March 26, 2010

Hockey!


A loooooong, long time ago (going on 10 years, actually), T and I went on our first date. To a hockey game.

I highly recommend attending a sporting event on a first or second date, actually; you get to sit close, but not too close, and there's enough going on that you don't have to talk CONSTANTLY to fill the silence, but it's not like a movie where you can't say ANYTHING. Although, there is the problem of the Jumbotron.

When there's a lull in the action, the SUPER fun and original audio/visual folks at the arenas enjoy panning the crowds so folks can see themselves on the Jumbotron and act all embarrassed at first before jumping up and down like total lunatics and doing dance moves they would never, ever do under normal circumstances.

On the night of our first date, they kept doing this SUPER fun and original bit to the tune of the at-the-time new Faith Hill song "This Kiss." They'd show a couple onscreen, and then everyone would cheer until the couple kissed. If they didn't kiss, everyone would boo. (There's a metaphor for life in there somewhere.)

Anyway, years later we both revealed to one another than we were each separately STRICKEN WITH TERROR at the thought that we would be forced to either A) kiss on our first-ever date (ack!) or B) have to deal with being booed on our first date, AND C) probably remembering the insanely awkward experience every time we kissed thereafter.

Thankfully, the hockey gods smiled upon us, and we proceeded unscathed into our relationship. It's kind of scary to think that the last 10 years of my life could have been vastly different but for the whims of a really bored cameraman.

Last night, we got to relive the whole thing. Thankfully, we again emerged unscathed (we're down with the kissing, but not so much the kissing on a 50-foot screen). Our awesome friends/neighbors gave T tickets to see his beloved Chicago Blackhawks play the Columbus Blue Jackets for his birthday (not to mention concession stand vouchers...hot dog...drooooooollll); the photo above is of our awesome seats, right behind one of the goals.

The evening started out very well. We were in a whole section full of Blackhawks fans (in fact, there seemed to be ONLY Blackhawks fans everywhere we looked...), and the nine or so people directly in front of us were a fun bunch. They brought a bunch of huge letters spelling out "BLACKHAWKS" that they planned to flaunt every time Chicago scored:

Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of Chicago scoring going on. But we were still entertained when the smallest person in their entire group ate the largest burger I've ever seen (it looks a lot smaller in this photo; it was hugondous) (yes, that is a word; I declare it so):


As I've mentioned in the past, I'm not much of a sports person (like, at ALL), but I do enjoy a good live event, particularly if the team I'm rooting for is winning.

Alas.

Here's a picture of the score at the end of the second period:


(Sorry about the weird lighting; my phone camera saw all the arena lights and started rocking back and forth and talking to itself.)

(Also, if you look at the Jumbotron screen, an announcer is interviewing a man dressed up as mustard. He and two other men dressed up as ketchup and relish, respectively, raced around some orange cones during one of the breaks and competed to see who could be the first to score a goal. Apparently mustard won.)

By the time we left, the score was 8-2, Blue Jackets. Amazingly, though, my sports-obsessed husband was still in good spirits, and even swung my hand around as we were walking through the rain (and, later, SNOW) to our car. I think he's growing.

March 24, 2010

Sporadic


"It means 'once in awhile.' Try using it in a sentence today."

Ah, Clueless. You made 1995 so much more bearable.

So, I just thought I'd post a sad warning (well...another one) that my postings on this blog are going to indeed be somewhat sporadic for the foreseeable future.

My goal in starting this blog was to post something every day or at least every other day. Alas, silly things like "work" and "life" keep getting in the way.

In the meantime, please be assured that I WILL keep reading all of your lovely blogs, and dreaming of the day when time won't be at quite so much of a premium. All I ask, dear friends, is that you please don't give up on me completely.

I'll leave you today with this image, which inexplicably turned up when I Google-imaged the word "sporadic." It's the creepiest goat face I ever did see, and I'm fairly certain I'll have nightmares about it tonight:




March 22, 2010

Even on a Monday...


