Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Second Year I'm Doing a Vegan Cleanse With the Help of The Happy Herbivore

Last year, around this time of year, I did a 21 day cleanse (the Quantum Wellness Cleanse) and for 21 days I gave up meat/dairy/alcohol/sugar/caffeine and gluten. I bought my fair share of cookbooks, read some interesting articles and loved how I felt at the end of my 21 days.

Living that lifestyle was too extreme to keep up, but I knew I wanted to do it again this year. However, this year I have some additional takeaways that I can incorporate into my life. I know I can't give up everything, but would like to lean towards eating a predominately plant-based diet. I also wanted my husband taste what I was making. The cleanse is over and he actually surprised me by keeping an open mind and trying everything.

I made some great recipes from Lindsay Nixon's The Happy Herbivore and couldn't believe how mock tuna salad made with chickpeas could taste EXACTLY like tuna salad.

When I heard Lindsay was doing a blog tour for her new cookbook Everyday Happy Herbivore, I asked if I could interview her and was tickled pink when she said yes. I got NOTHING for promoting her new book, but as a meat eater, I wanted to let readers know there are really great cookbook authors out there who can change your mind.

1. How long have you been eating vegan, and what made you write these cookbooks?

I've followed a plant-based (vegan) diet since December 2006.

I started my blog, Happy Herbivore, as a way to show that eating healthy and plant-based diet is easy, approachable, affordable, realistic for everyone and also delicious -- my cookbooks are an extension of that mission.

2. Last year I went vegan for 21 days and the cookbooks I relied on didn't have recipes with nutritional yeast in it. I notice you use it and wondered why? Does it have an unique flavor?

It does! It tastes like cheese. It's also really nutritious.

3. My husband is a meat lover. Last year he wouldn't even try anything I made, this year he's agreed to try what I make, but I want him to enjoy the food as food and not say it's good for vegan food. He really enjoyed the Nacho Cheese and Tuna Salad recipe from your Happy Herbivore cookbook, but am wondering if you have any other recipes vegan skeptics really like?

That said, it's wonderful to hear your husband is open to exploring some plant-based foods! I wrote a whole recipe on what to feed meat-eaters:

Happy Herbivore: What to Feed Meat-Eaters

3. I'm a protein person. Can you recommend some great snacks I can enjoy (other than peanut butter or hummus) which are high in protein?

First I recommend you read this post on protein:

Ask HH about Protein

and then this post which lists plant-based sources of protein:

Vegetable Sources of Protein

4. The ingredients you use in your new cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore (low fat vegan recipes in under 30 minutes), are they easy to find? Also, I'm on a limited budget, will it cost me more to switch a vegan diet?

Yes. I wrote my cookbook while living on a small Caribbean island; I like to think if my tiny island had those ingredients, everyone has access to those ingredients. Plus I've always prided myself on using normal "everyday" ingredients. Nothing is more discouraging to me than a cookbook with expensive and obscure ingredients I can't find or afford, so you'll never find that in my books.

As for cost, you'll save money eating a plant-based diet. legumes, grains, seasonal fruits and vegetables -- they cost a fraction compared to the costs of meat. Most of the recipes in my cookbook cost less than $5 to make -- look for the special "budget friendly" icon. We chopped over $100 of our grocery bill when we adopted a plant-based diet -- even when shopping organic.

5. Have you had any feedback from the new cookbook in terms of weight loss or health benefits you could share with my readers?

My new book has only been out for a few days, so people haven't had it long enough to have any sort of experience... but with respect to my first book (same cooking style), I've had easily 100 people write me and say they lost 20, 40, 50, even 100+ pounds using my recipes. I love those stories -- and I've started featuring them on my blog, on Wednesdays, as "herbies of the week"

6. Do you give the newbie vegan menu suggestions in your new book? I always struggle with menu planning as a non-vegan and wonder if you help craft well balanced meals in your cookbook or website (Happy Herbivore)

Both books have pairing suggestions to make meal planning easy. I also have meal plans on my site, which take out all the guess work. They're balanced and tell you exactly what to eat. Perfect for the new vegan.

HH Diet Plan

7. I love the glossary of ingredients, and recipe substitutions, in The Happy Herbivore (which was great for someone who had never heard of half the ingredients or what to substitute for an egg in various recipes) do you include such a section in Everyday Happy Herbivore?


8. What are your favorite go-to ingredients when cooking and why?

I go through phases. For a while I was really into Dijon mustard, then it was hot sauce, then it was cumin, and then it was green chilis and now I keep circling back to curry powder. Next week it will be something else. Same with main ingredients. For a while everything I made was with chickpeas, and then I got bored and moved on to black beans, and then kidney beans and so on. Right now I'm obsessive about lentils.

9. After my 21 day cleanse, I'm not sure if I'll make the full leap into a vegan way of eating, but am wondering if I am vegan for 3 to 4 days per week, will I still notice a difference in health benefits

You won't. I don't want to discourage, because some vegan meals are better than no vegan meals, but you won't experience all the amazing benefits of eating a clean, vegan diet unless you do it 100% As long as you continue to eat animal products, you continue to be addicted, and you continue to do damage to your body. You also prevent your mind and tastes to completely adjust to a new way of eating. You might notice some positive changes, but you would experience it 100 or 1000x more if you were 100%.

Spicy Orange Greens | serves 2

The slightly spicy orange sauce in this dish is one of my favorites. You can serve it with any greens you like or have on hand, but collard greens are my favorite to use. For a complete meal, serve over or tossed with noodles.

1/3 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp orange marmalade or jam
4 cups greens (any)

Pour water, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper flakes into a skillet. Turn heat to high and saute until the ginger is fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in marmalade and then add chopped greens. Reduce heat to medium and using tongs, turn greens into the sauce. This will help cook the greens down; stop when your greens are bright green and have softened. Serve.

Chef's Note: Cooked broccoli florets may be substituted for the greens. Toss cooked broccoli with the sauce once it's been warmed and serve.

Per Serving: 156 Calories, 1.5g Fat, 32g Carbohydrates, 8.8g Fiber, 11.6g Sugars, 10.1g Protein

Get your copy of Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-and-Easy Low Fat and Fat-Free Vegan Recipes. Buy on Amazon.

After vegan chef Lindsay S. Nixon wrapped up her popular cookbook The Happy Herbivore Cookbook last year, she went back to her kitchen in her new home of St. Maarten. Island living encouraged Nixon to come up with simpler fare, which led to a follow-up cookbook focusing on recipes that bring tasty back to quick-and-easy.

Now, in Nixon's much-anticipated follow-up cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore, readers will see, once again, that just because plant-based eating is optimal for health, it doesn't have to also be expensive or time-consuming.

Everyday Happy Herbivore includes more than 175 doable recipes--recipes that are so quick and easy, you could cook three healthy meals from scratch every day like Nixon does.

Each of Nixon's recipes are made with wholesome, easy-to-find, fresh ingredients and include no added fats. With additional notes indicating recipes that are ideal for preparing ahead of time and those you can whip up with just a few dollars, Everyday Happy Herbivore will be the must-have cookbook for anyone desiring a healthier, happier menu!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dear Martha Stewart....

With the holidays fast approaching, I have a confession.... I long for your holiday specials CBS would broadcast before you got all Hollywood and began inviting celebrities to your home (like the year Michael Jordan may have visited you was just wrong).

For me, the holidays are not the holidays without watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph, It's a Wonderful Life, and for a time, the Martha Stewart Christmas specials on CBS.

My friend and I would prepare for the special as a football fan for the Superbowl. She'd make arrangements for her kids to be in bed or distracted by their dad, we'd each get our choice of wine and with phone and remote in hand, we'd plop down on the respective sofas for your specials.

We'd love when you'd make your own gift wrap with brown paper and some potatoes (very MacGyer like thinking); or when you had Julia Child on the show and spun caramel like anyone could do it.

My friend and I would drink our wine while commenting on the phone why all you need is a stapler and bag to wrap a present or how slice-and-bake cookies were still the way to go.

It's sad that my friend's daughter won't be able to see these specials now that's she's older. Some shows are classics and should be aired.

I know your shows were informative and women probably imitated you (actually we had a mutual friend who made the gift wrap - bless her little soul), but my friend and I long for quality time during the holidays where we could sit in our respective homes, and discuss how we're sane because we've chosen not to spend 22+ hours attempting a croquembouche.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Pickup Line a Guy Should NEVER Use....

I'm over 50 and DON'T need Viagra!

Yup. You read what I wrote. And yes, this very line was used on my sister while in NYC a couple of weekends ago.

About 3 weeks ago, my sister, YogaGirl, PonchoGirl (my friend since I was 5) and I went into NYC. YogaGirl turns 50 next week and treated us, for her birthday (which I don't get, but I'm okay with it) to tickets to see Harry Connick Jr on Broadway. After the play, PonchoGirl treated us to dinner at Barbuto (YUMMY - would highly recommend), but it was the time in between the play and dinner that YogaGirl met the man of her dreams....

Okay, maybe it was a nightmare, but still, a nightmare is a dream!

We went across the street to this bar where every inch of space, including the ceiling, was adored with glittery pictures of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. The specialty of the house were margaritas, and although I'm not partial to the artwork in the bar (translation, I don't have any glittery coloring book pictures of Jesus, Mary or Joseph in my home), the place had a very fun kitchy vibe to it and we parked our butts on the bar stool. This is where my sister met Mr. Wonderful and his friend.

This is the point in the story where I need to make my disclaimer: If an annoying, or I think I'm an ultra-cool man, begins to talk to a friend or family member of mine, I don't care how close we are, I will ditch your sorry ass to avoid any conversation with such human being.

