Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The price I pay for being an idiot

So not only did I have to cough up $253 in car repairs today, I have to bring my car back tomorrow. The dealership sent over not one, but two bent rims (nice), and the mechanics didn't have time to get a third one before the end of the day. It's coming tomorrow, so I've got to bring it back. Luckily, it will only take 20 minutes, and they won't charge me for time and labor (as well they shouldn't!). Oh, and my rent is due today. Life was a little on the expensive side today.

Upon leaving the auto body shop en route to the gym, I noticed I had not one, but two spots of bird crap on my car that weren't there this morning. How appropriate.

Thank God for my abundance of chocolate Vitalove in the freezer. I'm rationing them to make them last as long as possible, but I am so busting into the stash tonight. I'm thinking it's a Triple Chocolate Chunk VitaTop day today, wouldn't you agree? I need all the chocolate I can get tonight after the day I had today... as every gal knows, chocolate makes everything a little better!

I'm off to go whine to my cat and start getting ready for dinner and the new episode of The Biggest Loser.

Feeling sorry for yourself is still free, right? Just checking!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Please think happy thoughts for my checking account...

... because it's a little nervous about how much money it's gonna fork over tomorrow at the mechanic's!!!! My checkbook is sweating. :-X

Oh well. Not much I can do about it, so I guess I should try not to worry about it.

In happy news, tonight's potato du jour was absolutely fantastico:

DSCI1246 DSCI1245 It's a "Chicken Cheesesteak" stuffed potato... microwaved SP, leftover grilled chicken, reduced-fat Provolone cheese, peppers, onions, some broccoli for extra veggie enjoyment, pepper, red pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and organic ketchup on the side. This is the best potato yet (I tend to have this thought whenever I come up with a new combination, however! In fact, I have a new combo all planned out for tonight, so chances are I'll be saying the same thing tomorrow too, LOL).

I had a pretty typical Monday. Kinda mundane, but believe me, I'm hardly complaining!!!! I did read a few chapters of Outtakes From a Marriage on my lunch break. I was right... this is some fluffball fiction! But it's nice and light and fun, although the main character's a little neurotic and annoying. And her TV star hubby's kind of a self-absorbed prick! Even if he turns out he wasn't cheating, she should kick his pompous @ss to the curb anyway. :-D

One work day down and four to go... is it sad that I'm already counting down for the weekend????

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I hate crappy weekends

Although, in theory, I guess not too many people do tend to enjoy them, now do they?

Actually, today wasn't a bad day at all- it was quiet and very low-key. I slept in, went to the gym, chatted with my roommate for a while, did some yoga in the afternoon, and finished up my book. But yesterday... yesterday was honestly one of the worst days I can remember having since my dad died. First, I screwed up my driver's side tire pretty badly from hitting a median strip (I so do not want to talk about and rehash it... let's just say it was a ridiculously stupid error in judgment, and leave it at that), and I didn't blow it out completely or get a flat or anything like that, and I was able to drive to my mechanic's and they noticed a leak and were able to patch it enough to make it driveable until I can bring it back on Tuesday, but my front tire will definitely have to be replaced, and my back tire might as well, but they're going to try to save it (they actually said "save it", and it made me realize yet again how much mechanics are quite similar to surgeons!), and I might need a realignment as well. I have no idea how much this will all cost me, and I spent the day so mad at myself for doing something so incredibly stupid. And little things just went wrong all day, and I started thinking about my dad and how I missed him and wished I could call him, and it all just kept spiraling downward into a pretty bad "mental health day", if you know what I mean. My emotions were just all over the place, and my hypersensitivity was just raging. So every little minor thing, those little everyday annoying nuisances that happen to everyone on a daily basis, were just elevated and exaggerated because of my heightened emotional state, you know? Ugh... I was just a mess yesterday. I just had one of those days where you want to crawl into bed and pull up the covers and wish the day had never happened. Oy.

But, we all have bad days, and rather than dwell on them and beat ourselves up over it, the best thing we can do is move on. We suck it up and take it for what it was and just hope for a better tomorrow.

Anyway, so I finished the Natalie Wood biography. I did enjoy it, but I was also looking forward to finishing it, because it was a very long, intense, and kind of depressing read. Natalie Wood led quite a sad life for the most part, and the cruel irony of it all is that she was finally at a place where she was at her happiest in her life that she had ever been, when it was tragically cut short. It just makes it all the more heartbreaking. The book also goes into depth about the circumstances surrounding what happened to Natalie on those last few hours on the night of her death, and while we'll never completely know, the details that were provided were quite interesting, and what made them so interesting is that there were three other people on the boat with her on the night of her death- one of which was her husband- and they all gave very different, contradictory statements as to what happened on that night. Makes you wonder what they're trying to hide... but it's been almost thirty years since Natalie Wood died, and we'll never know what happened. Everyone probably has their own opinions and theories and speculations. Mine? That her husband's statements are sketchy and inaccurate, and I can't help but wonder why. I wonder if his daughters ever thought the same thing.

So yes, a good read, but I'm glad to have it done with. It's not a must-read, but if you're a fan of biographies, and the whole old-glamour Hollywood world, it might be a book you're interested in.

My next book is the exact opposite of the Natalie Wood biography... it looks like a really fast read with a really silly plot. Just what I need! Plus, the font is big (the font size of the biography was kinda small!):

DSCI1242 Outtakes from a Marriage, by Ann Leary. I must confess that I picked a few others before I stumbled across this one. One was a fiction book about politics called Primary Colors, and the other was The Fountainhead. Coming off the Natalie Wood biography, I knew I was not feeling either of those picks. I needed something fluffy and stupid. This looks like it might fit the bill. It's about a woman married to a successful TV soap star who overhears a voicemail from another woman, suspects him of cheating, and starts freaking out, compulsively checking his voicemails and e-mails, showing up on his sets, getting Botox and hair extensions in an attempt to "resexify" herself for him, etc. All the while, she's battling against the ever-popular "Mommy clique" that seems to dominate every Manhattan elementary/private school (it's always Manhattan... you never, ever hear about these preschool "mean-girls" Mommy cliques in, like, Salt Lake City or Chattanooga, Tennessee). The cool thing about this book is that it shows glimpses and flashbacks to the duration of their relationship, from when they first met and onward. So we'll get some history and back story of their romance. Excellent.

I don't have any really exciting food pics as of late, but I will give a shout-out to tonight's potato concoction, which was all BBQ-ed up:

DSCI1243 DSCI1244 Healthy BBQ! A sweet potato topped with carrots, broccoli, cubed grilled chicken breast, and all-natural BBQ sauce on the side. Tasty fun! This was enjoyed while watching a new episode of The Amazing Race. Any fans of that show out there?

All right, I'm off to bed! I hope every single one of you had a much better weekend than I did!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Inside-Out Day

This post is appropriately titled so for a few reasons.

First, let's backtrack to some of yesterday. I know that you're all dying of curiosity to know which flavor I picked to have first from my VitaChocolate goodies... well, wait no further! DSCI1231 I went with Chocolate Fig! This decision was primarily based off the sole suggestion that I got from Yasmin over at It's a Wrap. Great suggestion, Yasmin! I feel like I'm coming down with a cold anyway, so I figured some extra antioxidants in the form of fig love couldn't hurt, right? ;-)

At first, I wanted to try it on its own:

DSCI1233It was delish! Like if a Fig Newton and a brownie got together and had a love child. YUM.

After a few bites, I decided something was missing:

DSCI1235 Whipped cream, of course! After a few bites, I couldn't really taste the whipped cream... it just kind of blended into the chocolate cake. I've noticed this before. I actually think I prefer a fruity topping, like sugar-free strawberry jam. Chocolate + any flavor berry= love.

I also tried a new potato concoction for dinner:

DSCI1224 This was tres magnifique. It was a sweet potato, a Laughing Cow Light Garlic and Herb wedge, a Boca Mushroom Mozzarella burger all cut up, and broccoli. Happy, happy times.

Another reason today was inside-out was that I spent the beginning of the morning thinking it was Wednesday. I'm not sure why. But imagine how delighted I was when I realized that it was Thursday! Better than than the other way around! Of course, the best is when you wake up thinking you're late for work and then you realize that it's Saturday. :-D

Another reason it's a bit of an inside-out day? When I got to the gym and changed into my workout gear, I realized that not only had I been wearing one of my socks inside out all day long, but my bra as well. Classy. :-)

There's some good TV on tonight! There's a new show on at 8 on ABC that I wanna check out called Tales from the Motherhood. It's starring Megan Mullally (Karen from Will and Grace) and Cheryl Hines (the wife from Curb Your Enthusiasm). Those are two funny broads, so I think it will be a really funny show! AND NEW EPISODES OF THE OFFICE AND #) ROCK TONIGHT! YAY!!!!!

