Saturday, February 28, 2009

Today I did two things I've never done before

1. I tried overnight oats for the first time.

2. I hit a car in a parking lot backing out of a spot.

I wasn't too happy with either event.

I've been seeing overnight oats all over the place in blogland, and decided that I wanted to give them a try, so I mixed up a batch on Friday night and let them sit in the fridge overnight- 1/2 cup oats and 1 cup water, with cinnamon. Then I zapped them in the microwave this morning and added flaxseed and a banana:

DSCI1105 I liked the texture factor- definitely creamier than regular oats- but other than that, they didn't wow me. I actually thought they lacked flavor rather than combined the flavors overnight. I had to add more cinnamon and sugar-free maple syrup and it was still just eh. Maybe I should have used milk, and not water? Would that have made a difference? Oh well. I didn't have any milk and I always make my oats with H20 anyway. Well, whatevs. I also didn't notice much of a difference in time factor since I had to microwave them longer than usual since they were ice-cold, so I'll just stick to mixing it up in the morning. Different strokes for different folks! I'd give it another try, but wouldn't incorporate it into my everyday breakfast routine.

So the fender bender. After breakfast I ran to Trader Joe's quickly- I only had to get, like, four things. Ordinarily I pull through parking spots, so that way I don't have to back out of spots, I can just pull through, because I hate parking lots. But I figured, what the hell, I'm only going to be five or ten minutes, it's early, and it's not crowded. I'll be fine. Well, that backfired (no pun intended). Because while I was backing out of my spot, my little Nissan well-hidden between two SUVs/minivans, another SUV that didn't see me pulling out drove by and I totally smacked it. I didn't see it at ALL. I've never, ever, EVER hit a car. I didn't do any damage because I was backing out of the spot really slowly, plus she had an SUV and I have a little car (so if anyone would have damage, it's me, and my car looks totally fine), and the woman was super-nice about it- I was shaking a little bit and extraordinarily apologetic. She didn't see any damage either, but took my insurance info just in case and said she'd take her car to get washed, take another look, and give me a call. Not trying to cover it up or anything, but I seriously didn't see even a ding on her car, and she even admitted that she didn't see anything either. But with my shit luck, she'll call on Monday and claim she's got whiplash. I really hope that nothing comes of this and she only took my info as a precaution... I really just need someone to give me a break, you know? Like I don't have enough to deal with as it is right now, now I get to stress about whether she's going to file a claim or not. My roommate thinks it'll be fine- she didn't want to call a cop, didn't ask anyone in the parking lot if they witnessed anything, admitted she didn't see any damage and it was probably fine, not to worry, and was supernice about it. But I don't know... I just feel like the way my life has been going lately, that it's just one thing after another, so I wouldn't be surprised if this became an issue. Still... keep your fingers crossed for me. I need something good to happen to me for a change!!!!

On a brighter and less self-pitying note, my sister and I saw He's Just Not That Into You today. I LOVED it. This is SO going to be added to my DVD collection once it's available. I love the book, and I'm thrilled that the movie adaptation was so awesome (unlike the majority of movies that are based on books... cough cough, Confessions of a Shopaholic, cough cough). If you have never read the book, girls, you seriously need to right this minute. Even if you're in a relationship or are married or whatever, it's just a great book. I also have Greg Behrendt's other book, It's Called a Breakup Because it's Broken, also very awesomely insightful. Greg is the man.

All right, I'm physically and emotionally drained (I didn't get much sleep last night, thanks to a combination of staying up too late and my cat whining at my door last night because he's a brat and a night owl and often wants to play and receive attention at 5 a.m.). It's time for me to call it a night, get my clothes out of the dryer (yes, it's Saturday night and I'm doing laundry, I'm not ashamed to admit it), get my PJs up and running, and curl up in bed with Swapping Lives- which I'm about one-fourth of the way into, and am loving it! Another Jane Green jewel... I need me some good chick lit right now, especially after seeing He's Just Not That Into You. I wish I had my copy of that right now to re-read, but I lent it to a girlfriend of mine, literally, about two years ago, and not only does she still have it, but she's also in a relationship right now, so I think it's time for her to give it back! It obviously worked for her and she doesn't need it anymore! :-D

Have a good rest of the evening!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Almost there!

We're almost to Friday!!!! Hurray!!!

So who else was bummed out about last night's finale of Top Chef? At first, I was okay with Hosea winning if Carla didn't win, because I think Stefan is a bit of a pompous ass. But I got to thinking about it today, and as much of a jerk Stefan was, he did  make better dishes, and was a lot more consistent than Hosea. I can't think of one dish that Hosea made this entire season. But I really wanted Carla to win the most... if only she hadn't listened to Casey and gone with her gut instinct and hadn't made those souffles. I was disappointed all around. Oh, and did anyone else get skeeved out watching Stefan cut up the alligator? Ewwww! Has anyone out there ever tried alligator???   I have... I'm actually quite a fan of it!!! I think it's delicious! A lot of people think it tastes like chicken, but I actually think it tastes like sausage. In any event, it's quite a tasty delicacy!

I finished up A Wedding in December  at the gym today. My thoughts? Eh. Not the worst book I've ever read, but it didn't rock my world either. The plot was a little slow, and dry, and many of the characters were underdeveloped in my opinion. On the other hand, it would make an excellent Lifetime movie.

My next book pick was exactly what I need right now-

DSCI1101 Swapping Lives, by Jane Green! Hurray- a bona fide chick lit book, complete with a glittery pink cover and everything... this is just what I need at the moment!!! It's about two women- one an editor at a high-fashion magazine in London, but hopelessly single and longing for the husband/kids/country house, and the other a suburban stay-at-home Connecticut mama who feels completely unfulfilled with her life- and they swap lives for a month courtesy of the editor posting a contest in her magazine and the suburbanista entering and winning. I'm only on page 7 and I can already see where this is all going to go in the end... but that's okay! I love, love, LOVE Jane Green and I am totally  in the mood for some fun and breezy chick lit, so I am all sorts of excited to be reading this baby.

For dinner tonight, I did one of my baked potato concoctions:  kind of like a twist on a vegetarian cheesesteak.

DSCI1102 My camera is acting kinda quirky so this is the only pic I could get, I apologize. In any event, it's a sweet potato, melted reduced-fat Swiss cheese, Boca crumbles, and pepper/onion stir fry mix. On the side I made some "spicy ketchup"- organic ketchup and TJ's chili pepper sauce. This was scrumptious.   :-)    I never get sick of these. I really don't. Maybe because sweet potatoes are so versatile and you can dress 'em up about a thousand different ways.   :-)

All right, as much as I love blogging and updating my life, the new episode of 30 Rock  needs my undivided attention now.

Happy Almost-TGIF, friends!!!   :-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Slow as molasses

Is it just me, or is this week going by r-e-a-l-l-y slowly? I totally woke up thinking it was Thursday!

I'll make this short and sweet, mostly because I don't really have much new to share and I want to make sure to catch the second half of The Biggest Loser and the season finale of Top Chef (GO CARLA!!!! Hootie-hoo!) . :-D

1. I'm okay. Yesterday was a little rough emotionally, but I ran with it and just let myself feel it and get it out- I know that's going to happen here and there- I'm going to have rough days, and I'm okay with that.

2. I'm about halfway through A Wedding in December. It's gettin' good. Tension and drama's a-brewin'. :-) Well, as much drama as can be expected from a group of middle-aged well-educated New Englanders, anyway.

