get me to try something out for a few years now, and tonight I threw caution to the wind and said "Sure, if you've got time". It's just hair, right? RIGHT?

So tonight I returned to the 80's.


I'm not about to show you pictures, so don't even ask. Right now I'm resisting the urge to jump in the shower to wash it out or to run a brush through it. The bangs are the worst of all. I could pull out my 8th grade picture and you'd see the same look. Tomorrow... all of the teasing I throw at my guy co-workers is going to come flying right back at me, 10 fold.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kudos for my husband! Shame on me!

This week my new hubby made two appointments he tends to put off. He went to the eye doctor AND the dentist. He hadn't been to the dentist in years as he kept saying he was waiting until we were married and on my benefits. So, for the last few months I have been reminding him that he is on my benefits now, and I pay for them every 2 weeks so it would be great if he could go use them.

Hurray! He went and really likes the lovely in-network dentist he randomly picked from the list. He gets to see her a few more times this year too, thanks to the two tiny cavities and the need for a deep cleaning. I hear those deep cleanings hurt, so I will make sure to make him a lovely large pile of mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner that night, followed up by some ice cream. He'll like that.

The scary thing about this, is that I was listening to my mom complain about my father this weekend. About how they are paying for their benefits but my father refuses to go and use them. When she said this I rolled my eyes and pointed to Eric, gesturing that he does the same thing.

Now Eric has pointed out a few other instances of this before but I never really saw it.....


I'm sorry love. I'll really watch the nagging and the complaining. Really I will!

BTW - Is it Kudos to... or Kudos for? Anywhoo... YAY Husband!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Time for Talking

As one of the Ukrainian engineers I work with has said when he is a little stressed, "No Time for Talking".

Since I went back to full-time work 2 weeks ago, I have had so little time for the wonderful world of the Internets. Not just blogging, but random searches and surfing as well. Usually I'd probably spend about an hour or so a day surfing and blog reading and writing. But lately... I've had time for nadda. It's so sad. I don't have time today either, but I miss this process of writing and getting my thoughts out there.

I got very used to having my laptop as a sort of window to the world while I was recovering. I was enjoying writing posts and keeping up with the blogs I read and even finding new ones. But alas.... sitting on my butt on the couch has been replaced by a too long commute, meetings, meetings, work, work, lunching (that's still fun), chit chatting with co-workers, office politics and drama, and cube moves. And when I get home its dinner, maybe TV, and then off to bed where I never can get enough sleep so the weekends I pretty much just sleep. No wonder I haven't posted in a week. I wonder how I will ever complete NaBloPoMo. I guess I'll have to get REALLY creative and disciplined with my time which is a good thing, because after 6 weeks of not really following a schedule, I SUCK at it now.

So I have nothing too interesting to update on so feel free to stop reading now, as I have a feeling I'm going to get even more whiny. I HATE being whiny. Always with the whine and the negative... I'd like that to stop (but maybe later because I feel full of whine today).
  • I've been working a lot and stress has returned to my life in the form of grinding my teeth at night to the point where I can only eat soft foods because my jaw has revolted against me. YAY!
  • I have gained all of the weight I lost from being in the hospital, plus some, so even my lounging clothes I was wearing during my recovery.... don't fit. And I was so excited that my back fat.. yes that roll on the back with the stretch marks, was gone when I got home from the hospital but now it's back. Although my tummy is much more flat thanks to the baby head and it's slightly smaller friend being removed. (for those of you just tuning it... I had some non-cancerous tumors removed, one which was described as the size of a baby's head). All of the weight has landed on my hips, butt, thighs and GASP my back. My body REALLY wants to be a pear. Just looking at my mom proves it.
  • I am still tired all of the time, but I have also re-introduced walking into my schedule so hopefully that will help with both the energy and the tight fitting clothes. My work also just installed a gym and showers in the building, and I signed the little waiver so I'm hoping to do a little cardio before I leave each night.... we'll see how that goes.
  • on a more fun note.... My work has an annual pie contest around thanksgiving time and I've already started working on my entries. I recently made a peanut butter cup cream cheese pie, and got some excellent feedback from Py, J and their daughter Maya. A little more tweaking and I think I may finally say I can successfully bake a cheese cake... I mean a cream cheese pie. (the pie contest judges frown on cheesecakes being entered, so hopefully since I put mine in a pie tin with a full chocolate cookie crust, they won't bat an eye at it). My second entry will be something fruity.... although the chocolatey entries always win. I need more tasters who will give honest feedback.... volunteers?
Although it looks like a puddle of chocolate (what's wrong with that?), under the dark chocolate ganache, is a smooth and rich peanut butter cheese cake filling with chunks of peanut butter cup candies, on a crust of chocolate graham cracker crumbs and chopped peanuts.
Take 2 will have more candy chunks, a more stable crust, milk chocolate ganache and more garnish and flourish on top.
Thanks for the picture J!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The War