Yup. It's true. I've done it in the past, but to my defense, I learned this trick from a girlfriend who'd did the same to me before I remarried.

I guess the conversation was going smoothly between my sister, non-Viagra (nV) man and his friend until the friend went to the bathroom. I guess nV felt this the perfect time let her know he was in town for one night and how he was over 50, but needed no Viagra. Mind you, the guy was wearing a wedding band. I missed this conversation, as I had already turned my back and ditched her to chat with my friend.

What the hell was nV guy thinking? Did he think telling my sister of his manliness was going to get her on her back in his hotel room? (Note: he made sure to mention several times prior how they were only in town for one night - this was precisely the moment I turned my back on her to chat only with my friend).

I'm not sure what I might have said if I had been tossed that line. Actually I do. I would have said: "Wow, you must be really proud". But somehow, I think her approach of not responding was probably the way to go.

We left shortly after the comment and as we made our way to the restaurant, I asked my sister why she didn't go for it.

Yeah, I laughed at her expense.

Evolution of My Food Pantry Dinner Parties

Today marks the day where my food pantry dinner parties have changed since I started them in 2009.

Initially, I swiped the concept from Weight Watchers that for every pound I lose, each of my guests had to bring a pound of food for the local food pantry.

I held fast to that rule for the longest time, but now, I let people bring what they want and because of my financial situation, people have even chipped in to keep the dinners going.

One of the most wonderful unexpected outcomes from these dinners, is how I've met some great women and gotten to know others better. I've always opened up my table to allow my friends to bring their friends. Because I've adopted this attitude, I have gotten to make some new friends and catch a glimpse into the lives of people I may have never met in my everyday travels.

The conversations are warm, funny and honest. We share the struggles and joys of husbands, children, finances and aging (both us and our parents). It's one conversation with 6 to 8 women. We share tales or listen to others. No conversation is off limits and I never want anyone around my table to feel excluded or exclude others.

I've always read about the strong bonds women form and have friendships that are over 40 years long. However, I've gotten to see first hand how putting together a group of women, random strangers, for this one night a month, can create one of the most enriched evenings because of open conversations.

I have many things I can be sad about because of the lose of my job, but if I hadn't lost my job, I may have never started these dinners. Now...I can't imagine not having them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Local Libraries Offer Much More Than Books.....

My last post summed up how I've been feeling for quite some time. Being 3 years unemployed has taken a toll on my self confidence and I knew if I continued down the same path, I would probably drown in my wallow pool.

However, with limited funds, I needed to really look at what I needed to kick start me. I have a long way to go, but I did mention how I want to do something daily so I would leave my own self-pity party and regain the self confidence that's been slowly slipping through my fingertips.

Sunday, I checked out the events at the local libraries where I live. A couple months back I went to a great lecture/discussion at a nearby library, but prior to that event, I've probably been to the library 5 times in the past 20 years (maybe more, but let's just say the trips have been infrequent).

Last night, Bill came with me to a discussion given by the founders of Food52.com. A great site if you love to cook, and they just came out with their first cookbook - The Food52 Cookbook. I had some birthday cash leftover, bought the book, and Bill got to choose 4 recipes which I'll make because he was a good sport and came with me. Knowing his sweet tooth, I'm finally going to have to bake something for him. Don't get me wrong, I have baked non-box brownies for him, but it had to be at least 3 years ago. Besides, he's heard stories of how I used to bake about 10,000 cookies around Christmas and give them out as gifts to friends. Needless to say, I need to keep my mouth shut on things I don't like to do, but can. Oh well, lesson learned!

Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs were 2 approachable people who love food and were able to create an amazing food website Food52.com. I love the fact anyone can submit a recipe. They have contests, test the recipes, pick finalists, but it is the votes from the interweb community that pick the winners.

I love how the cookbook and the website have amazing photographs of both the finished recipes and the ingredients in a very appealing, inviting and artsy way. Each photo makes you believe the dish is something I can accomplish without worrying.

I knew of Amanda's work from the New York Times and The Essential New York Times Cookbook, but the moment Merrill mentioned how she loves to chop and mince the vegetables, I knew I connected with someone (yeah, yeah, I find it relaxing to iron and chop onions).

We have a rib eye steak in the freezer and plan on using the Cowboy Rubbed Rib-eye with Chocolate Stout Pan Sauce tonight before I start my vegan/gluten/caffeine/sugar and alcohol free cleanse this Friday (how I went vegan for 21 days last December) I'll let you know how it comes out.

In addition to last night's fun lecture, today I went to another library lecture entitled: Jobseekers: Energize Your Job Search. It was about how to gain access to great resources and research databases by just having a library card. There a couple of new job search sites I hadn't heard of and am thankful I decided not to blow off this opportunity. The woman who gave the presentation was both succinct and genuinely kind by offering her email and phone number to anyone who may need assistance in company background checks. I left feeling as though she sincerely wanted to help each person in the room become gainfully employed. I plan on checking out every url she gave us to give me a new perspective on the work I've already put in.

I know it's easy to research online, but there's so much more a library can offer if you just take the time to look. I'm glad I did.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Recognizing When You've Been Wallowing Too Long...

I want to name the place I'm currently residing in as the "Wallow Pool". I figure if people can swim in the shallow end of a pool, I can only describe how I've been feeling as swimming in a pool of self-pity or the Wallow Pool.

Lately, there are more than enough days where I feel as though I'm swimming in the world's longest swimming pool with really strong currents. I'm not drowning, but constantly feel as though water is splashing in my face making it incredibly difficult to see the edge of the pool I am trying to get out of. And it's always just beyond my reach.

I need to put on some fins.....

Fins are a great idea, but if I swim too fast with them on, I fear I might ram my head in the wall.

Maybe a kick board is a better option. In fact, I know it is. It'll get me to my destination and will protect me if I hit the wall before I actually get a chance to see it.

It make take longer to get to the edge, but in my case, I think it best to swim slowly.

I need to do one thing a day to better my situation. It can be writing that kick-ass cover letter (which may or may not lead to the end result I want), trying a new food or recipe, practice the art of writing, blog, read blogs, learn something new, dance just because, streamline my overall life or face a fear (right now it's a constant unknown with every financial call I have).

I realize my kick-board doesn't have to be big to be effective, but I realize everyday if I do something it is one more day I'll get closer to the end of the pool; one more day I'll start feeling better about me. But, really, it's one more step towards facing my biggest fears with confidence.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Philly: The City of Neon

Before any Philly pounce on me for the title of today's post -- don't. This is not an insult. It's an observation. One, which I marveled at. Seriously, all the neon signs I saw were FULLY lit and I was really keeping an eye out for an unlit one. I was completely shocked. It didn't matter what part of the city we were in, I was impressed the signs were fully lit. Does Philly have an edict which states any shop owner wanting a neon sign must keep it in working order?

None of the 1/2 ass neon signs I see around my home for Philly. It brought joy to my heart to see this (and you're probably thinking I need to get a life if this is what I noticed about Philly -- you could be right).

There's more to Philly, but here's where I'm going to make some enemies.... I went to Geno's Steaks for a famous Philly Cheese sub and it fell flat. I LOVE a good Philly Cheese Steak, but the onions weren't sauteed enough and I figure if you're touting yourself as the organism of cheese steak subs, well, you shouldn't. I mean the sub was okay, and I loved that the baguette was fresh, but the partially sauteed onions did me in. If I happen to go back to Philly, I will give Pat's a shot. Maybe they can uphold the title of amazing cheese steak subs.

Enough about the cheese steak and neon signs... I bet you're wondering what brought me to Philly? Okay, maybe you're not. Here's what brought me to Philly....Nothing. Absolutely nothing other than pure curiosity. I've never been and went to visit my sister, YogaGirl, who lives close enough to Philly that you don't have to whine "Are we there yet"? while in the car.

Because we got a late start, and I insisted on getting a famous Philly Cheese Steak sub, our time was limited. No Liberty Bell or Rocky Statue (hell, if I refuse to see any of the movies before I die, I'm certainly not going to head over to his statue), instead, I was very cultured and chose Philly's Art Museum.

I love when European artists don't name their work and others come up with titles for their pieces. You get titles like: Two Dead Birds with One Dog or Riverview or Three Dead Birds with Two Dogs. It's interesting dead birds were such a hot topic to paint way-back-when.

The museum had a substantial number of pieces by Monet and an interesting Modern art wing. Okay, interesting is over selling it. I mean, when does breaking a shovel in half get the right to be placed in a museum with special lighting? However, what I love most about viewing modern art with YogaGirl is how frustrated she gets when she believes she can create the piece herself. She may have a point. I wonder if I should start viewing paint swatches with a different depth and appreciation as it may hang in a gallery one day. However, YogaGirl wasn't as disturbed as much as usual with 'she-can-make-this-so-it's-not-art' pieces on the wall, but was completely disturbed by the whole room devoted to Cy Twombly.

Cy passed away this year, and I know it's wrong to talk ill of the dead, but his stuff, IMHO, was HORRIBLE.

It looked like he smudged the pastels a bit and wrote some words using his toes. As we sat on the bench in the room taking in all the pieces of his exhibit, I overheard people behind me talking about how great this particular piece was. I've never felt so dumb. What was I missing? Why couldn't I see the passion in this piece created by writing some words on canvas using one's toes? Why?

Actually, I felt like this in many of the rooms of the modern art exhibit. In fact, I asked one guard if he got it. He smiled, laughed and said: "Oh yeah, I get it. Especially this piece". It was a piece of plaster navels. Yup. The belly button is now art.