We're almost to the weekend... the end is near! :-D

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Look what came in the mail for me today!

DSCI1218 Lots and lots of chocolatey Vitalove!!!!!!!!! My Hungry Girl Chocolate Multi-Madness Pack arrived today, as you can see here. I'm so happy!

DSCI1220 DSCI1221DSCI1222 Here they are, lounging in their new habitat. You KNOW I'm having one of these babies for dessert tonight. Which flavor should I try first? My options are: Fudgy Peanut Butter Chip, Chocolate Fig, Triple Chocolate Chunk, Deep Chocolate VitaTop, Deep Chocolate VitaBrownie, and Deep Chocolate VitaMuffin. I've had the Deep Chocolate flavor before, and so I want to try one of the new-to-me flavors: Peanut Butter Chip, Chocolate Fig, or Triple Chocolate Chunk. Right now, I'm kind of feeling the Triple Chocolate Chunk, but we'll see!

I also got my new Netflix DVD today. Two things in the mail for me in one day, and neither one was a bill or junk mail. One of which was a big-ass box of healthy, delicious, chocolate baked goods. This is seriously one of the best days ever.

Don't laugh (okay, laugh a little, who am I to try and control someone's emotions), but my latest Netflix acquisition is the first disc in season one of the old WB (back when it was the WB, so the pre-CW days) show Popular. Please tell me that other people watched this show so I don't feel like a total loser, LOL. I really liked this show and was bummed that it only lasted a few seasons. Then again, I lived for My So-Called Life (I still <3 that show!!!) and that only lasted ONE season. And yet crap shows like Two and a Half Men go on for like fifteen years. Isn't the little kid, like, seventeen now or something? Ha. Anyway, with all the Jonas Brothers/Hannah Montana/Zac Efron/Twilight brouhaha saturating the media these days, I was in the mood for some cheesy teen drama goodness. I was browsing Netflix, stumbled across Popular, and was like, "Jackpot!" I might even watch an episode tonight, because now that Top Chef isn't on anymore, and I'm not really into this season of America's Next Top Model (either that show is going downhill or I'm just over it... I haven't decided yet), Wednesday night TV blows!

Hey, guess what I did today at work? Well, I worked, but also, I went to an on-campus karate seminar! My company apparently offers karate lessons to employees... five years in this company, and I never knew that! It's a traditional Korean karate called Tang Soo Do. It was pretty cool! I got to punch and kick things at work! One of my colleagues (who takes lessons there and has her orange belt) broke a board!!! It was awesome!!! I don't see myself signing up and taking lessons, but it was a lot of fun! Plus it's important to know a few quick self-defense moves... especially for women. The world can be a dangerous place and you can never be too prepared or too safe!

And on the way out of the seminar, I saw my roommate! We work at the same company but in totally different departments and buildings... we don't even work on the same campus. So I never see her at work, ever, so that was a nice surprise!

I'm off to make some grub for dinner! ;-) I'll post later (or maybe tomorrow morning, depending on how the evening plays out) and let you know which VitaTreat I ran with!!! Let me know if you have a suggestion! :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Raise your hand if you want free Barney Butter!!!


Courtney over at The Hungry Yogini is giving away free Barney Butter. You can enter the contest at her blog or by clicking here.

As always, I wish you all luck, but as always, I wish myself a little more.  ;-D   I'm sorry, but I've never tried Barney Butter- I have no idea where to find it around here and I can't bring myself to justify the cost of buying it online- and I really wanna get on the Barney Butter bus with all the other cool kids.   :-(    But it all comes down to the luck of the draw!!!!

"Party... Pizza Party!"

Do you remember that jingle for this board game:

There was a pizza party for a different department in my building today (and so I wasn't invited... sniff), and for some random reason, that board game popped into my mind. Along with the jingle. Man, I LOVED this game! I haven't thought about it in years... gotta love those random thoughts!

What are some of your favorite board games from childhood? I was also a fan of this:

And this:

Kind of hard to see, but it's The Babysitters Club board game. I was so into The Babysitters Club, you don't even know. Or maybe you do... since every girl who grew up in the late 80s/early 90s loved them!!! I had most of the books, a nightgown, I remember they even had a TV show on HBO. I'm not ashamed to admit this, but I'd sit down and read them right now if I ever stumbled across one. Oh, come on... some of you would too, and I know it. ;-D It's fun to go back and relive a happy childhood memory every now and then! It keeps us young at heart. :-D

For my daily workout, I let this guy kick my ass today:

I did the Total Crunch: Total Resculpt workout on my Instant Netflix. Boy, will my arms hate me in the morning. They're kind of hating on me a little right now, as a matter of fact. But he was a hottie, so it was totally worth it. Why do I always fall for the ones who bring me such pain? Haha. I don't think I'm the only one crushing on Kendall here, seeing as the cast behind him was composed entirely of females.

You all watching Obama's news conference tonight? Should be interesting!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

What Yoga and a relaxing weekend can do for a Monday...

...it can kick its ass, that's what it can do!!! :-)

I had a great day at work today. It was busy, sure, but not overwhelmingly chaotic like it has been the past few days, and what rush projects did come in were at least manageable and not completely unreasonable (i.e., a request to turn around a 40-slide Powerpoint presentation in an hour), and so I took it in stride. I remained calm, cool, collected, and happy... I tell you, keeping a positive attitude and not letting little things or other people get to you really does wonders for your soul! I'm really going to try to maintain this positive energy and feeling of calm/tranquility as often daily as I can, and not let negativity/toxicity impact me so much. I know I won't achieve this goal every day. I am WAY too Irish for that. I'll be lucky if I achieve it tomorrow. Haha. But I really am going to try. I think that trying to stay calm and not overstress and overreact over everything is really a healthier and happier way to live your life, and after all, I do strive for that (as the name of my blog suggests). And you know what? Life really IS too short to get worked up over the little things. This is such an obvi statement, but by God, if I've learned anything over the past few weeks, it's that life truly is short. And I don't want to spend mine getting all worked up over things like work deadlines and working with difficult people.

Oh, and I slept like a rock last night. God bless Suzanne Deason and her P.M. Yoga, and the EO Essentials Company that produces the Stress Less Calming Room Spray. :-)

Now, onto book news! So I'm about halfway through the Natalie Wood autobiography so far. This is a very interesting read. And as I mentioned earlier, extraordinarily detailed. I'm having a hard time keeping track of all the people, because there's a bajillion Hollywood people- execs, actors, friends, acquaintances, etc. It's a little hard to keep up with who everyone is and who's saying what! But I'm liking it. Poor Natalie Wood... so far in the book, she's only eighteen years old, and she had a pretty tough life. Her mother was a narcisstic, pushy, relentless stage mother, who cared more about her child's career than her actual child or her well-being. In one part of the book, when she is a teenager, Natalie is brutally raped by another actor (the book declines to name the actor; I get the impression that Natalie never publicly named her attacker), and that her mother was actually happy about this, as the actor was apparently a well-known, established actor with important connections. What a sick and cruel monster, to express any emotion other than murderous hatred towards the person who brutally rapes your teenager daughter. This woman is beyond mentally ill. This is just one of the many sad, sad stories behind Natalie Wood's personal life, all while she had to act like a sunny, carefree teenager to keep up with her "public" persona. Although she does rebel quite a bit in her teenage years, gets a little reckless with the boys and the booze, etc. Who can blame her, really? Such a sad story... I certainly hope the second half of her life gets better. I'd hate to get to the end of this book and find out that she led a miserable, tortured life only to meet an early, unfortunate demise.

Let's move on to a more cheerful topic. Check out my dinner... look, ma, no sweet potato!

DSCI1215 This was lovely. I opened up a can of black beans this weekend and wanted to use them up, so I put the rest of 'em in a pretty bowl, and added frozen precooked shrimp, Asian stir-fry veggies, extra broccoli for extra veggie love, chili pepper sauce, and some spices. Yum! Definitely will be a repeat dish! Speaking of black beans and veggies and other tasty morsels, did anyone watch Cristin's news segment on her blog today? She was on TV! She was great!

Oh, and speaking of awesome gals named Cristin (although this one's Kristin-with-a-K!), don't forget to hit up Kristin's blog for the chance to win a Quaker Simple Harvest gift bag. Good luck to you all, but I won't lie... I WANT THIS!!!! This is the third time I'll be entering this giveaway from someone's blog for this particular gift, and I never win. :-( Hopefully the third time's the charm! Pick me, Kristin! Pick me!!!!!!!!!!!

So is anyone reading Naturally Thin, by Bethenny Frankel? This is generating a lot of buzz, and I'm seeing it pop up on a few blogs. I've read a few excerpts and it doesn't sound there's anything groundbreaking in there that I don't already know, but I liked the excerpts and thought they were interesting and well-written, and wanted to know what people's thoughts on it were.

All right, time for this little clock to unwind and recharge her battery... have a good night! :-)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mission accomplished!

I had a fabulous weekend! So relaxing! It's just what I needed. I played it as low-key as possible... which I normally tend to do on the weekends (long story short- I used to be one of those people always hitting bars and parties, not really because I wanted to, but because other people wanted to and I wanted to please them... now that I'm out of that phase in my life, I'm finding that I'm actually a serious homebody who loves downtime... and as Cher from Clueless would say, "the clothes are a lot more comfortable!"), but it was just so emotionally relaxing/rejuvenating as well. I relaxed my mind, my body, my spirit, and (just a little bit!) my wallet. :-)

Saturday morning I was up and about getting my errands on. I started off with Kohls. I had two gift cards to Kohls and I had decided to use at least some of it towards something I've desperately needed for a long time now- new sneakers!!!! Mine were a total wreck! It took a while to find something, because everything that I liked and thought was reasonably priced was not in my size. Of course! But then I stumbled across these cuties!

DSCI1207 DSCI1198 Aren't they cute... they have little aqua jewels on them! That was pretty much the selling point for me. It is important to me to be cute at the gym. Haha! I haven't had a pair of Sketchers in forever, so I'm excited! I also browsed around for other shoes (I really need new shoes for work), but couldn't find anything I really liked, and didn't want to just buy for the sake of buying, you know? So I just got the sneakers. The gift cards aren't going anywhere, so I can always come back. I love gift cards. It's like free money!

I also went to TJ Maxx because I had a gift card there and I wanted to buy some coffee. They have really interesting, fun flavored coffees, so I pick up a few for work whenever we're running low. I bought two- Bavarian Chocolate and Vanilla Macadamia. Yum! I also found something kinda cool- it's called a "Stress Less Room Spray"- it's a spray bottle of pure essential oils of lavender and sweet orange, and it claims to "soothe your senses and your environment". We'll see, I guess! I'm always looking for ways to reduce my stress in any way I can. And it was only $4, but really nada, since I had a gift card! Exciting.

I also did my grocery shopping for the week, which excites me more than it probably should. Haha. I managed to not spend a lot and get some fun stuff! Here are some highlights:

*Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle burgers (I've never seen this flavor in my supermarket before, so I was jazzed for this find)*

*Celestial Seasonings Almond Sunset Dessert Tea*

*Genisoy Cinnamon Streusel Soy Chips*

Has anyone tried any of these? These are all "new" to me!

Last night, I had a date with this hottie:

Ha. I ordered this off Netflix and watched it last night. It was funny, and entertaining. I'm glad I waited for it to come to DVD though, because it's not one I needed to rush out and see in theaters, you know? But definitely good for some laughs! Rainn Wilson always knows how to crack me up. :-) He's funny in everything I see him in, even just interviews!

Today has been a wonderfully relaxing day... I didn't really do too much of anything- I hit the gym for a light cardio workout on the stationary bike in the A.M., and then later this afternoon after lunch, I did a half hour yoga tape I have that is specifically geared towards helping you unwind, relax, and sleep better (not the fast-paced, get-your-heart-rate-going kind). It felt downright fabulous... I feel completely refreshed, rejuvenated, and relaxed. And sleepy! :-) Hopefully I can carry this feeling of calmness and inner peace into my work day tomorrow, and try not to get completely overwhelmed or stressed out, no matter what happens tomorrow. Hey, for all I know, the termites nibbled the building to the ground and I won't have to go to work at all tomorrow now! (Nah, they'd just make us move to a different building.)

And now I'm off to get stuff ready for work, make myself some dindin (on the menu tonight: whole wheat fusilli w/no-salt tomato sauce, TJ's turkey meatballs, and spinach... yum!), maybe do a little reading if I'm not too sleepy, and get my couch potato on. What do you all watch on Sunday night, if anything? I watch The Amazing Race, Cold Case, and Brothers and Sisters. Except it looks like tonight The Amazing Race and Cold Case will be on a little later than usual (thanks, college basketball!!!), which means now that Cold Case and Brothers and Sisters will overlap a little, so I'll have to do a little bit of channel-hopping... I tell ya, it's tough to be me sometimes!!! ;-)

Have a good rest-of-the-weekend.... make the most of what's left of it!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Drama-filled day

Boy, am I glad this week is over!!!! If today wasn't Friday and I had to go to work tomorrow, I think I might possibly lose my mind. I needed a weekend so badly! This has been one of the most stressful weeks at work ever, for so many reasons- we're getting bombarded with work, certain people in the office are setting ridiculous deadlines for projects, and on top of everything else, both my boss's mother and an editor's mother passed away this week... in the past five weeks, ever since my dad died, FOUR of my colleagues have lost a parent. I'm not exaggerating. Two this week, one last week, and one the week before that (my dad was the first). It's really emotionally taxing and overwhelming... I'm still trying to cope with my dad's death, and I feel like every time I come to work, I'm finding out that someone's had a loved one pass away... so it's been a very emotionally and professionally trying time in the office. Plus, we're totally short-staffed due to all of the concurrent bereavement leaves. It's just been a really rough few weeks at work, and it doesn't look like there's much of an end in sight.

And if things weren't bad enough, guess what we had in the office today? TERMITES!!! Ewww!!! I'm not sure how, exactly, since we don't have wooden furniture, and I don't know too much about termites in general, but they were all over a manager's cubicle, all over the place! She was so freaked out. I certainly can't blame her... I would have gone home and taken ten showers if I were her! We were all icked out, and there were rumors going around that we'd get to leave early so they could bring in an exterminator to fumigate, we'd need to take all of our stuff home, the building would be shut down for two days... none of those turned out to be true, of course. You KNOW you're having a rough time at work when the idea of getting to leave early due to the possibility of termites infesting your building actually EXCITES you and it's something you actually HOPE for. But, alas, these were just rumors. I don't even think they're bringing in an exterminator. I don't know, but the manager is PISSED. Rightfully so! She had to work at another desk all day long and is not satisfied with how it was handled/resolved. Again, I can't say I blame her!!!! That is so icky!!!!

So today had a lotta drama. Termites, rush projects... it was crazy. Oh, and then I found out- at 2:30 P.M. on a Friday- that I'm going to be the only proofreader in the office on Monday... both of the other proofreaders have vacation days! We're getting slammed to capacity when they are here, and now, I'm going to be the only one there on Monday to handle everything. I actually heard one of the proofreaders- who is known for um, not exactly doing her fair share of the work, shall we say- tell another person, "Yeah, I really need a vacation day right about now!" I was floored. I'm thinking, "YOU need a vacation day!!! My dad just died, I do TWICE the work that you do every single day, I bust my ass while you take extra-long lunches and make personal phone calls and leave early and come in late and surf the Internet- and YOU need a vacation day? Where's MY effing VACATION DAY??????????"

ARGH!!!!!!!! That's it... I refuse to let this take up any more of my energy... it's MY weekend and MY free time and I'm going to make the most of it! I don't want to spend the whole weekend worrying about work, because that's a waste of downtime! I'm exhausted tonight because of everything that's been going on this week- I'm just mentally and physically drained. I definitely foresee an earlier-than-usual bedtime in my future tonight! I'll probably collapse into bed with my book and a fave comfort food of mine- popcorn (I've just discovered the Smart Balance Light Butter microwave popcorn, and I'm totally in love with it right now. Normally I buy the Smart n' Healthy brand, but I bought this by accident because the packages are nearly identical, and it's a thousand times better!), and relax. I need to relax and unwind in the worst way, and I can't think of a better way to do it.

HURRAY FOR THE WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Can we skip Thursday and just go straight to Friday??? :-(

Can you tell by my post title that I might have had a bad day? LOL.