3. I tried a very fun new workout on my Netflix via Instant Play- the Crunch: Pick Your Spot Pilates workout. I am a huge fan of this series. This workout was awesome- it was a half-hour long and targeted three specific areas- tummy, booty, and thighs. And believe me, my tummy, booty, and thighs were feeling it afterwards. And I've been doing Pilates for years now. I highly recommend it.

4. I also tried two new fun food products this week (okay, one food and one beverage): The Celestial Seasonings English Toffee Dessert Tea and the ThinkGreen Chocolate Chip Bar (not at the same time, though). Two very enthusiastic thumbs up to both products. If you can find 'em in your neck of the woods, give them a try. I can't find the Chocolate Chip bar on the ThinkGreen website, which makes me wonder if it's being discontinued. I'll need to go stock up and hoard them just to be safe, I guess. :-) And I promise, it tastes better than it looks!!!!!

Okay, that's all I've got right now. Off to watch my shows and read some blogs! Ciao! :-)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Better than expected

Today went so much better than I anticipated! My coworkers were so incredibly kind and thoughtful and all chipped in to buy me a beautiful bouquet of flowers, gave me lovely cards with really touching and meaningful words, and two bags of Wegmans flavored coffees- White Chocolate Truffle and Raspberry Hazelnut (do these people know me or what?). And all day long, people stopped by to express their condolences, which was really sweet. It really meant a lot to me. I'm lucky to work with such nice people! And it was nice to get back into my routine somewhat. I'm still a little off... like I completely forgot to take my multivitamin this morning, didn't end up eating breakfast until almost 10:30 because I was trying to catch up with everything and everyone, little things like that... but I'm sure within a day or two I'll be back on track!  :-)

And work was actually a great distraction. I was a little worried that I wouldn't be able to concentrate or focus or do my job, but I found it was just the opposite. I banged out three projects today. Then I went to the gym and had a kickass workout. And I had a fabulous bowl of oatmeal for breakfast (I've missed oatmeal!) I'm feeling pretty good today.    :-)

I read a chapter of A Wedding in December on my lunch break today. So far so good. Right now the book is just introducing all of the characters individually, and so there's not much dialogue or plot going on just yet... but the character intros are in-depth enough that it's setting the stage for all of that quite nicely. I noticed that the author is very into description, particularly of scenery. I've noticed that I tend to get bored with longish descriptions of scenery. Yes, trees are beautiful and the coast of Maine is very picturesque. Now where's my drama? I'm ready to learn all about these scandalous secrets each character is hiding!  :-D Kidding. With each character introduction, you're getting a little glimpse of what their secret is. plus, I know it's coming. And I'm enjoying getting to know everyone.  :-)

I hope that all of your Mondays were as stress-free as possible!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Back to work

So I'm going back to work tomorrow for the first time since my dad died. I'm definitely anxious and nervous about it, but I know I have to do it, and for the most part, I feel ready to go back. I know I wouldn't have been able to handle it last week, but I definitely feel ready to go tomorrow. My sister went back to school already and she said it was definitely weird, but at the same time, getting back into her routine helped her a lot. I am the exact same way- I love routine (sad but true, you could set a clock by me!), so I am looking forward to that. It's just going to be a little weird to see everyone, I'm not sure what they're going to say, and it'll be a little weird to come back to my desk, which has been untouched since the moment I got that phone call, and ran out of the office. I'll be going back to my desk for the first time since my whole world changed. The date February 12 will still be on my dry-erase board (unless someone erased it), my day planner's untouched, no days crossed off on the calendar since my dad died... I don't know if that will trigger any emotions or not.

I'm feeling a lot better- still sad, obviously, and sometimes still a little in shock about everything that's transpired over the past weekend- like, once in a while, I'll just stop and think, I can't believe that Dad is dead. For the most part, my emotions a lot more in check. I'm not having random outbursts anymore. I'm just trying to let myself feel the hurt and the loss and the pain, but not let it consume me... you know? Writing in my journal helps. And exercising. And reading.

Reading books has been a total lifesaver for me these past couple of days. I finished Blind Faith  on Friday (very good, though I felt there were some parts of the murder and investigation that were a little confusing/not resolved or clarified completely, but if you like true crime, you'll like this book) and read an entire book over the weekend. At random I picked More Tales of the City, by Armistead Maupin (from that series that my friend Rick is always making me buy at book sales, haha). I just read the first book a few weeks ago- what are the odds, huh? Anyhow, it was such a quick read, that I started it on Friday night and finished it up today while I was eating lunch. I actually think I enjoyed it more than the first one!  It definitely clarified a lot of stuff from the first book that had left me hanging. I'm looking forward to reading the third one.

So I picked a new book. And the new book I picked was The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, which I actually was never forced to read in high school and saw it at a book sale for, like, 25 cents, and I'd always wondered what the fuss was about with this book, so I bought it. So I thumbed through it, and it looks like it's a good, extraordinarily depressing, and tough read.

Now, when I started the No Book Left Behind project, I know I made this self-imposed rule that I had  to read the book I picked no matter what it was, I had to at least give it a try, and could always quit it if I didn't like it. But you know what? I decided, screw that. That's a stupid rule. I should read whatever book I feel like reading! But I also like picking them at random. I find that fun. But at the same time, given everything that's going on in my life right now, I feel the need for light, fun, fluffy, silly reads, and something told me that I was not gonna be getting that from The Grapes of Wrath. Call it a hunch.  :-D  So I amended the rule- I'm still going to pick at random, because I like that, but if I pick a title and I'm just not feeling it, I'll just drop it back in and pick again until I find something that I really do want to read. They're my books and it's my prerogative.  :-)

So I decided to put it back and pick again. The Grapes of Wrath isn't going anywhere.

I came up with A Wedding in December, by Anita Shreve:

DSCI1099 It's about a group of seven former schoolmates who are getting together to celebrate a wedding, and they find out all these things about each other at the reunion, secrets are revealed, and they all remember the death of a friend and how it impacted each of their lives. Well, okay, it's not fluffy silly chick lit, it sounds a little sad and depressing (oh, did I mention that the bride has breast cancer and is very sick?), but I read the first chapter and I do like it, so I'll give it a go. I haven't read much Anita Shreve- I read The Pilot's Wife a million years ago, and remember liking it very much. And how could I turn away someone with such a fabulous first name?  :-)

And I did manage to have some yummy meals despite of all that's been going on. My stomach has definitely been off since Dad died- which I'm attributing to the obvious stress of everything, and my nerves. But I've been eating, I know I need to keep my strength up, and I don't believe in skipping meals or going too long without food- I'll have a small snack even if I'm not hungry, simply because I know it's not good to go for the body a long time without eating. Especially when you work out as much as I do (almost every day). For the most part, it's been the same eats, but I have had some new tasty treats, and took a new spin on an old favorite which totally changed the dish!

I tried both of my new Kashi cereals- the Mighty Bites and the Honey Sunshine. The Mighty Bites were pretty good, but the Honey Sunshine are fabulous! They taste just like a combination of Captain Crunch/Golden Grahams. I'm totally loving them! I don't know if I'd buy Mighty Bites again, but I definitely would buy the Honey Sunshine again. Of course, no cereal can ever take the place of my Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls- Barbara's my girl, let's not forget she brings us the magical Peanut Butter Puffins!- but the Honey Sunshine are definitely a nice runner-up.