Over the last 2 weeks, we have been watching the Ken Burn's series 'The War' on PBS. If you haven't heard about it, it's a documentary about World War II, told from the viewpoint of Americans from 4 cities fighting both abroad and from home. There was footage from both sides, photographs, letters read and many interviews. A sister told of the letters her brother wrote, and of the howls from her mother when they received the dreaded news. Fighter pilots and infantrymen told of loosing their friends, of how death effected them and of the girls that were at home getting them through each day. The girl's waiting at home told about how they wrote to their boys abroad and worked at the USO and did all they could to support the war effort from home. Each episode spanned a time line from a few months to a year, and finally ended with J Day, the Americans finding the Death Camps and then talking about the lasting emotional and physical effects of the war on the men, the families and on the nation.

Quite frankly I didn't know much about WWII. I didn't know when it happened, or even who was on what side. Oh sure, I knew about Hitler and the Japanese's attack on Pearl Harbor, and then the final atomic bomb drop, but there was so much that I felt I should have already known, like that there were 2 atomic bombs dropped! I didn't know that Italy was involved, or Canada! Canada has an Army? I didn't know the battles extended down to North Africa. I didn't know about Omaha Beach but I did recognize that the footage reminded me of the opening scene of "Saving Private Ryan", which DUH! it was! Which completely explains why I have only seen maybe a minute of that movie and decided I never wanted to see the rest. I didn't know about the battles in the Philippines, Saigon, Guam, and all of the other islands in the Pacific. I had heard about Midway, but that was it on the Pacific front. The casualty numbers that the narrator would say after each vignette about a specific battle was completely mind boggling to me. How could they risk and loose so many lives? I guess I truly don't understand what a WORLD war is about, thankfully.

I talked to a friend of mine who is a high school history teacher about why we learn so little about such a huge event in World and US History. She said that so much time is spent on the Middle Ages that few teachers are able to get to the 20th century. And then in US History classes, again there is a focus on the birth of our nation and then on the Civil War, and they just run out of time. She said that she'd really like to show her Junior class at least part of the Ken Burn's series, but they don't have the budget to buy it. I hope Netflix will get it soon, so she can get her hands on it that way.

Tuesday night we watched the last of the Ken Burn's series. We have a few more shows to watch that were produced locally about Bay Area soldiers and how the War changed this area of the nation, but I think I'm done. That last episode was probably the hardest one to watch as there was a lot of footage about the death camps and the effects of the atomic bombs. The last few nights, neither of us have been sleeping well, and even though we haven't been having dreams that specifically point to the show, I'm still pretty sure it is effecting us. I'm very grateful and hopeful that I may never fully understand what war is really like. It's a shame that I say that, since we are still currently fighting in the Middle East, and yet I have no clue what it really means.

Maya's Granny wrote a great post about a realization that came to her out of the series, check it out!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


During my recovery I sat, and sat, and probably slouched more then I should have but I didn't care because I just was trying to not hurt. Within a few days of being home my back was killing me. We figured out a position I could sorta relax in and Eric would rub it the best he could (the Percoset didn't hurt to help the relaxation either).

Once I was able to, I started going to my massage therapist every other week to help with the tension and the pain. We used a combination of the massage chair and pillows on the table, much like a pre-natal massage. Although the massages helped the spots that were spasming, I couldn't really relax in those positions.

So tonight, I had the most scrumptious of massages. I was finally able to lay on my stomach. Gingerly but ON MY STOMACH! Along with some meditative breathing, I was finally able to fully relax (without drugs).

You mean I have go TO the office?

This getting back into the swing of full-time in the office work is going slowly.