I had a really uber-stressful day at work today. We're getting super-slammed with tons of "rush" projects, and short-staffed at the moment because my boss is out of town for a few weeks due to an unexpected death in the family (it's her mother, who hasn't actually passed away as of yet, but she's pretty much on the verge of it, and it's just a matter of time at this point... so sad). And to make everything even more complicated, we've just switched our workflow over into a new system and there is a huge learning curve while we all try and figure out how to use it, and everyone's confused, and it's all just a crazy, complicated mess. Argh! Anyway, I'm trying to breathe and relax and take it for what it is and let it go and move on. Just because I had a bad day doesn't mean I have to have a bad evening! Wednesday can still be salvaged somewhat!

Plus, not EVERYTHING about today was totally miserable... there were a few happy moments throughout the day!

*It was absolutely gorgeous outside!!! 65 degrees! It was fabulous. I have been so jealous of the Floridian bloggers out there... you don't even know. I'd kill for some of that humidity they were talking about! I don't care what it does to my hair, haha. I needed to get away from my desk for a while, so I took a walk around the building, and didn't need my jacket!!! (Although I did wear my sweater and felt a little chilly... I get cold extremely easily!). The temp's supposed to drop a bit throughout the rest of the week, so it only made me appreciate today even more!

*I channeled my frustration into a nice little workout. Poor stationary bike doesn't know what hit it.  :-D

*I'm planning on comfort food dinner tonight- salmon, sweet potato, broccoli. My original plan was to grill up some chicken, but eff that. I some omega-3 love to lower my blood pressure and calm me down!

*Speaking of comfort food, um, what's a girl's BFF (other than diamonds and shoes and Prada bags)??? CHOCOLATE!!! Check out what I treated myself to today!!!

In my mind, this is absolutely worth the price and the splurge. I mean, FREE SHIPPING??? On all of that???? ALL OF THAT YUMMY, DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE???  I can never find these around here. The only chocolate Vitaproduct I've seen and been able to buy are the Chocolate Vitamuffins. I've never had the joy and the excitement of enjoying any of the other flavors- the PB Chip, the Triple Chocolate, the Chocolate Fig... I seriously consider a purchase like this a "splurge" (hey, what can I say, I'm a tightwad with my moola). But honestly, I think it's worth it. I've debated buying these online through either the Vitalicious website or through amazon.com, and actually had been debating lately whether to treat myself to them via amazon (the Vitapeople charge too much for shipping in my humble opinion). I preordered a DVD scheduled to release and ship in mid-April (Season 2 of Knots Landing, an 80s' nighttime soap opera, shut up, I LOVE this show and have been waiting for the second season to come out for about two years now!), and since that qualifies me for the free super-saver shipping, I'd been debating adding some Vitamuffins to the deal, but when I saw this on Hungry Girl's website, combined with the day I had today, and the intense craving for chocolate and love and respect for Vitamuffins, I caved! This offer is still good until midnight tonight, so if you're a Vitalicious luvah and needing to restock, you should get on this! And don't worry, I didn't use my debit card to pay for this.  :-)

So the day wasn't a total waste... and look what I have to look forward to now! An abundance of chocolate Vitalove, delivered right to my door. I am so excited for this! The only thing I ever get in the mail, other than bills, is Netflix DVDs. Now I have not one, but TWO fun packages to look forward to in the upcoming weeks!

See? So today could be salvaged after all! Just thinking about the chocolate Vitalove that's going to arrive my way has totally erased the suckfest that was today. Well, almost.  ;-)

Okay, I'm off to make my dinner. I'm hungry. Stress certainly does work up an appetite, no?

Have a great night! Can't wait to catch up on your blogs!   :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Luck of the Irish (or lack thereof)

I've had quite a frustrating day today. Since I'm Irish (my dad was born in Dublin and everything!), and it's St. Patrick's Day, I should automatically be guaranteed a great day. Well, my day kind of sucked!

First, I had to get on the phone with my bank bright and early this morning when I got to work. The reason? Because I received a new debit card in the mail yesterday, with no explanation why, and the one I have now isn't set to expire for two more years. So I was a bit confused and gave them a call this morning. It turns out that they sent me a new one because Visa sent out a list of possible card numbers that might have been "compromised", and my account was one of them! THIS IS THE THIRD TIME THIS HAS HAPPENED TO ME IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS. I've received THREE new cards because of this. The first two times were because I made the tragic mistake (twice, 'cause I'm a slow learner, apparently) at TJ Maxx, and they went through that whole credit card fiasco. I've gone there since then, but have ALWAYS paid in cash, as I certainly have learned my lesson there. So I have absolutely no idea where this might have been an issue, since I tend to shop at the same stores, get gas at the same place, and NEVER pay with debit- I always do the "credit" transaction, because I'm paranoid about using my PIN in front of other people. Even when I withdraw money from the ATM, I stand extra-close to the machine so that no one can look. I'm very careful with my money; plus, I've seen The Michelle Brown Story one too many times on Lifetime. The only thing that I can possibly think of is that I had to use it as a debit card at a coffee shop last weekend because I had no cash on me and wasn't paying enough to qualify for the "credit" option, only "debit", and I had to give my PIN number, and I was really anxious about that and even said so to the person behind the register, who assured me that their credit machine was through PNC Bank and they'd never had an issue before. And then coincidentally, I get a brand-new debit card in the mail because my account number "might" have been compromised? That's a very big coincidence. And the bank told me that Visa doesn't give them a list of the stores due to privacy laws, and I was like, um, PRIVACY LAWS? Yes, let's protect the criminals! What about my rights? It's MY card, MY money! I should have the right to know!

I'm seriously concerned that this is the third time this has happened to me in two years!!! I even said so to the bank customer service rep, and she assured me that it's quite common these days, it happens to some people more often than that even, and it's happened to some of their own employees. So I guess I really can't fault the bank here- plus, they're being extra-cautious by giving me a new card. But STILL! I pay some of my bills automatically through my card, and so now I have to go through the hassle of activating this card, notifying/changing my bills so that they charge the new card. Still, I guess I shouldn't complain, because it's better to be safe than sorry, right? Still... grrr.

It was a busy day at work, but not overwhelming, and I had to leave early for a doctor's appointment. This turned into quite an event. So I was going to the OB-GYN for my yearly routine exam (don't worry, any guy readers... this as detailed as I get about this story. No need to shield your eyes or anything, LOL). So first I get there, and the receptionist informs me that they've switched to brand-new computers or a new computer system or something, and she needs my insurance card to manually enter all of my info again (why it didn't just transfer over to their new system, I don't know, but whatevs). Okay, no problem. So I go to get my card from my wallet... and it's not there. See, while they were busy switching computers, I was busy switching wallets a few weeks ago, because my old one broke and I happened to find a spare wallet in a random purse (don't you just love random purse finds? I do!!!), so I switched over my stuff, but I guess I forgot to put my insurance cards in there. D'oh! Luckily they still had their old computer system up and running for a few more days, so they were able to pull my info. So I thought, yay, crisis over. Well, no. I was about to sit down and read one of their magazines, when one of the nurse's assistants took a quick look at my chart, and saw that it hasn't been a full year since my last exam- I'm two weeks short of a full year- and my insurance won't cover my yearly exam unless it's been EXACTLY 365 days or more since my last exam. Mind you, my insurance company is the ONLY one that requires this... all other insurance companies just go per calendar year. No, not Aetna! Naturally, I have the company that is the exception to this rule. But I'm so glad she checked, because she told me that if I were to do self-pay, just one test alone would have cost $800! Good God! So we rescheduled me for a few weeks from now. Grrrr. Oh, well. At least I got out of work early, and it was a nice day out, and I got home in time to catch an episode of The Golden Girls... so I guess it could have been worse! Except now I have to go back, and I kind of have to psych myself up for the yearly exam, because as all the ladies know, it's not the most comfortable examination! (Okay, possible guy readers, the story ends here... promise!)

Okay, enough ranting and raving. How was everybody's St. Patty's Day? Did everyone show their Irish love and wear the green? I rocked a green shirt and shamrock toe socks, and I'm happy to say that I got to wear my Irish pin all day long, because while I thought it said, Kiss Me, I'm Irish, what it actually said was Luck of the Irish. So I got to wear it to my staff meeting. Everyone was wearing green and tacky Irish stuff. It was wonderful.