More shoutouts to Kashi here- I tried their original 7-Grain Pilaf for dinner last night. Um, this was so easy to make that it was borderline ridiculous. Even I  couldn't figure out how to screw it up. You just boil water, throw in the pilaf, and that's it. You don't even need to stir. Just let it cook until the water absorbs. That's wonderful. And it makes 4 servings per packet! That's a lot of pilaf, my friends. I'm having some tonight and then freezing the rest. I'm actually not a big fan of leftovers as it is- I think I'm the only person on the planet who feels this way- so I can't imagine eating pilaf for 4 days in a row, you know? Yet I'll eat a sweet potato with dinner every night for month with no complaints. LOL. Anyway, along with my pilaf, I added cubed grilled chicken and grilled pepper/onion stir fry mix, and voila:

 DSCI1097 Verdict? Yum! I can't wait to try pairing the pilaf with seafood, like shrimp or salmon. But tonight we're all about leftovers, which means more chicken. I'm going to have broccoli with it instead of pepper/onion mix. I'm feeling broccoli. I like that the pilaf is so versatile and I could eat it a thousand different ways. I find that exciting.   :-)

And speaking of sweet potatoes, I put a new twist on my usual sweet potato meal that rocked my world. Ordinarily I just poke some holes in the potato and throw it in the microwave for a few minutes and cut it open. I'd have my protein and veggies on the side. Done. But Friday night I got all creative and cubed the sweet potato before I microwaved it. I threw them in the microwave for a few minutes, and added cubed grilled chicken, steamed broccoli and carrots, and some spices- curry powder, cayenne pepper, maybe a few other things- and also put some all-natural BBQ sauce on the side.

DSCI1091The hell with Lucky Charms- this was magically delicious.   :-D   I loved it. New twists on old favorites are fun!

I hope you've all had a great weekend. I've been trying to catch up on everyone's blogs, so hopefully I'll get to do a little more of that tonight. But I want to write in my journal and try to get some stuff ready for work tomorrow (I hate rushing around in the morning... prepping the night before= getting a few extra minutes of sleep), so we shall see!

Okay, so who's watching the Academy Awards tonight? I'll be going back and forth. I'm not as excited about them this year because I haven't seen any of the movies, but I'm curious as to who's going to win and what all the ladies will be wearing (the men all look the same! Black tuxes! Boring. Although I wonder what Mickey Rourke will wear). But there's a new episode of The Amazing Race  on that I really want to watch, and one of my faves is on tonight (Cold Case- it's a rerun but one I haven't seen yet), so I'll be channel-switching.

Have a good night! I'll check back in tomorrow and let you all know how my first day back was!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Hey, everyone. How are you all doing? Needless to say, this has pretty much been the worst week of my life. I'm trying to cope the best I can, but it's definitely been a struggle. I assumed I'd need to take everything day by day for a while, but it actually feels more like hour by hour at the moment. The emotions I feel are overwhelming and confusing and seem to almost have a mind of their own. I can see something that reminds me of my dad, and not feel the urge to cry or get upset; yet I started sobbing uncontrollably after leaving the post office. Everything feels so weird, so surreal. One minute I feel a moment of normality and then the next minute I'm crying. I feel like I'm in some sort of weird third dimension or parallel universe or something. Does that make sense? Trying to process everything, and cope with the loss of my dad, it's more difficult than I ever could have imagined or anticipated. I know it will get easier in time, but right now, not knowing how long I'm going to feel this way is scary and frustrating. I'm always going to miss my dad. That's a given. It's just trying to figure out how to deal with the loss of it and how to go on. I know that things will never get back to normal... I need to come up with a new definition of what "normal" is going to be for me from now on. Things will never be the same. I understand that. I just need to find a way how to live with it. I'm welcome to suggestions, since I am at a loss here. The only other family member I've ever lost- or anyone, for that matter- was my grandfather when I was fourteen. So I don't have much experience with this.

I'm not going back to work until Monday. I just don't feel ready. I've been exhausted all week- emotionally, physically, mentally. I've had bouts of energy where I've gone to the gym and gotten stuff done around my apartment, coupled with moments of sheer exhaustion where I fall asleep watching TV and even small tasks like going to the bank and returning phone calls seem daunting. I just don't feel ready to face work and my coworkers yet, not until I can try and get my emotions more in check. I'm scared that I'll just burst into tears in a meeting or getting Post-Its out of the supply closet or something, because it's those random moments where I keep losing it. Not the moments you think I would. Although I did hear one of my dad's favorite songs on the radio today- "Take the Long Way Home" by Supertramp, a song that has special meaning to the both of us- and froze, and had a full-fledged breakdown when I got home- I was on my way to get a cup of coffee; I at least managed to keep it together enough to get the coffee and managed to wait until I got home to fall apart. Still. Aside from that, I'm a little anxious about how people are going to treat me. I am the youngest in the department by a lot, everyone is pretty much in their 40s and older, and no one knew that my dad was sick (I'm a very private person and I'm very quiet at work- I have that whole "shy-but-nice bookworm" persona going on at work), and they know I have a sixteen-year-old sister... I don't know. It's definitely going to be weird.

We had the memorial service on Sunday. It was nice. Very low-key, which is just what my dad would have wanted. I mean, this is the man who wore jeans to my college graduation, and had not one, but TWO Members Only jackets. LOL. It was just family and a few of his friends. The actual service was really emotional. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. There were collages of photos of my dad throughout the years, and a beautiful program, and my cousin (who was my dad's godson) played a song on his guitar.  Each of his siblings spoke about Dad, and so did I. I'm so glad I did. But afterwards, everyone just sat around eating, and chatting, and reminiscing about Dad, and catching up with each other (we don't see each other all that often)... towards the end there was a lot of laughter, which was nice after so many tears. Honestly, if you'd walked into the tail end of the service, you would have thought you'd just walked in to a Sunday afternoon family get-together. Hardly anyone wore black. A few people even wore jeans. Some of you out there might view this kind of memorial service as really tacky or inappropriate, but please believe me when I say that it's exactly what my father would have wanted. I wore a black Pink Floyd hoodie and black pants. My father loved Pink Floyd. He loved all classic rock- Boston, The Doobie Brothers, Supertramp, Jethro Tull, Steely Dan, etc. He passed that love on to me and my sister. My poor little sister... she was a wreck throughout the entire memorial service. Just kept her head down and sobbed the entire time. I had to take her out to my car for a while before the service actually began. She calmed down enough to go in for the service, and felt much better as the afternoon went on and the atmosphere became a little lighter. We exchanged little stuffed animals for each other- just something to hug and think of the other when we're not around (obviously, since she's only sixteen, she lives with her mother). I gave her a long pink-and-black stuffed puppy that's supersoft, perfect for hugging in times of comfort or punching in times of anger or hurt, LOL. And she gave me a little Beanie Baby- he's white with green M&Ms all over him, and he's hugging a big green M&M. According to his nametag, his name is "Green" (clever). Dad's favorite candy was M&Ms, although he certainly didn't discriminate- he was an equal opportunity employer of all candies, snack cakes, Tastykakes, etc. He never met a sugary junk food he didn't like. Haha.

I'm trying to focus on the good things here. There are some. I'm trying to remember that I had "that moment" with my dad. That moment where I got a chance to not only say goodbye, but to say everything you'd want to say to someone you love in that final moment. I had the chance to say it all. Not everyone gets that moment. Like those poor people who lost loved ones in that plane crash last week in New York? They never got the chance to say goodbye. Their loved one was just snatched from them abruptly, no warning. There's no closure there. That happens to so many people out there who lose loved ones so abruptly- in car accidents, murders, natural disasters, whatever- that would do anything to get that moment. Or what about people who regret the last moment they had with their loved one- they had a fight, or they weren't speaking, or they said something like, "I hate you", "I wish you were dead", etc. That happens. That happens to people all the time. And if I feel this kind of heartache over the loss of my dad, whom I knew was dying and had what essentially was a "perfect goodbye" with him, I can't even imagine the pain and the anguish that people in those situations must feel. It must be downright unbearable. So I'm trying to find a bit of comfort and solace in that- when you put things into that perspective, I truly am grateful to have had that moment. In a way, it helps a little.

