I Went in for a Tape Measure…

… and I ended up cleaning out the garage.  That husband of mine is sly like a fox, I tell ya.  I never did find the tape measure.

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I’m Loving/What’s Your Gadget?

I have not been doing a lot of crafting lately.  Ok, “not a lot” = none.  Jackson, the sweet little boy that he is, has been struggling with sleeping on his own, which has kept me up in the wee hours, and thus made me ready for bed every night essentially before it’s even dark out.  I have never been much of a night owl, but generally, before #3 child came along, the time after the kids went to bed has been my work time.  *Sigh*  I will get back to it again someday soon…

Anyway, I have been doing more cooking lately.  I have always liked to cook & experiment in the kitchen (it’s the cleaning up that I can do without).   Bill likes to cook, too, which is why, at Christmas time a few years back, I started a tradition of stuffing his stocking with cool culinary gadgets on which we wouldn’t normally splurge for ourselves.   And hey, it doesn’t hurt that I happen to use these gadgets as well (I’m selfish that way, but hey, I figure it’s a win/win).  In years past, among other things, I have gotten him extra-nice spatulas, silicon pancake molds, and a garlic wheel (which in theory, seemed like it would be really cool, but actually ended up being a dud). 

Last year, he returned the favor and got me one of the things I am now unable to live without:  my OXO Salad Spinner by Good Grips.  This thing has single- handedly changed the way we eat.  I used to never make salad, because I hated the washing of the lettuce, then the drying.  I can remember practially using up half a roll of paper towels just to dry off a head of lettuce leaves.  I’m not really one for bagged salad mixes, so it was enough to keep me from making it regularly.  Now, thanks to my gadget, we have it almost every day, and we’re probably a bit healthier for it. 

I realized the other day that there is another kitchen device that I have become completely dependent on:  my garlic press.  I tend to go a little nuts when it comes to garlic.  If a recipe calls for 2 cloves, I’ll most likely put in six.  Yeah…. maybe this is why I don’t have more friends.  When we first got married,  I was lucky enough to recieve a really nice press for my bridal shower, and I have been using it ever since.  In my opinion, not all garlic presses are created equal.  Again, I have to hand it to OXO for creating something that is comfortable and doesn’t take the strength of a sumo wrestler to use.  The problem?  After 7 years of use, it finally pressed its last clove and went to that great garlic farm in the sky.  The funny thing is, it didn’t break at the joints, or some other place that would make sense, but the actual metal broke right in half!  And this wasn’t some flimsy little garlic press, it was heavy-duty.  The point where it broke had to be at least a half inch thick.  I guess I don’t know my own strength, yuck, yuck. 

Anyway, believe it or not, I did have a backup (I know… it’s sick).  I scoured through my drawers and found it:  the lesser press.  The red-headed stepchild of the garlic pressing world.  No rubberized handles.  No comfort grip.  If I put more than one clove in at a time I basically have to jump on the thing to get it to press.  Now, you may be wondering why I don’t just buy minced garlic in a jar?  This is where I get all persnickety:  jarred is just not the same as fresh.  Yes, I am a garlic snob– and chopping it won’t do, either.

I do feel somewhat guilty, in these economic times, when people are losing their jobs and having trouble putting food on the table, getting all fussy about a garlic press.  But it could be worse, I could be addicted to Gucci (I’m not judging, I’m just sayin’, garlic is a little easier on the wallet).  As I’ve been ‘suffering’ these past weeks with an inferior garlic press, I’ve been thinking–  Does anyone else have a gadget, etc. that they have come to depend on?  I’m not necessarily talking about cooking instruments, just something that you can no longer live without?  If so, please share, I’d love to hear.

A Full Tank and some A.D.D.

I hate stopping for gas.  I know it only takes a few moments, but I am impatient, and I don’t like to have to stop what I’m doing or where I’m going.  I knew I should’ve filled up the other day at Sam’s Club, but truly, if I can squeeze a few more days out of my tank, I will.  Plus, at the time, there was a hot pizza intoxicating us all with it’s warm, cheesy aroma.  There would be no unnecessary stopping.

The next day, I was blessed with some childcare, which afforded me some precious gym time before I had to pick Max up at preschool.  I was running a little behind, but still had enough of a window of time to squeeze in my workout and get out in time to for Max.  I pulled out of the driveway, and, ding!  The gas light went on.  Ugh!  I should’ve gotten it the other day.  No worries, though, there were plenty of gas stations on the way. 

Why is it always raining when I need to get gas?  The traffic was heavier than normal, but stopped at a red light,  I noticed there was not much activity at my usual stop.  Great, I could get in & out.  As I pulled in, I realized the pump closest to me had an orange cone in front of it.  No problem, there were three other open pumps, so I pulled around, only, they all had cones in front of them, too.  Crap!  Ok, not a big deal, I could just go to the gas station across the street.  Normally I would pass this place up, because it’s more expensive, but I was trying to save time.  Not only does stopping for gas get on my nerves, but paying too much for it does, too.  I am willing to pay more for certain things that are of a perceivable higher quality, but gas is gas, right?

So I pulled up, got out, swiped the card and started pumping.  I was in my little zone when I suddenly startled at the sound of someone’s voice.  It sounded like someone over a speaker.  Was the attendant trying to get my attention for something?  I looked all around to figure out what was going on, when I finally realized why I was paying another 8 cents per gallon. 

I looked up, and mounted to the top of the pump was a sleek and shiny flatscreen TV.  I guess it knows when someone starts pumping and automatically starts playing snippets from the day’s top news & entertainment.  I stood there in awe for a moment.  TVs at the gas station?  Really?  I can understand having them in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, but seriously, how long does it take to pump gas?  I know I’m impatient & all, but if I can’t stand there for all of 3 minutes, alone with my thoughts, without something to entertain me, then I think I’m in trouble. 

 What’s next?  TVs at the drive through window?   At the toll booth?  I’m no scientist, but could this be why I feel like my attention span is nowhere near as intact as it used to be?  I do think that greater and more responsibilities as an adult/parent add to my deficiency,  but could the constant bombardment of stimulus have something to do with it as well?  I dunno, but it seems everywhere you turn these days, someone is vying for your attention, with billboards, more extreme commercials, sensational news stories, spam, etc.

“Have a nice day, and drive safely”, the computerized voice said to me as I replaced my gas cap.  I had to stop myself from returning the sentiment.

Gym Wisdom

So, for the past several weeks (months?) I’ve been making an effort to get to the gym more.  My post-baby body has made it clear that it’s happy where it is, and it’s not going down without a fight.  Fine, I’m up for the challenge.  Never in my life have I had to work so hard at losing weight, but if a fight it wants, a fight it will get.

Anyway, after my recent running debacle I thought it best to stick to indoor activities for the time being, so I’ve been making it to my gym fairly regularly.  I have been a member at this particular gym since I was 19.  It’s fascinating to me that even though there have been long stretches of time that I haven’t been back,  I still see a lot of the same people that I did 15+ years ago.  

If I recognize them, I wonder if they recognize me, too?  I am definitely, ahem… curvier since then, and catching those glimpses of myself in the full length mirrors is at times both shocking and distressing.  Are these people wondering what the heck happened to me?  But wait–  a quick look around assures me I’m not alone.  Apparently 15 years of crunches haven’t done that guy much good-  he’s still sporting the spare tire.  And yeah- miss stair climber hasn’t changed a bit, still looks great…  But, whoa– what happened to all of that guy’s hair?   And I see that woman still won’t let the ’80 leotard and sweatbands rest in peace…

As much as I’ve changed from my svelte, karate-kicking days, I have to accept that 15+ years and 3 kids aren’t going to leave me unchanged without some serious effort.  So I’ve stepped up my time & speed on the treadmill.  It’s funny how some things never change.  Like, if a woman is on the treadmill next to a young-ish guy, he will never allow her to run at a faster pace than him.  Even if this means he will be hacking and cramping later, guy pride dominates.   Speaking of treadmills, another unspoken “rule” of which I’ve been recently reminded (the hard way)– never, EVER, under any circumstances, breathe in through your mouth if someone is on the treadmill next to you, or even in your vicinity.  Especially if they look like the type of person who *may* have had burritos for lunch.  (side note, and this probably goes without saying:  Never, ever have burritos for lunch the days you plan on going to the gym.)

Another good rule to live by:  Don’t wear pants in a color that shows your sweat marks if you plan on doing any kind of hip adductor machine (the one that has you spread eagle for the world to see).   Unless you’re into displaying how much your crotch sweats, of course…. which then, by all means, go for it.  However, if you’re not into seeing other people’s crotch sweat (or other fun stuff, if they’re wearing, say, short shorts) then it might be a good idea to look anywhere but in that direction when they’re using this machine or otherwise “thigh mastering”.

So, after a brief plateau, and realizing that those little snacks throughout the day really do add up, I’ve been exercising regularly and keeping a food journal and have started to drop poundage again.  I hated the idea at first of having to log everything I ate, but it really is helpful in so many ways.  Not only am I so much more aware of what and when I eat, tools like the calorie counter on igoogle make it so easy to see how things are adding up throughout the day.  Plus, it gives me the nutritional info for stuff that doesn’t have a label, like fresh fruits & veggies.  And by counting my calories, I’ve also realized that I can still have a lot of things that don’t seem like diet food, like pizza and london broil.  Do I sound like a commercial, or what?

Stretch marks aside, I hope to be fit and MILF-worthy by summer.  In the past month, I’ve shaved a minute off my mile, and I’m even considering doing some local 5Ks.  Take that, baby flab.  Now if I could only do something about the dark circles under my eyes….