Yesterday I woke up with every intension of getting to the office my 9am. REALLY! Instead I woke up, checked my email and found that my 7am customer call was canceled and somehow got back in bed. I don't even remember laying back down, but around 9:30am I woke up. Guess I'll be working from home today because it would take me until about noon to get into the office, and I would get far more work done if I just stayed home at this point, so off my email was sent to my very understanding management.

Then today I already knew my calls were canceled so I set the alarm for 7:30. This day I was going to purposely go to work a little late.. not too late, just a little late because I'm pooped. And instead I woke up at 1am, then 2am and then at 5am I gave up and just got up. I had taken a decongestant last night and suddenly found myself REALLY irritable. I could only explain it as a side effect from the drug because I was perfectly content before I laid down. Eric had even rubbed my back until I was just about to pass out.

I headed to the train station before the sun came up and was thrilled when I got to the platform with time to spare. I got on the train to find no seats. I walked through 5 cars to the front of the train to still find no seat to put my tired arse. So I stood until exactly the next stop. The jostling of the train was too much for me to bear as my abdominals are still pretty weak and those internal incisions do not like this whole wearing pants thing. This made me feel like a weakling and even more cranky so I disboarded that train to wait for the next.

I felt like crying. I wanted to call Eric to tell him I'm coming home because someone, somewhere was telling me that I should go back home and work from there because going all the way into the office was pointless. But of course Eric also ended up with a sleepless night, so he was currently finally asleep on the couch downstairs and I didn't want to wake him with my whining. So I bucked up and got on the next train.

The rest of my commute was eventless. I found I was probably in the only car with the heater on and although some people complained, I LOVED it! I read a few chapters of my book, and soon found myself dosing off. A lovely little nap. I then transfered trains and read my book the rest of my journey.

I got into the office, hours before my teammates and had a very productive few hours. Then a little break for some blogging activity while I eat a sinful Krispy Kreme doughnut and a glass of cold milk (company provided of course!). As of now, this whole going to work thing is going to turn around for the better! (I've decided)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

New Snack Find

I am a Tivo user. Yes, its true. I don't usually know what movies are coming out, I haven't seen that funny commercial people are talking about around the water cooler and I even tend to keep my head buried when it comes to the terrible news that fills the channels. So last weekend when we were in a little produce market which is mainly filled with various South American flavors and ingrediants, I was shocked and excited when I saw these new Doritos flavors (YES, I too can't believe I'm writing about Doritos!)

Doritos Collisons is what I saw. Hot Wings and Blue Cheese flavored chips in one bag, and Zesty Taco and Chipotle Ranch chips mixed up together in another.

Mostly, I was fascinated by the idea of Blue Cheese flavored chips. Me loves the feet cheese and I'm a fan of hot wings, so I picked up a 99cent snack bag along with our odd mix of veggies that we got mostly because Eric wanted to plant them (ginger, shallots, and various yams and sweet potatoes).

We were hungry, and even though Eric was disgusted that we had been shopping at Costco and then handling various foods in the produce market, and here we were digging our hands into this bag of chips and happily licking our fingers (yes I lick my fingers like a kid still and no one got sick), we were totally analyzing every bite.

The Hot Wing chips... eh, they tasted like Doritos with a tiny bit more heat, and the Blue Cheese chips tasted kinda like Blue Cheese dressing, but I found I had to make a kind of smacking noise and had to suck in air like you see wine tasters do, in order to really taste it.

All in all, it was a fun little treat.

Who'd a thunk... BLUE CHEESE flavored chips? We've come a long way from putting a little salt on a thinly sliced and fried potato!

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Rich and The Crunchy

Tonight, even though I was so tired by the time I got home, I was even more hungry and couldn't think of something I specifically wanted to eat. I wanted something rich and something crunchy. I was thinking tacos or maybe some crusty bread and butter and a plate of pasta.

On my way home, I called Eric to see if he had any ideas and to find out if he wanted to cook since he was at home and I was still on the train at 7pm, he told me he started looking up restaurant reviews (I guess he didn't want to cook). So we went to an Italian restaurant we've looked at before but never ate at, Luna Restiorante in Concord. It had many, many great reviews.