I wanted to thank the people who left such touching comments on my blog and offered me words of support and condolences. I truly appreciate it. I admit that in the blogging community, I kind of feel like I'm on the peripheral/more on the outside than a lot of other bloggers, so it was really sweet and nice to know that other people were thinking of me. Hugs to you all. You all are such sweeties. :-)

Believe it or not, I've actually been reading a little this week. I'm trying to seek comfort where I can, and reading has always brought me such joy and happiness and comfort. There are times where I've actually been able to read and times when I haven't been able to concentrate on a single syllable. But I am reading when I can. I'm actually ironically reading a book that my dad would have loved- Blind Faith, by Joe McGinniss. It's a true crime book about a man who arranged to have his wife murdered for her insurance money but tried to cover it up to look like a robbery. This took place in Toms River, NJ, in 1984. The couple had three sons, and the oldest is actually the husband of actress Tracey Gold (Roby Marshall). My dad really liked true crime books and got me into them too. I picked this book the night before he died. I picked it at random, like I do with all my books (no pic, sorry). Talk about a weird coincidence, huh? How's this for an even bigger one- there's a specific part in the book that references the song "Take the Long Way Home" and has the lyrics and everything. Cue the Twilight Zone music here. This is exactly the kind of book my dad would have loved. It was written in 1989, so it's entirely possible he did read it. I don't know. But I am enjoying it- not just because it's a good book, but because it reminds me of my dad, in a way that doesn't upset me or make me want to cry. Reading a book that I think he really would have liked is bringing me a bit of comfort, even if it is on a macabre subject like a man murdering his wife. LOL. I think you know what I mean though.  :-)

All right, I'm off to try and get some sleep. I've actually slept decently the past two nights, believe it or not. I've stayed up pretty late, but I've slept pretty soundly and haven't had any bad dreams or strange dreams- if I had, I'm not remembering them. That's probably a good thing. God bless Melatonin tablets.

Hope you're all having a good week. Take care and have a great Thursday!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sad news

My father passed away this afternoon. He took a turn for the worse last night and they advised the family to get down there as soon as possible. His organs were starting to shut down and basically just the ventilator was keeping him alive at that point, and the medicine/antibiotics they were using to try and treat the pneumonia weren't working. I was just leaving the ICU and heading home after being with him for several hours, when my aunt, who was still there, called me and told me he was coding. And by the time I got back, he was gone.

I'm heartbroken, of course, but at the same time, I'm glad he's not suffering and in pain anymore. He was in so much pain the past few years, and his body was just shutting down from exhaustion. He fought the good fight until the very end, but his body just wore out. It was just time. And I think I kind of knew that, even though it's still extremely painful.

I was not there when he passed away. My aunt and my grandmother were. They said it was very peaceful. I'm just so happy that I got to see him one more time, and say what I needed to say, and tell him how much I loved him, and to say goodbye. I thanked him for being such a good dad to me and told him how much I appreciated everything he ever did for me. He took me to my first Phillies game. He taught me to tie my shoes. He passed down his love of classic rock to me. He took me for my learner's permit. He gave me his crazy thick hair and a good sense of humor. I thanked him for all that and everything else. I said what I needed to say, and even though he was unconscious/heavily sedated the entire time, I know he could hear me. And I'm so glad I got the opportunity to do that, to say goodbye. I would not have been able to live with myself if I had missed that opportunity.

We're having a small memorial service on Sunday, just the family, at my uncle's house. In the meantime, I'm coping the best way I know how. In a way, since I know this has been coming for a long time, it's not a shock, but it still feels surreal. I knew that this day was coming, but now that it's here, it just feels like it's still not really here. I know it's going to take time and it's going to hurt. But I am glad that he's not suffering, and I hope that he is finally finding the peace he struggled to find here on Earth. The last few years were so hard on him, physically, mentally, and emotionally... I'd like to believe that he's at peace now, at last.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A very short post

I had every intention of posting a great post tonight, because up until a few hours ago, I was actually having a really great day. Now... not so much.

Please keep my father in your thoughts. He is currently in the hospital for pneumonia due to complications from COPD, and was stable, but has taken a turn for the worse. He is on a ventilator, currently sedated, and being given antibiotics to try and treat the pneumonia. My father has been sick for a very, very long time, and we all kind of knew that he wasn't going to get better, and while I have accepted it and I feel that I've made peace with it, it doesn't make the reality of it any less painful. He is scheduled for a tracheotomy on Monday to help him breathe. He's currently unconscious and I haven't been able to visit him, but my sister and I are going on Sunday unless his diagnosis changes, and in that case we will obviously go sooner. My dad's been sick for a long time, and I've known for a while that he is not going to recover, but I don't know how much longer he can hold out because he has been so sick for so long, so please keep him in your thoughts. I haven't really spoken about it on the blog, but not because I didn't want to. This is my blog and I want to be as personal and honest about it as possible, but I just worry about posting certain things because I work for an extremely conservative company, and you never know who's reading your blog really, so I've always kind of kept that in the back of my mind when I'm posting. For all I know, my cubicle neighbor or my department manager's kid or my boss's sister could be reading it... you just never know. So I just always kind of keep that in the back of my mind. But I don't think that applies to this situation.

Anyway, I'll keep everyone informed of what's going on. Thank you for your support and understanding. I'll be back tomorrow. But this is about all I can do for right now.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This week's a-flyin'!!!!

Not that I'm complaining about that!

I didn't post last night because I had one of those nights where time totally gets away from you... I left the gym later than usual, got home later than usual, ate dinner later than usual... everything was later than usual... including bedtime! I was definitely feeling a little extra-sleepy today.

I didn't have much news to report on anyway. Although something pretty exciting did happen to me at work yesterday... I received two peer recognition awards! I won them for my contributions toward a really big proposal project that was up against a pretty tight deadline. And two awards, at that! I don't mean to toot my own horn too much here, but I've only gotten one at a time before... never two at once! That definitely made my day and boosted my confidence a point or two! :-)

Ooh... another exciting tidbit from yesterday was that my roommate saw an ad on craigslist for some free stuff someone was trying to unload b/c he was moving, so she decided to check it out... and she came home with a plethora of plates! We never turn away free kitchen stuff, especially of the microwaveable kind! (I tend to buy the kitschy cutesy plates that aren't microwave-friendly). And what a small world- a lot of them match some plates she already has- they look like they're from the same set! What are the odds? :-D

This is my favorite of the bunch:

DSCI1057 I can learn about my state's history while eating! How exciting! :-)

I used it for tonight's dinner:

DSCI1058 Grilled chicken breast, sweet potato, steamed veggies. TJs All-Natural BBQ Sauce not pictured but was along for the ride. :-)

I have a microwaving question for the bloggies... how long do you microwave your sweet potatoes? I was microwaving them for two increments of three minutes each- three minutes, turn over, three minutes (covered in a paper towel), and thought that was too much, so I decreased the time a little to five minutes, and I've noticed that the past two sweet potatoes have come out kind of... wet, almost. They seem done, just a little... I don't know... soggy isn't quite the word to describe it, but kinda moist? I'm not sure if I just bought a couple of weird ones or maybe my nuking method needs a little fine-tuning.... I recommend any and all suggestions!!!

