Monday, February 27, 2017

Appealing

The healthy eating plan continues.  I have to say, tracking what you eat every day really helps you prioritize.  In my case, that means protein over carbs.

But frankly, diet talk is boring.  I'll leave it by saying it's working, and I'm not suffering, but I did text my best friend tonight to tell her I'd like to get naked and roll around in Easter candy.

Just saying.

So there was an accident on the interstate tonight that necessitated my taking back roads home.  It wasn't entirely a bad thing.  I got to see some different stuff, including a tiny sliver of moon in the night sky.

And since dinner was just grilling some pre-marinated chicken tenders (the Curry Tenders from Trader Joe's - they are excellent and I highly recommend them), and a few microwaved Indian sides (also from TJ's - try the Channa Masala), I still had dinner on the table by 6:45.  And by on the table, I do not mean that literally. We rarely sit at the table for dinner.  I fought this for awhile, but I'm not going to win - we're eat in front of the TV people, I guess.

Anyway, I had to run a quick errand after dinner, and now we chill.

Piper is destroying an off-brand Kong like toy.  I was probably dumb to buy it, but it was convenient, and I can't find her Kong, and... fine.  I'll go to PetSmart on my lunch tomorrow.  I also need to go to the bookstore. Yes, I could just order it on Amazon, and... hmm... maybe that would be better*.  It's hard to get more than one major errand done in the hour - and I'm going to attempt to give blood tomorrow at the office blood drive.  I am feeling O Positive about that (a little blood donor humor)

I am not busy at work.  My (interim) manager knows this and has advised to just do what I can and he'll throw whatever he can my way, but he needs to spread it over all the other trainers.  It's fine, but I'm aware that I may be one of the few people who isn't busy right now, so I'm trying to keep a low profile.

The big question right now is... who will my new manager be?  We were told that there were three internal candidates - I don't know who, though.  I do know the one external candidate was the former colleague of a few people at our office and they seem to like her.  So, I think we'll be OK no matter what.  And, as I've said on more than one occasion, "If you don't like your manager, just give it six months."  And I wish I were kidding - but we all know I'm not.

I had a dream last night that my sister was polling various family members about their favorite primate.  And she kept saying, I know yours is the chimpanzee, and every time I'd correct her and say, "NO!  It's the macaque!"  I woke up to the alarm while having this emphatic macaque dream.

It's actually not the macaque.  They're lovely, but I actually like this guy the best:



The Patas Monkey.  I saw one at the zoo in NOLA, and I watched him, and he watched me for a good ten minutes.  He looked at me as if to say, "I know everything you've done, and it's not nearly as bad as you think".

He had longer "whiskers" than this guy, but same basic idea.

I also fell in love with Nutrias on my NOLA trip.



I'm sure they're not cute to the people who live in New Orleans and deal with them as a native species, but damn, they were cute.  Like an otter and a beaver had a baby, and their baby married a large rat, and they had babies.

Anyway, I'm rambling.  I need to go make lunch for tomorrow.  Leftover curried chicken to be turned into salad.

ae
* I totally ordered the book on Amazon. It will be here Wednesday. Kaboom!




Sunday, February 26, 2017

Express Lane

I am a damn good grocery shopper. In the grand scheme of things, that's not a huge deal, but I know that if it came to it, I could get a job with Shipt and it would be easy squeezy.

It's a skill I got from my father.  He taught me meal planning, how to pick produce, meat, bread... and I retained it.

I need to get back into one of my best habits - making a list based on the layout of the store.  That keeps me from walking back and forth a few times based on something I forgot.  Currently, I'm not making paper lists - I'm using the Memo app on my phone.

Here are some of the highlights of today's trip to Kroger.

1. I got a damn good parking spot.  Apparently, I hit it in a sweet spot.

2. My first cart was shitty, had a bad wheel.  I dithered for a minute, then returned it and got a better one.  Go, me!

3.  Red grapes  -  88 cents a pound.  Done.

4.  I used my father's tip for buying broccoli - look for tight, compact buds in the crown of it.

5.  Kroger has started carrying the Smithfield ham steaks like the ones I get at Aldi - comparable price, too!

6. Found some stir fry meat on the cheap and since the snow peas looked great, we'll be having that this week.  This is where I wish I had paid more attention - Dad made THE BEST stir fry on the planet, and I never paid attention to how he did it.  He didn't do it often, because it was a pain in the ass, but...

7. Progresso Soup - super deal alert - 99 cents a can if you buy eight or more.  We eat a bunch of their soups, so I loaded up on those.

