Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Celebrating a third

Saturday Mike and I are celebrating our three year anniversary which is actually October 8. I asked him to take off from work on Saturday so that we can have a nice relaxing day, then get all dolled up for a fancy dinner and then head over to Upper Darby and the Tower Theatre to see Jim Gaffigan. It should be a very nice day. (I'll post a picture!)

I just love this weather. It makes me so happy! I hope Saturday Mike and I can get up early enough to get coffee at the Tree House and walk the Farmer's Market and pick up some nice produce. Does it get better than that?

Addendum: In finding a link to the Tree House, I discovered that the owners have it up for sale! That makes me sad. I hope whoever buys it keeps it the same. I really like that place and have a lot of memories there. Mike and I have also made a lot of memories there and we're meeting there today in fact at 6:00! Where will we meet on Tuesdays?

I wish I could buy it! How amazing would it be to own a well established coffee shop? I could keep everything the same including the staff. It would be a cinch. I'd establish trust with the public then gradually add my own point of view. A new sandwich here, a new table there. It would be super!


Monday, September 24, 2007

These foods don't taste very good

Veggie burgers are not good. No, definitely not. However, I bet they are fantastic in say, the Middle East, or in any other countries where lentils are typically used as a substitute for meat.

I have no doubt that I didn't make them properly and I have no doubt that they wouldn't taste great to someone else with that palette. I was very proud of them. I boiled my lentils and barley (a first for me) and I sprinkled my cooked onions with curry powder (another first) and was amazed by how my kitchen smelled. I made the patties and other than the green complexion, scent of curry powder, and strangeness of seeing little round pebbles (lentils), they really looked like hamburgers. They were a lot of work and I was thrilled.

So dinner time came. I felt Mike staring me down as i took my first bite so I struggled to keep a poker face, swallow, and say, "not bad." He wasn't convinced. "No, really, " I continued. "I'm not crazy about the texture and the curry is a little strong but I bet they kick ass to people who eat this stuff."

Mike took his first bite and was not amused. He chewed for about an hour with this look of disgust on his face then swallowed.

He pushed his plate away. "I'm not eating this shit." I peeled my nice soft roll away from my patty and ate the roll. We gave the other four to some guy Mike works with who eats foods like this a lot.

I threw away the rest of the lentils. I don't like beans and I don't like peas. Lentils tasted to me like a pea bean. I think it's safe now for me to conclude that I will not like any lentil recipe.

I'll stick with my brown basmati rice.

Anyone have any suggestions for something else I should try?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Exploring vegetarianism - NO PREACHING I SWEAR

Two weeks ago I went out with my girlfriend Kelly to lunch and shopping. She wanted to pick up a book called Skinny Bitch and she said it took sort of a drill sergeant approach to helping the reader lose some weight. For example, the first line in the book says something like, "Hey fat ass, keep eating shit and you're gonna look and feel like shit." I thought it was pretty cool so I picked it up. Well, I guess you truly cannot judge a book by its cover because what started out kinda cool became a long diatribe on going vegan. According to these skinny bitches, the only way is to go vegan.

Well I say fuck that.

However, the book made some valid points especially against artificial sweeteners and what dairy really does to our systems and just how awful the average meat is (and what slaughterhouses are really like).

So I immediately got off the sweet n low, have drank a total of three glasses of diet soda in the past two weeks and stopped buying any juices with artificial sweeteners. I now only use raw sugar in my coffee and iced tea. A very positive change I think. If you ever want an interesting read, look up why Nutrasweet failed approval eight times in front of the FDA and how it finally got to be approved. Someone yell shenanigans!

Dairy is a funny thing. The book pointed out to me that we are the only species that continues to consume dairy after we get off our mother's breasts. My brother Joey always said milk made him feel sick. I don't drink milk - not even when I was a kid. My mom didn't force that on us. Well, It's bad for us and it produces mucus in our systems. I had some nice Thai iced tea last Friday made with about 8 ounces of low fat milk and I tried to see about this mucus thing. Lo and behold I felt nauseous afterwards and felt clogging in my upper chest. I never usually consume that much milk at one time.

MEAT! What an icky word. If you want to go on happily consuming meat a word of caution. DO NOT READ ABOUT SLAUGHTERHOUSES. You won't be able to put meat in your mouth even if you close your eyes. Not only that, these poor animals are fed food covered in pesticides, they are constantly injected with hormones and antibiotics and they stand around in their own shit all day. I'm all about animal rights, but my number one reason for exploring vegetarianism is that I don't want mutant children and I don't want to be very sick one day.

This all got me thinking about the youth of today. Girls becoming women at age nine, obesity, OCD, hyperactivity disorder, youth diabetes. Their moms eat all this shit and then the kids eat all this shit and everything is getting so far away from what nature intended that it's going to be difficult to get back to normal.

I want to have a healthy child. That's the bottom line. And I want me and my family (Mike) to be healthy. Eat fruits and vegetables and grains and keep away from overly processed foods and chemicals. Voila. You're healthy.

So back to the whole vegetarianism thing. (P.S. I just bought the most beautiful half of a cooked rotisserie style chicken. I haven't had that in years!) I went to the store and bought some soy hot dogs (good with lots of ketchup), I researched vegetarian recipes and made delicious steamed dumplings, I talked to some people about different rices, and then I went to my new most favorite place. WHOLE FOODS.

