Monthly Archives: July 2011

Completing The Task

At the end of June, I became aware of National Blog Posting Month also known as NaBloPoMo.  Basically it’s a group of people who have committed to updating their blogs once a day for a month.

This is the badge for July 2011.  I was never able to successfully post this to the face of BCDC but have added it periodically for you all to see and get to know what I was doing.  Here it is again one last time.  Today is my last post for NaBloPoMo-July 2011.  I feel very good about completing the task.  Since starting BCDC I have been pretty faithful about posting everyday, but there were times when life got in the way.  This gave me a focus and I posted every day in July.  I also posted my updates to the NaBloPoMo site to share with others on the same journey.

I’ve enjoyed it.  I often talk about the need to focus, I think this has been a help with focusing on the things I must do.  I’m glad I decided to do it in July because August and September are going to be crazy.  Don’t know what will happen!

After Weight Watchers on Saturday morning, I came home to accomplish a few more things around the house. Leaving for Florida on Monday was a surprise and I needed to get more laundry done, etc. I’m feeling in control of that situation, just have to get my now clean laundry into the suitcase along with all the little incidentals I usually put on a list to remember, and I’ll be set.  Maybe I should make that list just to be sure… 😉  Now if I could just get someone to do the flying for me and I’d be all set!

Ralph and I were both hungry early because neither of us had breakfast.  A quick trip to Picasso’s fixed that.  Ralph got a pizza steak and I got my old reliable, pepper and egg sandwich.

With some American cheese on it…yummy!  This is such a filling and healthy thing to get at a pizza place.  I wish more of them offered it.  We needed to eat early because we were going to Ele’s for dinner to visit with her and Little Michael.

Grummy, Little Michael and Uncle Ralph.  FYI, Michael is not in the buff, just shirtless as he tends to be this time of year…he’s so cute! 😉

My semi-empty salad dish.  I almost forgot again…Yikes!  I had made a big salad of the leftover veggies in my fridge.  Knowing that Ralph won’t eat them while I’m away, Ele got custody of the rest of the salad, yellow squash, eggplants, tomatoes and green peppers.  I didn’t get the chance to use them so I didn’t want them to go to waste.  Ele’s a veggie kind of gal anyway, she’ll make good use of them!

Garlic and Oil!  One of Ele’s specialties!  Ele and I spend a lot of time trying to recreate the dishes that Mom and Grandmom used to make.  Of course there was rarely a written recipe which makes life more difficult.  This was one of Grandmom’s and I think Ele has come as close as possible to making it like Gram’s!  Of course, if Grandpop was here, he’d put ketchup on it! 😉

Little Michael’s first attempt at taking a photo of Ele Ralph and Me.  I think this one is actually pretty cute!

Take Two…Hmmm…I’m thinking I shouldn’t wear white…The photo is good though!!

And my favorite…

I LOVE this picture!  My two favorite guys together again.  They’ve been buddies since Mikey was a tiny little guy.  They have a very special relationship.  Very cool.

We had a wonderful evening with Ele and Little Michael.  Ralph and I were both pretty tired.  He came home for a nap and I watched an NCIS marathon…How is it I never watched this show when it first came on?  Glad I’m getting the chance to catch up on it!

Monday will be a travel day for me, so I’m not sure when I’ll have a chance to post.  I’ll be doing Twitter updates, so you can check those to see how things are going on Monday. 

Lots to do today!  Happy Sunday!! 🙂

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The Case of the Forgetful Food Blogger

In the last 2 days I’ve had 2 really yummy dinners…However, my brain was so addled that I didn’t photograph either of them!! 😦

Thursday night I finally got around to using the wonderful baked zucchini I had gotten at the New Berlin Diner on Wednesday.  I cooked up some brown rice with a few spices.  I really should have used veggie broth, but since I’m going away, I didn’t want it open in the fridge for that long without a chance to use it.

After the rice was cooked, I mixed about a cup and a half with the heated up zucchini and topped it with Locatelli cheese.  It was one of those comfort meals that I didn’t realize I was craving, but I was.  It was very satisfying.

Now when I cooked the rice, I have no idea where my brain was…I made twice the amount I needed but it turned into a good thing because I had leftovers.  Friday night I was trying to come up with something to eat.  I had no veggie burgers left, no beans left.  I found a Gardein chicken cutlet in the freezer which I thawed. 

