Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Little Luxuries Get the Ax

Chef and I have slowly been taking inventory of what we've been spending lately. It's not that unusual seeing as most of the country is thinking of ways to save . Advertising lately is less about spending and more about products positioning themselves as the better buy.

What I realized is that our budget is kind of like my eating habits. When I don't keep track of it closely, it goes out of control until two weeks later I'm left with cupcake crumbs around me and a lighter wallet. We don't spend like crazy because we're not millionaires, but we also don't do things like vacation. So we've let our "little luxuries" take the place of big purchases, which is also a bad habit to get in to.

In an effort to cut, we've had rousing discussions around our cable bill. Mostly because Comcast sticks it to me by making ESPN only available on the full basic cable. I mean, it's one of the most popular channels and we can get everything BUT ESPN for $10 less a month, but they're milking suckers like me that don't want to miss Monday Night Football or who like to fall asleep watching SportCenter.

But the luxury that I thought was going to be the hardest was cutting our name brand groceries. Primarily the carbonated beverages. I'm a sucker for cold bubbles tickling my nose with a combination of sweet chemicals and deliciousness, but am mostly a sucker for the name brands. Since I've cut a lot of major sweets out of my diet, diet drinks are one of the things that satisfy my sweet tooth. But I digress.

In the swap, my favorite thing about buying store brand cola, aside from saving about $10 a week on drinks alone, are the names. I'm currently shopping Kroger so these are all Kroger brand, but if you have any suggestions, let me know. Here are some of my favorite new drinks and my opinion:
  • Diet Dr. K (aka Diet Dr. Pepper--all doctors hang out together): sweet, really sweet and lacking the pepper bite at the end, but not a bad substitute.
  • Diet Citrus Drop (ala Diet Mountain Dew?): this one doesn't really know what it's supposed to be. Is it Diet Mountaint Dew, Diet Sprite, Fresca? Or maybe it's like the diet cirtus version of a suicide that I used to get after softball games when I was younger. Nothing quenches the thirst of a kid who's just played sports like a little bit of RC, Big Red, Mello Yello, and Diet Rite mixed together.
  • Big K Oh! (aka Coke Zero): My favorite thing about this drink is the exclamation point at the end of it's name. It's so excited to be added to the line up. Honestly, it's the best drink that I've found so far, so I'm pretty excited about it too.

What's your favorite off-brand product?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Can it be Friday Now?

I know it's Sunday. I enjoy Sundays. Watching football all day and getting to see the Colts play because they or the Titans are on a featured game. Trust me I love Sundays.

But for about a month now I've had my weekends eaten up by work, personal obligations or both. Not like I have to bring home my computer kind of work, but a "I have to be there for three hours" kind of work.

Add to that sleepless nights (not in Seattle but the constant rain here the last week has made it feel like we're living a northwestern lifestyle) and you've got one mentally, physically and emotionally drained girl. . .with this Friday off. I'm not big on wishing my life away but i'm also not big on not recharging my batteries.

So, one more small event, several self-imposed deadlines, two other deadlines, and it's a long slumber on Friday morning for me!

Until then I'll enjoy the few hours of my Sunday night and root hard for my colts.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Well, it was Hell AND High Water...but mostly lightning

Woke up last night at 1 a.m. Then 2 a.m. Then 3 a.m. and then every 5 minutes until the alarm finally went off at 4 a.m.

The rain was loud, but it was the lightning that cancelled the Nashville Start! Heart Walk today for the first time in its 15+ year history. Big Bummer! I feel disappointed for our volunteers who put so much time and energy into raising funds and helping out. I feel really disappointed for our staff who devote nearly a year of their time to pull off the day.

That being said I'm tired of my feet being wet. And my legs. And the chill running through my body. Ready for a warm shower and some football this afternoon before trying again tomorrow to reach out to kids about health at the Vanderbilt We Care For Kids Day event. Mother Nature apparently cares more for kids than hearts, because it's supposed to be beautiful tomorrow for the first time in a week.