I always thought Whole Foods (organic supermarket) was super expensive and for like indie rocker vegan type kids. I was wrong. A woman I work with recommended I try brown rice (I never had it) and basmati rice. I gazed upon the bulk rice and grain bins looking for my first experiment in rice. Brown Basmati Rice. I could try two kinds at once! I bought a cup to make in my brand new rice cooker/steamer and was on my way.

Brown basmati rice is friggin delicious. I hesitantly raised my chopsticks to my mouth and had a taste and was pleasantly surprised. Mike really liked it too and said we don't have to ever eat white rice again. I was thrilled at this new discovery!

While i was at Whole Foods I also checked out the meat counter. Can raw meat be beautiful? At Whole Foods it can! I looked at it and read the information on where it come from and what diets the animals are on and how they live and realized that was meat I could eat and not feel sick. It won't be often but I was very pleased. Afterall, I cannot expect Mike to stop eating meat because I don't want to. He's been great trying new things (tofu) and hasn't complained once about the lack of meat being served in our home.

Hence the chicken. It's been two weeks now and I only had meat twice. Mike had it a lot more than me but not too much at home. I am making veggie burgers tomorrow out of mainly lentils and pearled barley so I thought I'd offer up a compromise. Tonight I'll serve that nice all natural rotisserie chicken with a nice broccoli Asian slaw I also picked up at the prepared foods section and some nice ciabatta rolls.

Tomorrow, Mike eats his first veggie burger.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A good place

As terrible as it may sound, if I can manage to block out my mom's issues and the heartbreaking realization that she may be the most miserable person on the planet, I can smile and take comfort in the fact that I'm really in a good place right now with my life. I think I need to say that again and just relish in that for a moment.

I am in a really good place right now.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK ON WOOD. Damn! I already regret typing that but now the jury's out.

I have bullshit inconveniences and stupid shit happens to me every day but overall, the big picture, is pretty good. If I didn't worry about my mom all the time I'd be ecstatic. The best thing about all this is that I'm no longer waiting for the shoe factory to drop. My old friend, Fred, came up with that one for me. In my life it's never just been a shoe but the whole damn factory. I'm still scared the shoe will drop but I can deal with a shoe. Shit, I may even be able to deal with a shoe store. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for a catastrophe to rob me of my happiness. I pray at night for the safety and good health of those I love and I put it in God's hands.

So why do I feel this way? So content and happy? Well, I guess because I'm doing something that has to do with the future. School. I'm working towards something. Mike and I are growing at communicating and we're having a blast together. I'm losing weight and doing good things for myself physically that make me feel awesome mentally. I guess also because I cleaned out my entire closet top to bottom and got rid of so much stuff especially any clothing that was tied to bad memories or uncomfortable situations. I filled the closet back up with awesome brand new stuff that fits this new me.

Also, I guess because I'm growing and just feeling pretty damn good about who I'm becoming and I have a great partner and a comfy bed and comfy pillows and good food and well, read the quote at the top of the page - life is made up of little things - and I understand this.

I've also learned that when I look forward to something too far in advance the days until the event fly by in the blink of an eye. Appreciating each day is something I'm practicing but it's a little difficult. But I'm getting better. I bought a rice cooker/steamer because it is practically impossible to make rice on an electric stove. I am making vegetarian steamed dumplings Friday night and I am so excited. Mike and I are going to rent an Asian themed movie On Demand and feast on dumplings and edamame and this I very much look forward to. AND it's only two days away and I have arranged something for me to look forward to every few days so I don't hold my breath through the remainder of September until our three year anniversary. It would be very simple for me to miss everything until 9/29 when Mike is taking me to the Water Lilly and then we're going to see Jim Gaffigan.

I guess I'm just appreciative. I love my little simple life. I NEVER EVER thought I'd be in this place. It's all pretty great but the real clincher is being in a steady relationship with someone who not only loves all my little quirks but actually encourages them. As independent as I feel even though I live with Mike, I only just realized that he really has so much to do with all my happiness. He really has helped me to grow and supported me especially through my big transformation which I guess was a few years' in the making and isn't over yet. I always wanted him to say the right thing at the right moment not even realizing that he always did the right thing at the right moment and his actions have spoken volumes more than words.

Mike, in my life of little things, you are my something big.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Report: First Day of School

First day of school came and went without any stress or anxiety. I got to school in plenty of time to buy my book for the class that starts next week and to find my classroom. Too bad kids were in there and I had to wait outside for half an hour.

I like my professor a lot. The class is World Civilizations. 8:00 - 10:30 PM Wednesdays.

We spent half the class listening to Mr. M. explain the format of exams, quizzes, homework and how our two personal days work. That's right, personal days (which I have no intention of using.) He wants us to see school as a job and much like a job, we will receive personal time to use however we want to (not on an exam day) and will not penalize our grade in any way.

He's nice and speaks well and he kept my attention. He's full of obscure historical facts and that's always fun when he throws them into the mix.

As far as my class goes, there were probably around 20 of us and I'd say only three were over age 30. There was a handful of recent high school graduates and the rest were a mix of people in their twenties.

I was home by 10:45 and was able to catch the last fifteen minutes of Top Chef and stayed up to 1:00 to watch the encore episode so I could see the first 45 minutes of the show. What sucks about school is coming home ravenous and wide awake. I ate too much too late last night. I'm going to have to figure this one out.

I have a quiz next week so I have to do my homework. Overall, it all went fine.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

First Day of School

Today is my first day of school! World Civ - 8:00.