Sunday, November 30, 2008

Well, we won't be going there...

My mom was going to take me to a cupcake place here in El Paso so that I could check it out. I was really curious. The last bakery I tried here was gross. I bought all sorts of cakes and pastries, and they were terrible! Well, the cupcake place is closed today AND tomorrow, so I'll have to wait for my next visit. Uh, I might drive by anyway, you can't trust people's websites lately. Oh, I suppose I could call.
We used to go to Juarez to go grocery shopping. You know, pick up some Mexican Cokes and some produce. We were joking about going to the pharmacy over there and my dad mentioned that 8 people were shot in a restaurant on Friday. He said that at least 40 people have been killed since last Monday. There are shootings every day. I guess we'll just stay close to home.

Cycle Two

Yesterday my dad and I went for another ride. We started out on the levee and then moved into a new neighborhood (lots of empty lots and unsold houses). I was only able to manage three trips around the neighborhood. The levee was kind of cool. We could see the Rio Grande to one side and horses to the other. When we got into the neighborhood there was a truck with two dogs. So silly. People drive their dogs out to a semi-remote area and let them run round and poop everywhere while they just sit in their truck. There was dog poop everywhere in the park. We rode nine and a half miles, but it seemed like twenty. There weren't really hills, but some uphill areas, and we seemed to be going into the wind on those streets. It kind of reminded me of the ride Ross and I did in San Francisco. I was really worn out at the end of the ride. I also managed to do some weight exercises yesterday before the ride.
I was much better yesterday. I drank over 100 oz. of water and didn't binge eat. I don't think I even had one chip! We went shopping some more and mom bought me some work out tops. I think I'm all set for working out and for teaching now.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Well, Thanksgiving was swell. I ate way too much. I've been eating way too much since I got here. I think a big part of the problem is that I'm dehydrated and instead of drinking water I keep eating. I'm also eating out of nerves...and sheer opportunity. There is so much food in the house.
Today I went shopping with my mom. She ended up getting some stuff at Mervyn's because they are having a going out of business sale. I went shopping later with Ross. He got shoes and I got socks. We all got things we pretty much need. Well, we don't need those two video games we bought, but nothing else was frivolous.
Oh, I went to Wally World with my mom. That was a mistake. Apparently if you want any of the sale items you have to stand in a very long line. Forget that. I only bought some febreeze and used the self check out because there was no line.
I'm behind on my sleep, and on my water intake. Tomorrow I'll have to make a point of drinking 100 ounces of water, taking a nap, working out (cycling), and not over eating. Yesterday my dad and I went for a bike ride. We were going to go in the morning, but it was raining. We did about an hour of loops around the strip mall. There was only one store open, so we didn't have any problem with traffic. We rode a loop around Best Buy (where there were folks already camping out), Target, and Barnes and Noble. Since it had rained we had to avoid some puddles. I got splashed a few times. I think I've mentioned before how much I love the smell of the desert after a rain. It was wonderful. I hope tomorrow we can go riding down by the river.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Text Invitation

1:21pm: So tonight my baby will become my husband. 6 o'clock at ... It's a little chapel. Awh.

Yeah, so that's a text message wedding invitation my mom got yesterday. Only in El Paso.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I love Texas

Today I saw a really great bumper sticker. I'm not a huge fan of bumper stickers. I've never put one on my car. Today I saw one that I would actually consider putting on my car. The sticker said I Love TEXAS. So simple and sweet, and my sentiments exactly. It is November and a few days ago the high was 72. Some of the best manicured lawns in the neighborhood have dandelions in them. November and people are still wearing shorts. November and there was a ladybug outside today. I love Texas. I love not having state income tax and I love the weather. I love the people and I love the land. I love Texas.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

12 Weeks

I can't believe it has been 12 weeks since I got my piercing. I have a second piece of jewelry, and it seems to be fitting nicely. I got really lazy before and after the dessert party and did not soak it regularly (if at all). I've started getting a lot of goo and blood out of it this week. I got unlazy and started soaking again and taking my vitamins. In the photo it looks like there is a cyst forming again, but I don't think there is. The pink area just above the bottom bead is just scar tissue.
I weighed myself this morning, despite my friend Hugo being here and eating a ton of salt in the last few days. I was 3 pounds up from my low (which happens to be where I was 12 weeks ago). I seem to just bounce between here and my low of 142.5. Grr. This week was not a good work out week for me. Next week is going to be crazy. I've told my dad that I have set a goal of biking 50 miles with him over the Thanksgiving weekend. I think that is completely reasonable.
There are five and a half weeks until the end of the year. I hope I can end the year at or below my low. I seem to have hit a wall, but Lord knows I'll bang my head into it until I break through or pass out. I'm nothing if not stubborn.

Speaking of Wrecks

I visit Cake Wrecks for a daily laugh. The other day I saw this ad in the sidebar and couldn't stop laughing.

Possible Cake Wreck

Okay, so I'm totally in love with Cake Wrecks. If I ever get around to putting up my blog roll it is going to be first on the list. I know that I could go over to City Market (formerly known as Minyard) any day of the week and photograph something to send in to the website (but I'm lazy). Today we were in Kroger and I saw some real cake wrecks (giant cupcakes decorated as snowmen and turkeys, not to mention plenty of the dreaded CCCs), but then I spotted this cake. I actually kind of like it. It even had black laces piped in on one end. The best part is that Ross says it had a roast chicken sticker/UPC code on it with "chocolate cake" handwritten in.

Singer Sewing Table

Remember those Singer sewing machine pedestals I bought a while back? Well, Ross cleaned ours up (the other one is for my mom), painted it with clear spray paint, and bought a slab of marble to make the top of the table. I really like the way it turned out. Now we have a side table for outside. It will be perfect for when Ross uses the grill.

My Birthday Boy

We went and celebrated Ethan's birthday today. Tiffany, her parents, Robert, Ethan, Ross, and I went and ate at a Hibachi restaurant in Lewisville. Tiffany bought Ethan an airplane lego set for his birthday, so we got him a bucket of legos for him to add to his lego collection. Ethan was so excited today. For lunch he ordered ne-ow row (beef)... just like his uncle Ross. The waitress brought Ethan some orange sherbet and we sang to him. He then declared that he needed cake. He's just like his gunma (me). I wish we could have spent more time with him. I had to work this afternoon. Anways, my supercute boy is now 4!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ross's Birthday

I went to the gym for a couple of hours while Ross did some handyman stuff around the house. On the way home from the gym I ran a couple of errands, including a stop to get Ross a present. I haven't had many chances really, since he's home all the time now. When I got home he proudly showed me the things he'd done and I proudly gave him his present--which came with a free tote bag and T-shirt because the guy who helped me was really cool. Ross continued work on one of his projects (I'll post a photo later) while I sat in my own filth and watched my soap/wrote an email. Now what did Ross want for dinner? You only get one guess. Pizza. We rented The Mummy and ate pizza, chips, then popcorn. I'm not going to weigh myself for a couple of days. That much salt will probably push me up over 150. I think it was an odd birthday day for Ross, but he's happy. A couple of people, including our favorite aunt Judy, remembered without any sort of reminder.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No More Squirrels!

Squirrels started moving into the area between the ceiling and the roof over the back room a while back. It may have started a year ago. The boards that make up the eaves started to rot away and a hole formed. The squirrels squeezed in and started dragging tree branches and stuff in through the hole. The dang squirrels would scurry around up there and drive me and Bailey nuts. I trimmed back the tree branch that they were using to climb over to the house and Ross tacked up a couple of boards to cover the hole. It was a temporary measure and it worked temporarily. The hole got bigger than the patch boards, and one of the patch boards just fell off. The squirrels came back. Ross ripped off the boards that were rotted and bought some new wood. Ross put in new joists and today we finally finished boxing the eaves back in. I got to use the nail gun. That was fun. So now the squirrels can't move back in. The boards on either end of the area we just put in need to be replaced. Maybe we can do that tomorrow afternoon. We'll also need to paint the boards soon. I'm just glad I won't have to listen to the squirrels scratching around up there anymore.

You are Dismissed

I was called for jury duty yesterday. I was selected as juror number 4 in a civil case. It was all very interesting. Yesterday was kind of mind numbing. One of the lawyers was not well prepared. The Judge, Bob McGrath, was an awesome, cool guy. The lawyer for the plaintiff drove me nuts with English grammar faux pas and his general inability to present and submit evidence. Yesterday around 4 the Judge adjourned and said we would reconvene at 9a. Heather agreed to cover my class for me today. This morning I headed back to the courthouse for another day of sustained objections by the defense lawyer. Around 920 the Judge came into the jury room and announced that the case had been settled out of court, so we were dismissed. Everyone, including the Judge, breathed a sigh of relief. The judge said he was sorry that we had to sit through such an incompetent presentation of evidence yesterday. Because it was all over we could discuss the case amongst ourselves while the bailiff went to get our checks. We didn't really discuss the case so much as the plaintiff's lawyer. On our way out we (the jury) ran into the defendant. She thanked us for our time and service. I asked her if she made out okay. Her (very confident) lawyer announced that they walked away without paying anything and the plaintiff was paying half of her lawyer's fees. So yeah, she made out okay.
I learned a lot yesterday. I learned that the lower your juror number is when you are assigned to a court, the more likely you are to be selected. I learned a little about contracts. Always get a contract in writing. Get signatures. If circumstances change, draw up a new contract. Keep very good records. Keep detailed records. Keep receipts and invoices to back up your checks. I just hope I never end up in a lawsuit. Oh, and if you do, get a good lawyer.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Burn Out

I am exhausted today. We made it to the gym and I manged two hours of working out. That makes 350 for the week. Not bad for such a busy week. Last week I got in 435 minutes. I'm hoping to hit that again this coming week. I'm not sure what I'll do for a work out tomorrow. I've got jury duty in the morning. I packed myself some reading material and a couple of snacks. I hope I'm not there all day. Parking is very far away and seems complicated, so Ross is going to take me and then pick me up. I have been only lifting weights with my left side (upper body)because I am lopsided. I'm not sure what is the best way to fix that--so I just decided to only work my left side for a couple of weeks. Like I said this morning--I've managed not to gain any weight with all the desserts! I need to get rid of all the leftovers so that I won't eat anymore of them. I'm at my low. Maybe by Thanksgiving I can hit 140. I'm going to keep trying.

Dessert Party 2008

This year's dessert party was awesome! We had a great turn out. Everything was ready by noon, and I didn't spend the entire party in the kitchen. I don't think that there was anything that turned out to be a TOTAL dud. Let's see. Starting from the left we had: zabaglione with optional cherries, red velvet cupcakes, lime cupcakes, triple layer fudge, panna cotta with chestnut honey, chocolate Guinness goodness (pudding), pink peppercorn chocolate cake, ciambella alla menta (mint cake), mixed berry pie, tiramisu, and chocolate pear cake. Not pictured: pumpkin mousse.

Ross made the zabaglione, fudge, and the pie crust. I'm not sure how the cupcakes turned out. I thought the lime frosting was better than the actual cupcake. The red velvet cupcakes seemed to go over well. No one commented on the tiramisu, but it went very quickly. The consensus seemed to be that that regular panna cotta is better than this one with the chestnut honey flavor. I like the flavor, but I think it was a little strong and turned out too sweet. I think my favorites were the mint cake and the pumpkin mousse.

Ethan and Anir ran around the house like a couple of, well, little boys. Ethan found one of Bailey's old mouse toys and had fun chasing people around with it. Then he decided the mouse needed a nap. He made a bed out of a plate, gave him a napkin blanket, and made him a T-shirt out of an old rag. Bailey slept on our bed during the entire party.
Ethan was in a great mood. He didn't eat much, but he really dug into a cup of the chocolate Guinness goodness.
I somehow didn't gain any weight (maybe because I haven't tried everything yet). We are headed to the gym today, and I've got jury duty tomorrow!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Difficult Week

Monday I felt as if I'd been run over by a truck. I skipped my work out. I have struggled through every work out that I have managed to make it to. I have no energy this week. We did make all the desserts we were supposed to yesterday. I would be finishing up right now, but I messed up a batch of cupcakes. I didn't think they looked right. I realized I had skipped a step. I do this all the time. It happens especially when I'm tired. Even having to make another batch I'd be done already if I hadn't signed up to teach a class tonight. I'm exhausted and struggling. I'll make it. I will finish what I need to do. I'll get the house clean. We'll have a good party. I'm just hoping that things are easier next week. I think I might be fighting some sort of bug. I'm so grateful that Ross has been able to help me. He's washed so many dishes. He's washed the same dishes over and over. Roux frosting calls....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Getting Started

Today I started baking for the party. I have made some cupcakes--they didn't dome up. I have no idea why. I made a cake, and I also made chocolate pudding. I'm taking a break before I make the frosting for the cupcakes. Tejal came in today and we got to have dinner with her. It is so good to see her. Woohoo!

Mamma Mia!

We went to the dollar theater and saw Mamma Mia! last night. We enjoyed it. Ross's favorite song was in the movie (Does Your Mother Know) and we even sang during the credits. Seeing Pierce Brosnan sing cracked me up! The bride looked about 12 and the groom was ripped! It was a fun movie. I'm glad we have seen it live. I'm also glad we didn't pay full price for it. Some parts were just so cheesy, but I guess that's to be expected with a musical. Today I have to get down to business. I'm going to the gym and then its time to make desserts and clean house. Oh, I miss Greece.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Jewelry

Today I went and got a shorter piece of jewelry for my piercing. It fits a lot better now and hasn't slipped out at all so far. I wasn't happy with my experience at the tattoo shop. Ross and I did have fun looking at the Chinese characters and what they supposedly meant. Ross found plenty of characters with incorrect English translations. Never get a Chinese character tattoo without a lot of research. The shop charged me 5 extra dollars for putting in the jewelry and five more for using a credit card! I'm going to dispute the 5 dollar credit card fee with my credit card company. I know my neck isn't sterile (I managed to get some goo out of it before going to the tattoo shop.)--but please try to maintain some semblance of sterile technique! The guy put some gloves on, then touched the bottom of the Mayo stand. He then decided to lean me back, and touched the back of the chair! As soon as I got home I cleaned up with hot water and antibacterial soap. That red lump looks really bad in the photograph. I think it is a collection of goo. I'm going to soak it for a long time tonight and start taking my vitamins regularly again. I hope I don't have any more major problems with this piercing. I guess I should be happy that I have made it this far. If I got another piercing I have no idea what I'd get, but surface piercings are a pain in the butt! I've got 6 pounds to lose and 3 months after that before I should even start thinking about another piercing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


When I drove home from work today water was gushing down the big hill near our house. It seems some sort of pipe broke and water was flowing out of the asphalt and down the street. We had a lot of rain last night. That might have something to do with it. When I got about a block away from home I saw a river going down Trail Lake and crossing the street to flow down my street. Then when I drove down Dryden I saw water bubbling out of the street right in front of Otto's house. The asphalt is cracked and pushed up and there is a hole in the street. At first the water was bubbling out, but now it is just seeping out. Several water department trucks have driven by. A couple have even stopped. The babbling brook sounds nice, but we have no water inside. I'm thirsty. I guess I'll drink bottled water.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shopping List

I just completed my shopping list for the week. The dessert party is this weekend so the list includes:
3 dozen eggs
3 pounds butter
8 c cream

I have 15 bars of chocolate in the cabinet, so I don't have to worry about buying chocolate this year! I'm going to have to make some room in the fridge.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things....

Driving in from Austin last night I leaned it towards the air vent as we passed the Miller plant. Oh, one of my favorite things. When I drive past the Miller plant and the Mrs. Baird plant (which are right next to each other) the wonderful smell of fresh baked bread fills the car and I know I'm almost home. For some reason I can only smell it at night. I work in Crowley on Wednesday mornings and never smell bread on my way home.
This morning I woke up at 445. I couldn't sleep. My mind was racing. I tried to think of my favorite place. Il Duomo. The top. In winter. The moment I step outside. I laid in bed and imagined the feel of the 441 stone steps under my feet. The wind whipping in through one of the tiny windows on the way up. I remembered the familiar feel of the stone center column in my right hand as I push myself toward the top. I could feel the heat building up. I closed my eyes to imagine the paintings on the ceiling. In my mind I could see the steps that lie between the layers of Il Duomo. I went up the tiny ladder-like steps and burst outside into the cold. The wind cuts through my clothes and my sweat is suddenly cold. I'm on top of the world. Nothing can touch me here. I'm happy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Smoothie

Lisa Diane emailed me a smoothie recipe and I tried it out. Of course I added junk. Here's the smoothie I made:

Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

1 banana
1/2 c. raw old fashioned oats

I was going to add vanilla, but I forgot. It was tasty. It really held me over all morning and I didn't feel super hungry after my class yesterday the way I normally do.


Yesterday Ross took Ethan to see Wall-E. They both liked it. After dinner Tiffany and I went to the gym and worked out. The class had too much jumping. We won't do that one again. While we were working out the boys were playing Mariokart. We joined them after we got back from the gym (and had some chocolate and wine). Ethan was in a great mood and was having a ton of fun. He kept laying on Ross's outstretched legs and saying "Comfy!" I wish I'd gotten a photo. He also came and sat next to me and said "How about you tickle me?" It was the funniest thing. I said no, because I didn't know where he was ticklish so he was kind of confused. Then I tickled him all over testing to see where he was ticklish. He tickled me back and we had a go round of "juicy leg!" I grab his leg and say "Juicy leg, juicy leg, juicy leg!" then he does it back to me, then he went around and did it to everyone else. He was so excited that we were visiting.
I've been really good about working out. I think I have 380 minutes so far this week. We will go to the lift class tomorrow. My muscles are sore, but I suppose I'll get used to it. I was too beat from last night's class to go to this mornings weights/cardio class, so I only went to yoga. Robert has me totally flipped out about the teacher touching people and now I notice it and it creeps me out. I did all right. It was good to stretch out a little. Shelby did a beautiful king pigeon pose and the teacher helped her practice scorpion! I did a couple of headstands during our rest periods. My weight was almost down to my low yesterday am, but I had soy sauce last night... so I'm back up today. We are having sushi with friends tonight, so I'm going to drink lots of green tea and try to avoid the soy sauce. I am so tired....
My piercing doesn't fit anymore. I'm going to see Justin tomorrow to see what we can do about that....I can't wait! I have so much to do today and tomorrow, but I feel like being lazy. I suppose I should make a to do list and see what all I have to tackle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pancake Quest