So...next time you're removing clothes lint from your belly button, just remember how your belly button could be in a museum of art.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Remember It All Starts With the Rubber Band Wallet....

Last week I got a call from my sister YogaGirl telling me about her latest conversation with our dad. My dad is 89 and believes he no longer has to abide by the rules of society. I believe, as you age, an individual should receive a certain amount of respect with no questions asked. However.....if you want to be a member of this society, receive certain benefits, you have to play by the rules.

There are certain rules my dad has to abide by and believes he's above them. For starters, I know he's has just shown up at a physician's office without an appointment and has learned he truly believes the concept of the 4/5 hour window waiting for a furniture delivery does not apply to him. I no longer debate/argue these points with him and let him sit and wait like everyone else.

However, every couple of months, YogaGirl or I have to have a breakdown with him about certain issues regarding the writing of checks. We don't care how he spends his money, but the government does. It's a long boring story of why we care about his check writing activities (so, I'm not going to bore you), but I hate the fact he only responds to us when we have a total meltdown with him.

It's not fair. It sucks and we both hate it.

After talking with YogaGirl last week, I blamed his inability to listen to us on the rubber band wallet.

In the early 1990's I had a boss named Bruce. His father would often visit our small office and when he'd leave, Bruce would just hold his head in his hands and shake it. I'd laugh and he'd say: "Just you wait till your dad starts using a rubber band as his wallet."

Twenty years later and I now understand the "rubber band wallet" issue. See...once a person has replaced their wallet with a rubber band I believe all social graces go out the window.... Showing up unannounced, believing lines aren't meant for you and thinking any rule the government has doesn't apply to you.

My dad is not an anarchist, but seriously he picks and chooses what he wants to do and leaves his daughters to pull out their hair from complete frustration.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Remember the Magazine Study I Participated In....


I survived. I can also tell you more about it because it's out on the newsstand and I'm quoted in it. Actually, I noticed my results helped comprise part of the headline on the cover of the magazine.

It was a Prevention study for pre-diabetes. The article is the Wonder Workout in the November issue and I lowered my triglycerides by 44 mg/dl.

I picked up the magazine yesterday and finally had a chance to look at the cover tonight when I noticed the headline of "Real-Woman Tested Drop Two Sizes Lose 4 Inches in 4 Weeks! + Lower Cholesterol by 30 Points."

The article and program are really good. I admit after getting the heat exhaustion in week 3, I stopped logging food, but I really wasn't eating or exercising. However, I would follow this program again, and, in some ways, still do. I really try to incorporate more fiber into my diet and have become a big fan of Chobani's pineapple greek yogurt. I find it yummy, high in protein and keeps me full for a long time.

Prevention did a great job with running the study. They set up a Facebook page for fellow participants to connect with one another or ask Martica Heaner (our Prevention contact, who designed the workout plan and walked us through the program) any questions or voice concerns. I was ALWAYS asking for suggestions on high fiber foods that would keep me full for a long time and under our 1500 calorie limitation. I discovered many ways to cook bean dishes, got some great suggestions from fellow participants and learned that jicama is incredibly high in fiber (my discovery which I also created a great dressing with the group and posted - if I find it I'll post on blog).

Prevention also gave us the tools needed to do the resistance training and were incredibly accommodating when I would ask to come in after the last time slot for the follow-ups because the non-commuter train(within my budget) wouldn't get into Grand Central until after the times they posted.

If you do the program, let me know how you did. I'd be curious.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Energy of Others

No. This isn't a Halloween post. It's actually about the energy a person can give off even when they don't know it.

There are people I've come across that just rub me the wrong way. I can't explain why, I don't wish them harm, but I just don't want to be around them. With friends and classmates from decades ago coming out of the woodwork on Facebook, I have chosen not to pursue some of the people my friends have reconnected with because of my experience with them -- or their energy.

I don't know why, but I've been thinking a lot about how the energies of others impact a person. I don't often share this thought with others because I'm not sure people would get it or think I'm a bit nuts. However, yesterday, I had a very interesting conversation during a care meeting with the staff of the nursing home my mother lives in.

My mom has Alzheimer's. She hasn't recognized me in over 2 years, and really doesn't know anyone at this point. She may know my dad, but can't remember if he's visited her 5 minutes after he's left. During the meeting I found it interesting when I posed the following question to the 3 staff members: "Is my mom more lively when she participates in activities by herself or when my dad is there?"

The 3 staff members looked at one another and the response I got fascinated me -- I was told she is lively when alone. In fact, she becomes docile and quiet if my dad is with her. It was interesting to me because as I grew older, my mom HATED to participate with my dad in activities (e.g., church groups, senior center) because she said my dad over took the whole room. If she signed up for something and he tried to join her, she'd quit. She told me she hated how he had to be the center of attention.

I began to wonder, if my mom doesn't always remember my dad when he visits her, how does she know to be non-responsive when they are at an activity together? I wonder if her intuition takes over and has her know there's something about this man she doesn't appreciate in group settings. I wonder.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Only Title I Can Come Up With: My Father Cornered the Canned Tuna Market

I am the youngest of 5 of a very spread out family. By the time I was 11, 2 sisters were married and my brother moved to Arizona never to return East.

YogaGirl and I lived under the same roof until I was 13 and one thing I remember is my father's trips to the grocery store. Every week my mom would painstakingly create a grocery list off her menu plan for the week (I don't know why I chose the word 'painstakingly' because I can remember we had the same weekly menu throughout my years in high school)....Anyway, dad would go off to the local grocery store and ALWAYS forget something on the list. Oh. My. God. You think he'd learn for sanity reasons that missing something off the list would send my mother into a tailspin. They would bicker back and forth about the stupid list and why couldn't he remember the chicken. I have to admit, after looking at the list when I was about 6 years old, I couldn't understand it either. It was right there - chicken. To this day, I wonder why he always forgot one thing, but always managed to replace it with cans of tuna fish.

Chicken wasn't tuna fish. My dad didn't bring lunch and even if I hadn't made my own lunches from 1st grade on, I never would have brought tuna fish to school. It stunk up the whole locker. Fitting in is hard enough, but imagine if you set yourself up to smell like tuna all day long? That is just ridiculous.

I can't speak for any other siblings other than YogaGirl, but I remember always having cans of tuna on hand. Not just one or two cans, but like 10 or 12. I swear that stockpile never went down.

As an adult with my own home, I have a pantry and have noticed, I inherited the stockpiling of the tuna fish gene. I have cans and cans, but no damn mayo!

I swear, I'm always running out of mayo. I wish I didn't because a tuna fish sandwich on toasted bread is pretty tasty.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Concept of Tethering and Untethering

It could be that I'm writing this entire post because 'tether' is one of those words I like saying. It's one of many words I enjoy using because I like the way it sounds or it's definition is perfect for a particular situation, but that's not the point of this post.

I always think of tethering as being connecting to a laptop/computer the old fashion way (without wifi or wireless modem) and untethered as getting your email via a wireless device such as your blackberry. Either case, you're still till tethered to something because you're attached to your device like it holds all the answers to your questions, when it really doesn't.I think it's getting harder and harder to walk away, or 'untether' oneself, from an electronic media device.

I grew up in the 1980's, prior to the electronic age. Call waiting and 3 party calling was the latest gizmo and if the phone rang, you ran to get it before your mom picked it. I watched the introduction of cellphones take off and remember how exciting (yes, I used the word exciting) when I would hear my phone ring.

As one gizmo is replaced with another, my fascination for the current device fads.

However, the availability of internet service, has lessened my demand to always wanting or having to be in the know. Recently, I started to acknowledge just how much time I kept my laptop on, how often I checked my friends' status on Facebook and how often I'd open my inbox to scan the new message I'd just received. I guess I started acknowledging it because my husband is not an electronics gadget junkie. In fact, I don't think he turns on his laptop, outside of work hours, more than once or twice per week. I also noticed, as many articles have suggested, computers can suck the life out of someone. Between social media, games, and just searching the web for random information, I realized I was dropping time. I'd gotten out-of-control. I decided to take back my life and walk away from the computer.

Now, I go on in the mornings for about 1 to 2 hours, and again in the evening for about 2 hours. Otherwise, I shut it down and put my laptop away.

Oddly enough, I haven't missed a thing. In fact, I've started catching up on the stack of magazines I've ignored for so long.

I wonder.....will I have self control when the next new gizmo is invented or will I be sucked in as I have in the past.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Old Wives' Tales.....

The past few days in Connecticut have been glorious. I mean they've been the type of days you only see in movies, but rarely in real life.

As I was driving around with the sunroof open, all I could wonder about was how long it would take for a bird to shit on me.

Why couldn't my brain wonder off to think about the beautiful sunny, blue skies? Instead, I zeroed in on the fact this was perfect weather for a bird to shit on me.

Before you start thinking she's crazy, let me explain.... On 3 different occasions, I've had a bird shit on me. All 3 times, the days were just as beautiful and sunny as yesterday. Only difference is that I was alone.

In the past, birds shat on me when I was standing or sitting next to another person. So very odd. But, I guess if the bird is going to hit its target, it probably wants witnesses to see how talented he is.

Just to be clear: When a bird shits on you, it's gross, but not the end of the world. However, I don't believe a bird shitting on you brings happiness.

Nor do I believe rain on your wedding day brings a long and happy marriage. It rained the day of my first wedding (notice I use the word 'first'), so that wives' tale isn't true.

