Monday, December 31, 2007

Last week of 2007 update

Huh? What do you mean I didn't post anything about Christmas? What? I haven't posted anything for a week? You've barely heard anything from me this month?

Well we can't have that, now can we?

So I guess we're in for another quick update-a-roo!

Christmas
This is our first Christmas where we didn't go anywhere, and hence our first Christmas tree, and OUR first Christmas with my parents. Well I think so anyway. Most of the last 7 Christmases, Eric and I have either been apart, or on the East Coast with his family for Christmas, and one year we went to Canada to visit my brother and sister-in-law. I have been craving to build our own Christmas Traditions, but Eric really just wants to be with his family. Neither of us put much effort into this holiday to make it special though, so I can't expect miracles.

We agreed to no gifts with the siblings and between ourselves, and only to give to the kids in the family. My brother still had a DVD shipped to us, but I'm not sure if the coding will work in our player as its from the UK (anyone know?). My mom gave us a box of See's chocolate which I have been promptly making disappear, usually around breakfast time the craving hits me.

On Christmas day I cooked dinner and my parents came over to eat. I made Prime Rib for my father, a lovely salad for Eric which was also supposed to be special for my mom, but I failed to remember to put in the freshly roasted beets which she loves (and they are still sitting at the back of the fridge where I put them to cool). I also made Yorkshire pudding which was a first for all of us. If you've never had it, Eric came up with a great description, Meat Doughnuts. Mmmm batter fried in beef fat! I roasted up some Broccoli and Garlicky Potatoes (separate dishes), and finished off with a rather un-traditional Christmas dessert of Strawberry Shortcake. My father only cares for 2 desserts, Lemon Custard Pie and Strawberry Shortcake, and since some lovely Florida strawberries were in the store, shortcake it was. Unfortunately, I forgot my mom can't have strawberries due to her diverticulitis, so she got seedless Strawberry Jam on her's.

Most meals with my parents are a little stressful, at least I find them to be. But who knows, maybe it's just me being super sensitive to any tension in the air when they are concerned and I just can't relax. Hell, I probably put that tension in the air. The bickering was at a minimum this particular meal though. I'm pretty sure my mom caught my pleading stare when my father started going on about his cough and how he stopped taking his Blood Pressure medication because it gives him the cough which keeps him from singing, or sleeping and therefore he can't enjoy life. This complaint comes up just about every time he has us as a captive audience, and every time I ask him to call his doctor who will adjust his medication, but nooooo he has now just decided to stop taking the medication instead. Usually my mom voices her frustration about this continuing complaint, and then things get uncomfortable, and bickering proceeds. But this time, she made a few little comments and didn't push and the subject was able to be changed. So thank you mom!

I'm hoping after we have kids, that this time of year will become the magical time I remember it being. But I guess if I want it to be special, I have to get off my duff and do something about it. Maybe next year.


New Hobby!
Eric and I have been talking about checking out a climbing gym, and this weekend we finally did it. We knew they would get a rush of new people starting in the new year, so since we said we'd do it this year, we went this weekend.
It was a blast! I suck at it, but I still had a good time. Eric has strong arms due to his work, and he has climbed in gyms and outdoors before so he was able to scamper up those walls pretty easily. He kept wanting to push himself so he kept choosing harder and harder routes, which gave me some practice in belaying and catching him when he would fall. I simply couldn't get it through my head that if I fell it was ok because the rope and Eric would catch me, so I played it really safe and stayed on the easy routes. I discovered I am afraid of heights though and would consistently freak out at the same height on the walls. Only once did I make it past that point and on to the top, and that was sure will because I was totally freaking out. I'm also grossly out of shape, and my upper body strength is even worse then I thought. I'm a tad sore today, but Eric is even more sore.. tee hee!
As we always do when we get excited about something, we jump in head first and usually that means we jump in with our wallets. After one single go, we joined the gym, bought shoes, harnesses and the whole get up. We did this with snowboarding too, and we haven't been boarding for years (we say its because of the expense, but somehow we can throw money at other things instead). At least this time, this is an activity where you have to have a partner to belay you, and even though Eric's skill far surpasses mine, the gym offers difficulties that can challenge both of us. No more getting left alone on the mountain. Plus, a month at this gym equals a single day lift ticket, so it seems a little more reasonable.