That being said the offer still remains for the person who puts me at or over the top on my Start! Heart Walk fundraising campaign will receive a copy of the picture of me in a bee suit like the one donned by the little girl in the old school Blind Melon "No Rain" music video. I'm only a little ways from my personal goal!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Come Hell or High Water. . .Or Perhaps Both

This Saturday is the Nashville Start! Heart Walk and why we're praying for some Blind Melon-type inspiration*, it might be baptism by nature. There are only two things worse than getting a downpour of cold rain while you're required to be outside:
  1. Not hitting my Heart Walk goal. I'm only about $75 dollars away now, so any help you give me would be very appreciated!! Please help me not have to walk with my head down in shame for an entire year.
  2. Having to wash cars outside in October. While my team (the fozzie bear inspired Walka Walkas) have admirably raised more than $3,400, it is still about $2,400 behind the Walker Nashville Rangers. So unless anyone wants to write me about a $5,000 check, it looks like I'm going to have a frozen booty as I'm scrubbing my co-workers tires. (I'll be sure to post pictures of it after I've recovered from the impending pneumonia).

Either way, if you live in Nashville, I highly encourage you to come out (rain or shine) and walk with us. We'll be on Vanderbilt's campus from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., walk at 10 and then have more fun until about noon. Honor loved ones who have passed away from heart disease, live with it now or just walk to prevent you from getting heart disease yourself!

Come say hi. I'll be in the Kid-tastic! Get Active area. See you Saturday!

*The Blind Melon reference is to their hit song "No Rain" which featured a girl dancing in a bee costume. I myself have pictures at about 6 years old in an identical bee costume for a dance recital. I will send a copy of the picture to the person who donates to put me over the top of my individual goal.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reasons Why I Want to Be Tina Fey

With 30 Rock taking home some well deserved Emmys again this year and prepping for the beginning of the new season, I thought it was about time that my love of Tina Fey --well, more than love--my wishing to be her--was laid out on the line.

There are, of course, the obvious reasons--money, fame, accolades. All of those are nice enough, but here are some of the real reasons that I wish I was Tina Fey:

  • She began as a writer and only then moved into acting, and I think most writers secretly wish they'd get tapped to come out from behind the page.
  • People who mistake her for Tammy Faye would respond that she looks so much younger without the make-up (side note: I saw a seemingly homeless man the other day wearing a t-shirt that read "I ran into Tammy Faye at the Mall" with what seemed to be make-up without the face below it. It tickled and saddened me to think that the man had the shirt so long it had become so outdated it was now kitchy.)
  • Despite the real story, she can still act like the scar on her face was from a cool gang fight.
  • I too have confidence that outweighs my looks and abilities-so well done to my parents too!
  • Working with Alec Baldwin would allow me to ask what he calls his daughter now that his voicemail to her is stuff of Internet folklore.
  • Lorne Michaels was seen with Paul McCartney and Jack Nicholson at a Yankees game sitting behind the backstop. Just to know someone who could afford to those seats would be nice.
  • I want to be my own description of hot (For example, "Tina Fey hot" refers to food that doesn't seem so hot in the beginning, but the longer it's with you, the hotter it gets -- that was coined by the "commissioner" of the competitive eating league and was just good enough to get stolen.)
  • If I could come up with just 1/10th of her one-liners, I could write the best stuff.

Those are just a few reasons for now, but my adoration continues. Not in a creepy stalker way, but more in the "admire you from afar" way that I became so familiar with in high school. If you want to adore Tina Fey (and you do whether you know it or not), I suggest picking up the first season of "30 Rock" and then going from there. You're welcome.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

You're Not Fooling Me, Wendy's!

Seeing as it's football season, I tend to see the same commercials several times a day. Lately, I've been seeing Wendy's talking about their 40th anniversary and how they're celebrating by offering us four all-time favorites for 99 cents each.

Look, I'm all for deals and steals, but don't try to tell me that a double stack for 99 cents is a huge deal. Because it's on the Super Value Menu for 99 cents every damn day whether it's Wendy's 40th anniversary or not. So are the sour cream and chive baked potato, chili and frosty that are being touted as HUGE deals.

I realize that other parts of the nation do not have the standard 99 cent Value menu that our Wendy's does, but I doubt that getting a 20 cent break (as I have yet to see a Wendy's Super Value menu at over $1.19 per item) is driving the customers out in droves.

