So Easy

The truth is, I’m not a bad cook when I feel like going to the effort. But cooking elaborate things for just myself is lame, so I don’t really do it. My roommate probably thinks the only things I know how to “cook” are spaghetti, frozen lasagna, salad, and rice in the rice maker (and even the rice maker has only been used a handful of times in the year I’ve lived in the house). And a confession- food often goes bad in my fridge, either because I don’t eat it once I’ve cooked it (I eat out WAY too much), or because I buy food intending to cook it, but never make the time to cook it. Also, because I’ve been intimidated to cook chicken. I’ve had a few disastrous attempts over the years, and, well, isn’t that why there’s always a case full of hot roasted chicken at the store (which I will buy, debone, and let half of go bad)?

However, the time has come for me to start being very mindful of what I am consuming and lose this weight I’ve been carrying around for way too long. Time to work on my eating issues and actually stick to a food plan. That food plan requires me to buy fresh foods at the grocery store and actually MAKE meals for myself that consist of fresh, healthful ingredients.

The salads for weekday lunches are easy and require minimal effort. Fruit for breakfast and snacks is also easy. But my plan calls for me to be eating baked chicken and steamed vegetables for dinner on weeknights.

I am embarrassed to tell you how much chicken has gone bad in my fridge because I have been intimidated by cooking it (and we’re not even going to think about that time I gave myself salmonella becasue I couldn’t take the thought of throwing out yet another package). What if it came out totally dry? What if, like that time I tried to make funeral food, I cooked it for 3 hours and it was still pink next to the bone? I will tackle an unknown recipe from epicurious because it sounds good, armed with nothing but a recipe and a counter full of ingredients, but oven-baking chicken intimidates me.

Then over the summer my friend Kate served me “oven-fried chicken”. Easy peasy and delicious, but requires eggs, milk, and seasoned flour. (TANGENT: I grew up eating my mom’s fried chicken, and she makes her own seasoned flour. I have tried and tried as an adult to make my mom’s seasoned flour, but she doesn’t use a recipe. She does it by sight and taste, and I cannot for the life of me reproduce it. So, when I wanted to try oven-fried chicken at home, I called my mom and begged her to make me a jar of flour for my very own, and, because she loves me, she did.) I’ve made it a few times, but actually forgot about it until just now writing this post. Maybe I’ll make some up some week if I get sick of plain.

I did a search for baked chicken recipes, but many, many of them required extra ingredients. I wanted a recipe to tell me, plainly, how to bake chicken, and just chicken. I found this recipe, and decided a couple of weeks ago to give it a shot, and it turned out SO YUMMY, and made the house smell awesome as well. I made a few changes- I coated the bottom of the pan with a light layer of olive oil (a single teaspoon and a basting brush will coat a large roasting pan), and instead of sprinkling both sides of the chicken with spices, I sprinkled salt, pepper and garlic powder on the bottom of the pan, laid the chicken in (I use thighs rather than whole chicken parts) brushed them lightly with olive oil, and sprinkled the tops with the same salt, pepper and garlic powder. And I forgot to turn the oven down after 30 minutes, but have found that 2lbs of chicken at 400 degrees for 45 minutes turns out incredibly well. Remove chicken from roasting pan onto a plate immediately, and cover as the recipe instructs. Delicious and keeps well in the fridge. So easy.

P.S. I’m looking for microwave steaming options that don’t involve disposable plastic bags. Anyone have something they use and love?

Beautiful Blogger?

So, I got an award for this poor excuse for a blog. I have a feeling it is based more on my person than my blog, since this thing has been neglected for so long. Caryn tagged me for this almost 2 months ago, and apparently I just suck. But I won’t make that one of my seven things. The rules are that I have to tell you seven interesting things about myself and pass it along to seven other bloggers. I probably won’t do that second part, becasue, as I have mentioned, I suck.

1. When I got my job, I planned to stay for a year and then look for something else. I’d been in non-profit for years and law did not interest me and was not what I wanted to do. I’ve been there six and a half years now with no immediate plans to change. Still no plans to get my paralegal, but I’m content for now.

2. I took up hockey at 31 years of age, having never played a sport before in my life, other than a minor interest in tennis when I was like, 10 that never went anywhere. I love it, and it makes me feel accomplished every time I play. I’m coming up on the 2 year mark and can see how far I’ve come, and am amazed at what I’ve been able to get this body of mine to do.

3. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire adult life. A lot of people have encouraged me to try to get on The Biggest Loser, but I just don’t see myself as the “appeared on a reality show” type, not even one that’s not skeevy and exploitative.

4. Anthropologie is a company that makes clothing for willowy women, and I’m hoping someday to be able to wear their stuff. I’ve started a wishbook with clippings from their catalogues and various fashion magazines of the things I’d like to be able to wear someday. I’ve also got a few of their pieces on my fridge as motivation.

5. I also started cycling last year, and I love it. I’m not very good at it, in terms of endurance and stuff, but I’m working on it. I want to ride 50 miles in July, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it. But I’m going to try, and ride as far as I can, and not just give up before I start, which has sort of been my pattern in the past.

6. I love San Francisco but have no desire to live there. I love wandering around my friend Heather’s neighborhood with her, I love the cafes and produce stands and hole in the wall bars. I love Golden Gate Park and the Palace of Fine Arts and the Legion of Honor. But I like that it’s a place to visit. I’ll keep my little house in the suburbs with my awesome roommate.

7. My apartment has an alcove, and I’ve always loved rooms with alcove beds. I was tempted to put my own bed there when I moved in, but didn’t really want my bedroom sharing space with my living room. I have grand plans for the alcove once I’m no longer using it for storage- maybe an alcove bed, but I need to figure out how that’ll work with the bookshelves I also want to put in there… I’m thinking it’s time to get ruthless, as I’ve officially lived in my place for a year and haven’t even unpacked some of the boxes.

On Coffee, and sleeping

I’ve been drinking coffee since I was about 3 years old. Well, “drinking coffee”. When I was a baby we lived in Petaluma. After we moved to where I grew up, every once in a while we’d go to a hardware store there that was owned by family friends- M. Maselli & Sons. (aside: if you watch Mythbusters you may have seen said hardware store. It was one of my favorite places as a kid) Maselli’s had complimentary coffee for its customers (and last I heard, it still does today), and for the coffee was a box of sugar cubes. Now, being kids, my sister and I knew what those were, and we wanted them. My dad however, said the sugar cubes were for the coffee, and if we wanted them we had to have coffee. So he’d give us styrofoam cups with about 3 tablespoons of coffee, a sugar cube, and some cream, and we’d be happy as clams. This went on as we grew up, and by the time my dad took me fishing when I was 11 and we stopped at Maselli’s on the way home, I was up to half a styrofoam cup (ooooh!).

By high school, a cute little coffee shop had opened up in town, and the cool kids with cars would go there before school and show up with the shop’s signature teal and purple cups. Those cups were status symbols. I had my first mocha at that shop my junior year, on my last date with my first love. My senior year, I had home ec first period. Our teacher brought in a coffee pot and let us drink in class from mugs we stored in the class kitchens.

In college, I lived in the campus cafe, studying, doing homework, and playing cards with my friends. My drink of choice was something called an “eye opener”- a shot of espresso in a large coffee.

And of course, having held an array of office jobs as an adult, my morning cup has been enjoyed while going over email, voicemail, and the standard tasks of the morning.

All of this to say, I never really felt like coffee affected me. I had friends who needed coffee to give them that wake-up jolt in the morning, but I just liked the taste. I have to say, that thanks to habits formed early, I drank what my dad called “candy coffee”. Light and sweet. Even the eye-openers in college were laced with a ton of milk and sugar. In college, I could drink a double mocha out with friends at 9pm and go right to bed when I got home. I also mostly only drank coffee during the week once I started working full time- making it at home smacked of effort. I was probably in a bit of denial about the caffeine, as if I went too long without coffee or a soda, I’d get a wicked headache. In the past year or so, the candy coffee has been phased out. I still put milk or cream in my coffee, but I’ve cut it way down and no longer add sugar.

Everyone says your body changes as you get older, and it processes foods differently. Boy howdy. My body has finally decided that caffeine keeps it awake. Sadly, I usually only remember this fact when I’m lying in bed at midnight wondering why I’m not sleepy yet… So much for my late afternoon cup…

Daily Random #1

I had the following chat with my friend Caryn earlier. Girly stuff is only in the first couple sentences.