A regular romaine, tomato, green pepper salad with the chicken cutlet added sounded good.  Then I remembered the rice.  In my efforts to try to clean out the fridge before I go to Florida, I thought I’d try something.  I added garlic powder, ground black pepper and dried basil.  I microwaved for a minute or so and added it to my salad.  I used the leftover Greek salad dressing also from Wednesday, added some sunflower seeds and of course, Locatelli cheese!!

I have to tell you…It was DELICIOUS!!  I had never thought about adding rice to a salad but it was just wonderful.  As I was eating, I thought that I should try this with quinoa because then I’d be getting some added protein.  Looks like there will be some experimenting going on when I get back from Florida!! 😉

So no photos, but some good news.  At Weight Watchers today, I gained half a pound.  Actually, it could be a quarter pound, but with their strange method of calculating…I don’t know!!  Anyway, I only gained a bit which was great for me. I was a little concerned I wouldn’t be able to hold on to last weeks’ loss but apparently I did!  Makes me very happy especially going into another trip.  Next week will be WW in Clearwater and continued efforts to stay on track.

My focus today and tomorrow is to get ready to leave on Monday.  I’m looking forward to this trip.  It’ll be great to see Gail and Alice again, but of course I’ll miss Ralph. 😦

Tonight we’ll be having dinner with Ele and Little Michael.  It’s always so much fun when he’s around.  He’s the best little guy.  That means there Will be photos tomorrow because you all know how much I love to take His photo!

I found one photo I haven’t used.  We have a cute little family of chipmunks living in our back yard.  They tend to move fast, so it’s tricky trying to get a shot of them.  Here’s one I was able to snag…

They are just too cute and I love to share them with all of you.

Off to see what my Saturday will hold…

Happy Saturday!!!  🙂

Putting The Rrrr In Random

Ralph and I spent a long morning at his cardiologist’s office while he had a stress test.  There’s lots of waiting around.  The good thing was I got to read while waiting.  The bad thing is I had to try to read while Let’s Make a Deal and The Price is Right were blasting in my ear.  I can block out some distractions, but…

Anyway, when it was all over (results to follow) we were both starved.  The Colonial Diner was 2 blocks away so that sounded like the obvious choice.  We both were in the mood for breakfast so…

The veggie omelette which had green peppers, onions and mushrooms with my side of sliced tomatoes!  Delicious!

Ralph in his lovely new shirt that I got at a thrift store on the way back from the chiropractor on Wednesday.  They were having a summer clothing sale…EVERTHING was $1!! How can you argue with that?!?  I got 2 for him.

Now you must understand that Ralph hates when Ele and I or Gail and Alice and I talk about our wonderful thrift store deals.  He thinks we shouldn’t talk about what we paid for things.  Mr. No Bargain Talk had at least 4 people at the doctor’s office tell him how nice the shirt was.  What did he do…told them that I got it at a thrift store for $1!!  Then our waitress at the diner complimented him, too…”Thanks, my wife got it for a dollar at a thrift store.”  Perhaps we’re moving him over to the Dark Side, or perhaps The Thrifty Side!!

I knew that my favorite little side kick, Little Michael, was visiting Ele.  I dropped Ralph off at home because he needed to rest after his stress test.  Here he is, the star of our show…

Playing an on-line Star Wars game on Grummy’s computer.  He’s very good at it.  I just love his little boy boney body.  He’s such a cutie!

Speaking of Grummy Ele, she always comes through.  I had been talking about how I wanted to get a grill pan to grill my veggies.  When I got to her house she asked if I had seen the present on my back step.  I hadn’t because I dropped Ralph off and came right to her house.  This was my present…

A wonderful grill pan that Ele got at Aldi’s!!  Gail had told me they had them on sale, but I hadn’t had the chance to get one.  Good thing Ele got it because there were only 2 left.  As Ele said, she didn’t know where the other one was going, but this one was coming home with her!!  So excited to get a chance to use it!

Ele comes through #2…I’ve been using a regular Mason jar for my overnight oats in a jar.  It works well, but it’s a little tricky eating from the small mouth jar.   I am now the proud owner of…

…a Wide Mouth jar for my oats.  So excited…I’m excited a lot today!  So, Thanks, Ele for my wonderful treats!! 🙂

Anyway I really am excited.  I’m going back to Florida to visit Gail and Alice.  In order to get the best fares, I have to leave SOON.  We have one weekend in the middle of August that is chock full of stuff and I didn’t want to be away too close to when we have to leave on our big trip in September, so Monday is the day!!  I’ll be away for about 10 days again.  I’m looking forward to going, but I’ll miss Ralph.  It will give him time, though to work on some things he can do better when I’m not underfoot.

