Monday, April 26, 2010

Why is it Monday already??

Hello family, friends and random people! How's everyone doing today? How was everyone's weekend? Although it is Monday, I am slightly cheered by the fact that it's clear and sunny today -- we've had FAR too many gray, gloomy days the last few weeks (including most weekends... except for this past one, which, thankfully, was sunny). The lack of sunlight lately has NOT been good for my mood or energy level...

The other thing that hasn't been good for my mood or energy level is the fact that I've had no TIME to bother with silly little things like "being in a good mood" or "feeling energetic." This past week, in fact, for the FIRST time since I started the Insanity program, I was unable to finish one of my weekday workouts, and I ended up altogether SKIPPING my workout yesterday. I HATE that. I was already off my schedule -- I took Friday as a "rest" day (and I use the word "rest" rather loosely, seeing as I was still up at 5:30, had to work all day, had to rush home and finish making pies for Rick's birthday dinner, and had to rush to his parents' house to COOK his birthday dinner... so there was really no "resting" involved...), but I intended to make up for it by moving my workout to Sunday (which is a "scheduled" rest day).

Unfortunately, weekends are the only time I get to catch up on all the things I really SHOULD be doing during the week. And by 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, I found myself knee-deep in laundry and dishes, fighting off a sinus headache I'd had all day. I also had hours of freelance work to tackle, and dinner to make, and daily chores to take care of before I could call it a night. Something had to fall by the wayside, and as much as I hate skipping a workout, I knew I wouldn't have been able to give it my all, anyway. Hopefully today I can jump right back into it -- I've really done pretty well with sticking to the Insanity schedule, overall. One missed workout won't negate the progress I've made...

Speaking of working out and dinner and healthy living -- I forgot to mention that my awesome Cooking Light subscription, courtesy of my awesome brother and his awesome girlfriend (what? I like the word "awesome"...), has yielded yet another excellent dish (or should I say awesome?? :)) -- a simple-to-make and yummy-to-eat chicken shawarma. Although I will probably add a bit more spice next time, as I'm all about spicy. (Speaking of which, does anyone find it bizarre when a recipe calls for "1/4 tsp. black pepper"?? A quarter teaspoon? For an entire recipe?? I use a quarter teaspoon of black pepper for about every three bites I take...) My newest issue of Cooking Light has about twenty recipes I want to try, including an entire section about pizza (and another about ice cream... I need an ice cream maker, don'tcha think? :)). Oh, so many recipes, so few meals in a day...

And backing up to the second paragraph -- like I said, Friday was Rick's birthday. Happy (blog belated) birthday, Rick!!! I made two key lime pies in honor of his birthday -- and I'd forgotten just how long it takes to make one of those things. It seems so deceptively simple, because there are so few ingredients. But I always use fresh lime juice, and I make my own graham cracker crust instead of buying one pre-made -- do you know how long it takes to squeeze half a cup of juice out of a bag of tiny key limes?? And I needed an entire CUP of juice, since I made two pies. It's a much longer process than it seems like it should be... good thing the final product is so good... :)

Well, that's about all for today -- hey, I'm just impressed that I was able to post ANYTHING today, with the way things have been going lately. Maybe I'll aim for TWO posts this week... how exciting would THAT be?? :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm still alive...

Yes, I am still here... and maybe someday I'll discover a way to blog more efficiently... In the meantime: Random Thoughts!! :)

So I was complaining to Rick this afternoon that I'd forgotten to get my baseball lineup in for today, and lamenting the fact that this "work" thing gets in the way of such utterly important activities as fantasy baseball. And then he informed me that our new fantasy baseball provider (a free system, as opposed to the pay system we've used the last few years) allows you to change your lineup even AFTER games have started, as long as whoever you want to move around hasn't started playing yet. This may actually be an improvement over previous years, as our old system would not allow ANY changes after ANY game had started. And I often had a tendency to forget about my lineup until mid-afternoon, at which point it was too late to do anything. (And for some reason, I always seem to end up with a lot of West Coast pitchers?? So half of my pitchers don't start playing until around 9 o'clock Central time...)