...a couple of things are still making me smile.
  1. Although my flowerbeds (and yard) are full of mud, #1) it isn't snow, and #2) green things are starting to spring up! For the second year in a row! Totally contrary to my inability to keep green things alive! Nature and I are finally allies! (This makes up a little for the avocado/sprouts debacle last week. A little.)

  2. Leftovers rock. I could probably eat this leftover asparagus (with garlic -- YUM) for the rest of my life without stopping. I don't care if I'm smelly until the end of time; it is tasty.

  3. Our lovely neighbors brought me a six-pack of my favorite Snapple beverage yesterday. In addition to enjoying its lovely flavor, I also enjoy the little factoids Snapple prints on the inside of each cap.

  4. A duck has three eyelids, BTW.

  5. Also, Barbie has a full name. It's Barbara Millicent Roberts. You are welcome.

  6. I have been eating everything in sight for a solid week, not getting enough sleep and not working out. It's life; it happens; I was prepared for the imminent weight gain and ready to work it all off again. But somehow, I've only gained one pound. Still not great, but wow, could it have been worse. I have developed a really unhealthy relationship with potatoes, and it's time to break up. Or at least start seeing other, non-starchy vegetables.

  7. Everyone is talking about March Madness. This is the first year in a long time that I've done a bracket, and I like actually having a (somewhat-informed) opinion about something sports-related. It feels like visiting another planet.

  8. My husband is cute. More on that tomorrow.

  9. ASPARAGUS!

March 18, 2010

Nature wants me to stay fat.



In an effort to help along this whole weight-loss thing (particularly since I can't seem to get on track with the working out -- although I'm not giving up), I've been really trying to eat well.

So, I've been eating good food, food that's high in fiber, fresh food whenever possible, lots of fruits and vegetables. But it has to taste good, too, or I just won't eat it. Life's too short, etc.

I also have the added obstacle of needing to eat lunch and dinner at work three times a week (my one-hour commute puts me home too late to eat dinner). So it has to be something either warm-up-able in the microwave, or something that's good cold.

Last weekend I was cruising our grocery store and happened upon a giant pile of avocados. I HEART me some avocados. And I suddenly thought: These would be perfect. I'll get a loaf of fibertastic bread, some sprouts and some avocados, and I'll have myself the healthiest sandwich this side of the Mississip'.

Yesterday, I assembled said sandwich for the first time. Ohhhh, it was heavenly. The avocado was juuuuust the right amount of ripe: slightly squishy but not slimy. And it went so perfectly with the bread (something called Double Fiber; you're welcome, colon!) and the sprouts that my mouth was watering in between bites. SO GOOD. (Just looking at the picture at the top of this post, I want another one RIGHT NOW.)

Then, about 15 minutes after I'd finished it, I started feeling weird. I started coughing a little, and I realized my throat was scratchy. I had that weird, itchy feeling I get when I'm having an allergic reaction to...oh, crap.

I'm allergic to a LOT of plants. Like, not anaphylactic shock allergic, but itchy skin, watery eyes, nose burning allergic. Grass, trees, most outdoor plants. As I've grown older, this has started expanding to include a lot of raw vegetables, too.

And, now, apparently it also includes raw avocados.

Really, nature? Really? Do we really have to go through this again, like that time with the raw carrots when I nearly clawed the back of my throat just to stop it from scratching and got that awful pit in my stomach? Why are you doing this to me? And I thought avocados were a FRUIT, anyway. What is up with that?!

Ugh.

Of course, this never happens when I eat guacamole. Only the healthier fresh avocados.

See? Nature wants me to stay fat. Maybe she's freaking out because she made it so cold in Florida that they can't grow tomatoes and oranges or whatever, so she's trying to keep us addicted to fried things and trans fats so she can restock her wares or something. Well, I don't care. Scratchy throat be damned, I'm eating the avocados. Eat THAT, NATURE.

