Tuesday, November 27, 2007

3 days!!!

That is 3 times longer then any of my other diets lasted. As you can tell, I'm not one for diets LOL. So far, so good. The real test will be once I go out to eat. Well, another test will be my sister. She came to town today and the first thing we did was go to the grocery store. She realized I wasn't lying when I said my cupboards were bare. What does Kim eat? All carbs. She has no interest in steak, she doesn't eat steak! I had no idea. That could be a problem. Then she's grabbing all of this fruit, you know I love fruit! Wahhhhh! I am only planning on doing this until I move in with Lina, I can't imagine living a carb free life with a vegetarian but I'll also be working out a lot more with her.

So I mentioned Kimberly is here. She didn't double my grocery bill, she quadrupled it. She plays the little sister card well. It's funny because while I was complaining to the cashier about my sister spending all of my grocery money the woman behind us in line jumped in, she's a little sister and does the same thing when she goes and visits her older sister. I think us older sisters need to unite and say, hell no we won't pay, LOL.

Now that Thanksgiving is over the radio stations are playing Xmas music 24 hours a day and I have to admit, I am a fan, LOL. Yep, I am one of those who is humming and singing Xmas songs all day long. I hate the stress that comes with the holiday season but I am a sucker for Xmas songs. Nancy bought the Josh Grobin Xmas CD and is going to share it with me. While I was at Best Buy last week I saw that Billy Idol had a Xmas CD out. I had a good laugh over that. I don't think I'll be rushing to listen to that.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The diet begins...

I have to first admit my sins. I was only able to eat one meal on Thursday. So much for my eat early eat often mantra! I was just too full. I took pics but haven't downloaded the pics yet so I'll talk more about about Thanksgiving once I dl them.

My friend has been extolling the virtues of the low carb diet so I am going to give it a shot. Keep in mind I am a person who normally doesn't last more then a day but I do love meat and cheese. The loss of fruit will be difficult but I just found out I can still eat a lot of veggies. Aimee, I know you do the low carb diet, do you have any simple favorite recipes or snacks?

So my sister Kimberly is coming to town. It's sort of last minute but you know I love visits from my family and I'm going to make her help me with my Christmas shopping and my move, he he he! I think she will enjoy one more then the other. She never reads my blog so I can talk about her all I want while she is here.

More good new is we found an apartment! Now I just need to figure out my move. I was going to move after Christmas but now it looks like I need to move before then. I guess I should let Lina know. Now the reason I will be changing my plans is because I may be having a visitor before Lina even gets to town. People really want to visit me in FL, LOL. I think Lina and I will have a revolving door.

Our place has a river view, is a 2 bed 2 bath and has it's own washer/dryer (a big selling point for me, LOL). It is also .6 miles to the beach, has a pool and is close to Embry Riddle where Lina will be going to school. The bad news is it's on the 6th floor. I'm imagining the moving in factor, ugh! Oh well, it'll be worth it once we get in. I think we're going to rent our living room furniture. We were going to do the furnished route but we would have to pay extra for ugly furniture while I was paying to store mine. It didn't make sense. It will cost me more to move but it's worth it. You know I'm a stuff kind of girl. It's a bummer Lina isn't bringing all of her books down but how much time for reading will we really have?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you all are having a wonderful holiday and for my overseas readers, there's no reason you can't spend this day eating like a pig in solidarity. I would do the same for you, LOL.

Dao is a great friend. She planned Thanksgiving dinner at the time I wanted to eat and that would be 1pm. OK, it's not dinnertime but it falls in my eat early eat often plan, LOL. The problem with eating later in the day is you end up so hungry you start snacking and then after you finally eat it's so late you don't get another meal in. OK, I usually do but it's painful, LOL.

I finally have the recipe for the Upside-Down Pecan Pie. Turns out it's a Martha Stewart recipe. Who knew? Unfortunately, you need a cast iron pan to make this recipe but it's so freaking good it's almost worth buying one. Makes one 10-inch pie

Ingredients
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 cups pecan halves, (about 1 pound)
3/4 cup heavy cream
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1/2 Pate Brisee (Pie Dough) see below

Directions
In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, combine butter, honey, and sugars. Bring to a boil; let boil for 4 minutes. Add pecans and heavy cream, and boil 3 minutes more. Remove from heat, and set aside. Let stand about 30 minutes to cool. Using a wooden spoon, gently mound pecans and caramel slightly in center of skillet, leaving a gap between pecans and edge of skillet.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.with rack in the top third. On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll out one disk of prepared chilled pastry to approximately a 7/8-inch-thick, 13-inch-diameter circle. Place the pastry over the skillet, carefully tucking the dough down against the edge of the skillet and around the edges of the mound of pecans. Trim the excess dough.
Place two rimmed baking sheets, one on top of the other, underneath the skillet to catch any drips while the pie bakes and to provide insulation for the caramel. Place skillet in the oven, and bake pie until the dough is just turning golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and continue baking until the pastry is cooked through and the caramel is bubbling up around the edges of the skillet, about 30 minutes more.

Remove the pie from the oven, and let cool about 20 minutes. Carefully invert the pie onto a parchment-lined tray or baking sheet (the pie is easy to transfer to serving plate once it has been inverted). Be careful inverting pie; the caramel is very hot. If the pie does not release easily from skillet, heat the skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds. Serve warm.

Pate brisee is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry. Pressing the dough into a disc rather than shaping it into a ball allows it to chill faster. This will also make the dough easier to roll out, and if you freeze it, it will thaw more quickly.

Ingredients
Makes 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Directions
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nancy's picks and pans...

Your guest blogger is sorry she forgot to blog on Sunday... I would like to say it was because I was out doing fabulous things, but really I went shopping and cleaned. You are probably all lucky I didn't blog because you might have heard rants about shopping and cleaning!

Tonight's blog is about what I have been doing lately... Seeing movies! I have seen more movies in the last six months than I have in the last six years! I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you.

Last Saturday we finally made it to American Gangster. I wanted to like it but I didn't expect to, I was figuring lots of gratuitous gangster violence. I am happy to report it was a really good movie. Leiha thought it was a little long and slow, but I thought it took the time to tell the whole story and make you care about the characters. I give this one a thumbs up!Another movie I really want to share with you is Lars and the Real Girl. I asked to see this one because I thought it was going to be a slapstick juvenile humor movie. Really, how else would you expect a movie about a guy who orders a lifelike sex doll to pass off as his girlfriend to go? Instead I found myself drawn into a movie about a guy who is surrounded by a family, co-workers and a town that care about him so much they integrate the new "girlfriend" into their world. Of course this leads to healing, and eventually Lars learning to find a real girl. It is heartwarming and sweet, I guess it is a chick flick - but I think the guys liked it also.The next movie I expected to be not great, and, well, it didn't disappoint. I suffered through Bee Movie a few weekends ago. I think it was trying to appeal to a wide audience and missed them all. I say skip this one.
One good thing did come from Bee Movie... I saw a preview for the new movie Spiderwick. It is based on a set of children's books (also called Spiderwick) about a family with three children who move to an old home that was owned by their Aunt Lucinda. The curious children discover a hidden library... and then discover a world of fantasy living around them. Brownies, bogarts, elves, sprites, a griffin, and many fantastical animals. As you can guess the creatures are not all happy to be found out and the movie looks to be an action packed ride... I am so excited I went right out and bought all 5 books. They are quick reads, about an hour each, and they make me more and more excited for the move. So you have heard my picks and pans... what have you been watching?

Monday, November 19, 2007

How dare Nancy not blog last night!

Hmmph! LOL! She offered to blog tonight but since I have been a major slacker I told her she could have the honor of blogging tomorrow night *G*.

Let's see, so much to catch up on. BAM and Mr BAM as well as little BAM came over on Sat. They retrieved the furniture that they lent me when I first moved here. They couldn't come to town without going out to eat! Mr BAM hasn't been out to eat Vietnamese food with us so that's where we decided we must eat. Dao joined us for lunch and we had a lot of fun. I think the BAMs enjoyed watching Dao and I decide what we were having for Thanksgiving. Can you believe she was going to get ham? It's called turkey day for a reason! I also had to inform her that mashed potatoes and gravy were paramount to my holiday happiness as well as pecan or pumpkin pie with cool whip. Those are my Thanksgiving staples. What is a must in your household? Gravy is so important to me I always ask if there will be gravy because apparently there are some families that don't have gravy on Thanksgiving, oh the horror!

Mr BAM thoroughly enjoyed the food, including the sandwiches that we got from Lee's bakery. Another convert to the Vietnamese way of life, LOL.

Of course now that they picked up their furniture I have no couch or lounge chair. Turns out sitting on the floor is not very comfortable. I'm going to borrow Franklin's friend's couch which is in the laundry room and I think I shall be doing it tomorrow, LOL. I can watch a lot of shows from my computer which is what I did this weekend but my soaps I need to be in the living room for so I didn't feel the full effects of the loss of my couch, LOL. I did pack 5 boxes but they were easy to pack, books and photo albums but hey, 1 step closer. Nes was giving me grief and said I needed to get packing. That woman forgot who she was talking to. I had to inform her I have made an entire move in one day and I have more then a month. I am so far ahead of the game it's scary! But don't worry, I shall end up procrastinating like the good little procrastinator I am. I wouldn't want to change who I am.

So I took the class that killed me a few weeks ago tonight. The one that left me hobbled for a week. What a difference. I think the key was not doing the high impact warm ups, I was still sweaty and exhausted but not incapacitated. She even came over to say how awesome my combination was looking. I'm not in the shape I need to be but I do know how my form should be. Joe has taught me well.

Today I went to the grocery store for lunch because I had no food at home. The problem is, I have a hard time planning my next meal so I bought salad from the salad bar and some chili. BTW, the lid on the soup, not so good, I had to hand the basket to the checker and apologize but he said it happens to a lot of people so I didn't feel as bad about the chili I dripped all over the store, LOL. Anyway, I grabbed my food and left and of course what did I have to do after going to the gym? I had to go back to the store! I had no idea what I was in the mood for. I hate it when I don't know what to eat. I decided on spaghetti. You can't go wrong with spaghetti. I used turkey breast, black olives and baby portabellos. Yummy! And you know the best part? Leftovers!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's raining!!!

Normally I would be adverse to rain but apparently there is a drought going on in GA, that's one of the reasons I have to leave, do you know how much water I drink in a day? I could be the reason there is a drought LOL. Today I've had 3 liters of water and that is below my average. I'm actually dehydrated right now!

Actually, the only reason I noticed the rain is because I was going to take the garbage out when I heard the rain. Sure, I had ALL day to do it but it takes me awhile to get moving which is why more times then not I end up cleaning the kitchen after 11pm like tonight. I also opened all of the mail that gets piled on my table. It's mostly all junk mail and since I pay all of my bills at once nothing is ever important so it piles up til I look at it all and then dump 99% of it in the garbage (yep, decided to go through it since I had to take out the garbage, I am all about time management, LOL). It's not raining that hard and I could in theory make a mad dash to the dumpster but I don't want to get wet.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?!?! I didn't know it until Monday and I was totally shocked. It feels like we just hit November. Not that I'm complaining, you know other then my birthday it's my favorite holiday. Dao and I are going to keep it small but of course, we'll eat big, LOL. Another friend is planning on having an early Thanksgiving so that means double the turkey, woo hoo! I still remember the fab pecan pie I had last year. I will try and get that recipe to share with you all because you know I won't be cooking it.

Dao is going to make me Dianna's meatloaf recipe. Yum, lots of good eating in my future, color me happy!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Reality tv overload...

OK, not really overload because I'm still enjoying it! I'm at my friend's house this weekend since her hubby is out of town and while she has been working I have been enjoying the big ass flat screen that they have (my job is to keep her company and I'm doing it prone on the couch, LOL).

So I've spent my time catching up on a whole new world of reality shows. One of my favorites is A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila. This chick is bi-sexual and so both men and women are competing for her love and let me tell you, it's high drama! Plus, she's asian. Gotta love that.

Another one I have never seen was I Love New York 2. I never even saw #1. I guess she is a cast off from Flavor of Love. Talk about a train wreck, I can't turn my head away. No other girls but plenty of catfights. I am watching both of these shows just blown away by the lengths these people will go thru for people they don't know yet they say they love. I am mortified yet I kept watching and am going to be sad when I can't see the next new ep of A Shot of Love. There's another fight, LOL.

A show that doesn't feature the dregs of society is Tim Gunn's Guide to Style. I just love him. His is a feel good show and he's such a genuine caring guy. He makes me cry. The new season of Project Runway starts next week, too bad I won't have cable then. I won't miss Heidi but I will miss Tim.

Oh I also spent the weekend watching old eps of The Biggest Loser, America's Next Top Model and Project Runway.

I am sure my friend is ecstatic for the company, aren't you?

BTW, I did try to entertain her with karaoke but she is one of the few people known to man who was able to resist the lure but don't worry, that just meant more singing for me, LOL.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

On the Road Again!

Hello from Guest Blogger Linda! It's been a few weeks thanks to Nancine filling in for me! I just wish I had something incredibly important to talk about. Mainly I have been driving I5 between Portland & Salem. While it is only 45 mins. to an hour, I can not believe the amount of stupid, reckless, careless & bad drivers that are out there!!! In fact I'm surprised that there are not more accidents everyday. Well I'm sure any of you who commute understand! Also I now have an extremely high gas bill!!!

The good news is that my Mom has celebrated her Birthday and had her right hand carpal tunnel surgery! Only the left to go! Maybe I will actually be able to start cleaning out my house! Yes, after being back for 4 years, I'm finally going to get organized so I can entertain more often. And for those lucky few who have actually braved my domain, yes that means the piles will disappear!

Of course that means that I will think up a myriad of meaningless tasks in order to avoid doing any actual work! LOL Even now I'm trying to plan a quick 3 day spa trip for my Birthday next week! I hope that you all have a great day!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Brrrr, I'm freezing!

I may need to start working in gloves, LOL. I'm wearing my flannel PJs, 2 throw blankets on my lap and a poncho. The only thing that needs covering are my hands and my nose. I turned off my gas once it started getting warmer because it would cost me $30 a month even if I wasn't using it and I was like not no but hell no! It's cheaper for me to turn it off and pay to get it turned on. The problem is, now I'm moving so I'm not going to turn it on. Looks like I'll be borrowing Dao's space heater in the very near future!

I can't remember if I said it or not but I'll be moving just after Xmas. Lina and I want to start the new year in our new home. I haven't partied on New Years in eons, what are the chances of us partying this year? I think they're pretty strong, LOL.

I've already begun the process of mentally packing. What to keep, what to put in storage, what to bring with me. We're planning on getting a furnished apt so I don't need to bring my bed but of course, that's the main reason I need storage I can't give up my bed, I love it! Brenda is going to get the furniture back that she loaned me (what would I do without her?) and she will inherit some bookshelves and hold onto my coffee table for me. Dao is going to take my desk, I bought it thinking I was going to sit there, what was I thinking? I only sit there when I have to print something out, LOL. Not worth storing. Plus, I got a killer deal on it. Really, the most important things to me are my books. I know you can all understand. OK, I love my pictures of me also, LOL.

I guess I should start gathering up boxes. As you all know, I am a professional mover so this is not very daunting to me. A year ago I moved here with a car full of stuff. Unfortunately I have acquired a lot of stuff since then but packing it up won't be a problem. Now moving it is a different story, I hope that Franklin has a strong back, LOL!

Monday, November 05, 2007

I almost drowned in my own sweat...

OK, I finally made it back to the gym, it took me longer to recover then I thought it would but I like to start the week off correctly so I made myself go even though I was feeling quite lazy today and the first thing I did was tell the instructor I had bad knees and can't do the high impact exercises. She said she noticed by the knee braces, LOL. So she came up with a couple of modifications and all was good with the world. I did get there 15 minutes early to stretch and et a place at the back of the class but everyone already took up the space in the back. I made some comment to the instructor about it and she was going to move someone for me but I would never ask that. As long as she's ok with me being in front not doing jumping jacks I'm ok. I like to see myself, LOL.

So I wouldn't say this class was easier but it did fly by. They don't give towels out so when we went from plank position to our backs to do leg flutters I thought my sweat would drown me, LOL. I had my glasses on and they were sweaty and I tried cleaning them but the sweat kept pouring off of my face. I'm hoping that I can walk tomorrow. She had us do these exercises that made my ass burn. So I guess I can walk but my butt will be hurting.

Well I don't know if anyone guessed this but Mich but I will be making a move soon and it will be out of state. Lina is moving to Daytona Beach, FL for 6 months and I decided what the hell, it sounds fun, I want to join you! So I first asked Lina if she wanted company and of course she was totally excited and then I of course, I had to ask the chief and she was cool with it so by the end of the year you'll be hearing about The Adventures of Leiha and Lina much more often and I can't wait! I hope that you all wrote my address in pencil *G*.

Ann's visit

It is your guest blogger Nancy today :) Your regular guest blogger for today is busy celebrating (translate that into making dinner and a cake) her moms birthday, Happy Birthday Marie!

I was lucky enough to have Ann visit this weekend. I don't know how I lucked out but her new territory is the west coast... It seems like a long commute from Virginia until you take into account the fact that she already has a 100 mile each way commute to work every day. This means she will be out here around once a quarter or so. We already have plans for her next trip.

As an advertisement for hotel Nancy she got to be the first person to sleep in the new blue room, and the room comes with your very own cat. OK, you get the cat weather you like it or not because he thinks that is his bed. The good news is she didn't get bit... very hard while she was here.

We hit Pioneer Square as soon as Ann got here because she had to buy treats for the people she is meeting with on Monday. Once cookies and pumpkin bread was procured it was time to get food for me - I was starving! I was telling Ann I had never had falafel but had always wanted to try it because I love to say it. (Join with me everyone... falafel, falafel, falafel) Well then she explained to me what it was I was like - yeah, I don't want that :) Ann was convinced she has not explained it right so I had a gyros and she had falafel, turns out it was yummy and I would order it again.

Then we headed to the wonderful two story two story toy store, we went an hour over our parking because we became lost in this wonderland of fun! My favorite purchase was my new Happy Bunny bandaids. If these are hard to read let me help, we have "you're ugly and that hurts", "your pain makes me happy" and "cute, but clumsy, things even out". I can't wait to cut myself... or get a hangnail so I can plaster my body with these :)

I am not sure what Ann's favorite purchace was so I will show you what my favorite was... Yes, that is a mime impaled on the unicorns horn, it also comes with irritating church lady and the kiss ass from work. It was a wholesome toy store LOL.

We wound up the night with a nice dinner in Everett with my parents and then staying up till Nancy couldn't keep her eyes open (OK - it was only midnight but I was really sleepy) talking. I don't have any pictures of this day because they are all on Ann's camera... maybe she will email them to me and I can add them...

Today we slept in till 10:30 or so, met up with Debbie O and hit Seattle again. We ate at my favorite gelato place. I had lemon and pistachio, Ann had pumpkin and carmel, and Debbie O had cinnamon and pumpkin. It was Debbie's first gelato experience and I think we have a convert! We hit the Pike Place market and watched fish be thrown and bought tons of tea at the spice store.After this we wandered aimlessly through the market making several more purchases, bath salts, earrings, cheese, t-shirts, book holders, chocolate covered dried cherries and a spice chart. Turns out if your feeling lonely this is the place to be, you can get free hugs:)In our wanderings we found this bright, fun, colorful wall. What could possibly make such a fabulous art piece you ask? Ummm, Su if you are reading this you might want to skip to the next paragraph... chewed gum and gummy treats. Anyone want a taste besides me??Eventually our arms were tired of carrying all our stuff so we hiked back up to get more food. We were momentarily delayed by the vortex that is Borders... we were sucked in and were only stuck there for a half hour or so. A few more purchases later it was dinner, the bath shop for more bath fizzy things and then we had to drop Ann at her hotel. (I am positive her room there does not come with a cat!) It was great fun, but not nearly long enough. Come back soon Ann!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I can walk upright again...

Barely! I haven't made it back to the gym yet, I literally couldn't straighten my legs out my calves were so knotted but I'm determined to go tomorrow. I will just have to get there a half an hour early so I can stretch out my legs enough to warm them up. Lina was appalled that there was no warm up. Yes, I whined to her, LOL.

So I woke up this morning to no internet and no cable! The Queen was not happy! I have been having a lot of problems lately with my internet and have had to reboot my modem constantly so I bought a new modem and then it took them hours to connect it. I made them credit me since they told me it could take up to 8 hours. So I was not a happy camper after having just spent $80 on a new modem when I called them. Apparently they couldn't connect to my modem and they were going to have to send someone out, when, you might ask? Why that would be tomorrow! The Queen just got unhappier. I told them I wanted 2 days credit on my internet and cable. I work from home and can't afford to not be connected (well and the fact that I'm an addict, LOL) and when my service is going to be interupted for any length of time I will make them credit me. Pretty soon they will be paying me at this rate, LOL. The good news is, whatever was wrong was more then just me so they fixed it today which is good, I mean, no tv or internet, it's like torture! I do have the net on the phone but I'm someone who usually has 5 or 6 windows open and going one page at a time was time consuming and frustrating.

I stayed up til 3am finishing All Through the Night by Suzanne Brockmann. It's Jules and Robin's wedding, yay! I have to say, I felt that SB got a little preachy but I wonder if I feel that way because I'm already so open minded? I don't know. But I still love Jules and Robin and it was great fun seeing so many familiar faces.

I've been making more of an effort to read lately, I just wish I picked up the books before midnight, LOL.