Mom and dad ran off to Chicago without me last week. (Thanks a LOT, you guys... :)) I happily would've tagged along, but I'm saving my vacation time for an upcoming excursion, which will be revealed at a later date. (Actually, I think just about everyone reading this already knows... I mean, I have about five regular readers, and four of you are coming with me, so...) I told mom and dad to return with some Argo tea and Ghirardelli chocolate, because if they were going to leave me here while they went off to have fun in the big city, the least they could do was bring back presents. That's the way it works, right? Right. Well, when they returned, I received exactly ZERO pieces of chocolate, and not a single tea leaf. This only reinforces my conviction that I MUST be present for any excursions to the City of Chicago. Obviously if I want something done right, I have to do it myself. (Heehee... just kidding mom and dad! Okay, not really -- I'm coming with you next time... :))

So my awesome brother Eric just passed the Illinois ethics exam, which is the first step toward taking the Illinois State Bar exam. Apparently he took the same exam (or something similar) years ago when he was fresh off the turnip truck (or fresh off the farm... or fresh off his stint as a trapeze artist in the circus... or fresh off the stroll he was taking down a random street when he saw an "Ethics Exam Today" sign and decided to pop in and take a stab at it...), and he passed, but juuuuuust barely. Well, this time, after many years away from the turnip truck/farm/circus/random strolls, he totally blew it out of the water -- I mean, this guy has developed some serious ethics in his years on the police force. I bet he never even returns home from work with a pilfered post-it note or paper clip. That would be unethical. Anyway, like I said, my brother is awesome, and that bar exam doesn't stand a chance against his ethical brain and his #2-pencil-wielding hand... (Little does he know that the final question is, "Could you please write out your favorite recipe that uses mayonnaise? The more mayo the better... lawyers love mayo...")

I discovered tonight that I don't hate Brussels sprouts as much as I thought I did. The few times I've tried them, I've only been able to choke down a few bites before giving up. But my older brother Robert (who used to work as a chef and is still quite the proficient cook) told me that I should try peeling away the outer layers of Brussels sprouts before cooking, because apparently those are the most bitter. So I prepared Brussels Sprouts a la Robert tonight, making sure to peel away the first couple layers of sprout... then I tossed them with olive oil and salt and pepper, and roasted them in the oven (probably a tad too long, as a few of them were slightly charred...). The result was definitely not bad... I'm not going to say Brussels sprouts are my FAVORITE vegetable, but they're definitely not my LEAST favorite, either. (That honor is bestowed upon the horrible carrot, which I just CAN'T seem to enjoy no matter HOW it's prepared. Unless it's been cooked so long that it's flavorless...) I would definitely make them again... I'm happy that I can finally add another veggie to my slowly growing rotation of dinnertime options.

Okay, I'm off to bed... it's about to be past my ridiculously early bedtime... Good night! :)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

An open letter...

To the girl wearing Ugg boots and shorts on an 85-degree day in Austin, Texas:

First of all, everyone knows that "Ugg" translates to "ugly." Just because something is trendy does not mean it's attractive (see: skinny jeans). Second, please don't dress like that. You look ridiculous. Your outfit is saying, "is it warm? Is it cold? I can't tell, so I'd better be prepared for either."

Let me answer the questions postulated by your warm-weather attire and cold-weather shoes -- it's WARM. I would think you'd be able to confirm this fact as soon as you opened your front door and set your snug-as-a-bug tootsies onto a slab of heat-radiating concrete.

But no, apparently you STILL worry about the prospect of casually strolling down the sidewalk, without a care in the world, and accidentally stumbling upon a wayward snowbank displaced from Wisconsin or North Dakota. Let me assure you -- this almost never happens. The odds of needing a pair of cushy, sheepskin-lined boots are practically nil.

Or perhaps you're striving for that most elusive of melanin enhancers -- the always-sexy two-thirds-of-a-leg tan. Look, I realize, as an ultra-white person myself, that I'm really not qualified to give tanning advice. But c'mon -- "pale calves/tan knees" is never a good look. Either go for the whole leg, or just wear jeans. Pick one. 

And I don't care if you saw a picture of Britney Spears rocking the same outfit outside a gas station in Malibu a couple weeks ago. Considering Britney really hasn't "rocked" an outfit since, oh, 2003, I wouldn't rely on her for fashion cues.

So go ahead -- break out the sandals. Or, if that seems a bit extreme, a nice pair of Nikes or Converse would be totally acceptable. If you do end up stepping ankle-deep into a cold, slushy puddle, you can blame me. I take full responsibility.

Thank you.

A Neighbor