On a side note, while I was searching Google Images for that lovely beauty shot of the avocados, I saw a few glorious pictures of avocado trees. TREES FILLED WITH AVOCADOS. Somehow, I have never once envisoned where avocados come from, and never even thought about the existence of avocado trees. Can you imagine walking out into your yard and just grabbing an avocado anytime you want?! We have a pear tree, but you can only eat so many pears. But according to Wikipedia, avocado trees can only grow in tropical-type climates. Of which Ohio is decidedly NOT one. Boo.

Google Images also had this picture of avocado milk, which intrigued me -- although I'm not sure why it's garnished with a dill pickle slice:


And, this one made me laugh. I didn't see it in context, but I'm assuming it's referring to the debate about all the "good fat" in avocados. Heehee.

March 16, 2010

Inner monologue

I have so much work to do.

Work is boring. Blog. You know you want to!

But...this is my job. Won't people notice if I just...stop working?

Are you kidding? Did you see Office Space? That dude stopped working and GOT PROMOTED.

True. But then that squirrelly guy burned the building down and the main guy ended up working in construction. Do I seem like the construction type?

You're forgetting that the guy was HAPPY doing construction. And you once had a job building furniture. How is that different?

Are you forgetting how bad I was at making furniture? By the time I quit, they wouldn't even let me use a hammer. And then they threw a party because they knew for sure OSHA wasn't going to sue them when I inevitably cut my hand off with the circular saw.

OK, now you're going off the deep end. No one is making you work construction. Just write one little blog on your lunch break. No one will even notice! And if you have to do it during a conference call, well...have you ever really GOTTEN something out of one of those calls, anyway?

Look, that would just be totally unprofess--

--OK, seriously. Now you're just making me angry. It's been five days. I know you went out of town, I know you have all this "work" to do, but you need to quit being a pansy. Are you going to blog or not?

...Yes ma'am.

(I'm trying to get back in the groove, but it may be awhile before I can be "regular" on here. (Ew.) I'm sure it won't be too long. As you can see, my inner voice is extremely bossy.)

March 11, 2010

Heehee

This made me laugh this morning:


I'm a nerd.
We're heading to Virginia after work today to visit T's family (with whom we still haven't exchanged Christmas presents! Stupid snow.), so have a great weekend, y'all!

March 10, 2010

Et tu, Corey Haim?


Aw. Apparently Corey Haim died of an overdose (possibly accidental) this morning.

I was in luuuuurve with Corey (clearly the superior of the two Coreys) back in the '80s. Oddly, my love began after I saw Lucas, in which he plays a geeky little kid, and not the much, much cooler License to Drive (speaking of movies that don't hold up).

I know he had a history of substance abuse, but it's just so sad to keep seeing people die this way. Especially this young (he was just 38). RIP, cuter Corey.

I bet reporters were FROTHING to get to Corey Feldman for a response. Vultures.

Well, this week has been a disaster.


Of epic proportions.

Between no sleep and too much work and feeling yucky and no time, the excuses flowed like the liters of water I was supposed to drink but didn't.

I managed to sneak in a few decent workouts, and I spent an hour or so walking dogs at the dog shelter this weekend, so it wasn't a total wash. But I'm holding steady at my weight-loss plateau, and this week doesn't promise to be much better. We're going to visit the in-laws this weekend, and my mother-in-law (much as I love her) doesn't tend to tailor her cooking based on calories.

I'm taking comfort in the fact that I'm not gaining anything back, and that tomorrow is another day (and next week is another week). :) No self-flagellation!

So instead of continuing to gripe, I'll instead share two of my favorite recipes from CookingLight.com, a site on which I rely heavily for finding food that is tasty and easy to make, and that won't make my backside look like the broadside of a barn.

I make both of these dishes often; they both taste GREAT and don't seem like "diet food" whatsoever. Which is key, because otherwise I wouldn't eat them. And, they're super-easy, which is essential for kitchen-challenged me.

