Monday, December 22, 2008

The Best Time to Do Anything...

...Is T-o-m-o-r-r-o-w, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow!

A short list of the things I have decided to do tomorrow:
1. Finish laundry - includes folding and putting away laundry currently in dryer; folding and putting away laundry that will be dry tomorrow; putting away laundry that was folded approximately 2 weeks ago but which remains in basket. If time, I may even put one (or dare I say two?) more loads in the washer.
2. Empty dishwasher which was run three days ago.
3. Put dishes which have piled up outside of dishwasher into emptied dishwasher. If time, wash evil, non-dishwasher safe dishes.
4. The litter box. For the love of God, the litter box.
5. Wrap gift for grandmother, which finally arrived today thanks to snafu with online ordering. (Phew, I had given up on that!)
6. Purchase (and wrap?) three more Christmas gifts.
7. Catch up on Mel and Danielle's blogs. (Sorry, girls. I been busy. Luckily, I see that you are too, only you have better excuses for not blogging, like "coaching speech team", and "rehearsing/performing play". I have: "playing Wii", and "sleeping".)

That's doable, right?

Things I have decided to do tonight:
1. Write blog.
2. Transfer wet laundry to dryer after removing (but not folding - that is for tomorrow!) laundry. Mind you, this is strictly due to potential for stinkiness of wet laundry, and not due to actual desire to complete this task.
3. Read my book and turn in early.

(In my own defense: I went to my fifth and final Bikram session after work. And I have a urinary tract infection. Again.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Whopper or Big Mac?

As I typed my last blog entry, the television blared its familiar background noise in my general direction. Usually, my brain does not bother with the hassle of translating the sound waves into coherent language. However, one little tidbit of advertising made it through. This was the new "whopper virgin" commercial. For those of you who have not seen it, the basic premise is that people in third world countries taste both a Big Mac and a Whopper, and decide once and for all which is the better burger. These people, in theory, have never tried a hamburger before and are deemed "Whopper Virgins."

It turns out, like everything these days, that these commercials are offensive to a lot of people. There are numerous articles on the ole' int'net about how it is wrong to travel to underprivileged countries and exploit their poverty. I don't really see it that way because, despite the convincing disclaimer by Burger King that the people in the commercials are "not actors", I don't buy it for a second. It seems to me that if you feed non- burger eating people two burgers back to back, you better step back to avoid the inevitable barrage of regurgitated burger. Heck, I think I would puke if asked to eat a whopper and a big mac.

Incidentally, I am not certain which I would choose. The Whopper certainly has more substance, feels more like a meal. But the Big Mac taste is hard to find anywhere else. It is like comparing Honey Nut Cheerios to Lucky Charms. I like them both, but have had neither in years.

2 Out of 3 Ain't Bad

Flashback to three years ago:

My sister and I planned one day to go Christmas shopping. All. Day. "It will be FUN!", we said. "We can have lunch in the food court," we thought. "Before we start, we'll get coffee and bagels at Dunkin Donuts (and a few bags of coffee as gifts)," we multi-tasked. Did I mention that we planned to go all day?
Flash forward a few hours: Our backs breaking, feet aching, hungry due to inefficient price to portion ratios at food court, and we're just a tad exhausted and irritable. I am at Target, purchasing a white hoodie for our other sister when I realize there is a good sized hole near the neckline. "We better go back," said exhausted sister #1 as tears began to well up in her eyes. It was, of course, the last white hoodie on the rack. We had already been in line for half an hour. "Nah," I said, "She can exchange it at her Target." (I should mention, at this point, that after a nice sleep, I did go to another Target the next day where I exchanged the shirt myself.)

This was the last time I went Christmas shopping. Catalogs, how I love thee., you are my savior. Online, baby! It's where its at. I hopped on that train and never looked back.

Unfortunately, I discovered this weekend that just a click of a button can cost you. A friend sent a catalog for one of those Tupperware-like businesses a few months ago. This one specializes in dip mixes, spices, cake and bread mixes, and that sort of thing. Of course, I searched the catalog immediately, and promptly resolved to place an order - tomorrow. After about 60 tomorrows, we come to Saturday, when I sat down, credit card in hand, and made three orders:
1. I sent a friend a gift package, but registered my consultant as a random person instead of the girl who sent the catalog. I know these people work for commission. I do not know that my order has successfully been placed.
2. I sent my friend a second gift package, this time registered to the correct consultant.
3. I sent my friend a third package that is supposed to come to my address.

The moral of the story? It is good to be my friend!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Naughty or Nice

I read once that it takes 3 months to officially break a bad habit. So, when I began my weight loss endeavor, I thought if I could just get my act together for 3 months, I'd be set. It wasn't easy, but I think I did manage to nuke my naughties and turn them into nices. But old habits die hard. Seemingly without my notice, I've turned back into my old self. Luckily, my new self is smaller than my old self, but my new new self could end up looking like my old self if my new self doesn't do something soon. Last time, I tackled my bad habits one at a time. But this time, I'm going to stop being naughty, and go right to nice (maybe).

