Friday, November 30, 2012

Jab We Met

Woohoo! Another NaBloPoMo comes to a close. I didn't think I was going to make it.

Some of you may have come over from Ale's blog, The Sunny Orangery. Hi! Speaking of happy endings, here's the story of how I met my husband.

the big reveal
In which everyone finds out that H, the man I've fallen in love with, and Jon, a faithful commenter, are the very same man. 

Thanks for reading, everyone!

*Jab We Met is a Bollywood movie

Thursday, November 29, 2012

coffee is crack

I had a medium-sized coffee this morning at 7:30. It's 10:15 pm and I'm still twitching. My coworker thinks it's a placebo effect, but my hands are literally shaking. Caffeine sensitivity is a real thing. There is a reason I rarely drink it--only on those days when I really need the boost. Or need to be awake for two days.

But here's the thing: When I'm on coffee, I'm more confident, I have more pep in my step and doggone it, people like me!

Is this what drugs are like?

time to cut off the supply
In which I admit I may need an intervention.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

joey's favorite food


The first sandwiches we had after that crazy diet. OH MY GOD were they good.

I've always believed that my college roommate, pp, makes the best sandwiches in the entire universe. Even if I were to use the same ingredients, stack them in the same order and present them the same way, her sammies always taste just so much better. Must be magic. 

But I think Jon has it too! Recently, his turkey leftover sandwiches have been to die for. So good that I have been thinking about relishing in their deliciousness for the entirety of three-hour, after-lunch meetings in the office.

I would have taken a picture, but sandwiches just don't last very long around here.

In which I am impressed with the service at a sandwich shop but somehow manage to put a black lining on the situation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

kiss the rings

When I woke up, it was 16 degrees outside. I got ready, pulled on my thickest sweater and dragged myself to work, where I've been spending a lot of time lately. Things were going nuts; we had to practically fight another team for a conference room and we were carrying around all our papers, books, laptops and coffee from room to room.

Suddenly my coworker started freaking out--she was missing her engagement ring. Apparently, the cold made her rings very loose and she must have dropped it somewhere. Luckily, another person found it in on the floor and she got it back before being distracted about it all day.

On Thanksgiving, I took my rings off and handed them to Jon while I was helping in the kitchen. He put them on his pinkie. Jon was unpacking the raclette and surrounded by a pile of bubble wrap. And then his finger felt lighter. After some frantic searching, we found his great-grandmother's ring from 1920 before it went in the recycling. Thank goodness. That puppy is truly irreplaceable.

ring hunt
In which I thought Jon had a camera on me while I tried to solve the riddles and get my ring. It would have made a hilarious video.

Monday, November 26, 2012

wish in a bottle

I believe this was originally a bottle of heparin, a medication sometimes used to flush central lines for patients. In 1999 this woman started covering them with clay and handing them out for cancer patients to write down a wish and keep it inside.

My mom got them at a cancer fair. This bottle is going to Jon and Madelyn's teacher, who got some bad news last week.

bottle of hope
In which my mom first showed me one of these bottles

Sunday, November 25, 2012

like crazy

Yesterday I should have been working. But instead, to quote my husband, I was "relaxing." Except now I'm in a frenzy because I didn't work, so whatever relaxation benefits I got from yesterday have been taken down in a belly-to-belly suplex by the paranoia about what all I have to get done for work by 11/30 and how I wasted a full day yesterday lying around the house watching television.

Oh television, you are my evilest vice.

One of the things we watched yesterday was this independent film, with Anton Yelchin and some girl from the U.K. that I swear I have seen before, called Like Crazy. SPOILERS AHEAD:

To sum up, this movie is about two people who love spending time together, but don't care about Visa laws and end up sort of sad and regretful but stuck together because all they went through and all they hurt in order to be together even though they really didn't think things through and both are just a little bit selfish. I thought the girl was selfish and Jon thought the boy was stupid for not just moving his damn independent furniture business to the U.K. He kept saying, "Sack up and move, you idiot!" to the tv.

Madelyn had recommended it as a really good movie, because it made you feel something.

I spent the rest of the day trying to sit as close to Jon as possible. I probably hugged him more yesterday than I had in the last week. The long-distance scenes were sad.

Jon spent the rest of the day angry. He hates films in which the character very clearly doesn't do what the right thing to do is (tell the truth, just break up with the girl already or move to be with the one he loves.) and spends the rest of the movie suffering for apparently no good reason. Additionally, he ABHORS movies in which the main character is with a perfectly nice and lovely person and then just happens to meet *the one* and dumps that perfectly nice person.

So we had to watch the rest of Season 3 Sons of Anarchy to get him back in good spirits. Then poof, the day was over.

yippie-kai-yay, mf
In which I finally make the time to watch Die Hard.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

i'd rather be working

I skipped shopping to work on Black Friday. I feel like I got just about the same amount of work done as I did that night my brother and I stayed outside Best Buy in the cold for a tv that we ended up returning.

a long, cold post about a long, cold night

Black Friday shopping is pretty much dead to me, now.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I made sure not to say anything until his show was over

Tonight was the last of Jon's five-show run. And it was SOLD OUT! It was great. I know I'm biased, but it really was very good.

I'm very proud of him.

Unrelated, I have magical powers:

curse of the spotted tongue
In which I wonder if the old wive's tale about being able to curse people applies to me and my freckled tongue. (For you, Ale).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, November 22, 2012

thanksgiving with a side of cheese

Happy Thanksgiving! We celebrated with my mom's famous spicy turkey and all kinds of other sides, and finished the meal with Jon's famous pie.

In the middle, we enjoyed a little snack on this:

 It's called a Raclette, a grill from Switzerland/France where you can grill up some veggies on top, and there are these little drawers that slide in underneath, in which you can melt cheese to top them with.

Apparently the word Raclette comes from the French word "to scrape," because you scrape the melted cheese off onto your plate.

A big plus is that I was able to find actual Raclette-brand cheese when I was up in Wisconsin for training. It melts like a dream; as though it was made for this kind of thing. 

 And it was delicious!

Too bad we were so stuffed from all the other delights to discover what else this bad boy could do. I'm thankful to have opportunities to try new things, enjoy the company of family and good friends and for overall health and happiness. Also, a shout out to cc, who gave us this thing more than a year ago--we love it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

keep 'em close

It's the day before Thanksgiving and I know my mom and Jon will have cooked scrumptious food tomorrow and I do NOT have to work (a miracle!), which warms the Dr. Pepper-flavored Icee center of my heart. My brother is not coming home, but will be in St. Louis. Incidentally, his teddy bear is also in St. Louis, probably stuffed in the back of his closet behind his golf clubs. You'd think he'd give someone who's been around since the very beginning a little more respect.

old friend
In which comfort really does come in the form of a raggedy old bear.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I've been wallowing in the sadness that I'm not naturally inclined to perform the tasks required for my job and how it feels like one long torturous neverending semester of calculus, during which all the other students grasp the concepts immediately and I'm furiously trying to keep up (Ale, remember the nightmare that was Enriched Physics in high school?) or at least fake like I understand until the test, but in this case there is no test because it is Real Life.

Then Jon tells me his instructor (who beat breast cancer) found out that her cancer is back.

Now I feel like a selfish jerk for whining about my stupid problems. Because, jeeze, shut up, Cadiz.

sometimes prayers trump privacy, mom
In which my mom gets cancer cut out. And it has stayed out, thank God.

Monday, November 19, 2012

reindeer in the night

This weekend, My brother was in town to stand up in a wedding. Only by coincidence was I able to catch up with him for about half an hour last night over Portillo's hot dogs and cheesy fries. He drove back to St. Louis today while I was at work.

Jon and I are going to spend Christmas and New Year's with his family on the West Coast. My brother and his girlfriend, M, will be coming up here to be with my parents. So I probably won't get to enjoy my brother rolling his eyes at me until sometime in 2013.

But at least we can start getting into the mood for the season, as the Christmas music is already all over the radio! While I love holiday songs as much as the next girl, even I can admit that before Thanksgiving is a bit premature.

the most wonderful time of the year
In which my college roommate, pp, confiscated my carefully recorded Christmas tapes while we were moving in, "to preserve her sanity."

Sunday, November 18, 2012


A few weeks ago, everyone at work got a bag full of candy for halloween (team-building stuff that means well but really, no one has time for). All these weeks I have been so well-behaved and only ate one or two pieces, even though it was calling to me from the drawer every time I needed a Post-It.