We were greeted as we walked in the door and immediately seated. We read through the menu and the specials and discussed and discussed the items. SOOooo many great sounding dishes. I really struggled. The waiter didn't come over until I closed the menu, which I appreciated because I don't like the pushy server that seems to just want to get us out of there before we sit down. He said he noted that I was wavering quite a bit with the menu and part of me wished he had come over sooner. I am the type of person who tends to have a hard time making food decisions because I want to make sure there is no chance of Entree Envy or possibly wish I had chosen something else, so I take a long time sometimes. I get ever so slightly annoyed when a server isn't picking up on my signals of I'm not exactly sure what I want and would love some suggestions verses I'm chatting with my friend here and want a little time. I know, I know... yes I expect them to read my mind!

The waiter was eager to help me and told us about their most popular dishes and helped me make my decision. We ordered the Banana Squash Cream Soup, Mushroom and Gorgonzola Bruchetta (for my crunchy craving), I got an item on the specials menu of Gnocchi with Pancetta, Peas, Mushrooms in a tomato cream sauce, and Eric had the Risotto Con Scampi E Granchio. Um... YUM! Everything was wonderful. Rich but not overly so. Flavorful with excellent textures. The prawns, which came with Eric's risotto, reminded us more of lobster as they were far more rich and crisp then your ordinary shrimp. They were clearly either fresh or VERY well cared for frozen shrimp, and perfectly cooked (over/under-cooked shrimp are a pet peeve of mine and a well cooked shrimp says a lot to me about the quality of the kitchen).
We finished up with the Tiramasu and tasty dark roasted decaf coffee, because how can you go out for a spontaneous date without getting dessert? Especially at an Italian restaurant you've never been to, when everything else has been so wonderful you have to find out if their desserts measure up! Since I had about 2/3rds of my entree boxed up, I saved some room for a few bites of mascarpone loveliness! The sauce work was very nicely done that I wished I had my camera so I could share it's beauty with you all. We very much enjoyed the Tiramasu, although I would have preferred it if they didn't drizzle chocolate sauce over it. I found it was too overpowering for the delicate balance of the rum, espresso and marsala flavors in the delicate mascarpone. Perhaps someone that was going for a chocolate dessert would have liked that more, but when I get Tiramasu, I expect to experience the cream and maybe a little chocolate grated on top as a lovely garnish. I just scooped off the chocolate (heaven forbid!) and it was perfect to me.

Everything we ordered helped to satisfy my rich craving and I was all set for the night, but nothing ever felt too heavy. It was all comfortable and soothing. We will definitely be back!

And to think that I considered going to Taco Bell! Woulda been much cheaper, but after spending so much time with Eric everyday and then to be apart all day today, a special night out just seemed appropriate. Plus we both figured, "hey, we worked today," me at my corporate job and Eric landed a new landscaping client, we decided to treat ourselves. Of course we've been "treating" ourselves A LOT lately since I hadn't been cooking. (Hellooooo hips!) Our fridge has had very little fresh anything in it, as its been a lot of frozen meals, take-out and dining out for us. Good thing Eric likes to eat leftovers, I think he'll be having Gnocchi tomorrow!

Back at work (again)

A few months ago I took some time off for our wedding festivities and the time eventually ended and I had to return to work. Then as I've written about, a month and a half later I had to take off more time for a myomectomy. Well, that period of time has ended and today is my first day back at work.

Things I've come to realize:
  • Alarms SUCK! - allowing my body to wake up when it wanted to felt much more natural, plus Eric was sick last night with a migraine, which equals him puking, so no one got much sleep. 5am comes quickly when one drifts off to sleep at 2am.
  • Having to commute to the office sucks more! - rolling out of bed and turning on the laptop was much better then catching trains and transfers and shuttles and walking in the rain to the office.
  • Gas, train tickets and daily lunches out is expensive! - I was saving SO MUCH MONEY not having to come into the office everyday and dropping $8-15 on lunch. Even though I was on disability and my income dropped significantly, I still managed to save money last month.
  • Schedules stop ruling my world and I LIKED IT! - I'm a control freak and I like order which includes schedules and to do lists. I had to let go of much of that and now with it creeping back in I want to see if I can find a balance.
Thank you for listening. I will try to stop whining about my commute situation soon... you know, as soon as it's no longer a "situation".