Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Burning Water

Last night I decided to cook some frozen black eyed peas I'd bought over the weekend, so I read the instructions and put some water on to boil. Now, this was the first time I'd used the stove in this apartment, and I don't know that George has at all. It started smoking a little, but I didn't worry about it, figuring it to be "stove schmutz" in the drip pan or something, so I went into the next room. George smelled it, though, and exclaimed, "Something's burning!" Gee, my first burned water! ;-) The peas came out fine.

I fixed oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon for breakfast this morning, the Quaker Oats in the cylindar box and not the instant (added sodium, which I'm trying to stay away from). (I had to add the goodies myself.) It was the first non-rice breakfast I'd had in many months, and it was a nice change of pace. Afterward, I fired up the dishwasher for the first time. (George has used it since we moved in, but I haven't needed it!) I had to find the Cascade!Funny how all of this feels so new.

Well, off to work!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things I Would Buy....

I subscribed to a weekly meme called 10 on Tuesday, and this week's meme theme:

10 Things I'd Buy if I Had a Million Dollars
(in no particular order)

New car with GPS navigation system
Digital SLR camera
Apple computer (laptop?)
Windows computer as well
Round-the-world plane tix for George and me
Local house, with room for a stocked home gym and library
Vacation home on a lake in the mountains
Sessions with a foreign language teacher (not sure what language yet)
Sax, flute, oboe, or guitar lessons
New wardrobe

Okay, so what would YOU buy with a million dollars?

Monday, January 28, 2008

More Signs of Domesticity

Okay, so I actually cooked "ahead" tonight, figuring out how to use Rice Cooker #1, a Cuisinart 4-Cup Rice Cooker. I put brown rice in, and later microwaved some broccoli to add to the rice. It felt pretty good to get that squared away, but it feels pretty basic too. I know I'll be sprucing things up pretty soon, but it's a start, right?

George had some comments to make, mostly about how rice should be steamed. It came up a couple of times, so I finally had to remind him not to rain on my rice cooker parade!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Grocery Shopping and the Kitchen

Although my last day at the Rice House is tomorrow, I decided to go ahead and go grocery shopping for the week ahead. It was an interesting experience, going up and down each aisle, thinking about nutrition, labels (both nutrition and brand name), portions, and even kitchen organization. I tried to do a little weeding out in our kitchen before we left, but when George and I got home from grocery shopping together, when had some more reorganizing to do. We started with the refrigerator and pantry, but we were both getting tired and a little hungry (and cranky), so we stopped. The kitchen IS better organized, but it's a work in progress, for sure. I feel like I'm finally making the kitchen mine, but in reality, George and I are sharing it. We moved in together last June, and I'm finally sinking my teeth into the kitchen. In all honesty, it's both exciting and stressful, everything like leaving comfort of the Rice House. It's also like when we moved in together last summer, both exciting and stressful then too.

I shopped at Food Lion (which was convenient) tonight, but I'm interested in shopping around for best prices and products in time.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

End of an Era

Well, after nearly a year and a half of going to the Rice House, part of the Rice Diet Program, for my meals, medical check-in, and some classes, I'll be finishing up there this coming Monday. I'm both excited and a little nervous about venturing out on my own in healthier eating. I have yet to cook a real meal in my current apartment, which George and I moved into in June 2007. I've been collecting some cookbooks and recipes, even a couple of rice cookers (both given as gifts). I've learned so much on the Rice Diet, so I'll miss a lot about the facility, mostly the staff, and some people I met there. I'm looking forward to getting some flexibility back into my schedule, though! I've been going in every morning for breakfast before work, taking my lunch with me (very handy!), and going back for dinner before I could go home for the evening.

I've lost over 100 lbs. on the Rice Diet, but I'm not at goal weight yet. I'm thinking about joining Weight Watchers to stay accountable and get ideas from meetings.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Oh, the Weather Outside Isn't Frightful!

While George and I were at church for a class, it finally started snowing this afternoon. These pictures were taken from the balcony of our apartment, after it had been snowing a couple of hours. The latest prediction is for 1-2 inches, not much at all, but we need all the precipitation we can get! Plus, it's pretty to watch. :) George picked up some wood on the way home, so we're looking forward to a fire this evening!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

George's Grandmom

Yesterday I had the honor of attending George's grandmother's funeral. She was one tough lady, and was 87 when she died on Sunday, after having a stroke Friday night. It was the first Jewish funeral I've attended, and while I didn't understand the Hebrew in the service, it was still a meaningful service. All four of the children, plus Papa, gave eulogies, then we went to the Hebrew Cemetery for the graveside service. There were some things that George, his dad, and his brothers couldn't do at the cemetery, because they're Cohains. For instance, they had to stay on the paved road in the cemetery, and they couldn't participate in the ritual of putting dirt on the casket. I did the dirt in George's place, which was very somber and sobering. George missed being able to participate in that part of the service, especially since he doesn't pratice Judiaism anymore, but he didn't want to upset his family.

I remember Bubby for often saying what she thought, and for always being a good cook. She opened up her home on Christmas night last month, when Tina had invited me (with George) over for Christmas dinner because she knew I was missing my family. Tina did all the cooking and took it over to Bubby and Papa's home, and I ended up having Christmas dinner with George, one of his brothers, his parents and grandparents! The food was good, the company even better.

