Fooood

My department at work put on a three-day kids’ event last week, and between the prep leading up to it and actually working the event, my diet and exercise routine kind of fell off the rails. I tend to not eat when I’m busy/stressed, so I’d go all day without eating a proper meal, then come home and The Hunger would kick in. And The Hunger? It is not satisfied by healthy food. It wants carbs covered in heavily processed meats and melted cheese. tumblr_ln8ddo7XVZ1qawe6co1_500Also, Cadbury Creme Eggs.

So between that and my lack of exercise (I think I ran once last week?), I woke up feeling pretty awful this morning. I did a 25-minute cardio interval workout at home before work, and I’m so glad that nobody was watching but the cat, and I think even he was judging me a little bit. I decided that to help keep myself on track, I’m going to do a food journal week on the blog. If this kind of thing makes you stabby, you may want to skip out and check back in next week. And if you’re a voyeur like me, here’s what I ate yesterday: IMG_4763.JPGBreakfast: Oatmeal with stevia, cinnamon, and raspberries. I only eat old fashioned oats, because the quick-cook kind are mushy and tasteless and essentially evil in food form. Also, aren’t our new Target dishes pretty?IMG_4765.JPGLunch: Avocado egg salad on an English muffin. Between my pastel blue egg salad (thanks, Easter!) and those carrots that look like they have leprosy this was kind of an awful-looking lunch, but it tasted awesome.

Dinner: Cauliflower crust pizza, topped with chicken, a little barbecue sauce, onions, and mushrooms. And a couple slices of crispy bacon because Dave demanded it. I did not take a picture, because it would have required pausing between taking it out of the oven and shoveling it into my mouth, Buzz McCallister-style.

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Beat that, ya little trout sniffer.

All in all, it was a delicious day of eating, and I feel so much better when I eat good food instead of crap. Shocking, I know.

Fake Spring/Back Yard Plans

Every year in late March we get a week of gorgeous, warm, sunny weather. Everyone on the block pulls out their lawnmowers, we start prepping the garden beds, and I break out the fake tanning lotion because LO, WE HAVE SURVIVED ANOTHER WINTER. And then we’re hit with another week or two of rain, snow, and sub-freezing temperatures. Seriously, this happens every year. And every year I’m out there with all the other idiots during fake spring, rejoicing in the streets and buying $50 worth of flowers to plant, only to have them die two days later.

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This year I only spent $30 on a hanging flower basket, so I guess I’m making progress? It actually hasn’t died yet, which is kind of amazing since I keep thinking I should move it into the garage to protect it from frost, and then I keep not moving it because … well I don’t know why. I was going to blame it on forgetfulness, but I can’t use that excuse since I’m typing about it RIGHT NOW and I could have moved it twice in the amount of time it’s taken me to write this paragraph. So I guess we’ll call it laziness.

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Speaking of laziness, let me tell you about my plan for our back yard this year, which Dave will carry out while I drink fruity cocktails. Just kidding. (OR AM I?) First, here’s what it looks like now. Before you judge, know that what you’re about to see was essentially a big pile of dirt when we moved in:

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Beaver dam or pile of firewood that still needs to be chopped? YOU DECIDE.

We’d like to plant some sunflowers in that raised area behind the giant stack o’wood, which will hopefully be gone in the very near future. Believe it or not, there’s a little cement pad with a fire pit on it hiding behind all that wood, and I’d like to put a few chairs in that area for easy s’more making once the warmer weather hits. Mostly because I need to utilize my lap in order to assemble the perfect s’more without dropping it. (In case you’re wondering, the perfect s’more = honey grahams, a Reese’s cup, and a ‘mallow that’s been burnt beyond recognition.) Someday I’d like to find a way to put solar panels back here – it gets a ton of sunlight. However, the area I’m most excited about is the deck:

10 Deck 1

Hopefully the site of many future barbecues.

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Note to self: power wash the house.

My parents moved to Hawaii last month, and they left behind their pretty patio furniture set for me to use. We’ve currently got an old table and some plastic chairs out there, which I’ve conveniently not included in the pictures, as the table is covered in six months’ worth of dirt and an old candle jar full of cigar butts. It’s very chic.

Anyway, once I pick up the new patio furniture, we’ll just need a few things to make the deck party ready. I’ve included my top picks in a graphic, mostly because Dave is watching hockey highlights and I needed a way to pass the time:

Deck essentials

Railing planters  |  Solar Twinkle Lights  |  Melamine Plates  |  Illume Citronella Candles  |  Beverage Tub  |  Outdoor Turtle Shell Speaker

For the record, when Dave saw that beverage tub, he rolled his eyes and was all, “we already have a cooler in the garage.” So that is how this project will go. Wish me luck.

House Progress

It’s been forever since I posted a house update. Actually, it’s been forever since I’ve blogged at all. It turns out, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I want to. (Actually there probably are; I just choose to devote too many of them to watching shows about serial killers on Netflix.) Anyway, since I have today off work, I decided to create a little house progress report. Dave and I agreed when we moved in that we should tackle the inside before attending to the outside. So far we’ve replaced all the flooring (and portions of the subflooring/drywall in the kitchen where the dishwasher had leaked), painted the walls, fixed several plumbing issues, and built a little indoor bar area. It looks a bit different in here these days: Before and After

Dining Area

Our last major project inside is the kitchen – we bought a really pretty glass mosaic tile backsplash to install, and we will also paint the cabinets white and replace the counters with something dark.

Backsplash

This tile is so pretty I just want to stand around taking derpface selfies with it all day long.

We originally planned to do the kitchen last fall, but then I got a new job and a new car and the holidays happened, so it got put on the back burner. But now the kitchen is officially back on the front burner, and we are also ready to begin adding some curb appeal. We hope that one day we can stop avoiding eye contact with our neighbors, who all seem to have meticulously-kept lawns. If you’ll recall, the front yard when we moved in was less than ideal:

1 Exterior

Worst yard on the block? Very yes. Worst yard in the world? Possibly.

That was in August of 2013. Here’s what it looks like now. It’s not spectacular, but I think we can agree that things are moving in a better, greener direction:

Spring 2015

If you drink two beers and squint, it almost looks great.

Our original plan was to lay sod in the front yard, but thanks to the drought California is experiencing and the subsequent water rationing imposed by our city, we are only allowed to water the lawn three days a week. Sod is clearly not going to happen, since you have to water it twice a day for the first few weeks after you put it in. Instead, we’ve just been sprinkling grass seed and hoping for the best. It may not be lush, but it’s better than the scorched, brown “before” shot.

You may have also noticed that we removed the dead rhododendrons along the front of the house. It only took a year and a half of walking by them every single day for us to take on that task. At this rate we’ll finish our landscaping in about 2060, so we’re trying to pick up the pace. Other curb appeal projects on the horizon include:

– Adding flower boxes under the front windows
– Edging the lawn with river rock
– Planting flowers along the front of the house
– Begging Dave’s grandpa to help us construct a front porch in that area to the left of the sidewalk leading up to the front door
– Applying stone veneer to the exposed foundation (like this)
– Getting a screen door that doesn’t look like it was ripped off a life-size gingerbread house

Eventually I’d love to paint the exterior a different color, but unless I receive a mysterious inheritance, that will be put off for a few years. We’ve also got some plans to make the backyard more barbecue-friendly for the summer, but that project deserves its own post. Hopefully it won’t take until my next work holiday to write it!

February 2015 Playlist

I have a new Spotify playlist for you! Woo! I meant to post it earlier in the month, but then stuff happened and I didn’t. Story of my life.

Work’s been busy, and I’ve spent the last several weeks hunched over my keyboard writing various reports and applying for a super huge grant. I need music to concentrate when I’m writing, so I’ve been relying on Spotify to get me through my days.  A few weeks ago I discovered a playlist called Appalachia Rising, and I got all excited because my favorite music is the kind that sounds like it should be played over a montage of the Honey Boo Boo family skinning rattlesnakes down by the river in their underwear.

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Or, you know, a mountain man dancing with a raccoon.

One afternoon last week I was the only person in the building (or so I thought), so I unplugged my ear buds from my computer speakers and decided to blast the shit out of Appalachia Rising. I was enjoying a particularly loud crescendo involving multiple pairs of spoons and what sounded suspiciously like a guy beating two hubcaps together when a guy from across the hall walked in. I scrambled to turn it down the second I saw him, but I knew that he heard. I could see the judgment in his eyes. Not that I blame him – you kind of deserve to be judged if you get caught doing the white man’s overbite to a banjo solo, you know?

Anyway, I spared you (mostly) and only put one hillbilly song on this list. You’re welcome:

(For a good time, listen to track 11 while watching the man/raccoon gif. It’s magical.)

Dishes are done, man.

Exciting news: this week we made the final payment on our stove! Now that it’s a year old, I’m sure it’ll kick the bucket any day now. In fact, I hope it DOES break because I bought the super mega extra extended warranty. This is probably the most fundamental change that home ownership has made in my life: Pre home-purchase, I used to think warranties were for suckers. These days, I’d buy a warranty on a pair of used gym socks if somebody offered it to me. Because guess what? EVERYTHING BREAKS. Everything breaks, and one day you’ll wind up dying alone in the gutter because Social Security ran out and you spent your retirement savings on replacing the same kitchen appliance every three years.

Anxiety is fun, guys.

Anyway, we’re  being good Americans and celebrating our financial win by purchasing more stuff. That’s right, we’re getting a dishwasher! Whee! If you’ll recall, when we moved in there was a big gaping hole where the dishwasher used to be. We patched up the wall when we moved in, and we have been living without a dishwasher for the last year and a half. We’re basically living like pioneers.

Oregon Trail

I should also note that Dave is adamantly against this purchase. He seems to be operating under the impression that dishwashers don’t get dishes clean enough, and I’m under the impression that he is insane because SRSLY, WHAT? All I know is, if we don’t get a dishwasher soon I may resort to alternative methods.

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Like this.

However, it did occur to me last night that a dishwasher isn’t really a plug-in-and-go appliance, so I’ll probably have to pay somebody to install it. And if that process goes like any of the other home improvement projects we’ve tackled, it’ll cost 10 times what we’ve budgeted and will conclude with me plotting the best way to burn the house down and make it look like an accident. You may think I’m overreacting, but I’m not and here’s why: I looked up some diagrams online, and apparently a hose has to connect to the garbage disposal. And while we technically have a garbage disposal, it doesn’t so much dispose garbage as it does take up unnecessary space under the sink, thanks to the previous homeowners’ less-than-stellar DIY skills. So already I’m looking at adding “garbage disposal replacement” to the list of project expenses, and I haven’t even set foot in a store. Guys, a lonely gutter death is looking likely. I’m at least sure of one thing: I’ll be getting the extended warranty on that sucker.

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My buns, they don’t feel nothin’ like steel

Between  having a nasty cough that lasted an entire month and having lots of very important things to do (watching the two latest seasons of “Law and Order: SVU” on Netflix), I worked out a grand total of three times in January. Last night, I finally felt good enough to get back to it.

Instead of going to the gym, I decided to do a FitnessBlender video. They categorize their videos into levels 1-5, with 1 being easiest and 5 making me want to mail cat turds to the FitnessBlender headquarters. I normally choose level 4 videos, so yesterday I figured I’d do a level 3 just to “ease myself back into it.” Apparently I underestimated the impact of my month-long hiatus, because just the 2-minute warm up had me huffing and puffing. After the first round of HIIT, I looked like one of those people you see collapsing and pissing their pants at a marathon finish line, only instead of running 26.2 miles my grand accomplishment was  40 seconds of burpees. I may have to switch to something a bit more gentle.

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Like perhaps, this.

Pelvic thrusts, she wrote

Pelvic thrusts, she wrote.

Anyway, the good news is that I’ve been eating super healthy lately to counteract the fact that I haven’t been exercising as much.

Did you believe that? I didn’t think so. Case in point: my Super Bowl snack contribution consisted of a box of Cheez Its covered in canola oil and dusted with ranch dressing mix and red pepper flakes. They paired quite nicely with beer, cheese-filled pretzel bites, pizza, Velveeta cheese dip, and homemade whoopie pies.  I stepped on the scale expecting to be horrified, but as it turns out I actually lost a pound since I last weighed myself a month ago.

Britney Gif

I’ll be honest, my first reaction was, “YESSS, VELVEETA AND BEER 4EVER!” But since heart attacks don’t sound super fun, I’m resisting the urge to continue eating what is essentially the Honey Boo Boo diet. I eventually made it to the end of my level 3 workout without passing out and have a fridge full of veggies, so I guess that’s a start.

Oh Hey There

Things I did last week instead of blogging:

Worked, a lot.

Last week was a big one for my staff. We hosted our first event, participated in a two-day technical training for our grant project, and I started writing my very first grant application(!). I was kind of nervous when I woke up on Monday morning, but everything went perfectly. Someday I will learn that worrying is a big fat waste of my time. Just kidding, I totally won’t.

Scored this kickass mid-century sideboard.

Sideboard

A couple in my town started up an online auction last year, and mostly I just look at it and laugh at all the crap people are trying to get actual money for. Thirty dusty seed packets from 1992. A cast iron pot missing its lid. A pile of filthy boards titled, “Rustic Barrel Project: You Assemble.” But every once in a while I come across something awesome, like that sideboard up there, for which I paid a grand total of $43. The auctioneer says it’s from the ’40s, and it still has the original tags on the inside of the top drawer. Now comes the fun part: styling it. I’m thinking a cool lamp (like this or this), some pretty framed prints (I love this), and a few decorative accents will  make all the difference. (If you listen really hard, you will probably be able to hear Dave’s eyes rolling in their sockets the second he reads the phrase “decorative accents.”) I was thinking about painting it like this, but it’s so pretty as-is that I think I’ll leave it alone for now.

Reading.

Confession: I’m kind of a book snob. If you tell me you like, say, Nicholas Sparks, I will not necessarily write you off as a terrible person, but I will definitely question your judgment.

Nicholas Sparks

I’ve always kind of lumped Stephen King into the “overrated” category, probably because of his mass appeal, but I picked up “The Stand” a few weeks ago and SOMEBODY SEND HELP BECAUSE I CAN’T PUT IT DOWN. It’s so good, and now I’m totally kicking myself for waiting 30 years to pick up a Stephen King book. I only have a few chapters left, so I’m trying to line up what to read next – please let me know if you have suggestions. (Unless you’re a Nicholas Sparks fan.)

Shopping.

I was perusing the Anthropologie sales section this week and discovered this dress, which I obviously need to own because polka dots:

Maeve Orange Dot Dress

Only I went to order it, and they didn’t have any left in my size. After some sleuthing I was able to find it in my size on eBay for only slightly more than the sale price on Anthro’s site. Between this dress and the sideboard, I’d say last week was one of the better shopping weeks of my life.

I was going to wrap this post up with an eloquent ending, but Dave just turned on a Lifetime movie about stalking, and I’m powerless before terrible actors pretending to commit crimes. Happy Tuesday!