Sunday, December 27, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Friday driving was hard with rain, fog and traffic, but we made to our friend J's house without incident by about 11pm. We planned to breakfast with J and get back on the road and my quote of the evening was, "I'll feel like we're starting really late if we leave at noon." A said he'd like to get on the road by 10. After cleaning Chibo's urine off J's carpet and my luggage and being awoken by him crying in the middle of the night, we woke up later than expected. Breakfast was a delicious frittata with asparagus, zucchini, carrots and onion, toast and coffee and lots of time spent working on our new netbook trying to find a hotel for the next night.
We got out of there at 1pm and I may never live down my quotable deadline from the night before, at least in J's mind. He thought that quite funny. A drove the next leg of the journey and repeated many of the same behaviors that I had done the night before, eyeing the GPS every minute or two and lamenting that we weren't getting there faster. I had kept that to myself, but A kept talking about it, which just made it worse. This day was also foggy and dreary.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The challenges in my mind about a place like Costco are:
1. Purchasing products that are manufactured by children in third world countries
2. Purchasing from a big box store/warehouse instead of a small local business
3. Purchasing things we don't really need just because they are less expensive
When I was guiltily discussing this with my colleague at work, she reminded me that I can still choose ethical brand names and that these companies love working with warehouse stores, because they know they will sell at volume. Number one - check. Regarding buying things just because they are less expensive, I already know that we're doing that, because we bought 40 ounces of pomegranate juice that neither of really enjoy drinking straight. I'm putting it in smoothies and mixing it with orange juice to use it up. I think it might be the nature of a place like Costco that when you first join, you overbuy, but I am confident that we will normalize our buying habits pretty quickly.
My second concern is a little harder to figure out, but my second Christmas gift from A is the best example of this that I can come up with. I have had a mild interest in sewing for a while and E bought me an old Singer sewing machine a few years ago. The machine needed a tune up, got pretty dusty sitting in my garage and has never been used by me. Now that my friend R has started sewing and I paid $12x2 for hems that I know should be a snap, my interest in sewing has increased again. So, I hauled my old Singer to the small locally owned sewing machine sales and repair shop near my house to see what we could do.
For $100, I could tune-up my basic 3-stitch machine, though any needed parts would be extra. I asked about trading in and they weren't interested and asked about upgrading and was referred to a computerized 120-stitch machine for $399. This was days after Thanksgiving and on sale mind you! Yesterday, we found the same machine at Costco for $170. I cannot justify supporting my neighbors small locally owned business by purchasing a machine there for more than twice the cost at Costco. I can buy fabric, thread, notions and classes there, but I don't even feel guilty about buying my machine at Costco - the price is just too much better.
So, that's my second Christmas gift - A bought me a Brother XR9000 sewing machine. He extracted a promise from me to sew on his buttons and hem his pants, but I think I can handle that. And I'm going to clean up my old machine and gift it to my friend T who would also like to learn to sew. So, everybody wins - even the local sewing machine shop, because I probably will take my machine there for service and may even take a class there so that I don't mess up every pair of pants that A every buys!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I LOVED It's Complicated. You should go see it.
There, my work here is done.
Monday, December 7, 2009
It's a fun film. Give it a go.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I'm finding it difficult to figure out the language of loving bands. The way that I want to express my admiration and affection for them is to say, "I want to have sex with every single member of the band." Do I really want to have sex with every single member of the band? No. If for no other reason than that one member of the band is a woman and I'm not that gay. But I probably don't really want to have sex with the male members of the band, either - I'm happily blissed out in my monogamous relationship.
But I do find myself attracted to the band and its members in a very visceral way. It's the music, it's the fun they are obviously having and, at the risk of sounding like a dirty old woman though I'm only thirty-something, I think it's also their youthful energy and angst. So, into monogamy or not, go see Blind Pilot - they are awesome.
P.S. Accordion player, I might actually want to have sex with you - you have a beautiful right arm and an electrifying smile. I'm no good with temptation, so please stay away from me.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
So far, I've made smoothies, pudding and ice cream in it and couldn't be happier. As I work on my weight loss goals, I'm happy to have this tool on my side. I make a smoothie every morning for A and I and we end up feeling full and nourished until lunch time. And when dessert is just yogurt + frozen berries (basic frozen yogurt recipe) or a pudding made of banana, berries, avocado and even greens, there is nothing to feel guilty about. I even told A that I've been putting greens into the smoothies and he didn't bat an eye!
Thanks Santa A - I love my Christmas gift and won't be sad when I don't have anything to open on Xmas day!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I write that and realize that I sound like a bit of a scaredy cat and perhaps I am. After all, I hate conflict with a passion. I think my partner would be surprised to read that, as I am always contradicting him and giving him a hard time - "riding" him, in his own words, although that was only said out loud once. I suppose it's safe for me to have conflict with someone like my partner who I know loves and accepts me and usually accepts my sincere apologies.
I wonder when my sincere apologies won't be enough?
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Gym rats - ugh.
Whoa, what's with the disgust?
Disgust is just the start of intolerance...oooh.
Wait, I used to be a gym rat ... well, okay, I used to go to the gym a whole lot more.
Wow, calling someone a gym rat means I certainly wouldn't want to do that.
How self-limiting name-calling is!
This whole self-conversation was very revealing to me. Basically, I came up with the idea that calling anybody a name is bad. Guess I could have learned that in kindergarten.
Monday, September 21, 2009
In Christine Kane's blog and newsletter, she cautions about not letting email become an all day affair - that is, if it's open on your computer, it will be a distraction from other work and accomplishment. How many times do I swap tabs when I see that my email inbox goes from zero to one? Pretty often. And it's probably revealing that my inbox is in a near-constant state of zero. It's not that I don't get a lot of emails, but that I obsessively read them as they come in.
