Total exercise minutes recorded: 12, 253. Most minutes exercise in one week: 520. Most minutes in a month (May): 1, 830. Yoga classes taught this year (for pay): 88. Weeks I've had my piercing: 17.5. Weeks since Ross was laid off: 9. Weight at the start of the year: 154. Weight this am: 144. Inches lost off of my waist this year: 2.125. Amount of money we've spent this year on the wii: $217 (ouch!). Trips I took this year: 4 (Arizona, San Francisco, Las Vegas, El Paso). Computer deaths this year: 2 (the laptop was under warranty, the desktop just died). Number of posts to my blog this year (including this one): 184. Miles on the Saturn: 140,685. Miles on the Subaru: 57,461. Number of pairs of free VS underwear I have gotten (just in the last couple of months): 7. Number of jobs I have: 3. Number of cakes I baked this year: ?. Number of pounds of butter I've used this year: at least 25. Number of times I had my hair cut: 3. Pairs of new shoes I bought this year: 3? Completed knitting projects: 0. Can't think of much else....
I saw the woman whose name shall not be mentioned making bath bombs on her show a long time ago. I was flipping channels--that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Since then I have always wanted to try making them. A few months ago I found a couple bath bomb recipes online and bought all the ingredients. The ingredients then sat in a box untouched for at least two months. Sunday night (possibly inspired by my visit to Lush) I decided to go ahead and try to make the bombs. I ended up making two batches. The first one was lavender scented (and possibly tea tree, oops, I might have used the wrong essential oil). The second batch was black chamomile--my mom bought me the oil at B&BW on Black Friday. The ingredients are relatively inexpensive, and the mixture is easy enough to make. The hard part is getting the balls out of the molds. I enlisted Ross's help and he was a lot better at it than I was. He was able to make perfect little globes. I'm going to make some more soon. I need to find a better source for the citric acid. It was kind of expensive at the store where I bought it.
1 c baking soda 1/2 c citric acid 1/3 c epsom salts 1/3 c cornstarch 1/2 tsp Borax 1 Tbl. oil essential oil water glycerin spray bottle globe molds
Mix all dry ingredients together. You might want to grind up the epsom salts and citric acid if they are in large crystals (luckily mine were fine crystals). Add oil and essential oil. For the first batch I used a lavender scented oil. In the second batch I just used plain old veggie oil, but the recipes suggest almond oil. Mix thoroughly. I put about a half and half mixture of water and glycerin into a small spray bottle. I shook it up, then I sprayed the mixture a few times to moisten it. Caution: too much glycerin can start the fizzing reaction. You might not see the reaction, but when the bombs are used they will be duds and not fizz. Mold the mixture (which will be powdery/crumbly) with the globe molds. Ross said the trick was to way overfill the mold so that the edges of the mold never touched when he squeezed really hard to pack the mixture together. He let the mold sit for a minute or two then tapped on the mold to help release it. Careful--the globes like to break in half. Gently lift off one half of the mold, then the other--no twisty!
Is this the pose you were thinking of Valerie? I have long legs, so the head of my (left) femur is on my left elbow and my knee is on my right elbow. I did manage to do it once without resting my hip on my elbow, but I think instead I had my elbow jammed into my ribs. I need to practice this one (and so many others.)
I received more than 2 presents this Hanukkah. Ross bought me season three of the Venture Brothers. I'm really excited about watching that. Ross also bought me a calculator. Long story there, but I'm happy to have it. I got a new cozy robe from Ross's mom. Tejal gave me a tea chest with a few tins of tea and a very nice tea strainer in it. Right now we are trying out the wii game that Ross got me--Okami. We have it for the PS2 and I love it, so he bought it for the wii. I also bought myself a couple of things. Let's see--that red velvet jacket, soap from Lush, and a new naked man calendar. Out shopping yesterday Ross bought me a really comfy hoodie and some thigh high socks. I really like the socks. They keep me warm and he thinks they are sexy. I've gotten so much stuff in the last 8 days I'm sure I forgot something. I'm trying to think of a pose to post tomorrow. I don't think it will be nearly as exciting as last week's.
I avoid the mall in December. It is one of my rules. I broke it yesterday to see if I could find a good deal somewhere on long sleeved T-shirts. I realized that I don't really have any long sleeve T-shirts. I have plenty of long sleeved shirts, but I can't see myself wearing my Ann Taylor button downs to the gym on cold days. So I did my part to stimulate the economy by going shopping. I did buy 2 long sleeved shirts for myself, a couple of shirts for Ross, and red velvet jacket that I didn't really need. So there, I helped the economy by buying something I didn't really need. I joined in with the "holiday spirit." Yesterday I read an article that said that 30-50% of retail sales occur during the holiday season. Ha! Our economy is strongly based on people going out and buying each other useless, unnecessary crap during the last 7 weeks of the year. Yep, I was moved by the spirit of shopping to buy even more junk at the galleria. But how could I resist buy-one-get-two-free deals at Lush? My husband is unemployed and I barely make enough to buy groceries, but yesterday I was doing my part to stimulate our crap-based economy. I'm a little disgusted with myself.
Tejal bought us gifts. She's such a sweetheart. She got Ross the best gift ever. We were standing in the kitchen and Tejal handed Ross a Gamestop bag. He peeled back the bag a little and saw that it was a wii game. Cool. Ross started to feel bad, issuing lots of "aaaaw"s and "Tejal you're too nice to us." He started to pull out the game and saw the words "All Star." Ross thought it might be a karaoke game. Okay....But then he saw the "Cheer Squad" part of the title. Thoughts like "Oh, shit, what did she do?" and "Oh God, I hope she doesn't want me to open this and play it right now." started to shoot through Ross's head. Of course he was thinking "Maybe I can return this." Tejal had a big grin on her face. Ross stood there for a few seconds just staring at the game. Tejal handed him the gift receipt and said "The look on your face was a lot more fun than just buying you a gift card!" We all busted out laughing. Tejal is so cool. She regaled us with the story of her buying the game and making triple sure they were going to give her a gift receipt. We had lots of good laughs on Wednesday night. At one point we were laughing so hard Tejal shot water out of her nose! Ross now has to go through the embarrassment of returning the game.
So, I'm too lazy to buy/order/send out holiday cards. I decided this year to try and do a holiday E-card. Easy, right? I searched for a long time for a customizable e-card. I finally found smilebox, which allows you to upload your picture(s) to the card and send it for free. When I opened the program I noticed that it automatically imported the last two things I had scanned and some random photos of the space shuttle. After I chose a design the program put the space shuttle photo in. I deleted the photo. The space went blank and it said drag and drop photos into space. Okay. Seemed easy enough. We took a family photo and I put it in the card. I gathered a bunch of emails and sent it out. Woohoo. For some reason not everybody got the card. Whatever. When chatting with Dishi last night I asked her if she'd gotten the card. She said yes, with the photo of the shuttle and my CPR card and stuff. What?! Yep, I sent out a card with a family photo, random photos of the shuttle, scans of my CPR card and YogaFit certificate. Damn! I feel like a total idiot. I previewed the card. Yes I did, but I didn't press play for the photos because I thought I had only put one photo in the card. I did only put one photo in the card. The program just loaded the other photos in for me. Whack. I still feel dumb. So if you received my holiday E-card and actually went through the animation and pressed play...sorry. Have a good laugh. I didn't mean to send those photos. I suppose I should feel good that there weren't any BAD photos in there. Oh well, I tried.
I found this pose on the web recently and thought it was so insane I just had to try it! I'm nowhere even near decent at this pose. Today's photo shoot was a real hoot. I fell over plenty of times (and Ross got photos). I was just trying to get the legs right for now. My shoulders aren't at all where they are supposed to be. Ross was totally grossed out by this pose. He says my calf looks like a turkey leg. I'll have to work on this one. My head isn't even where the guy's is in the photo.
My latest quest was for snowflake cookie cutters. My quest completed, I decided to make some cookies. I'm not a cookie person, I'm a cake person. I'm also not a decorator, but I have always wanted to make some really simple iced sugar cookies. I found a really simple recipe for butter cookies and icing and tried it out yesterday. Simple enough and they were a big hit at Otto's football gathering last night. Damn, I can't believe the Cowboys lost. Just sad. The one time I decide to watch the game it was totally lame.
1 c. softened butter 1 c. sugar 1 egg 2 Tbl. lime juice 1 Tbl. vanilla 2 1/2 c. flour 1 tsp baking powder (or is it soda)
1. Cream butter and sugar 2. Beat in egg, lime juice and vanilla. 3. Mix in flour. 4. Divide batter into thirds, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate 3-4 hours. 5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees 6. Working with one batch of dough at a time (leaving the others in the refrigerator), roll out dough on lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. 7. Cut cookies out of dough and place on baking sheet. 8. Bake 7-10 minutes--just until edges start to brown (thinner, smaller cookies cook faster). 9. Allow cookies to cool for a few minutes then remove from pan. 10. When cookies are fully cooled--decorate as desired.
For the frosting I just mixed together some butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. I think next time I'm going to try a more traditional royal icing recipe with egg whites. Knowing his love of sculpture I gave the last lump of dough to Ross to play with. He made a Wall-E cookie and and Eve cookie. The Wall-E turned out really well. No secrets here--this recipe is from Land o Lakes. I just changed the oj to lj. If I make another batch this week with a different frosting I'll be sure and post the results.
Just a quick post to say that I survived my first Bikram yoga class. I can definitely say it isn't going to become my new thing (especially at 20 bucks a pop). I liked the heat, I think it really helped me open up my hips. I am just glad I made it through the whole class without having to stop or leave (I've heard that leaving ruffles feathers). Tomorrow I'm going to make cookies. I'll post photos.
When I worked in Maryland I had the privilege to work with NeelimaReddy. She is one of the sweetest, smartest, most beautiful people I have ever met. I always think of her this time of year and it makes me smile. What makes me think of her? Eggnog. Neelima discovered eggnog the year we worked together. She couldn't get enough of it. It made her smile and she made all of us smile. When she found out that eggnog was seasonal she was crushed. Well, Neelima, wherever you are I hope you are enjoying your eggnog and smiling. I am.
So many retail stores are closing these days. I scored some deals at Mervyn's in El Paso over the Thanksgiving weekend. Linens-N-Things has been liquidating its stores for a while now. Even at 50% off I don't think a lot of the merchandise is a good deal (Circuit City was only offering 30% off on most items). My mom pointed out a fixture at Linens and Shit (that's what we call it) that she liked. I'm sure you've seen that the stores even sell their fixtures. I thought $150 was too much. I saw a bunch of the fixtures at the store near Tiffany's house when we (she) went looking for a clothes hamper. I couldn't tell if the rack was still $150 or down to $75. Apparently Ross had been thinking we needed a baker's rack or something to go against the bare wall in the kitchen--so he was all for buying the fixture to go in the kitchen. I am tired of using my kitchen stool as a shelf. On Sunday we went to the store near our house. The manager/liquidator was really rude and we couldn't find any of the racks in the store...but we left with two sets of 750 thread count sheets. Monday after our work out we went to the store in Burleson. Again, they didn't have the fixture I was looking for, but we left with a storage case for our wine glasses (the old one is disintegrating). I worked in North Fort Worth last night and while I was teaching Ross went to the Linens and Shit up there. They had lots of racks and shelves so he picked out the best of each and spent $81 (with tax) on it. Score. Now we have a place to put my cast iron and my stool has gone back to being a stool. I really like how the rack has wheels, so we can just wheel it out of the room to run the scooba. Woohoo.
Okay, so Lisa Diane bought Toe Sox and sent them to Ross for his birthday with a photo of a naked woman doing elephant trunk pose. The idea was that the Toe Sox were actually for me, and me doing the pose naked would be Ross's present. I spent a considerable amount of time in front of the space heater getting warm before I did the pose today. Ross took several photos. Happy Birthday, Ross. He took a pretty good photo and then accidentally deleted it, so I had to do the pose several more times. Here is the original photo that came with the socks, and a photo of me doing the pose.
I become fixated by numbers. 1--pound I want to lose by Wednesday am 2--number of sheet sets I bought today 3--number of bagels we bought this morning 4--times I taught my yoga lower body routine this past week 5--number of classes I'm teaching this week 6--number of days I exercised this week 7--rows I've knitted on the second half of my shorts 8--minimum number of cups of water I drink each day 9--number of work outs I did this week 10--the number I always think of when I read the word December 11.94--gigs of music I have in iTunes 12--number of ice cubes I've used while writing this (in very hot tea) 13--number of yoga music mixes I've made 14--eggs in the fridge 15--weeks I've had my Madison piercing 16--years I've been with Ross 17--prime number 18--ounces of chocolate in double chocolate torte (I think) 19--degrees the temperature has dropped since I've started this post 20--age when I graduated college 21--age when I started drinking (hahhahaha, just kidding) 22--age when I got my first car 23--classes on my schedule this month 24--I got married 25--quarter 26--minutes I soaked my piercing 27--I birthed a baby (not mine, duh!) 28--cents I paid for underwear this weekend 29--types of tea I have in my tea cabinet (at least). I could go on and on. Easier if it is random numbers. That is what I should have done. Next time.
The blue and white plates that my mom got us for our first anniversary are in bad shape. Two of the six plates recently broke, two of them are chipped, and two of them are still okay. I had been eyeing the colorful plates from Crate and Barrel and my mom bought a set for us for Hanukkah and our anniversary. When we received the plates we noticed that some of them were severely scratched on the back. Because of how the plates are made, the scratches show on the front. We exchanged the scratched ones and now have a set of nice colorful shiny plates. The plates aren't microwave safe with all that gold leaf and gold swirl on the smaller plates. The back of the plates reminds me of soft nail polish--easily marred. I feel like I'm going to have to treat them as museum pieces. I kept out two of the old plates to use in the microwave. We also have an old set of cream colored dishes that I use as milk plates. I know that's silly, since I don't follow the milk-meat rule, but whatever--they can also go into the microwave. Well, it is nice out--73 degrees according to Yahoo, so we are going for a walk.
Ross started knitting these blue gloves a long time ago. He finished the gloves last New Year's eve. Well, all except for the thumbs. So the gloves have sat as thumbless tubes for almost a year. This week Ross finally knitted the thumbs and finished the gloves--and gave them to me! They are made out of soysilk yarn and are very soft. I'm sure I'll use them a lot now that the temperature has dropped.
I love it when I ask a student to try something in class and they are able to do it. They get so excited and usually say "I didn't know I could do that!" This happened to me in class a couple of weeks ago when I tried flying crow, but my response was "Oh, shit!" Since I've improved my upper body strength I decided recently that I'd try astavakrasana. This has been one of my yoga goals for a long time. Tea Leoni does the pose in the movie Spanglish and I thought it was hot. I could actually do it! Only for a couple seconds at first, but I'm getting better at it. I also tried one called bound equestrian, but I'm going to have to really work on that one. Check out the photos. Bound full lotus. I saw this one on the web on Sunday and I have no idea if I'm doing it correctly.
On Sunday we strung up the lights and came up one box short of making it all the way around the roof. Yesterday we stopped by Hobby Lobby and picked up a box of lights. Ross hopped up on the roof and finished afixing the lights. Around 7 pm it was dark enough to turn on the lights and check them out. I think they look pretty cool. Man, it is cold and windy. I think Ross is going to make some hot eggnog-milk. Yum.
Since Ross got the digital TV converter box he has been desperately trying to get all the channels tuned in at the same time. He turns the antenna this way and that and steps back to see the picture. He constantly flips between the analog channels and the digital channels. He flips through all the channels to see how the latest antenna tweak affected the rest of the channels. It is sort of amusing. I must admit, the episode of the Simpsons we watched on the digital channel last night was the clearest picture I've seen (on our TV) ever. I hope he gets it all straightened out. The digital channels are nice (when they come in).
When he was growing up, Ross's mom would make yellow cake cookies. Apparently it was an inexpensive easy dessert that she learned to make as an Army wife. Ross used to call his mom every couple of months and ask how to make them until I finally wrote it down in my cook book. A few times he just winged it--bad news. Over the years the cookies have really grown on me. I didn't used to like them until I discovered how wonderful they are after 10 seconds in the microwave (I prefer soft, chewy cookies.). Yesterday at Target I bought a box of yellow cake mix (Duncan Hines is apparently the Brown family brand of choice) and some chocolate chips. I think it might have been the first time I actually made them (it's a Ross thing). So here's the recipe if you want to try the Brown family traditional ghetto dessert:
Yellow Cake Cookies
1 box yellow cake mix 1/2 c. oil (sometimes we use melted butter, but I was too lazy last night) 1 egg chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 2. Thoroughly mix first three ingredients 3. Stir in chocolate chips. Don't add too many...as I discovered last night, this makes it difficult to form the dough into balls. 4. Form dough into balls and place on cookie sheet 5. Cook for 10 minutes.
Cookies will be fluffy and soft when first removed from the oven. Allow them to cool about 10 minutes before removing from baking sheet--they will collapse and harden slightly. This recipe makes approx. 2 dozen cookies.
Today we went out. I don't go to the malls at all in December. Today was a clear reminder why. Traffic was terrible. The stores were crowded. There were long lines at all the check outs (and we weren't even at the mall). Oh, and worst of all: Christmas music. I walked into one store to look for one specific thing. Christmas music was blaring. I left and went into the next store just to look around. The line to check out was lengthening down the side of the store and the same exact song was blaring in there. I left. Was I safe outside? Of course not. That shopping area has music piped into the parking lots! It was crazy. We came home without buying anything. I guess that's good.
After dinner we ventured out again. To Target. Ross wanted to pick up a digital converter box for the TV. On the way there and back we drove through the neighborhood and saw lots of Christmas lights. I actually like Christmas lights--at least ones done tastefully. What we saw was mostly crap. We did find a couple of houses on August St. that were really cool. They had their trees completely wrapped in white lights. It was a lot classier than all the trees that we saw with the bottom 3 feet hastily wrapped in lights (we saw blue, yellow, green, red, white, and multicolor stumps).