Why do wives' tales exist? Why don't people just say "It's raining, get over it" or "Get away from me, I don't want bird crap to get on me?"

I never had children and wonder if they tell a mother-to-be that a really hard and long labor means you're going to have the best behaved, beautiful, brilliant and considerate child?

If not, I want to add that into the collection of Old Wives' Tales. Why not? I'm married and I often wake-up feeling like a 110 years old.......

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Do You Think About When You Try to De-stress?

Yesterday's post I alluded to having some health issues that popped up over the summer, and for me, it's all tied to stress.

From August to September, my blood pressure went from normal to pre-hypertension and I've been having trouble swallowing food. Sometimes it gets lodged in my esophagus and I either lose air and cough for an obscene amount of time or have to drink a tremendous amount of liquid to get it down or cough it up. This doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it's a bit painful and scary.

Turns out, after a throat x-ray and endoscopy, I have the beginnings of an inflamed stomach (not sure how this correlates to my food passage, but that's what I have). One of the major causes of inflamed stomach is stress. I have to admit, for the past month, I've been feeling my blood pressure take a hold of me and turn me into "Angered-Stress Girl". It's a very odd and uncomfortable feeling, but it wasn't until I got the results of the inflamed stomach did I really take action.

I meditate, not daily, but knew I needed more. I've begun to slow walk for a 1/2 hour daily. I look at my to-do list and if I have too many things on the list, I cut one item and am learning to put this walk as a priority (something that would typically drop to the bottom of my list).

Walking slower than normal is harder than you think. I'm finally getting into a groove and remembering I'm not walking to beat my personal best, but walking to lower my blood pressure and de-stress. I listen to music with a slower sound (okay, a lot of Dave Matthews and Matchbox 20) and as I'm listening to music, I try to focus on a topic that has nothing to do with my worries. Yesterday, it was the snack chip.

I think the death of the creator of Doritos has been having people ask that question lately and I began to mull it over as I was walking. What I discovered is that are a lot of snack products that have been added over the years, and although I love Salt & Vinegar chips, I'm going to have to stick with my Fritos.


Maybe because they've been around before I was born, or I believe them to be healthy because they are gluten-free, but I think it's because they're just tasty.

What's your favorite snack chip?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What I Did on Summer Vacation by LMB.....

Remember when you were in elementary school how the teacher would start the first day with having you write an essay on what you did for Summer vacation. Every year the amount of words that you had to have on the page had to increase. This task became trickier and trickier because I could never figure out a way to expand upon what I did. Basically, if I wasn't swimming in my friend's pool, I was sailing on a small sunfish or climbing trees. Occasionally, I'd go down to the beach, but as a kid I enjoyed swimming in a pool. As a teenager, well, the beach was a preferred choice.

If I were back in school today and had to write a similar essay, I think I'd put the professor to sleep. My summer was lackluster and at times not a lot of fun.

After 3 years of unemployment, the money has dried out and I've been scrambling a way to find a way to keep my home of 15 years. I knew in the Spring this may happen and started calling various agencies and am working with the banks now. We'll see.

But, no money = no trips. Well, I did take a day trip to Rhode Island this Summer and it was great to just get away even if it was for just one day.

Some might argue and tell me I went on a safari with my continuous battle with the wildlife that attacked my garden. I think all the animals (except squirrels - I really hate them) were adorable, but should have manners and sit on the outside of the fence and not touch the growing veggies. But they obviously weren't given proper etiquette lessons from Emily Post.

After giving up on trying to outsmart the animals in the garden, Hurricane Irene came and flooded my 89 year old father's house. We're still finishing up getting his life back together, but I learned that screaming for extended periods of time because your father won't wear his hearing aid is just crazy. Blood pressure goes up, headaches start. I've now stopped screaming. I'm learning my health is too valuable.

A couple of other discoveries happened for me, but this post is becoming a bit of a downer, so I'll leave you with this last thing I did: Pig Chases. Yup. I saw them and can cross them off my bucket list.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I can't believe a case of poison ivy can lead to a group of naked men on a mushroom expedition....

Anyone who has read my blog over the past few months knows I have been combating a woodchuck, family of rabbits, squirrels and deer. These are woodland creatures I can see, identify and try to instill the fear of God into. I'd like to say I intimidate them, but I don't. Well, the woodchuck I do, but the squirrels and deer mock me and the rabbits snarl at me after a long staring contest.

In keeping with the theme of organic gardening, I try to weed my garden. Not often, but I'll go out and weed when there are enough weeds to feel as though I accomplished something. Although I can identify weeds from plants, I can't identify poison ivy. My husband pointed it out that I was ripping out patches of poison ivy and was surprised I didn't know what it looked like. I have to admit, I didn't and still don't. I have a vision of it in my mind and apparently I'm totally off the mark.

So....after washing my hands with hot water and soap, I managed to get a case of PI on my left hand and left side of my face (I wonder if I get points for proving a scientific theory that people scratch the left side of their face with their left hand and right side with right hand -- okay, I'll stop digressing). I was telling a friend this story and mentioned I also have mushrooms in my garden and if I couldn't identify PI, how in the world would I distinguish an edible mushroom.

Personally, I think you have to have a special degree to identify edible mushrooms because for every edible mushroom there are apparently 2 twins. One looks like the edible one, but not tasty and the other is poisonous. He agreed. He also told me that you don't need a special degree, you just need to be an old world European person to distinguish an edible mushroom. I agreed 100% because the only person I heard of mushroom picking was my husband's grandmother and she was from Czechoslovakia.

I have to admit, although my friend's observation was brilliant, I wanted to know how he came up with it. He started with "Remember the summer I was at the gay nudist camp"... "well, there was an old world European there giving mushroom scouting lessons." The story from that point on was just lost on me. I began to have visions of naked men protecting their peckers from twig snap-backs or PI all wearing Robin Hood hats and dancing around the forest.

Needless to say, my friend did not partake on the mushroom expedition so I couldn't ask if he had any helpful tips (on distinguishing edible from non-edible mushrooms - get your mind out of the gutter). However, I have to confess, after creating a vision of a naked Robin Hood and his merry men, I don't think I would have absorbed too much knowledge about mushrooms.

What I do is this: I still can't identify poison ivy or edible mushrooms and doubt I ever will.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Random Conversations

Ever notice the days you have truly random conversations about nothing important? I do. I think it's because they are absolutely priceless. They hold no real value other than to scratch your head and think did I really spend 5 minutes talking about that?!

Yesterday, I had 2 random conversations that made me laugh. I started my day in a text conversation with a friend about tiaras vs crowns. There were 2 text conversations going on and things began to overlap. I had a feeling she was scolding me for my lack of crown vs tiara comments and decided to clear matters up by calling her.

Turns out, I was being scolded for my lack of "bling" knowledge. I didn't know it was a huge deal, but apparently only a queen wears a crown and other royalty wear tiaras. I was also reminded how a tiara is not even in height and doesn't fully go around one's head. My response: "If 2 people are standing 50 feet away from me, one with a tiara the other wearing a crown, I won't be able to tell the difference. They'll both be wearing something on their head that sparkles."

The funniest part about my educational conversation is that I shared it with YogaGirl who also couldn't believe I didn't know the difference and the importance of the crown vs the tiara.

I'm chalking up this conversation to extreme temperatures in the Northeast.

So, that was my first conversation. I ended my day with this conversation with hubby (words from a man who has come up with such gems as the ending a great date in a movie theatre parking lot sharing a can of Colt 45) who decided to share his idea for the next great invention: The Fart Pillow. Yes. The Fart Pillow. Similar to the whoopie cushion, you'd put your head down on your pillow, it'd make the noise of a whoopie cushion, but release the odors of rotten eggs.

I tried to point out how this would backfire on the person playing the joke because he would suffer from the rotten egg smell. He wouldn't have that protective smell barrier (the one that lets you believe your farts don't stink) and would suffer to.

I wonder how today will go. My first real conversation with anyone is an interview. I just hope I don't slip and share my husband's brilliant invention of the fart pillow.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Small Things Can Create a Big Impact.....

Several weeks ago, I had lunch with a girlfriend of mine. I've known her for years, but openly admit, I'm not a sharer when it comes to incredibly crappy things going on in my life. When I asked my ex for a divorce, I had been unhappy in the marriage for 5 years prior and really didn't tell people I was miserable. So, when I saw my friend for lunch, I finally shared some stuff that I'm going through.

I've admitted in this blog how it's difficult for me to ask for help, but it's also very difficult for me to share things that make people feel uncomfortable (it really is the last thing I want to do to my friends). However, I'm at a stage where I can't hide things anymore. It would be like having a 1000 pound gorilla in a room and not acknowledging he's sitting right next to me.

She listened and I know she felt uncomfortable, but I wanted her to hear things from me and not other friends (she's that good a friend where I'd feel terrible if she heard things about me from anyone other than me). She was incredibly supportive while together and we hugged goodbye when we went our separate ways.

A week later I got this unexpected card in the mail from her letting me know she was there for me. I was so touched by the card that I cried. It really is such a great bright spot, that it has made my month.

I have the card and plan to save it in the same place I have my college letters from friends and love letters from boyfriends. It just has the same place in my heart as these items.

I consider myself very lucky to have this person in my life. Thank you Lauren for being my friend.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Books, Books and More Books.....

Reading is time I carve out for me and almost always enjoy. I don't read an entire book in one sitting or skim over an author's words, but admit books can leave me with a mixed bag of emotions when I've finished reading the book.

