Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cannoli: It's What's for Breakfast

Also: ECLAIRS.

I felt it was my duty as a responsible citizen to consume the pastries that were left over from the photo shoot I did this morning. The cookies I put in the freezer for my mom to take home with her after she visits next weekend, but I think we all know how well cannoli and eclairs freeze, which is not well at all. I wouldn't want to burden anyone with the task of eating less than fresh pastries. So I took care of it. You can thank me later.

Turns out the weekend goes a long way towards making up for a week that insisted on biting me in the posterior at every given opportunity. There's no big reason that the weekend has been so great, just a lot of little ones. I got my bangs trimmed. I worked an extra job for a new family, and they were delightful. I found some exceptional bargains at Pier 1. I got some photos processed. I relaxed. It's been good.

It's off to Starbucks and the train now, for I've got a a museum to visit and some chocolates to purchase. I can't take you with me, but I'll bring back some pictures for you, I promise. We can both pretend you were along for the ride.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My Brain is Way Too Fried to Think of a Title

Did I insinuate that yesterday and the day before were bad? That I didn't like them? Did I maybe, oh, whine a little or something? Really? About those piece of cake days?

Oh ye of little brain, welcome to today. Day of a million errands and extra people everywhere. (I think I have forgotten to inform you that the children's grandmother is at the house this week to "help out." And while I do like her and appreciate her efforts, having an extra person around, even if that person is trying to help--or maybe especially if they are trying to help--actually hinders my efforts at having a consistently efficient system of household management.)

Frank stayed home sick again. The severity of her symptoms is due in part, in my opinion, to her participation in a softball game yesterday afternoon even though she'd been sick enough overnight and in the morning to stay home from school. I don't know about you folks, but when I was growing up, if we were sick enough to stay home from school, we were sick enough to miss the rest of the day's activities as well. Ah, how the times are a-changin'. Kids these days! GEEZ!

So she went to bed last night feeling wretched, and, predictably enough, woke up this morning feeling quite terrible. As soon as the doctor's office was open, I was on the line, scheduling her appointment. The doctor confirmed that she was sick, bronchitis sick, and prescribed antibiotics. She took the antibiotics at 1:30pm.

At 2pm she announced in her most drama-queenish "I'm so siiiiiiiiick" manner that she was sure the medicine was not working because she didn't feel any better. I calmly explained to her that antibiotics are not Advil and that they have to be given time in order to work. I went on to explain that she should at least give the medication until tomorrow morning to do its job, but I'm pretty sure she had tuned me out at that point because at 5:45pm she asserted in her snottiest (literally and figuratively) voice that she just didn't think it was working because it had been "like, eight hours" since she took it, and she was still (obviously, duh, can't you TELL?) feeling quite ill. This was further emphasized by her rubbing her face back and forth across my shoulder in an effort to soothe her wearied soul. I corrected her math and then had the audacity to use the word efficacy in a sentence, as if an eleven-year-old whose subtraction skills are suffering under the strain of her illness would be able to comprehend a word that is under the heading "Challenging" on her vocab lists. It was something to the effect of, "You need to refrain from doubting the efficacy of your medication."

Yes, I know. Stand back, people, I'm a professional.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sometimes I Wish YouTube Had a Repeat Function

Even though I still fear that her eyeliner might attack in the dead of night, I am loving this song. I just find it inconvenient that to listen to it again, I actually have to walk over to my computer and click on "watch again."



Enjoy, and try not to stare too long at her eyeliner.

And Then Something Wonderful Happened

I wasn't hungry anymore!

And also I found agave nectar. I'd considered stevia, but there's still some question as to toxicity if it's consumed in larger quantities, like more than, say, a bit in your tea couple of times a day, so I decided to try agave instead. Agave nectar is all natural (mine's even organic) and has a low glycemic index, which is one of the key components of my new style of eating. It tastes delicious in both tea and yogurt. This site includes a podcast about it, as well as an Oprah clip. Podcasts and Oprah? It must be for real! I realize this site looks a bit biased since they sell the product, but all the other research I did also indicated that it is indeed good for me. This just happened to be the site that had the most useful info in the form of the podcast (you can take or leave the Oprah as you see fit). (Though I do like the part where Dr. Oz offers a prescription to chemotherapy as an effective weight loss tool if weight loss is all you're after. Ha!) (Also, do you think I've used enough parentheses yet?)

Right. Anyway. One of the things the author of the plan I'm using mentioned is that if you've eaten a higher fat diet up until you begin this, you may be hungry for a few days at the beginning because your body wants that fat back. So my decision was to just keep going through the hunger, and if I was still hungry by Friday, I'd find something else to do or make modifications. I'm going to stick with the entire program for two weeks to see how it goes, cheat day and everything, and if it's not working, I'll modify. But for now at least the hunger part is out of the way. (Thank heaven for 7-Eleven.)

One of the reasons that I chose this program, honestly, is because of the cheat day. I know that I can eat really well for six days as long as I'm promised a little break. The author of the book mentioned that it is far better to eat well the majority of the time and terribly for just one day than to eat sort of terribly every day. I know that there are some people who could have just one chocolate or one small brownie each day and be fine with that, but I would rather wait for it and be able to have as much of it as I want. For some people, I think that giving up sugar and flour for six whole days and only getting to eat what they want on one day would seem like a ridiculous level of deprivation, but I know that I would feel more deprived if I had to stop at a preset limit every single day as compared to abstaining for a time and then being able to eat my fill. I'm also not too concerned about that one day of junk a week confusing my body, and even if it does, maybe it will just be confused right into looking like Halle Berry's body. Wouldn't that be nice?

Yes, yes it would.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fits of Longing

Lately I've been getting hungry a lot. And by a lot, I mean that sometimes I can't fall asleep because I'm so hungry. So I did a little looking around and decided I'd try out an eating plan that will stabilize my blood sugar.

I chose a plan that uses no sugar and no flour, which...WHAT? But it offers one cheat day per week, during which I can eat anything at all that I want (ahem*cupcakes*ahem*) so I figured that I could do it so long as it wasn't all the time. (I think we all recognize by now that I will not give up baked goods entirely.) And if it paid off by me not being so hungry, particularly at bedtime, it would be totally worth it. It seemed to make a lot of sense, what with the frequent meals and plenty of natural ingredients (except for the Splenda, but I won't get into how I feel about a sensible nutrition plan including a chlorinated product as an acceptable component of healthy meals), so I decided to go for it.

I started it yesterday, and today I have been hungrier than I've been since...since...since never. I have never been this hungry.

Thirty-six hours into it, I am hungrier than I have ever been in my life.

Obviously, this is totally working out for me.

Oh, cupcakes, how I miss you. Wait for me; I won't be long...
four in a box

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Workaholic

When it comes to selling stock photos, the key is to, well, take a lot of photos. And then you have to actually process those photos, which, let's just be honest here, is not usually my method. My method is to take a lot of photos and then leave them on CF cards or in my "please process me" folder for indefinite periods of time. But now I am motivated! I have a purpose! I must work! Right here in this recliner! Wearing my pajamas! While watching E!

My life, it is just so difficult. Pray for me.

headbands

Or you could just go look at the fruits of my labors over at flickr. My three and a half hours of toil this morning yielded a great deal of new uploads. Enjoy.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I Suddenly Feel Compelled to Walk Under Some Ladders and Break a Few Mirrors

And also pet a lot of black cats, who will hopefully cross my path over and over and over again. It is Friday the 13th, after all. I think there's even a club that gets together to do all those things just to override everyone else's superstition.

Friday the 13th or no, I'm actually having a pretty fabulous day. I've had some Starbucks. I paid off a credit card that once had nearly $10,000 worth of debt on it. I had my first photo approved for sale at istockphoto.com. And work? Well, work is going really well right now. Maybe it's got something to do with me having a better attitude about things and deciding to just take it up a notch in the Just Deal With It Department, or maybe things are just nicer. Most likely it's both. But it's going well. Last night I read Huck Finn to Al in my best Huck Finn accent, and then I looked at all the rocks in his rock collection, admiring the sparkly ones in particular. And it was good. So many of the things that he loves to do (ahem*wallball*ahem) are things that I find as boring as staring at blank paper, but last night's activities were easy and natural. It was nice, for once, to get cozy and do things that we both enjoy. Because it's been hard for me, I'll admit, that there have been so few things we do together that I truly want to do for reasons other than wanting to hang out with him, to make him feel loved and valued and appreciated. Those are reasons enough, granted, and I do want him to know that I care enough for him that I will sometimes do things I don't really like because I know he enjoys them. But I also want him to understand that different people enjoy different things, and that there's much more fun involved when we find things in common so that everyone is having a great time.

Right. So anyway, all that to say:

Happy, happy, happy Friday! May your evening be filled with all the best things, and may mine find that they are re-running the What Not to Wear special (Behind the Seams!) they ran last week while I was staying in a hotel that did not have TLC as one of their cable offerings. Enjoy your weekend, internets!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dear Target, (Again)

If I've asked you once, I've asked you a thousand times. Please stop being awesome! It's enough, really, that you have all the basics I need--the sunblock, the deoderant, the shower caddies--but to add things that are cute and affordable which I don't really need? That's where you've gone all wrong.

I heart you, Target, with a big, glittery, seventy-five percent off Valentine heart, adorned with the red sticker I'm so fond of finding on your end caps. Please, if you heart me at all, even without the seventy-five percent off-ness and the red sticker, don't do things like this to me any longer. You know I can't resist, and my budget doesn't like the lack of resistance.

All my red-sticker adoration,
Mary

Monday, April 09, 2007

As a Means of Summing Up Our Weekend

This weekend Jarod and I ate a lot of food. A lot of sugary food. And sometimes I got a little sugar-happy and posed the food, imagining that the food and food related accessories had thoughts and feelings. To wit:

This bunny looks awfully worried.

paranoid cupcake bunny

But what does he have to worry about? That duck is just saying hello, right?

the duck says, "hello!"

Why then, the bunny wonders, is the duck sneaking up behind him?

the bunny wonders, "why is that duck sneaking up behind me?"

It's probably because the duck would like to partake of his colorful Easter jelly beans. Oh, dear. Please don't.

just as the bunny suspected, the duck wants to eat his shiny jelly beans

Or perhaps the duck is just a distraction so that someone can EAT UP HIS HABITAT!!

oh, dear, someone ate up the paranoid bunny's habitat

HORRORS!

Sorry, bunny. Your habitat was just entirely too tasty too resist.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Ain't No Need to Get All in a RUSH

One night as I was trying to find the pick-up spot for a kid I was taking care of for the evening, I glanced in my rearview mirror to find that there was a car so close to my bumper that I could only make out the top parts of his headlights and his Mercedes hood ornament. I was certainly going above the posted limit, as is the norm here, but I just wasn't fast enough for this man (and I can say with confidence that it was a man because he was close enough that I COULD MAKE OUT ALL HIS FACIAL FEATURES). At one point I slowed a bit to read a street sign, and he came even closer. So I did the polite thing and pulled off at the next opportunity in order to let him pass. As he sped by me, he laid on his horn, angry. After I had pulled over to let him pass. My middle finger flew up all on its own.

And that is how this place has changed me. That's how here is different from where I'm from. Not just my lack of middle digit control, but the many instances similar to the one described above that contributed to the ebb of my willingness to be the polite one, all the time, every time. Back in more relaxed atmospheres, I at least would have thought about flying the bird before I actually let it take off.

It's not one person's fault, really, so if that was you being a complete asshole in your high dollar car on a dark, curvy road, don't blame yourself for my moral downturn. (Blame yourself for being a complete asshole, but don't blame yourself for my diminished middle digit control.) It's all of you. All of you who honk just because you can't figure out what's going on twelve cars ahead of you, all of you who cut other people off when they are trying to merge onto the highway because you want to weave around the cars that you think are in your way, all of you who ride other people's bumpers when you could hang back a bit and still get there on time. All the people who scoff at those who are Not East Coast Enough to refrain from saying good morning and asking how your night was, all those people who laugh out loud when you trip in the train station and your shoe comes off.