Caryn: I’m starting to get pms cramps (ie. like, a week or so before my period). and I forgot how awful they were without birth control.
me: aww
Caryn: like, I’m just doing my work thing and then it suddenly feels like someone punched me in the abdomen
me: 🙁
Eyes on the prize?
Caryn: yea, that’s what I keep telling myself.
me: Joo CAN DOOO eet!
Caryn: lol
I wanna be pregnant. like, right now.
I’m impatient
me: aww
right now probably isn’t an option, but maybe by Thursday if you work on it tonight
Caryn: lol this month is unlikely. we’re avoiding my ovulation on purpose this month.
me: well then I can’t help you
not that I can really help you ever, but still. I tried.
Caryn: make the month go faster.
me: oh, see that I can do
lemme see if I still have Superman in my phone
Caryn: hehehe. thank you 🙂
me: he’s not picking up. I left voicemail.
Caryn: thanks. you rock. 🙂

When you answer the phone for a living

you are bound to have some interesting chats. Unfortunately, working for a lawyer, I can rarely talk about them, let alone publish them on my blog. But this one seemed safe enough. The caller is a longtime client and also good friend of my boss. I talk to him a few times a week.

Me: Good afternoon, Law Offices
Caller: Is Bossman around?
Me: I’m sorry, he stepped out for a few minutes, can I have him call you when he gets back in?
Caller: He said he wasn’t going to step out until 1:30!
Me: This is a different kind of “stepping out”.
Caller: So he’s in the bathroom.
Me: He stepped out.

So hey, I have this Blog thing

Buh. It’s been what, like, 2 months since I said I wanted to be a better blogger, and then total radio silence? I still do want to get back to blogging. I do sort of miss it. I think I just have too many hobbies or something. I just noticed that I only posted 9 times in 2009. I’ll try to do better than 10 times in 2010.

Here’s the thing. Whenever I think of things to blog, I’m usually at work. And there were times, in what I guess is a distant past since I only posted 9 times last year, that I’d take a quick break from work and post something. Work is no longer a place I can tear a few minutes away from for this sort of thing. Which leaves evenings and weekends. Which are filled with hockey and friends and hockey and training to ride a half-century in July. And knitting. And trying to keep my house clean. And TV. (wow, sad that TV is on my list) I could blog while I’m watching TV, but I’m usually knitting or doing something else craft-oriented.

But I do miss this. I miss sharing photos and stories and weird random thoughts with my online friends. The weird random thoughts are semi-covered by twitter, but still.

Anyone have suggestions on what they’d like to see me write about? Anything you’re dying to know about me?


My first post in my new digs… I’ve been trying to find time or inspiration to post here for a couple of weeks now. And now that I’ve found at least the inspiration (if not really the time since I should be working right now) I’m going to be selfish for a moment and talk about things I want. I’ve got two more days before I have to be thankful, and most of these are good, non-material things and I think it’ll be fun to look back on this list and see what I’ve achieved.

I want to be a better blogger.
I want to be able to write posts like the ones I’m inspired by.
I want to be a better writer in general.
I want to draw.
I want to paint.
I want to get my eating issues under control.
I want my weight to be <170lbs.
I want a better paying job.
I want better clothes.
I want my cat to be healthy.
I want my house to be consistently clean.
I want to establish and keep a routine.
I want to run.
I want to do a triathlon.
I want to get rid of all the boxes and extra junk in my house.
I want a boyfriend.
I want mouthwash that doesn’t hurt my tongue.
I want it to rain.
I want to yell at my brother in law.
I want skater pants.
I want a dog.

I won’t do anything about some of these wants. I’ll work my ass off on others. And some are momentary and fleeting and I won’t want them tomorrow. But at least now they’re out and I can reflect on them later, but maybe now they can be out of my brain and I can get some work done.

Words from Caryn

Hockey: The most awesome thing ever. Except babies. And weddings. So… third most awesome thing ever? But hockey happens with far greater frequency in my life than weddings or babies, so I am back to most awesome thing ever unless it is directly competing with a wedding or a baby. It’s fun to watch, it’s fun to play, it’s license to totally scream at either your TV or the players directly if you’re at a game. It’s passion and excitement and grown men who are occasionally hot smacking into each other at top speeds. It’s awesome.

Adoption: I think adoption is one of the most loving and selfless things there is, and I think it’s way undervalued. I think it’s often seen as being second best, with the “best” thing being a child you created yourself. As someone who wants to be a parent, I could, God willing, get pregnant and have a kid. Or, since I don’t care all that much about passing on my genes, I can decide that love is love and family is family. It doesn’t matter how it became what it is, the important part is that *it is*.

Faith: Something that sometimes gets a bad rap because people confuse it with “religion”. For me, it’s about what you believe at the core of your being and following it, because it’s the right thing. Faith is the personal part. The part that no one can define for you. People can tell you what to believe but they can’t force you to really believe it. Faith is the part only you can do.

Paperclips: Oh jeez, do you really want me to get started? Paperclips are useful tools. As such, they should be easy to use. They should be sorted according to size, so you can, at a glance, grab exactly what you need and move on with your day. They should not be made of plastic and therefore easily breakable. They should not have little grippy ridges on them that make them hard to slip on and off (and yes, I GET that the point of the grippies is so it won’t slip off. No.), nor should they have a plastic coating. They can however be in pretty spirals or other shapes as long as they hold my paper and slide on and off easily. Oh, and as long as they don’t get all stuck together easily like a damn barrel of monkeys.

Theater: Something everyone should experience. The arts are just as important to American culture as sports. Some of it is so bad you’ll still be talking about it years later. But a lot more of it is so good for your soul that your heart will still swell when you think about it. It will surprise you often and delight you almost always. And the times when it doesn’t, go out for drinks with your friends afterwards and rip it to shreds. And if you are into musicals, as I am, it provides endless singalongs while stuck in traffic.
Want to play? Leave me a comment that says “Words!”

Plans, Goals, and Projects

I turned 33 last Thursday.
That really put a few things into perspective. I’ve had goals for a lot of the milestone ages, and for the most part, I think those goals have gone unmet. Sometimes that has been good, like the goal of being married and having my first kid by the time I was 22. Wow, unrealistic much? My 33 year old self obviously knows better than my 17 year old self, who was the one to set that goal.
25’s goal was to fit into the awesome green chinese silk skirt I found on super-mega-markdown at Macy’s when I was 23. It was 4 sizes too small, but it was such a good price, and I was TOTALLY going to lose the weight and fit into it.
I’m 33, and that skirt hangs, still unworn, on the back of the 3rd bedroom door since I bought it. It’s exempt from the “Haven’t worn it in a year? Get rid of it.” rule because it represents a goal. It stopped getting an age goal at 27. But someday.
The next number goals are coming up fast. I wanted to take ballet once I’d lost the weight, and wear a pair of toe shoes by the time I was 35. I also wanted to run a marathon by 35.
The toe shoe thing may never happen. I’m too old and didn’t develop my feet properly when I was young. I’m okay with that. But the marathon… I can still do that.
I don’t think, given how much weight I have to lose, that I can be at that point in less than two years. But i think I can do it in 3, so the new goal is that I will run a marathon at 35. If I don’t make it, that’ll be okay, but if I don’t make it because I didn’t try, well, that part ISN’T okay.
I’ve struggled with weight and eating for a really long time. I’ve lost and regained the same 35 pounds for years. I sometimes blog about weight related issues at my other blog, The Road to Half. You can find the link over in the sidebar.
I recently moved. I recently had a birthday. Two prime times to start over with a clean slate. So let’s begin again. And speaking of begin again, I did a 365 project a couple of years ago, and so I decided that this year I’m going to do The Year of Lunch. Either it’ll be awesome, or like Maggie Mason says, no one will care. But it’ll keep me honest and maybe give me some insight on my food issues. You never know.

Productive Weekend

When I moved 3 weeks ago, I brought with me an embarrassing amount of stuff, a good 2/3 of which I haven’t seen in 5 years because it’s been in the garage or the attic. I spent most of the weekend going through boxes, sorting into garbage, recycle, yard sale and keep boxes. I’m pleased to report that while my little packrat heart has made me want to keep more stuff than I really need to, I’m averaging one yard sale box per keep box, and a couple of the keep boxes are smaller than their corresponding yard sale box, so I think I’m doing okay. This is the easy purge, the stuff I know I don’t need or want or care about. I’ll have to do a second, more emotionally vicious purge later, but I’ll easily have a mega ton of stuff for the yard sale next week.
But by far, the most awesome thing this weekend produced? Wasn’t even anything I did. It was this: