Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Great Space Coaster!

Ok, I can't take credit for this one. My BFF Tod introduced this to me. I have been looking for the perfect coaster for quite a long time now. I have tried wood ones, stone ones, plastic ones, metal ones, and nothing worked. I always wound up with more condensation from the glass than the coaster could handle. That always led to a watery mess on my desk. So, I found this at Tod's house.

My coaster progression. Metal, stone, to felt and foam!
These are those pads you buy to slide heavy furniture on smooth floors. I found mine at Ace Hardware, but lots of places have them. It's really the perfect coaster.

They are firm, so they have no problem holding the glass. The felt soaks up all of the condensation on the glass. The foam base keeps my desk dry. Perfect!

My cocktails have never been happier, nor have I!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tis The Season

The new season of TV that is! All of my returning shows that I love are back. I watched Castle last night and loved it! Modern Family comes back this week and I'm still waiting for Happy Endings, Grey's, Private Practice and Fringe. Of course, Glee is back!

Oy! Dodge Ball…always turned into Smear The Queer for me!
I enjoyed the first episode of season 3. Sue Sylvester is back to her mean self and Blaine is now a student at McKinley High. Who could ask for anything more? I'm sure I could ask for a lot…but I'll wait for a few more episodes before I get Glitchy (Glee Bitchy, that is)

So, let's talk about the new shows that I am excited about this year. First up is Ringer starring the spectacular Sarah Michelle Geller. It's about time she returned to TV.

Twins, as only she can play them!
I'm really enjoying this show so far. It's only got 2 episodes under it's belt, but I'm hooked. This is truly turning out to be the first strictly suspense drama I have seen in a long time. I can't wait to see how they peel back the layers of this onion to reveal what is really going on at it's stinky, tear inducing core. SMG herself has matured into quite a fine young actress.

Because I fly so much and miss the days when flying was glamorous as opposed to what it's become today, I can't wait for the premiere of Pan Am.

I so would have wanted to be them back in the day.
Not only do I LOVE Christina Ricci, but the idea that getting on a plane was something people wanted to do at one point in time intrigues me. I've also watched some footage of real Pan Am stewardesses critiquing the show and if all they can find wrong is that the girls hair is too long (it had to be above the jaw line) then I think this is sure to be a hit.

This one has me a little concerned. I'm all for reboots…but these folks are screwing with my impressionable childhood here.

Farah, Jaclyn and Kate they are not!
I used to have to beg my mother to allow me to stay up past 9pm in order to watch the original Charlie's Angels. Thankfully, I will be downloading this version to watch, so I won't have to fight with my mother about it. After 2 horrible movies, I think this concept deserves a chance at a reboot. I'll be anxious to see what they do with it, but I won't be sticking around past 4 episodes if it sucks.

Lastly, and I'm sure I've forgotten some…not that I have a lot of room in my viewing schedule is Terra Nova.

I loves me some Sci-Fi TV
How could I not love this show. It's produced by Steven Spielberg, shot on location in Australia, and involves dinosaurs! Unfortunately, I think all of those points will figure largely in it's demise. Sci-Fi has never done well on network television. (Hello? V!!!) I mean that is why we have a cable network devoted to it…right? So out of all my picks for new viewing, I think this one has the least chance of making it to a second season…or maybe even completely through it's first!

Once the others premiere, I'll let you know what I think of them. Right now, I'm going to re-watch Glee. What are your plans for new viewing this fall? Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Numbers Game

I got the call from my doctor's office yesterday in reference to my recent physical. Yes, since I became 40, I have done my best to get one every year. Considering that prior to 40 I hadn't had a physical since 7th grade summer camp, I thought it was time.

Not actually my blood. Kinda looks like Kool-Aid!

I always dread this call.  It usually goes something like this…
(Note: formatting may be off if your window is too small)

          Nurse: Hi, this is Trish calling from Dr. Soinso's office with your results.
          Me: Am I dying?
          Nurse: (giggles) No, Mr. JimNotMike, you're fine. Liver, kidneys, heart,
          all in perfect shape. (Which in and of itself is quite a feat considering how much
          I drink and smoke)
          Me: But?
          Nurse: (awkward pause) But, the Doctor is concerned about your Cholesterol
          and Tri-glyceride levels.
          Me: Let me guess…too high?
          Nurse: Yes, very

At this point I usually sigh heavily and retrieve the sheet that I keep my previous levels noted on. I should also note that The Hubby was in the room during this call and by the end of it he was getting quite a chuckle out of it. He gets a kick out of how I handle folks on the phone. (You should hear me with Verizon or any other service provider)

          Me: (returning with sheet) Ok, let me have em!
          Nurse: Your Cholesterol is dangerously high at 228 and your Tri-gly (my abbrev)
          is off the charts at 336.
          Me: So I am dying?
          Nurse: No, Mr. JimNotMike, but these levels are very concerning and the Doctor
          wants to get you on medications immediately.
          Me: Does he now?
          Nurse: Yes, he can call prescriptions into your pharmacy of choice today.
          Me: Yes, I'm sure he can, but I won't be going on any medication.
          Nurse: Mr. JimNotMike, perhaps you aren't understanding the seriousness of
          these levels.
          Me: Dear, dear Trish…I understand completely. But- (and now it's it my turn to "But")
          you know me well enough, after all the gallons of blood you have pumped from
          my arm, to know very well that I will not be going onto any daily medications.
          Heck! I finally just got myself off the darn Coumadin from The Blood Clot Incident.
          I'm not going on another pill.
          Nurse: I understand that, Mr. JimNotMike, but the doctor…
          Me: (interrupting) The Doctor obviously took no time to look at the levels from my
          previous physical. If he had and if you flip back a few pages in that chart, you will
          realize that these levels are drastically lower than the ones from my past physical.
          Nurse: (rustling pages) Why yes, Mr. JimNotMike, I see that these levels are better.
          Me: Yes, by quite a bit. My Cholesterol is down 30 points and my Tri-gly is cut in
          half…yes, HALF!
          Nurse: I see that.
          Me: Yes, and so do I! So, I will not be going on any medications at the moment.
          Nurse: I see that.
          Me: You inform the Doctor that he is welcome to test me again in 6 months or a
          year, and if these levels haven't continued to improve or have gone up, that I
          will be more than happy to discuss medication options with him.
          Nurse: I agree, Mr. JimNotMike. Once I show him these past results I'm sure
          he will be fine with that.
          Me: He better be!
          Nurse: Thanks for your time. Have a great weekend.
          Me: You too, Trish. Hope I wasn't too hard on you? (I really didn't)
          Nurse: No more so than usual, Mr. JimNotMike….goodbye.

So, how about that? It was an interesting phone call. A couple of things stood out at me. First, what's the good of getting a physical every year if the doctor isn't going to compare the findings? My need for medication was based solely on this year's "numbers". That kinda thing pisses me off. "Oh, look at that number, get that man on a pill!" Secondly, it was the Pill Push that ticked me off. I have worked enough medical conventions to see how aggressively these pharmaceuticals are marketed to medical professionals. I have seen the perks that they are offered to prescribe said medications. I have seen the seminars devoted to how the limit "numbers" are changed, through even more aggressive political lobbying, so that the medications are needed by more unsuspecting people.

Again, not my blood, or my hand
I don't buy that crap! Perhaps my cholesterol has always run kind of high? Maybe my tri-gly are directly related to how much I drink? Perhaps our Doctors no longer look at the patient, but at the money? Maybe they just want to sell more pills? (Ya think?)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Well, I just returned from Texas. Let me tell you…not everything is bigger in Texas! (Interpret that in whatever way you may like)

What is most amazing is that after 4 months of owning my brand new car, I have finally reached it's optimum fuel economy. Here is the proof! It happened today on the way back from the airport in DC.

Look at that 28 mpg! Exactly what was on the sticker. I had been told that it can take some engine use in order to achieve that mark. I just had no idea it would take 4 months!

What's unrelated and funny is that I keep getting notifications that it is time for my 5000 mile scheduled maintenance. Well at 3832 miles, I am no where near it. Apparently,  Toyota doesn't realize how much time my car spends parked in an airport parking lot!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Flava Flave

Once again, it's time to highlight one of my favorite things. This one is newly discovered thanks to The German Host Mom.

She was asking for bouillon, so off I went to the store. I've never been a fan of bouillon. I find it very salty and rarely does it taste like the flavor that it's supposed to.

In the soup section I found these Swanson Flavor Boost packets. They were on sale, so I had to try them. OMG, they are spectacular! It's a liquid, so you don't have to wait for it to dissolve. They have considerably less sale than bouillon cubes AND they taste like what they're supposed to taste like.

She liked using the vegetable flavor on salads and those spectacular green beans she made. I used some of the beef flavor when making my Mushroom and Swiss gravy. NUMMY!

The only product I have ever found that are better than these is…

They are spectacular. However, they can be difficult to find and are a little on the expensive side. Not to mention the fact that once you open them you have to store them in the refridgerator. I don't know about you, but I don't have the space in my fridge to have something in there just sitting around waiting for the odd moment I might need to use it.

The individual packets of the Swanson Flavor Boost can sit in your pantry forever waiting to be used. Then you use a packet and pitch the empty in the trash. HEAVEN!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Nobody Knows the Carbs That I've Seen...

…Nobody Knows The Sorrow!

OK, so it's been 4 days of little or no carbs. By "Little or No" I mean less than 5 grams of carbs a day. It hasn't been too terrible. I will also thank myself in 2 weeks while I am bound and corseted.

I came home on Tuesday evening and extricated all of the high carb food The German Host Mother had prepared. Thankfully they took the cheesecake with them to PA. I think tears might have been involved had I been forced to throw it out. I figured, they are gone for a week. No leftovers are going to still be good by the time they return.

I went to the grocery store and bought eggs, bacon, sausage crumbles, chicken, pork, milk (for my protein shakes) and returned home to fashion it all into pre-made meals that all I would have to do is nuke. I fried up the bacon, all the while Molly sat at the stove expecting a piece of it to commit suicide over the edge of the pan…didn't happen. Once the bacon was done, I emptied all but a tiny bit of it's delicious grease out of the pan and proceeded to scramble a dozen eggs. To those I added a can of Rotel tomatoes, the sausage crumbles and a little bit of shredded cheese I had in the fridge. Once finished I divided my breakfast concoction into 4 equal servings and placed 2 pieces of bacon with each. They nuked up great at work, the bacon got all crispy, just like I like it. My coworkers were a little jealous of the breakfast smell coming from my pod.

Once I had breakfast out of the way I moved onto my lunch and dinner combinations. I sliced the pork and chicken into thin slices and threw them each into a frying pan. Out of my "Pantry of Wonder" I took a bottle of Romano Cheese Caesar Salad Dressing and a bottle of Sun-dried Tomato Salad Dressing. The pork got the Caesar and the chicken got the Tomato. I let them sauté and cook for a good long time to tenderize. My house smelled sooooooo good. Molly will testify. As the cooking time ended I added a generous dollop of sour cream to the pork and sizable handfull of fresh basil to the chicken…NUMMY! I had some of the pork for dinner than night. NUMMY NUMMY!!!! The rest was equally divided up and I added some sautéed spinach and some sautéed asparagus to each. No carbing does not mean no veggies!

That lasted me all week. I had the last "breakfast" for lunch today since I woke up late. Tonight I think I am going to fashion my own Mushroom & Swiss Burger and see if I can match the ones at Hardee's. No bread or bun, of course. A burger becomes so classy when you have to eat it with a knife and fork. I pretend it's a fine steak.