So instead of selling me four items for exactly the same price as any other time of year, how about offering them at 40 cents each (makes sense with the 40th anniversary)? Too steep a price cut? Do it for a day or week or make it happen with the purchase of a regularly priced item. I know that people are looking for any deal possible, but seriously Wendy's, I love your square burgers and dipping fries into my Frosty, but nothing is less appetizing that eating a load of bull.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I run for myself, I walk for my breasticles

Last night I went for a run at 9 p.m. after a nice Greek dinner with my stepdad and his girlfriend. I realized at that time that I was running for myself. It felt good. I also realized that while it took several years for the message to sink in, I work at the American Heart Association for myself. It's my own health that I'm trying to inspire and support and that selfishly hearing so many people's stories are my own daily affirmations to keep going.

However, this morning I did something for my boobs. Well, not just my boobs, but everyone's boobs and mostly in memory of my mother. Some of you don't know that I lost my mother to breast cancer nine years ago when she was only 52. Every year my stepdad and I get together and walk the 5K in my hometown in Indiana in her honor. I pin on the neon pink "I Race in Memory Of" card where I've scrawled "My Mom- Terri Winternheimer."

The first year was awful. I couldn't even turn around without seeing someone I knew and I luckily had friends and family that helped me through it (Shout out to Manders and her family for helping me keep it together--also a pleasant memory of Jill Hoffman who sadly also passed away way too young from cancer).

This morning was better. Nine years and a little more hometown anonymity made things earier. While I listened with great intent, I couldn't let myself get too attached. I still have some anger that cancer got the best of my mom because few things did. I listened as the racers rejoiced with the 909 area survivors and thought "I wish there were 910." I don't know if I'll ever get over it. But what was also nice was that just before we crossed the finish line, a woman tapped me on my shoulder and said "I knew your mom. She was a great lady who's missed." It was a random act, but it touched me a lot.

It makes me wonder as I prepare for the Nashville Heart Walk next weekend how many of our walkers will reach out to each other and share a memory. While I'm deeply touched by the Komen Walk, there's nothing that has made my heart stop faster than seeing one and two year old child heart survivors. And so in the end, while I lace up my sneakers and run every day for my heart and for me, I'm glad that I took some time to walk for my breasticles. And I encourage everyone to find a cause they care for to experience a walk because if anything else, it lets you know that you aren't alone.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Where has the time gone?

Five years ago today I walked into MacDougal's Coop for some chicken and ended up finding the love of my life. Five years ago today I met Chef.

I don't think either of us really knew that we'd have had such an impact on each others' lives as we've had. I kind of laughed today as I got drenched with rain as it was raining that day as well. You'll have to excuse my mushy nostalgia as I'm rarely either mushy or nostalgic.

However, we met, we fought, we loved and five years later, we're still by each other sides. The things I appreciate most about him are that he supports and motivates me more than any person I've ever known. Whether it's in my career, in my weight loss goals or in my writing, he's always the positive influence that keeps me going. Tonight I told him how my mother used to be that role when I was younger and that I felt lost for several years without someone constantly urging me to do more and feeling their pride. When he stepped into that role, I never really comprehended how much I missed and needed it.

So for everything I've accomplished in the last five years and everything to come, I thank Chef. Without him, I'd be complacent. With him, I strive for more.

Thanks for indulging my ramblings of love. Now it's back to celebrating.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Trouble With Fantasy Football

In my fantasy, I have the entire roster of the Indianapolis Colts. Because in my head, win or lose, they are the players I'd like to have on the field (even Anthony Gonzalez who crumpled in the first quarter of the first game without being touched).

In reality, I get stuck with players that I loathe--at least one or two and am then forced to root for them despite my personal feelings. Putting personal feelings aside is something I have to do constantly in the work world. Having to do it in my leisure time is just toying with my natural instincts.

Last year, I was forced by the laws of my competitive nature to cheer on Tony Romo, Randy Moss, Jason Witten and the Baltimore Ravens defense even though I think Romo can't perform in the clutch, Moss is an egomaniacal selfish receiver, Witten is a Cowboy (enough said) and the Ravens defense has Ray Lewis.
This year my main point of contention is Phillip Rivers. He's known for being a hot-head, he's always trash talking, and he beat the Colts in the play offs last year. Is there anything else that needs to be said? The dude gets on my last nerve and now I have to depend on him to anchor my team or be reduced to the depths of last place. It's playing my real life convictions against my fantasy one. It's like having to kill a friend in an online game to get ahead.

At what point does my loyalty come into question? Is it when the Colts play the Chargers or only if they're both in contention for a wild card play off spot? So many questions. It keeps me up at night. A new thing to add to the list.