Last night was the first night of sitting shiva, and it was the first time I'd ever done that. The prayers were in Hebrew, so again, I couldn't understand much, but I enjoyed the sounds and cadences. I also enjoyed seeing some people I'd met at other family functions, and meeting others who were new to me. It was touching to hear stories about Bubby from both family and friends.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Getting Things Done

One of my ongoing "New Year's Resolutions" is to improve my time management and become more efficient. This morning I tried a somewhat new approach for me, getting big things done early in the day. I checked off two things on my to-do list that I was dreading first thing this morning, before I even got to work, and it's made a difference in how I looked at the day. I got a variety of things accomplished at work today, and also took care of some things over lunch, like some banking and a call to my dentist to schedule an appointment for getting my teeth cleaned and checked.

Part of my motivation for the dentist appointment is a little vanity, I must admit. I recently swapped a Sunday with someone at church, and now I'm going to be the Worship Associate on February 3, which is sooner than I'd planned! My teeth really do need a check-up (I'm embarrassed to say it's been over a year!), but it doesn't hurt to have clean teeth for a Sunday morning service. I've also made an appointment for a haircut. :-P I really like putting my best foot forward on Sundays that I'm a Worship Associate. While looking good may sound a little vain, looking my best adds to my confidence when I'm in front of the congregation. I'm not sure what my roll will be that particular Sunday, but whatever it is, I want to be as ready as possible.

Now, the hair appointment, I'm looking forward to! The hair dresser I went to last time (as a new client) gave me a great haircut--I got compliments for days! My hair is pretty low maintenance (thank goodness!), but it's time for it to look a little more polished.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's a Tie!

A Junior League friend and fellow blogger mentioned a poll on her blog that had 11 questions about the issues to show you which presidential candidates best match your beliefs. I just took the quiz, and three candidates tied for first place on my list with 57 points: Clinton, Obama, and Chris Dodd, who's pulled out of the race already. I like the way the answers list the issues in agree/disagree columns, in addition to links to the candidates's websites. Click here to check out the poll for yourself. It'll be interesting to see how things go in the coming months!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Busy Week

I have four meetings scheduled for this week, but thank goodness one was rescheduled! Whew! Hectic week, especially on the heels of having two weeks off.

I had a surprisingly delightful visit yesterday with someone that I didn't care for previously. It was amazing to witness the transformation, to learn more about her, to find out a little of her impressions of me. It made my day, really.

Another nice thing that happened was that the person who led last night's meeting I attended had some fresh veggies out as part of the snacks. Meeting snacks are usually salty and sweet things that I can't do on the Rice Diet, so I really appreciated her efforts.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Vacation's Over

Well, it's back to work this morning. I'm curious about what's going on at work and am looking forward to gettng things done there. I've got a busy week ahead, with three nightly meetings, but it'll be fine.

Highlights of this time off have been:

*Time with George
*Time with George's family, both local and from New Zealand, Boston, and Atlanta
*Having George's brothers and cousins over to play Apples to Apples and Zombie Fluxx
*Visits to Raleigh and Clinton to do genealogy
*Running outside in the Brier Creek area with my new Garmin Forerunner , and learning how to plug the Forerunner into my computer to download my workout info
*Working on genealogy at home on
*Christmas Eve service at ERUUF

Friday, January 04, 2008

Winding Down

My two-week vacation is winding down, and while I've thoroughly enjoyed it, I'm looking forward to getting back into the routine of work and normal things. I didn't do any excursions this week, as I'd hoped. Today and yesterday were too chilly to enjoy getting out and taking pictures in the places I would've visited, and I didn't really want to go just drive around, with gas prices going up again. Good thing I'm not on a deadline, huh?

I have enjoyed working a lot on my family tree while I've been on vacation, though. Between trips to the State Library and the Clinton, NC, library last week, and a wealth of good fortune on Rootsweb this week, I've made a lot of progress, especially on my McLamb and Tart lines. One thing I've been reminded of is how important documenting sources is. Thoroughness has helped me out in other ways too. When inputting spouses of related people, I've been including parents, grandparents, etc., of spouses when provided. It's been fun to discover connections to some of those families from other sources. It's reminded me of the phrase, "What goes around, comes around." Never underestimate the power (and fun) of a sliver of information!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Still on Vacation

I'm still on vacation, and it feels guiltfully luxurious. This afternoon I did get some errands done, including getting an oil change and a new battery for my car. I'm thinking about going on one of my "field trips," but haven't decided which direction to go in. I'm thinking of heading west from Durham, but how far I get depends on how early I get started.

For newbies to my blog, I have a goal of visiting all 100 counties in North Carolina and documenting my travels with pictures and posts on this blog. Although I've been across the state before, I decided to start fresh with this pet project. I've dubbed it the North Carolina Odyssey Project, and I've got 5 counties under my belt.

I just had a thought--maybe down the line I'll include some videos too. I don't have a video camera, but I think the digital camera I'm using (George's) has a video feature! Hmmmm.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

George and I had a fun time bringing in the New Year with his family in Cary last night. (Relatives from New Zealand and Boston were also in town.) His mom had lobster for everyone, but set aside some fish cooked healthfully for me. Afterward, several of us played a game called Apples to Apples, that's a lot of fun. Every round, someone is the judge, and the judge picks an adjective from the card pile. The rest of the players, each with seven cards in hand, put down a card with a noun that goes with that adjective. To get points, the judge has to pick your noun card out of the group as the best. The judging is a bit subjective, so it helps to know the other players, as everyone takes turns being a judge. Sometimes you don't have any good matches in your hand, so you have to go with something random; sometimes going in the opposite direction makes it funny and wins you the point. This was a fun time last night, as various family members came by the table to watch or visit and laugh with us while we played, anc a couple of people even joined in on occasion.

This afternoon, George's brothers and cousins came over, and we played Zombie Fluxx, followed by another round of Apples to Apples. Fluxx is a card game where the rules change throughout the game, based on cards played by the different players. I'd played before, but never the Zombie version!