Umm... let's see, what else?
Tomorrow I have a big goal for myself (us). A day of purging and cleaning out closets. Clothing, crap, stuff, and junk closets. Just like we did when we were kids, we have, on more then one occasion, just shoved stuff in a closet or two when company was coming over. Do that a few times and you loose the floor, and then you loose stuff, and then you start re-buying stuff you thought you lost, and then you loose the floors in a different closet. So as not to overwhelm myself, I'm going to start with my clothing closet as I haven't seen the floor in there for at least 6 months.

I'd also like to put together a list of goals for the year. Not so much resolutions, but just some things I'd like to do. We'll see if that happens, but I'm not setting my sights too high, because I do indeed hate failure.


Phew... only 2 more minutes until we hit midnight, so I'll wrap up this babbling update and I'd like to wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas MeMe

I was tagged by J at Thinking About for this MeMe about my favorite Christmas things quite a while ago, and since I haven't been really bloggy active this month, now is an excellent night to do this one.
Please share 12 of your favorite Christmas things: they can be memories, traditions, songs, presents, beliefs, whatever it is about this season that you love

So here goes:
  1. Baking! My mom used to bake cut out butter cookies at this time of year and us kids got to decorate them with colored egg whites and sprinkles and such. We'd box them up and give them out to the family friends. I have continued this tradition with my own little twist and have added quite a few new varieties to the mix, but I still use the same butter cookie recipe my mom used (Joy of Cooking 1975 edition - Rich Roll Cookies). This year the cookies and candies were made a little too late to ship, and I worked to much to hand deliver, so my co-workers got the brunt of the butter and sugar extravaganza. Don't worry, some will still get shipped out after the big day.
  2. Annual Newsletters - Not as many people put the annual newsletters in their holiday cards as they used to a few years back, but just so those that do still do them know... I love them! I understand that a lot of people find them impersonal or tacky, but whatever! Ours lives have gotten very busy and hectic and I'm that type of person that lets relationships slide, so I enjoy seeing some of the year's choice pictures and reading up on the events of my friend's families. Not everyone chooses to be so public as a blog.
  3. Holiday Music - I LOVE the music of the season. Be it Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole, or Mr. Hanky. I love it all. Beware though... I love to sing it all as well. And don't be surprised if you see me skipping and hmming my way through a busy retail establishment this season. I may be out in the hussle and bussle but the music is everywhere and I can't help but to move when it moves me.
  4. Seeing Friends and Family from afar - As is now common in this day and age, we have family and friends far from where we call home. So this time of year is a extra special because we usually get to see some of those people we don't get to see throughout the year. Most years we travel to see my brother or Eric's family, but this year we didn't go anywhere so we got to see some of my good friends who just happened to traveled home.
  5. Trees - As I got a little older, my parents kinda stopped doing the whole Christmas tree and decorations thing. This time of year is the busiest for my mom with all of her doings at church and her piano student's recital, she just got to the point where the decorations lost priority. So when I was about 15 I started getting the tree with my boyfriend or my brother, and would make sure it was decorated. So when I moved out, I made sure I had a tree as soon as trees were available. However, after Eric and I started dating, we always traveled at this time of year, so we didn't bother with a tree... until this year. YAY! And being the kind of guy Eric is, he wanted to get a live tree we could use year after year. The idea is to root prune it to keep its growth stunted. We'll see how it works out.
  6. Lights - Someday I want to put up one of those synchronized light shows you see on YouTube and the news. I've read all about the technology and will watch the videos over and over again online. There are even some in our neighborhood, but for some reason we haven't made it out to go see them... guess we're lazy (so I'm sure I'll never get around to actually designing one myself). As a kid we'd drive around and check out all of the displays, of course back then I was mostly amazed by those plastic light up figures. My favorites being a house down the street that put up a light up nativity scene on their roof. I'd make my mom drive me by their house over and over again as soon as they would put it up, and I'd cry the night we'd drive by and it was gone.
  7. Fudge - Why is fudge only made at this time of year? Huh? Why? I even buy fudge at madly expensive prices at those amusement park candy shops, and even once in an airport. I loves me the fudge! Which is funny because I'm not a huge fan of chocolate (well unless it's See's).
  8. Gift Wrapping - I love to wrap gifts and adding ribbons and pretties. This year we didn't do much in the way of gifting, but I was still adding bells and ribbons to the bags of cookies (which are still sitting on the kitchen table because the pull of the afternoon nap was great).
  9. EATING - Every year I over indulge on the eating pretty much through the month of December and I give myself complete permission to eat whatever I want without guilt or exercise. Ok, not completely without guilt, I am still a girl with the same stupid image issues after all.
  10. My love - It was back in 2000, just a few days before Christmas when Eric and I first started hanging out. He and I had been co-workers for a few months and he had asked me out a few times, but I kindly kept declining as I'm naive that way and had no idea he was actually asking me out. I thought he was just being kind and suggesting that this suburban girl should go to a club and get out into the city more, but the biggest part of my naiveté was that I also thought he was gay. He claims that I finally asked him out, when really I only said, "Are you going to so-in-so's Christmas party? You guys should totally go!", to him and his boss standing at the front desk. His boss bailed, and he caught a ride with me and a few people. It got late, really late, and he walked with me back to my car in the financial district, where we talked and talked for the hour it took to walk I don't know how far. I drove him to his place to thank him, and he said, oh so lovingly, "I've got a couch if you're tired!". So romantic! I said I was fine to drive home, and we had an awkward good-night moment somewhere between a kiss and a hug, and I slowly caught on that not all really nice guys who listen to Techno music, and enjoy dancing are gay!
  11. Snuggling - I'm not one for the cold, and thankfully it doesn't get too cold here in these parts but it does get cold enough for fuzzy socks, fluffy down comforters and lots of snuggling with my love. He also makes for a great bed warmer, so this time of year his overly zealous metabolism doesn't go to waste!
  12. The New Year - Although this season is full of cheer and love and all of those warm fuzzies, it is also the gateway to the new year. Of course a year is just a measurement of time, I still see it as a point to start over, or to set goals. This next year is hopefully going to hold a lot of exciting memories and travels. Already I'm hoping to go on our honeymoon to Hawaii, I'm planning a hiking/ferry/car trip with my brother through British Columbia to Alaska, a ton of challenges are in store at work, Eric's business is really picking up, we're hoping to move closer to my work (Housing market hear our prayers!) and maybe, just maybe my doctor will clear us to start trying to start our family.