I'm going to throw email into a category of important, but not urgent tasks called "Tiny Tasks," which include organizing, scheduling, prioritizing and list making. These are relatively important and I will even argue that the are vital to me getting anything done, but I think that when I'm doing Tiny Tasks all day long, I'm not really accomplishing my larger goals.
I'm not sure where blogging fits - at work, on my work blog, that is, it's less of a distraction and more of a job, because I do need to do a little research and take the time to write something reasonably well thought out, but my personal blog...? Well, it's more for my personal entertainment, so it's probably not a task at all. That is, it's not on my To-Do list for the day, but more like taking a good friend's phone call.
In any case, I think I need to schedule Tiny Task Time and in that time, figure out what I should be doing during the rest of the day to accomplish my larger goals and to focus on items that are important but not urgent.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
- Indian food with friends - yum! (Using a restaurant.com coupon - thank you!)
- Watching a movie @ their house. Earth - AMAZING!
- Breakfast and coffee @ home (Scrambled eggs with leeks, poblano chile and grape tomatoes with Dave's Killer Bread toast - with great ingredients, you can't go wrong!)
- House cleaning - okay this one isn't happening in the way we'd planned, but we've already set the tomatoes to drying and put all the sheets in the wash machine, so we're at least started
- Veg Fest - fun!
- Visit TRee and see the new baby who is cute as a button!
- Mini golfing birthday party
- Maybe breakfast with friends from DC at the farmers market
- Kayaking - time and location TBD, but we are DEFINITELY GOING!
- See the baby if that didn't fit into Saturday's schedule
- Doggie Palooza?
- Mt Angel Oktoberfest?
Oh, there are so many options. I imagine that we'll come home after kayaking and finish the house cleaning, but there's always fall when the weather is bad, right? (The correct answer is: wrong, because in the fall and winter, there are all kinds of exciting and interesting indoor events, too, but I'm going to let it slide this time. I'm sure we'll be able to get the guest bedroom and bathroom picked up for our visitor next weekend and he doesn't care anyways.)
Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I should have cleaned this morning, but got distracted by A & E, no not the channel (we don't do cable), but the people - first, A joined me upstairs and then E called after A had gone off to work, so I spent much of my early starting morning with them. I did, however, get some things done today, including:
- ordering my birth certificate long distance
- calling several patients that I need to follow up with
- getting all the things collected that I need for my event tonight
- sending several letters that needed to go out in the mail
- picking up dry dog food and raw meat to make fresh dog food
- getting fingerprinted for my licensing application
So, I'm heading off for some prep time at my event location, giving the talk/demo and then heading home as soon as possible. Maybe I shouldn't be drinking coffee these days - I think it just makes the mania stronger.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
- Clean bathroom x 2
- Clean kitchen
- Change sheets in bedroom and guest bedroom
- Vacuum/sweep entire house, including spider webs
- Dust entire house
- Make raw dog food, buy dry dog food
- Start sauerkraut and pickles
- Start kombucha
- Start sprouts
- Blanch and freeze green beans
- Find a recipe for fresh garbanzo beans and make it
- Shred and freeze zucchini
- Make yummy raw borscht
- Figure out how to make beet green palatable
- Make eggplant rawvioli and eggplant dip
- Plan meals for the rest of the week, including brown bag lunches for A and I!
And that all depends on which of the veggies have gone rotten in the fridge. I'm giving away two heads of lettuce today, because we just can't keep up - we're salad'ed out! If I end this week with no fruits and veggies in the bin, I think I'll actually be a happy woman!
$300 Exam Fee - second time around ($600)
$180 Practice Test Website Subscription Fee ($780)
$55 Practive Test Website Subscription Extension Fee ($835)
$15 iPhone Practice Test Application ($850)
$65 Hypnosis Session ($915)
+ Supplements for Brain Function ($925)
+ Coffee and food while studying out and about ($950)
Passing My Final Board Exam: Priceless
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Keeping social obligations nil this week, because I'm studying hard for my last board exam. I just worked for 2.5 hours straight then broke for a late lunch and after this post, I'm back at the books for another 2.5 hours.
A misheard me Sunday night when I told him and some other friends that I wouldn't be out much (socially) this week due to my exam next Tuesday. Somehow he heard me say that I had an event at the Siam Society this Tuesday and we went around and around for hours before we figured that out, because I swore that I didn't know anything about an event at the Siam Society.
The CSA weighs on my mind. I haven't been blogging what we get because I just don't know. I haven't been keeping up with knowing what we get or doing anything with it. I know we get lettuce every week and I think that two grown salad-eating adults with healthy appetites should be able to get through a head of lettuce every week, but I've had to start giving it away. I'm making pickles and sauerkraut this weekend (and freezing green beans) to try not to lose everything. We also got a beautiful eggplant, with which I look forward to making rawvioli.
So, it's back to the books now for me and the window out of which I hope to spy the little squirrel that I watched rolling around in the dirt while I ate my lunch. I grabbed take-out and drove back to the library, parked in the shade and listened to my book on CD while I ate. He was little and really cute and I wished I had a video camera to film his adorable antics. That and some food will have to sustain me a couple more hours while I finish my studying for today.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
This week's CSA bag includes:
- green beans
- a fresh-cut herb - if we're lucky enough for this to be basil, I'll be making B's Basil Balsamic Mashed Potatoes with that and the Yukon Gold's below - they're just so good, you have to try them!