So…I know what you're thinking. "Don't you go to Texas tomorrow? How will you ever manage to continue this No Carbing while there???" Well, let me tell you, it's not as hard as one might think. No Carbing on the road is a simple matter of no potatoes, no bread, no pasta…and no dessert. So, when I get my breakfast sandwich in the morning, I simply peel off whatever bread is on it and grab a knife and fork. At lunch, the same goes for whatever sandwich I might choose. Dinner can be trickier simply because some places are soooooo against substitution. I typically will just order 2 veggies with my protein instead of something like a baked potato or fries. Surprisingly, my past few trips, I have started to notice a trend in some restaurants. They actually specify lower carb options on their menus. One place had what they called a "Naked Burger" and "Naked Chicken" with no bun but all the low carb toppings you could stack on it.

As the nation starts to realize that bad carbs really are the problem, I think we will see more and more options for less of them when dining out. I have to say the hardest thing that past few days is that I notice carbs EVERYWHERE! In places I never even noticed before. There are honey buns in the vending machine at work! Who knew? I didn't, I've never payed attention to honey buns. The Hubby hasn't touched one cookie out of the ones I bought him at the grocery store. In the past I only noticed if the container was empty…meant I needed to buy more. I took note of the price of potatoes at the store the other night. I rarely take note of anything like that.

It's like they're calling to me…"Jimmmmm, EAT ME!!!". It might make me sad, but I will be strong!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The German Is Here!

The Hubby and I picked her up on Saturday from the airport. On the way home we stopped at one of the many farmer's markets along the route and bought fresh veggies and fruits. One she was settled in, the cooking commenced. I'm not sure how my body is going to handle all this fresh food and real cooking. The microwave hasn't been used once since she got here.

Saturday evening I baked a pork loin and The German Host Mom made a delicious salad of tomatoes and fresh mozzerella. Kevin even picked some fresh basil for it. Fresh green beans were cooked and then sautéed with vinegar, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It was all delicious.

Sunday morning The Hubby and The German Host Mom went to church. While they were away I enjoyed a little alone time and reheated some of the pork…again, very yummy. They arrived back from church, and a stop at the grocery store to announce that it was lunch time. The German Host Mom made a delicious salad, we reheated more of the pork and she had bought fresh strawberries which she topped with real whipped cream(She whipped it herself!) and almonds. Sunday afternoon she baked a cheese cake. It was an event and half attempting to convert the metric system to my backware. But it turned out spectacularly. I have had one piece with strawberry preserves and one piece with lemon curd. YUMMY

By Sunday night I had to make a batch of Ramen Noodles and Spray Cheese just to remind my body that I hadn't given up processed food. They snacked on leftovers.

Today, I awoke…ok, well after lunch time. But just in time for lunch. It consisted of a Carrot Salad. Corn on the Cob and ravioli. This woman can cook! I'm just getting a taste of what The Hubby enjoys when he travels over to Munich to visit. I just may have to make the trip sometime. (I know! GASP!!!)

Tomorrow (Tuesday), they are off on their great Northern Trek to State College, PA to visit The Hubby's family and then Buffalo, NY and Niagara Falls. So, I will be without the great cooking for a while and converting to a strict NO CARBS diet. I also head to Texas on Saturday for work, returning on the 15th in time to have 2 more days of great cooking before The German Host Mom leaves town.

The language barrier hasn't been too terribly bad. That was my chief worry. We have been teaching each other words. She teaches me the german version and I teach her the english version. There doesn't seem to be a german word for "Undie Night" tho…it did create quite a bit of laughter! Not that I'm going to retain any of this (except for das hund, because it refers to the dog)…but it's been fun.

Friday, September 2, 2011

We All Scream!

Hello everyone. Happy Labor Day!!!

In honor of the long weekend I have one more picture from the beach vacation to share. Thanks to Tod for finally getting it to me off his phone. And thanks to me for helping him do that :-)

Perfection in a cup!
Here is my favorite treat from the beach. Soft-Serve ice cream from the delightful little gay-owned ice cream shop around the corner. You can't really tell scale in this photo, but this is what they call a "Sissy Cup". Basically, it is the perfect tiny sized cup of ice cream.

I never feel the least bit guilty having a Sissy Cup after a delightful mean in Rehoboth Beach. No one should!

Have a great long weekend. The German is arriving tomorrow and I doubt I'll have anything to post until after the Holiday. Be well.