I've been in the office today and it's a ghost town. As usual when I am alone with access to my phone and the Internet, it's been tough to focus. So the siren song of that dang bag of candy kept cooing me to open the drawer. No one would have been the wiser, but I feel guilty, so I must confess: I ate the candy. ALL of it. In practically one sitting.

I wish I could say the sugar rush made me more productive, but sadly it made me just want to go home. 

when your boss dreams about your boyfriend
In which my old boss had a dream about trick-or-treating with Jon dressed like Aquabats before Jon moved here (they have similar taste in music). 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Yep, still hate shopping

I spent the day shopping. By myself. What a nightmare. By store number three, I completely stopped even going near the pants. None of them seemed worth the effort of removing my clothes to try on.

I feel like "Some things never change" should be the tagline of this blog.

brought to you by the letter P
In which I list the ridiculous requirements needed for me to buy a pair of pants. Here are some highlights:

a really good pair of pants:

* isn't peek-a-boo from the back of the waist
* isn't too loose in the back end
* isn't too thin where you have to worry too much about your choice of undergarment
* has a smooth zipper or reliable button fly (won't pop open at all times)
* doesn't create a 'p-pocket' in the crotch when you sit down -- insinuating there is something inside standing at attention
* doesn't climb up anywhere near places it shouldn't
* doesn't make noise during walking
* doesn't get shiny after being ironed even at a low setting
* isn't a lint magnet
* doesn't look too short when you cross your legs
* doesn't look raggedy after one washing
* will make you look svelte
* will make you look taller
* will enhance or detract from whatever you have that is lacking or abundant
* will not be useless if your body weight changes 6 ounces one way or the other
* will not be out of style tomorrow
* can not be found on the 13-year-olds standing at the bus stop
* does not have something written across the booty
* does not cost three times its value because of the name on the tag
* makes you feel like a million bucks.

Friday, November 16, 2012

you'll see what you want to see

Workflows.....or Work Blows? You make the call.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

my yoga instructor is a mind reader

My yoga instructor looks a lot to me like my brother-in-law Joe, who is married to Sister-in-law M (not to be confused with Madelyn). Mostly because of the features on his face and the way he moves his mouth and tilts his head when he's thinking about what he's going to say next and the color of his hair and the way he gestures with his hands. Granted, people often do not agree with me when I say a person looks like somebody else, but it doesn't matter because that is how I see it. And that is why, in my head, I call him "Faux-Joe" even though I know his name is Paul.

Anyway, Faux-Joe has this creepy way of saying things that mirror my thoughts--in real time--such as "Even if you have an itch, try your best to stay still" just as I was contemplating scratching my neck, or "don't get distracted by adjusting your clothing. That is not important" as I'm about to pull down the back of my shirt before everyone behind me gets a look at the waistband of my undies. One time I was in final relaxation (where you lie on your back and are not supposed to move at all), but I was absolutely fuming about something from earlier. Everyone was silent, and I know I wasn't making any noise except screaming in my head what I *should* have said to the person who made me mad. Faux-Joe comes to stand over me, picks up one arm at a time, shakes it around, replaces it on the floor, then adjusts my neck and pushes on my shoulders, leans down and whispers kind of sternly, "RELAX!"

That freaked me out a bit.

See, I have this thing where sometimes I'm in a crowded elevator or a train having a judge-y or nasty thought about someone and think to myself, "Self, just watch, that is the one person in the world who can read your mind, and she just heard you think she has the ugliest haircut you've ever seen. Don't you feel bad?" Maybe it's some kind of self-policing to keep my thoughts in check.

So of course I've decided Faux-Joe can hear what I'm thinking. I've been in his class for almost a year now, and I am used to his routine, so I don't have to concentrate as hard to keep up with what's next. But he still calls me out on mind-wandering and hair fixing. You know, generally, to the whole class. This is going to sound bizarre, but sometimes I think things like, "Faux-Joe, what is wrong with you? You have been losing a lot of weight. You are disappearing. I hope you don't have a serious illness." Or "Faux-Joe, where were you last week? That replacement lady was way too New-Agey and she wore a headset."

Faux-Joe never lets on that he can read my thoughts. He is that good. But sending telepathic messages helps distract me from calculating how little a cushion my yoga mat will be when I fall down on my face if we don't come out of this pose soon.