(Side note: At first glance, the chicken seems like it calls for a ton of ingredients, but at least 75% of them are common spices you probably already have. It's sooo easy. And only 321 calories per serving! Oh, and the potatoes are only 170 calories. LOVE.)



Ingredients

2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking spray
6 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Preparation

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.
Makes 4 servings




Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
7 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
3 tablespoons minced chives
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, garlic, and potatoes in a roasting pan or jelly-roll pan; toss well to coat. Bake at 400° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until tender, stirring after 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
  3. Squeeze garlic cloves to extract pulp. Discard skins. Combine garlic pulp, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, chives, vinegar, and mustard in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add potatoes to bowl; toss well to coat.

Makes 8 servings

March 8, 2010

Next on my list of people I want to smack...


...Antonio Cromartie, who's about to start playing for the New York Jets this season.

Let me clarify: Much to the everlasting chagrin of my husband (who identifies with the origin of the word "fan"--fanatic--when it comes to the sport), I couldn't possibly care less about football. I don't watch it, don't care about it, don't care if it's college or pro -- DON'T CARE.

But I do care about stupid people. Or I'm bothered by them, at least, which translates into...hateful caring? I don't know.

ANYWAY.

Antonio Cromartie was playing for the San Diego Chargers (the who in the where now?) and getting a lot of money to do it. He's 25 years old, he's in the midst of a decent career, life is good.

His response to all this good fortune? To have SEVEN kids with SIX different women in FIVE different states. (Did I mention he was 25???) Oh, and to be late on his child support payments. Even though he makes nearly $2 million per year. So, when the Jets traded for him, they fronted him $500K so he could tamp down the baby mama drama and go into the football season with a clear head. (See story here, where the author pretty much says everything I'm thinking.)

I know nothing about this man. I know nothing about his lifestyle or his other fiscal commitments. But it seems to me that if you're going to be irresponsible enough to spread yourself this thin (ew), you then have to man up and make your payments on time. Even with seven kids and six baby mamas, $2 mil should be enough. Make it work.

Oh, and then allow us to tell you about this thing called CONTRACEPTION. And its wiser, older sister named KEEPING IT IN YOUR PANTS.

(Smack!)

March 6, 2010

Another Happy Birthday!


Happy birthday to my lovely friend, K! You are such a wonderful spirit (a kindred one, for me), and I just adore you.
So proud to call you my friend, and my honorary little sister. :) I hope you have a WONDERFUL day!

March 5, 2010

Happy Birthday!



Happy birthday to my absolutely amazing husband, T. You're the best husband, the best friend I could ask for. You make this whole "life" experience complete. And the fact that you can make me laugh until I cry is just icing on the cake. I hope this is your best birthday yet!

I love you to pieces. :)

March 4, 2010

By popular demand...

(Oh, my. I'm venturing into a new realm of sharing on this here blog. Be gentle, won't you, my bloggy friends?)

Once upon a time, I was 15 years old. It was 1992. Plaid was the height of fashion. I had just graduated from New Kids on the Block to Nirvana.

Like many teenage girls, I occasionally succumbed to peer pressure. Fortunately, I never got into any real trouble. I didn't drink, or smoke, or do drugs, or behave questionably (for the most part) with boys.

Unfortunately, I did allow myself to be talked into driving to the mall with my best friend and forking over $40 for the privilege of allowing a "stylist" (heavy on the quotation marks) to do questionable things to my hair and face and swaddle me in a purple feather boa.

Oh, and knowingly allowing someone to capture photographic evidence of these atrocities.

I'm trying to remember when it actually started, but at some point in the late '80s/early '90s, Glamour Shots became all the rage in our little corner of the world. Actual Glamour Shot stores popped up in our malls. Everyone was talking about it. They made you look like a MOVIE STAR. They did your hair and makeup, gave you cool clothes to wear, did a REAL photo shoot. It was just like being famous. You could look like anyone or anything you wanted.