Thank goodness I’ve almost completed NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month.  It’s not always easy to get my posts done when I’m away, I learned that on the last trip to Florida.  But I’ll be finished on Sunday.  I’m proud of myself for taking this to completion.  It’s been a lot of fun!

I now have a ton of things to do over the next few days so I’d better get to it. 

Happy Friday!! 🙂

A Diner I Don’t Know About?!?

To celebrate my success at Weight Watchers on Saturday, my lovely friend Eleni from my WW meeting invited me to lunch to celebrate.  I thought that was a great idea and we made plans for Wednesday.  I thought we’d go somewhere nearby but I had forgotten that Eleni’s parents own a diner and so we were off to The New Berlin Diner in, where else, Berlin!

I used to pass it on the way to meetings when I was still working.  I recognized it right away.  I never had the opportunity to stop.  So glad I had the chance this time!

Eleni with our little partner in crime, 2-year-old Yianna!  She’s SO adorable.  I think she was very well-behaved for a 2-year-old.  The big tub of crayons that Ya Ya gave her helped a lot!

Yianna with her Ya Ya, Eleni’s Mom, Mrs. Haloulos.  What a sweet lady!  Eleni gave me a tour of the kitchen and I got to meet her Dad who was cooking away.

An interesting item that Eleni pointed out on the menu,  vegetable and egg white omelette with sliced tomatoes!! Someone stole my idea!!  I think it’s great that they have such a healthy offering.  Great minds think alike?? 😉

The menu is extensive and there were a number of choices I could have had but I figured I should stick with my Greek Salad Tour of North America and have…Greek Salad!  Luckily, the menu stated there were anchovies so I was able to ask for them to be left off.   

When my salad came I had to stand up to get a picture of it, that’s how big it was!  (Bigger Than My Head??)  Chock full of all the good things you expect: tomatoes, romaine, red onion, hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, Greek olives and feta cheese.  No potato salad…:-(   Eleni was asking me about the potato salad that I encountered in Greek salads everywhere in Florida.  I suppose I need to go back so I can find out where that tradition originated.  Research is necessary! 😉

I also got to taste a wonderful side dish that Eleni’s Dad had just freshly made: zucchini in tomato sauce with dill!!  It was just delicious!

I learned something important during that lunch.  Greek families are a lot like Italian families…They like to feed you!  Since I couldn’t finish my salad, I was taking that home, but they also insisted I take something for Ralph (a turkey wrap with fries which he later declared yummy!) and a container of the zucchini. What a great time we had.

Dinner for Ralph was his turkey wrap, for me my left over salad.  I just realized I didn’t mention the dressing.  So many times when you ask for the dressing on the side with a Greek salad, it’s either too much vinegar or too much oil.  This was perfect and perfectly seasoned.  I still have some left which will be tasty on my next home-made salad!  I have to think of what to do with my zucchini!  Can’t wait!

You know it’s hard for me to resist cuteness, so I’ll leave you with one more photo of the star of the day, Yianna…It was hard to get her to hold still but this turned out pretty well…

It was a great time and a great celebration.  If you’re in this area, you should definitely go to The New Berlin Diner…It’s the Best!

I hope to get to see my own package of cuteness today or tomorrow…Little Michael is coming for a visit!  So excited to see him!

Happy Thursday!!

Beware The Lollipop Of Mediocrity

Ralph loves to do the Cryptoquote in the newspaper.  He does it every day along with the Celebrity Cipher.  He likes them so much that he tell me when we move to New Mexico, he’s going to have the Gloucester County Times mailed to us so that he can still get his puzzles.  Not for the local news from back in New Jersey that might be interesting to keep up with…For The Puzzles!!

I can’t figure out how to do the darn things and I figure as long as one of us can decipher them, that’s sufficient.  If I ever need to break a code, he’s my man!  When he finds one that he thinks I will like he shares it with me. 

I’ve always loved quotes.  Little pieces of wisdom from famous people and sometimes from people you’ve never heard of.  Either way they touch something in you.