I have no plans to go out drinking tonight. It's a Tuesday, and I'm too old to even contemplate going out on a Tuesday night, let alone get drunk on one when I have to work the next day. I am a very responsible grown-up. Plus- and please don't tell anyone or they'll kick me out of the club- I hate beer. Yes, I'm Irish, and I hate beer. I've always hated beer. I've always been a hard-liquor lady myself. Rum and vodka are totally more up my alley. Beer... ick! Ironically, I used to date a guy who was obsessed with beer and microbreweries, and would drag me to them all the time (not fun for a non-beer drinker), and even tried to brew his own beer a few times... one of oh-so-many reasons why that relationship was not the greatest.

And now on to food talk! I have fun and exciting food news, and pics, as promised!

First, a new baked potato combo from last week that never quite made it to the blog: DSCI1147 This tasted better than it looked, I swear! I combined fat-free ricotta cheese and spinach and put it on top of a sweet potato. I'd never thought to pair ricotta cheese with a sweet potato, but I read about it on Mark and Heather's blog, and I was intrigued. I thought it was tasty, but I think I need to tweak the ricotta/spinach ratio and play with some spices some more before I can call it a true success. It certainly was tasty, though, and packed a lot of protein! :-)

There were some other potato dinners as well (what can I say, they're easy and my favorite!), but mostly involving a veggie burger and a vegetable and a salsa or hummus for dipping love. Nothing too exciting!

I did reunite with a former lover this past weekend:

DSCI1178 Hello, luvah. My beloved and adored Peanut Butter Puffins are back in my life! And did you know, combined with Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal and a yummy ripe banana, they are even tastier? I never even thought to combine different cereals in the same bowl until I started reading food blogs, and now that I've tried it, I can't imagine going back to just eating one cereal at a time! I did try to eat a bowl of PB Puffins on their own one day just to see, and sure enough, it just wasn't the same. I'm a multicereal girl going forward! :-)

I embraced my Irish roots for dinner tonight with a healthy traditional Irish feast:

DSCI1182 Salmon, sweet potato, carrots, broccoli with Smart Balance buttah spray... and horseradish mustard for dipping pleasure and fun. This was perfect, and just what I needed after a rough St. Patty's Day. I LOVE this dinner. This is my perfect comfort food dinner.

I have nothing minty in my apartment, so no fun chocolate mint dessert for me tonight. But I think I can make do with a Deep Chocolate Vitamuffin with fat-free whipped topping... yeah, that'll suffice. :-) And then I'll brush my teeth afterwards to get that minty taste. That'll work.

Part of the reason that today is a little rough on me is because of my dad, who was a true-blue Irishman, and damn proud of it. I was fine all day, a little sad but not broken up or anything, and then I got to watching The Biggest Loser, and when Aubrey confronted her dad about his health and his weight, she said, "I want my dad back," and I just burst into tears when I thought, Yeah, I want my dad back too. And I started crying pretty hard for a good ten minutes... I've gotten it out of my system, and am feeling much better- I'm still sad and feeling down, but not crying anymore. I do miss my dad. Very much. I remember that at my middle school, every St. Patrick's Day, my school would have class parties with lots of treats like cupcakes and cookies (this was before we all really got on the health bandwagon, the mid-'90s), and they would bring in those Shamrock Shakes from McDonalds (they still have those, right? They're so popular, I can't imagine they'd take them away), and one year, I was home sick on St. Patty's Day with strep- the one sickness where you'd desperately want a milkshake to soothe your throat, right?- and couldn't get my shake. I was upset about missing the class party, and feeling pretty miserable from the strep and antibiotics in general, so I was not a happy camper. My dad went out to the nearest McDonalds and tried to get me a Shamrock Shake to make me feel better. They were all sold out, but he came back with one anyway- vanilla (which definitely would have been my next choice- ah, he knew me well!). I was just thinking about that, and how I'll probably remember lots of little things that he did for me throughout the years that probably have slipped my mind as time goes by. I hope that in my adolescent brattiness and crankiness from being sick that I remembered to thank him. And just in case I forgot: Thank you, Dad. Thank you for that and for all the little things you did throughout the years. I might not have told you each and every time, and if I didn't, I'm sorry, but I appreciated it, and I appreciate everything that you did for me, and I miss you, and I love you. Not just today, but every day.

I hope you all had fun and safe St. Patty's Day, however you chose to celebrate. I leave you with a picture of my "Irish" corner, which is currently kind of a tribute to my dad (my dad and I went to visit Seattle a few years ago for my uncle's wedding and had a wonderful father-daughter bonding experience, hence the Seattle pic):


Monday, March 16, 2009

The life and times of a Hollywood icon

Hello people! How goes it? Did everyone have a fun weekend and a decent Monday? I hope so! It was a cloudy one here in my neck of the woods today, but I don't mind because it was very mild and comfortable, temperature-wise... dare I venture to say it, but I think that we've seen the worst of the cold weather here and are getting ready for some springtime love! Of course, now that I've said that, I'm sure we'll get hit with a random, unexpected snowstorm, LOL.

So guess what? I finished Angels last night! I thought it was great- light and fun, the way a chick lit book should be, but also dove into real stuff too- troubled relationships, abortions, self-actualization and self-realization, etc. It wasn't all just breezy chick fluff all the time. Which is good, because too much of that can be annoying because it's too far-fetched, you know? Real life isn't all sunshine and kittens and rainbows and Manolos and lifestyles of the rich and famous, like some over-the-top chick lit can be. This was light enough to be chick lit, but dark enough for a little bit of reflection. A good solid combo!

My favorite parts of the book:

*I learned a fun new vocabulary word- meretricious. It has two meanings- being falsely attractive, and of or relating to a prostitute. In either instance, how fun is that word? Try using it in a sentence tomorrow (just kidding, just kidding, unless you're looking to throw an insult someone's way- then totally use it, haha!)

*I loved the main character's, Maggie's, synopsis of the reality of going to get your hair cut- "Bloody hairdressers. It always looks great when you leave the salon. (Well, it doesn't, but let's not get into the times when we've been fighting back tears even while we've been shoving them a tip. I'm talking about the rare occasions when we're actually happy with what they've done.) Everything is dandy until the first time we wash it, and for love or money we cannot recreate that just-out-of-the-salon look. Despite all the hype, there is one way and one way only to create that just-out-of-a-salon look, and that's when you're just out of a salon." I think every woman has felt this way at one point or another, wouldn't you agree, ladies? ;-)

*I also loved Maggie's philosophy about shopping: "But, as we all know, the first law of shopping says that when you're urgently looking for something specific, you've no hope of finding it." Too true!!!! As is her personal view on the beauty of generic department stores (JCPenney, Kohl's, Boscov's, take your pick): "I know it's bourgeois, but I love department stores- so much better than those funky little boutiques where you've got to ring a bell to get in. The type where they have only eleven items of stock, which you can survey and dismiss in 2.7 seconds but have to spend fifteen minutes going, 'Mmmm, lovely' in order not to seem rude in front of the assistant who is never less than ten inches from you- and explaining how the silk was handspun in Nepal, cold-dyed in natural plant colors, etc. What I love about department stores is that it's operation free flow. Apart from an occasional woman jumping out and offering to spray you with perfume, no one bothers you." I totally laughed out loud at this... I laughed out loud while reading this several times, actually!

*The family matriarch is referred to, sarcastically yet appropriately, as the "mickriarch". Irish pride right here!!!! As a certified Irish Eyes myself, I loved this phrase. Happy almost St. Patrick's Day!!!! Don't forget to sport your green tomorrow!!!! I plan on wearing fun Irish shamrock socks to work, and, if I can get away with it, my "Kiss Me I'm Irish" button, although I'll have to remember to take it off before my staff meeting, or that might be slightly awkward.

Overall, I found this book really cute and endearing, with just the right balance of reality and silliness. Two very happy thumbs up from this chick. :-)

Which brings me to my next book... we're staying in L.A., but on a more serious note... now we're plunging into the sad "E!True Hollywood story" of a movie star legend...

DSCI1180 **(Like my "I Love to Read" bookmark? Brought to you by the exciting land known as Dollar Tree)**

Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood, by Suzanne Finstad. I bought this a few years ago for $1. I really don't know much about Natalie Wood, only that she was in West Side Story and that she drowned mysteriously in a boating accident in 1981 (and, ironically, had a phobia of water... her mother instilled this fear in her, apparently, because when her mother was young, a psychic told her that she would drown, and she passed that fear on to her daughter). I know that she is considered a Hollywood icon and one of the most beautiful and talented film actresses of all-time, but that's about it. Oh, and that she was married to Robert Wagner. And I've been reading a lot of fiction lately, so I could get on board with a nice biography right about now.