Phew! Well if that wasn't a mouthful! So there you have it, my top 12 Christmas "Things". With that, I want to wish you and your loved ones a VERY MERRY Chri...uhh... HOLIDAY SEASON!


P.S. If the cookies don't get shipped out, and my waste line doubles - please know that those two events are mutually exclusive.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Way Random!

I have been rather busy lately and have not had much time to read any blogs as well as write anything for my own. So here is just a quick update and some quick thoughts for today:

Osteo Update
Eric saw an Endocrinologist and that system is in check so it is not the cause of the low bone density. The doctor had some thoughts that the test might have been inaccurate since the scores for his lower lumbar were so dramatically lower then any other area, so he's going to check on that. Another possibility is that since he has been a runner since he was a kid, that it's possible that his legs got more bone when he was growing and his spine is weaker because of the activities he was involved in while he was developing. And... then there is the heredity thing. He has the frame for osteoporosis, and it runs in his family, so he has upped his supplement taking and dark green leafy veggie eating, which doesn't hurt anyway!


Baking Marathon 2007...
has begun (2006 found here), but way later then planned, and it's not looking likely that these goods are going to be shipped before Christmas this year. Well they might be, but they won't make it by next Tuesday. Some new recipes (well, new to me) were made yesterday, as well as a 2nd go at my Sister-in-Law's favorite cookie, Amarettis. I've decided that the recipe is faulty and not me, because 2 times the same recipe resulted in the same flat, way too chewy cookies. Ok, maybe it is me, but I'm going to look for a few recipe or I'm just gonna buy some for her at the local Italian deli.
Tonight I will turn my attentions to rolling, cutting, and icing (if I have time) some gingerbread bites. I was going to move onto some fudge and toffee making, but my co-workers have requested the gingerbread. Here's a picture from last year.
Gingerbread Bites



Update on the bed decision...
of dropping down to a queen, or trying to squeeze a king up the stairs -- We're going to optimistically wait until we move because we'd like to stay in a King bed, and it seems silly to buy a Queen to fit up the stairs of a place we will hopefully not be living in, in a years time. HOPEFULLY! Thankfully I'll be starting Physical Therapy for my back and neck in the new year, so that may help with my pained sleeping situation.