As you can see, poses I can pull off. It's the quieting of the mind that has always been tricky.

speaking of instructors,
more than conjugation
In which I learned more than just grammar from my continuing education Spanish teacher.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

my hair is down to my waist and i don't own a hair dryer

So I'm considering doing this again:

In which I chopped off 21 inches so someone could enjoy a sometimes frizzy, sometimes pretty wig. In "Mexican Girl" brown (according to my friend Jackie, who is a Mexican girl).

Is it bad that the only thing holding me back from making the cut is the worry that I won't be able to keep my hair wrangled at the gym?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

right-brain spy undercover in the land of the left

In my seventh-grade English class, we took a brain hemisphere test. It was pretty comprehensive and had more than 100 questions. I distinctly remember this because Mrs. Johnson (Johnston? I don't remember her being nice) called my score out as being odd because of all the questions, my answer correlated to either "Right Brain" or "Both." I did not answer a single question with a "Left Brain" answer.


I only applied to one college--I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with my life and I saw a book with a grid for the amount of different majors different schools offered, and that school offered the most options. I hadn't even looked at a brochure, let alone visited campus. Those years were amazing and I have never regretted that decision.

I finally decided on a career, got a pretty cool internship and spent 10 years doing what I set out to do. And then suddenly I was laid off. And again. And again. And again. The industry was tanking. I had worked very hard to get where I was, and it was extremely difficult to walk away. But someone had to pay the mortgage.

I got a job in healthcare. Nobody cared about my previous accomplishments or what it took me to get them. I had to start at the bottom.

Slowly, I moved up, and now I find myself in an opportunity for a job that doesn't come very naturally to me. I look to my left and I see someone who majored in Math. I look to my right and see someone who majored in Statistics. I go to training and breeze through the lessons because I learn best by reading. The rest of the class barely looks at the books but jumps into the system and *figures* it out by playing around with trial and error. I write everything down and clutch onto my notebook like a safety blanket. It's like being a Snufalupagus at a princess party.

I have to figure out how to make this work for me. And things are getting better. Maybe I'm even learning to think like a Left-brainer. Thinking about this, I took another Right Brain/Left brain quiz:

Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz
The higher of these two numbers below indicates which side of your brain has dominance in your life. Realising your right brain/left brain tendancy will help you interact with and to understand others.
Left Brain Dominance: 8(8)
Right Brain Dominance: 14(14)
Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz

Some things just never change.

oh, what a feeling! toyota
In which I just knew about some things--and made a major life decision--based on a "feeling." I think that was even one of the left/right-brain questions.

Monday, November 12, 2012

the problem with parking: reprise!

So in seven years of NaBloPoMo, I don't recall missing a day. Until yesterday. This post will be post-dated till 11:59 just so my OCD self will not go nuts looking at the list later, but we all know the truth: I dropped the ball. It happens.

So here is my collection of parking woes from back when I had to drive downtown, park for two hours, sneak out of the big 5p.m. meeting, wait in line for 40 min to get into the lot, not get an official lunch break but eat whenever and stay in the dungeon till all hours. If you can believe it, I truly was thankful for that job.

2005: a review
In which I complain about parking. Here is a taste:

the problem with parking -- vol 3 (july 9, 2005)

the problem with parking is that, when you're in a hurry and you've been trolling for a spot for 10 minutes and finally find one that's dangerously close to an intersection and you accidentally move up too far, another driver can *claim* to think that you were signaling to turn, not park, and then pull a fried-green-tomatoes move on your ass.

then he'll just shrug his shoulders as you contemplate giving him the finger, wasting the entire appropriate finger-giving window, and you end up having to park down the street six blocks. that spot had been right in front.

you just come away wondering where the hell Tawanda is when you need her.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans' Day

Yesterday, Jon and I were driving past this lovely area in the town where I grew up. We passed a tremendous hill that I've only ever known as "Sled Hill." My mom never allowed us to sled there because of all the kids she'd see come into the hospital with broken bones from bouncing down Sled Hill each winter. We were so jealous of all the fun people without paranoid mothers had flying down that hill in their snowpants when we had to make do with the wimpy retention-pond ditch near our house.

Of course it's hardly time for sledding--the temperature was 68 degrees here with no snow in sight. But as Sled Hill came into sight, instead of grass we saw an army of crisp United States flags flapping in the wind. There was a small path in the center, and people were walking up the hill into the sea of red, white and blue. It was amazing, 2012 flags in all. Beautiful and majestic.

It's amazing how an image can stay with you forever and bring on such emotion. Thank you, service people of our military. For all that you have given and all that your families have sacrificed and all that you continue to do to to protect our freedom.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


This week I was in Wisconsin for further training. My head did not explode as much as it usually does when I go to these intense classes. I chalk that up to some of the knowledge being absorbed in my bones. I hope that is the case.

We went out to downtown Madison one night, and I have to say, I enjoyed Nepali food. I don't have pics of the meal, but I do have one of the Capitol.

If you look closely, there's some political commentary chalked onto the sidewalk. I love college towns.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 09, 2012


Hey, remember seven (!) years ago when I started this blog and I worked in a dungeon doing reports? Sometimes that feels like a long long LONG time ago, and sometimes it feels like it just a couple of summers back.

When I get frustrated and overwhelmed and have too much on my plate that hurts my brain, I just find more stuff to do. I guess the busier I am, the less time I have to think about how busy I am. But that is tiring, so I am going to bed early.

I leave you with this, my paranoid nightmare about being murdered and my dismembered parts being left in a janitor closet to rot by a one-eyed psycho. No one would even hear me scream.

So yes, I keep extra busy to distract my mind, because this is the kind of stuff it comes up with when left unattended.

show this to the police when you don't hear from me


Thursday, November 08, 2012

When I was in elementary school, they had this contest called "Odyssey of the Mind."*

In fourth grade, the challenge was to build something that you put into motion and, as far as I can remember, set off a mousetrap, have a raw egg drop like ten feet without breaking and put out a candle. I remember racking my brain to try and figure this out and then having my dad hovering over me working with the candle while I made a mess and slapped together some contraption. My thing totally didn't work; it'd do the candle, but then the egg would break. Or the mousetrap would go off and then candle would stay bright. It was a mess. I don't have to tell you that I did not win.

This girl named Sarah F. won, and her stuff totally worked. I think she had a wooden board with a curvy groove in it that the egg rolled down, triggering the mousetrap and somehow putting out the candle. Not to be a hater--kids totally accused me of having help from my mom in first grade when we had to make a hat and I totally did that all by myself--but that matte-black paintjob looked awfully professional for a 9-year-old. I'm just saying.

In fifth grade, I was determined to at least place. As soon as I heard what the challenge was, I started trying to figure out the best way I could build a contraption that would be powered by a brick, travel 25 (or more?) feet and pop a balloon. I had all kinds of ideas, but none seemed good enough to beat Sarah F. I worried about this all week.

So the night before the competition, I still had nothing. And the hourglass was emptying fast. By 8 p.m. I had even frittered away any opportunity for my mom to take me to a hardware store. I was shaking in my boots.

I threw about 12 hissyfits, stomping up and down the stairs and whining about having no ideas. My parents tried to help, but that would just make me more frustrated. Finally I gave up. Sarah was going to win it again that year, I guessed. But I couldn't show up empty handed.

I started rummaging around the house. I found a brick in the backyard that was used to prop up the gutter drain. I took the blue skateboard that I begged and begged to get from Santa and would ride approximately six times throughout my entire life. I dismantled an old window-insulation frame in the basement and took two metal sides. And I got a fat but sharp needle from my nani's old sewing box.

It was really late at this point, but I took some duct tape, made a V with the window frame pieces, attached the needle to the front of the skateboard where the V came together, and I covered that muddy brick with some tinfoil. Honestly, I can't remember whether I even tested the contraption before taking it to school the next day.

I got there and everyone had their projects ready. Sarah's was so crazy! It was this big wooden thing with wheels and a pulley thing attached to the brick--she pushed down on the brick and it made the wheels go. And I think it was painted all kinds of red-white-and-blue stars and stripes or something. Some other people had elaborate stuff, too, but of course I can't remember them because I was so hell bent on beating Sarah and pretty sheepish about my own pathetic entry.

We lined all our contraptions behind the line (some way farther back because they needed momentum) and one by one, we gave them a go.

I went toward the end; I remember being in a panic that morning because everyone else's was so much more elaborate than what I had. So I drew on my tinfoil-wrapped brick to make it look like an chubby square astronaut. And when it was my turn, I made up a silly story about how the astronaut had to jump in his duct-tape ship and take off into the galaxy and defeat the balloon aliens. Or something. I stood about 5 feet behind my skateboard and tossed that brick onto the skateboard--it landed up in the V and propelled the whole thing across the line.

Wouldn't you know it, the duct-tape spaceship sailed across the room and popped a balloon. It was the only entry that actually completed the required tasks. Sarah's stars and stripes didn't even make it halfway.

My halfassed, slapped-together, madeup contraption won first place! They even said my name over the P.A. to the entire school!

It was so awesome, I remember it clearly 23 years later.

To tell you the truth, the only times in my life when I felt like I was doing well at my job have been when I have been put in a seemingly impossible situation with a limited amount of resources and I had to make the best of it to get the job done. It happened with deadlines in my main career and it happened with the insanity of a busy hospital in my last position. Having too much time to think seems to fog up my brain, I guess.

Maybe that's why I'm so frustrated these days. It seems like the logical, mathematical side of my brain has gone from hibernation to marathon running. There are days when I stare at my burgeoning to-do list and don't even know how to go about starting any of those tasks, which were all due last week. And then I waste time worrying about all that I have yet to do. It is a very big project, with thousands of tiny puzzle pieces that have to fit perfectly or big chunks won't work. But because the buzzer doesn't go off till next April, I haven't worked up enough frenetic energy to kick my brain into gear.

Or maybe I am just overwhelmed and having a bad week.

Speaking of fourth grade:
you just can't square dance on the beach
In which I realize that apparently NOT everyone has to learn square-dancing in school!

*Apparently this is a big thing with a lot of different categories. I never realized it was so complicated until I started researching it just now.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012



I posted this elsewhere earlier, but seriously: Watching election returns makes me wonder if this is what my brother and Jon feel like when their teams are competing for a championship.

This morning I went to the good old elementary-school gymnasium and, as expected, they couldn't find my name (dang apostrophe--they alphabetize it somewhere else every year). But I waited it out and they finally located my ticket. This always happens.
primary punch
In which I was ticked they changed my polling location and then couldn't find my name; I left without voting.

show a little humanity. oh and VOTE
"nothing like watching CNN with 125,000 of my best friends"
In which Jon, Jasmine and I stood around Grant Park for hours during the last election. And it was worth it--the energy of so many people happy all at the same time was absolutely amazing.
So many things have changed since that night in 2008. We'll have to see how it shakes out, but perhaps one thing will remain the same.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

you only have a few seconds to decide what to save

A few months ago where we live, they replaced the smoke detectors in each unit and the alarms in the public areas. This building is old; I'd guess it was built in the '60s. But these are some fancy-pants alarms, the kind that can cause headaches at best and hearing loss at worst. And the other night while Jon was watching the Lakers wipe the floor with Detroit, that alarm went off. It was so loud my ear canals began to throb after just 30 seconds.

Full disclosure: I burnt some toast or something awhile back and set off the alarm, but Jon was able to disarm it after a few seconds. This time, it kept blaring and blaring. Jon didn't budge from the couch.

I started pacing. I'm superstitious and paranoid, and my mind began to swirl with visions of the apartment below being engulfed in flames and how we were about to fall through the floor to our deaths. After a few minutes of my worrying, Jon agreed to go outside with me and sit in the car until the drama was over. I would have kept at it, because there was no way I would have left him to burn alone.

We had on our coats and our hats, grabbed our phones and our wallets, and were headed to the door when I took a glace back into the apartment. So much stuff that I love: Books and cherished cards, gadgets. My beloved couch. And the photographs, oh the photographs! If the place truly was burning to the ground, what would I be able to save?

In the end I made sure I had on my engagement (a family heirloom) and wedding rings and took a shoebox full of old black-and-white photos from the Motherland that I've been meaning to scan. But I had a sick feeling about potentially leaving the rest of my life to burn.

There was no fire. Three trucks full of professionals showed up to say that someone had triggered the alarm near the outside entrance--we're willing to bet it was a smoker who didn't want to go stand in the cold. People were clutching their animals, huddled in blankets taken from their sofas and covering their ears to block out that insane alarm. And then it stopped. We all trudged back to our apartments. I ran my hand over the cool leather of the couch, thankful it hadn't been reduced to a charred pile of ash.

For a second, I had to imagine losing everything. Unfortunately, it happens to people all the time. And thanks to Hurricane Sandy, some on the Eastern Seaboard actually have lost everything recently. It must be so horrible to see places you love decimated or simply swept away. I had really been hoping it would turn out to be closer to Irene than Katrina. And now they are bracing themselves for another storm.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected by this storm.
How we can help

Monday, November 05, 2012

clase de cocinar

Several years ago, Jon gave me a gift certificate to a cooking school in the city, hoping we could take a class together. It was so sweet and we have been meaning to schedule a class...

This year, I decided to flip it around and give it back to him (kicking in the extra cost because obviously the prices had gone up in all this time) for his birthday. He was happy that I used a gift certificate for a change.

We signed up for "Date Night: Two to Tango" at The Chopping Block. We were going to learn how to grill steak, make our own papas fritas (French fries), chimichurri, dulce de leche flan and--the one I knew he'd be most excited about--chicken empanadas. Unfortunately, the class started at 7 and we rolled up at 7:25 thinking we were five minutes early. Whoops.

Jon was parking the car, so I ran upstairs to the kitchen area and stood by a chopping-block island that looked like it had space for two more. There was an ridiculously thin girl with a nasty disposition yelling at her dude, who was glowering over the stove. She looked like she wanted to leave. Both of them saw I was there and turned their backs. Classy.

No one approached me for nearly five minutes. Then Jon appeared, and one of the Chef's helpers took him aside and recommended against joining the antisocial couple, who had decided to stop arguing and were fumbling around trying to catch up.

We moved over to another island, where a very lovely couple close to our age were finishing up their caramel. Chef came over and used their stuff as an example. All we had missed was making the caramel flan top and mixing the pre-measured ingredients. The rest of the class was fun, and the food was yummy! The rude couple even came over to ask some questions because the instructor kept using us an example (the entire rest of the class was made up of people our parents' age who were quite obviously hammered).

I think Jon was trying to look intense. But the empanadas were delicious!

Later as we sat to eat our creations, we discovered the our cooking partners had only been married 29 days, so we showed wedding photos. We warned them that 1-year-old cake really doesn't hold a candle to the wedding-day cake, but they had been smart and ate the top layer after their reception. Apparently our new friends had originally been paired with the antisocial couple, who scrunched up their faces and said "We'd really rather do this by ourselves." Even though we were seated at benches at a table, they both managed to turn their backs to the rest of us by sitting at the corner. They ate their dinner off a single plate, got up and left. 

photos by and Jonathan Muller
 Steak! I wish the fries were crispier, but they were tasty!

We were very lucky to have been partnered with the nice couple--I think it wouldn't have been nearly a nice time with the pair of grumpy pants, who didn't speak to anyone the entire evening. If we do this again, we definitely want to bring friends! And maybe a bottle of wine. 

This is something I will definitely be making again soon!

I didn't forget about the flashback:
In which I celebrate three years since Jon and I discovered each other. That number is now up to 7 (and counting). I'm so glad cooking together doesn't make us fight. Or antisocial.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

weekend off!

They were doing upgrades on the servers this weekend, so that meant we couldn't work. Can you believe that? Amazing news! I've been working a lot of weekends and will probably continue to do so until our project ends next summer. So of course I had made a LOT of plans for all that extra free time.

That was stupid. I should have had only one plan: Lie around the house watching television.

One big thing I actually did accomplish, however, was to make a bit of headway on baby gifts that I haven't had any time for--one of the babies came two weeks early, too (we went and saw the little munchkin yesterday, what a cutie). I haven't even picked up my knitting needles in more than three months. That makes me tremendously sad.

Best First Mate
In which I reveal that Jon is my secret crafting weapon.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

paying the farmer is expensive

Here's the most compelling reason why Jon and I will not be making a Whole30 diet a lifestyle change: what slimmed down the most was our bank accounts.

Once we realized we could not shop at "Whole Paycheck" grocery store for everything, we tried to make it a mix of local grocers, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

Even then, during the month of October, Jon spent about $294.00 and I spent $646.60 (that's 940.60 for people who aren't into mental math). That is almost three times more than we normally spend a month on food and more than some people pay in RENT.

But I guess medical bills for being sick and feeling yucky from eating junk end up being more expensive than high-quality food. That's what we're telling ourselves. And maybe now--before we have a mortgage and a college fund to throw money at--we can get used to spending on healthier food so it won't be such sticker shock when we try to do that for a kid in the future.

What an eye-opener.

Here's a flashback that doesn't have much to do with groceries, but it is about shopping:

there's a reason it's called Victoria's SECRET
in which I explain how it would be so nice if I could buy underwear without the company of strangers.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Whole30: the recap

So Jon and I completed the Whole30 a few days ago.

I didn't think I was going to make it! No added sugar? No bread? NO CHEESE!?!

Jon was waiting for this *burst* of energy we were supposed to get, but he was disappointed. I listed a few benefits I got in the update post from the middle of the month (less tired, not dizzy at the gym, nicer skin, etc). Also? I lost some weight,* too.

But here's the biggest one: my mouth is not hungry 24/7.

See, I have this thing where I can have a really filling, delicious meal, but then ten minutes later--even if my belly is bulging and I can hardly move from the couch, my mouth has a taste for something else. It's bizarre! I try to drink water, or wait 20 minutes, but it's there. All the time. This leads to way overeating and ridiculous snacking. And it was getting to be a problem.

But cutting out all this stuff from my diet? Made the cravings go away.

Not sure what it was, but I do consume a lot of dairy--yogurt, milk in my tea, lots of cheese. I have a feeling that hormones in that stuff has something to do with it.  But I'm no doctor.

Last night (Jon's birthday) we went out for hibachi/sushi and dove into bowls of rice. The idea was to introduce one forbidden food first to see how our bodies would handle it. Right away, we both felt really full. My tummy was not immediately pleased and there was more um, air, in my system, but otherwise I did all right. But I realized I would have been just fine eating the veggies and the meat and just a little rice.

This afternoon I had a burrito bowl with brown rice and felt the same way--I would have been way more satisfied with double the veggies and half the rice. My stomach wasn't in pain, but felt a little weird. I was scared to eat any candy--especially with the overflowing bowls all around at this time of year--but I had a mini PayDay today and it was SCRUMPTIOUS. I'm afraid once I eat chocolate, I won't be able to stop.

Like I said on Day 18, this simply can't be a way of life for me. It's just way too hard on my friends and family--being on a weird diet not for allergy reasons makes hosts feel bad and dining out really tricky. But it really made me stop and think about what I'm putting into my body. And I will definitely be making some changes, like less pasta and rice, more cups of tea with coconut or almond milk instead of cow's milk, and way more vegetables.

As hard as it was for Jon and I, the person who suffered the most this past month was my poor mother. It was absolutely KILLING her to not be able to send over some food. She even researched the diet and made a very tantalizing homemade chicken soup, but looked crushed when I told her we couldn't have peas. I think she felt a little better when I picked them out and ate the rest in front of her. But only slightly. Because she's a graduate of the school that preaches, "Food is love," and a mommy who can't share love is a sad mommy indeed.

the ones that won't let you down
When I was stuck in the dungeon on Thanksgiving, my mom cooked up a mini-feast just for me, and the family brought it 35 miles into the city for me. My mom said, "the turkey just wouldn't go down my throat knowing that you weren't having any."

*I lost half an inch from my bust, waist and the widest part of my hips (I only had "before" measurements required for sewing). I will probably weigh myself when I get back to the gym where I had taken that particular measurement a few weeks before this experiment.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

here we are again

I'm certainly not one to break tradition, if I can help it. So for the SEVENTH(!) YEAR IN A ROW, I will be participating in the NaBloPoMo, posting every day of November.

Currently, I spend double-digit hours a day staring into a screen and looking for answers--even on the weekend--so I've decided that this month I will be doing 30 *flashback* posts. They will be new, of course, but I hope to reference, expand on, update or otherwise re-run what I like to look back on at do they read obituaries in hell? with fondness.

So it's only fitting that I go all the way back to the very first post on this blog, March 7, 2005:

pumped up 
In which I pontificate about filling air in my tires and how I'm glad I know how to do it.

I didn't really know what blogging was about. Heck, like 1% of all people had even heard of a web log in the spring of 2005. But I randomly found a blog called Tequila Mockingbird and just loved what she was doing. So I thought I'd give it a whirl.

If I had any idea it would bring me closer to a friend in NY than I was with any of my local friends at the time, introduce me to a bunch of wonderful people--including my husband--and provide a great way to win bets about when things happened over the last few years, I probably would have done a LOT more editing.

Let me know if you're participating and I'll try to comment as much as I can. C'mon, we both know it: Comments are the coal in the old blogging locomotive.