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Lockrum Isle and Old Dubrovnik

The Croatian Flag flying on the battlements The mini-adventure on the Montenegro ferry was fun, so the following day we took another fer...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Brownie Bite

I for lunch I chose a ubiquitous cup of Campbell’s Chicken & Dumplings soup; no big deal. On the way back to my desk with my microwaved soup I passed the remnants of the first of many of my office’s holiday season buffets. I nicked an eensie little brownie 'bite'. ‘Bites’ are those scaled down tidbits that are popular now. I like them; I can sample something which in full size has more calories in it than the Carlsbad Caverns have bats.
So back at my desk, the soup went down easily enough. Then I tried the brownie bite, which to be honest here, was a half dried out leftover that had probably sat on the counter since yesterday, was most likely no fresher than last Wednesday’s last minute Thanksgiving bakery sale at the local market.
To my delight – and to my horror - that one stupid, sucky, old, counter-stale brownie bite resulting in explosions of chocolate goodness in my mouth. I’m talking oral-gasms of rich chewy chocolate goodness - a sybaritic sensation of fudgey joy dancing a tarantella as it journeyed down my throat.
It is ungodly cruel what a couple of week's reduced sugar intake can do one’s perception of flavor.
Note to self: have taste buds scrapped from tongue; cost of surgery will be offset by the aggravation saved in the long run.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tah Dah!

Most people have a ‘ta dah’ point when something tips them over the edge. I had one a few weeks ago. A new vest I ordered off the Internet fit far more snugly than it ought, especially considering that I ordered it in a size roughly equivalent to the girth of Jupiter.

I was horrified; felt myself tipped over a dreadful precipice of admission - I have become… uh... increasingly ample. You know what I mean.

In the past decade my weight remained static, or at least seemed so to me. I gradually built up a wardrobe of comfy clothing that I like. Then I had the BIG ACCIDENT, which resulted in my having snapped my ACL ligament in my right knee. Post-accident I stopped whatever exercising I had been doing - walking and using my treadmill - but my eating habits remained the same. No surprises there.

That brings me back to the vest; a marvelous, cream colored, faux sheepskin lined, pocketed & hooded vest which is so cute I squeal every time I look at it. I ordered it in 'my' size but to zip it up I had to suck in my gut and turn blue. The aggravation! That was the 'ta dah' moment that pushed me over the edge - decided I must do something.

My concession to girth challenges are two:

1. I may eat anything I like, as long as I write it down.

That may not sound like much of a concession but happily, doing so pretty much halved the amount of calories entering my vast untamed maw. I'm apparently too vain to eat some things some things if I must record it on paper. The spiral bound journal I log my chow in is adorable; has lovely feathers all over the covers and pretty lined paper. I'm into esthetics.

2. I
exercise a minimum of 30 minutes, 3 times a week.

That's the full extent of my new routine – write it down, work it off. No big changes there, but the pounds ounces are just pouring trickling from my ample arse.

Progress report: my adorable vest can be zipped up & within its admitedly still snug grip I do not feel quite as much like a ten-pound sausage in a 2-pound skin.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Turkey Day

Had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends. At one time I gave consideration to flying to Atlanta for a family reunion over the Thanksgiving weekend. My Uncle Calvin and Aunt Cynthia and some cousins live in Atlanta, and I've never been. However, I am a tightwad. I thought I could fly free using my American Airline miles but soon discovered the milage dissolved back in March, so I gave up the idea of a long distance Thanksgiving. I am sick with fretting over my long hoarded fifteen thousand miles. Had I realized they were soon to elapse, I would used them up or at the very least I could have donated them to charity. Damn, damn, double damn.

Still, Thanksgiving in Sacramento was loverly. It was also our smallest ever - just Rick, Mommy Nancy, their boys Diego and Adan, friends Mark and Fran from Grass Valley and myself. Oh, and Tippy, the dog. There was enough food to feed two or three times the number of our gathering - how blessed are we, eh?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

!

Today was the antithesis of yesterday. The day before Thanksgiving and Christmas are always dead days at the office. But while many coworkers take the day off for traveling to holiday destinations, I ususally come in because we're always released early anyway - why waste the vacation hours? Today was remarkable - they released the hounds! released us from CalEPA at the earliest I can ever remember - 2:30.
Hurrah!

Normally we're lucky if we get off by 4:00. Suspect Governor Ah-nee may have been in a generous mood due to his recent reelection. If he knew how I voted I'd still be downtown. Anyway, I shot out the office beelineing it to Curves to get that the eff over with. They closed at 4:30 today, my normal quit time so I thought I wasn't going to go today.

So there I was tonight, post exersion, collapsed on the couch - a knock at the door. It was my neighbor Chrissy - new resident from the other side of the Great Wall of China*. She gave me the most adorable little ceramic loaf pan with a homemade sweet bread, probably pumpkin. Isn't it adorable? Wasn't that totally sweet of her? Am filled with low-fat, 2% milk of human kindness!



* Great Wall of China: the ten foot high fence between my property & property next door by former neighbors. Have long held opinion that old, damaged 6 foot fence was replaced by massive TEN FOOT HIGH fence due to former neighbor's opinion that I and my kind needed to be fenced off, much as the first Emperor of China erected the Great Wall of China to block the onslaught of the Mongol hordes. I mean h
onestly - just once, on a hot summer day, you let a friend scamper naked in your back garden, accidently observed by former grumpy neighbors over the 6 foot fence and your reputation is marred for life!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Target Practice

Heh... interesting day for repelling humanity; electronic and otherwise.

Made a random email comment to group at work about an amusing spam which resulted in my being bombarded by a genuine troll - my first! After several volleys very-nearly-nasty comments from the troll I recommended he take a laxative and chill. Astoundingly, he agreed a laxative for himself might be indicated. I wonder if that got him off in manner of a sicko?

Then after work this evening, discovered a note on my car, chastising me for using up THREE (yes, you heard it here - THREE) parking spaces I was informed, that might have been used by other cars had I not mis-parked.

Stared at my Honda; stared at the parking space.

THREE
spaces?
This morning I had been a hurry to abandon car & leap onto the shuttle bus, and yes, it was pitch dark so could not easily see faded white lines and to ramble on, this morning I did not perform the cleverest of my parking efforts, but honestly! The notewriter had taken a bit of imagination to credit me with a three full parking spaces. And come to that, the parking lot is at best only 1/2 full on a busy day and just prior to Thanksgiving the lot is barely 1/4 full so no one was expelled from the lot by my mis-parking adventure.


Must conclude that today I was broadly mistaken as having a large target glued to my forehead.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

#@$%!


Rats. Saturday night Oliver!, the second play in my season ticket for the Davis Musical Theater Company. My play-buddy Cornetta had an emergency so couldn't attend. I found myself musing over who to invite to use up the un-partnered ticket. I attempted to invite musical loving buddies that being Mommy Nancy and Karen, but neither were available. I went to Oliver! solo.
Tonight was the first play for my season's ticket to the Davis Musical Theater Company. I love the Davis Theater. The actors are engaged from volunteers in the Davis community so it is like unto that box of chocolates Forest Gump carries on about, i.e., you never know what you're going to get.
What I got was Bumble, Mrs Bumble, Artful Dodger and Fagin as polished singers with, I am sure, as much singing voice, projection, humour and moxie as in any divas Broadway. The lead, Oliver, was an appropriately rail thin 13-year old with a sweet voice that could blend in nicely with any choir boy of the Austrian Boy's choir.

To the reverse, the very white-bread gentleman who played Mr Brownlow would have been out of his league if he was in a non-speaking role of a kindergarten class's rendition of The Little Engine that Couldn't Could (not if you tied it up with a freakn' bow).

Suffice to say the play was enjoyable and ditto to say it would have been more fun if I had a buddy to chat for the occastion, which brings me to why I'm blaspheming up a storm here - $#%#!!!!

Sunday night buddy-Jeannie called me to chat. She often as not rings me up to provide her with someone to chat with while she has a last smoke in her garage. Sunday night she called and as I told her about Oliver! it hit me - why hadn't I thought to invite her!

Ok, I know good and well why not. Jeannie has never been to a play or musical in her life, unless you count any school productions she may have been forced attend (tied to her chair, no doubt). I've longed to drag her off to the theater for ages. Saturday night would have been the ideal time haul her to Davis and expose her to her very first musical.

Honestly, I could just drop kick myself from here to Broadway. Had Jeannie gone to Oliver! and found herself enjoying the musical that would have been nice. But - even had she hated it - we'd have had a ball fighting over how lame it was/was not. There is no way we would have not had a great deal of fun.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Last Precious Hours of Freedom via 4-day Mini-retirement

9:51

Got up, put laundry in and mused in dejected manner that I have to fly to San Diego tomorrow for a work thingie on Wednesday. Don't want to go anywhere, want to stay home. Yes, cry me a river Claire.

Decided to do something different for breakfast - instead of eggs or cheese/fruit, decided to finally cook up a pot of steel cut oats. Have no clue why steel cut is better than rolled. If I had a choose between the two for myself, I'd rather be rolled than cut via steel. Ouch.

Put new pot on stove to bring water to a boil. Nose twitched - what is that funny odor? EEEEK! It was the paper label glued to the bottom of the spanking new pot. Ashes & smoke everywhere.
No bother! Paper burned away so no real harm done, didn't even take pot off stove. Stirred in oatmeal - when thickened put lid on. Five minutes pass. EEEEEK! Oatmeal boiled up and spackled surface of stove burner. Blast. Steel cut oatmeal had better fecking taste like the food of the gods is all I have to say. *fumes*

10:00 AM

Sat down with wholesome oatmeal, turned on The Wind and the Lion, an old epic featuring Sean Connery & Candice Bergan. Love the old movie. Love Sean Connery then, now. Oatmeal = yum.

11:30 AM

Took off to Curves for 2nd visit of the week. I require three visits per week. Will go again on Thursday. The routine already feels obligatory; and that is a good thing.

2:00 PM

Back from Curves. Collapsed on couch. Slept like the dead.

4:15 PM

Time to do laundry & pack for trip to San Diego.

8:45 PM

Bags are packed. Ready to go.

It is amazing how easy it was to go for a gym workout if you haven't spent the previous 8-9 hours sitting at a desk and haven't spent 2 hours of the day commuting. Not so amazing it is fun to be done with the exercising to come home and collapse on the couch.

Mini-retirement was a success. Tomorrow it is back to the real world. Drat.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mini-retirement - Day 3

8:40 AM

Blast! Got up too late to watch CBS Sunday Morning. I was up till 1 AM which never would happen if I were not retired. I am allowing myself the luxtury of reverting to my night owl ways for my mini-retirement.

9:04 AM

Am doing something I haven't done in years - I'm keeping a food journal. Not because I am on a [fill in the 'D-word' here], but because it forces me to think about what goes in my mouth. I'm continuing to eat my usual healthy stuff. I'm totally slipping on my campaign to drink a minimum of 5 glasses of water per day. Even being at home hasn't gotten past more than three glasses per day and that is not enough. Anyway, here I am, a whole day for myself... what do I feel like doing?

11:00 AM

Bored. Ought to make phone calls but as usual I am not making them. I have no clue why I don't call people, particularly family. I'm fine when going for visits, but calling just doesn't happen. My medium is either face-to-face, the Internet, i.e., e-mail or Internet forums, this blog and such. I love chatting so why don't I love picking up the phone?

5:45 PM

Can't say I got nothing done today - I cut and sewed curtains for that last window in my bedroom and I made a nice go of it thankyouverymuch. Still I was bored so decided a trip out was the only thing for it.

Thanksgiving will be at Mommy Nancy's & Rick's this year; small crowd, Fran & Mark, Ingrid. Really small and I will be free to go to the State Indian Museum on Friday or Saturday to help out with the Thanksgiving weekend arts & crafts sale. Everyone loves if I prepare 'my' speciality - Sugar Pumpkins baked with a filling of bison (yes, real buffalo meat) and wild rice. Really a showy dish and what everyone loves it combines foods that were on the continent pre-Europeans. Unfortunately, that means I have to find suitable Sugar Pumkins and some years - like this one - it just doesn't happen. The pumpkins at Corti Brothers gourmet market were for carving, not eating (and they were HUMONGOUS.). And Whole Foods had Sugar Pumpkins but they were the size of freakn' apples - way to small to be of any use. Damn, damn, damn. Will have to use some other cool recipe from my Spirit of the Harvest cook book.

Anyway, I decided my outing out would be to hit Corti Bro & Whole Foods in search of pumpkins. How can explain how dangerous shopping at those two stores are? Their prices are as spectactular as their produce sections. If a Pink Lady apple costs 50 cents at a Safeway market, the same apples are bound to cost a buck fifty each at Whole Foods. Food at Corti Bro & Whole Foods are as incredible as they are expensive. You want venison, fresh chantrelle mushrooms, imported Bel Pase cheese or double chocolate stout from a little known micro beer brewery? You know where to go. I spent the afternoon perusing the aisles at those markets and I did good - not totally breaking the bank.

Honestly, I am THRILLED that Whole Foods charges so much for their baked goods. My choice there is 'pay the mortgage this month' or 'buy cheesecake at Whole Foods': I can't afford to do both. If Whole Foods ever drops the prices of its goodies I am doomed; will be featured on a medical channel undergoing surgery to remove my entire digestive tract & replacing my throat with a padlock.

Is nice being retired for a few days. Plan to sit up past 11 o'clock so as to watch South Park. Tee hee! *Nibbles on lovely fresh tuna and salmon sushi (Whole Foods) that will be followed up by a rose-flavored Turkish Delight (Corti Brothers)*

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mini-retirement - Day 2

3:16 AM

Woke in freakn' middle of freakn' night. Hate that - but since I'm retired it was ok! Turned on lights and read for a bit, after all when one is retired one can do whatevertheef one feels like, whenever. HAHAHAHA! Am mad with the sudden power over my life.