Update on the Persimmons
I think I'm going to leave the persimmon pulp to Eric as he didn't even peel them before pureeing them (he was tired and cranky by this point), but I will ask that after 6 months if they are still in there that he toss them. That is some precious freezer space! The fruit leather he made turned out great (in a persimmony sort of way). The dried fruit when totally dry weren't too astringent, but still a little. So even though the office was taken up for about a week with all of the drying, I'd say it was a successful project (even though I didn't help much!).


Random Thought
After devouring a bag of chips at lunch today I casually flipped over the bag to read the nutrition information and I'd like to understand why do they say that the # of servings in this snack size bag of chips is 2. Do they think people will actually split this with someone? Or perhaps eat the noted 1oz serving size and then have the rest the next day? Why even bother? Or is 1oz of chips a standard serving (which I'm sure the answer)? Perhaps it's a marketing mind game so I think I'm only eating 150 calories but really its 300 because I can't have just one!



BTW - I wrote this post yesterday (Monday), kinda throughout the day whenever I had a few spare moments or needed a break, but like the first half of this month has gone, I got busy and never got back to post it.
I'm working through the holidays, so in case I don't get around to posting the few posts I've already written, or don't write any new ones, or heaven forbid I don't get a chance to stop by your place to catch up and leave a comment or two....

I hope everyone has a Very Happy Holiday and a Wonderful New Years!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Persimmon Explosion

This past weekend, my lovely husband went to work with a volunteer group that goes to people's houses to pick the fruit they can't consume (or give away). He has worked with them for a few years, but this month they were working at a house in our city. And at this time of year, that means Persimmons.

This tree was HUGE (as he describes it) and they worked for 5 hours with 4 guys to pick all of the fruit. 1.5 pickup truck beds full of persimmons later, Eric came home with a load of boxes to go to our county food bank (the other guys took a load to their local food bank). Eric wanted to sort the persimmons as the overripe ones wouldn't transport well, so that left us with the cull to deal with.
Eric says he loves persimmons, but he tends to prefer Fuyu's (crisp round ones) over the type he had picked, Hachiya (squishy, astringent, drop shaped ones). He had read that dried persimmons aren't astringent and are just yummy sweet. We've tried dried ones before from a friend and they were great! So Eric set to it...except we don't have a food dehydrator.

So our office has turned into a giant dehydrator room (and in my opinion it stinks! really!). He has a fan and stacked wire racks with slices and trays of persimmon mush spread out over half of our desk which lines 3 of the walls (the rest of the desk if covered in his design work - so I'm avoiding that space right now).

Last night, Eric apparently decided to also try out the juicer we got as a wedding gift and although it worked at first, it later started spewing mush everywhere and leaking. Then I suggested he use the blender or the food processor as the juicer isn't meant to deal with that amount of mushy fruit (I did this without stepping in to the kitchen because I have issues seeing it a mess when I haven't been the mess maker). Around 11pm things got really quiet in the kitchen and I stepped in to see if I could help ....

I need not go into the details of the next 2.5 hours, but I have reclaimed the kitchen and the cookie baking prep will begin tonight!

Anyone have any ideas of what to do with a couple gallons of persimmon pulp?


Photo by elroy

Monday, December 10, 2007

TAKE THEM!

A few years ago, my husband's family was going through some stressful times and his mom came out to stay with us for a few months. We got her to come out pretty abruptly so she didn't pack much and a lot of shopping was done out here. When all was clear, or as clear as it was going to get, she went home and she handed me the remainder of the bottle of Calcium suppliments she had bought out here and said, "Make sure Eric takes these".

So, being the good future-daughter-in-law that I was, I asked Eric to take them. He poo-poo'd the idea of a 20-something year old guy should be taking any suppliments let alone Calcium. Calcium is for old women. Since that initial poo-pooing I have continued to ask him to take vitamins. I'd even set up his little pill caddy with them and that is the only time he'll take them. When its easy he'd take them because bending down to pull out the bottle under the cabinet is too much effort.

(You're probably already catching on to what the moral of this story is... but I'm going to make you wait anyway....)