For instance, earlier this year, I mentioned how I found one book I was reading incredibly painful and wanted to break up with it but didn't because I was hopeful for an amazing ending. I've only wanted to break-up with 2 other books in my lifetime, so I'm thinking if I come across a book I want nothing to do with once-in-a-blue moon, I have a good track record.

Other books entertain me like a night out with friends where I laugh and just forget where I am. I relish these books, but admit, they're so light and playful that the book's plot doesn't really stay with me. I just remember how I enjoyed my time while reading the book.

Lately, I've been reading a lot of non-fiction and memoirs. I'm not sure why, but admit, I enjoy the feeling of walking around with someone and getting to learn something new through the eyes of someone else. I have a feeling I'll probably stay along this path for a very long time just for this reason. However, I recently snuck in a type of "self-help" book in my mix and it's left with the strangest impression -- a sort of book-after-glow if there's such a thing.

Several months ago, I read The Luck Factor by Dr. Richard Wiseman. I believe I read about it in an Oprah magazine, but after an email exchange with a man I admire (he got me hooked on the concept of a daily gratitude journal), I thought I'd read the book. The premise is that there are not lucky or unlucky people as most believe (all people have the same chances of winning lotto), it's our perception of lucky people vs unlucky people all comes down to the choices we make. How we put ourselves out there, or how we don't.

The book gives the reader various exercises to take and experiments to do (e.g., talk to a complete stranger -- put yourself out there to try a new experience) and I have to admit this book made me stop to reflect on moments in my life when I went against my intuition and the situation turned out badly for me, or when I forced myself to approach a person in a new situation and recognize what a great experience I had because I put myself out there.

Dr. Wiseman had presented something I had seen before, but it's how he presented it. These are the books I really LOVE. They make me look at things differently, make me try something new to prove if a book's theory is true and because of this I do experience something great. In the end, his book made me cognizant of how I can change and improve my life's experiences.

I'm not sure I'd want every book to leave me with the same experience as Dr. Wiseman's book. I'd miss the light-hearted reads, or being able to walk beside someone and enjoy another person's experience. Besides, if every book left me the way Dr. Wiseman's book left me, would I be able to recognize its impact? Probably not.

Would I recommend The Luck Factor to others? Yes. No. It really depends upon the person reading it. I kept an open mind and enjoyed reading the book, but others may not and miss the point.

I'm curious, what type of books move you and why? I'm also curious, do you see movies that are based upon books you've loved?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Letting Someone Take Care of Me......

I have to confess, I'm horrible at asking for help or admitting I need help to anyone about anything. Last week, due to the increased activity and the temperatures climbing, I let myself become dehydrated and came down with heat exhaustion AND got some sort of bug. Basically, I was a wreck.

Having some sort of bug was bad enough, but have you ever really suffered from heat exhaustion? It sucks. The combination of the two made me want to crawl out of my own skin and be anywhere else. At one point, I hallucinated and no amount of sucking down water was really helping because the other symptoms I was experiencing from my 'bug' were taking care of any nutrients left in my body. I was achy from both the 'bug' and heat exhaustion and left wondering how much Gatorade do I have to drink for at least one of my ailments to go away.

I kept recalling the one question I was asked over-and-over recouping in the hospital in 2004 and 2005: "On a scale of 1 to 10, what's your pain threshold?" God, did I learn to hate that question. However, I found myself thinking about that question Wednesday late night and thinking "if I just took off my head, I'd be a 4, otherwise I was a 9". It's rare when I feel this crappy. In fact, I know I'm really sick when I want to cry, but my head and eyeballs hurt too damn much for me to cry. I also believe the fear I'd never hydrate and have to go to the hospital also helped bring on some tears (I hate being a patient in the hospital like others fear flying). Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep Wednesday.

Hubby was out-of-town Wednesday evening and although I thought about calling him at 2 a.m. to take me to the hospital as I was seeing no change, I didn't. I had just switched from water to Gatorade and hoping for the best. As my heat exhaustion came under control, my other symptoms took over. Bad cold? Flu? Who knows, but I felt like crap.

When Hubby came home that evening he took one look at me and knew I was too sick to take care of me. In the 5 years we've been together, I've never been this sick. He took Friday off and spent the entire weekend taking care of me. It was something I never experienced with my ex-husband (he let me drive under Valium to my MRI which I was terrified of going for and told me the test was unnecessary and I was making up the need for a MRI - ummmm, I think not dirt bag) and have to admit was pleasantly shocked at how wonderful it felt to have someone take care of me.

I still have issues asking for help, but the past year has been challenging me to do so. I wish I didn't, but it's nice to know I have wonderful people in my life now willing to help any way they can.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Meet-and-Greet with Keith Urban.....

This past Sunday my older sister and I went to the Keith Urban concert at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Mohegan Sun is a great place to see a concert because the venue is large, but still intimate enough to have decent seats.

Keith Urban really knows how to interact with the crowd (not many artists really perfect this skill - Prince is also great at this). To me, it takes a real entertainer to get an entire crowd to feel as though they are on stage with him, but he did. Figuratively and literally. At one point during the concert, he brought 3 people on stage to sing some of the lyrics he was performing. It was priceless! One guy really got into it and worked both Keith and the crowd. It was very funny.

He played non-stop for 2 1/2 hours and moved to various locations in the stadium. At one point, he went up to the first tier audience, and when he finished a song, he signed the guitar he was playing and handed it to some random audience member.

Between his ability to get the crowd going, his guitar playing, his singing, the concert would have been enough. But, there is more.

Last summer, YogaGirl and I were talking about my sister's absolute love affair with Keith. YogaGirl knows someone, who knows someone with a connection to Keith. We thought it'd be great if our older sister could actually meet him. We looked up his concert schedule and it turned out he was playing at Mohegan Sun on her birthday weekend (actually, we ended up going on her birthday).

Keith hugs everyone that meets him and is very charming. He posed for pictures, answered questions from our group, and actually was a great sport and read a poem one fan's mom wrote for him while the fan used her phone to video tape him. He was hysterical. The poem was "an ode to Keith" type poem and it was obvious how embarrassed he was reading it. At several points during the reading, the author's poem mentions how she goes to his concerts, but he quickly mentioned in a joking fashion that she isn't that big a fan if she wasn't at this concert.

I think I made my sister's birthday because when he was hugging me, I mentioned it was my sister's birthday and he gave her another hug and kiss. I wonder if my sister will ever wash her cheek.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Has the Art of Conversation Been Lost Due to the Electronic Age?

I wonder if people have forgotten the true meaning of having a conversation because email, twitter, foursquare, You Tube or texting. To me, these forms of communication have taken the spotlight off the interaction between people and have made it about the clever stylings of one person.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a person who can be clever or convey a situation in 140 characters, but sometimes these individuals have forgotten how to put on their listening ears and fall flat with other human beings.

I know everyone is not a good listener, BUT, if you stop over talking others, OR, actually listen to another human being, I wouldn't have to constantly remind or re-educate you on topics we've discussed many times before. I'm not sure if the electronics' age has led to the downfall to the art of conversation, but I believe it may just exacerbate it. I wonder if people are more concerned having their voice heard instead of interacting with others because the new forms of communication force into us a role of stating something poignant.

I don't know.

What I do know is this: If you ask me a question, don't pretend to listen to me, actually listen.

I just hope the electronics' age hasn't replaced the two-way street of conversation with one-way alleys of the soliloquy (yes, I am aware of the irony in writing about this in a blog, but I do allow people to comment and often comment on people's remarks).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Walking and Chewing Gum at the Same Time.....

For some, this comes naturally. I know I could do this, but there are so many other things I can't do at once that I recently have embraced being a natural klutz.

For years, I lulled myself into believing that I had grace -- okay, maybe not. I seriously have to look down when I walk for fear of tripping over my feet. I've only walked into branches a handful of times and was thankful that the squirrel who mysteriously plunged to its death from a high branch did so moments before I would have been directly under his path (yes, a squirrel did fall out of a tree right before my eyes and go splat on my walking path).

However, last week is when I finally woke up and faced the reality that I really have no coordination. I went to the gym to run on the treadmill and this young girl got on the treadmill next to me. She pressed go and was off running at a fast clip and TEXTING on her blackberry. WTH? How? Why can't I do either of those things?

Somewhat defeated, I later realized that texting and running wasn't as easy as she made it appear and I may still be a woman with a lot of grace and coordination.....then I went for a long walk with my girlfriend Saturday morning. I was thirsty and took a sip from my water bottle and began to choke on it.

All hopes of walking and doing anything else at the same time are thrown at the window. Although, I am still hopeful I can think and walk at the same time, but wonder if others would say differently about this.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How the last 6 months of job searching has left me IN-FU-RI-ATED

Since May 2008, I've been actively seeking employment. Often I'd apply for positions and spend months interviewing for positions that would get pulled. Other blocks of times, companies didn't post new listings. I applied for hourly wage positions (I'm not knocking these positions), but was told I was overqualified or lacked retail experience, but became hopeful at the start of 2011.

I don't know why, and I'm not going to complain about the surge of new jobs I saw posted. However, in the midst of applying for positions, I came across a whole new wave of frustration that has left me FUMING. I've decided to break down my frustrations for easier reading.

1. Recruiters. I really haven't used recruiters up until 2011. Maybe it was because they never posted positions I was qualified for, or it could be I had and they never reached out to me.

Since January, I've had 5 interactions with recruiters. Only 1 has been upfront, direct, responsive and honest. One got me an interview, but I had to track him down for 3 months to find out I wasn't hired. I'm really angry because I wanted feedback from him. Constructive criticism is always welcome if it helps me land a job.

Another calls with positions I'm not really qualified for, low-balls me on hourly wage and when I ask for advice on how to answer a preliminary email from his client (meaning I don't even know what company the job is for) to position my inexperience at handling something (thinking he'd rather do this to gain the commission), he threw it back in my court. Hello? It's one thing for me to answer if this were a direct hire, but don't you want to ensure you present the best candidates you can for further business? I guess not.

One recruiter told me I'm not the type of candidate they like to represent because I'm unemployed (I posted about this in April, but guess what, the position is still unfilled). I met with another recruiter who was more interested in my references to gain new business and never talked about the position he called me in for. When asked about the position, he told me they required a candidate with a MBA (not posted on job listing), but he complemented me on my resume and wondered who wrote it for me. I think he was a little shocked it was me.

Another recruiter left me with an impression of being a tad shady. I'm a pretty trusting person, but when he ended our conversation with "I'm going to email you an application to complete and we can meet at a local Starbucks to discuss your career", I was intrigued about the application. I opened my email and the application didn't ask for references, but wanted my social security #, driver's license, more questions for additional information on my background than I'd seen on other applications. Needless to say, I never responded. Sometimes, it's always best to listen to your gut and a man who wanted to meet me in a Starbucks, not his office, requesting too much personal information on me didn't sound legit.

2. Corporations. I admit, I've had some positive experiences with some company HR reps, but last week I had 2 experiences that have pushed my frustration level over the top that I want to share.

Company 1: I applied for an open position and sent my resume to someone I knew within the company. I got a call from HR asking me questions about another position I didn't apply to. He tells me to apply and how the hiring manager was anxious to call me and should expect a call shortly. Five business days later I check their career's section and see the position has been filled. No offense, but I don't need a pity HR call, I need a job. If you convince me to apply for the position in which I'm willing to take a HUGE paycut and go back to a 1999 salary, assure me to expect a call from the hiring manager, but fill the position within days of our conversation, I have to wonder WTH? Needless to say, I sent him a very polite email following up on the status of our conversation and asking for clarity of the information I found online. I played it off that I was confused from what I read and maybe he could clear it up. I sent the email last week. I wonder if I'll hear back.

Company 2. Imagine huge company overwhelmed by number of applicants and recently hires outsourcer to handle some hr issues. Imagine applying for position on 5/10 and hearing back from large company's outsourcer on 5/16 asking for times to talk with you. Imagine getting hopes up because the position is pretty much tailor made for you (trust me, these positions far and few between). You respond with available times on 5/16, again on 5/18 and eventually on 5/31 you shoot off third email to recruiter letting them know you're willing to work around their schedule. Recruiter finally responds on 6/3 and praises your skill set, but wants to know your salary requirement. I am negotiator so I inform her of my last salary, but emphasize in email I am open. Nothing. I hear crickets. I send emails on 6/7, 6/13 and 6/21. On July 1, I go to large corporation's career center and find out the position has been filled. Based upon my experience, I am still waiting for an interview. I want to point out that when large corporation handled their own job submissions they did a far better job then this person.

I'm in the process of writing the VP of this large corporation because I wonder in the age of social media, they really want the world to know how the first impression potential qualified candidates are left with is shit. They may want to insist on training the recruiters to use their standards or hold them accountable. At some point, I believe the economy will turn around and they will need qualified candidates, but if there are others who have experienced what I have, they may have problems finding the right candidate.

Unfortunately, I've started the letter, but am too furious to constructively write it effectively.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Twitter and Opportunities.....

I know many people scoff at me for embracing Twitter, but let me tell you, I've had some amazing results from following people or organizations I'm interested in. Also, I'm in awe of people that can be both clever and informative in 140 characters.

At the end of May, a famous women's publication (they've asked me not to release their name) twitted about needing 25 women in the NYC area to participate in a 2 month pre-diabetes study. I was all over it and after several email exchanges I was selected to be one of the 25 people.

I went into the city, got weighed, measured and had blood work done to determine my sugar and cholesterol levels. Some results I was pleasantly surprised, some, surprised and happy I know about it so I can take care of the potential situation.

We also met with a nutritionist and trainer who went through the program, showed us the resistance exercises and set up a private facebook page for us to share concerns and helpful information with one another. She's amazing at answering our questions/concerns and has given me some helpful advice.

For me, this has been a very difficult and trying week (I'll probably write a separate post about it as its been a valuable life lesson for me) and commented on how I've been struggling with getting the right amount of fiber in, exercise, resistance training, calorie count, etc.. She suggested I go for long, slow walks to release my anxiety and frustration. So, that's what I'm going to do. For this week, I'm focusing on long walks and meditation. I need to clear my head.

One of the messages of the study I'm beginning to learn is that you should never give up if you don't have a perfect day, just get back on the horse at the next available opportunity. I'm a perfectionist and have a tendency to follow the all-or-nothing way of thinking. Letting go of the idea of perfection is EXTREMELY difficult, but am slowly learning that although I may not achieve 100% perfection, 10% is better than 0%.

I have my first weigh-in on July 11th; another on August 8th. I may be part of their article they plan to publish and become UBER famous (LOL).

I'll keep you updated along the way and let you know what my results are. Now, time to get my 10,000 steps (did I mention, I'm wearing a pedometer?)...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Celebrities: Do We Really Have a Right to Know Everything About Them?

My girlfriend, Poncho Girl, works for a non-profit organization and over the years has met some interesting public figures. Yesterday was no exception.

Yesterday, she met Aaron Eckhart, an actor I adore. He is a talented actor with an impressive body of work, but really hooked me in his portrayal of Nick Naylor in Thank You for Smoking.

Prior to his visit, we googled him. I have to admit, other than finding him attractive and admiring his acting abilities, I didn't know much about him. I thought he was married with child, but found nothing to support my belief (I'd make a very poor celebrity gossip writer). However, in my search, I learned his date of birth, height, college he attended and how he was previously engaged.

This had me thinking....with all the celebrity/public figure news, do we have the right to know why someone's marriage failed? Do I care that some politician was stupid enough to send naked pictures of himself via twitter. No. Wait, I do if he did this on work time with taxpayer dollars. However, my point is this: Why do people care so much about the private lives of a public figure? Do we feel entitled because our movie ticket dollars help fund their career? I'm not sure.

If we use this logic, would we want our corporate employer to know we were having marital problems, fertility issues or that our teenage kids push us over the edge most days.... I doubt it.

So...this has me wondering why most people are interested in the private lives of public figures. My feeling is to let them share what they want and let them have a life that is not always under the microscope.

About my friend meeting Aaron Eckhart....well, I told her that I believed she was making the whole story up and I didn't believe her (I should know by now not to say this to her) and she told Mr. Eckhart that her friend, LMB, did not believe he was visiting her office and could she take his picture as proof. Apparently he laughed and posed with her.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Trickle-Down Effect....

This past Tuesday I went to a local library to listen to the creators of CTbites; a great food website for anyone looking for a restaurant or event pertaining to food in Connecticut.

I was interested in learning why they started CT bites and meeting the Editor. We had exchanged emails back in December because I was going to write a story for them on my vegan adventure as a carnivore. I'm always interested, if given the opportunity, to meet a person I've created a phone or email relationship with.

After their presentation, as I was waiting to introduce myself, I had a very interesting conversation with the Executive Director for Community Plates. Community Plates is a non-profit organization that will rescue healthy surplus food from restaurants, farmer markets, caterers from being thrown in trash cans, dumpsters and landfills it normally ends up in and getting it places where it can make a difference.

As some know, I have a monthly food pantry dinner party to collect food for my local food shelter and LOVE what Community Plates is doing to help families in need.

At the moment I need to focus on some issues in my life that need my attention, but do plan to volunteer for them because I really believe in what they are doing.

I've been reading the book The Luck Factor, and according to the author, every person knows 300 people and if I tell another person about Community Plates, maybe they'll tell one of their 300 friends/family/business acquaintances and someone will contact Community Plates to volunteer.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Elusive....Meyer Lemon and Sunchoke....

Before you begin to mock me (I know I would), hear me out. For the past few years, I've been hearing about how wonderful it is to cook with the sunchoke and the Meyer lemon. Loving to cook, I set out on a mission:

1. Figure out exactly what a sunchoke is.

2. Search the supermarket for Meyer lemons.

3. Find recipes with both ingredients.

Sounds simple, but you're wrong. Dead wrong. Well, items #1 and #3 were easy, but item #2 is impossible. I use the word "is" because I'm still on the hunt for it, and true to form, my search has left me laughing. Literally.

Before I tell you about my search for the elusive Meyer Lemon, let me define the sunchoke. A sunchoke, according to my Cook's Dictionary and Culinary Reference by Bartlett is a Jerusalem artichoke. Hmmmm... that's it. Why the fuss? I guess it helps to know that a Jerusalem artichoke is probably not what you envision, or at least what I envisioned. I envisioned a run-of-mill artichoke from Israel, but I'm wrong. Thank you Cook's Dictionary, I do cherish you, but sometimes I don't even understand the definitions and turned to Google. According to Wikipedia, it is a Jerusalem artichoke, which is a species of sunflowers native to eastern North America, and found from Eastern Canada and Maine west to North Dakota, and south to northern Florida and Texas.[1] It is also cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable.

Once learning the sunchoke was more than what I imagined it to be, I understood the fascination...or maybe not. I just remember growing sunflowers when I was a kid and can't imagine my parents being okay with me pulling up the plant and chomping on the tuber. But I know one day, I'll try it.