I tried a new Larabar yesterday- well, a new flavor to me, anyway- the Lemon Bar flavor. Eh. I didn't dislike it, I thought it was fine, but I probably wouldn't go out of my way to get that flavor again. I went through a hardcore lemon square phase in college (my college cafeteria had the best damn lemon squares; I'd stock up and keep them in my dorm!), but I didn't think this bar tasted like a lemon square really- just some almonds and dates with a kick of lemon. Ah well. My faves are still the Apple Pie and the Coconut Cream Pie. But I still have many more to try!

So I'm about 130 pages into my book, Toxin. It's a fast read, and I'm kind of... skimming some of the icky medical stuff. Especially since I do most of my reading on my lunch break and sometimes at dinner if there's nothing good on TV (yes, I eat dinner like the quintessential single gal, LOL), and I don't need to read about the nitty-gritty details of the E.coli virus running through a little girl's body while I'm nibbling on my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you know? It's not really an ideal meal topic. But it really doesn't go into all that much detail about it that often. But I'm just at the part where the poor little girl is in the hospital and taking a turn for the worse. I still don't know if she lives or dies. I hope she lives... she's just a little girl! But not every book has a charmed ending. If everything turned out perfectly and always worked out in every single story- whether a book or a TV show- we wouldn't have the element of drama, and we'd have some pretty unrealistic expectations about life in general= we'd expect everything to always work out for the best. Still, I'm rooting for her to pull through!

Speaking of unrealistic TV, I watched a show on VH1 yesterday while I was working out at the gym. I forget the name of it, but it was about six-year-old girls competing in beauty pageants. It was flat-out disturbing. Those little girls scared the hell out of me. The pageant workers and the pushy stage parents scared me even more.

I'm getting a biometric screening done at work tomorrow. My company is big on healthcare, does a lot of cool health seminars and fairs and things like that, and I love that, and participate in as many as I can. Plus there's a little incentive involved- you get entered in a raffle for the opportunity to have your medical insurance out-of-paycheck costs waived for the entire year. How cool is that? So I'm getting that done tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. The screening tests your sugar level, cholesterol level, etc. All the important stuff! We also have the opportunity to fill out health questionnaire, and just for completing the questionnaire, we get a $100 AMEX gift card. Free money! Needless to say, I filled it out the first day... I'm a huge fan of free stuff, especially in gift-card format!

All right, time to go watch some Biggest Loser and other educational programming (The Office), and dessert and bed. I'm thinking it might be time to bust out those Newman's Own Hermit cookies that I bought on Sunday. They feel unloved unopened, like they're not serving their purpose, and far be it from me to make a cookie feel bad. I'll do a product review in my next post, which should be tomorrow! I like posting on a regular basis, even if I don't really have anything of significant importance to say. :-)

Hope everyone had a tremendous Tuesday! :-)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Simple math equations

Shorter work weeks + longer weekends= happy Anita

One Powerball ticket + seven matching numbers= happy Anita

Ah, the power of delusional positive/wishful thinking...

What's cookin', good lookins'? :-) How were your weekends? Mine's been pretty decent! The weather today was amazing- it might have reached 60 degrees! It was wonderful!!! I have fun new food finds, product reviews, and book updates to bring you up to speed on, so get comfy... this is a long post!!! :-)


I had a pretty good day at work on Friday. No drama, no stress, just the way every Friday should be! And it's our pay Friday, so everyone was in an extra-happy mood. It was a nice way to start the weekend.

On the way to the gym, I tried out one of the new Luna White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bars that are all the rage. I liked it... it kind of reminded me a little bit of a supersweet Rice Krispy treat. My two complaints are that I wish it had had a few more macadamia nuts (although that could have just been that particular bar), and I didn't really find it all that filling. I have found that to be the case with Luna bars in general- I like them in terms of flavor, but I don't think they're a very filling snack. I think it's because they have a lot of sugar and not a lot of protein. In any event, I did think it was tasty and enjoyable!

Dinner was a standby favorite- salmon burger, sweet potato, and broccoli/carrots. No pic because I eat this constantly. But I DID enjoy it while watching the first disc of Season 1 of Gimme a Break. I gotta tell you, for a sitcom that's almost 30 years old, I still found it pretty damn funny! Maybe even more so now, because I get more of the jokes now that I'm older, haha. That Nell Carter was one sassy housekeeper... and she sure did like her men! Haha. Some of it's pretty cheesy, and the clothes are hysterical, but still pretty entertaining! I already added the other discs into my Netflix queue and should be getting the next one sometime this week. LOL!


I tried out one of my new Kashi cereals for breakfast- Kashi Honey Crunch Mighty Bites. I thought it was delicious! Very light taste, with a hint of honey that made it sweet but not overly sweet. They weren't that filling on their own, but for breakfast today I added in 1/2 cup of Fiber One, and boy, did that do the trick! I didn't get hungry for lunch until about five hours later!

After breakfast I went to get the oil changed in my car. I was there for longer than I expected because they had discovered the one of my taillights was out, so they replaced that. Good thing I brought my book, because I was there for an hour! Afterwards I swung by Trader Joe's to grab some bread for lunches for work. I also grabbed some frozen mango for kicks and giggles. :-) I love mango and hadn't had it in a while, so I thought it would be a nice treat.

Lunch was a microwaved Egg McMuffin with a Laughing Cow wedge and broccoli:

DSCI1045 With more broccoli on the side, and salsa and ketchup for dipping excitement. The rest of the afternoon was low-key and uneventful.

I tried a new product for dinner that's been in my cupboard for a while now:

DSCI1040 Kashi's Original Pilaf. I'm dying to try the Fiery Fiesta and Moroccan Curry flavors but can't find them anywhere.... I had struggles just finding this one! I couldn't find it at any supermarket. I finally stumbled across it at Target. I opted to cook it in the microwave, because I am lazy. I stir-fried some shrimp and peppers and onions to go along with it and added a bit of curry powder and chili pepper sauce:

DSCI1042 I really liked it a lot! I'll definitely be picking up another one on my next Target run! :-)


I spent the morning running errands! First stop was Wal-Mart. On the way to Wal-Mart, I heard one of my absolute favorite rock-out-in-the-car songs, "Jukebox Hero", by Foreigner. That's how I knew it was going to be a good day. I most definitely channeled my inner Pat Benatar and rocked out. I'm sure that the other drivers were amused. :-D I picked up my usual Wal-Mart items- sugar-free instant oatmeal (my new favorite nighttime snack), sugar-free lemonade mix, sparking water, etc. And I also got a little lavender calming spray for only $2. I have a really hard time going to bed at a decent hour, and while Melatonin helps me sleep soundly, it doesn't always make me feel tired. I've heard that lavender scents are really calming and relaxing, so I figured I'd spray this on my bed about an hour or so before I went to bed. Hey, worst case scenario, my bed will smell pretty, right? :-)

And then I went grocery shopping... one of my favorite things to do! I restocked on my usual faves and staples- bananas, sweet potatoes, frozen veggies, veggie burgers, Boca crumbles, soy chips, etc. My favorite brand of popcorn was on sale, so I had to get on that, of course. And I treated myself to a pint of raspberries. I miss fresh berries!