One of my favorites has always been, “Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”  I didn’t remember who said that.  I just looked it up (where did we go before Google to find things like that?!?)  That was said by Robert Heinlein.  Stranger In A Strange Land.  I wouldn’t have guessed.

Another recent favorite of mine is a quote from Dennis Wholey.  I didn’t know who he was until I just looked him up…author, TV host.  Hmmm…Anyway here is his quote…

“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you’re a vegetarian.”  I think that’s rather appropriate for me as a vegetarian and a basically good person.

John Wayne is reported to have said, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”  I like that one a lot.  I always respected and admired John Wayne.  You can always use a good cowboy quote.

I think it will be fun if I add some quotes to BCDC occasionally.  I previously used one of my very favorites, “A house without books is like a room without windows.” Horace Mann, an American educator said that one.  I used that as a basis for a memoir piece I did for a class a few years ago.  I was talking about my Mom, of course!

Interesting side note to that.  There’s a catalog called Bas Bleu.  It’s for book lovers, selling books and bookish things.  I LOVE Bas Bleu.  However, about a year ago, they had a doormat in the catalog with the Horace Mann quote on it.  The only problem was, they attributed the quote to Thomas Mann.  In a very un-Fran like manner, I e-mailed them to point out their mistake.  The doormat never showed up in their catalog again.  I believe in giving credit where credit is due!

Here is the new gem that Ralph shared with me this week.

“Beware the lollipop of mediocrity.  Lick it once and you’ll suck forever.”  This quote is by Brian Wilson.  I can’t tell if it is Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.  Something tells me that it is.  I just know I love the quote!  If anyone knows for sure if it’s That Brian Wilson, let me know.  All I can say is, “Help me, Rhonda!”

So if “A picture is worth a thousand words,” I’ll conclude with a sunset.

I haven’t shared a sunrise or a sunset with you lately.  I’ve been awake for both a lot recently.  There just haven’t been any worth sharing.  Maybe that’s why I’m having this feeling of mediocrity.  I need more memorable sunrises and sunsets.  I’ve always been one to point them out to everyone else, making sure they notice.  In fact, I wrote a poem about that for Ralph once.  I could share that with all of you.  But no, this post is about quotes, not poems.  We’ll get to that on another day. 😉

Happy Wednesday!! 🙂

The Urge To Purge

The saga of the storage unit continued on Monday.  I had gone to the unit in the effort to open the door on my own.  That didn’t work so I headed to the office.  I got to the office of the Uncle Bob’s just a 9am as the office opened. Unfortunately for me a couple who was renting their free truck, arrived at the same time.  My issue took the back seat and the young man told me he’d meet me when he was finished.  30 minutes later he got there.  He was very nice so I have no issue with him, I was just frustrated.

Together we got the door open , which he agreed was stuck due to the humidity.  However when the door went up, it went off the track. 😦  I was actually hanging down over my head as I worked.  This also made it necessary for the young man to come back when I was ready to leave to close the door.  I now will be having a date to meet the man who will be repairing the door.  Not sure when that will be, but it needs to be fixed so that I can get in when I want to.  Gotta continue with what I started! 🙂

What I started was this…

The Great Book Purge of 2011~~  I decided that it needed to be done.  I remembered that when I packed up all of the books from my shelves on the porch and my bedroom.  I just packed, I didn’t really make judgements as to whether the books I was packing were ones I really needed to keep.  I got rid of some obvious choses…books I hadn’t liked but not a real thoughtful consideration as to whether they needed to live in my new home.

This time I did.  I wish I had somehow kept track of what I purged.  There were at least 8 bags in the back seat of the car.  I ran out of bags which made the pile in the front seat of the car necessary.  While I waited for the door to be opened, I had purged books from the back of the car as well.  There had to be almost 200 books. 

As I went through the boxes, I consolidated what was left into other partially full boxes.  I ended up with 5 empty boxes!! 🙂  I was excited.  The books all went to live at the Goodwill.  That number of books would have overwhelmed the Rummage Sale.  I probably should have taken them to the Library to contribute to the book sale, but I don’t think they would have taken so many at one time.  Goodwill was my solution.  It felt good to do it and it only took a couple of hours.  When I get back there, I have more to do, but I knew the books would have the biggest impact.