For a 15-year-old me, this was like taking crack, wrapping it in promised coolness, dipping it in chocolate and telling me it came with Joey McIntyre's personal stamp of approval. (Oh, don't judge me. Try to pretend you didn't just sing a couple bars of "Please Don't Go, Girl" in your head. TRY IT.)

So my best friend, P, and I knew we had to do it. Forget the expense, forget the fact that we had absolutely no idea what we were going to do with the pictures once we got them. P had just gotten her license, and we were headed.to.the.mall.

How was the experience? Let's take this step by step, so as not to miss a moment of the humiliation, shall we?

The hair.
Like the majority of girls my age back in the mid-90s, I had longish hair that was all one length. I'd dutifully grown out my bangs (once the giant hairsprayed-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life poof had decidedly gone the way of the dodo) and my hair was loose and flat like a good little flannel-wearing grunge wannabe.


This obviously was unacceptable for the Purveyors of Glamour (and yes, it has to be capitalized) at the Belden Village Mall. After clucking her tongue and shaking her head at me, she spent a half-hour with hot rollers and the tri-county area's supply of Aqua Net and gave me the biggest, poofiest hair this side of Suzanne Sugarbaker. I couldn't get over how large it was. And how much it didn't move.

The makeup.
Aside from some misguided endeavors in second grade (a story for another time), I've never really worn much makeup. My eyes are my best feature, so I tend to play those up and leave the rest alone.


This approach, again, was completely unacceptable for what I was about to do. The "artists" at Glamour Shots looked at me pityingly and then troweled on enough orangey foundation to make the Jersey Shore cast say, "Wow, that's too tan, yo." And when she was done with my face, she proceeded to shovel it onto my neck, shoulders and chest, too.

It was around this time that I began to wonder if these people were really licensed in Glamour, or if this was just a giant scam to get money from easily-led, insecure high school girls.

The clothes.
At this point, I realized this was just a giant scam to get money from easily-led, insecure high school girls. The "costumes"? Were made up of feather boas, gigantic accessories and dickies. Nothing extended lower than the midpoint of my boobs. The reason for this was twofold: first, they only shot us from the neck up, so why bother spending money on clothes you'd never see? And second, everything had to either drape around our shoulders or clasp behind our necks, because OUR HAIR WAS SO VERY LARGE.


Everything was hideous. Ev.ery.thing. I ended up choosing what I thought were the lesser of the many, many evils, which apparently included white gloves, a feather boa and (in a picture I can't find anymore) a rhinestone-studded cowboy hat. Oh, I wish I were kidding. And because nothing came below our shoulders, we were given potato-sack-like black smocks to cover our bits and pieces.

Neck up: About to attend an event on the set of Dynasty. Neck down: Ready for a gynocologist appointment.

We looked insane.

The photo shoot.
I'm assuming most of you have used a point-and-click camera before, right? Before the advent of digital cameras? If so, congratulations! You are qualified to be a Glamour Shot photographer. I suppose it's possible that a few of them were actually professional photographers. I don't want to suggest that Glamour Shots just hired schmucks off the street, taught them how to say, "Now, look sexy for me!" in 100 different ways and sent them on their merry way. I'm just saying that's how it seemed.


In all fairness, it can't have been easy to try to coax sexiness out of most 15-year-olds. Especially ones wearing smocks and dickies, and enough Cover Girl to flood a football field.

However. The only direction consisted of the aforementioned plea for sexiness and "Turn your head. No, more. Like, a lot more. No, more than that. Your chin should be right next to your shoulder blade. I know it feels like your neck is going to snap, but trust me, this is going to look amazing. Show me sexy!"

When it was all over, and I was clothed in something not designed for life-size baby dolls, and my hair and face had been returned to their normal non-poofy and non-orange states, and I no longer looked like I belonged on an '80s-era soap opera, I was left with this to remember the experience by:



(Please note the dead-eyed stare, as if I have lost the will to live.)

Tell me that isn't the sexiest 15-year-old you've ever seen?

