Tuesday, September 23, 2014
(This blog is brought to you in part by Chevelle's "Letter From A Thief".)
So this week began us getting up at 5 AM. Now, I imagine getting up at 5 am in June or July probably isn't that bad. And in truth, it isn't that bad now. Except that I don't need to leave for work until almost 9. And since Tuesday is not bells day (*sad face*) I had a lot of time to kill. I drank my coffee, listened to The Diablo Show and The Instance podcasts, played a jigsaw puzzle, ate breakfast and was generally unproductive. Around 7:30 I decided I had had enough of that and got dressed. I was rummaging through my jewelry drawer looking for a necklace to wear with my Freddy Krueger shirt when I saw a crap silver-plated necklace I never wear and my mind got to thinking. I have a drawer full of jewelry findings from making things before.
Now ages ago, and I mean AGES ago, I used to watch a lot of TLC. Remember that show where they would have to families that lived near each other redecorate a room in the others house for cheap? They had a designer on there named Genevieve Gorder. She always used to wear THE BEST earrings. My favorite pair of hers were just a single strand of long silver chain that were maybe 6 inches long. Everywhere I go I look for earrings like those. So this morning I decided I would just freaking MAKE myself a pair! This is the result:
They must have come out okay because two of my coworkers have complimented me on them already. I'm sure Bossman will have some sort of offhanded comment to make though, since he IS a jeweler!
Yesterday was a good day. I didn't do much but clean a little, go to Trader Joes and text a good friend. I managed to go to Trader Joe's hungry (a bad idea) and only spend $13. I got myself some garlic naan and frozen chicken tikka masala for my lunch, because Indian food is always good, got some granola for hubs and my "whim" purchase was a little wedge of Camembert. Which reminds me... is the rind on Camembert edible? I'm assuming it is, although the texture might be weird. I was going to get brie but I saw the Camembert and grabbed that instead.
I managed to shampoo the carpet on our entry stairs without injuring myself but I had to crate the dog because he kept attacking the vacuum. I also scrubbed our front door and the walls on the inside, because the complex had new doors installed (which are now impossible to open with one hand, they're so tight) and the installers left grimy fingerprints all over. I vacuumed half the apartment, which I will hopefully finish tonight if I have time. I don't have much time to vacuum after work because our downstairs neighbors both work really early so I try not to do anything that makes a lot of noise after 7 PM and I spend the hour between when I get home and hubs gets home cooking dinner.
Last night we had Greek nachos! I buy whole wheat Lebanese style pita, cut it into wedges and bake it til crispy, then top them with ground beef seasoned with garlic, oregano and lemon juice, homemade tzatziki, hummus, lettuce and tomato. So yum! I also made chickpea snacks from a recipe given to me by ARRREAGLES. I altered the recipe and made one batch flavored with garlic and chili flakes and one flavored with curry powder. Yum, yum, YUM! I brought some to snack on at work today.
Speaking of today, it's one of those stunning autumn days where you need the heat on on the drive to work and the air on the way home. The sun is out, the sky is clear, there's a breeze tugging at the wisps of my hair, and it's just generally gorgeous out there. If I were the type of person to play hooky, today would be the perfect day to put on an oversized sweatshirt and go down the shore to walk on the mostly deserted beach, the white sand spilling between my toes. Why the sweatshirt? Well, to quote my dad, who was raised in Atlantic City, "It's always ten degrees cooler down the shore!" Maybe even lay on a blanket and read a book and soak up the warm sunshine.
For those of you who don't live near the ocean, walking on the beach in cooler weather is a pretty neat experience. The Jersey Shore is overflowing with people during the summer months, but nearly deserted in the autumn. There's a melancholy beauty to it all.
Going back to music, there is one song that no matter when or where I hear it, it reminds me of the shore. It's "Good" by Better Than Ezra. Bestie's mom and her boyfriend brought us down to Ocean City, NJ for a week one summer in high school and we stayed in this awesome shore house 2 blocks from the beach. The best part was the room we slept in had a little passageway that led out to the roof of the garage and we lay out there at night under the stars and talked for hours. So much fun! (Ok now I need to listen to "Desperately Wanting" by BTE. Holy crap! Just discovered they put out an album this year, haha)
Oh well, I'm rambling again.
So I guess I should talk a little about maintenance.
I'm doing pretty well. I'm up a couple pounds which is totally normal for me around ovulation. Leave it to Mother Nature to make a woman's most fertile time of the month the time where she retains the most water and feels the fattest! It's amusing. I full expect this to come back off in the next week or so, as is normal for me.
Food has been good. On days I work out I eat an ounce of almonds before working out, then add an extra tablespoon of peanut butter to my breakfast afterwards. Yesterday I had the intense pleasure of licking melted peanut butter off my fingers because I managed to get the English muffin out of the toaster oven right after it dinged so the PB melted OH SO NICELY. *happy sigh*
This week's menu is a little more put together than it has been the last couple of weeks:
Monday: Greek Nachos, YUM
Tuesday: Chicken Taco Meatloaf w/ Mashed Potatoes & Edamame
Weds: Crunchy Pork Chops w/ Garlicky Tomato Salad (hubs asked for regular lettuce instead of spinach, boo)
Thurs: Kielbasa, Pepper & Onion Sandwiches, side dish TBD (I freaking love Kielbasa. Meat in tube form is almost always delicious.)
Fri: Brown Butter Sweet Potato Alfredo Pasta w/ Tossed Salad
Sat: Another freezer/cabinet cleanout day! Fish sticks and Kraft Dinner (eh, Canadians?!) plus a veggie
I want to make a giant batch of my Poppop's meat sauce but I feel like I am booked solid for the next six weekends. This weekend is my anniversary, next weekend the Faire, the weekend after that hiking. I *might* get to it the end of October. I also need to find something for my mom's birthday in the next 2 days because my sewing machine is still being a jerk. I guess she'll get the quilt for Christmas!
I'm glad you all are enjoying my vlogs. I'm going to try to do one every Saturday unless I'm really busy. What's funny is I always watch them before I post them, so now when I talk I am hyper aware of how I sound (I really notice how my s's sound) and how often I say the word "so". Sorry about that.
I guess I've rambled enough for the day. I'm hungry and it's lunch time and Greek nachos are calling.
*blows you all kisses*
Monday, September 22, 2014
(This blog is brought to you in part by "Orestes" by A Perfect Circle.)
I've been in the half-waking/half-dreaming state since around 4. I finally got out of bed around 4:35. The alarm hasn't even gone off yet. I figured I'd blog now and get it out of the way before the sun comes up and I'm distracted by the ins and outs of everyday life.
Technically my weekend isn't over. I have off Sundays and Mondays, and up until this weekend, Hubs did, too. Today he works. I have about a billion cleaning type things I want to do, since in 2 weeks we'll have company for the Ren Faire: vacuuming stairs and shampooing them, organizing all the extraneous crap in the dining room, scrubbing the bathroom floor, finishing my cropped leather jacket for my costume. In all likelihood I will get 2/3 of that done, since I'll be distracted by something or other.
But this blog is supposed to be about yesterday.
I was up early as usual. Despite it being our day off we were up at 5:30. I woke to a bunch of comments that really made me smile, so it was a good start to the day! Sunday is usually grocery shopping day and since I was hanging out with my bestie at noon, we did our grocery shopping early. We were at Walmart by 7:15, Produce Junction by 8:05 and Shoprite by 8:20, home by 9:00. We are efficient little shoppers! I had to leave by 11 to drive up to Princeton, so I quickly put the groceries away before getting ready and having breakfast. Hubs called MIL, who still isn't sure if she'll be coming for Thanksgiving. We really want to take her to Longwood for the Christmas display, so if she does come visit, that's what we're doing on the evening of Black Friday if we can get tickets. I got permission from Bossman to leave early on Black Friday, he said yes despite me working in retail. Score!
I chatted with a good friend while I got ready and then headed out in hubby's car for the drive to Princeton. I've had some dash lights on for a week (I think it's the gas cap again, one of the problems you have frequently in a state that doesn't allow you to pump your own gas) so I didn't want to drive my car so far. The drive is easy, 295 most of the way. I passed the Grounds for Sculpture, which is definitely something I want to see one day.
Side note: When I drive, particularly to and from work, I often drive with no music on. I really like to use this time of solitude to think. No hubs, and Bingley is so good in the car half of the time I forget he's even IN the car. Yesterday I was listening to a mix CD of Tool and A Perfect Circle, trying to pay better attention to the lyrics. I've loved the APC song Orestes since the album Mer de Noms came out in 2000, and, like most music, I put my own spin on the story that went with the lyrics. But yesterday I heard it in a new light. Fourteen years later I listened to a song I've truly loved and finally think I figured out the true meaning. Has this ever happened to you? End Side Note.
I arrived at the shopping center just after noon to meet bestie. We had real Mexican food (as opposed to Tex Mex) at this tiny place I can't remember the name of. She had chicken tamales and I had 2 steak tacos with a little bit of rice and charra beans. It was delicious! Perfectly seasoned tender beef. My only real complaint about this place was that the air conditioner was set so low I was SHIVERING. I even had my pink hoodie on and zipped!
After this we headed to Terhune Orchards to pick apples. www.terhuneorchards.com/
Pretty sure these are not ready yet.
We first stopped at the tent where they sold the apple cider donuts and each grabbed a half dozen. They sadly were not warm. We decided we were too full from lunch to eat them now, so we stashed them in the car and headed out to the orchards. They had seven varieties to pick: JonaMac, Jonathan, McIntosh, Empire, Liberty and Early Fuji. I really wanted Pink Lady apples since they're my favorite but they're not ready for another few weeks. I only grabbed early Fujis and Jonathans since all the others were hybrids crossed with McIntosh and I am not a fan of the texture of McIntosh. I managed to get a reasonable amount of apples and spent less than $7.
On the way out we walked by a pair of college students making out near their car (this will be vaguely important later). Bestie said "Ah, young lust!" which made me laugh. We headed to downtown Princeton to grab some coffee and walk around PU's campus for a bit to check out the architecture. I am a TOTAL architecture nerd! We stopped at a NOT STARBUCKS to grab iced coffee and sat outside in a courtyard for a while to chat. We talked about hiking and rock climbing and snorkeling and outdoorsy stuff. I got bit by a dozen mosquitoes and we finally moved on.
We walked through PU's campus and I managed to get some great photos of some detail work.
Tiles from some of the graduating classes.
I love how the ivy is growing up the side of this building.
And the patina of the copper detailing on these windows.
This archway leads to the quad. I do not know those people.
Bestie remembered she knew the address of the house that Albert Einstein lived in so we walked ourselves down there to check it out. There was no sign save one that said "Private Residence" on the garden gate, and I didn't take a picture out of respect for the people who live there. It was a cute salt box style house with white siding and black shutters. On the walk there and back we talked about religion (her formerly atheist brother is currently in seminary school) and the universe (we are all made of star stuff, thanks Carl Sagan). I love that bestie likes to talk deep thoughts with me. I rarely get to talk about the deeper topics in life without it turning into a bit of an argument because someone is trying to convince me otherwise, or most people just don't want to talk about these things at all. Their loss. The world is a stunning, amazing, beautiful, phenomenal, wonderful place, full of beauty, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We all have our differing opinions, but everyone having a different view of the world is a treasure, not a curse.
We walked back downtown, past a small alley where a couple in their forties were embracing, oblivious to anyone watching (see? It was making out day in Princeton), and were cut off while crossing the street by an Italian gentleman in a bright orange Lamborghini convertible. We knew he was Italian from the Italian flag decal on the back of his Italian supercar. We both chuckled at his compensation-mobile. We hung out some more, went into a few shops (most of the shops in Princeton are well out of my price range, but they had a Kitchen Kapers) then headed back to the shopping center where my car was parked to enjoy a donut.
I had over 18,000 steps for the day and 19 flights of stairs despite not hiking!
On the way home I was tired but spent some more time thinking while APC and Tool played in the Corolla's much better stereo than the one in my Scion. I thought of you, and what I'd blog about. I always have a great time with my bestie, no matter what we do. She's one of those people I am 100% sure will never abandon me. We've known each other since the third grade, in Miss Scott's class, where I stole Mario's sandwich crackers from his desk, both because he was cute and because I was a fat kid who was hungry. She loves my snark and I love her sarcasm. She will always be my bestie.
Last night was uneventful. I spent most of the night on the couch watching true crime tv with hubs (he's seriously on a kick with this stuff). There was a special on about the Oscar Pistorius trial, which I've kinda sorta been following. I got into bed around 9:30 but couldn't fall asleep right away, so I used the old plot device trick which helped.
Normally I would have done bells yesterday, but since I knew I would be walking a lot I postponed it til today. Really looking forward to it! I'm going to try to push myself harder this week and do a longer video than normal. I'm still a bit tired so I'm hoping it goes well. I have a strange anxious feeling this morning, like something might go wrong today. Not 100% sure what.
Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!
Saturday, September 20, 2014
And yet again, I completely forgot to turn the dang video. I am an idiot.
Friday, September 19, 2014
(This blog is brought to you in part by Shelter by Corrosion of Conformity, for no other reason than I freaking LOVE it.)
I dressed up for no reason yesterday. The weather was good, I was feeling good when I got up, and I decided that I'd better wear my favorite jean skirt once more before it go too cold to wear it for the season. I also wore that blazer I got from my coworker.
Bingley photobomb! He is like "What the EFF are you DOING, mommy?!"
(Those shoes though? Totally getting donated. The left shoe fits fine. The right shoe rubs me in 6 different places in none of the right ways. I really need some kitten heels I can wear to work, because tall heels will just not work here, especially since I walk Bingley 3-4 times a day at work.)
The hair did NOT last though. It went up in a messy bun pretty quickly. I didn't use enough bobby pins and it just wanted to ESCAPE. I am so. freaking. lazy. when it comes to my hair.
I had a fun day at work and came home, did a couple of things I absolutely NEEDED to get out of the way before I made dinner, changed then started dinner.
Last night it was Asian rice porridge. I used leftover Momofuku pork shoulder (I rubbed that shoulder down vigorously with 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup kosher salt and a mixture of fennel seed and black peppercorns I hand ground in my mortar and pestle and let it sit overnight in the fridge before throwing it into the crockpot all day. DANG that shoulder was good.) with some older leftover stock and rice from way back when I made Singaporean chicken rice earlier in the year.
I brought the broth to a boil, added 10 oz sliced mushrooms, 1 shredded yellow squash, and 1 cup of shredded carrots, the previously cooked rice, a tablespoon of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of garlic chili sauce and let it simmer for about 15 minutes to thicken before stirring in the sliced pork to warm it through. When it was done I topped it with sliced scallions that I almost lost a finger slicing because I was temporarily distracted. The good news is I only lost half my middle fingernail instead of actual finger. I have good knife skills but I have this bad habit of thinking of things other than what I'm cutting at the time.
So that wound up being really tasty. Hubs and I both agreed that the next time I make Singaporean chicken rice I'll save the leftovers like that and make this again. Delish!
After dinner I managed to bribe him into walking to Wawa with me. Our Wawa (local convenience store that's open 24 hours) is about a half mile away downhill on the way there. Or at least as hilly as South Jersey gets. He got iced tea and I got a Coke Zero with diet cherry syrup. All in all it added more than 5,000 steps to my daily count, plus flights of stairs for the elevation change. We spent the rest of the night watching a true crime show about men of the cloth who did very bad things. One of the episodes even featured Jimmy Swaggart. I crawled into bed around 10 and fell asleep decently quickly.
I distinctly remember being in that haze somewhere between sleeping and waking from about 4 onward. Not really awake, just half-dreaming, but relaxed. I was in that state for a while, until the alarm started blaring at 5:30. Ugh. Next week will be 5 am. But, despite being a bit groggy getting out of bed, I was excited. IT WAS BELLS DAY!!!!!!
If there is an exercise I love more than bells it's either a) not Spark-appropriate to talk about or b) something I haven't tried yet. Because bells are awesome.
That 20 lb bell makes me feel like a warrior queen on the battlefield. Seriously. Super-empowering. And not boring at all. I have always found hand weights to be sort of boring. You sit there and count, or lose count out of boredom. Bells are dynamic.
I started early this morning. 6:30. I had a coffee date this morning with an ex-coworker, so I had to leave the house about an hour earlier than normal. I've really been inspired by a few of my SparkFriends lately, so I really wanted to push myself this morning. I still can't do one handed curls, but that's the only modification I make. I did my 8 minute video, which is this one, btw:
I think on Monday I'll do the Intermediate workout and see how that goes. I'm also looking at the Fitness Blender videos. But I digress. So after my video I added on an extra minute of figure 8s, which I'm still finding my rhythm on, and then I did 20 goblet squats with the bell to hopefully help firm up my butt a little. I was feeling pretty darned good at this point, so I did ab work, too. Crunches, reverse crunches, side crunches, bicycle crunches, and I'm even going to try to do Russian twist sit-ups with my bell, but I'll need to practice those. I like taking it slow. Building up over time.
So after my workout I did the usual, shower, dressing, breakfast. One of the best parts of bells day is getting extra peanut butter on my English muffin. There are few things in this world better to be than an English Muffin with peanut butter on it, especially when the muffin is hot enough that the extra peanut butter melts a little an drips off. Yum!
Then I had coffee with my ex-coworker. Bingley came with us and we sat outside at the coffee shop in town that is NOT Starbucks. We had dark roast and chatted and people walked by and wanted to pet Bingley. Side note: want to meet people? Get a cute dog. I had at least four people stop to talk to me today because my dog is adorable. For serious. So anyway, coffee was awesome, I missed her so much and I'm glad she still thinks I'm cool enough to hang out with. She's just been busy as both her husband and dog have been sick.
Work isn't much to write home about. Things are going pretty well here. I think it's a real sign the economy is looking up. The good news is I had fantastic company to talk to today so it made the day just fly by. Isn't it wonderful how wit and banter make the day something special even when nothing exciting actually happens? But now all my company is gone. *sigh*
But I have you guys! I'm blogging!!
This weekend there will be no hike, but there will be apple picking and apple cider donuts and Mexican food and girl talk on Sunday. And Monday. Well, Monday hubs works. So I will work out HARD in the morning then probably spend the rest of my day working on my cropped jacket for the Faire. (Did I mention I'm freaking EXCITED for the Faire this year? Like, so, excited.)
So like I said, nothing special, just feeling really good today.
Hope you all feel the same!
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