Friday, May 30, 2008


Just a quick post as we are packing up. Yesterday we went to Muir Woods and Sonoma Valley. Ross wanted to have a quickie in one of the giant redwoods, but I said no. I know, I'm such a party pooper. Much more later....

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Working (Out) Vacation

We are having a great time here in Sanf Francisco. We are so worn out though! It's been more draining than relaxing with all the walking and stuff. I will eventually get around to the things we did yesterday. Today we biked across the Golden Gate bridge--on a tandem bike! Scary, and quite difficult. It was exhausting! It was fun, and I'm really glad we did it, but we are never, ever going to ride a tandem bike again. Our sit bones are SOOOOO sore! We rode the bike down to Sausalito and had a late, great Thai food lunch. We walked around a bit, had some ice cream (green tea and vanilla bean), and shopped a bit. I was originally thinking that we could ride the bike back, but we took the ferry and I'm glad we did. The last 5 minute ride from the ferry to the bike return was quite painful. There's so much more we want to do, but there just doesn't seem like there's time for it all. We had a really good dinner. Walked a bit afterward, then jumped on the cable car. Now it's time for bed. Tomorrow we'll rent a car and go do a little wine tasting. Maybe that will be a bit more relaxing....
An Indian couple took this photo for us after we let them pose with our bike and take photos.
Golden Gate Bridge (and a lamp post).
We saw this as we were walking from dinner. Durian snow anyone? No? Then try the avocado snow!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Starting San Francisco

So, this theater is just a couple doors down from our hotel. We get a kick out of it every time we see the sign. There are photos of the male dancers on the billboard out front, and I keep thinking...couldn't they take a more flattering photo? One of the guys looks totally creepy.
So, I'm really tired. I'm just going to say that we wandered around Chinatown a bit today. We have to go back and go to the Chinese book store and tea shops. I guess I can put at least 30 minutes of walking down as my exercise for today. We really hiked some hills.
We rode the cable car back down the hill and had dinner at a little Italian joint. Shared a pizza. Laughed at the Nob Hill Theater sign. Now it's time for bed. Tomorrow--hopefully the aquarium and a couple of other attractions. Now it's time for bed.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Getting Organized

I'm not the most organized person. When I make up recipes for things I don't write them down--because I don't measure. The one exception is cakes. I've come up with my own recipes for a few cakes lately. I write down a recipe, try it, alter it, try it, alter it. The problem is that when I decide I want to try it again I have trouble finding it. I scribble the recipes down on the back of scratch paper out of the recycling bin. It eventually gets thrown into one of my many piles of papers--I'm vowing now to clean those up in June. So, I have to dig through stacks of papers to find what I'm looking for. The solution--I need to get organized. Tiffany recently gave me a blank journal book. I'm going to scrawl all my experiments, notes, and recipes in there so they'll all be in one place and easier to find.
I've put all the various recipes I've printed from online/torn out of magazines into one folder, so they'll also be easily accessible. I really need to organize those a lot more....maybe I can do that in June also. I have all these recipes I'd like to try, but I always forget and end up making the same things over and over. I need to come up with some sort of system. Try one or two new recipes a week.
The third thing that needs to be done is a crapload of filing. Things can't be lost in piles of paper when there aren't piles of paper around. I hate filing. It has to be done, and I'm the one that always ends up doing it. I tried saying we'd do it together once a month, but that never happened. Oh well, I'll do it the first week of June, and then hopefully I'll get around to it again before December! Our office area is kinda scary. I need to clean/file/get rid of things (hopefully sell them on Ebay). I just dread it, but it has to be done. I hate losing/not being able to find things. Time to get organized--as soon as we get back from vacation. I promise.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Garden Fun

I love my garden. I like to see all the different colors and shapes and how they change from day to day--the hydrangea blooms started off white and are turning the most delicate shade of violet. I enjoy watching all the different creepy crawlies that live in the garden. This week I've seen nymphs (grasshopper and praying mantis), a spotted gecko, lots of beetles, spiders, a snake, tons of ants and lots of other insects. I also have all sorts of mushrooms growing in the mulch. I expanded the garden another couple of rows.
I planted some sprouts from the two existing mint plants and some of the pepper plants that I grew from seed. One of the rows is still empty. Maybe I can get some more herbs. My basil plant wilted and died in the intense heat this week. We've managed to move almost all of the dirt and mulch out of the driveway. I think by tomorrow night we'll have our driveway and garage back. Tomorrow Ross needs to mow the lawn and I have weeds to pull. Right now I want some sort of chocolate for dessert.