Actually, please, please don't.

(If you have your own Glamour Shots--and/or stories of getting them done--I think it's only right you should share them. Solidarity in fake sexiness, and all that.)

March 2, 2010

The lowest common denominator


NBC 4 out of Columbus has a fabulous tagline for their daily newscasts:

NBC 4: Where Accuracy Matters!

Call me crazy, but shouldn't "accuracy" be, like, the baseline requirement for news?

What taglines didn't make the cut:

  • NBC 4: The stuff we say is less wrong than other news programs!

  • NBC 4: Our anchors may be ugly, but at least the facts are mostly correct!

  • NBC 4: Our newscasts are dry and boring as day-old toast, but we hardly ever make mistakes! Probably!

or:

  • NBC 4: We make just as many mistakes as everyone else, but we're the only ones who feel bad about it!

Am I crazy? It just seems like such a weird thing to be proud of. If accuracy doesn't matter to you, I don't think you should be doing the news.

I mean, my 18-month-old niece could do a newscast and claim that she cares about accuracy, even though she can't even say "accuracy." Or see over the newsdesk. But her reports about the traffic conditions in the living room (not to mention her Cheerios: Exposed! segment) would be much more relevant than anything the news generally has to offer.

March 1, 2010

What haunts me at 6 a.m.


Week One, complete!

This is my elliptical screen. It stares me in the face every time I work out.

It's starting to haunt my dreams.

For the last month or so, I've been trying to do this "Hills" program as much as possible. (Not to be confused with The Hills; although I'm pretty sure I could get a decent workout smacking Heidi Montag in the face, watching her fake lips rattle around and then kicking her in the shins, which are probably also fake.) I go for 30 minutes, and the difficulty goes from 2 to 6 to 10 to 2, over and over and over. And to make sure I'm not totally slacking, I set speed limits for myself at each level. It seriously kicks my butt.

I do try to change up my workout as much as I can. We have a ridiculous amount of workout equipment in our basement, so it's pretty easy to switch it up when I'm so inclined.

At last count, we have:
  • An elliptical
  • An exercise bike (with iPod port; handy since neither of us has an iPod)
  • A weight bench with barbell and removable weights
  • A rowing machine (that works pretty well, considering I paid $7 for it)
  • A free-standing heavy bag and boxing gloves (a very healthy way to work out feelings of wanting to punch your spouse, not that that EVER happens to me)
  • Exercise bands (with accompanying DVD)
  • A Bender Ball*
  • A step (you know, in case I want to make up my own step aerobics routine)
  • Free weights (fives, eights and fifteens)
  • Approximately 500 workout DVDs (everything from Pilates to yoga to Jane Fonda-style aerobics from the '80s)

*As a side note, according to this, the Bender Ball is 408% more effective than a regular-sized exercise ball. I find that both random and suspect. Exactly how do you arrive at such a humongus and yet specific percentage? I want to see some research data.

So, with all that crap in our basement, losing weight should be a breeze! You would think.

In all fairness, I've done much better this week. Monday through Thursday I dutifully woke up early and worked out 30-60 minutes each day, Friday I skipped because I got zero sleep the night before, Saturday I walked dogs for a few hours at the dog shelter, and Sunday I skipped because, well, I wanted to.

I broke through my latest plateau, albeit only by a pound and a half. But I still feel pretty darn good about this week. I'm not gaining anything back, and I'm viewing this week as a springboard to hopefully really making a dent in that plateau next week.

Now if I can just get a handle on my carb obsession. I'm assuming this has something to do with my body's natural instinct to pack on padding just in case I get stranded in a snowbank and am forced to live off my body fat until a team of sled dogs can come rescue me. Right? Did I not mention I live in Little House on the Prairie? Oh, fine. I just like bread. And crackers. And Goldfish. Stupid tasty little things, marrying crackers and cheese in a tiny smiling fish shape. Maybe this week I'll see if they go well with apples.

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