- summer squash - probably eat these shredded with a little cheese or nut cheese again or maybe grilled in our new grill wok
- cucumber - mmm...sliced with some tomatoes and beans, a little rice vinegar...refreshing
- Yukon Gold and/or Red Chieftan potatoes - whatever doesn't get mashed, I'd like to roast in the grill wok with some rosemary
- leeks - might try a raw Cream of Leek soup - looks pretty good
- blueberries - always good raw for breakfast
We haven't used much from the last bag, except we ate the fruit fresh right away. I'm hoping to make some Scrumptious Green Beans tonight from my Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Recipe Book maybe with last week and this weeks green beans. We'll definitely do a big salad each tonight, too to finish off the lettuce from last week. Seems we're always playing catch up with the food from the week before. It's too hot to cook much, so as much as I can do raw, we'll do raw. Hoping to clean the kitchen, make some food and take the dog to the dog park tonight before going to a social outing at the local roadhouse pub. Ambitious schedule, but I feel pretty energetic after a morning taiji session and a 16 ounce double shot latte.
Monday, July 20, 2009
After all the water sports on Saturday, we found ourselves with a few aching muscles, but luckily no sunburn and decided to head home a little early, but taking the long way around on the coastal highway. It wasn't as scenic as we'd have liked, but we enjoyed the country air and some cherries from a fruit stand just the same. The Astoria bridge isn't as bad coming over from the Washington side, but was still a thrill and we stopped by the beach in Seaside to let Chibo run around a little more before heading home. A and I played "catch" with Chibo - I called him to me then sent him to A, A praised him for coming over and sent him back to me. Since Chibo won't catch a ball, we just send him back and forth to wear him out. It works pretty well.
By the time we got home, all three of us were ready to crawl into bed and sleep off the weekend. Not exactly the most restful of weekends, but definitely a celebration of having weekends off from work! The friends who hosted us this weekend already invited us to join them for camping next weekend, too, so it looks to be an eventful summer.
When I was speaking to my pregnant friend, R, she was telling me that despite being pregnant, she's been able to do most of the things she had put on her list of summer goals, like camping in a fire lookout and other outdoor activities. Not having had weekends off for so long, I haven't really thought of a list of summer activities I'd like to do, but since this December marks the end of my 1001 days, I guess I should re-evaluate my outdoorsy or seasonal goals from that list:
- 23. Teach a QiGong class
- 27. Go outrigger paddling again
- 28. Go for an overnight backpacking trip
- 29. Go backpacking for more than one night
- 49. Plant an herb garden (or at least 4 kinds in pots) - 1 down, 3 to go - I've got a mint in a pot out front.
- 50. Plant a vegetable garden - well, this isn't going to happen, but maybe I can get a squash plant into the ground or a tomato plant in a pot for the house?
- 51. Plant Tiger Lily's bulbs - Yeah, I'd like to plant some flowers, but I think I missed my window - aren't these supposed to be planted in spring? Or maybe it's really fall?
- 59. Hike 2x per week for 2 months - Not sure I like hiking all that much, but we could do a few short local hikes and I'm sure A would love that!
- 72. Renew SCUBA certification and go diving! Everybody at the lake this weekend was interested in taking a class, so we could probably at least do that part.
- 80. Go to the zoo - We did this last week when we attended a zoo concert, but I'd like to go again.
- 81. Have a day of gracious living - tell people about the concept. Will have think about this one.
- 95. Take the train to Seattle - we have a coupon!
- 97. Have a cocktail party - make a new drink for friends! I can't wait to do this one!
- 100. Go to Olympic National Forest - wow, we could have done that this weekend! Guess we'll have to try for that next month when we head up that way again!
Looks doable. Let's see how we go.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
This weeks bag includes:
- lettuce - salad, maybe taco tonight?
- a legume of our choice (pea pods or green beans) - probably cleaned and eaten raw as snacks again - they travel well and are delicious
- fava beans - will be roasted with garlic again, they were yummy.
- blueberries - yum!
- Kotata blackberries or gooseberry or jostaberry - yum!
- black cherries - yum!
- fresh cut chives - these will go well with the potatoes I've been craving
- summer squash - if it's zucchini, more zucchini hummus - it's so good - or shredded and lightly cooked with a little cheese - like mac and cheese, only I feel slightly less guilty
Note: the CSA recommends cooking the three types of berries we're getting into a cobbler and I say, no way. These babies are going to be enjoyed fresh and raw! I may like cooking, but I have to say that the raw food movement has definately taught me that some things are best enjoyed in their natural state and berries are one of them! I can't wait to give myself a sweet treat tonight - hope A doesn't eat them all before he gets them home!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
In the meantime, I've eaten both a bagel and macaroni and cheese today, but am dreaming about raw food. I want a Vita Mix blender so bad that I'm considering just purchasing one on my credit card. Oh, bad American! Slap to the wrist. Anyways, I got ahold of this book from a friend of mine and can't wait to make some of the recipes in it. The pictures make the food look mouth-watering-ly delicious!
I mentioned the possibility of a raw entree at our wedding, but A thinks not so much. I reminded him of his earlier assertion that it's my wedding and I should have it the way I want it. I am tempted to ask for some really off the wall things just to see how far I can push it. At any rate, having a raw entree doesn't seem like such a wild idea to me. If everyone selected this option, we could have trouble keeping up, but I think most people would not be into it. But I know that I and my lady-in-waiting* certainly would.
