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Archive for October, 2006

light box

October 31st, 2006 at 06:36 pm

I ordered a light box online today - a Litebook Elite. It's something I've been thinking about buying for three winters. I love Minnesota and the Twin Cities in the spring, summer, and fall...but the winter is really hard for me. I'm hoping this little light box will help perk me up, since it simulates sunlight. We'll see. If it works, it will be worth it. I'm dipping into savings to pay for it.

Happy Halloween!! This has traditionally been my favorite holiday. This year, I didn't dress in costume, didn't go out with friends, nothing. SO and I are going to carve pumpkins tonight and that will probably be the extent of it. I have the sense that my new apathy toward holidays in general is somewhat derived from rampant commercialism. We are expected to think about the next holiday months in advance. I have no interest in picking out Christmas stockings in July, thank you. Things move entirely too quickly these days. Can't we enjoy the current holiday for a moment, as it is occurring?

eat better

October 30th, 2006 at 10:10 pm

Visit Eat Better America. I signed up and they sent me a neat little blue ring, made from the same material as those Lance Armstrong and breast cancer bracelets, that says 'eat better' on it. I've had the ring sitting on my computer for about a week, and today I picked it up and put it on. A weekend with SO's family invaribly means lots and lots of snacks and sweets. I ate pretty badly this weekend and this little reminder is just the ticket. Tonight I'm having zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and peppers sauteed in a little olive oil and sprinkled with Italian seasoning and a bit of Parmesan. It's one of my favorite things to roll up in a whole wheat tortilla. Yum.

$9

October 30th, 2006 at 06:46 pm

$9 - That's how much I'll have in my checking account after paying all the bills this week. Yikes. And that's got to last how long? The credit card bill was a bit high this month due to our grocery gift card buying. I pay off all of my credit cards every month (and apparently, so does 54% of the U.S. population!). In November, I've got to be more frugal. Just because I have a coupon for something does not mean I have to buy it.

The weekend was chaotic, no two ways about it. It took four trips with a mid-sized moving truck and van to move my brother-in-law. Yikes. I definitely got my weight-bearing exercise in.

I found I have an extra $25 holiday gift to buy. SO's family decided that each adult should draw one adult's name and one child's name this year. I wasn't really planning on the latter. I'll need to do some online scouring to get great deals and still stay within budget.

Yesterday we went to a park that geese flock to and I took two full rolls of film. I recently fixed my camera myself - it had a light leak - so now we'll see if my handiwork paid off. It was so relaxing being outside with my tripod and camera, SO with his sketch pad, and perfect fall weather. Just what I needed in the midst of familial chaos.

This week's goal: No spending until Saturday night!

raw food

October 27th, 2006 at 03:26 pm

Thank you. Really, thank you. Your comments made me get a bit teary-eyed at work. Sometimes I feel so alone and unsupported. Perhaps it has something to do with living in the midwest? Of course, not everyone here is judgmental, but it can be a pretty conservative place. As an example - a (former) friend once told me that you weren't a family unless you took your husband's name. I guess I should notify my sister-in-law, since she kept her maiden name and has children!

That's not to say that I feel any pressure whatsoever from my parents or SO's parents to do anything. They are great (and don't want to argue with me about it). Wink Both mothers call our cats their grandchildren and, as such, spoil them rotten. I just get angry when I feel like my marital status defines all that I am as a person to people who don't know me at all. I am far more than that.

On to dinner! Last night we went to Ecopolitan Restaurant. It's a vegan, organic, raw food restaurant tucked away in a converted apartment building. Now, I know lots of people are wrinkling their noses, but believe me when I tell you that the food was DELICIOUS.

Raw foodists believe that some nutrition is lost when food is cooked. Chips and "bread" are made in a dehydrator (up to a certain temperature), tea is lukewarm, etc. They don't eat any meat, dairy products, or eggs. Food is not baked, fried, sauteed, or microwaved. It's hard to imagine a life without that, right?

We started off with an appetizer of flax seed chips, guacamole, and salsa. That guacamole was so wonderful; I make a mean guacamole, but I need to figure out what was in that! Next we each had smoothies - I had Dark Date, SO had a coconut one. I will be replicating mine at home with bananas, dates, and carob. So good.

Next, our entrees came to the table: spicy thai noodles and fettucini alfredo. The presentation was incredible, just like what you'd see at a fancy restaurant. The 'noodles' were zucchini cut into thin strips, and they even looked like noodles! Both dishes were sooo good. We took a piece of coconut cream pie home with us, and though it wasn't as sweet as traditional desserts, it was really good for something uncooked. We couldn't figure out what it was made of. Overall, it was a great experience (though a bit pricey, but understandably so), and we'll be back. It was even better than I had anticipated.

We also saw The Queen in the theater. It was about the Queen of England and her response to Diana's death (or lack thereof, really). Very good movie, but pretty sad. Lots of shots of Diana and people sobbing.

This weekend, we're heading out to help SO's brother move into his new house. I hope all goes well and everyone remains calm and rational.

Happy Halloween weekend! If you need some cute ideas, check out bettycrocker.com. I particularly like the Ghosts on Broomsticks recipe.