Button Fly Boo Hoo

My new button fly jeans came. They are WAY too big. Boo hoo. I'm going to try and sell them on ebay. Sigh.

Pineapple Upside-Down Muffins

This recipe is from (that's their photo at left). I've made a couple relatively minor changes. The original recipe calls for nuts, but I don't use them...cause then Ross wouldn't eat any of the muffins (he already has to bear the raisins in these...). These muffins are great for breakfast, snack, or even dessert. They are sort of healthy, and with the changes I made I think they are around 220 calories each with 3g fiber and 3g protein (based on info from original recipe).

Pineapple Upside-Down Muffins

light brown sugar
1 small can pineapple slices (8 oz.)

3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/4 c. canola oil
2 Tbl. pineapple or orange juice (you can use the pineapple juice drained from the pineapple slices)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple--not drained
1 c. grated carrot
1/2 c. old fashioned oats
3/4 c. plump raisins

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
3. For the topping--sprinkle 1 1/2-2 tsp. brown sugar into each muffin cup. (The more the bettter.)
4. Stack pineapple slices and cut into 6 wedges. --I don't know why this is so hard for me, but it is. You should end up with 24 wedges total.
5. Place 2 wedges in each muffin cup.
6. For the muffins--whisk dry ingredients in a bowl.
7. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in medium bowl until smooth.
8. Whisk in oil, juice, and vanilla.
9. Stir in crushed pineapple.
10. Make a well in the dry ingredients then add wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
11. Stir in carrots, oats, and raisins.
12. Scoop the batter into prepared muffin cups.
13. Bake until tops are golden brown...about 15 minutes works for me.
14. Immediately loosen edges and turn muffins out onto baking sheet or cutting board.
15. Make them all pretty by putting back all the pineapple wedges that fell off in the process.
16. Let cool at least 10 minutes.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Spinach Salad

I noticed that lately all my posts are about yoga and weight loss. I decided I need more food/recipe posts. I first made this salad after we'd had a meat-filled weekend. It's super fast and easy to make. Nice and light. Perfect for these hot days.

In the photo there's quinoa in the mix. If I'm really lazy, I just skip the quinoa. I think I'm going to make this for dinner tonight and I'll spend the time to cook the quinoa.

Spinach Salad

9 oz. bag of spinach
4 oz. feta, crumbled
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 snack cups mandarin oranges, drained
1 c. quinoa, cooked and cooled (cooks just like rice)
1/3 c. Newman's Own Lite Lime Vinaigrette

slivered almonds

Basically dump everything in a bowl and toss it. Top with slivered almonds. That's it!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


So, I'm just going to whine now. I'm really tired. I didn't sleep well Tuesday night, and well, we had our big night out last night and didn't get to bed until almost midnight. Today I did an hour of intense yoga and then after lunch I did three 30 minute sessions of shoveling and moving dirt. So now I'm all tired and whiny.
A couple of random things...

I've been to two estate sales in the last week. Both of them were just off the road that I travel on to and from the gym. I bought stuff at both sales. Last Friday I bought some yarn--100% angora and a little vintage booklet/magazine of knitting recipes. Today I bought a new flour sifter (confession: I don't always sift my flour when I should, but maybe now I will be more apt to with the new and improved sifter) and a brownie pan. Believe it or not I did not own a 9x9 pan. Now I do. Woo hoo. Brownies (another confession: I don't usually make brownies from scratch!).

Well, I didn't have trouble carrying, unpacking or repacking the yoga mat, but I did have trouble with it being slippery! I guess it's a lot hotter and more humid at the gym than at home. I'm going to try scrubbing the mat a little with some water and a rag--see if that helps take some of the slippery coating off. My left wrist is a little messed up (I am sleepy, hear me whine!), but I still need to work on my yoga. I need some other photos of me doing cool yoga poses (so I have to work on some cool poses). I'll do a 1.5 hour yoga podcast tomorrow. I was going to go to a class at a yoga studio tomorrow, but the Saturn is in the shop. It's the battery. Also, I guess there's an antifreeze leak (eek!). Hopefully those are the only problems. George (our mechanic) will call me tomorrow when the car is ready. Until then I'll be stuck at home.

With the dirt shoveling I'm on track to meet/beat last week's 520 minutes (which was an all time record for me). I should do some cardio tomorrow....oh, duh, I'll be shovelling the rest of the dirt.

Time for some dessert.