*I haven't chosen or requested anyone to be in my bridal party yet as I'm waiting for a count from A, but assuming I have any bridal party, I assume she is waiting to be asked, hence, lady-in-waiting. And it's very regal and even though I don't really want to be a princess and certainly don't want to be a princessa and just is fun to say.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
- rhubarb - going to make another pie, just need to get some berries
- lettuce - just a bit, probably eat today as side salad
- pea pods - these got lost in the fridge - we'll probably eat them raw because they are sweet and delicious
- onion and dried beans - these will last a while
- cabbage - need to make saag one of these nights - that'll make it go quick. If that doesn't happen, then I'm making sauerkraut
- zuchini - raw pasta makings! Or raw zuchini hummus. Or dog food. :)
- carrots - general use and A keeps eating them raw which is great!
This week's bag includes:
- pea pods
- fava beans - never eaten this!
- blueberries - I've been eating blueberries as a nice light breakfast and it seems to be quite nice.
- summer squash
- a fresh cut herb
- sedum - never heard of this! It appears to be a garden plant and NOT necessarily edible. So far the other two plants are still on my kitchen window ledge, but A says he's got potting soil somewhere and I know we have pots, so I'm planning on digging in the dirt a little later today!
We'll see what we end up doing with this bounty!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
- Botany of Desire (from my reading list/permission slip)
- The Secret Life of Bees (from my reading list/permission slip)
- Prince Caspian (because I enjoyed listening to Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe and forgot to continue!)
- Blink (never finished reading it before)
- The Tipping Point (because I enjoyed Blink so much)
- The Limbreth Gate and The Windsingers (because I discovered that one of my favorite authors writes under not one, but two pseudonyms!)
Saturday, July 4, 2009
It would be easy for me to put a lot of decorative serving ware on a registry, but I think of that stuff as a bit of fluff - what if I miss something that would be quite good on the registry?
And do we register for things like silver silverware and china? I don't know if A and I are really china and silver people, but maybe if we had such, we would be...?
And some of the items that make my wish list are items for which it would be difficult to register without having a separate "wish list" on the registry list site - for example, items not available through a big box or chain store and a particular sporting good.
On another hand, I remember when A and I have used registries to buy gifts for people's weddings and struggled to find gifts that reflected our shared experience of that couple...how do we put items on the list that our friends and family will also want to give us?
And there is something to adjust to in the idea of making a list of gifts that we want...I mean, it feels a little strange, a little selfish and more than a little greedy. I'm glad I put our wedding website through the I Do Foundation so that we (and our friends and family) can at least know that if people do choose to buy items from our registry that part of the purchase price will be donated to charity.
If this is supposed to be the fun part, I wonder how well I'll enjoy the rest of the wedding planning process...
Friday, July 3, 2009
Our meal was delicious: Dr. Praeger's California veggie burgers - brushed with EVOO before grilling, eaten with condiments between lettuce leaves - delicious! Watermelon, cob corn, grilled asparagus and strawberry shortcake and white wine for dessert. Two important lessons: 1. EVOO brushed on garden burgers before grilling helps them stay moist and 2. no white wine for me - I woke up with a hangover despite only drinking about 3 ounces.
I had a good time catching up with everyone and even found out about a local adoption agency that some friends of our hosts adopted a baby through. Even though I felt fatigued by the late evening and woke up not feeling well, it was a great night and gives me the idea of something to look forward to - only 2 more weeks until I have a reasonable work schedule again. It may satisfy some need to overachieve to be able to respond positively when asked "do you work..." but I will be even more satisfied to share my evenings and weekends in the companionship of my partner and good friends.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
For most of the last year, I've worked 6-7 days of the week at one or another of my jobs. At present, I'm on Day 9 since my last day off in a string of 21-24 days depending on if I need to go into the office next Wednesday. And I'm exhausted with it.
It's sad when your dream of the weekend is to clean house and do yard work, but that's even a part of my fantasy weekend, enhanced every time I walk into my kitchen and smell the pot soaking in the sink, every time I try to find something to eat or drink in my overfull and disorganized refrigerator, every time I walk around a pile or mess and every time A tells me how much time he spent working on the yard and how my help would be most welcome.
I also dream of waking up late, of heading to the beach to run with the dog just because we don't have anything better to do, of meeting friends for breakfast, of going dancing and staying out late without dreading having to wake up early the next day and of having more energy to live.
I don't have more energy yet. I'm not up for increasing my social calendar yet and in fact, want to keep my weekends to A and myself for a little while just to build up some reserves and express my joy and appreciate for him, since I couldn't and wouldn't have weekends off without his help. I know life will be better for both of us with this change and I'm just trying to get through the next two weeks without falling completely apart.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
- lettuce - to be made into salad hopefully before it browns! Taco salad? Tomorrow!
- cabbage - mmm...Indian cobi saag - should make this in the morning or evening and eat as leftovers.
- broccoli - more?! I love broccoli, but I can't keep up!
- a sample of the first of the summer squash - where is this?
- edible pea pods - eat raw?
- rhubarb - another pie, probably
- orange carrots - guess I shouldn't have bought that 5 lb bag!
- an herb plant (mint) - still needs to be repotted
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
How to announce our engagement, for example...his parents were traveling with us when we got engaged and I called my parents right away. His parents took on calling his extended family and I'll get around to calling mine sometime...(see?!) After my parents were notified, I told A he could put it online if he wanted so many of our friends found out through Facebook, which seems pretty weird, but which, I was reassured, was fine. I asked a married gal pal how she did her announcements and she said that no matter how people find out, the important part is that we're engaged and that people get to share our happy news. But also, do I tell people who probably don't care? It's weird talking about it at work in front of people who don't care without including them...but I also don't want to force them to congratulate me or listen to my romantic sap. And does sending an announcement, even an informal one, automatically construe an invitation to the wedding?!