7:23 AM

Woke. Stripped bed, preparatory to laundering sheets. Did dance of joy (in my head). Took shower. Decided deserved lovely facial scrub so got out of tub, grabbing lovely Philosophy microdermsomething facial scrub. Took about 30 seconds of scrubbing to realize was scrubbing face, not with lovely Philosophy microdermsomething face scrub but scrubbing face with Philosphy 'Soul Owner' exsfolliating foot cream with horrifying salicylic acid. Remarkable the vivid carnation-red the whites of one's eyes can achieve.

Note to self: read freakn' labels before applying products. Right.

9:13 AM

Decided to go to lovely Farmer's Market for the specific purpose of purchasing week's veggies and nice bouquet of flowers to bring hint of spring into arctic-frigid household.

Humongous green BOOGERS! Is raining. Ah! Make lemons into lemonade by realizing nasty weather means I need not venture into the backyard to care for long neglected flower beds which admittedly is where I ought to be gathering my fresh cut flowers. Must find alternate method of brightening my surroundings. Green is colorful... perhaps a festoon of vivid boogers?

10:30 PM

Went to Mommy Nancy & Rick's house. It was the third Saturday in a row I've done so. Have gone there to meet with a few other women to discuss a chapter or two from The Power of Intention by Dwayne Dyer. Interesting book, stuff I've heard before. Although I mostly go for the socializing though I'm getting benefit from the book, i.e., can brag I have actually read a book.

Tonight there was no meeting but Nancy invited me over for dinnner which was, as usual, yummy. Key food note was baked carrots that carmelized & were yummy. I'm going to try more oven roasted veggies myself. Veggies = good.

Gave Nancy her second crochet lesson. She gets a bit nervous, something to do with expecting critisism when she was a kid. Teaching her last night felt like I was working with a skittish filly who is likely to bolt at any minute. Nancy did well tonight though, learning single crocheting. I'm hoping to inspire her on to knitting her own scarf. We'll see!

One thing I know about my ultimate retirement is I will have to plan social events or I'll just drop from the lonliness. I must have my alone time but too much of it is just that, too much. Oh, and outings! When I retire outings will also be a must on a daily basis.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mini-retirement

1:38 PM

Hurrah, am retired!

Ok, I'm lying. Am most decidedly not retired. Am taking advantage of four-days off by pretending I am retired for four days. Even though the retirement is pretend, it feels marvellous.

I went to bed late, got up late and lounged over hot coffee & fresh fruit. When I damned well felt like it I went to Curves for exercise. Stopped at a garden store that was going out of business on the way home but ought have shopped there at least a week ago if had any hope of finding anything of interest to me.

Mini-retirement is so far, so good.

6:03 PM

This afternoon watched lovely Antonio Banderas movie, Take the Lead. The man is too elegant, too attractive to be straight. Whatever his preference some woman, man, sheep, whatever, is quite fortunate. Hum.... may have to learn ball room dancing when I retire.

I was dreadfully sleepy this afternoon, entirely from autumn pollens. Lungs feel like I breathed in fourteen pairs of parakeets - lungs are tweeting & wheezing that badly. Stupid pollens.

8:45 PM

Damn it. My normal wake-up time is 5-5:30 AM. Refuse to go to bed early! Will stay awake until I have to pick bats out of my teeth!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Curses, Foiled Again!

Never fails - well, almost never. Nearly everytime I plan a little get-away, something comes up and my work requires that I travel - doesn't happen everytime I plan a trip, but damned near.

Last time it happened was when I planned my summer vacation for August - a conference came up in Monterey that screwed complicated my plans to get in a visit with my Aunt & Uncle in Pasadena - Grace & Elmer.

And now it happened again; no sooner had I planned a visit to southern California over a four-day weekend then two seperate workshops popped onto the horizon in Fresno and San Diego. Why fight it? Decided to skip my plans altogether in favor of driving to Fresno this week, flying to San Diego next week and staying home this weekend for four glorious days of doing whatever I damn well feel like doing. So much for driving down to San Diego. Instead, come December, I will possibly fly to southern California on my own dime.

Meanwhile, I prepare for a workshop in Fresno. I'm trying to come up with some sort of busman's holiday while I'm down there but honestly, what is there to do in Fresno? Not much of anything my lovlies.

Friday, November 03, 2006

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAsnortHAHAHAHA!

Watch this all the way to the end... it gets even better!



True tortoise Love. *sniff*

Oh, for those who need a translation, Mr. Tortoise = "baby oh baby"