However, back to the real purpose of today's entry: Searching for the elusive Meyer Lemon (sure, sunchoke is in the title because I have a feeling I'll run into a wall when looking for them too). I've been to 3 markets; 2 major supermarket chains and Whole Foods.

In the first supermarket chain, I didn't ask for help, but in the 2nd one I asked for help. Their produce section, in my opinion, is better than the first one, but the response I received had me cracking up. The produce guy kept repeating "You want a bottle of lemon juice?". No,no, that's not what I wanted, but realized when I kept trying to explain to him it is an actual lemon, and the puzzled look on his face was not disappearing, I figured the store didn't carry them.

YogaGirl told me to try Whole Foods. They are good about carrying some unusual veggies (hmmm...bet they have sunchokes) and when I asked the produce guy, he looked at me as if I had 2 heads. As soon as he began to speak, I understood the reason for the look; he really didn't speak English. However, I was able to discern they didn't have them in stock, but they will be in the store later. Later? Is that later today, tomorrow, August, December? Just got the answer of later.

I emailed the store to ask if and when they carry Meyer lemons. I figured whoever is reading the email will respond with an answer I'll be able to understand.

Note: If you have a recipe calling for 3 Meyer lemons and can't find them, use 2 regular lemons and one clementine.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Arch Nemesis is Back and has Joined Forces....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011.....

Last week it happened. I was looking out the window in the back of my living room and having hit the glass I startled Mr. Woodchuck. He, along with Mr. Bunny, scampered out of my garden.

Last year I wrote about my issues with the newest addition to the neighborhood and how Mr. Woodchuck ate so many of my plants before they had a chance to really grow. Later in the season, I wrote about Mr. Bunny and the pack of deer that would come graze on the other veggies in my garden. I quickly sprayed the garden with soap and cayenne pepper, but it was too late and I have to admit I felt defeated and gave up my battle.

This year it is different. I'm a woman on a mission. After seeing that Mr. Woodchuck and Mr. Bunny have joined forces, I immediately went outside and sprinkled cayenne pepper on my spring sprouts of sugar snap peas, lettuce, beets and parsley. They both hate cayenne pepper and frankly I hope I burned their little tongues. I haven't seen them in my garden since, but I did see Mr. Bunny near the garden out of my living room window. I tapped on the window to startle him and nothing. He just stood still, so I did what would only be my next logical move: I had a staring contest with him. Ya know what, I think he snarled at me. In fact, I know he did (well, not at first). However, after the 3rd time of seeing his upper lip area move and seeing a white line, I realized he was showing me his teeth. My husband thinks I'm crazy, but I now firmly believe I have the 'killer' rabbit from the Monty Python movie: Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Over the past 3 years, I've felt a lot of my control has been taken away from me and I told my husband I want to defeat the critters this year from taking my garden. Does this require me to spend money on soap and cayenne pepper? Yes. Does it have me chasing small woodland creatures off my property like a crazy woman? Probably. But I need to do this. I need to take control where I can and I need to defeat my arch nemesis and pals this year. Because of this reason, my husband said he would do anything to help me defeat them.

Bye, bye Mr. Woodchuck. Bye, bye Mr. Bunny. So long pack-o-deer. My all you-can-eat veggie buffet is closed.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Meatless May

Tuesday, May 3, 2011.......

In December, I did the Quantum Wellness Cleanse and for 21 days gave up sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, meat and dairy. I lost weight, felt great (both physically and mentally) and really noticed a connection between the foods I put in my body and how I mentally felt.

While I on the cleanse, I was happier, snapped less, had more patience and was utterly surprised by this. In January I went back to most of my eating habits (although, I did kick the caffeine habit) and started noticing how crappy I began to feel. However, making a permanent switch to a vegan lifestyle is not for me. I live with a carnivore and I do like meat. But, I can't deny or forget how much better I felt while on the cleanse.

My goal is to progress towards a plant based, gluten and sugar free diet. I'm not giving up dairy, but am limiting the intake of such products. I didn't really enjoy the vegan cheese, and if anyone read my tweets during the cleanse would know I could never give up the egg. It was very odd, but I craved eggs like I'd imagine a crack whore craves crack.

I planned out my month's menu for both hubby and I. He has a lot of things in the freezer and I have a bunch of new recipes to try. Some of the recipes I've chosen scare me a bit (e.g. tofu scramble) but I think it'll make the month fun by being able to experiment and introduce new flavors to my palate and is part of my personal pledge to try 100 new recipes in my 45th year of life. I'll let you know what works and what doesn't, and if anyone is interested in a recipe just email me and I'll send it to you.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Unspoken Truths

Monday, May 2, 2011.......

Here are some unspoken truths of how I was raised:

1. Never wallow. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. You are allowed to have a private pity party, but don't let the party last forever. If anyone has ever read Eat, Pray, Love by E. Gilbert, you may become annoyed with the book like I, and some of my friends did, when first reading it. It took me awhile to discover that she wallowed. She didn't try to forget her pain, but embraced it. As soon as I recognized that she wasn't telling herself to get over it right away, I could follow the author's journey and her healing process.

2. Always give to others and I am not talking about being monetary. I'm talking about being sympathetic or empathetic. But what happens when you do this to avoid your own issues? I can tell you; nothing gets addressed. It's easier to get wrapped up with the issues of others so you don't have to focus on what needs fixing or addressing.

Right now, there are several issues I've avoided or have come to a head and I need to address them. I recognize I need to be selfish right at this point in my life, and quite frankly, I don't have anything to give to every person I know.

For this part of my life, I'm going against all unspoken truths. I'm going to be selfish so I can focus on me. It doesn't mean I don't care, it just means I know I can't help another the way I'd want to or the way they'd need. I want to give to me.

Don't confuse this post with taking from others because that's not where I'm writing from. In fact, I called a dear friend to discuss (okay, more like vent) about a situation that was put in my lap. Long story short -- someone was trying to make me feel guilty about my inaction (I have been known, at times, not to listen to voice mails unless I'm expecting your call or I know it will not drain me emotionally. This does not necessarily mean they have a lot, or any issues, it usually means I don't want to talk about my life at this particularly time). When I finally listened to the person's voice mail, it was exactly what I expected, nothing of significance. A basic message stating hi, I was driving by your road and thought of you. Nothing more and there never is. Not because they don't have more to share, but we really don't have that type of relationship. However, someone made it a point that I should have listened to this voice mail. Granted, there is something going on in their life, but guess what, I can't give to that person without taking a lot away from me.

I know I've struggled for the longest time on this unspoken truth. Often it has been easier to help others to avoid what's in front of me, but realize if I don't start only giving to me and ones closest to me, I won't focus on solving my problems.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hi. How are You? -- UPDATE

Wednesday, April 27, 2011.....

At the beginning of this month, I decided to say hi, how are you to everyone who crossed my path. Well, I haven't.

Actually, it was very eye opening to me. I would remember that I wanted to do this AFTER I passed most people. I became conscious of the fact that I much more shy than I realized and look down a lot when I walk (in fairness to me, I am somewhat klutzy and trip quite a bit). However, when I remembered, the reactions were interesting.

I think the more interesting reactions came from people who were either service people (parking attendants) or people that were a different race than me. They responded with more zeal than others and put a smile on my face. It was nice seeing how one polite salutation made a difference.

I never really realized how much this experiment would impact me, but it has. It has made me aware I need to stop being so timid and how I saying something so simple can make a person smile.

I liked doing this experiment and will continue to do so. I'm hoping it becomes second nature and I don't have to remember to say it. Until then, I will make the conscious effort to remember.

I'm curious, has anyone tried an experiment like this? If so, I'd love to hear your results.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Great Easter Egg Hunt of 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011.....

This past Sunday was Easter and tradition in our family is to have an Easter egg hunt. Granted, my 24 year old nephew is the youngest participant, but sometimes traditions should have no age limits.

The weather was something we worried about. It had been raining for several days and the weatherman predicted rain showers on-and-off for the day so we were a little leery if it was actually going to happen. I'm glad it turned out to be sunny because there was a fair amount of smack talk going down on the phone, twitter and facebook. My family has a hardcore competitive spirit (we also like to pull pranks on one another)and to gloat for one entire year is priceless.

My nephew arrived and showed me his bruised and bashed up ankle. It looked bad, but found it funny it was the first thing he showed me as he came through the door. It's nice to know he gets in the spirit of the hunt and knows we're pretty serious here in LMBville on Easter day.

We did mix it up a bit. In addition to hiding small chocolate eggs, we hid 4 Cadbury eggs. One Cadbury egg counted as 5 eggs and out of the 4 hidden eggs, I found 2 of them.

Was there shoving? Yes. Was there people jumping on others once a patch of eggs were found (my dad hides the eggs in bunches, so 12 eggs could be in one area? Yes. However, I don't think that's the question you want answered.

You want to know if I won....Well, I believe in creative liberties as I am the author of this blog, so my response is YES.....However, it's just wrong to lie on a holy holiday and have to tell you YogaGirl won and got to wear a tiara for the remainder of the day (this is something new I added into the mix). Like the Masters' blazer, YogaGirl gets possession of the tiara for one year and passes it along to the next winner. My husband has already announced he won't wear the tiara next year and wants a crown. However, I don't think I have to worry about finding him a crown because YogaGirl is going down next year.

Monday, April 25, 2011

April: The Month of Odd Dreams.....

Monday, April 25, 2011.....

Since the beginning of April I have been having odd dreams. For example, I had a dream where I rented a house in Italy on the Mediterranean coast. It was decorated all in soft white, but the pillows were blood red and white. There is more to this dream, but nothing like the dream I had right before waking up Saturday morning.