I started this on my lunch break today. My thoughts so far? This will not be a light, fast read. This is a very detailed, factual history. How I know this? Because I read fifteen pages in the duration of an hour. Normally I can read a lot more pages than that over the course of an hour! But it's a GOOD read. It's a slower read because it's very heavily chronicled, not because it's bad or boring, you know? On the contrary, actually... those fifteen pages had a LOT of info packed into them! I think I'm going to really like it, and by God if I don't have a very astute knowledge of the life and times of Natalie Wood after reading this- but I just don't think it's one of those books I'm going to fly through in a few days. Hey, but that's okay! A good book is a good book, whether it takes you two days or two months to finish! One of my favorite books of all-time is an extremely detailed, vivid biography of the family that founded The New York Times- it's almost a thousand pages long and took me a few months to get through, but it was totally worth it!!! :-)

Oooh, I also have fun and exciting food updates to share with the group... but I'll have to keep you waiting until tomorrow. It's almost 11 PM, and I'm off to unload the dishwasher and get my pretty little self ready for a trip to Slumbertown... have a good night and a terrific Tuesday! :-)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pizza + chocolate= happy

Good evening, fine people! How goes it? Are you all having lovely weekends? Mine's okay. Could be better, could be worse. But I guess you have to take the good with the bad. And nothing really "bad" happened, exactly, just having one of those "blah" days... know what I mean, jellybeans?  ;-)  Plus, I'm exhausted. I hope I sleep like a baby tonight! I might even try to go to bed a little earlier than usual. I have this weird  habit of staying up really late on the weekends sometimes, not really because I want to or because I'm not that tired, but it's more like, well, it's the weekend, so I have to stay up late, because I don't have to work tomorrow, so I can. That's a pretty stupid philosophy, don't you think? LOL. I'm trying to break myself of that. If I'm tired, I should go to bed- whether it's at 10 p.m. or 1 a.m.!

Besides, how could my day be all THAT terrible when I came across those fabulous finds throughout the day:

DSCI1168 I treated myself to some fun  treats! The new Kashi Sicilian Veggie Pizza, and Deep Chocolate Vitamuffins! Yay! I had to take a special trip to a different supermarket that I usually don't frequent, but my usual supermarket doesn't carry these, so a special trip was required. Ah, but so worth it!   :-)

I also stopped at TJs to grab a few items and came home with another new chocolatey treat:

DSCI1173 I've seen these before, but never tried them. I had a massive chocolate craving earlier in the week and had no chocolate in the apartment... not good. Well, between the cookies and the muffins, I'm set for awhile!  :-)

I tried out the pizza for dinner tonight!

DSCI1174 That's one serving (1/3 of the pizza). I also had steamed broccoli and carrots alongside it, but I guess I forgot to take a pic! You all know what broccoli and carrots look like, though, haha. This was pretty good! I don't know if I'd go out of my way to get it again- it was tasty, but not super-filling- but a nice treat! I ate this while watching a movie I got from Netflix, The House Bunny, which I thought was cute. It reminded me of Legally Blonde, with a little more T&A though, haha.

All right, time to grab a snack and cozy up in bed with my book, which I'm totally loving!!! I'll post a more thorough review/opinion tomorrow.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just checking in!

Just popping in to say hello, and hope you all had a good Thursday! Mine was pretty typical... hence the lack of a post... I really don't have much to say! I've spent my evening doing yoga, watching The Office and 30 Rock, and catching up on my favorite blogs (still trying to do that, actually!). Now it's time to try and get some shuteye! I swear, the evenings just go by way too quickly. If only the work day would fly by and the evenings would go slowly... that just seems more fair and balanced.

Friday's almost here!!!!! Hurray!   :-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Calling all angels...

I've had that song in my mind off and on throughout the day... you'll see why in a minute! :-)

Hey everybody! How's it going? Happy Hump Day! I went a little MIA last night for two reasons: 1) I was thisclose to finishing Autobiography of a Fat Bride (which is super-easy to get through quickly, because it's not a "book" so much as it is a collection of short little essays, that are only about three-four pages long each); and 2) Honestly, I was just having a BAD "mental health" day... you know what I mean? Just one of those days that starts out horribly wrong and continues on downward from there. It all started because I had a really vivid, scary nightmare on Tuesday night. The kind that wakes you up sweating and crying. I seriously don't remember the last time I had such a terrifying nightmare... we're talking years here. I'll have weird/odd/random dreams, but not bad ones, you know (For example, a few nights ago I dreamt that Howie Mandel- of all people!-was hitting on me and invited me back to this place, and I went, but then I found out that he was married, and said forget it and left!!! How random is that???? LOL!!!)? Plus, the nightmare was about my dad. It's the first bad dream that I've had about Dad since he died. I've dreamt about him, but they weren't bad dreams at all... they were nice, comforting ones, because he was alive. My sister said that she was having some nightmares for the first few nights after he died, but I found the exact opposite to be true for me- I slept pretty well and pretty soundly, and I'm normally a very light, not-so-peaceful sleeper. I think I was welcoming sleep at that point, because, like I said, the dreams I was having were pleasant ones. It was waking up from them and coming to the realization that Dad had died that was upsetting. I still remember the dream very vividly, but would rather not get into the details. I have no idea what was going on in my subconscious state to invoke a dream like that... maybe because the one-month anniversary of my dad's death is this week (tomorrow, in fact)? I don't know. And even though I was exhausted all day yesterday and was happy to collapse into bed, I tossed and turned for an hour before I actually got to sleep. So the lack of sleep has caught up with me, and I spent most of today with a severe headache. I even briefly debated calling out of work so I could try and get some rest, but didn't want to use up a sick day for a headache, so I went in. I'm really glad I did, actually- not only was it quiet in the office today, but a coworker introduced me to the happy pill known as Excedrin Migraine. I have a feeling we are going to be friends. :-)

But enough depressing chatter. The day is over, I'm freshly showered and looking forward to a nice dinner and some Top Model love (although I'm not feeling this season so far), and hopefully a good night's sleep.

So yes, I did finish the book! And yes, I liked it very much! You know a book is good when you find yourself laughing out loud (or if it's a well-written sad book, crying). Laurie Notaro's writing style reminds me exactly of David and Amy Sedaris- the short-essay style writing, the dripping of sarcasm, finding humor in the most random things, like Christmas lights, toy stores, taxes, grocery shopping with your grandmother, etc. It was a very fast, very entertaining, and very good read! I'm looking forward to reading more of her stuff in the future! I love when I find a new author to worship! :-)

Which brings me to my next book, which is also a gem:

DSCI1153 So now you get the song reference in the post title, LOL. Angels, by Marian Keyes. For those unfamiliar, Marian Keyes writes Irish chick lit. Everything of hers I've read so far, I've loved (although admittedly, I've only read two of her books- Last Chance Saloon and Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, which is one of my all-time faves! If you like girly chick lit and haven't read the latter, you must go to the library and get it now!). Angels is about a woman who finds out that her husband had an affair, and she gets fired from her job shortly thereafter, so to blow off steam and decompress, she goes to visit her BFF Emily in Los Angeles. Oh, the adventures she will have in Plastic Land! :-) I'm actually already about 90 pages into it, and I just started it today! Hey, what can I say, chick lit isn't heavy reading, so it's pretty easy to fly through! Plus, it's a mass market paperback, so the pages are smaller! :-) So far, it's some good chick lit! I'm at the part where she just got to L.A. and has only been there a day or so. The cool thing about this book is that the main character, Maggie Walsh, comes from a family of five sisters (I think she is the middle one), and Marian Keyes has actually written a book for each of the five sisters. Well, at least four of them- Angels, Watermelon, Rachel's Holiday, and Anybody Out There? I don't know if she's working on a fifth novel for the fifth sister, or she's just not going to get one, LOL. But she's a spitfire character (she still lives at home and drifts aimlessly from career to career, never finding one that fits her, um, temperament, so she's a little bit of a flake, haha), and it would be pretty cruel to write about each sister separately but not give her her own book, so I'd imagine she just hasn't written it yet. Maybe she was her parents' least favorite. :-)

Other than reading and not sleeping well, I haven't been up to much! Now it's time to get dinner started (sweet potatoes, Boca mushroom veggie burgers, and steamed broccoli don't microwave themselves yet, sadly), and get my TV fix (crappy TV shows don't watch themselves!). And I'm a bit behind on the lives and times of my blog buddies, so I'll be up to a bit of that as well!

Au revoir for now!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Not-so-manic Monday

Well, I'm happy to say that it was all quiet on the western front at work today. I worked on a presentation and a biography. And that was it! No frantic rush projects, crises or emergencies or drama, etc. It was lovely. :-) I hope yours was lovely as well!

I got started on Autobiography of a Fat Bride today on my work lunch break- I was way too tired and there was way too much good TV on last night to give my new book any real attention. I'm really liking it! I was definitely chuckling out loud at some parts. Laurie Notaro totally reminds me of David Sedaris, only I find her more relatable personally, since we're both women, and she's brought up some nice female perspective on the murkiness that is known as men. Here are some of her thoughts on the male species and boyfriends in general:

"Bad boyfriends don't disguise themselves; their girlfriends do it for them. I was guilty of that. A bad boyfriend will stay as such, and rarely, rarely, will a good boyfriend wake up one day and defect to the evil forces. By the same token, a bad boyfriend will never, ever wake up one day and become a good one. You've got a better chance of finding a dead rat in a soda can and becoming a millionaire in the settlement afterward. A bad boyfriend will not change, because, simply, there's no shame in it for him."

She and I must have been dating the same guys. :-)

On the flip side, I did take a bit of offense when she referred to being left-handed as being a "social cripple"- I'm a lefty and damn proud of it! I feel sorry for right-handed people. They're so ordinary. They're conformists. LOL, just kidding- I got nothin' but love for the right-handed folk. And okay, fine, I'm a bit socially awkward (I prefer to call it "quirky" or "eccentric", but whatevs), but I don't attribute that to the hand that I write with. But she's going for humor. I'm sure she really doesn't think that. :-) Any lefties out there? How 'bout righties?

ALSO, I have found grammatical errors. As a professional bounty hunter of misplaced commas and bad breaks in sentences, I get so annoyed by this. I understand the average person making really common grammatical mistakes- we can't all be grammatical goddesses. And the English language and all of its rules is extremely difficult to master, whether it's your native language or not, it's all the little grammatical tidbits that get us all. That's why we have eagle-eye people like proofreaders policing the written word to help us out (which thrills me to no end, as it keeps me happily and steadily employed!). But in my opinion, there's simply no excuse for a book to go through a professional publishing house and walk out with some errors. I can understand missing one or two. God knows I've missed stuff in proofreading and editing. Some blatantly obvious and some not so much. But publishing editors and proofreaders are at the top level- like an honors student or a renowned brain surgeon- and they should know which version of "who" to use in a sentence!!! (who's vs. whose, in the particular instance I stumbled across today). I also saw some big-ass spacing errors, but those don't bother me as much. Those are annoying, but there could be a few reasons for that- trouble at the printers, whatever. There's no excuse for missing blatantly incorrect grammatical errors! How would you like it if your doctor got confused on if it was his left or your left, and amputated the wrong foot? Okay, that's a tad overdramatic. But I think you get what I'm saying here. Obviously I need to go school some proofreaders and editors over at Villard Press!

But uppity grievances from a type-A personality sarcastic proofreader doesn't take away from the fact that this is a great, light read. I'm glad I've been introduced to this author, finally! My friend Karen enjoys her, and my sister actually read this same book recently, and she really loved it. I have another book of Laurie Notaro's on my to-read shelf- We Thought You Would Be Prettier. Hey, maybe it'll be my next pick! You never know with the luck of the draw!

Oooh, time to get dinner up and running (sweet potato combo tonight- if you're surprised by this, then you clearly don't read my blog on a daily basis, haha- tonight's SP is being paired with a Boca Mushroom Mozzarella patty and steamed carrots and broccoli, red pepper hummus on the side), and then get my Monday night shows up and running. What do you all watch on Monday nights, if anything? I'm a fan of The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. Sometimes HIMYM annoys me a little- Ted's character kind of gets on my nerves- but I LOVE Barney. Neil Patrick Harris is so funny, and grew up to be such a cutie! (Note to self: Add Doogie Howser, M.D. to Netflix queue!)

I'm out like a light- goodnight! :-)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Weekends go too fast!!!

No fair!!!! :-(

Hi! Long time no chat! :-) How were all of your weekends? Mine was great! It's nice to have a fun, relaxing weekend, especially coming off a hellish work week like I did! (FYI: Friday sucked only slightly less than Thursday did at work.) And the weather was gorgeous on Saturday- almost seventy degrees!!! So you know I was a happy girl. I did not have to wear a jacket outside (and I've been bundling up since mid-October), and I sat on my balcony and read for a little while!!!! That's one of my favorite things to do in the summer- just chill on my balcony with a good book. It was bliss. :-) It was a little cooler and cloudy today, but it's all good. Hopefully winter is on its way out the door, because I'm ready to move on. I've been ready since it got here!

I tore through Perfect Match. If you've ever read one of Jodi Picoult's books, you know that they're impossible to put down once you get going. Seriously. Start one of her books, put it down, and try to walk away from it. I guarantee you'll be drawn back to it like a magnet to the refrigerator door. :-) I thought it was awesome. I wouldn't move it to my all-time favorite of hers (which so far is My Sister's Keeper), but I thoroughly enjoyed it. And yes, in typical Picoult fashion, there were unexpected turns and twists along the road. Excellent book! :-)

I also did my usual weekend grocery outing today, and treated myself to some goodies. First of all, Barbara's Puffins cereal was on sale, 2/$5. Peanut Butter Puffins on sale is like Jodi Picoult's books- not something you walk away from. So I hopped all over that. I haven't had PB Puffins in forever and it's about time we got reacquainted. I also bought some Annie's Organic Shells and Cheese, because I've been seeing all over blogtown lately, and I'm jealous. As a kid, my all-time favorite food was Velveeta Shells and Cheese, and while I didn't care for Annie's Shells and White Cheddar, I'm attributing that more towards the facts that I: a) don't really care for white cheddar sauces- in fact, I don't know why I bought it, I guess I was feeling adventurous that day; and b) I used skim milk for the cheese sauce as opposed to lowfat milk or nonfat yogurt, which made the sauce runny and not as tasteful. I'm guessing if I use a thicker base, I will get a thicker sauce. Not exactly rocket science there. :-)

So guess what I watched this weekend, courtesy of Netflix... the first disc of Season One of My Two Dads! LOL! Does anyone remember that show??? This might jog your memory:

Haha. I had SUCH a crush on Joey (Greg Evigan). Even now, even in that shirt, I still think he's kinda cute!

I loved this show as a kid and when I read it was coming out on DVD, it piqued my interest. So I got the first disc of season one earlier this week and watched it over the weekend. You know how I was talking about how some TV shows from the 70s and 80s withstand the test of time, in terms of laughs, enjoyment, etc.? This one- not so much. Oh well. It'll save me from watching the rest of the season!

The only truly exciting meal I've had this weekend was this fun combination of things I had sitting in the freezer:

DSCI1135 DSCI1136 I defrosted some of my yummy Kashi 7-Grain Pilaf and threw it together with steamed broccoli and two TJ's turkey meatballs cut into pieces. Yum, yum, yum. I also had some chili pepper and horseradish mustard hanging out on the side, because I wasn't sure which one I wanted, so to err on the side of caution, I decided to have the best of both worlds. This was really tasty!

Now, onto the books. I haven't started my new book yet, but I did randomly pick a new one before I set out for the gym. I present you with my latest read:

DSCI1142 Autobiography of a Fat Bride: True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood, by Laurie Notaro. I have a few of her books, but this is the first one I'm reading. It's not so much a novel as it is a compilation of short personal essays/musings, kind of like David Sedaris does. According to the back of the book, some of the topics she delves into include overpreparing for a mandatory drug-screening urine test for her job, auditioning to be a Playboy centerfold as research for a newspaper story, panicking the night before her wedding because she can't remember if her religion is the one that steps on the glass (which, BTW, is Judaism, if you weren't sure), etc. Sounds like it'll be a good laugh! I'm all about dry and witty sarcasm, so I'm looking forward to starting this tonight!

And check out the cute book I picked up at the library this weekend for only fifty cents!!!!

DSCI1138 Retail Therapy: Lessons Learned While Shopping, by Amanda Ford. Admittedly, I'm not a big shopper (shopping actually stresses me out!), but this looked so cute and funny that I couldn't not slap down two quarters for it. Plus, I just loved the Shopaholic series, so while I'm not a shopaholic, I enjoy reading about the addiction, haha. It's about a woman who's a self-confessed shopaholic, because she likes to buy stuff (duh), but she also shows how shopping allows people to uncover deeper truths about their lives and who they really are- life lessons, quotes, discovering passions and decisions, etc. It's like an inspirational book about shopping, haha.