I also get a case of the heebee-OM-geebees from the rock on my finger. I'm very conscious of it and my hand feels like it's suddenly reached ginormous proportions. I think everyone must notice this sudden sparkly new addition to my usually nonexistent accessories, but no one really does. So do I shove it into people's faces with the announcement? That seems gauche, but seriously, it's gorgeous and I want people to see it! A did such a great job finding me a vintage ring. When I think about it, I really sent him down a rabbit hole with that request. It wasn't that I specifically wanted a vintage ring, but that I did NOT want a blood diamond, so new diamonds were out and after we went to Malloy Jewelry, we knew I really liked the vintage 1920's styles. But I'm also really afraid of hurting the ring and am always checking to make sure the diamond is still in there.
Lots of questions, few answers. When? Where? Engagement party? I told A that we should just enjoy being engaged for a little while before we start making these major decisions, but then he came back with a proposed location for the wedding, so I guess we're starting planning sooner than I expected. Whew, it's been a nice week enjoying the engagement - time to get down to business! Here we go...
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
- rhubarb - Rhubarb Daquiri
- edible pod peas - eaten raw as snack
- lettuce - used as a wrap for garden burgers, perfectly sized small leaves
- onion - saved for later use
- dry mixed beans - saved for later use (maybe chili?)
- beets - steamed greens and beets (not very successfully); plan on finishing beets cold in salad
- broccoli - steamed greens and ate with macaroni cassarole; ate "tree" part separately
- cauliflower - Broccoli Bisque soup from Blossoming Lotus cookbook, modified for cauliflower
- a potted marigold flower - needs to be re-potted, still sitting on my windowsill dying
Thursday, June 18, 2009
At any rate, I loved New Mexico. We landed in Albuquerque Sunday afternoon and spent the day with our friend D who showed us the sights of Albuquerque including old town, the plaza and Tingley Beach. She explained that many of the towns in New Mexico are centered around a plaza and church, which shopping a restaurants all around. We saw a lot of life in these plazas including tango dancing, choirs, Indian vendors and even just locals having a lunch break. Shopping around the plaza in Albuquerque had better prices than around the plaza in Santa Fe, but there is ever so much to see in both places.
I learned that barter is still practiced in New Mexico when a pair of earrings we were looking at dropped quickly from $120 retail to a special offer for a pretty lady at $25. I'm cheap, but I think even spendthrifts will find that they don't need to spend more than $5 to get some great turquoise and silver earrings. One great place to shop in Albuquerque is the Blue Portal (2107 Church St NW) which is a craft shop for seniors. It's run as a charity, so the seniors who's work is sold get 100% of the price you pay and there is no tax on the items. The prices were much more reasonable than at other shops as there is no mark up, but the selection was somewhat limited.
Monday morning, we picked up A's parents in our rented Prius and drove up to Santa Fe by way of Madrid, New Mexico. Pronounced mad-rid like "mad hatter," Madrid is the cute artsy town featured in the movie Wild Hogs. It was a great halfway point on our drive up the turquoise trail and we were delighted with the galleries and boutiques. I especially was drawn to the works of Ms. Liz Falkoner, a local artist in Madrid who's gallery Tombo is an old train car with a couple of dogs to welcome you out front. I also loved the gourds by Carol Lee and was especially intrigued by Liz Paterson's white clay pots and sculptures. I left Madrid with the feeling that I want to resume my own artistic creativity!
When we arrived in Santa Fe, we were pleased to check into the Villas de Santa Fe where we had a 1 bedroom condo - I'm sold on the idea of a condo for traveling - it's so nice to have a kitchen and a place that feels like a home. A and I even headed out to the Santa Fe farmer market Tuesday morning for some fresh produce. The prices seemed steep, but we later realized it must be hard to grow fresh produce in those local environs. We picked up some tamales for dinner that night and salad fixins. My only regret is that I didn't get the local kombucha I saw there - I thought I would see it around, but I never found it again and would have loved to try it as the flavors, like Sangria and Mojito, sounded fantastic!
Lots more galleries in Santa Fe - including the Mineral and Fossil Gallery where A purchased an interesting 150 million year old fossilized squid piece. We didn't even get to see that much of Canyon Road as we started out near the plaza. The drive by we took later was just enough for A to know he needed to go back for photos the next morning and me to know that I could happily return to Santa Fe another time in the future. Our other explorations included churches: San Miguel Mission and Loretto Chapel; food: Upper Crust Pizza (whole wheat crust! yum!) and Bumble Bee Baja Grill (squash quesadillas are my new favorite!); and chocolate!
Oh, the chocolate! A sweetly put together a list of the best chocolate places in Santa Fe for my tasting pleasure. It was catch as catch can and we nabbed chocolates whenever we could find them, but were surprised at the dearth of chile inspired chocolates. At Todos Santos, we tried the red chili and tangerine cream truffle - it was good, but not quite spicy enough for our local adventure. At Kakawa, we were put off by the incredible focus on elixirs, but tried a couple of truffles and elixirs anyway. From the mildest Marie Antoinette to the strongest Aztec Warrior, we decided that cocoa elixirs were not for us. We did enjoy the truffles, though. Number 1 for us was the Peach Pink Peppercorn truffle which neatly combined the sweet peach and spicy peppercorn flavors. The Gorgonzola truffle was also quite good, but we are biased to our own local smokey blue cheese truffle. Another interesting taste that we didn't love, but which is worth a taste was the paprika truffle. Basically a chocolate truffle rolled in paprika, it's strange at first because it's a whole lot of paprika, but once the flavors blend in your mouth, it's actually quite good. After that, we were on a mission to find chili chocolates.