8.  I picked good eggs on the first try.  I have a funny story.  Last year, I was picking eggs, and I opened the carton and they were all good, so I put them in the cart.  This guy stops me and asks what should he be looking for when he opens the eggs.  I explained you just check to make sure none are broken.   I am nothing if not helpful.

9. I found a new crossword puzzle book.  We've been on a crossword kick recently, and so it was nice to find one.

9a.  The cat coloring book people have another one out:



It's a follow up to these two:






I need to bite the damn bullet and buy one or possibly all of them.



10.  Although I walked slowly through the Easter candy, I didn't put any in my cart.  I did see some stuff that hit me right in the nostalgia bone, but it's nice to see old friends.

11.  Although the La Croix water was totally picked over, they had store brand plain seltzer water in cans.  I bought that, and I'm glad to have it.  Some day, we might get a SodaStream...

12.  I didn't have to wait in a long line.  They had enough cashiers.  And!  I didn't have to go through the line of the super sassy one who always snaps her gum and tells me to have a "blessed" day.  And I didn't have to go through the line of the angry woman with the crazy hair who is constantly bossing around all the other cashiers. 

13.  I put my groceries on the conveyor belt in a very specific way.  Heavy stuff first, cold stuff together, dry stuff together... it's very logical.  The kid who bagged today did a decent job of putting it in more or less the right order.

14. I made it home, got it all put up, and still got to watch most of the Preds game.  They won again.

All in all, a good trip.

ae

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Reluctant Extrovert

Most people who have met me find this hard to believe, but when I take personality profile tests, I typically fall ride on the fault line between introvert and extrovert.  Most people assume I'm extremely extroverted, and typically, I am.

That said, I get drained by social events, and I do require a fair amount of "alone to recharge" time.   The other thing is I have a little social anxiety.  Basically, any time I agree to some event, I regret it and dread it until I get there and I have a great time.  And that's how it always happens.  You would think I could circumvent the anxiety with the time proven fact that I actually love going to parties once I get over the dread of it.

I was explaining this last night at dinner with a friend. She got it right away, because she, too, experiences anxiety. 

So, dinner last night at The Smiling Elephant.  It's a great little Thai place next door to my Vet's office.  And no, I don't want any "Panang Cat Curry" jokes.  It's just geographical.  Since I'm trying to eat sensibly, I stuck with a rice paper roll and a cup of Tom Kha soup, which is something that should, by all rights, taste weird.  It's a bunch of ingredients that you just can't imagine together, but they are perfection.

The first time I ate Thai, I ordered badly, and I said that it reminded me of eating a pork chop covered in Mounds bar filling.  It was off-putting.  The second time I ate Thai was with colleagues - the CEO and VP of Marketing at a smallish company.  I ordered a safer dish, and they asked how spicy I wanted it - I said I really liked spice, and so they loaded it up for me.  But Thai spice is a special kind of spice.  I ended up eating it as tears ran down my face, and they both laughed their asses off.

After that, I became a pro at Thai food.  Well, at least, not a laughingstock...

That said, I first went to The Smiling Elephant a few years ago, and the folks I was with ordered some weird, weird shit, and I was not impressed - and this restaurant has won all kinds of Best of Nashville awards.  This visit made me realize it's all knowing how to order.  And that I don't like fish sauce.

So, that was last night.  Today, we slept in.  Mostly because we woke up early and had a hard time getting the dog to come back to bed.  So, I left the house a little before 11 to run over to Trader Joe's.  It was packed, of course, but I wove my way through the morass of people who have no situational awareness.  I bought my groceries and made a quick Kroger stop for lunch stuff.  I got home and grilled us some lunch.  One of the many benefits of living in the South is that you can grill pretty much any day of the year.

Then, I washed the dog.  She hates it while it's happening, but as soon as she's out and allow to run free, she's the happiest dog on the planet.  Maybe her bath anxiety is similar to my social anxiety.

Anyway, our next task was to suit up and head down to Bridgestone Arena.  We were meeting some friends at the game.  Since the Preds were playing the Washington Capitals (the best team in the NHL), we had low expectations.  We were pleasantly surprised that the Preds WON!  So we walked to dinner after the game.  We ended up in an English Pub.  Three orders of fish and chips and one lamb burger.  I had the lamb burger, and it was delicious.  I also had Brussels sprouts.  I'm pretty sure they were sauteed in bacon grease, but I like them any way I can get them.  I like pretty much all veggies.  I don't care for mushrooms, but technically, they're a fungus.  It's a texture issue.

So, another social day.  Tomorrow, it's all about laundry and the remainder of grocery shopping.  Man cannot live on Trader Joe's alone.  I mean, maybe some man could...if he were rich and didn't mind having to stir his peanut butter every time he used it. Personally, I like Peter Pan, Jif, Skippy...


I'm going to need some more chemicals, thanks.


Next week is another slow week at the office.  I'm frankly exhausted by having too little work.  I'm sure as soon as it picks up, I'll be bitching about that, too.

It's going to be a cold night, and I bet I'll sleep really well.  Because after all the people time, sleep... that's where I'm, to steal a quote from The Simpsons, a Viking.


Keep on trucking, y'all.

ae

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Spring Loaded

I never met my paternal grandfather, and more's the pity.  From what I'm told, we had a lot in common:  a love of language, a passion for musical theater, lefthandedness, our first initial, and most of all - he grew up on the same street that I now live on.

My grandfather grew up in Nashville, Acklen Avenue near Vanderbilt,  I live on Acklen near 12th.  It's a long street that's broken up by Belmont University.  Still - same street.

That said, I know what he looked like because I've seen photos. 

So, all of that is backstory to the following.

I went to see my mother last weekend, and we went into Pier 1 on a fool's errand.  My mother was looking for small stuffed bunnies to give the daughter of a friend about to have twins. They didn't have little bunnies.  They did have a cute bigger bunny, which she bought for the soon-to-arrive twins' older brother.  Mom couldn't remember the big brother's name. I supplied it for her and she said she didn't think that was it.  It was.  His name is Mason.

Anyway, we're looking around Pier 1, which is one of those stores that got too Pottery Barn for its own good.  Back in the day, they had killer clothes. One of the best dresses I ever owned came from Pier 1.  They had interesting cheap housewares.  World Market has sort of supplanted the space that Pier 1 used to occupy.  But, if you need really good throw pillows and money is no object, get thee to Pier 1, post haste.

That said, they had tons of cute stuff for Spring.  We were wandering, and I spotted this little salad plate, and I showed it to Mom.

"Look", I said, "It's A in bunny form!"

Quick sidebar.  The grandkids who were alive when he was called him Papa.  I have never called him anything but A.  Everyone called him A.  His given name was Adolph, but he was Jewish, so... for reasons that are pretty clear, he went by A. 

So this bunny had on a pair of glasses and a necktie and reminded me of my late grandfather.

We explore the table and find that the plates are a set of four.  The mother plate featured a bunny that had glasses like some my grandmother wore (she was Baba).  There was a little girl bunny in pearls (my Aunt Mary) and a little boy bunny in a bowtie (Dad).   Then we saw a platter with all four family members. We marveled at how much it looked like the family.  So when we got home, we got online and sent one to each of Aunt Mary's three kids.


They received them today, and they went over gangbusters.  This one now lives at my cousin Julie's house.  Even their expressions are right.  It's the damnedest thing...

My Aunt, my Grandmother, and even my Father loved Easter.  My Grandfather probably liked it too  - he loved Christmas, that I know.  He was a fairly secular Jew, if that's a thing. 

I think Dad would have loved this platter, and I think he would have ordered one and sent it to Mary. 

I really wish I had photos to prove how accurate this portrait really is... you'll have to trust me on this.

ae

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Exhibit A

So,  I'm kind of an asshole.  And I'm OK with it.

Here's how I know this.  My company has a Toastmaster's Group.  And I think that's great.  I don't especially want to participate because I feel pretty confident about public speaking.  I do it a lot.  So, I'm all for it, I'm just not an attendee.

That said, they put this poster up in the lobby:



So you know, what I want to do is this:

That's a crudely drawn penis.  You can't really see it that well, but it is.

So, that makes me an asshole.

Here's another thing about me that makes me an asshole.  Whenever I'm inconvenienced by a traffic jam due to an accident, I think, every time, "This had better be something major.  I better not be sitting in this shit for two morons who had a fender bender and didn't know how to move over to the shoulder of the road."

I'm not saying I want people injured.  That's really shitty.  I'm just saying I want to see some twisted metal, scattered glass.  I actually sat in traffic last Friday for an hour because a tractor trailer went off the road in epic fashion.  The cab was crushed and scattered all over the shoulder.  The trailer was upside down.  I suspect the driver was killed.  And I hate that, but it certainly makes sitting on I-24 a little more understandable.  Like I said, I don't want people hurt, I just need to see some actual damage to the cars.

Sometimes I spit my gum out the window.  I interrupt people. I eat smelly food at my desk.  I mean, it smells *good* because I'm a good cook.  I did recently eat a Subway tuna sandwich at my desk.  I swear a lot, and sometimes in front of kids and old people.  I take forever to mail back Netflix movies.  In my defense on that one, who still gets movies?  Why can't we just stream things? 

Sometimes I will pretend I don't hear people talking to me when I have my earbuds in.  Sometimes, I'm not even listening to anything.  I have hit the close button to avoid sharing an elevator with someone.

I rarely tip my servers at Sonic, even though they cheerfully deliver my morning 99 cent Coke Zero or Unsweet Tea.  I don't tell people I'm going to Atlanta so that I don't have to go visiting.

I once snapped at a cashier who was manhandling some of my produce.   When I was in 7th grade, I made a girl cry when I said heaven isn't real.   In High School I dated two best friends SIMULTANEOUSLY.  Oh, yeah - I was bad ass.

I have some good qualities, but that's not what today's post is about.

It's about the fact that sometimes, I'm an asshole.  And I'm OK with that.

ae


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Damn you, Facebook!

So, all kinds of news today.  The biggest news is that we have water!  I celebrated by loading and running the dishwasher.  It was heavenly.

I ended up working the day from home, which is always kind of a pain in the ass when you have a dog, especially one who is prone to barking when strangers have a backhoe in your front yard.  I'm ready to have a little less drama, get a few productive days under my belt.




So, I joined this program offered by my company free of charge called Real Appeal - it's essentially a web-based Weight Watcheresque program.  I do a meeting once a week, then I have a 1 on 1 with my coach.  That's later this week.  She seems perfectly nice, but maybe a little overworked.  I'll reserve judgment.

I'm in it for the free shit.


What I do like is that there is an online tracker where I can log my food and it automatically fills in the calories - it's very easy, so I find that I'm actually doing it, whereas on Weight Watchers, I don't think I ever tracked for more than a day at any given time.  You can build a recipes, too.

I've been eating better since I got the evil eye from my doctor late last month, and I hate to admit, but I do feel better.  Now I need to get some exercise.  Which, you know, I hate.   I've been off sugar for a few weeks - I still do the occasional diet soda, and I know I need to kick those to the curb, too.

But there are all these dumb cake making videos on Facebook, and they make me want sweets in a big way.   I'll get through it - I just need to stop looking at the strawberry cakes, crock pot cinnamon rolls (gross, actually), and homemade dulce de leche.   Oh, and every casserole that shows up because all my friends love the Casseroles page on FB.



If there were a filter that could turn pics of food to pictures of roadkill, that would be helpful.

As it is, I still need to find a way to use 467 calories tonight.  I'm thinking banana, peanut butter...milk?

Hmmm.  I'll get the hang of it.

ae

Monday, February 20, 2017

Snob

I'll be the first to admit it - I'm a fruit snob.

I worked in a market for seven years, so I know what good fruit is supposed to look like.  Working there ruined apples for me, or, better to say, refined my taste in apples.  Growing up, we had three options.  Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith - Granny Smiths are too tart for me, so I usually just stuck with Red Delicious.

When I started at the market, I learned there were a lot of other apples out there.  And I quickly picked a favorite - the Gala.   They're great because the flavor is really good, but more importantly, the texture is nice - they don't get sandy and mealy like their counterparts.  So, for the longest, that was my apple of choice.  And then, I found out about Ambrosia apples.  So huge, and sweet, with a nice tang to them-  great texture.  And on the heels of Ambrosias, Honeycrisps.  They are the essence of what you want from an apple.  The problem is, they are much, much more expensive than the old standbys.   But, I don't buy a ton of fruit, so I'm going to buy what I want.  Right?  Right.

So, I also love watermelon.  In the summer, I like to get one of the nice, round, dark green ones from the Farmers Market.  They're almost black and round like a cannon ball.  I could eat myself sick.  Which is a good thing, because Matt doesn't eat watermelon.  He prefers canteloupe.  I like honeydew.  We manage to make it work.

Pears?  Love them, any way I can get them.

Berries, cherries?  Sure.

Grapes - I like the purple, not the green.  I don't know why.

Kiwi, as long as someone else preps if for me. 

And that brings me to oranges.  The gateway orange is a Navel - hard to go wrong.  I discovered Cara Cara oranges about two years ago - their almost coral pink color is so pretty and they taste great.  My mother has been telling me about these new oranges I have to try, and I was kind of ignoring her.

Then I had one for the first time this weekend.  Holy Citrus!



This is a Sumo - a seedless variety of Mandarin orange.  It was first bred in Japan in 1972, and they brought it to California in 2011.

The skin on it comes right off - no mess.  And the taste is sweet and clean and citrusy.  This one was about the size of a softball.

And again, they are not cheap, but hey - I am totally worth it.

The season is almost over, and I was late to the craze.  So, I'll have to ride the Sumo wave as long as I can, then hope for strawberry and cherry seasons to hold me til we get to watermelon.

This is what happens when you give up candy.

ae