Monday, September 14, 2009

You Know the Economy's Bad . . .

When one of the only two things that are certain to happen in life feel the need to discount their services. It's death and taxes, right? Well, aparently there's worry around here that people will start lighting their loved ones afire in Hefty bags or digging plots in their back yards before shelling out the dough for funeral costs.

A bus bench advertisement for "Quality Caskets for Less" cries out desperation in my book. There aren't any less deaths because of the economy, right? It's a pretty steady demand industry.

And if any of you have been in the unfortunate situation where you've had to buy a casket, you know that they aren't angling to get you to buy the cheapest one. In fact, in my limited but scarring experience, the upsell factor was one that equated love with a high end casket and copper lined casing.

Funeral homes and their owners give me the creeps.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Things to Remember When I Visit Indiana

I left Friday afternoon to make the nearly 3 hour trek north to Indiana to visit family. For a long time, I used to say that I was going home for the weekend. However, despite my undying love for the Hoosier state and a good portion of the inhabitants in it, it is no longer "home." I think we all get to the point where we've made our own homes and it's weird, but a necessary part of life.

That being said I visited Indiana and made the rounds of most of the places I wanted to visit. I did not, however, get the stop to visit my Grandma Wrye on her birthday on Saturday like I had planned. For that, I say Grandma if you're reading this 1) Happy Birthday! I love you and 2) I'm coming back through next weekend and have made visiting you my top priority.

Okay, so back to the visit. I was going to Indiana to visit my Aunt from Florida (it's closer to Indiana than Florida, that's why) and each time I go back I pick up different things that I hadn't noticed before. This time I noticed the things in Indiana that I don't see a lot of anymore:
  • Lots of artificial flowers. I'm not talking the arrangements that can be mistaken for real, but those that have glue drops on them to look like water just hit the leaves. Or roses in a blue color not found in nature.
  • Wallpaper with border. I had it and loved it when I was growing up and I'm not opposed to wallpaper, but having stripped it and then repainted, I have taken a wallpaper celibacy vow. I know you feel me on this one. At least those of you who've steamed, stripped, sanded, spackled, primed and painted.
  • Mall rats. I don't hit the malls here a lot, but there were a LOT of them in da ville. However, with about 40% of the stores catering to the teen crowd (I never realized there were so many stores that sold cheaply made graphic printed clothes), I guess if you build it, it will come.
  • Lack of coffee options--there are a few places that serve good coffee (Briar and the Bean, anyone?), a few places that serve bad coffee (McDonald's) and about 2 that serve consistent coffee (Starbucks). None of which are open past 9 p.m.
  • Other than the obvious places (downtowns, previously designed subdivisions) there weren't a lot of sidewalks. This made running a new adventure in making sure I didn't get run over.
Despite all this, let's be clear: Indiana is not the middle of nowhere. People are pretty plugged in to the goings on of the world and then choose whether or not to care. And when it comes down to what's important to making a home, it really is the people. Which is really why I keep going back, the people. Not the ability to get a skinny caramel latte at midnight (although that is pretty nice).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Things That Keep Me Up At Night

Random thoughts that go through my head as I'm trying desperately to push them out and go to sleep:

  • Does Tom Brady think he out kicked his coverage by marrying Gisele Bundchen?
  • Where do companies that SPAM come up with the weird ass names they put in the "from" line?
  • Why don't I have an undying urge to have children? Or even any urge?
  • Why doesn't ProActiv asked Peyton Manning to be their newest spokesperson? He gets some raging Chin strap acne during season.
  • How would my 10 year old self respond if I told her what I'm doing as an adult?
  • Is there still hope for me and Matt Damon to get together. . .even if it's as some kickin' senior citizens?
  • If we died, how long would it take before Genghis and the cats ate us?
  • Why does my fantasy football team seem to suck so much more this year than last?
  • Is there a way to make Cake Batter ice cream at home?
  • How much do stand up comedians make per year? Could I get just as much emjoyment just being friends with a comedian?
  • Will midgets (aka Little People) ever be able to ride roller coasters? (Yes, even 10 years later, this one still crosses my mind).
  • Why can't I ever find figs at my grocery store when I want some bacon-wrapped figs?
  • Will I ever be able to afford Manolo Blahniks? If I am, will I ever be able to overcome the Midwestern sensibility instilled me in to actually pull the trigger and buy them?
  • What happened to the characters of "Gilmore Girls" after the series finale? (Sometimes I make up happy endings for them all in little vingiettes in my head. Sometimes the whole town of Stars Hollow goes up in smoke. )
  • At what age did I officially become old enough to hear the worries and problems of my elders? Can I go back before that time so I can live in oblivion again?
  • Whatever happened to . . . (fill in the blank with an old product like 'Get in Shape Girl' toys or an old acquaintance that resists facebook)?

So, that's a tiny peek into my world of crazy. Hope you enjoyed your time here. Come back again tomorrow night as I lay in bed and try to play out the entire Colts-Jaguars game before it happens.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I Want Your Opinion. . .

Which is scarier: Martha Stewart's Halloween cover of Jennifer Lopez? Didn't we get rid of both of these ladies with the Bush administration?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

At Least I don't Have a Year Old Rotting Pumpkin in My Living Room

When I was feeling sorry for myself in the past, I was able to pull myself out of the funk by qualifying my life. Thinking "At least I don't have cancer or heart disease or some other ailment that requires a national non-profit to combat" or "at least I still have a job" or "At least I have full use of all my limbs".

However, lately the old stand by qualifiers don't seem to be doing the trick. I think part of it is that we've all been held hostage by the economy for the last year (or more) and so we're suffering some kind of mass Stockholm Syndrome that makes us think that there's not a lot more that can be done that would be all that bad. Heck, the economy is now our friend. We should listen to it when it says take out a huge ass mortgage on a teacher's salary. Oh, wait that's how it lured us in the first place.

It wasn't until watching "Hoarders" last night as I was trying to fall asleep that I finally found a qualifier statement that I'm fairly certain will last me at least until the housing boom starts up again. The show is as creepy as it is great, but it made me realize that no matter how dirty my house gets and how cluttered it may be, there's never going to be a time where having a year old rotten pumpkin lying in the middle of my living room floor can be rationalized.

So, can't sleep?
No, but at least I don't have a year old rotten pumpkin on my living room floor.

Work suck?
Maybe, but it doesn't suck nearly as much as having a year old pumpkin lying on my living room floor.

Gain a pound?
Sure, it happens. But at least I didn't gain 5 pounds of rotting pumpkin mush on my living room floor.

Yep, I'm pretty sure this is going to last me a while. Thanks, "Hoarders".

Monday, September 07, 2009

I Don't Shower Alone Anymore

About two months ago, I got a Shower Buddy. I didn't know that I wanted one. Most showers are built for one because adding more than one would require another to stand in the cold by themselves and hope that the other tires of the massive amounts of hot water hitting them. Not that I know from experience. I'm just surmising from my single-serve shower time.

Nonetheless, I've gained a Shower Buddy. He's compact, furry and slightly horrified at the idea of getting wet, so really he's the perfect partner. I call him Doodles, which is short for Genghidoodle which is a bastardization of his given name: Genghis. As soon as he hears the water turn on, he does his little cat scamper from anywhere else in the apartment and jump between the fabric and plastic shower curtains.

Then Genghis goes to town. He sits on the tub ledge and proceeds to swat the liner curtain until he can get a mouthful. That's his time to sharpen his little kitten teeth and puncture holes in the liner. Then Genghis waits for the water to hit and tries to drink from the newly formed holes. The first time he did this, it was cute. It lost it's cuteness when he was pinning the shower curtain against my (or Chef's) leg and sinking his teeth into curtain and flesh.

It regained its cuteness when he corrected the biting behavior. However, now the curtain liner feels like a Braille version of Tale of Two Cities. I'm fairly certain I felt "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." the other day when I was wiping it down.

So it comes down to whether it's more cute to have a Shower Buddy or a fully functioning, non-leaking liner. And the winner is. . .

Shower Buddy, you're the one. You make Showers lots of fun. . .

Sunday, September 06, 2009

I Lost Weight so I Baked a Cake

This morning I hopped on the scale for the first time in a week or so. I hadn't been avoiding the scale, but I hadn't been trying real hard to lose weight in the last week. Ever since the contest ended, I was supposed to take a day or two to enjoy and then hop back on the horse. That hasn't been the case. I haven't gone hog wild, but I've only cut a few hundred calories a day from my diet instead of the usual 500-600.