A wrong turn put us at Chocolate Maven, but we were in no mood for distraction, so it was back into the car until we finally found our original destination of Chocolatesmith. Next time, it would be worth taking time for Chocolate Maven, but every time, it's worth taking lots of time for Chocolatesmith! Both were featured on Food Network which will make them popular tourist spots, but you don't get on Food Network for nothing! Chocolatesmith was generous with their tastings and we were able to try many things, including a white chocolate lavender lemon bark and the mountain bark (with cherries, coconut, toffee and white and dark chocolate!), both of which we loved. In our excitement over the green chiles, we even forgot to try or purchase any red chile chocolates, so those are on my list for when I go back! We walked away with dark chocolate dipped ginger; pistachio, cherry and green chile bark and a single spat all of which were consumed with great delight. It's hard to say if I liked the bark or the spat better - the spats are "Pan Roasted Tamari Piñon (pine nut!) in a bed of Buttery Home made Caramel trimmed with Dark Chocolate" and were DELICIOUS! The sum of our chocolate tasting - yes, there is good chocolate to be had in Santa Fe!
We also spent some time in Bandelier National Park after which I welcomed the highlight of our vacation: a trip to the spa! A booked us a room at Ten Thousand Waves, but not just any room, the best room they have, the romantic Ichiban private bath house. It was an amazing place to relax and rejuvenate and an even more amazing place to receive a marriage proposal. Yes, A asked me to marry him while we were relaxing together at the spa and I said yes. This vacation and this place will therefore always hold a special remembrance in my heart.
Must do's next time I'm in Santa Fe:
- Try local kombucha
- Canyon Road art galleries
- Chocolate Maven: breakfast and baked goods
- Chocolate Smith: more spats, red chile chocolates
- More authentic New Mexican cuisine
- Ten Thousands Waves, again and again
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
This week's bag contains and was used to make:
- lettuce - Taco salad, mmm...
- rhubarb - Raw Strawberry Rhubarb pie
- strawberries - gifted to a friend
- pinto beans - dried, on hold for later use
- onions - saved for later use in soup
- bok choy - didn't get to this until it was already turning; edible peices cut up for dog food
- a calendula plant - gifted to a friend
Thursday, June 11, 2009
After many "I'm sorry"s to A for the carpet, it's on with the day, including a raw breakfast: soaked oat groats blended with cinnamon and dates with sliced apples - yummy and preparing lots of other raw foods for the next couple of days. The raw agenda: sunflower and sun dried tomato pate, not tuna salad and ranch dressing from Jennifer Cornbleet's Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People. We got tomatoes (for stacking or for slicing onto sandwiches and in salads), romaine lettuce (for sandwich "bread" or salads) and avocado. I think that gives us several options and will be quick and easy since I pre-prepped onion, celery and lemon juice. I mostly just have to process things together this morning. I might even splurge and mix up a raw cheez if I have enough lemon juice.
This morning, I also cleaned out my email inbox, created several useful Google Documents and emailed "collaborators" to join me, found 3 new old friends on FB, added a travel map to my FB page and added every city I've ever been to, using the criteria that I had to have actually done something in that city, not just drove through or flew through. I'm getting a little OCD with my FB page.
I've also recently added "weRead" in which I can keep adding books that I've read. I should have just started where I was at that moment, but it's very tempting to just keep adding books that I've read. I've already added more than 150 books and I keep remembering more authors and books and that's all fiction! One thing that's holding me back is that my aunt, all of who's books I've read, is a historical romance writer...many of my other favorites seem to be pretty sexy books and some are even categorized as erotica ... yeah, there's really not much more I want to say about that, but I just don't want people to think I only read sexy books. I remember dog sitting for a couple weeks once and reading all the crime dramas on my hosts shelves during that time frame - I just don't remember those books.
Quite a few other tasks on the list today, but most of those have to do with mailing or faxing things before I leave this weekend, especially getting my medical claims sent in so I can be reimbursed. Another appointment with the chiropractor and maybe something social this evening as A and I haven't been out to see our friends in a couple of weeks.
Whew. Tired already. Think I might have to take a nap.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I find myself remembering when my dad did this in his 40's. My mom told me that was the only time she'd ever seen him cry and it wasn't about the pain - it was about not being able to take care of his family. Well, my dad ended up having surgery and was fine not long after. I'm going to be fine, too, sans surgery.
It's great having chiropractic, naturopathic and acupuncture at my fingertips. I'm taking fish oil and enzymes to fight the inflammation and am having soft tissue work, adjustments and physical therapy to recover. While I've been down, I've been watching all kinds of raw food videos and wishing that's what I was eating, but instead, I've made do with take out since I didn't want to be more of a burden on A. I do think raw food would have helped speed my recovery along, though, if for no other reason than that I wouldn't have been consuming so many pro-inflammatory foods.
I've been out for a week, hoping that workman's compensation is going to cover this time off, but needing to be off regardless, because sitting hurts and standing for too long also increases my pain. I'm bored, a little cranky, also hopeful and glad that I have a personal vacation scheduled next week.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
What I realized since the big winner from Winner is that even when it gets reset to $20 million dollars, if I actually ever won, if I won, I would be set for life with even that much money, which is, of course, the appeal of the lottery. But does that mean I should always play? After all, there is no guarantee and in fact, it's likely, that I could play every week for the rest of my life and never win big enough to recoup my losses, even if I only ever played a dollar a week. It is, after all, for entertainment only, not investment purposes.
But, people win. And some people win big. It's a strange form of gambling. When I'm at a casino, it's easy for me to reject it and say no way, because I know I'd lose a lot of little amounts and don't stand to win that much. But to win $20-200 million from $1 ... that's insidious. $52 per year isn't such a lot of money if I was entertained by the process, but I think I'm one of those people who would try changing around my numbers, but still want to keep my old numbers and oh, the pots getting bigger, bet get a few extra tickets and all that.