Last year or so, Eric was playing kickball and threw a ball to throw someone out and when he did that he must have pulled some ligaments because he was in a lot of pain for about 2 months after that. He had thought he had broken a rib but the urgent care doctor thought it might be possible, but unlikely. Especially since he was only playing kickball and it started to hurt badly after throwing a ball. No big impact and at this point he was only 31 so he couldn't have broken a rib!

(Psssst - go take your calcium pills!!!)

This past summer he was working on a client job (landscape designer), and he was working with a crowbar or something and he felt something give in his chest, followed by lots and lots of pain. He showed me his chest when he got home (bow chica bow bow -- ok not really), and there was this bump sticking up just under his sternum. I had seen this before with a previous boyfriend (I used to get around alright!), who had broken a rib and a kite boarder friend of mine said that most kite boarders break a rib and end up with that bump. Months went by and Eric finally saw a doctor for a general physical and he showed him the bump... and again the doctor didn't think he could have broken a rib although it looked like it.

(Did you go take your calcium yet?)

Reluctantly, Eric's doctor scheduled a bone scan because Eric was asking for one but he's only 32 and a man, so they wont' find anything, but since he's insisting....

(Go have a big glass of milk too... and maybe some cheese!)

If you haven't guessed yet, we got a letter from Eric's doctor this weekend which said he has osteoporosis of the lower lumbar. He'll go in to see the doctor this week and we hear there is some miracle pill men can take but women can't, so hopefully that'll fix him up good because Eric has a life goal to live until he's 100 and to go out healthy and spry, so this news has been a bit of a blow to his indestructible self view.

So the lesson of this story is 2 fold.
  1. If you suspect something is up and your doctor is sorta ho-hum about running tests... push!
  2. LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Worlds Collide

As a general rule of thumb, I don't talk much about work her on my little space on the Internets. We all know why so I don't need to elaborate. I have broken this rule from time to time to mention the perks of this company and maybe a little event or two. However I am now going to break this rule again to welcome a new reader.

Earlier this week I was being silly, because that is how things get around the office at 9pm and it's been a long stressful day/week/month, so I walked up behind my co-worker who was happily reading through his rss feeds via Google Reader while wearing headphones and I stared over his shoulder to see if he'd notice. He wasn't noticing and I was getting bored so my eyes glanced over his screen and I couldn't help but notice that he has subscribed to MY BLOG!

I, of course, gasped which brought attention to my too close proximity to his self, and I backed away.

So this post is for Ryan.... HELLO RYAN!

I don't yet know how I feel about these two parts of my world coming together at this point in my life/career, but I suppose I'll just roll with it for now. I mean, what else can I do? I'm the one who mentioned I have a blog, multiple times. It was bound to happen. Perhaps I wanted it to happen. Perhaps I was having another one of those lapses in judgment from ingesting too much sugar, kinda like when I asked one of the managers to 'Dance like a Monkey' after having a hot chocolate late in the afternoon.

My best friends have come out of work, but I haven't quite crossed that socializing outside of the office line for a number of years. We'll see if this turn of events will change what I write.

If there are any other lurkers out there, let yourself be known, so I can welcome you too!

Monday, December 03, 2007

To Be Queen? or King?

The decision to purchase a new bed has been made, but now for the next big step.... King or Queen??

Luckily we are pretty sure what mattress set we will get, as we recently stayed at a Hilton Hotel and we LOVED the bed there, and it turns out you can purchase some of the items made specifically for Hilton. Eric and I very rarely agree on mattresses so the fact that we both happily slept on a bed for multiple nights with no complaints is really big.

But the size is still up for discussion. We currently have a Cal-King which is big and luxurious but as mentioned, it's big and takes up a lot of the bedroom. It also damaged the ceiling when we were trying to get it up the stairs in our little townhouse so something a little smaller would be easier to get into the space. We are looking to move in a year and likely to an older neighborhood with older houses which have little bedrooms, plus a smaller bed would show the master bedroom better when we do get this place on the market. But alas, the cats really do take up a lot of room, so it is nice to be able to sleep 2 to the bed plus have ample room for the fur babies. AND... we would have to purchase new linens (although we still have a set from the wedding we haven't opened yet -Thanks Liz! - so we should be able to do a trade on those).

What a quandary!