I don't like how being around people like that fairly frequently has made me more like them. I don't like how the rush that surrounds me sometimes translates into anxiety and the feeling that I need to be in a rush myself. Because I don't. I don't need to hurry when it's not necessary. I don't need to elbow in front of someone else to get on the subway train first. I don't need to fidget or tap my foot while I am waiting for my Starbucks order. And I certainly do not need to honk my horn at every given opportunity.

So today, I'm opting out of the rush. That's why I'm sitting here eating cookies instead of packing, why I still haven't applied my sunblock even though I could have about half an hour ago, why I'm still barefoot even though it's cold. It's why I'm taking the later train into the city to meet Jarod and leaving early enough that I can meander down to Starbucks instead of rush there as if there is a mighty wind at my back. It's why I'm not going to worry if I forget something and why we may just stay in and watch television sometimes instead of experiencing the night life of New York City. Because really?

(You might want to take notes, hardcore East Coasters.)

Life's just nicer when you're not in a rush.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Well, Fine, I'll Just Eat This Entire Box of Granola Bars

I've been putting in some hard time on the StairMaster this week, partly because Jarod is coming to town this weekend, and we will be staying in NYC, home of Doughnut Plant, purveyors of the fine doughnuts you see at the top of this page. I intend to eat more than one of those, plus have the hot chocolate, so I'm creating a calorie deficit to rival all calorie deficits of time past.

The other part of the increased effort is that I made My Virtual Model five pounds thinner, and do you know how many more swimsuits look nice on her with just a five pound difference? Almost every swimsuit looks good on Five-Pounds-Lighter My Virtual Model, whereas there are only select suits that look good on Accurate My Virtual Model. So I decided that maybe I'd put in a little extra time and effort on the old StairMaster and maybe I'd also stop keeping entire bags of chocolate chips and/or Hershey's eggs in my room. I thought, "This will be easy! I'm probably just eating because I'm bored anyway!"

Ha.

Ha.

Hrm.

My stomach is just not buying this new system. I think it would prefer to just be more selective about swimsuits. And I think it also would like it if I'd restock the Trader Joe's peanut butter chewy granola bars already.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Thoughts and Observations

Today as I was driving to a random supermarket in Stamford, I saw a great many people heading to (or perhaps it was from) temple. It is Passover, and they were making their way there to celebrate the holiday. I saw one trio led by a spry old man using a walker, jetting along faster than the other two, a huge grin brightening his face. He was perfectly delightful; I wanted to pull over wish him a very good Pesach indeed, but it seemed he was already having one without me wishing it for him.

...

Al likes vanilla milk, and the trip to the random grocery store was to locate the syrup we use to make it. I had no idea that Stamford stretched so far in the direction I traveled, and I found myself enjoying the drive. Where I live it is mostly newer buildings and well-kept old ones. There is money in the town I live in, and plenty of it, so modest dwellings and old apartment buildings are not a common sight. In this part of Stamford, though, I found a wealth of smaller homes, some in good shape and some not, a perfectly average looking park with well-worn spaces where many feet had trod, but no landscaper had been called in to repair the damage. The area looked a little used up and lived in, and I felt so much more at home just driving around there than I have elsewhere. It was a good little excursion, one I look forward to the next time we run out of vanilla syrup or some other random ingredient that cannot be found 'round these parts.

...

Particularly if there's cooking being done, various aromas tend to waft up towards my room and mix together, creating odors that can at best only be called interesting. I determined that today I would invest in some sort of air freshening device, so I trolled the aisles at Target, looking for a clearance item that didn't seem too chemical-ish. I scored big on that one, as there were Method brand air freshening fans on clearance. I picked up two and put one together when I arrived home. Turns out there was a reason they were on clearance, as the small fan inside sounds rather like a rotary phone when it's on, and someone is dialing all nines.

...

I still hate puppies. I'm sorry, but I do. People are always saying, "At least he's cute," because they've seen the pictures and can't imagine a creature that is just so twee and precious being a complete pain in the neck. I'd like to invite all those people over to clean up his pee twelve times a day (this is no exagerration, though I wish it were) and dig the poop out of his mouth every time he's caught trying to eat it and then ask them if they feel differently about his cuteness canceling out whatever he might do wrong.

...

The evidence of spring having sprung is all around today, and Al is heading outdoors to do his homework in the sun. I think it's time for me to join him.