I guess that's what they call an addictive personality. Come by it naturally, though. And my whole family seems to really like gambling, so I should probably steer clear. Or at least wait for a big jackpot.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Sky Coyote by Kage Baker
Midwife...something or other... (paperback I picked up somewhere)
Also just finished:
Dead Man's Mirror and Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (both on CD)
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
The Ladies Number 1 Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes
On the other hand, I returned Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge and Tiger Claws by John Speed to the library unfinished so maybe there is hope yet.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
And definitely Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. But I don't have a list, because it's objectification and I don't view other human beings as sex objects, but instead as sexual beings.
But I'd also totally do Brad Pitt and/or Angelina Jolie - together or separately. Because they are hot sexual beings.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
2. Give notice to my second job that I will be decreasing work to 1 day per week or quit
3. Give notice to my career job that we will be okay or quit
4. Hire a financial planner/adviser
5. Hire the Dog Whisperer and a dog walker
6. Go to the Tree of Life for as long as it takes to feel rested
7. Take that trip to Italy that I've been longing for
8. Establish trusts for my family
9. Set up my raw kitchen
10. See what life is like debt free and with means
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
At any rate, unless I get a newer faster computer or more time (or more priorities from which I can procrastinate in the form of blogging), I'm unlikely to suddenly start blogging on a daily basis, so this is the solution that I've hit upon: I should blog in advance for the week. When you publish a blog and post-date it, it will be published on the date scheduled. I'd have to write a little extra, catch up from the prior week and then get ahead, but then I would already know what to be thinking about, what musings to experience, what social experiences to have and what dinners to make for the week ahead. It's like uber-planning. Wonder if the Universe would conspire with me? I wonder if this would manifest for me in the method of The Secret? Let's find out.
*In addition to constantly analyzing my use of double negatives, A has taken particular umbrage to my use of "maybe could," "maybe should," "maybe would" and especially the negative "maybe shouldn't" or "maybe wouldn't." I feel that my meanings are clear with my double negatives - which used to be a more accepted usage and now seems to suggest to A and perhaps scholarly sorts a lack of education, but which to me feels comfortingly middle class and homey - and with my indecisive use of modals in the random tense. And isn't clear meaning what's really important? I'm not sure if A really doesn't understand me or is just trying to correct me.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I will also have drunk 16 ounces of coffee, eaten a donut, a bagel with cream cheese and probably some mac and cheese, all of which are things I'm trying to avoid while on a cleanse. I will pick up some freebie veggies, though, all of which are totally legal on the cleanse but none of which I will probably eat tonight to make up for my work hours debauch.
I might even cry at work today, though I'm doing a good job not going there just yet. My eyes have teared up a few times, but I've managed to deep breathe them away. Not sure why I'm crying all the time right now, but in a way, it feels good, cleansing. In another way, it feels like something must be seriously wrong with my life for me to cry more days than not. And in the way that matters most, it feels like I made myself sick crying and sobbing for too many hours last night so that my eyes are swollen and my throat raw this morning.
But I will also have met all of the goals of my being at work today. Not even half-assed-ly. Is that wrong? If I get my work done in less time, shouldn't I be able to steal a few moments to gather my thoughts? I think my employers would say yes to the first and no to the second. I think they would say that if I have more time at work that I should be helping out, contributing more, lending a hand to my coworkers.
It's a sad irony that my best down time is achieved at work. And that when A and I try to come up with solutions to my serious lack of money and time, that quitting this job seems the most viable solution. And that in my opinion, the worst thing I will do at work today is to have eaten that stale donut.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Not at all. No judgment. Even more than non-judgment, I would like non-concern and non-notice of certain areas of my life. What I'd like people not to notice this week: what I'm eating. Unless I'm breast-feeding you, it does n0t affect you and is none of your concern. In my etiquette readings, I have learned that it's actually a rudeness to pay any mind to what people are eating. While I wish that much more etiquette would be remembered (even if means that my indelicate mention of breast-feeding gets me a slap on the wrist), this one seems particularly important when food is busy being demonized.
How this wish came to my attention was in discussion about vegetarianism with a colleague. She's a veggy, A's family are veggy, many of my friends are veggy and I usually eat as a veggy. Some of the wacky hijinks of A's family revolve around issues around vegetarianism and reasons for becoming and maintaining a vegetarian lifestyle. So I was discussing with a friend and had fondly remembered a bite of prime rib that I had greatly enjoyed and my mom's cooking which is often heavy on the meat and strikingly delicious. My colleague said something that made me pause for the rest of the day and the following night, "it sounds like you don't want to be a vegetarian."
Wow. Did I? Do I? The answer surprised me. No. Not if being a vegetarian means that people will be watching to see if I eat meat. Not if it means that I cannot enjoy local cuisine when I travel in the world. Not if it means that I have to alienate people that I love. Do I want to eat a lot of meat? Do I want to eat meat with every meal, daily, regularly? The answers to these are also no. It comes back to my not wanting to be labelled. I mostly want to eat as a vegetarian, I even prefer to often eat as a vegan, because if I'm really concerned about animal welfare/rights, I think the egg and dairy industries are oftentimes just as bad if not worse than the meat industry. But I also want to be able to take a bite of something. I also want to be able to enjoy the community and ceremony of eating meat occasionally. I mostly want to be able to be open to experiencing those things that I choose to experience without being punished or judged for them.