Elvis Rocks

Well, last night I got to use one of my birthday presents. Ross bought me tickets to see Elvis Costello and The Police. So after a day with Tiffany and Ethan I met Ross for some Thai food. I way over ate. It was just so tasty. Then we headed over to Dallas for the concert. I had a really good time. Elvis was awesome. The sound was pumped up way too loud though. The vibrations started to make me feel a little sick. It definitely wasn't his show though. He came out, played for an hour, and then that was it.
Some really ripped, really red-necked hobo guy (Ross had no idea who it was at first) came and sang Allison with him. Steve Nieve was on keyboards and theremin, as usual. They were all beet red and dripping sweat. It was hot and humid when they started at 730. Towards the end during a keyboard solo Steve snuck in the opening notes to the Dallas theme song. It was really, hmmm, (trying to think of the right words here), thoughtful, creative and cool.
The Police part of the concert was cool too. The folks in front of us were totally drunk. They were good for a laugh, but thankfully they were gone most of the time (getting more booze or in the bathroom I suppose). Overall, aside from the heat and humidity we had a really good time. We had good seats, and I got to see Elvis again (for the 7th time I think). Cyndi Lauper and some other folks are coming next month. We are thinking about that. We don't really get out much...

Monday, May 19, 2008

New Yoga Mat

So, here's a picture of me doing camel pose on my new yoga mat. Ross also took a picture of me doing crow, but that one looks funny. I'm floating in my camo shorts. I can now pull them on and off without undoing the button or zipper (listen to me brag...). I rolled up the mat and put the two new straps on. Now it is all ready to go for yoga class tomorrow. I only did 35 minutes of yoga today. I'll double up on work outs again tomorrow.
So far I'm really pleased with the yoga mat. Tomorrow will be the first time I take it to class. We'll see if I have any trouble carrying (8 lb.), unpacking, or repacking it. I don't actually anticipate any problems using the mat.I've enjoyed the yoga pod casts I've tried so far. The only problems is that I don't know all the Sanskrit names of the poses, but I've been able to figure things out so far (or at least I think I have). I just noticed that in the photo it looks like I have NO boobs! They are shrinking, but I still have some. Haha. Time for tea.

Weekend Update

This weekend Robert, Tiffany, and Ethan came over and we had Korean bbq. Ethan was sooooo excited to see Ross! It was a very nice day outside, and we spent quite a while out there. Ross and Ethan played catch, punched at the punching bag, and ran around in circles. Ethan really wanted to play wii, but first he managed a nap on the swing outside. Bailey even sat with him for a long time. We had ribs, veggies, crackers, snack mix, fresh coconut water (straight out of the coconut), watermelon, and jelly bellies. We took a trip to the mall and bought Raving Rabbids 1. I've been playing it a lot since.
Oh, I forgot to mention Ethan's fish. Ross and I bought Ethan a Word World fish at Target. Word World is a PBS program that teaches phonics and spelling. Ross thinks the show is really cool. We were in Target and Ross pointed out the toys. I said "Ethan watches that show every day!" They had a bunch of animal toys. Each animal is made out of letters. We bought the fish so it is made out of F-I-S-H. The letters are magnetic and pull apart. Ethan fell in love with the fish. He kept showing us the letters...F-I-sssss-uh?... he calls S "ssss" (the sound it makes) and he kept forgetting what the last letter was....The fish was a big hit.

On the fitness front...I logged 520 minutes of working out this week! That might be an all time high for me. My weight is up, but my body fat is that's good. I've been trying out my new yoga mat and I love it. I already went to Joan Fabrics, bought the supplies to make straps, and made them! I'll have Ross take a photo of me doing something impressive on the mat so that I can post it. We went for a swim last night. It was really good. I haven't been swimming in a long time. The pool is salt water based, so the water up the nose and in the eyes wasn't as painful as chlorine. I'm trying to get my eating habits back on track. I've been slacking there, and that's why I think I haven't lost any more weight.

My new jeans obsession...weight loss or no, my new 28s from Costco are already feeling loose. So I'm scoping out some size 27 button flies on ebay. I also saw a really cool bikini at Electrique Boutique. It was pretty pricey if I manage to lose another 9 pounds and make my final goal then maybe.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


This isn't the best photo, but it shows me in my new jeans with my cutesie shoes. I really slacked off and didn't work out Friday-Monday! The scale started creeping up, so I doubled up on work outs again yesterday. I got up this morning and went to a pilates class. I still hate pilates. Tonight I'm going to try the pilates reformer with a different teacher. Tomorrow I'll do the weights/step class and yoga again. I'm not sure what I'm going to do on Friday. Probably yoga. Right now I'm downloading some yoga podcasts. Free downloads. Yeah! I'm really getting back into yoga. I can't wait for my new yoga mat to arrive. The jeans I won on ebay arrived Monday! They are a different cut from the Costco ones, so they fit a little differently. The ebay ones are lower rise and tighter. Just gives me some more motivation to keep working out. I'm also oddly motivated by the photos of Manuel Uribe I saw on Yahoo today. I can't wait for The Biggest Loser to start back up again. That show motivates me too. I found a jade bangle that I really like on Ebay. Maybe I'll buy that if I make my next weight goal. I have to keep working out and resisting the munchies!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lucky Jeans and More

I love my Lucky brand jeans, but they no longer fit (too big, yeah!). I got my jeans at Costco, but when we went last weekend to buy a new pair they didn't have any. I went to the mall to try some on, figure out my size, see how much they cost. I tried on a pair that cost 98$ (plus tax the sales lady reminded me)! I am now a size 28 in Lucky brand (I fit in size four in Levis). On Wednesday I went to visit Tiffany and Ethan. We took a trip to her Costco to see if they had some Luckys. No luck (hahha), but a really nice guy there looked up the item in the computer and said that Arlington might have a few pairs (when he called them they said no, but he said to check anyways). We got Ethan a churro before leaving, so he was happy. At the mall he turned to me and said "I like you." It was the sweetest thing ever.
I bid on a couple of pairs of jeans on ebay, but no luck there either. Yesterday we went to a wedding. It was really cool. Half in Chinese, half in English. I'm so glad we got to go. After the ceremony and reception (I love cake!!!) we went for boba (well, we actually just got drinks, no boba) and to Costco to check for jeans. Costco in Arlington had an entire shipment. Score! I inspected like 10 pairs of jeans before deciding on one. When we got home I found out I'd won a pair on ebay for half what I paid at Costco. So now I'll have two pairs. I already went into the closet and pulled out an old pair to get rid of. I have a pair of old Old Navy jeans that look like they have stretch marks because the spandex has gone all funky. I'm serious about these jeans. I really want a pair with button fly. I just have a thing for the button fly. I will keep watching ebay for a good price. Tiffany told me to soak the jeans in vinegar to set the color. I'll do that. And I plan on always hang drying them so that they last longer. I'm so obsessive.
Last night we went to see Jumper. I liked it. Dang. It would be soo cool to be able to teleport.
My garden is doing all right. I have one plant that already has two good sized peppers on it. I transplanted the pepper plants that I grew from seed. A couple of them are doing very well. I'm excited. I think I'm going to have a huge pepper harvest this year. Even the jalapeno plant that was all wilted seems to have recovered. So far no eggplants or tomatoes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. All the herbs are doing just fine. I should make something with them...
Last night I tried stretching my shoulders so I can do those yoga poses. I need to stretch out my hips also. I ordered a new yoga mat. Yeah. Now I'm looking for some crop yoga pants..I'm really in a "stuff" phase right now. I want STUFF!
Well, hopefully we will go work out today. I don't want to outgrow my new jeans! (Ob-ses-sion!) I made some upside down pineapple muffins using a recipe I found online. They are pretty good. I only have one modification. I'll try and post up a photo and the recipe today or tomorrow.
Ethan demonstrating how he concentrates for the wii Raving Rabbids concentration game.

Ethan loving on Tiffany.
The pepper plants I grew from seed.

The peppers on one of my pepper plants.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More Yoga

So today in yoga I think I pulled an arm muscle. I'm sure it will be fine soon. I really tried hard today. I tried to do king pigeon. I tried to do dancer pose (pictured left). I was trying to do dancer...holding my foot with one arm, and trying in vain to get my other arm back there. Joseph came over and tried to pull my arm back there. He said he wants to see me touching my foot with both hands. I'd love to see that too! He said in a year. I'm going to work on it....maybe I can get there sooner. Same with king pigeon. It's sort of the same pose. I need to practice as much as possible. My arms are getting stronger. I'm really flexible, but I need to make sure and work on my flexibility as well as my strength.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Doubling Up

I did two hour long work outs back to back today. I did a strength training class and a yoga class. I was really wussing out at the beginning of the yoga class because my muscles were so tired, but about 15 minutes into it I felt a little better. I really needed the stretching. The class was worth it just to do bird of paradise. I haven't done that in ages. The teacher is okay. She doesn't have the class work their way up into pigeon, she just has us do it. I don't like that. Most of the class is pretty inflexible, so going from downward dog into pigeon is a lot to ask. She came up to me and asked if I could do king pigeon. I said "If I worked up to it!" I can't just do it. That's crazy. I felt really wiped out after the classes, but I'm feeling better now. It's time to get up off my butt and clean house!
The photo shows the bird of paradise pose...from behind. I know my leg isn't that straight when I do it...

Monday, May 5, 2008


Yesterday we walked to TCU and caught the free shuttle to Mayfest. We've lived in Fort Worth for a few years now and we'd never been. I think it's partly because I'm always out of town in May. When we arrived a jet ski show was in progress. I wasn't that impressed at first, but they did perform some pretty cool tricks. After we walked around for a while we watched the frisbee dog show. That was really cool. The guy talked way too much, but the dogs were really talented. I'm glad that we got to see them. We didn't see the high dive show or the pig races. The petting zoo was way too tiny and crowded, so we didn't go in. The strange thing is it was the last day, so they were selling off the animals!
We walked all over the fair and we were able to find a snow cone booth. We both really wanted a snow cone. So I stood in line for what seemed like forever to get our extra large snow cone. They were out of tiger's blood, so I got half cherry and half pina colada. It wasn't really so much shaved ice as it was chipped ice. It was good, but not shaved ice. After the bus ride back we walked back home. We went to Haltom city and had pho for dinner. I was too full and it was too late afterwards to have red velvet cake, but I just had some. Yum.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Pilates Reformer

Okay. I slacked and didn't work out yesterday. I was just being lazy. Does Raving Rabbids for the wii count as a work out? It sure got my heart rate up and winded me! We have these free one month passes to 24 our fitness. I tried a couple of classes this week. 2 yoga classes.... One of them was taught by the same guy that called me out last year for not doing wheel! Hahaha. This time I didn't totally wuss out. I did wheel. I really wanted to try the pilates reformer class. That's pilates on a machine. I've never done that before. I showed up early and was lucky enough to get on the list. There are only ten machines, so there are only ten people allowed in the class. I don't like pilates. To me its torture, but I know it's a good work out, so I endure it. Today was different. I really enjoyed it. The teacher left much to be desired ("Some of you weren't doing that right." Come on--there are only ten people in the class. Get up off your ass and help them!). I feel like I got a really good work out and I think Ross might even enjoy it. My triceps are so sore! First I did weights on Tuesday night, then plenty of chatarangas on Thursday, and today we did some tricep work too. I'm really enjoying the classes and I'm seriously considering joining up....we'll see.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Red Velvet Experience

I've always been baffled by red velvet cake. It always seems to look better than it tastes. I always find the cake to be dry and somehow greasy at the same time. I decided about a month ago to try and tackle the red velvet cake. I read a bunch of recipes and learned a lot about the cake as well as the frosting. I sat down and constructed my own recipe. Yesterday I finally baked the cake and deemed it good enough to post the recipe. Strangely enough I fell in love with the frosting. I am not a frosting fan, but I really like this one. The cake was slightly dry, not at all oily, and the dryness was balanced out by the frosting. I think that's part of the answer to the mystery of the red velvet cake. Each bite has to be eaten with some frosting. It really rounds out the cake. I really liked the texture of the cake. I think the key to that is the cake flour.

Red Velvet Cake
1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs + 1 yolk
1 oz. bottle red food coloring
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. cake flour
3 Tbl. cocoa
1 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. white vinegar

1. Butter and flour 2 cake pans.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Melt 1/4 c. butter in small saucepan over medium heat and cook until slightly browned. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
4. Cream 3/4 c. butter with sugar until fluffy.
5. Add browned butter and mix thoroughly. (The butter melted slightly when I did this and the mixture was creamy.)
6. Beat in eggs
7. Add food coloring (entire bottle) and vanilla. Mix until evenly distributed.
8. Mix flour, salt and cocoa in medium bowl.
9. Add flour mix and buttermilk alternately until well combined.
10. In a small bowl mix together baking soda in vinegar. Add mixture to batter and mix to incorporate.
11. Divide batter evenly into two prepared cake pans.
12. Tap pans to spread out batter.
13. Bake cakes 30-35 minutes until tester comes out clean.
14. Cool cakes then frost with roux frosting.

Butter Roux Frosting
1 c. whole milk (I used skim plus some cream)
3 Tbl. all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat whisk milk and flour together.
2. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in salt. Cool slightly. (I cooked it until it was pretty thick and it thickened even more after cooling...into a pudding like consistency.)
3. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
4. Mix in vanilla.
5. Add milk mixture one spoonful at a time while mixer is running at medium speed.
6. I let the mixer run a minute or two after each addition of milk and a couple of minutes after the last addition.
7. The mixture should be light at fluffy at the end. If it seems a little thin then refrigerate the mixture for a while then whip it on high speed for a little while.