Christmas in Italy was so different. No Santa. Three days of everything being dead because everyone was home with their families. There are some things I do like about the holidays. All food: panettone, stollen, eggnog. I suppose I'll spend the rest of the month at home--eating cake and washing it down with eggnog. Ha!
We have seen a lot of movies in the last couple of weeks (thanks mostly to the Roku). I put a Japanese anime film in the queue, and that turned out to be just plain messed-up. I watched Thunderbolt--a great old Jackie Chan film--with my parents, but unfortunately it was dubbed. I watched Caramel with my mom. It was a Lebanese movie about a group of women that work in a hair salon. It was very much like the French film Venus Beaute (institut). Ross watched an animated Hellboy movie on Monday. We have seen two movies at the dollar theater. Burn After Reading was strange. We didn't really like it. This week we saw Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. We didn't really like that one either. We can't complain though--going to the dollar theater is cheaper than renting a movie.
The best movie we've seen lately was Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. We both really enjoyed it. It inspired me to start reading again. I'm not kidding when I say that I read children's books. I haven't read a grown up fiction book in a long time (years). I checked the library catalog online and one of the branches has a book of Balzac's short novels. I went ahead and asked for it to be sent to my branch so I can check it out and read it. I still haven't finished the B.K.S. Iyengar book I checked out forever ago. Oh well, maybe I can finish chapter two (of four) and then give it a rest. If I finish the Balzac book maybe I'll feel like reading other books that they read in the movie. Maybe I'll turn back into the little reading machine that I used to be.
So over the Thanksgiving weekend I tried out my dad's Roku box. My dad subscribes to NetFlix and my parents have been dowloading movies through them and watching them on the computer for a while now. The Roku box allows them to download the movie and watch it on their TV. It was so easy! I added a few movies to the queue online, then turned on the TV and selected which movie to watch. After 3 or 4 minutes of buffering the movie started. No problem. I couldn't tell it was downloading. We watched several movies over the weekend. Now I want a Roku box. First we'd have to get faster internet, and NetFlix, and a new TV (why not). Maybe we'll have all that by my birthday. Oh, Roku!
I'm sure most medical students get their TSH levels checked. Medical school syndrome symptoms parallel hyperthyroidism symptoms: nervousness, exhaustion, hair loss, increased bowel movements. And of course thyroid problems are the root of all weight issues. Haha. I had my TSH checked at some point hoping that a little pill would be the cure for my fatigue and extra weight. No such luck. My mom had hyperthyroidism and had her thyroid radioablated. She now has to take synthroid every day. When I was home over the weekend I let my mom wash my hair. It isn't a pleasant spa-like experience. She scratches and scrubs my scalp as if it was going to be inspected. One speck of dirt or dandruff and she fails! My mom commented that my hair was falling out. I always lose hair when I wash it or when I brush it. I lose a lot, but I guess I have a lot to lose. So anyway, I kind of ignored her until I saw a huge clump that had come out. That morning I lost a lot more hair than I normally do. It got me thinking....hair loss, weight loss, nervousness, increased BMs. Am I hyperthyroid? Probably not. My heart rate at the dentist last week was 68. Slightly high for me, but completely normal. Still, maybe the next time I go to the doctor maybe I'll ask him to order a TSH and T4 level...just to make sure.
Bailey doesn't purr like other cats. Most of the time if she purrs you can feel it if you have your hand on her, but you can't hear it. When Bailey does purr audibly it is like a jalopy. Her purring is rough and uneven and doesn't last very long. This morning she was sitting on the bed next to my head and I could hear her purring. Normal smooth purring. Bailey is 9 and that is the first time I've ever heard her purr like that. It's like the old jalopy got a tune up! We'll see if it lasts.
I made pumpkin mousse for the dessert party. Tejal wanted lots of moussey things, and I thought all week about how to make this. I whipped it up on the morning of the party and I was really pleased with how it turned out. Ross's sister likes all things pumpkin, so I made some for her this weekend. At the party I topped the mousse with crushed gingersnaps. It is good plain or with the gingersnaps.
1 14 oz. can pumpkin 8 oz. mascarpone cheese 3/4 c. sugar nutmeg ground cloves cinnamon allspice cardamom 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream crushed gingersnaps
1. Whip pumpkin, mascarpone, and sugar together for several minutes until sugar is dissolved and mixture is fluffy. 2. Add spices and mix thoroughly. 3. In a separate bowl whip cream until stiff peaks form. 4. Fold whipped cream into pumpkin mixture. 5. Sprinkle crushed gingersnaps over the mousse (optional).
The photo doesn't make it look very appetizing, but I think it tastes pretty good.