I've decided on a new quest: pancakes. Well, I guess I mean a good pancake recipe. I never really liked pancakes. Strange, I know. Maybe it is because I have never liked pancake syrup--I know I'm a freak. I want something healthy, yet tasty and fluffy. I made pancakes last weekend, and I'm really tired of the recipe I use. Sure, it is healthy, but they don't really taste like an indulgence. Pancake has the word cake in it. It should be like a flat breakfast cake, no? I'm going to experiment until I can come up with a good pancake. Here is the recipe that I normally use:

Whole Grain Apple Pancakes

1 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. flax meal
1/3 c. all purpose flour
2 Tbl. whey powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 Tbl. butter, melted
2 Tbl. light molasses
1 large apple, peeled and shredded

1. Combine dry ingredients, including spices.
2. Whisk eggs, add remaining wet ingredients, including vanilla.
3. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
4. Cook on skillet over medium heat.

Well, this weekend I made a few modifications. I cut out the butter and used vegetable oil, only because I was lazy and didn't want to melt the butter. I also cut out the molasses--not to cut out sugar, but because they tend to burn. Instead of apple I used 2 really ripe pears. I just used 2 percent milk, not buttermilk. These pancakes tend to turn out dense and heavy. I'll work on it--I have a few ideas.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Two Months

Here's a two month photo of my piercing. The cyst is getting better. The only problem now is that the bar isn't sitting right. Maybe it will settle in once the cyst goes away.

Meat Art

Ross likes meatloaf. He always sculpts the meatloaf. Today he made Luigi. It's in the oven now.

People are Gross

Trash piled up floor to window. Not the first time I've seen this. Just gross.

Double Take

Gassed up today at Costco. Wow.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Working Out

This week I worked out 420 minutes. Same as last week. Ross went to the gym with me a couple times. We are both trying to get in shape. I didn't meet my Halloween weight goal. I think that's because I didn't stick with the program. Pretty early on I abandoned my checklist. I just made a new checklist for this month. Tomorrow I will do weights and measurements to see where I am starting. I'm hoping I'll be able to make my weight goal by November 15th. I have to work out AND eat right. It seems like each week I do one or the other. If I can manage to do both I think I'll be successful.

Bailey's Trick

Bailey does one trick. She sits when I give her the hand signal (which isn't shown in the photo) and give her the command, and then when I tell her to stick 'em up she jumps up. Most times she tries to grab the gun. Such a hero. We only do this on the weekends and she gets special food (wet food) as her reward.
Bailey is the cutest thing on Earth. Lately Ross likes to tease her with other "S" words. Yesterday he said "other people's stupid kids" and "scrumptious." She just flinches. He doesn't fake her out. She waits for him to say "Stick 'em up!" before she jumps up (but sometimes she complains loudly that he's making her wait).
Anytime we sleep in she thinks it is the weekend and gets excited. She's been rather confused lately. Yesterday she cried and cried when she realized it was finally the weekend.
This morning I slept in and didn't get a photo of Ross getting her to do her trick, so I put some treats on her plate and had her do it again for photos.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Impressionists

The plan was to go to the museum today and see The Impressionists art exhibition. When I checked the hours and ticket prices online yesterday I found out that Friday nights are half price. Score! We headed to the Kimbell and checked out all the paintings. Ross actually enjoyed the exhibit. We saw paintings by Renoir, Manet, Monet, Gauguin (I'm not a fan), Seurat, Sisley, Pissarro, van Gogh, and more. We both loved one particular painting by Monet of a branch of the river Seine (I can't find a photo that does it justice). We both also marvelled at Gustav Caillebotte's famous painting Paris Street; Rainy Day. That painting was huge! The place was buzzing with people. We got the audio tour for free, but didn't listen to much of it. I just like to look at the art. I don't like people telling me what it means or why it is significant. I am a big fan of impressionism, so I really wanted to go. I'm so glad we went. After the special exhibit we took a look at the permanent collection. Nothing I couldn't live without, but there was a Picasso that made me chuckle. It was a good way to spend Halloween I guess.