Naughty: My daily office job is stimulating to the mind, but not to the body. When filling out a survey online, I was forced to admit that my life is "sedentary". I sit in a chair. All. Day.
Nice: The one time of day I can change this is lunch. I get one hour to do what I want. My old self generally chose to spend this time eating burritos. My new self walks at least a half hour at lunch each day (with the occasional burrito mixed in). Hey, I'm no saint.

Naughty: I often stay at work late for no good reason. Even when I have no deadline to meet, I find myself looking at the clock to find that it is 5:30. I then look to the gym schedule and see that I have missed a class, and I think I will need to go home before the next one. Right.
Nice: Priority #1 after office hours are over is M-E. I actually enjoy the classes at the gym, so all I need to do is watch the clock and make it there in time (at least three times a week).

Naughty: I drink too much dang coffee.
Nice: Umm...I still drink too much dang coffee. But at least I can limit it to one cup a day.

Naughty: I eat too much! I can't help it! I love cookies. I love cake. I love pizza and free lunch turkey wraps and brownies and nachos and beer.
Nice: Duh! I have to eat less. The spreadsheet worked well, but it is structured and time-consuming. Over time, I've learned to assess calories fairly accurately, so I do need to continue to count. Sigh. I can eat cookies, but not every day. So sad.

Naughty: Parties. All-you-can-eat buffets. Happy hours.
Nice: I don't know how to control myself in these situations. I have heard that chewing gum, or eating a good-sized "snack" like a bowl of cereal before the party are ways to cope with temptation. If this was just once in a while, I would say "screw it" and enjoy myself. But this is at least once a week. I do not wish to choose between my social life and my waistline.

Well 4 out of 5 isn't bad.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Home Cookin'

The directions on the box: Bring water and milk to a boil; add rice and seasoning packet. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently.

My (apparent) interpretation: Bring water and milk to a boil over front burner; add rice and seasoning packet. Turn rear burner to low and watch as rice boils rapidly. Wonder if rice has some sort of "rapid boil additive" and resolve to ask food scientist brother if such a thing exists and, if so, how it works. Stir rarely.

Part 2 of the directions: Remove rice from burner and keep warm. Saute garlic and red pepper in oil for 30 seconds; add spinach and rice. Cook and stir for 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk 10 eggs with milk. Add to rice mixture and stir quickly to distribute ingredients. Reduce heat to low and cover for 30-35 minutes. Top with cheese and tomato slices.

My interpretation: Remove rice from burner and place cheapo plastic spoon over piping hot pan. Saute garlic for 10 seconds, then open wrong side of container and dump at least 2 times the recommended amount of red pepper flakes into oil. Saute for 1-2 minutes until garlic is brown and sticking to pan. Add spinach and rice. Use slightly soft cheapo plastic spoon to scrape rice from edges. Read directions approximately 4 times to guarantee that yes, it does indeed require 10 eggs. Beat eggs with milk, add to rice and spinach. Reduce heat on correct burner and set timer. Before retiring to play Wii, put remaining eggs into specially designed refrigerator door holder, and be sure to drop one of them under the fridge. Use dustpan to scrape raw egg from under fridge, and wipe up remaining goo using kitchen cleaner. Retire (finally) to Wii game, but be sure to ignore timer in favor of winning game. Find pause button after pressing every possible button on controller, and return to kitchen where delicious, slightly burnt frittata sits in pan, complete with slightly chewy rice and trace amounts of plastic/teflon.

Skip the cheese since you forgot to shred it. Ditto on the tomato, since you forgot to buy one at the store.

Nothin' beats home cookin' eh?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Be Thankful

Be thankful for your health. Be thankful for your wealth. Be thankful for the things that are good in your life, and try to change the things that are not. I like to keep my blog light, airy, even jolly. But my life is not actually consumed by thoughts of baked goods (usually). I occasionally have serious thoughts. Lately, my thoughts are of two very inspirational people who lost their health, but not their spirit:

One – my grandfather, who died of cancer in 2002. I stopped by to visit him much more often as he neared the end, knowing that I would not have the chance for much longer. Many of my visits coincided with a visit from a physical therapist who worked with Papa regularly to help him maintain muscle movement. I think back on these times, as Papa sat in a chair and struggled to lift his leg to knee height. Sweat poured from his face as he counted the repetitions with a controlled breath. Part of me cries when I remember this, and part of me rejoices. He never gave up on life, even when the disease caused him extreme weakness and pain.

Two – Adam’s step father, who went to a Steeler’s game two weeks ago and was bumped by someone as he attempted to find his seat. He lost his balance and fell face first to land about three rows below. He was paralyzed at first, but after a few days, he was able to wiggle a big toe. Now, he is in a rehabilitation hospital. He has re-learned to dress himself, to eat with a spoon and fork, and to do countless other mundane movements which we take for granted on a regular basis. He has not yet mastered walking, but he related a tale in which he struggled for a half an hour to open a carton of milk. Eventually, he drank that milk. He is very proud to say that the carton did not win.

No matter how bad my day is, I am thankful for my health. I went to the gym yesterday and worked hard, even when I got tired, and I counted out the reps with sweat pouring down my face. My mentors are maybe not so lucky. But they sure are inspirational.