Okay, I'm calling it a night. It's time for dinner and some quality bonding time with the television (The Amazing Race, Cold Case, and Brothers and Sisters... any other fans of these shows out there? All three are new eps tonight! Hip, hip, hooray!)

Hope you all had wonderful weekends and that you have relatively smooth Mondays. I'm a little apprehensive to go to work tomorrow, because last week was a very unpleasant week... oh well, it happens to all of us, and tomorrow's a new day to a new week! :-)

Hasta la vista, babies! :-)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ending a bad day on a good note

As promised, here's my new book pick, which I'm way excited for!

DSCI1129 Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors in the world, so I was really happy to pick this from the box! This particular novel is called Perfect Match- a hardcover in beautiful condition that I picked up years ago, I don't even remember from where, but I'm guessing a used book sale, as that's where most of my book purchases are from!!! Any Jodi Picoult fans out there? Has anyone read this particular book? For those who aren't familiar with this author, Jodi Picoult writes some serious fiction. Usually not light reading. Some of the topics she's delved into include a high school shooting, a teenage suicide pact, an Amish teen accused of killing her newborn baby but she has no recollection of it, a teen suing her family for emancipation because she no longer wants to be a bone marrow donor for her sister, etc. And there is always a fabulous twist at the end that you never see coming- that's what makes her books absolutely out of this world!

So Perfect Match is about an assistant district attorney whose five-year-old son is sexually abused, and as a result of the incident, has not spoken a single word since it occurred,  yet eventually someone is accused of the crime, and the mother (the DA) shoots him in the courtroom, and I'm assuming kills him, and so I'm assuming will go on trial for that. So it won't be a breezy fun read, but I know it's going to most likely be an excellent read. And after coming off the crap book that was Sweet and Low, I could desperately use a great book, sad as the subject might be! Looking forward to diving into this later on tonight and over the weekend!  :-)

So tonight's dinner rocked my world:

DSCI1130 DSCI1131 This is a sweet potato chopped into cubes, leftover grilled chicken, and spinach! With roasted red pepper on the side for dipping (I took pics but none of them came out very well). I always pair a sweet potato with carrots or broccoli, but I never thought to try it with spinach. But I saw my roommate add spinach to her baked potato last night and I was flat-out intrigued. And it was awesome!!!! My roommate has this great ability to throw together the most random foods, and they always look (and smell) so great! Those are the best meals- the ones that are just thrown together randomly! Recipes... pshah!   :-D

Off to watch some TV and curl up in bed with my new fun book now!!! I'm so glad that today's almost over! I hope tomorrow is much better!  :-)  Goodnight to all, and to all a good night!!!  :-)

Day from H-E-L-L

Wow... my day could not have sucked anymore if it tried. I had a horrible work day. We were already short-staffed- (my boss got called away out of town for an indefinite period of time, due to an unexpected family emergency, everybody keep her and her family in your thoughts, please!), both of our editors were out today because one only works part-time and the other was out sick today- so of course everyone and their mother sent "rush requests" to us today. I did NINE rush jobs today, worked through lunch (I HATE when I have to do that!!!), and here's the kicker- the last "rush" job I worked on today (the one I worked on through lunch, actually) was submitted by a woman who tends to submit lots of "rush" requests, only to cancel them later or tell us to hold off- like the boy who cried wolf, you know? So she rushes a 47-page presentation to our copy desk, and we're already short-staffed and filled to capacity, but still, we dropped everything we had, all of us, to split it up and work on it- and I had just finished my section when she e-mails us and tells us to hold off, because it hadn't been through design/layout yet (the process is for something to go through design before proofreading... proofreading is the final stage of the project process, and seeing as this woman has been at her job for several years now, she is well-aware of this). Our Copy Desk was L-I-V-I-D. THEN, she has the audacity to call me- ME, of all the proofreaders, since I had been the only one who had submitted my section to her- and tried to LAUGH it off! Believe me, between the four people at the Copy Desk today- one is a sweet Southern woman, one is a very patient and kind woman, and one is the mother of young children so she's good at keeping her cool- calling the feisty, childless, very sarcastic, and VERY Irish-tempered proofreader was a bad decision on her part. Luckily my sarcasm won the better of me, and I was overly sweet, so sacchariny to the point where she KNEW we were pissed off. Since my supervisor is out, we clued in her boss, a line manager, who is PISSED, and intends to let this woman's supervisor in on all this.

At least it fueled a very intense cardio workout at the gym today. I got a lot of aggression out. Not all of it though, clearly, as I am still annoyed! BUT, I'm trying to let it go because it's already consumed WAY too much of my energy today, and I have new episodes of The Office and 30 Rock to look forward to tonight! Hurray!!!

Speaking of saccharin, I skimmed the rest of Sweet and Low at the gym tonight. Yeah, it never got better. And that "family drama"? Well, I never did figure out what it really was other than some iffy business and medical decisions and a contested will. Puh-lease. You want REAL family drama? Come hang with my dysfunctional fam for a week! This book was awful! It's totally getting donated to Goodwill. I paid a dollar for it, and I feel like I paid too much!

On a much lighter note, I'm EXTREMELY happy with my new book pick, which I will post later tonight, along with a pic of the dinner that I'm about to make and excited to try! It's another baked potato concoction, natch, but a NEW concoction that I'm really looking forward to! So stay tuned because that's comin' later on tonight!  :-)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Neither sweet nor low

So I'm about halfway through Sweet and Low already. So quickly, you ask? Well, that's because I'm doing some serious skimming. Yeah... this book is boring. I'm about halfway into it, and I have yet to read about any significant drama. Hell, I had more drama at work today than this family's had so far in this book.

And the author certainly likes to give history lessons, that's for sure. He's providing a lot of detail about the history of Brooklyn, the Navy Yard, sugar, saccharin, Jewish-European history, the history of dieting, etc. It's interesting for, like, a paragraph or two. But dedicating six or seven pages of a 272-page book to the history of sugar and its origin? I don't think that's necessary. I believe some book critics refer to this as "book filler". In this case, I certainly agree.

At this point, I'm really only skimming through the book to see if I get any of this much-promised family drama. I expect to have it finished by tomorrow, really. Good thing I only paid a buck for this book, huh?  ;-D

Other than that, not much is going on in my world. Work's been busy because we're short-staffed this week, and everyone's still scrambling to catch up from Monday (there were, like, four people in the office). So I've been a busy bee. And yet, the week seems to be going slowly.

Right now I'm flipping back and forth between the Top Chef reunion special (I'm still bitter about how everything went down last week... I really hope Carla wins Fan Fave to make up for it!) and America's Next Top Model. Every season, I vow to stop watching ANTM, and almost every season, I usually cave and watch it. But I thought last season sucked. And I'm not really feeling this season either so far. I'll probably end up watching for no other reason than there's nothing else really on on Wednesday nights, and even then, The New Adventures of Old Christine will probably win out over this. I feel like this show is getting old. Or maybe I'm growing out of it. No, that can't be it- I still watch a lot of crappy TV.   :-D

In food-related news, I'm totally singing Mademoiselle Jaime's praises this week:

 DSCI1117 I watched her video on how to roll a wrap, and I'm proud to report that I made two wraps for dinner this week using her method, and was a success both times! (The one you are looking at is a tuna wrap- low-sodium tuna mixed with deli-horseradish mustard... I was too afraid to add anything else because I was scared it would break, haha!) I'm a disaster at wrapping wraps, but even I  could do this! Jaime, you rock!!!!    :-)

Tonight I made a fave for din-din:

DSCI1128Tired of seeing these yet? Too bad!  :-P   This sweet potato's got: chopped grilled chicken tenderloin pieces, reduced-fat Swiss cheese, and steamed broccoli. On the side is what I affectionately refer to as "Salsamus": 1 tablespoon Kitchen Kettle Village Zesty Salsa and 1 tablespoon Tribe Sweet Red Pepper hummus mixed together. Hence the clever name salsamus.   :-D   It's delicious!  :-)

Hope you're all having a good week! I'm off to catch up on blogs and chillax!  I'll be back tomorrow night with a new book pick, because at the rate I'm going, I'll be done with this book by tomorrow. It's too boring to keep going!  :-D