TWO meals out today

October 26th, 2006 at 08:26 pm

I haven't eaten out in quite a while, and today, I'm having two meals out. I hadn't planned on meeting up with a friend for lunch, but when she suggested it, I jumped on the opportunity. I hadn't seen her in almost two months. Far too long, and definitely worth $6. Lately I've had weird nightmares about having no friends, so it's a good time to get in touch with people.

Tonight SO and I are having a date night - dinner and a movie. Dinner should be...interesting. I'll fill you in tomorrow after the experience. The movie should be good too!

I've been trying to keep my feelings about one particular thread in the forum out of my blog, but I just can't. It's like a thorn in my side.

I have never wanted to get married, and I have never wanted kids - I know, I'm in the minority of all women. That does not mean I am incapable of having a meaningful, loving, long-term, committed realtionship. That does not mean that, should I chose to change my mind about kids, I would be a horrible parent just because I haven't signed a marriage contract with SO. It just doesn't. Being a parent is about so much more than whether or not I have that piece of paper. It's about wanting kids, and loving kids, and being a responsible, mature adult. For some people that means you HAVE to be married. For me, it does not.

It strikes me that so many people think there is only one right way of doing things. I've always been the one saying, "Hey! Hello! I'm not doing it your way, and I'm not dead yet!" Being pushed to do things the way other people want me to do them, because that's the way it's always been done - well, that just makes me stick harder to the what I want to do. Blame it on the Aquarius in me. Oh, and the Irish.

I've had this conversation with endless numbers of people (including in real life), and I don't know why I even bring it up anymore. It seems so few people are even willing to consider how I feel about this - everyone feels the need to talk me out of it and into tradition. No, must get married. Must change last name. Must have children. *sigh* Gotta step back, or I'll drive myself crazy.

In other news, I miss Flash. A lot. Her blog was always fun and interesting to read. I hope she is feeling better.

slacker

October 25th, 2006 at 08:17 pm

I've been slacking on my blogging - tsk! tsk! There haven't been any monumentally exciting things going on around here, though...that's a good thing, I think. No extraneous spending, no off-the-wall bills, nothing. Just the way I like it.

Last weekend I cooked up a storm - Moroccan lentil soup, 2 loaves of rosemary bread, 2 'light' cheesecakes, veggie burgers, etc. I definitely kept the kitchen warm. Wink I felt so productive! I had never made rosemary bread before, and it turned out great. My next culinary adventure will be cardamom bread.

Today I took a walk during lunch to blow off some steam. I just don't understand why people feel the need to push their own values and opinions on others. I'm not one for debate, or arguments, or always standing up for myself (though I am trying to get better about the last one)...I just wish everyone would live peacefully and respectfully. The world would be such a better place. I live my life the way I choose, and I'm happy. If you choose to live your life in a different way with different values, that's fine with me. I just don't see the need to attack and insult people whose values differ from your own. I know - crazy talk.

It's a gorgeous day in Minnesota today. Some of the leaves are still clinging to their branches, it's brisk but not cold, and the sun is so deliciously warm. Everyone I met on the path was so friendly. I had no desire to come back inside after my jaunt around the park! This is my favorite time of year.

More ugly pots to make tonight, but they are slowly becoming less ugly. I think I'll be taking this class again next semester. I feel like I'm just now starting to get the hang of it, and I only have 2 more sessions to throw pots!

motivation

October 18th, 2006 at 07:04 pm

There's a media sale today at work, so I picked up a couple of books for $1.75. One is on how to start writing fiction. It's pretty good so far, and I need the motivation! Every time I think about what I want to do with my life, I come back to writing. I have this vision of me living on the Oregon coast, writing away, enjoying the ocean, my cats, my sweetheart, and a peaceful existence.

Another piece of motivation - today two members of my team got special awards for exceptional work. One definitely deserved it for all the hard work she does. The other has been here for just four months. My boss nominated both of them. Every member of our team has now received this award, but me. I'm feeling rather dejected and unappreciated. I feel like I've done just as much work as the new person. I'm not sure how to make these people happy.

Thanks for the tip on dark chocolate! What a great idea! I've personally never been a big fan, but a small bit of dark chocolate is worlds better than no chocolate whatsoever. Wink SO and I stopped by Whole Foods last night and picked up brown rice pasta. It was surprisingly delicious and hit the spot.

Pottery class tonight! I'll have to buy another $10 bag of clay since I used up so much of it. Just have to remember not to use so much water, and make sure the wheel is spinning in the right direction. Stick Out Tongue

Current total student loan balance: $12,420. I'd love to get that under $12,000 by the end of the year, but we'll see!

another reason to look smokin'

October 16th, 2006 at 02:44 pm

I've peeked at my high school reunion website off and on, and today's visit brought quite the surprise. My high school sweetheart is married to a classmate of mine and they have a child. Wow! Pretty surprising. Just another reason to look smokin' hot by next summer, if I choose to go to the reunion.

SO and I have been dieting for about a week now. We've fallen off the wagon a bit but are still doing really, really well. I am eating better now than I ever have in my life. Brown rice - yum! I had no idea it was so delicious. I prefer it instead of white rice now.

My primary reason to lose some weight, though, is not the potential ex-boyfriend encounter next summer. I have this vision of myself, lying on a warm Mexican beach, in a bikini - and my body looks significantly thinner than it does right now. I just have to keep that picture in mind. Baselle is a big motivator! Smile

I've managed to spend $200 worth of our grocery gift cards already - yikes!! Need to slow it down. Eating better is so much more expensive, but worth it. I've not had a bite of chocolate in 6 days (I feel like an addict, confessing!).

mini-vacation

October 10th, 2006 at 07:35 pm

Back from my mini-vacation! We drove up along the north shore of Lake Superior. It was truly gorgeous. We had such a great time! Perfect weather, beautiful scenery, and it was fantastic being away from the city for a few days.

Spent a little more than I had planned, but oh well. It was worth it. Sometimes we just have to get away with a loved one and remember what life is really about.

We hiked at least a mile every day (not the easiest hikes, either). We visited one waterfall twice just to bask in its beauty. It's hard to believe that I was just there yesterday. I'd love to live up in that part of the state if the winters weren't so frigid.

Split Rock Lighthouse ridge:



Twin Falls:



Highest waterfall in Minnesota:



Lake Superior:

raspberry herbal tea

October 5th, 2006 at 03:21 pm

Thanks for the heads up, PricePlus! You're right, those diets sound nearly identical. I'm only going to try it for a little while...I don't think I could live without bread or chocolate forever.

Pottery class went much better last night. Reading library books on the subject really helped. I always thought I was a hands-on kind of learner - turns out I'm a reader. I made four pretty ugly pots. Practice, practice.

Sipping on my second giant mug of raspberry herbal tea today, what a throat-soother! I also adore the Kashi oatmeal (how could I not, given the name? Wink ). I picked some up at Trader Joe's the other day, and now it's on sale at Cub Foods. I think I'll stop by and get several more boxes. The honey cinnamon is deeeeelicious.

A co-worker of mine is moving away and her last day is tomorrow. It's funny, I never realized how truly warm and fuzzy non-profit organizations can be, comparitively. No one has said boo about her leaving around here. I bought her a card and am having everyone on our team sign it. And to think, I got a going-away party at my last job! There are good and bad aspects of both types of workplaces...I'm just not quite sure which suits me more. Perhaps neither.

I need to compile a list of things to take on our trip this weekend. It's a half hotel, half camping excursion. I'm going to pack lunch for Saturday, so we'll only eat out once, with any luck. Still not quite sure what to do with the food in bear country. I think we'll pack the bare minimum and hang the rest from a tree. Watching that feat should be an entertainment in and of itself.

Something financial related...I received a Herbal Essences rebate check, and sent out a Snapple rebate.

vitamin C load-up

October 4th, 2006 at 07:51 pm

SO and I are both coming down with something cold/flu related. Not sure which yet. Last night I picked up some Airborne (pricey, but it tastes good, and hopefully it helps), vitamin C drops, oranges, and vitamin C caplets. I really want to feel better before our camping trip this weekend.

A friend of mine is trying the new Fat Smash diet. It sounds reasonable enough - lots of beans, fruits, vegetables, and water for the detox phase. I think we might try it next week. Trader Joe's is so fun - I'm thrilled that we finally got one here. I picked up lots of beans and frozen veggies. It would just be nice if my pants were a little more comfortable, so we'll see if this helps.

I bought a few holiday gifts at Half Price Books, too. I love that store - it really stretches the holiday budget. I've got some great ideas for everyone, and now is the time to start putting it all together!

apple overflow

October 2nd, 2006 at 03:58 pm

On Friday, I stopped by Target to use up a few coupons and pick up another batch of Pepsi products. I have to stay out of that store for a while now.

On Saturday we visited an apple orchard. The weather was absolutely perfect. I could have wandered around the orchard for hours. We picked up about 20 pounds of apples, and gave about 5-10 pounds to family members. Now I have to find something to do with the remaining apples! We drove past a few houses for sale that we thought might be interesting. Each of them had some sort of flaw (no side yard, close to the freeway, teeny tiny lot). None of them screamed "BUY ME!" so we kept on driving. Also hit the grocery store to load up another gift card and pick up a few things on sale.

Sunday I cleaned the house and checked a few things off of my To Do list. I finally got around to doing an inventory of our household stuff. Four tubes of toothpaste? Multiple half-full bottles of lotion? Hidden deoderant? I'm so glad I wrote up a list.

Clipped my Sunday coupons from the paper. I'm realizing now that the same coupons are in the paper over and over, so there's really no rush to use them.

Nieces and nephews stopped by briefly yesterday...another reminder of why I like my quiet life. I don't think I could handle parenting. It amazes me to see how many people on my high school class reunion website have one, two, three, four kids!

Scheduled a no-spend week for October 22-October 28. It's desperately needed! As for my September goals - I only accomplished enrolling in community ed classes and driving to work just once. The rest - whatever!