So, I'm setting my intention to not notice what other people eat so as to set the example for what I want. Maybe that means I'll have to ask people "how" they are eating on a regular basis, but this is no more than the same negotiation that is required when any group of people are trying to pick a restaurant or plan a shared menu. But I'm not going to notice - I'm going to let other people be responsible for their own choices and their own labels. And I'm going to reject any label and eat what I choose. And if/when I have children, I will, with my partner, decide based on what I think is healthy and good for them, how they shall eat until they are old enough to make those choices for themselves.
I guess it's not really a rule or a motto, but whatever. It's just a good feeling to stop feeling like I have to lie or hide who I am, what I want, the choices I make and the things that I really like. I hope that others can experience this feeling someday, too.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It's a "you had to be there" moment when there is: in my head. Like when I was trying to remember the name of the islands my friend recently visiting and all I could come up with was Corks and Turkeys when the name of the island was actually Turks and Caicos.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Well, the box the food saver came in was huge, so it sat under the console table in my dining room for 6 months. I finally opened it and am blown away - it's so cool. It came with two canisters that it vacuum seals and a extra lid that can be used on any jar! I think I like those better than the sealing bags, but as the produce starts coming in, I think I'm going to enjoy the bags too. A is really excited, because there are accessories we can get to speed marinading and to vacuum wine bottles.
After Christmas, I was really sad that I had only gotten those two gifts and especially since I had thought I was getting at least one other gift from another person**. I tried not to be sad - I know I'm an adult - but I was sad and cried a lot that I hadn't gotten that third gift. The UNI has offered me a fresh perspective on gratitude*** this week with the opening of my second gift and that's just this: be grateful. I am grateful that I got ANY gifts for Christmas, I am grateful that the gifts I got are really thoughtful and came from the heart. I am grateful that the gifts I got are things that I LOVE. And I am grateful, most of all, to have these two thoughtful-gift-giving women in my life, who's greatest gifts aren't material at all. Thanks, E. Thanks, mom. Love you both.
*I just remembered that I also got a few gifts at Christmas parties, including a wine journal (not yet used as I don't really drink much), some coasters and candles (also not used because A and I don't have coffee tables), and a rocket blender which I have used and LOVE. So, even more to be grateful for!
**A and I agreed not to exchange gifts since we had taken a cruise vacation and bought a bunch of stuff for the house on Black Friday, but I guess I still thought he'd get me at least a little something. Guess that'll teach me to agree to a "no gifts" holiday!
***This fresh perspective has been brewing for some time. During my DC trip, I talked to one couple who doesn't give each gifts at all, not for Christmas or birthdays or ever. They just buy whatever they want/need and don't worry about gift-giving for each other. This is sacrilegious to me, who's love language is all about gifts, but it seems to work for them. And then this week, when A's mom was here for her birthday, I was surprised that her only gift and card were the things I purchased for her on my way home from work that day. Granted, A had just taken us all on vacation, but I was still surprised that my little gift was all she received.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
This doesn't mean that I am purely individualistic, but rather that I can no longer abide not taking care of my needs. No one else is doing it for me (nor should they). A long time ago, a devout Muslim friend asked me who should I love above all else. Wanting to impress him with my own spirituality and not even thinking about the question, I answered, "God." He corrected me and reminded me that one cannot love another, even God, without first loving oneself. I love myself, but like a lover you take for granted, I haven't been very loving with myself. So, I decided to make some changes, to think about what I really need and what I really want in making decisions, to let important self care aspects be just what I do, and to let myself shine.
Not sure how that's really been working out for me this week - it's definitely easier to pursue these changes in the regularity of a daily schedule, without guests, without extra lectures several evenings of the week and without financial concerns, but I think even the mindset has allowed me to be compassionate instead of resentful, resolute instead of aggressive and genuine in my emotional expression rather than fake with myself, my partner and those around me.
Let's see how we go with a new week coming on.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
In the meantime, I had the mac at the Full Sail brewery on the way home yesterday: C-
Watery cheese sauce, little flavor. The bread crumbs and crushed red pepper were good, but were just baked on the surface and that's about all this mac had to offer, a little surface flavor. The portion was plentiful, but it consisted mostly of cheap elbow noodles and said watery sauce. I've had better vegan mac and with this mac boasting 6 actual cheeses, I expected more. Maybe with enough flavorful beer, I would have enjoyed this more.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Lake Chelan was beautiful, I loved the town, loved our condo and think I could have had a wonderful time, but I will admit that it wasn't all flowers and candy. Every day my travelling companions found something to complain about:
- the weather sucks
- the weather is great - the weatherman sucks
- there's nothing to do here (despite a book with 101 things to do in Lake Chelan)
- if there was Internet, we'd be able to find things to do
- my back hurts, why am I sleeping on the hide a bed?
- stop offering me a real bed, of course I'll sleep on the hide a bed
- The Vogue - Internet cafe - good coffee, nice atmosphere, definitely a great community space
- The Bear Market - Natural foods market - great selection, reasonable prices
- The Bear Market Cafe - crepes! Need I say more? I will, though - these crepes are WONDERFUL! Go there! The crepes are fantastic and the guys working the cafe are super friendly. They even gave me the recipe so I can start making crepes at home!
- Blueberry Hills Farms - we had lunch here one day, but the real attraction is the pie! I don't even like pie, but the mixed berry pie was yummy!
- Tsillan Cellars Winery - I missed this, but everyone loved the winery and agreed it was the best one. Modelled after a 15th century Tuscan villa, the buildings and landscaping were gorgeous and the wine was the best. Based on the sample I tasted out for pizza, I'm inclined to agree - it's some of the best wine I've ever had.
- A great scenic drive thru Chelan Butte, which I also missed, but which was described to me in great detail and included amazing scenic vistas and even a ghost town.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings...