4.14.2014

It's All About the Writing

My weekend was so boring.  Definitely boring in a good way but also nothing to write home about since I'm sure you don't want to hear about how I didn't leave the house once, ate chicken, watched movies, did laundry, got rid of some junk, finally exercised and sat at my dining room table in my pajamas writing.  The only person I "saw" was MJ and that was over FaceTime.  This can't be a weekend post because I basically just summed it up in 3 sentences and there are no pictures so I'm going to talk about something else now.  

How often do you go back and read your old blog posts?  I don't do it all the time but now and then I randomly skip around from post to post reading things I wrote two months or two years ago.  It's really fun to take a walk down memory lane.   It's super annoying if I find a typo after so much time has passed.  I guess reading it a million times isn't always enough.  My earlier blog posts are very long winded, overly wordy and way too uptight.  I changed my writing style when I realized that other people were actually reading it.   I had to work on loosening up to make it more conversational and not worrying so much about using proper English so that my personality would come through and it wouldn't read like a boring college essay.

When I write posts I have a tendency to obsess.  I cut and paste entire sections from one place to another, add words, delete words.  I read it over and over  looking for typos and making sure that everything is just the way I want it.  Some posts flow easier but with others I have a harder time translating my thoughts and feelings into words.  The editing process never ends.  After I read it for the millionth time I can't look at it anymore because if I do I'll probably find yet another thing I want to change and I'm just over it by then. 

By the time I hit publish I don't even know what I'm looking at any more so reading it later allows me to look at it with a fresh eye so it's like reading it for the first time.   I finally get get to "see" what I wrote in a way that I couldn't when I originally wrote obsessed over it.  I don't know how people blog every day! I really don't have that much to say but I also have this problem where I hesitate because I'm not sure if something is "blog worthy" then the more I look at it the worse it seems to get.  I'll throw some words down one day and then finish it the next with a fresh brain or I just abandon the post all together.  I have the same issue with writing my novel.  One day it's the worst thing ever written but if I don't look at it for a few days I start to like it again.  I'm a perfectionist when it comes to writing even though it's never going to be perfect.  I over think everything and it's really annoying!  I'm still trying to be more okay with blogging just for the sake of blogging without worrying too much if it will be one of the best things I've ever written. 

The sharing and the interaction with readers is a big bonus but it's really is all about the writing for me.  And the preservation of memories.  It's the whole reason I blog in the first place so even if I look back and think oh my gosh why did I even write that, I'll still be okay with how I wrote it and love that it's there to look back on.  That being said, I really do need to learn how to let go a little bit.  Write what I want to say and move on just like I would if no one was reading.  It's just a blog.    

Have you changed your writing style from when you first started blogging to now?
How long does it take you to write a post?
How important is it to you to blog every day?

4.07.2014

He's Not Here But He Is

My actual Birthday turned out better than expected.  I decided to leave work an hour early just because.  I stopped and picked up a donut on the way home just because.  I drank wine while eating said donut just because.  Then later on that night my mom called to say that they were in the area so they stopped by for a few hours.

I was off Friday and I slept in until an alarming 10am.  I can't remember the last time I did that so I think I just really needed it.  I knew what I was planning to wear to dinner that night but as soon as I put it on the negative thoughts started in.  I texted MJ.  I look fat.  He has got to be way more tired of hearing this then I am of saying it since I've only said it about a million and one times but instead of just telling me to get over it he FaceTimed me which was perfect because not only was I hating the way I looked in my dress, I wasn't sure what boots to wear.  I showed him my outfit and we decided on the black boots.  He told me I looked great and that's just one way he wasn't actually there but somehow still was that night.
I chose the Chocolate Peanut Butter mousse.  Of course!
I chose Season's 52.  I was immediately intrigued by the concept that nothing on their menu is over 475 calories.  Not everyone cares about that kind of thing but I do, plus it looked like a really nice.


A lot of times we end up in really loud bars for happy hour but there was a piano player and it was really quiet so we were able to chat and catch up without yelling at each other.  We all ordered flat breads which were pretty thin and crispy.  Not a lot of cheese.   I wasn't surprised because what can you really expect for less then 475 calories?  But it was enough and it was really good.  After dinner our waitress brought out this giant tower of mousse and we each got to pick one for dessert.  She also took a group shot and gave me the hard copy for free.

When she came back to refill our waters she said the bill had already been taken care of.  My eyes got really big.  How?  I look at my friends in confusion and we were all looking around the restaurant.  Are we such a hot bunch that somebody decided to pay for our meal?  Or is this place just so awesome that they pick up the tab on your Birthday and if so how did I not know this?

She asked me if I have a boyfriend in Germany and I almost started to cry.  I don't have have a boyfriend in Germany but I have an awesome amazing sweet husband there who woke up at 4am to treat me and my friends to dinner.  One of them said she felt like she was in a Lifetime movie and I totally agreed.  Not the part where the woman tries to kill her best friend so she can steal her husband but the part when the friend doesn't die and makes her way back to her grieving husband where they live happily ever after.

And that's just how he is.  Romantic, thoughtful and so great that 6 years later I still can't believe that I'm lucky enough to be able to call him my husband.
Tri-Tip Sandwich // Mac and Cheese // Greens
Saturday I went to my parent's house.  It was the first time spending the night since they sold my childhood home.  It was weird at first but if my parents live there; it's home.  We went to dinner that night  at a Soul Food restaurant called Felix's.  I will go there for the Macaroni and Cheese alone.  It takes the #1 spot for best restaurant mac and cheese but everything else was really good too.  We spent the rest of our time together hanging out and watching movies.

MJ and I FaceTimed twice on Saturday and once on Sunday while I was still at my parent's house.  I  miss him more every day that he's gone but even when he's not here he is.  I'm always thinking about him.  He's still a big part of my life and we stay connected.  We text, we e mail, we FaceTime.  He fixes airline ticket disasters and treats me to dinner.  He's not here and yet he is. 

When he comes back I definitely want us to go to Season's 52 together.  He's  never been, I still want to try their happy hour and it will be my turn to pick up the tab.


4.01.2014

Pink Moscato and Netflix

I dropped MJ off at the airport for his flight to Germany a little over a week ago.  You'd think it was going to be forever.  I got teary before we left, I cried on the way home then I cried when I got home to such a quite and empty house.  There has only been one year that I've known him that he has not traveled somewhere for an extended period of time so I keep thinking that I'm supposed to be really good at this and totally unaffected but I'm not.  I've grown very attached to him and it's just not the same when he's not around.

So what have I been doing since then?

Work doesn't quit.  It's been busy since the day I went back and it's still busy but we have made it through the worst and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  

Dreaming of vacation.  It's been 5 months since our last one, I had 3 weeks off in February and yet still I'm ready for more.  We finally booked our airline tickets to Cancun the day MJ left.  Maybe I should have checked out ticket prices before we booked the vacation because it turns out they were a lot more pricey then I thought.  We will have two lay overs there and back to save money and the tickets are still costing us $600 each with tax and everything.   


Hours upon hours of Netflix.  My first conquest was Dance Academy.  It's kind of high school but it was so thoughtfully done that I was able to look past that and fell in love with the characters and the story.  I love a good girl with a dream story especially when that girl wants to be a Ballerina.  I love, loved, loved that show and was deeply and profoundly affected by the last three episodes of Season 2.  I cried through every one.  Thank goodness the running time is only about 24 minutes.  I've never cried that hard and long over TV.  Ever.  And I've done a lot of TV crying.  I'm not sure if anyone else my age has any interest in watching it but I won't spoil it for you just in case.  I went to bed missing MJ and exhausted from over an hour of TV crying then I dusted myself off and finished Season 3 in about 2 days.

Last weekend was Scandal.  We decided that we'd watch the rest of Season 2 on our own so that when he gets back we can start on Season 3 which is piling up in the DVR.  It took me about half a season to warm up to it but I'm really into it now.  I'm waiting for the day when I can say "can I have the room" with conviction and impact just like Fitz.

Drinking wine.  If you like sweet wines and haven't tried the Sutter Home Pink Moscato you should.  It's one of my favorites and very reasonably priced.  I had the whole bottle to myself over last weekend and bought another one while I was out at Target for this weekend.  Or better yet, I'll probably drink it tonight! I like the color and I even like it that it has a screw on lid.  It's way more practical than a cork.

Not exercising.  My doctor cleared me for exercise.  Last week was the 8 week mark and my first consistently pain free week.  I will be getting back to it soon but the truth of the matter is that I really haven't missed it all that much so I'm not rushing it. 

Eating Chicken.  Baked Chicken breast soaked in a bag of marinade mix is my specialty.  My first batch was a lot tastier then I expected so I made it again on Sunday.  It's fast, easy, healthy and it feeds me for 3-4 days. I kid you not, I will probably be making it every Sunday.

Some writing.  Not as much as I should be but I will fix that this month.  I'm so close to the end and I'm having a really hard time deciding if I want the main character to be victorious or crash and burn.  I personally get really bitter when books don't have a happy ending so I'm not sure I want to do that but at the same time; life is not necessarily a fairy tale and maybe it's okay if my book isn't either.  What do you think? 

I FaceTimed my older sister two weekends ago.  It was nice to "see" her again.  I can't believe it's been 8 months since they moved.  Last weekend I got to FaceTime MJ.  We made dinner together and even working with a hotel kitchenette his was still better then mine.  You already know what I made.  He made pork chops with couscous and will probably make something different next time.  I will still be baking chicken.

Virtual Assisting.  When he travels I turn into his virtual assistant/wife.  Last year I had to send him a box of clothing which cost $250 to ship.  A shopping spree would have been cheaper.  Who knew it was that expensive to ship internationally?  I was shocked.  This year it's documents.  I sent one last week and just yesterday I got an e mail request for more with instructions, attachments and everything.  I am happy to be his assistant but he better not ask me to mail anything.  I'm still recovering from the sticker shock of that one. 
I also send him selfies upon request // Happy Birthday to Me?   
Getting older.  Today is my Birthday but it doesn't feel like it.  What is a Birthday supposed to "feel" like at this age anyways?  If there's anything I hate more then rain it's rain on my Birthday.  MJ is gone, there was traffic, I have to work and I can already feel myself slipping into a grumpy mood.  Sweet Birthday messages help but Tuesday is such an unfortunate day for a Birthday.  The silver lining is that it's a short week for us which is why I worked today.  I'm off Friday and I will go out to celebrate with some friends.  Maybe then it will feel like my Birthday. 

3.26.2014

What to Eat

I've always been a calorie counter but lately I'm trying to pay more attention to the make up of those calories.  When I don't, I come up short in protein, calcium and fiber and too high in sugars and random carbohydrates of little to no significant nutritional value.  When you focus on a calorie max AND the composition of those calories it forces you to make different decisions about what you eat.  I started this in January.  I knew I wouldn't be exercising for at least two months after surgery and thought it would be a good habit to get into.  I do not hit this mark every day of course but shooting for it helps me make better choices on a day to day basis.

Some people say a calorie is a calorie and it doesn't matter where it comes from as long as you are within a reasonable calorie budget.  I'm not sure how that can be true when the body reacts to fat, carbohydrates and proteins differently.  Protein is more filling while empty calories made up mostly of fat and carbohydrates leave you hungry.  Excess protein and carbohydrates serve a function even though any excess is stored as fat but fat is just fat and is 9 calories per gram whereas carbohydrates and proteins are 4 calories per gram.  They are different but you need them all which makes it a really tough balancing act to consume them AND stay within a reasonable sodium range.

These are foods that are helping me hit the 25% Fat, 50% Carbohydrates, 25% Protein range that I'm shooting for.  And yes, there are other macro nutrients and vitamins to be aware of.  I can't account for them all but in general when I watch these three categories the healthier foods naturally follow.

String Cheese
One stick has 6 grams of protein and is full of calcium.  Yes, it also has 6 grams of fat and 200 grams of sodium which is why you have to eat it in moderation which really, really sucks.  If you give me a block of cheese I'm gonna go wild, but the perfectly portioned 1 oz sticks of string cheese keeps me in check.  I don't drink milk so this is a good calcium source for me.  I usually eat one a day.

Fiber 1 cereal Original
I've been eating this for years to try to help me get to the recommended 30 grams of fiber per day.  Just 1/2 cup has a whopping 14 grams of fiber and only adds 60 calories to my day.  It also has 2 grams of protein and is very low fat.

Greek Yogurt
This is a new one for me but I'm giving it a try because just 4 oz of Fage Yogurt has 12 grams of protein.  That's huge!  It's also a good source of calcium.  It's high where you want it and low everywhere else with very little carbs and sodium and 0 fat.  It's pretty much the perfect food.  Except for the tart taste that is.  I've  been adding 1 teaspoon of honey or agave and a stevia packet to tone down the tartness.  You can also mix in granola or Fiber 1 cereal.  You have to be careful with the flavored ones because they are sometimes loaded with sugar and not as much protein but Yoplait makes a Vanilla flavored one that has only 7 grams of sugar and 13 grams of protein per serving.

Apples
My favorite fruit is an apple.  Yes, fruit tends to be high in sugar but at least it's not artificial.  Apples are a good fruit source for fiber and helps satisfy my sweet tooth too.

Baby Carrots
Baby Carrots are a favorite of mine to snack on because they are easy to pack up for work and they give me that snacking hand to mouth motion that I seem to crave.  I've heard that fresh is best but frozen is easy so that's what we usually end up eating for dinner.  Canned vegetables have way too much sodium.  Vegetables add to the protein count and have other nutrients without adding any fat.  The only ones I really hate are Peas, Lima Beans and celery.  I used to only eat corn and green beans but as I've gotten older I've branched out and like broccoli, spinach, Brussels Sprouts and cooked carrots. 

All natural popcorn
This is another latest obsession of mine.  There is healthy microwave popcorn out there but even the healthiest will typically still have at least 200 grams of sodium.  I've been buying the kernels and popping it on the stove to save myself the sodium.  1/3 cup of popcorn kernels makes about 10 cups of popcorn which is basically a giant bowl of goodness with zero fat AND protein that I can munch on without guilt.  It's the perfect snack for sitting on the couch to watch TV and movies.  It satisfies my snacker impulses in a healthy way.
  
Nuts
My favorites are peanuts and almonds.  They are a good source of healthy fats and protein.  The only way it's possible for me to eat them at all is because I count out the serving size.  I used to eat out of the can and couldn't stop so I stopped eating them for a while.   It's good fat, but they have too much of it for over doing it.  If you cannot limit yourself to the serving size do not, I repeat, do not bring nuts into your home.

Dreyer's Light
I'm putting this on the list because Dreyer's Light Coffee flavored ice cream tastes way too good to only be 100 calories and makes the perfect light treat.  My favorite flavor is Coffee.  I gotta have my sweet treats.  I can eat 1/2 cup, okay it's probably more like 2/3 cup the way I pack it into the tiny 1/2 cup pyrex dishes as MJ is quick to point out.  But still, even then it's still satisfies my sweet tooth in less then 150 calories.  The sugar count on 1/2 cup is also a surprisingly low 11 grams and you are still getting 2 grams of protein.  Cha Ching!!

Ezekial and Double Fiber Bread
I've been addicted to Peanut Butter on toast for months now and it all started when I decided to try Ezekial bread.  Some people don't like the flavor and while it wouldn't be my preference for a sandwich it's perfect for toast.  Sodium is lurking silently in so many things including bread.  The low sodium version has zero sodium and the regular only has 75 grams when an average slice of regular bread has 125-190.  This helps me keep the sodium down, allows me to eat my beloved bread AND get the 4 grams of protein from it.  The Double Fiber bread is whole wheat and helps me up the fiber.  I'll usually have one of each.  The ezekial to keep the sodium down and the OroWheat Double Fiber bread for the extra fiber.  I love bread.  Eating it is inevitable so this way at least I can justify it with the whole grains, protein and extra fiber I'm getting.

Egg Beaters & Egg Whites
This is a staple for me.  I've been eating it for breakfast at work for a really, really long time.  Like, years.  I used to eat toast with jelly but the toaster got blown up at work and I had to find a new breakfast.  I was mad at first, but it's turned out okay because egg beaters or egg whites have 9 grams of protein for 1/3 cup.  To give it more flavor I add one slice of the pre cooked bacon which is only about 27-45 calories depending on what kind I get but that ups the protein power.  I pour it into a measuring cup, zap it in the microwave for about 1 minute 30 seconds and eat it right out of there.  I think some of my co workers may think it's weird that I'm eating bacon and eggs out of a measuring cup but oh well.

Beans
I really, really love beans and they are an excellent source of low fat protein and fiber.  My favorite are kidney, pinto and black beans but I'm pretty sure I like them all.  Except Lima.  Canned beans are easy but like anything canned they often have too much sodium.  Some of them you can buy without sodium or you can buy them fresh in a bag.  It requires soaking over night to soften them but when I made Chili with them it cut out a ton of sodium so it was worth it.  I want to make a three bean salad with fresh beans too.  

Grilled Chicken Breast
It's low fat, low calorie, packed with protein and can easily be mixed with vegetables or added onto a salad for a satisfying meal.  If you get the lean version ground beef and turkey is just as low fat as chicken breast.  I mostly stick with grilled chicken and mix in the other kinds of meat periodically.  You pretty much can't go wrong with grilled chicken.  Unless you are a vegetarian in which case Tofu is very similar in nutritional content.

3.21.2014

My House is a Mess

Thank goodness it's Friday.  I've been back at work for four weeks now and every single one of them have been crazy busy.  Recovery is still very up and down.  Last week I thought I'd turned a corner and it was officially better, then Monday I had pain that I didn't expect, Wednesday the swelly belly was back with a vengeance but today I'm feeling okay.  I'm wearing pants with a zip for the first time in a month and I confess that I've already let out the top button.  I tried.  I have my 7 weeks post op doctors appointment today.  I am thrilled to be getting off early.

MJ is going to miss my Birthday this year which is a bummer but he's doing his best to make up for it.  He got me these adorable Sperry's.  My Birthday isn't for almost two weeks but since he'll be gone I opened it early and there are a few more things on the way.  My sister wanted a pair a few years ago and I told her they were ugly.  Then later on, I changed my tune and wanted a pair becausue I think they will be really comfortable and cute for vacation.  I totally forgot about wanting them but he remembered!  He didn't even know what kind to get so he googled boat shoes and found these which are totally perfect for me because they have pink in it.  He is seriously the best gift giver.  

I am in love with these shoes and my husband for getting them for me
And now, I have five more Friday confessions.

My sister bought me a Handy Stitch upon request about a million years ago.  Now every time I see an infomercial I feel like it's taunting me because it says how easy it is and mine is sitting in a box somewhere because I couldn't even figure out how to use it.  Maybe I should have asked for the Chia Pet instead; or maybe not because I'm really bad with plants and I probably would have killed it. 

I confess that I had over 600 photos on my i phone.  I didn't have enough storage to do my update and I was getting messages that I couldn't take a picture because my cloud is too full.  If I don't understand the cloud how can I even clear it?  The husband aka tech support had me delete a bunch of pictures and I'm now down to 225.

If I wear sandals or shoes without socks to the movies I bring a pair with me to put on in the theater.  I'm always cold and I want to enjoy my movie so I do what I gotta do.  50% of the time I forget to take them off and look like a major fashion victim wearing bright polka dot socks with slip on shoes.  Tonight we are going to Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas to see 300 Rise of an Empire and I'm wearing the socks but I always bring a blanket.  After going a few times we finally discovered that the armrest between those giant recliners comes up.  The blanket makes the whole experience that much better and it fends off the AC blast.

My husband finds popcorn, napkins, string cheese wrappers and Fiber 1 cereal bits in and under the couch and it's all my fault!  It's not intentional.  I'm a neat freak in so many ways but in this one area I am apparently not.  I was once banned from eating Fiber 1 on the couch and if I don't clean up my act he will do it again. 

Speaking of which my house is filthy!  It hasn't been this bad in the four years that we've lived there.  I'm usually very OCD about such things but events beyond my control have prevented me from cleaning.  I had surgery and then MJ jumped in and cleaned.  I was planning to pick it back up but it never happened.  After going back to work and realizing I wasn't as healed as I thought I needed to rest on weekends.  Saturday was supposed to be MJ's last day here and I wanted to spend those last hours with him not cleaning house.  I don't clean on Sundays so that was that.  This weekend I have no choice.  It has to be done.  I will say that I think it was good for me to see that the world won't end if the house is a mess.  A messy house tends to agitate me and put me in a really bad mood.  It was so far gone and I felt so helpless to do a thing about it that I had to let it go.  Sometimes other things are just more important.  I want a maid!!

Linking up with Leslie @A Blonde Ambition

3.17.2014

That Damn Parade

MJ suggested we spend his last day at home doing a picnic since his flight to Germany didn't leave until 8p.  Even if I was all done packing if it was me I would have needed the day to think about packing and I would be too anxious for a picnic but MJ is different then me.  He doesn't worry.  We loaded up our picnic supplies, stopped at Albertson's for snacks and then headed for our favorite spot in Balboa Park.  The only problem was that we couldn't get there.  There were roads blocked off and detours every where we turned because of a St Patrick's day parade.  Why is there a St Patrick's Day parade?  It's not a national holiday.  Maybe I was just annoyed that it thwarted our plans, but I seriously don't understand why such a parade even exists.

We drove in circles until we finally figured out a way to get into the park and then couldn't find a parking spot so we went with plan B.  Mission Bay.  It's near the water which means that it was probably going to be chillier but we were determined to have our picnic.  There was plenty of parking but then when we opened the trunk we realized that the wine had leaked out of the plastic container.  It was an ENTIRE bottle of wine.  What a waste.  When you think you are going to have wine on your picnic and then find out that you are not it's very disappointing.
Windy City
It was close to 80 degrees at Balboa Park but it was cooler by the water as expected.  The sun was bright and warm but the wind was chilly.  I put on MJ's sweatshirt that I found in the back seat.  We soldiered on and ate our picnic snacks sans wine.  I pulled up the other side of the blanket to cover our legs and we laid there in the sun holding hands.  It's always nice to be outdoors and I'm fine as long as we are together, so it was a nice picnic but between the loss of wine and the chill factor we've had better.
Chillin in the Sun
We left around 1:30pm and had a few hours to relax and for MJ to finish up some packing.  I think that sun did me in because I could barely keep my eyes open for the rest of the day.  MJ loaded up his luggage in my car and then the unthinkable happened.  He couldn't find his wallet.  He remembers having it in the car when we left the Park so we have no clue what happened to it.  We turned our house upside down over an hour looking for it.  It was nowhere to be found so MJ called off the search and called the travel agent to get his flight rescheduled.  He has two separate passports but no military ID means no military travel.  He spent another hour cancelling credit cards and e mailing about the change of plans.  We hadn't eaten all day so I went out and got us the under 500 calorie black bean bowl from El Pollo Loco and donuts.  MJ specifically requested them an I agreed that a day like that definitely called for donuts.  I finally had my wine and then we fell asleep watching Anchor Man 2.  That movie is funny but really silly to the point of being so ridiculous that I probably could have done without watching it at all.  We woke up on the couch and I couldn't believe it was only 11:30pm.  It felt more like 4am.  

I'm glad I get to keep him for a little longer but losing a wallet is always a bad thing.  It really wasn't our day.  And it all started with that damn parade.

On a side totally unrelated note I wrote this entire post standing up, including picture downloading and collaging.  I have no idea why.