That being said I got on the scale and saw that staring back at me was a number I have never seen as an adult. It was officially 0.8 pound lower than my lowest. Not a lot, granted, but hopefully enough to get over my self-sabotage.

To celebrate I got an instant craving for white cake and white icing. It was not enough to be denied. So, I did not partake in the ice cream at a social event and instead decided to spend $2.50 to bake a reduced sugar cake. After licking some batter, licking some frosting and have a small piece, I think that I'm over the cake thing. Tomorrow might be a different thing where I crave the sugar high, but either way.

After about 3 weeks, maybe I am getting motivated enough to bust through the plateau. Or maybe I am destined to eat cake batter off of the mixer attachment until I always remain at this weight. Either way, I'm happy.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

My Saturday Ritual

If I would've known myself two years (or more) ago, I probably would've not liked myself a whole lot. That's not true. I would've liked myself until I started mentioning calories and exercising and then in my head I would've thought "rub it in my face, bitch."

Mostly I say that because I've started getting up when Chef does on the weekends. He gets up at 4 or so to get into work (he preps until the restaurant opens). I get up and go running. That's right. Not only is my ass up before the sun, but it's up and running. I started doing this a few months ago when it got blazing hot and I was reluctant to run past sun up.

So now, I get up, run, feed the cats, empty litter boxes, take a shower and then curl back up into bed knowing that I have 4 more hours of sleep. Seriously, perhaps it's working against itself, but getting up and then knowing you have plenty more time to sleep is a luxury that I never knew existed. Sometimes I take advantage and sleep. Other times I take advantage and watch horrible chick flicks that I know Chef wouldn't care to see. Either way, I'm the winner.

When I finally get up, I vacuum. Four cats and despite the fact that three don't shed very much, one does and that's enough. So, vacuum, eat some cereal (all done in my underwear) and wait for Chef to come home. However, underwear has become a problem this week.

We don't have the luxury of a washer/dryer or hook ups. We do, however, have pay machines a mere 50 yards away. They require quarters and in this day and age of debit cards, I rarely have the silver. We got the majority of our clothes washed with a roll I got at the bank last week, but Chef forgot to wash my undies (I'm thinking this was not an accident). So, I'm in those last few pairs that are smashed under a bra that fit 80 pounds ago. Luckily, (and this is probably too much info, but I'm going for it) these are undies that I bought in a sentimental state. They look like Underoos. Supergirl Underoos nonetheless. It was kind of liberating to have them on under my suit pants the other day. Gave me a boost of confidence.

Underwear aside, I then spend the majority of my Saturdays hanging out with Chef. Today we watched movies and ate Hungry Girl Kung Pao Chicken (delicious). Of course, my time is limited as he goes to bed early to accommodate his work schedule (he doesn't have the extra four hour luxury). I better get back to my spot on the couch before the other lady fo the house (Mila) takes my spot on Chef's lap.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Happy Long Weekend, People!

An extra day to lay around and do nothing?!?! It must be my birthday. Nope, it's Labor Day. I've got a book to read, one to write and recipes to cook. Hungry Girl released an email filled with a cheese-lover's dream of low-cal, extra creamy cheese-rific dishes.

Cheese leads me to think about The Biggest Loser. I mean, it's been off the air for like a month, it's about time to get back on the air, dammit. What's that? It premieres on Sept. 15th? Hot damn.

Has anyone else noticed that holiday weekends have gotten progressively longer the last couple of years? Is it the economy or just pure burn out? Either way, it seems like more and more people are taking more time off around 3-day weekends--officially or unofficially. Our office was quite depleted today, but I'm not complaining. I actually got things done without pop-ins and email interruptions. If only I could be that productive on the average Wednesday. I'm just saying.

Okay, off to bed to dream of cheese. Or Mike Rowe. Or Mike Rowe covered in cheese. Delicious.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Sometimes Labels Tell You Too Much. . .about Bowel Movements

This morning I was going to town on a Kellogg's Fiber Plus Bar and I noticed the New User Warning that read: "Increase your fiber intake gradually. Gastrointestinal discomfort may occur until your body adjusts."

It's not every meeting where you start to think about gastrointestinal discomfort, but once you start, it's hard to get the train back in the station. Here are some related and random thoughts:
  • Immediately I pictured the old Saturday Night Live faux commercial for Colon Blow. And of course, Super Colon Blow.

