Sunday, March 30, 2008


Apparently eating Sunday morning cereal is exhausting.

Friday, March 28, 2008


If anyone has been watching Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew on MTV, you already know how awesome this group is. We have been enthusiastically watching from the beginning and although my call for the final 2 didn't pan out (Kaba Modern was robbed!), I did call Jabbawokeez to win it.

Here is the performance that finalized it for them, Evolution of Dance. All of the crews had to dance to the same music, incorporating the same dance phenomenons while still having their style shine through.

They rocked it for me, I hope you enjoy it as well.

Mmmm Crap!

So today wasn't so good of a day. I woke up rather sore from yoga and with a headache, ate breakfast, took pain pills and went to work. Headache continued so I skipped on the yoga today, and instead went to my 3rd lunch out of the week (crap rule - only 2 lunches out per week).

I was hell bent on eating fried food (crap rule - No fried foods), so off we went in search of Fish N Chips (if i'm gonna crap on my crap I oughta do it right!), but the Irish pub we walked into only had beer. So we found a little burger joint and I got a sensible-ish sandwich, which I ate half of, and onion rings, which I again only ate half of even though re-heated onion rings are gross and I would usually justify eating all of something due its poor reheatability.

After being at work already later then I should, I was shown where to find a bowl of mini peanut butter cups, which is my favorite, and I wasn't feeling guilty yet so I had one. (Crap rule - no candy). I was on a roll! What? There are still some Girl Scout Cookies in the fridge? Well I can't have that.... Gone (but I had help with those).

Funny thing about this is that while I was realizing that I was crapping on my crap rules, I wasn't exactly feeling guilty but I wasn't feeling all high and mighty either. I was just feeling like I kinda want some crap today, so crap I got. At least I was making the conscience decision about putting the yummy crap in my body.

Before I left the office I did wander into the gym to do some weights and I had a bunch of asparagus for dinner, so at least I did some of the positive things on my list.

Perhaps my next list should include going to bed at a reasonable hour because once again, NOT SLEEPING! Quiet brain... Be Quiet! Maybe I should've done that yoga after all!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Putting my Face Out There

I've been finding myself reminiscing a lot lately. Mostly about the school years and loosing touch with friends. I am terrible at keeping in touch with people even if they live very close by. My co-workers tend to be my closest friends because I see them everyday. But then (oh about 10 years ago) with the growth in popularity of Instant Messaging, I was able to keep up with more friends so even though I didn't see them everyday they remained part of my everyday and therefore remained close. Of course this only seems to work out with my friends who are able to be online during the day.

What about the others?

In comes Facebook. I know, EEK! Yet another online community project? Well, my young'n co-workers kept talking it, plus a few of my good friends were on there and not wanting to be left out, I joined. Sure most of my "friends" on there started out being co-workers (masses of techy folks all up on the latest online thing), but then I found some bloggy friends, and then... childhood friends! (including one who I found out lives a few doors down from me!)

I've been having a good time finding out where people have ended up, and catching up a bit. I wasn't very involved in high school my final year (you know that most important Senior year), as I was dating someone out of high school and working, so I really failed to cement those relationships. Sure there are always friends from school who you grow apart from and many you never see again and that's cool. But these were some really great people, who I would like to know today, or at least be able to connect with again.

I kinda see the whole Facebook thing as a form letter type of blog where people can search and connect IF YOU WANT TO. People can stop by and see what you're up to, contact you if they want, or just leave a comment. Kinda like on here, except you can't ignore someone on the blog, it's out there for people to find if they want to find it. Sure there are tons of silly things on there, but you can use it how you want to use it. And since part of why I started the blog was to connect with people (from my past or future), I see it as a good thing.

Here's to friends! Old and New!


Update on the crap:
As J noted over here, as soon as you want to cut something out of your diet, it is exactly what you want! I really don't eat that much unhealthy stuff, but I do eat a whole lot of the stuff I should probably moderate. But man I keep thinking of fried stuff.

I did get up this morning to do some strengthening and stretching back exercises (I messed up my back and neck while I was recovery from surgery all slouch on the couch for 6 weeks), and I'm in the process of doing an hour long yoga session (with the TV, which is now paused because going from zero to 60 makes my head spin - literally, ok J, not literally but it does make me dizzy).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cutting the Crap... for 2 weeks

Last December I had decided I was going to challenge myself to CUT THE CRAP for 30 days. My friend Liz said she'd do it too so we talked about defining what the crap is first. We chatted about it a few times but never wrote down our lists. Last week she said she's going to try for 2 weeks starting after Easter and then see how things are going. Seeing as I am becoming increasingly irritated at the thigh/butt growth but have done nothing about it, I'm in. And since accountability is worth more then my word to myself, here goes:

CUTTING THE CRAP! (and some general healthy living goals)
  • no candy
  • no soda (including diet!)
  • no fried foods
  • no fatty foods
  • no fast food
  • healthy snacks ok - in moderation - nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, veggies,etc.
  • limited red meat - no more then 2 times per week
  • at least one veggie side dish at dinner
  • at least one piece of fresh fruit per day
  • don't eat when not hungry/stop when full
  • breakfast everyday
  • work lunch - eating out no more then 2 times per week (saves $ and calories)
  • water - 2 liters a day
  • cardio - 3 times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes
  • strength - 2 times per week
  • assigned back exercises - 3 times per week
  • up to 3 treats per week (moderately sized and using good judgment of course)

Now some of you my note that I made cupcakes yesterday and planned on bringing them into the office today and yes... this personal challenge means I can't even have one of those coconutty goodies which are not too sweet and perfectly dense but not too dense and are sitting within my view. Oh sure, I could have one as a treat but I'm stronger then that and might NEED it more nearer the end of the week! When we were talking about our personal lists (we each have slightly different ones), I mentioned that I was going to bake this weekend and Liz suggested that we could eat it if we made it but I see that as a dangerous loop hole so I'm going to just leave those yummy treats over there for the masses, besides I still have a bowl of leftover frosting at home and I TOTALLY MADE THAT!

It's only 2 weeks (no redbull? My only form of caffeine? Really?) I'll be ok, I know I will. (Most of Dim Sum is steamed right? That makes it healthy, doesn't it?) It's only 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks... we'll tackle portion control.

What crap would you cut out?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Need More Weekend

This weekend had one goal written all over it, PREPARE TAX RETURN!! Did we get to that? NO!

That has been the goal of the last 3 weekends, and its starting to get on my nerves. My husband and I are procrastinators by nature so it's not like I'm surprised. Sure, there have been a few years where I have been one of the many down at the post office mailing my return with only a few hours to spare. But this year is our first to file jointly and I just know it ain't gonna be pretty. Plus... I feel like we can't plan out any big ticket purchases like getting the house ready to rent/sell, booking our postponed honeymoon, or paying off the last of the wedding debt. Sigh!

So what did we do this weekend?

I claimed to be cleaning and purging the crap around the downstairs and in the hall closet while really I was watching romantic comedy after romantic comedy on TV. Not only was I serially watching the romance, I was watching twice the romance on 2 different channels thanks to TiVo. I even watched a movie I said I'd never watch again and it STILL made me cry. Where was Eric during the love fest on TV? He was upstairs napping and working and then napping again. When he came downstairs he asked if I wanted to watch a DVD.... SURE I said, so we threw in 'Becoming Jane'. Does this say something about myself?

Here they are not because I think anyone of you really want to know the movies I watched, but because I want to write them down to see the craziness for myself. (What's worse is I'm sure I'm forgetting some!)
  • Monster-In-Law
  • Clueless
  • Wedding Date
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • The Perfect Man
  • Titanic
  • 13 Going On 30
  • last 4 episodes of Sex And The City
  • Becoming Jane - DVD

Sunday was lightly planned out with having my mom over for Easter Brunch and playing some cards, and then going to the climbing gym (assuming the taxes were done), and going to bed early to start the week off right! Of course it didn't turn out that way, but it was quite a lovely day even though the taxes didn't even get touched and the gym didn't get visited.

We both got up at a fairly decent morning hour and off I went to the store for brunch ingredients and Eric headed into the home office to finish a task which has plagued him for weeks. $100 later I return from the store (why can I not go to the store without spending so much?) and started in on the dough making and chilling, and the chopping and sauteing, and the whisking and baking and the frosting and decorating and taa daaa! Easter Brunch is served.

Mom very much enjoyed the Crab and Asparagus Quiche, green salad with pink lady apples and lemon garlic vinaigrette, some chunks of cantaloupe for freshness and finished off with coconut cupcakes. Somewhere in there I also made some mushroom turnovers for Eric to take to work over the next few days so we had to test those which turned out tasty while not the being the prettiest. But I think my mom most enjoyed the hours spent playing cards. We played until the sun started setting which triggered that she had been there for over 6 hours and should be going.

And now the kitchen is clean, leftovers are put away, the last batch of cupcakes are ready to go with me into the office and I'm heading up to bed for what better be a VERY restful nights sleep. (Man I hope I'm not jinxing myself!)

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend (and your taxes are filed and done!)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Not Sleeping

When I'm stressed I wake up around 2:30am and worry and think and toss and turn. Lately my back and neck have been giving me the run around so that has been waking me up and keeping me up, and then the thinking starts and the clock keeps ticking and then the sun comes up. So already the sleeping hasn't been going so well.

Generally it's only the staying asleep part that has been giving me troubles lately, until last night. Last night I opted for some extra pain meds before bed, but instead of being woken up I just didn't feel tired (Musta been the treat of a caffeinated soda I had at lunch!). I tried watching stupid TV to lull me. Then I read some blogs (not to lull me of course!). Chatted with a friend online until about 12:30am. Then I decided to do something dumb and check in on some stocks and options and thought about taxes and fun stuff like that (always a good thing to do when trying to sleep and not worry). None of that worked, so I got in bed and read(poor lovely trying to sleep with my lamp on, dawning an eye mask and ear plugs in). I managed to finish my book with a few tears, which are usually good at bringing on the sleep (Time Traveler's Wife borrowed from J and I LOVED IT!). By then it was 4am so I had BETTER fall asleep, and asleep I fell... until the alarm went off for Eric at 5:15am. AWESOME!

So after already having a few troubled nights of sleep with pain and stress, I had that weird night last night and managed to have a pretty productive day with NO CAFFEINE to ruin tonight. And yet.... here I am. 12:15am and I'm still awake.

Perhaps blogging right now isn't really helping. Maybe I'll try lying down instead. Yea, that might help!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Investment Quandries

You may have heard this somewhere out there and just in case you haven't heard yet THE REAL ESTATE MARKET SUCKS! (unless you are a first time home buyer with a lovely down payment all saved up and ready to be handed to the happily awaiting banks).

4-ish years ago I bought a little townhouse in an OK area of town (I swear we haven't heard gun shots for years!). I was a little desperate at the time as we had to be out of the condo we were renting by a certain date and I felt it was the right time to enter the market. We looked at many homes and townhouses and I honestly don't remember why I picked this one.

I liked the place well enough to buy it thinking we'd paint and update and generally make it a nice stepping stone in the market, but quickly there after I started to HATE it. Then our HOA dues started going up, while seeing less benefit from the community living. We never got around to doing those improvements while normal wear and tear set in. And now, after years of a hellish commute we want to move but wait.... the value has decreased if we could sell at all, the place is far from comparable as most places in our complex have upgrades, so it's a little hard to now take on the expenses of upgrades when we don't know if we'll see the returns.

Do we do minimal work enough to rent it and buy another place in need of work?
Do we take a loss and just get rid of it to get out of the market?

I don't see a point in going through the pains of putting this place on the market until units start selling here. There are multiple foreclosures in our complex and there are new listings in here every week. I'd say there are at least 30 units with signs in the windows and I only know of one in escrow right now and none have sold in months.

So what project do we do first?
What projects will give us the most return on our investment?
Which choices will make our place more desirable then that one or that one or even that one?
And what do I just want to do because I want to do it, and not because it makes the best business sense?
Do we do the projects we had planned but maybe not with the same quality of products?

Money and Homes are heavy in emotions, and right now we need to keep it about the business.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Need To Find My Passion

The other night I was having a stuck in front of the TV moment (for a few hours), and I found myself watching a semi-new show on the TLC network, The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom. It's a show about Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs), who have given up a career or dream to stay at home to raise their kids. Hosted by Tracy Gold of Growing Pains fame, the show arranges opportunities for the SAHMs to "sneak" away from their mom duties to spend some time exploring their dream. The show that aired this week was about a woman who was a chef at a 5 star resort, who became pregnant shortly after getting married. Now with 2 adorable boys at home, she is given the opportunity to prove to herself that she can still make it in a fast paced restaurant and can still create imaginative dishes.

So a few of you may know that during the dot come bust, I took that opportunity of life throwing me a curve ball and went to culinary school. Granted, I returned to the high tech world as a contractor while I was in school, I also took on a number of catering jobs and eventually landed a job at a 4 start resort in Berkeley. I also won a few catering gigs on my own where I prepared wedding cakes, dessert displays and food for cocktail parties. While I loved all of these jobs working with food, I found that I lost the desire to cook at home, and guess what? the joy of the job didn't make up for the low pay scale.

Eventually I went back to high tech full time, while continuing the resort job cooking on the lunch crew on the weekends. This gave me the best of both worlds, high tech pay (to pay off that freakishly high culinary school tuition) while still keeping my foot in the kitchen. But there was another catch.... no free weekends and holidays leads to a very tired cranky girl, and a lonely boyfriend. While the money covered the mortgage, bills and loans and allow the soon-to-be-husband pursue his dream job, I was too tired to enjoy life. So 2 years ago I quit all of my professional cooking jobs and returned to subjecting my co-workers to my experiments, cooking elaborate celebration meals, and finding the time to cook at least one really good home cooked meal a week.

Do you see where this is going?

So as I sat and watched this woman mess up, stress out, and then finally find her groove in the kitchen, full of re-gained confidence in her abilities, I cried (sobbed really). Sure she cried as well throughout her journey and facing her decision of giving up her dreams in the kitchen but I cried as I discovered that I'm not ok with where I am. I haven't felt a loss exactly, and I haven't really wanted to go back to either catering or restaurant work, but mostly I have been feeling numb since I left the business. My husband recently asked me if I feel passionate about anything, and I recall saying no, but now I realize when that numbness settled in. It was when I regained my weekends.

My life was no longer AS crazy as it was. Back then I had to remain incredibly organized and everything was structured and in its place, but when I decided I needed time to relax everything sort of fell apart. My finances haven't been as controlled, the house is a disarray, and low and behold... I think I'm more finicky in general and demanding of Eric.

I had resigned myself to being numb and letting my passion find me by chance, but after seeing my reaction the other night I want to get out there, reign it in, tie it up and never let it go again. I need to find the passion I felt so strongly those few years ago. Whether the passion is in food, or in cleaning the toilet, I want to feel it again. I want to have passion in my life, passion for life, passion about life.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Typo's that Cost Money!

My husband has a landscape design and installation company which specializes in edible plants. You may ask, well aren't all plants edible? Does he grow meat plants (as many of my male co-workers thought it funny to ask, since they apparently don't eat fruits, herbs or veggies)? Well, no. Not all plants are edible in that they might make you really sick and die and no he doesn't grow meat plants. But he does want to give people beautiful landscapes that productively use their land, big or small, to grow the foods they enjoy and to give them a space for their families to spend time in. As you can imagine, this is pretty specialized work so his possible client base is smaller then your run of the mill landscaper and being able to reach out to that population takes some creative marketing.

A few months ago he was contacted by a journalist doing an article on edible landscapes and asked to interview him. This can also be read as FREE MARKETING! Of course he was very excited about this, and the interview went really well but then he didn't here from the author. Today, he was contacted by a publishing house who specialized in re-prints and wanted to sell him re-prints of the article which ran in November 2007. They sent him the link of the article online. Online means searchable, and searchable means MORE FREE MARKETING!

The sad part of this story, is that they spelled his last name incorrectly throughout the article. Since his name is part of the company name, this greatly minimizes people finding and contacting him for his services. BOOOOO! They also didn't include his URL of his website, so again fewer chances of clients from the article.

So to anyone out there, if you are looking for Eric Beegley Landscaping and Design, you REALLY want Eric Beeghly Landscaping and Design. Just to make give more hints to the Google Gods, go to for Eric Beeghly Landscaping and Design.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Enough With The Kitty Diet Talk!

J's comment the other day about questioning the safety of giving broccoli to the kitties got me worried, so I went off on an Internet research tour. Turns out in large amounts it has been found to be toxic, but that is more like a diet based on broccoli, not the occasional treat. PHEW! Many raw pet diet guidelines, (yes, there are people out there who do the raw diet thing and even prepare raw diets for their pets) include a fair amount of broccoli as well. I noted a few people even commented that their dogs gnaw on raw broccoli stems to clean their teeth instead of using bones to avoid any bad bone fragment/internal bleeding mishaps.

I admit that these cats are not your normal run of the mill kitties. Besides their temperament, they have a great love for fruits and veggies. Corn on the cob is GOLD to them. They want to eat the husk, the silk and most definitely the kernels. They know when it's in the house, and have been known to rip through bags, have the fridge door shut on them if a little silk is hanging out of the crisper drawer, and yes... jump up on the table and walk off with a cob in their mouth. Don't ask me how, but its darn cute.

Summer time is their favorite, obviously for the corn but also melons of all sorts. Cosmo isn't skilled at taking bites of larger pieces of food, so we mince up chunks of melon for him. His all time favorite is watermelon, but not the whitish stuff by the rind, he'll turn his nose up at that. He wants the bright red, sweet heart of the most ripest melon, and yes, we give it to him. We always have watermelon in the house in the summer because I eat a ton for its yumminess and it is also high in iron (Anemic girl here!).

And go figure, if we steam it they will eat just about any veggie too. Squashes (winter and summer), green beans, edamame (especially in the pods!). Truly funny to watch, and a pain in the ass because they are in that kitchen whenever we are, and not just when the can opener is used or the sound of dry food being scooped up.

Oh, and just in case you REALLY were dying to know there were no kitty gas problems the other night. Mousy did loose his dinner a few hours later, but there wasn't any broccoli in there so I'm assuming he just ate it too fast which is normal for him. He successfully ate a 2nd dinner later that night.

Mama Bear - We used to think they were Russian Blues as they have a very similar temperament, but really they are mutt kitties and look and act very much like their mama who was another mutt kitty. One of them has the eye color and is slinky like a Russian, but this head is too fat, and the other has the build, fur and eye color more like a Chartreux. Who's to say really, they are my little blue babies no matter what (even though they weigh in at 14 pounds).

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

HOA's And Good Times

I live in a townhouse complex managed by an HOA. I can totally see the benefits of having an HOA to keep the peace when so many people are living close together, and it's kinda nice to have gardeners and maintenances men take care of things around here (although I still really want my own dirt in which to grow stuff). Generally things go really smoothly and I've had little to complain about in the last 4 years.... until now.

I've sent emails and have left voice mail messages about a relatively simple issue and I just want a response. Sure, I'd like an answer and someone to fix the issues, but please be professional and give me a call back that you received my message and are looking into it, or point me to the right place if you (our property manager) are not the one to handle such issues (which you are). Our previous 2 property managers were AWESOME, so perhaps I have been spoiled for the last few years. But seeing as I sent the first email and left the first voice mail about this one issue starting last OCTOBER, and have since emailed and called, even talked to the old manager who assured me I was contacting the new manager correctly, and still... nadda.

And then today, Eric's work partner and good friend parked his truck in a guest parking spot while they went to go work on a landscape installation. The only rules for these spots is that they are for guests (which I would consider him to be), and you can only park there for up to 72 hours. Well, considering he got here at 8am, I do not consider it proper for him to get a towing notice at 10:31am. Plus, the freakin' towing warning sticker was put ON THE PAINT, and is very sticky and has now left sticky goo and sticker paper residue on his car. AND... there were only 2 cars taking up the 8 spots and both of them got these stupid stickers on them, so it's not like someone should have called to complain.

Ok, I realize I'm sounding all bitchy and whiny, but I am not going to live in an HOA controlled neighborhood again if I can help it. My irritation with living with HOA's goes beyond these 2 gripes but MAN they have put me in a mood!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Yup, that's right. My cat's love their veggies!

They get an afternoon snack (when someone is home), and I've been wanting to introduce something healthier in that time slot then just more dry food.

Our vet has suggested that an all dry diet is being found to lead to feline diabetes as it is high in carbs. Especially with indoor kitties who aren't as active as outdoor kitties. Who knew?

We also have battles with puking with one and constipation with the other.... GOOOOD TIMES! If you ever see my carpet, please know that we shampoo it all the time and yes we will eventually get the wood floor in!

Trying to take advantage of their love of the veggies, we are trying to supplement their dry diet with some veggie fiber to aide in the puking pooping issues. (Yes, that's right, I'm writing about my cat's poo, get over it! Don't tell me you've never talked about your kids poo). So today I steamed up some broccoli (over cooked it really). They were yelling at me to feed them faster, so I put down two bowls filled with green stuff, and I half excepted they would both look up at me with that WTF look, but nope, they dug right in.

(And yes, they started with 2 bowls, but Mousy eats really fast and likes to help Cosmo clean up.)
They enjoy their fruits too....see here.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Few Thank You's

Just want to send out a few thank you's out into the ethers....

A Big Thank you to Felicity at American Express Customer Support.
This morning I logged into my accounts to do my weekly financial tasks and found that there were charges on my card which I DID NOT MAKE! True these charges were small - $29 in total - but they still weren't mine and I don't want to think what the next "Not Mine" charges were going to look like.
So the next 30 minutes were spent in queue waiting to speak to a rep, and then Miss Felicity came on the line. She was so kind, quick and knowledgeable. Sure she had to put me on hold a few times while she filed the investigation report and made some other changes to my account I've been meaning to do for a while, but still she remained empathetic without too much sugar, if you know what I mean.
Not exactly what I wanted to deal with on a Sunday morning, but when there are GREAT customer support reps out there working the weekend, it makes it so much easier.

Thank you to Py and Jules for a really wonderful movie experience last night!
Our dear friend Py obtained some passes to a screening of a movie at our local International Jewish Film Festival but Py was not able to attend so they had some extra passes available. Being the great brother that he is, Py was covering a DJ'ing gig for his brother who had gotten in a very painful bicycle accident. Jules gave us a ring and we happily joined her and their daughter at the theater.
Noodle was the movie, and I cannot give it enough praise. Set in Israel, the film is mostly in Hebrew (obviously we watched it sub-titled). I'd add the trailer here, but I could only find a sub-titled version on the official movie site which is all in Flash so I can't link directly to it.
Noodle is a touching drama with comedic moments throughout about a twice-widowed flight attendant, Miri, who's life has been interrupted by a little something left behind by her Chinese house cleaner. The movie is about relationships, a grand adventure and the discovery of something thought to be lost.
The entire theater laughed and cried, and if I wasn't in that huge theater filled with people, I would have sobbed. But not to worry, it's not a heart crushing type of sob, but a joyous one. I had to contain myself to avoid the eye-rolling of the almost 12 year old sitting next to me. Gotta keep face with the kids you know!
If you have a chance to see this film at a screening or when it is hopefully released, I highly recommend it.