The last dream I had before getting out of bed involved a German Sheppard. It wasn't my dog, but it was following me everywhere (gradually moving closer and closer towards me, but staying at a 5 foot distance from me). This dog just wanted to be with me and I didn't know why. In my dream, the dog warden came to take the dog from me, but when I explained that dog never left my side, he said he didn't care and had to take the dog. There was more back-and-forth conversation between us and the dog warden finally agreed that the German Sheppard could stay with me if it could dance to country music.

{Note: I have seen country music artists in concert, but it is not the music station I first select -- so I haven't a clue where this came from.}

I couldn't get the warden to budge from this compromise and let him put on his country music cd. As soon as the music started, the German Sheppard started doing the 2-step. It was impressive (I know I can't).

The dream ended with the warden leaving and the German Sheppard following me, but now began walking right next to my side.

I got up and searched the Internet for the dream interpretation for German Sheppards and this is what I found:

To see a German shepherd in your dream represents your protective instincts and alertness. To dream that you are training a German shepherd suggests that you are easily influenced or open to new ideas.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sometimes You Have to Laugh...

Wednesday, April 21, 2011.....

Job searching can be hard, but every now-and-again, I get a good chuckle. Today I received this reject letter:

Hello LMB,

Thank you for your interest in our XYZ position. We have had a chance to review your resume and compare it against other people who have expressed an interest in this position as well.

Unfortunately, we have decided to pursue other candidates who appear to match (skills and experience) our requirements more closely at this time.

Should something change on our side (or we get another job opening that matches your background better), we will not hesitate to contact you.

Thank you again for your interest in an employment opportunity with ABC Company, and we wish you the best in your current job search.

Thanks for sharing your background and for your interest in ABC Company. Our team has reviewed your resume. Although you have good qualifications, we've decided to pursue other candidates who fit our requirements more precisely.

We will keep your resume on file for future possibilities. If you have applied for another opening at ABC Company, your application will be considered separately.

I have to admit, I appreciate a company that notifies its candidates either way (many don't), but am thinking it's overkill to tell me twice I'm not qualified. I got it the first time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Superstition: Omaha Steaks

Tuesday, April 19, 2011.....

According to Wikipedia, a superstition is a credulous belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge. My superstition, Omaha Steaks, definitely fits the Wikipedia definition.

It started in August 2001. I went to a local Omaha Steaks' store and bought a lot of food to stock my freezer. The next day, I was let go from my job (the company actually folded a couple months later).

In March 2003, I go to Omaha Steaks again, fill my freezer with yummy foods, and the next day am laid off (another company that went under).

It is then I notice the connection of Omaha Steak visits and my layoffs. I share my theory with sister YogaGirl and tell her I'm never going to the Omaha Steak store (lucky for me, it closed down). I can't really remember YogaGirl's response to my theory, but I'd like to believe that my logic behind my theory was enough to convince her my theory is rationale and grounded (hey, a girl likes to dream).

May 2008, I take a Friday off. In Saturday's mail is a boatload of Omaha Steak coupons and Monday I get a call from my boss laying me off (I, along with several of my co-workers were supposed to be laid off on Friday, but they couldn't lay off my co-workers because I had taken the day off). I blame the Omaha Steak coupons for the layoff (not the fact that my company was downsizing like no one's business).

So...why am I retelling my tale...because I watched the Celebrity Apprentice and the task involved Omaha Steaks. I'm hoping the curse is over and just watching Omaha Steaks being promoted will land me a job.

Note: I really do love Omaha Steaks' products, but my superstition will not allow me to buy another of their products for fear of never getting a job.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Some Days I Just Lose It.

Monday, April 18, 2011.....

Yesterday was one of those days that I just lost it. I mean I had an emotional vomit session and my husband was the toilet. It wasn't anything he said or did, it was totally me. I can't explain why (having had a womanly cancer, I've eliminated the option of PMS) and it was extremely frustrating to me.

I could feel a variety of emotions building up and brewing inside of me and it was though I could feel my blood boil. I hadn't a clue why I was so angry and when asked what was wrong, I just began to weep.

The weird part is that I really wanted to stop. I really wanted to know why I was so mad, but couldn't.

All day I was like this. In fact, I wish I could have left my own body and hung out with someone else, but I was trapped with me.

I finally calmed down by nightfall (I wonder if I'm like a vampire) and today is a good day.

There are reasons why I'm so off my rocker at the moment and I know I'll find a way to handle the stress. In the meantime, my husband sent me an email this morning with something he knows I'd love to do. He gets amazing specials on plays and dinners in NYC and I love going into NYC, but can't right now. He offered to take me. It is a sweet idea, but I believe this is as fun to him as a root canal.

Although I appreciate the gesture more than you can imagine, I don't want to go with someone who wouldn't enjoy the experience the same way.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sister Act

Friday, April 15, 2011......

For people who have been reading my blog for awhile, know I participated in my first triathlon last September with my two sisters. We participated as a team and my part was the 5k run.

I knew I was going to walk it, set a goal, and hit my goal. Although I was happy, I knew that my sisters really pulled their weight and had killer times in the swim and bike portion of the event.

My oldest sister, Science Girl, is the one with the competitive sports bug. She participates in century rides (100 mile bike rides), marathons (26.2 mile runs) and sprint triathlons. It is a passion of hers and like other siblings in my family, has a competitive streak -- always striving to do better.

I know this year I plan on running my portion of the triathlon. Walking will not suffice this year. I also know I need to set a decent goal for self for fear of being kicked off the Sister Act team (which I don't want to happen). So for the fear of getting kicked team Sister Act, I am now trying to go to the gym at 5:50 a.m. during the week and have been slightly successful, but plan on kicking it up a notch.

I have about 4 and 1/2 months until this race. I wonder, will I become a morning person by the time the event rolls around with the a.m. training schedule? Hmmmmm.....probably not unless miracles happen.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Airline Travel

Thursday, April 14, 2011.....

I'm going to apologize in advance because I know I might offend some parents out there, but I have a beef with some parents who travel with small children AND not for the reason you think.

Small children make noise. That's okay. What's not okay is when I make my airplane reservations,choose my seat, but a parent with a small child comes into my row and turns to me and asks if her child can sit in my window seat. I politely turn to the mother and say no. She then turns to her child and tells him, "Sorry Johnny, but the nice lady won't move so you can't sit by the window" and promptly turns her head to see if I heard her.

This happened to me years ago on a red-eye from CA to NY. I thought it a fluke until I talked with my sister the other day. She was on a flight back to NJ and this family was sitting in her row when she boarded the plane. She went to get into her seat when the father asked if he could sit in her seat (he implied that he wanted to sit with his family). She said no and he, and other members of his brood, got up and moved. He went and talked to the flight attendant and my sister discovered no one in his party were sitting in her row to begin with.

So....what's my point to this story? When you book your tickets, if you plan ahead like I do, pick your seat. Don't pull out the kid card, it's just wrong. If I make the time (an additional minute) to choose a window seat, do the same.

I understand it must be hard traveling with a toddler, but that doesn't excuse you from doing the same thing I do when I make a reservation. Oh yeah, if you want till last minute, this still doesn't excuse you and give you the right for my seat.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Love When It's a Slow News Day....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011......

I live outside a major metropolitan city, and my husband is a complete news junkie. Every night, he flips on the news and we watch it for about 2 hours. It's insane. I hate it and typically do other things during this time.

Why LMB don't you want to be informed? Not really. I do enjoy watching the weather man on CBS, Channel 2 (NYC) deliver the weather, and enjoy the food/cooking segment. but, that's about it. Overall, news is pretty dismal and right now, I don't need to be scared or depressed to death with the local news report.

However, I'm curious about something. Who is the person who determines which story goes on the air when it's a slow news day? Yesterday, I saw a news trailer for the story about a police officer spraying a squirrel (segment was entitled Cop vs Squirrel). Am I missing something? Why is this newsworthy?

If we're going to create a news program entirely based upon stories like this I might actually watch the news more. Yes I just mocked this, but it's a nice break in my day because it is absurd. Based upon the absurd news story criteria, I believe we'd see stories such as these:

- Royal penguin wedding being held the same day as that famous English royal couple.

- People dying their hair purple in support of National Welch's Grape Juice day (I made this up, but I bet there is a national grape juice day)

- Local condo association board prohibits kids from being able to play in their front yards because of the noise (oh wait, that was a true news story - I heard this and immediately thought these people needed to move to an over age 55 complex if they don't want to hear children playing in their condo complex).

Okay, you get my point. A slow news day is a waste of my television viewing. Now, if I could only get my husband to agree.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Lingering Odors from My Kitchen.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011....

I live in a small house and cook in a very small kitchen. Often when I cook, the aroma, or odor, lingers throughout the night. Sometimes the house is filled with the scent of a chicken roasting or vanilla if we baked (that is rare, but it happens). These scents I like. However, last night I made turnip greens for the first time.

I cooked them with a little rice wine vinegar, veggie stock and Asian chili paste. There wasn't any smell while I was cooking them,but afterwards, I have only one word: HORRID.

The smell was so bad, it made it difficult to sleep and I was up spraying Fabreeze sometime in the middle of the night. It still smells this morning and I am now forced to think of something to make to combat the smelly foot odor smell. Hmmm.... not sure what, but I'll come up with something so I don't pass out or have the smell penetrate into my skin (god, I hope I don't smell like that).

Btw, the turnips greens were actually very tasty. Smoky and spicy. It'd be great with white rice (and I'm not a big fan of plain white rice) and sesame chicken.