  • In college, Amanda, Anne and I kept track of our use of the "No. 2" bathroom with a tally chart. The first week was the control and we were supposed to use metamucil the second week, but we never got that far. We did learn, however, that I pooed on a much regular basis than they did, so from then on out I had to buy more toilet paper when it was my turn to buy for the house.

  • Again, in college, I thought buying the Olean filled BBQ Potato chips would save me so much fat and calories that the pounds would just melt off. They did not. I did, however, consume too many for my bowels and did not have a proper "New User" warning.

  • I still strive for Gillian McKeith's perfect poo.

I know that food is kind of like clothes where things go through cycles. For a long time, "Chipotle" was the hot topic. Now, it seems to be Fiber and I'm totally down with that. In fact, it got me thinking back to my childhood and Kellogg's "Fruit & Fibre" cereal (still sold in the UK!).

So while there are some trends that I'm just not down with (Maxi Dresses--I'm talking to you and your cuteness that's only suitable for tall people), I can hang with the fiber. Or Fibre. Whatever you prefer.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Taquitos are a good time

Lately we've been having taquitos at least once a week--sometimes more if we run out of dinner options. Tonight is taquito night this week and it left me thinking a few things.
  • Is there really such a thing as a taquito or was it made up by the frozen food companies because frozen tacos suck? I got my answer.
  • Isn't a taquito just a smaller version of an chimichanga? Isn't a chimichanga a fried version of an enchilada? Isn't an enchilada an open ended version of a burrito? Is there any Mexican food that isn't a derivative of another dish?
  • Avocado is a god-like food that can be smeared on nearly anything edible to make it delicious. It's becoming my slightly healthier version of cheese in that sense.

Anyway, because I've been asked before, I'll post my "recipe" for taquitos, which really isn't a recipe, but just a tested method of making these things healthier and still very crispy. Here goes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place one to two cookie sheets in to warm up (I hate you Sandra Lee, but I love this tip).
  2. Brown some ground turkey (yes, turkey) then add water, taco seasoning, garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes, minced onion, cayene pepper and whatever else you like until it tastes how you'd like it. Honestly the taco seasoning does a lot of the work, but I like making it a little spicier.
  3. Next take about 5 taco size corn tortillas and place them between two moist paper towels. Nuke them for one minute. Okay, here's my corn tortilla sidebar: I have a preference for Kroger brand corn tortillas (and I rarely have a preference for anything related to Kroger) for three reasons: 1) They are only 35 calories per tortilla as opposed to other grocery stores (Harris Teeter I'm talk to you) that have about 50+ calories per tortilla 2) They're cheap--like 70 cents for a pack of 10 and 3) they seem to roll better than other brands-no idea why.
  4. After the tortillas are warm, take one and slice it in half. Have both pieces with the long side facing you on a cutting board and put in the ground turkey and , if you like, a small pinch of cheese. Warning--make sure the ground turkey is in small bits because a chunk might make the roll impossible.
  5. Roll up and push down to get to stick. Roll as many as desired--10-15 per person should be plenty for a meal.
  6. Take cookie sheet out of the oven and spray with Olive Oil flavored Pam. Place taquitos on pan in rows and spritz tops with Olive Oil Pam. Bake for about 5-10 minutes--until slightly brown. Then flip and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes. Taquitos are now crispy and delicious.

Ten taquitos are about 375 calories without guacamole or salsa. Not too bad a way to be bad. Mmm, now I'm hungry. Okay, spread the love of taquitos, people.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sure Signs You're Middle Class

Last night I went to a work shindig. It was very lovely and accomplished many things including rallying some very influential movers and shakers around the cause. However, when that many high powered people are in one room, it makes me realize just how staunchly entrenched in the middle class that I am. Here are some ways I knew:
  • When one guest mentioned wanting a pool, I immediately threw out there "Yeah, but the upkeep is horrendous" before realizing that they probably won't be touching pool chemicals or a sweeper ever.
  • None of my stories begin with "We were taking this quick jaunt up to Chicago in our private plane, and. . ."
  • I had to explain to the valet the best way to get into my 14 year old car. (It only unlocks from the passenger side, God love it.)
  • I can't relate to taking a business trip. . .to Japan or hosting the Australian Trade Commissioner for dinner.

However, that's what I love about sports. No matter how rich or poor a person, they can all become instant friends or enemies in the matter of one question: Who's your favorite team?


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