And here was the shopping trip "splurge":

DSCI1052 Has anyone tried these? I was craving a soft cookie that I could have as a dessert (and I only like soft cookies- I'm not that big on crunchy/crispy cookies... I'd rather have a nice soft chewy cookie any day of the week!), and I'd been craving a kind of fig-like cookie, like Fig Newtons... and then I came across these, and they were on sale! I don't buy Newman's products often- they're kind of expensive- but I like that all the proceeds go to charity. And these are soft, with figs, raisins, and molasses. It sounded just like the kind of cookie I've been craving lately! I'm excited to try them. :-) I'll bet they'd be extra-tasty after being zapped in the microwave for 10 seconds... I guess I'll have to find out!

I came home and unloaded and organized all my new goodies, had another Egg McMuffin for lunch (same ingredients, same everything, so no pic), and went to the gym for a quick little workout- I rode the stationary bike. Then I tried to get my haircut, and I went to the SuperCuts down the street, and they wouldn't take me! They said that they weren't taking any new customers because they closed at 5. But it was only 4, and I just wanted a trim... I didn't even want a blowdry because I live 30 seconds away from the place, and was going to come home and do it myself! Boo-hiss. By then I was tired and grumpy and had to pee, so I just went home. I'll go next weekend. I HAVE to go though. I feel like my split ends are mocking me. :-)

While at the gym, I finished Tender at the Bone. Yes, FINISHED! I tell ya, I'm just a little reading machine these days! Okay, so my thoughts:

Overall, I liked it. I did. The author really portrayed vivid descriptions of the people in her life, scenery (she does a lot of traveling in the book), etc. The author has definitely led an interesting life. That's for sure. She went to college in the 60s and experienced segregation and political rallies with her friends, lived in a commune in Berkeley in the 70s, etc. And she's got a good sense of humor. And I thought it was cool that there were little recipes scattered throughout the book, one per chapter, although admittedly, every single one of them was a recipe that I know I will never, ever make, like fried oysters, Bouef la Bourguigonne, Apple Dumplings made with lard, etc. Stuff I don't even think I'd enjoy eating, let alone cooking, haha. But nice of her to share.

My complaints about the book? Typing/grammatical errors. That drives me insane. Also, I thought it ended rather abruptly. Not in that cliffhanger, what-happens-next way either. The book was just... over. Like she didn't feel like writing anymore.

Also, I have this thing with memoirs- all memoirs in general. Authors bring in so many people into their memoirs, and some stay throughout the book and you know what happens to them, and others just disappear because their time in that person's life is over or come to a close, and I always wonder in the back of my mind what happened to them, those "minor" players in a person's life that shows up for a chapter or two and then is gone, like the best friend from high school, first college boyfriend, first boss, etc. But again, that's something I do with every memoir or biography. Does anyone else do that too, or can I just go ahead and add that to my list of silly little quirks? :-)

Bottom line? Pretty good, but glad I only paid $1 for it! I do look forward to reading the other two books of hers that I have.

And with that, I bestow to you what was my next pick:

DSCI1048 The Don't Sweat Guide for Graduates, by Richard Carlson. He writes a whole little series about not sweating everything- life, relationships, work, family, getting married, kids, etc. This is for college graduates, which I clearly bought at that time. In fact, I remember buying it in my college bookstore.

I might thumb through it, but I'm not really considering this my "next new read". I think the timeframe might have passed on me for this one and I might be a little too old for it at this point. I've been in the working world for five years, and so I'm not really "sweating" what to do after college anymore. But I'll probably thumb through it and then put it aside for my sister for when she graduates college.

That being said, I picked another random title:

DSCI1049 Toxin, by Robin Cook. I've had this book for so long that I have absolutely no idea where it came from or when I got it. Has anyone ever read anything by this author? I never have, but I hear good things about him, so I'm optimistic. Anyway, so Robin Cook apparently writes medical thrillers/mysteries, a genre that is new to me. This particular novel is about a doctor's daughter becoming affected with E.Coli, and the doctor goes undercover and investigates the meat-packing industry trying to target where the virus came from, and is exposed to the world of the meat industry, what really goes on behind the scenes at slaughterhouses, etc. I rarely eat red meat, but I have a feeling that after I read this book, I'll probably never want to eat it again. It's also a little ironic to be reading this particular book after coming off a food memoir, no? :-)

So that's my new read. I'll keep you posted on what I thought. No pun intended. :-P

All right, that'll do it for me tonight... I'm off to get stuff organized for the upcoming work week, make some dinner (Kashi Pilaf leftovers), do some journal writing, and put my new lavender spray to the test and go to bed! Have a good final few weekend hours... make them count!!! :-)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Just in time for the weekend!

Greetings and salutations!!! So would you believe that I'm already finished with Tales of the City... I started it on Monday afternoon and finished it up on my lunch break today!!! I'm not kidding when I tell you that it was a crazy-fast read! I definitely attribute that to the fact that each chapter was about 2-3 pages long. So it was easy to fly through 50 pages at a time, you know?

My thoughts on the book? I liked it. I didn't love it nearly as much as my friend Rick did, but I liked it. It was a little confusing here and there- as much of a 70s' aficionado as I claim to be, I didn't get a lot of the references/lingo, but that wasn't really an issue, I kind of picked up on what they were talking about for the most part. And I liked how the characters intertwined with each other- all connected to the main character, Mary Ann, somehow, yet they would manage to cross paths and meet each other, and not even be aware of the connection because they'd be meeting in a bar, or on the beach, etc. So they both had this person in common somehow, and for the most part, didn't even realize it. It was like a hippie granola version of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon"- Mary Ann obviously being Kevin, LOL. But I thought the ending was kind of confusing and seemed to end rather abruptly. I'm assuming that's because it is the first book in a series of six, so I'm guessing the second book picks up where the first one left off.

I'm going to have to wait in suspense to find out if that's the case, though, because I reached into my trusty box of book titles, picked one at random, and voila:

DSCI1039 Behold, my latest read- and a recent find, at that! Tender at the Bone, by Ruth Reichl. I just bought this baby a few months ago for $1 at my last used-booksale-binge! Ruth Reichl is a restaurant critic for The New York Times, and she's written a bunch of memoir books, including this one, Comfort Me with Apples, and Garlic and Sapphires. I have them all, and I haven't read any of them yet, so I'm uber-excited! This is her first memoir, and she writes about her childhood mostly- how her mother was a terrible cook, apparently, and how she got into the food/restaurant sensualist arena. I've never read a food memoir before, but I have quite a few of them, and I like food, and I like memoirs, so I can't imagine why I wouldn't like food memoirs!!! :-D

I hope you're all having lovely weeks! This week has seemed to go by slowly, no? Not in a bad way, just in a "shouldn't-today-be-Friday" way... ya know? Thank God tomorrow is ACTUALLY Friday! Who's got fun and lively weekend plans for the first weekend of February??? It's going to warm up to almost 60 degrees here over the weekend.... I can't WAIT!!!! It was bitterly cold today. I mean, BITTER. Which will just make this weekend weather extra-pleasant!

Time to go make some dinner and watch TV! I'll be reading blogs tonight and hope to get to comment on a few! There are so many I love, it's hard enough to get through them all, let alone leave comments! Too many good bloggers! :-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Free almond butter!!! What could be better???

I completely meant to put this in my post earlier, but totally forgot... if you go to Mark and Heather's blog, they're giving away a free jar of natural almond butter! Sign up by Saturday to get your name into the raffle!