I was hot and tired when I got home.  I showered and spent the afternoon reading and watching the Phillies go down fighting.  Around 3, I got a text from Kristen saying how about a Barnes & Noble coffee date.  I said Ok and Ele was in too.

We were set to meet up at 7pm but on the way I got a text from Kristen.  Apparently one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey was having a book signing.  Now personally I think the people on all of those Housewives shows are a little bit around the bend and are not like any housewives I know in New Jersey.  When we got there we had to walk through a horde of people, all overly made up and overly perfumed.  I was choking just trying to get into the store! 😦

We found Kristen, shifted gears and decided that Dunkin’ Donuts was the place to be tonight.  When we got there, there was no one else in the store and we had a wonderful time!

Do they look conspiratorial??  Well, they’re helping me meet up with my new man…you remember him…

Captain America!!  My wonderful iced coffee, not too much cream, 2 Splendas=2 Points!  I love it and I won’t mention that again someone, not me had a donut!!

Tell me…Which one has the Donut Face???  I’ll never tell!

We talked forever until they were almost ready to close.  We had the best time as we always do together.  We’re hoping to do it more often.

Not sure what my Tuesday will hold.  There may be a date with the Storage Unit man.  We’ll see.  Whatever happens…

Happy Tuesday!! 🙂

Turn Me Over…I’m Done!

And thankfully, it seems that the heat wave is done, at least for the moment!  Just checked the weather, something I religiously avoid doing as a rule, and we’re only supposed to be in the mid 80’s today!!  Hooray for Us!! 🙂

Sunday started out with frustration.  I had gone to our storage unit with the intention of starting a purge.  No, no…the Good kind of purge!  I want to go through what’s in there, see what I can get rid of and possibly get rid of the unit itself.  Anyone have any “free” storage space I can use??  Just kidding.  But my problem was this.  I usually have difficulty getting the lock open.  That baby cooperated fully.  I couldn’t get the door up!  And of course, it’s Sunday…The office is closed…no one to help me! 😦  So I’ll be heading over there again after the office opens to try to get a handle on this.  Today will be a good day for it since it won’t be so hot!

After my frustration I came home, got Ralph up and going and I convinced him I was hungry and needed to be fed!  We were off to The Gateway Diner.  I had my new favorite…

A broccoli omelette with sliced tomatoes.  I’m really enjoy my eggs topped with the grated parmesan cheese.  I still get some cheesy flavor with fewer Points…OK by Me!

It was too hot to do much when we got back.  I decided I would read.  I was desperately trying to finish a book on which I wish I had NOT wasted my precious reading time.  A Visit From The Goon Squad.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan: Book Cover

I’m not even linking this because I don’t want to encourage anyone else to spend their money on it…I wasted a perfectly good Barnes & Noble coupon on it!! 😦  I actually would like someone I know to read it to see if they have the same reaction.   The reviews on Goodreads all seem to be totally positive or totally negative.  I know which group I’m in!! At least I didn’t notice any typos!!  However, I was so confused by it, I’m not sure I would have recognized a typo!!

Anyway, I finished it, it’s done!!  I went on to another author whose books I sometimes love and sometimes hate, Alice Hoffman.  Picked up at Goodwill for 49 cents (I’m still annoyed that they’ve removed the “cents” symbol from keyboards!!)  Even if I hated it, I didn’t waste much money.  Someday I’ll talk about Catcher In The Rye…paid 25 cents for it at a yard sale…I still want my money back!!  But anyway…

Local Girls by Alice Hoffman: Book Cover

Local Girls by Alice Hoffman… So far I’m really enjoying it.  It’s short and just what I need right now.  A book about people, with a good story.  Thank you!!  It’s an easy read and I’m almost half way through. 

Dinner was quick…had to get back to my Law & Order:SVU marathon!  Good old salad in my good old Big Purple Bowl.  Simple…romaine, green bell pepper, tomatoes, black-eyed peas (they’re lasting a long time!), sunflower seeds and reduced fat parmesan ranch dressing.

Very filling and followed later by a big bowl of the melons I prepared in the morning.  I ate that while watching The Thing From Another World.  One of my favorite scary movies!

Speaking of scary…I’m off to see what scary things await me at the storage unit!  Hopefully a helpful office person will be able to help me get the door open.  It actually reminded me of the scene in Silence of the Lambs, when Clarice is trying to get into the storage unit…hopefully I won’t find any severed heads!!!  😉

Happy Monday!! 🙂