Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thursday, June 07, 2012

A Happy Accident

The other day I commented on my Facebook page that I end up with stuff like bacon-flavored cheese because sometimes I reach out to pick something up and my hand doesn't coordinate with  my eye. I'll see something, I'll reach for it, and somehow my hand strays slightly to something else. Which, of course, I don't notice until I get home.

But it's not all bacon-flavored cheese. Sometimes I end up with something better than I intended. And that's what happened here. My favorite grocery store, Earth Fare, has been carrying one of my favorite Rieslings, Dr Loosen, for some time now, and I've made a point of picking up a couple of bottles when I'm in there. The vintner is located in the Mosel Valley of Germany. I'll buy any Riesling sight unseen from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwar region.

I like this wine because it's not too sweet and not too dry. I can't really tell you stuff like fruits you'd taste, because I kind of suck at that, unless it's something so obvious that it can't be missed. But this Riesling is just crisp and clean. I like it with everything. Literally, everything.

But this bottle? It says "Sparkling!" That was the accident. I swung by the wine shelves to pick up a bottle or two and noticed that the top was different. "Hm, must have changed that," I thought. I didn't read the label. I just paid for it and brought it home. So I was pretty surprised to see the champagne cork. It fizzed up wonderfully and buzzed my mouth deliciously. The best of both worlds! And $13 a bottle, too. It did keep the effervescence for 2 more days after I opened it (I'm the only wine drinker), that was an added bonus.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Don't. Just...Don't.

Low-impact packaging, non-toxic ingredients. Got to be a good switch for us, right?


First Taylor mentioned that he has been using dryer sheets because otherwise his clothes smell.

That made me think, "Hmm...maybe it's not me. Maybe it's my clothes."

Then Bob apologized for the stinky-ness of his workout shirt one day. "All of them smell this way now," he said. "Maybe I need some new shirts. They just don't seem to get clean anymore."

I threw out half a bottle of this stuff and went back to All Free & Clear. Re-washed all our laundry in hot water.

Problem solved.

Now, I do have to say, I switched to this one just because the packaging. For a couple of years I've used Charlie's Soap (image from their website), and loved it. I bought it at Earth Fare and it used to come in drawstring bag.

But the bags went away and all there was left was this hard plastic bottle.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Words with Friends (& Strangers)

I finally decided to try Words with Friends. I kept seeing Facebook updates from friends talking about how they just had to stop watching baseball to respond to Words. (Ok, it was one friend.) I hadn't even opened the application, and didn't know it was Facebook. I thought it was strictly a phone thing. 

So I asked my sister if she played it and received an enthusiastic "YES!" from her. She doesn't play it on her phone. Strictly on FB. I downloaded the app and asked it to find me a random opponent to create a game. And so JohnnyBravo76 entered my life.

And promptly blew me out of the water. 

So I set out to find someone who might be more compatible. Yes, I love to write, yes, I love words, but I pretty much suck at games. Anything with strategy is pretty much not for me because I don't have the patience. I'm also not very good at unscrambling words. Or so I thought I wasn't. When you play Scrabble in person, you don't necessarily take the time to move all the letters around and around. Mainly because your opponents tend to sit there and stare you, tap the table, sigh...there's a certain amount of pressure. But with WwF, you can just hit the "shuffle" button over and over, and you can take all the time in the world to respond.

So I started searching through my FB friends to see if I could find some people to play with. I quickly found you should avoid anyone who hasn't played in a couple of days. They probably were just trying it out and now don't play. So I tried my sister, an old college friend, my library director buddy, and a couple others. I also went to my friend Jeannie's house, helped her download the app, and sat and played with her. 

It turns out Jeannie and I are most evenly matched. I'm not really that surprised, since she and I have always had a brain connection...completing each other's sentences, echoing each other's thoughts...and I also am pretty even with Carla, my old college buddy. 

So far I have developed one rule about WwF. I don't use cheat sites to help find words unless:

A. My opponent is a "JohnnyBravo76," and is killing you by almost or more than 100 points.

B. All bets are off if I don't my opponent at all.

Yes, I have surfed through Scrabblefinder looking for words with J, but I have stuck with the above rules and not entered my tiles and board letters to put together new words (unless it was the JohnnyBravo76 game). So I feel a little righteous. For the most part, however, I have to say I've been able to come up with fairly decent words on my own.

I sure don't want to play with my baby brother Ted, though. Any time I've played Scrabble with him, he's just totally killed me. I can't imagine the damage he'd do on WwF. 

Saturday, June 02, 2012

No Shortage of Helium Here!

Today we are starting to clear out the downstairs rooms so I can paint and repair walls and woodwork. On June 20, our friend Mark will come and work with Taylor to install bamboo flooring. Mensa Boy thought now would be a good time to get rid of an old helium tank we've had sitting around for a couple of years. He thought it might be almost empty, so he filled a few balloons. After he got tired of that, he just went outside and started holding the nozzle down to empty it.

Friday, June 01, 2012

30 Years! Or is it 23?

Mensa Boy and I had our 30th anniversary on the 29th. This
year the answer to my question: "How long does it seem like it's been?" was "More like 23." he said it's because we have son who is 22 and he can't hardly remember what it was like not to have kids!
My friend Cassie and I made 100 cupcakes on Saturday and MB and I
handed them out I everyone as they left church on Sunday.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In Search of Fitness

So a year ago I quit Jazzercise for the second time. I just couldn't keep up. It was frustrating. I'd feel the energy drain away about halfway through the second song. And there I'd be...stuck for the rest of the hour, not wanting to walk out because that would cause my classmates concern.

I concentrated on yoga and walking, but it just wasn't enough.

Finally I asked Mensa Boy if he'd train me. He's been studying personal trainer programs with the goal of eventually being a personal trainer part time, or for retirement. He's fun and inspirational to work out with, and creative.

So we started at the little gym here in Indian Land. Right about that time I also decided to try running. I began following a couch-to-5k program. I bought some Brooks shoes that are intended for forefoot running and have minimal structure underneath. It was hard to start, but there was a lot of walking at the beginning with timed, not distance, runs. I ran on the treadmill for the most part. No issues with my knees or hips, I was working on the breathing. 4 weeks or so went by and then I had an issue with left foot. It felt just like it had when I experienced a stress fracture in the metatarsal a couple of years ago. So I rested it and began thinking about my options. I wasn't sure if it was the running or some of the things we did during the resistance work...step-ups, jumping, etc.

We hauled out my old Raleigh C30 hybrid bike and took it to a bike shop for rehabbing. I started to ride the stationary bike at the gym. Thursday I took my bike out for the first time and rode it 4.7 miles to the gym, worked out with Bob, and then rode home with him and the bike in the car.

Saturday I rode 6 miles and this morning 8.8. I like it. I'm using MapmyRide online to keep track of my rides. I can draw my route and it will tell me the mileage. I downloaded the app to my iphone but it doesn't work very well. It takes a lot of memory, which drags down my iphone 3gs, and it freezes up. The first ride I used it for, Thursday, it froze at .27 miles!

The only kink in the riding is my gears. I'm having trouble with the chain not hooking up completely in my 14the gear. I only use the middle 7 gears, and then I'm about to go down a hill, I switch to the hardest gear so I can pedal well as I near the bottom of the hill. The chain doesn't seem to want to switch well there and  I end up pedaling air until I either stop and slip it over, or switch around the gears until it catches. We took it back to the bike shop and they say there is nothing wrong with it. But it sure is putting a damper on my enjoyment.

We are doing strength training 3 times a week now and I can tell I'm gaining strength in my upper body. And I really haven't had too many fatigue issues. Just a day here or there.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

So here is a wobbly, poorly-narrated video of my backyard garden. This is mainly for my mom. Hey MOM! I got stuff growing!

Mac & Tom

One of my favorite food blogger, Elise of Simply Recipes, has posted a recipe and story about Buttery Tomato Pasta.
I'm a bit sheepish that I haven't done the same. In our house it's called Mac n Tom and has even fewer steps than Elise's. Boil pasta, dump in tomatoes. Sprinkle in salt, sugar, pepper, butter. Done.
I grew up on Mac n Tom. My mom would make it for lunch sometimes. I remember a period when we lived in Germany when we didn't sugar. I think Mom told us it "wasn't available" at the commissary, but I suspect it was expensive or she was trying to cut down on our sugar intake. It was also the traditional meal she and Dad fed the kids on Christmas Eve before sending us off to bed to wait for Santa. They would then have lobster. I still think of Mac n Tom on Christmas Eve, though we are more likely now to have our Swedish Christmas Dinner. Thanks, Elise, for bringing up that memory!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Uh Oh. Change.

I haven't posted here in months. Like...6 months? And today I decided to write about how I guess I'm not a runner.
So I went to my blog and lo! I'm no longer signed in! No problem. Hit the "Sign In" button. And here we are are! Blogger has a whole new look! And I am totally lost.
This immediately reminds me of that old nightmare people have where they go to college and their parents  move without telling them. My parents moved when I went to college. But they told me. They came and picked me up from college to help with the move.
So we pull up in front of this little house in Farmington and I walk in.

"Where's my room?" I ask.
"Uh...ha! No room for you. Dad's gonna build one in the basement. We thought you could sleep on the porch for a bit."
"No really? We live in Minnesota. It gets like, 1,000 degrees below zero in January. Might be a bit chilly out there."
"No silly! We'll have it done then."
And they did. I slept on the porch for the first summer I was home and it was lovely. Except for when it stormed. Then Mom would come bombing in there in the middle of the night, slamming all the combination windows shut.
I'll write about the not running later.