Good luck to you, but no offense, I hope I win. I have NEVER tried almond butter before, and I really  want to... I just can't bring myself to buy it because it's so expensive!!!! But I totally want to try it, so I'm hoping to win!   :-)

Winter wonderland

A vast majority of my afternoon went into an internal debate of whether to go to the gym or not.  :-)   It's nice to know that I'm putting my brain and mental energy to good use, huh?  ;-D  It's been lightly snowing steadily all day long, and the area has been under a winter weather storm advisory warning all day and all evening. I really wanted to go to the gym, but certainly didn't want to risk my safety trying to get there! In the end, I opted to play it safe and workout from home. The gym will be there tomorrow... and the day after that... and the day after that... LOL.  I think it was a good judgment call on my part. The roads were fine on the drive home, but my apartment parking lot was really  slippery, and I slid significantly twice trying to get up the little hill to my parking lot! And it's seriously a tiny hill, barely a baby-sized one. So I definitely think I made the right decision!

So instead of the gym, I hopped on my Netflix account and did the Crunch: Super SlimDown Pilates and Yoga combo workout instead. I have the Crunch: Fat-Burning Yoga workout, which I love but wasn't in the mood for, and I've done the Crunch: Candlelight Yoga workout on Netflix too. I really like the Crunch series a lot. And while I do Pilates and Yoga separately on a regular basis, I've never combined them in the same workout. I was intrigued and thought it would be interesting and fun, so I gave it a try. I LOVED it!!!! Definitely more of a challenge to do together... I could feel my breath pacing and my heartrate get faster, and I was definitely feeling it, but in that good way you feel a tough workout, not the oh-my-God-I-think-I'm-going-to-die way, LOL. It was fast-paced and the instructor was easy to follow. I felt like the workout took two great core workouts and put them together into a nice, flowing routine that really got my blood flowing and my energy going!I'll definitely be doing "Yogalates" again!

LOL, speaking of Netflix, guess what I got in the mail today? Okay, time for an 80s flashback... who remembers this show?

Gimme a Break Oh yes, kids, I ordered the first disc of Season 1 of Gimme a Break.  I LOVED this show as a kid!!!! Nell Carter was just such a smartass, and she cracked me up! I wanted her to come live at my house and take care of me! Haha. Anyway, I saw that Season 1 was out on DVD and I just had to get it and revisit my childhood. I'm sure it won't be nearly as funny or entertaining as I remember it being when I was seven years old- as was the case when I bought Jem and the Holograms when it first came out on DVD a few years ago... I watched it and was like, hmmmm.....- but that's okay. That's the beauty of Netflix... I'll just send it on back! I probably won't start watching it until the weekend, so I'll let you know what my thoughts are on it then.

Other than my exciting Netflix finds, nothing else is really going on! I'm really barreling through Tales of the City.... I read about 50 pages on my lunch break today, so I'm already about one-third of the way into the book! It's a really  fast read, because each chapter is only about two or three pages long. It's good so far. Lotta drugs, lotta free lovin' going on left and right, but those were the times, you know? I can't help but think of classic 70s sitcoms while I'm reading it... I keep thinking of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (probably because the main character's name is Mary Ann, and she's this really naive girl from Cleveland, and Mary Richards from TMTMS was a naive girl from Minneapolis), and Three's Company. I really have a lot of TV on the brain lately, it seems! Haha.

And on that note, it seems fitting to say that I'm off to make dinner and watch my Tuesday night TV shows (The Biggest Loser and The Office), and try to go to bed early tonight... I have a bit of a busy day at work tomorrow! I'll be catching up on blogs tonight too... so mant great blogs, so little time!!!   :-D

Monday, February 2, 2009

Zero energy

Whew... I have just been dragging all day today... physically AND mentally! Luckily it was pretty quiet at work today!

And now, as promised, here is my delayed post.

First of all, did anyone else (besides Heather over at Heather Bakes) think that last night's episode of The Office that came on after the Super Bowl was weird, and to be honest, kinda sucked? I am a huge fan and I was definitely disappointed. Maybe the writers thought that everyone would be too drunk from the Super Bowl parties to care? LOL. Definitely not their finest work!

I hope you all had great weekends, however you spent them. Mine was pretty great- low-key, relaxing, and as usual, too short. Why do the weekends fly by so quickly, and then weekdays drag on for an eternity? Where's the justice in that???????????

First and foremost, I finished- yes, finished!- Chasing Harry Winston. It's a very fast read. I enjoyed it for what it was- a light, breezy, completely unrealistic chick lit book. I read some reviews on goodreads and people were just slamming it for its completely unbelievable plot and shallow, one-dimensional characters, and, to be honest, I could certainly see where they were coming from. The premise and the characters' lives were totally unrealistic, and not very believable (as was the ending). The characters were a little shallow and unlikable at times. But it is a chick lit novel, not Great Expectations. If you want heavy reading or something substantial, this is probably not the book for you. Take it for what it is... silly and fun! That's the attitude that I went into with the book, and maybe that's why I wasn't as sorely disappointed as some other readers seemed to be, because I had no intention of taking it seriously. Although I will say, that out of all of Lauren Weisberger's books, that I liked this one the least. I LOVED The Devil Wears Prada, and I liked Everyone Worth Knowing more than this book. But I liked this one too. Anyway. Just my two cents. :-)

And without further adieu... here is my latest book!

DSCI1033 It's called Tales of the City, by Armistead Maupin. This is actually a book within a series of six books, and this is the first one. I actually own the first three in the series- acquired all from book sales, naturally- and haven't read any of them, so it's a good thing I picked the first one! I bought this a few years ago at my favorite book sale. My friend Rick actually made me buy it... he insisted on it! He said it was such a great series, so I trusted his judgment (plus he was pretty insistent on it!). So the series is about a group of residents in a house-turned-apartment complex in San Francisco in the mid 1970s- the time of free love, free drugs, free spirits, disco dancing, all that good clean squeaky fun. :-) The first book is mostly focused on the story of Mary Ann Singleton, a 25-year-old girl who visits San Francisco from Cleveland on a whim, by herself, and immediately falls in love with the city and decides to stay. She gets an apartment in this house (the landlady tapes a joint to her door that she personally grew in her own marijuana garden as a "housewarming" present... she kind of reminds me of a Mrs. Roper from Three's Company, only with pot), takes a job as a secretary at an ad agency, etc. I started it on my lunch break today and am about 50 pages into it so far. It's fun! I feel like I'm back in 1975, LOL. I am a big fan of the '70s- NOT the drugs and free love part, haha, I mean the music, the clothes, the TV shows, I think it's all so funky and fun- so I think this will be another successful read! Good call, Rick, good call. ;-D Ah, he knows me so well.

So that was the reading portion of the weekend. Now onto my yummy food and snacks and fun food finds!


Ah, how I missed my beloved Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls so.

DSCI1008With skim milk, a sliced banana, and oodles of cinnamon. I like to mix everything up like crazy after I pour the milk so that the milk gets all frothy and cinnamony. :-)

After breakfast I did a quick trip to Trader Joe's for my staple items (sodium-free whole wheat bread, chicken, salmon burgers... I consider all these things "staple items"), and saw that they did not have the Clif and Luna White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bars. Sigh. But I knew that one place would have them... and so, I went to Whole Foods, and there they were!

DSCI1022 Yay! I haven't tried one yet, but I plan on it this week! I was so happy to find them. I get sad when I see cool products and finds on other blogs and I can't find them anywhere. :-( Not the case here!

I hadn't had an Egg McMuffin in a while, so that was lunch:

DSCI1012 3 egg whites prepared a la microwave, with steamed spinach and chopped onion flakes on an Arnold's Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin (they are the perfect size for Microwaved Egg McMuffins!). And some red pepper hummus on the side. Happiness.

Dinner was a shrimp stir-fry:

DSCI1026 Frozen shrimp, instant brown rice, chili pepper sauce, pepper and onion stir-fry mix. Simple and tasty. And later on that night before bed I snacked on a bag of Smart Balance Heart Healthy Popcorn. I love to eat popcorn on the weekends because it takes me forever to eat, and I can curl up in bed with my book, the remote, a blanket, and a big bowl of popcorn. I'm getting really, really old... just a few years ago, I was out all night! No more for this Grandma! I'm too old and tired for all that now!!!


Breakfast was the same thing on Sunday as it was on Saturday. The exact same thing, just in a different color bowl. So I didn't feel the need to photograph it again. Just scroll on up if you forgot what it looks like. :-) Alas, I only have a little left of my beloved Barbie's Spoonfuls. Maybe 1/4 cup, and the cereal dust. I won't be buying more for a while though- I got a little Kashi-crazy a few weeks ago and ended up buying two new cereals (new to me, anyway)- the Mighty Bites and the Honey Sunshine. And they've patiently been waiting to be tried out. So I figured I'd use up the rest of the Shredded Spoonfuls mixed with one of my new Kashi cereals over the weekend. Which should I try first- the Mighty Bites or the Honey Sunshine? I only want to open one box right now because I'm only eating cold cereal on the weekends now, and I don't want them to go stale.

I ran some typical-yet-enjoyable errands: Target and Wegmans. No fun new finds or splurges at Target. Oh, wait, that's not true... I picked up some new coffee for our little coffee club at work... Archer Farms Macadamia Praline. It was only $3! The club was happy with this selection. We brewed a pot this morning. Pretty tasty! Same thing at Wegmans- I spent, like, $50, and almost none of it went to food! It was all stuff like toilet paper, cat litter, cat food, melatonin tablets (I take this stuff to help me sleep sometimes... it's like $6 for a pack of 20, but I don't use them often, and they work really well, so whatevs), aluminum foil, etc. I did get a little bit of actual edible items- Ranch soy chips (LOVE these things), natural pb, sugar-free jelly, French Vanilla tea (because I either drank all that damn Sugar Cookie tea or I put them away somewhere and can't remember where... knowing me, it's probably the latter!), sweet potatoes (OBVI), frozen veggies, and a Pure Protein Bar. Still... I much prefer the grocery shopping trips where I get a lot of fun stuff for not a lot of money. Ah, it all balances out.

Lunch was a new product- and very appropriate for Super Bowl Sunday!

DSCI1029 I present you with: Tabatchnick's Vegetarian Chili. I impulsively bought this at Wegmans a few weeks ago, and it was my first time trying it out. The box comes with two frozen servings- all you do is break one off, cut it open, put it in a microwave-safe bowl, and run with it until it's hot. The ingredient list was all ingredients that I could read and pronounce and identify, which is always good, and the nutritional stats weren't too shabby either: one serving has 180 calories, 3.5 g fat, 360 mg sodium (very impressive for chili!), 28 g carbs, 8 g fiber, 12 g protein. Anyway, be forewarned that it makes a small bowl of chili- you might want to bulk it up with veggies, cheese, a sandwich or salad, etc. I added crinkle cut carrots and pepper and onion mix to mine and paired it with a piece of whole wheat toast. Anyhow, all that said, it was delicious!!!!! Very tasty and flavorful and filling... I loved it! I'd definitely buy it again! The only thing I didn't like too much about it was that I had a definite slight aftertaste, even after I brushed my teeth, used Listerine, and chewed gum throughout the afternoon... I couldn't get rid of a slight lingering taste no matter what! Ah well. It was worth it! If you can find this at the grocery store, give it a try! I'll definitely be trying their other products too! I was looking at their website and I'd love to try their Smoked Salmon Chowder, but I don't remember seeing that at Wegmans.

I had a leisurely Sunday afternoon- riding the stationary bike at the gym while reading, coming home, taking a shower, surfing the web, watching the World News Tonight (again, channeling my inner old person... a few years I would have never watched the world news or any of those evening anchor news shows; now, not only do I watch them from time to time, but I catch myself shaking my head when I see something upsetting or disappointing or sad... next week I'll probably be complaining about the "damn kids and their rock and roll music", haha), and then eventually started making dinner.

I saw this combo on the lovely Alyssa's blog and simply had to try it out for myself:

DSCI1031 I ripped off her dinner completely, LOL. I had a Boca burger (with crushed red pepper flakes on top- I also had some horseradish mustard on the side to dip it on, not pictured), steamed broccoli instead of spinach, and the intriguing Laughing Cow/sweet potato combo... I never thought to put these two things together, but she swore up and down it was amazing... and was she ever right! I thought it was GREAT!!!! This is one of many reasons why I love the food blogging community... because I find all these wonderful, amazing, healthy food ideas! I'm not sure I ever would have thought these two things together! This is just one of many reasons why Alyssa is so awesome! (If you don't read her blog, do yourself a favor and do so... she's a sweetheart, and she loves Wegmans too... a friend of Wegmans is a friend of mine!) Thank you, Alyssa, for this great idea! I might try it with chicken next time instead of a Boca Burger for my protein part of the meal... they were very tasty altogether, but my tummy made some weird noises/reactions for a while after dinner, but that could have been for any reason, or maybe I was just digesting, LOL! I grilled up some chicken for dinner tonight and made extra for dinner tomorrow, so I'm thinking of trying it out then!

So they're calling for 2 to 4 inches of snow tomorrow, and of course, most of it is expected to start falling in the afternoon, just in time for the drive home. Glorious. I was planning on hitting the gym tomorrow, but if it comes down as badly as they're predicting (fingers crossed it won't), I'll have to skip it and work out at home instead. I am a gym bunny and love going, but I'm not going to risk my safety and my car's safety trying to get a workout in! I'll just do yoga or Pilates or something. I did a lot of heavy lifting tonight with weights, so a nice yoga or Pilates workout would probably do my body good. But I'll pack my gym gear tonight just in case.... it wouldn't be the first time they were wrong about a storm prediction! I think they do it just for scare tactics and ratings!

Well, I've bored you enough for one night, don't you think? ;-) I'm off to get stuff ready for work tomorrow and watch some of the new TNT series, Trust Me. Is anyone else watching that? Thoughts? I wasn't sold on it at first, but then I watched the episode again (in typical cable TV fashion, they showed it over and over throughout the week and weekend), and it grew on me! So I'll tune in tonight. Then I'll make myself a yummy bedtime snack of sugar-free vanilla pudding (trying to use up the last of my milk from the weekend- I'm frugal- more grandma-esque behaviors!!!) with cinnamon and some Annie's chocolate bunnies and ff whipped cream- this is a great little combo that you have to try out the next time the urge for pudding hits you, or you need to use up the last of your milk, haha. :-)

Goodnight bloggies!!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Short but sweet post

Hi everyone! Hope you are all winding down fun and exciting weekends! I wanted to get in a weekend recap post tonight- I have lots of pics and fun weekend finds to share with you!-, but I just finished Chasing Harry Winston (Michelle, I LOVED it! It was so cute! I couldn't put it down!), and now I'm getting ready to change into my pjs and watch The Office (there's a new one-hour episode after the Super Bowl post-game show- yay! Not that I have any interest in watching the post-game show, which I'm sure will run late, but a NEW ONE-HOUR episode of The Office is definitely worth staying up late for!!!) , write in my journal, and hit the hay! I'll be back with a real post tomorrow night... and I'll also reveal my new book pick... so you'll just have to be in suspense until tomorrow!