Category Archives: food

creative outlet

poetry
I realized the other night how much I miss writing poetry. Also how much I miss writing and drawing on my arms and legs. At some point I either tried to turn into an adult or got really worried about ink poisoning, because I stopped my former habits of temporary body art. But the other night I couldn’t sleep, so I lay in bed writing notes about myself on legal pads and writing poetry on my leg.

My poetry isn’t good. Neither are my blog entries, half-hearted attempts at short stories or anything else that falls even close to the realm of actual writing. Even my to-do lists make almost no sense and fail to follow a logical progression! But writing is necessary for me. It is what keeps me sane and makes me feel somewhat whole. I spend so much time in my head, writing is the only way to let those thoughts leak out somewhere along the way. I’m not dropping them off for keeps, but I am giving my mind a break from them. A much-needed one at that.

This has been a busy week, hence the late-night poetry slam. I met a new friend on Tuesday night and it turned into a 6-hour marathon of smoothies, Web development tutorials, semi-sweaty walking, mosquito bites and a too-late BFD at IHOP. I didn’t get home until almost 1 a.m. and didn’t fall asleep for at least another hour after that—insanity on a school night! Wednesday night was a fancy dinner at Frank Grisanti’s Italian restaurant for work. I ate WAY too much and ended up feeling mighty sick afterward. There were sausage-stuffed mushroom caps, prosciutto-wrapped shrimp, cocktails, chicken, pasta, garlic bread, tiramisu, cheesecake with berries, apple ravioli… That list in and of itself makes me a little queasy, actually. =P

levitt shell, memphisThursday night wrapped up my busy week with a concert at Levitt Shell, Memphis’ outdoor amphitheater next door to Overton Park. They have a free concert series every June with themed shows each day; this year it’s Americana, R&B/Gospel/Soul, Kids, Musica Latina and World Rhythms. Thursday night’s show featured local favorite Todd Snider and, on drums, my coworker and good friend Joe! =D Joe hadn’t played with Todd and the rest of the group for about 15 years, but after a single night of rehearsing, there he was on stage in front of hundreds of Memphians and other assorted guests. He did awesome, of course, and it was a great time. I brought refreshments for my group (Clay, Robby, Steven & Bryan – the new friend) and a blanket for a little added comfort on the grassy knoll.

After all this, and random inconsistencies in being able to fall asleep once I got home at night after these activities, my brain and body are both spent. I actually feel much more run down right now than I have in a very long time, so I hope I’m able to sleep tonight and wake up at least semi-refreshed in the morning. I have an insane amount of laundry to do to start off the weekend, as well as grand plans to clean, get some work done, possibly take myself to see “Up” in 3-D before it leaves theaters and attempt to accomplish at least one thing that’s been on my I-Want-To-Do list for the past several months.

Also, it’s hot. And it’s only June. Which means this summer might kill me. Last summer was mild for Memphis, so it’s like I’m experiencing a Memphis summer for the first time now. And me? I’m not all that excited about it. =P Goodnight.

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your arm band is black; mine is searing pain

I have no energy to write tonight (or ever, it seems) but I will give you what I can…

My right arm is killing me. I had this same problem in my left arm in the post-pneumonia weeks, but it wasn’t as severe and went away fairly quickly. The new right-arm situation started just yesterday or the day before, but it’s much worse. I don’t need to swing my arm for it to happen — it happens with the slightest motion. Sort of a burning/tearing sensation just below the skin. Common sense, WebMD and my coworkers say it sounds nerve related, but I have no official diagnoses to back that up, hence a trip to the doctor on Saturday at noon for what will probably amount to a referral. I’m going to make a list of my other ailments between now and then just to make sure I get my full office visit’s worth out of it. Hopefully it won’t cost me $200. If I could wash my hair without excruciating pain, I wouldn’t bother with the doctor at all. Woe is me.

I also attended a tweetup (twitter + meetup) tonight at Muddy’s Bake Shop in E. Memphis. It was hosted by The Commercial Appeal and attended by the local twitter users who dared to meet each other face to face. I met only a few people in all, but it was a lot of fun. AND I finally got to Muddy’s, which I’d been intending to do forever but hadn’t actually accomplished. The cupcakes were delicious (I had Cookies ‘n Cream) and I took home some Oreo Puddin’ (what can I say? I freaking love Oreos, people.) for later snacking. It was A-MAZING. Thanks Kat & Co. for an awesome tweetup locale, the Appeal for my free cupcake and Kerry for getting the group gathered.

I have spent the past three days absolutely drowning in newsletters at work. I was pounding through the second one today until the very last second before it needed to be sent… five hours later than we’d normally like to send it. Per usual, content was late. Per usual, I was a perfectionist. Per unusual (but usual from here on) I had another newsletter to make the day before and I couldn’t spend the first half of the week focused on the main one. Have I said woe is me yet? Oh, I did? OK then.

I feel like I’m caught up in a whirlwind again, which sucks. (I’m tired, so “sucks” is all I’ve got.) I need a personal assistant for about two weeks so I can get my shit together and taken care of. I just barely had time and energy to make that doctor’s appointment for Saturday. I also managed to schedule a blood donation and a movie date for that same day. Too bad I can’t get the rest of my days to work out like that. Either way, I have a ton of that everyday life-maintenance stuff to do: dentist, oil change, new license/registration, find car/renter’s insurance…

Annnd, I just realized I haven’t paid my rent for the month. Shit. I think I’m still good, but holy fucking crap, how did I forget that? I am so screwed up right now. I’m going to bed.

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Filed under food, fun, health, memphis, plans, recap, twitter

uh, scratch that

I returned to the gym tonight, which means my first workout in a month AND my first weigh-in in the same month. Appears I was wrong about the not-losing-weight thing. My apologies to any and all coworkers who read this blog (none) who were offended by my incredulity at their suggestions that I was skinnier. Apparently I lost ~7-10 lbs. over the past month. Now, granted, most of that is muscle mass. But I now weigh 186, a number I haven’t seen—well, ever, because I didn’t weigh myself when I was in the fifth grade. Seriously, though, it’s astonishing.

As I’ve written here before, numbers don’t mean a lot. I know I’m less healthy because I haven’t been getting my heart pumping on a regular basis. But I also see this as a bit of an opportunity, a chance to stay slim instead of beefing up, as I seemed to have been doing in the past. I’m going to do what I was told before and stick to the low-weight/lots-of-reps circuit, and focus mostly on cardio, something I did before anyway.

For my triumphant return, I went easy on myself with a 47-minute stint on the elliptical, 6.33 miles, 555 calories burned.^ It felt really good to be back there, though, even if it hurt a little. I made a half-assed effort at jogging around the lake at work yesterday, so my hamstrings were still a little sore from not stretching thoroughly for that. I laugh when I think how I was sweating and had to slow to a walk after two minutes of running, whereas I can keep up a decent pace on the elliptical for five times that long. Just goes to show exactly how much mass I’m carrying around and how incapable I am of heaving it in one direction with any speed without the aid of machinery.

And now I’m going to tell you about my trip to the grocery store, because blogosphere? I missed you. I missed your embrace of the mundane details of my day-to-day life. Plus? I bought one of those giant sandwiches from the supermarket deli (which I failed to photograph—sorry) which always have looked a bit sketchy but really aren’t bad at all. $5.99 for roast beef, cheese, lettuce and bread (I’m not a condiment kinda gal anyway) on a massive scale. I also found another four bags of BBQ-flavored Quakes rice snacks, which, my friends, are DELICIOUS. If you can find them on sale for 99 cents, buy them. All of them. And then mail some to me. In the end, I spent $22 for the following: big-ass sandwich, 4 grab-size bags of Quakes, 2 half-gallons of skim milk (which were on sale for 65 cents, but why? April 4 expiration? I hope I don’t die.) 2 big bottles of Bolthouse Farms juice (Green Goodness & Berry … something) and a 3-lb. bag of navel oranges. Mmm, mmm! I feel like that was a successful shopping trip. And that sandwich? It will last me the rest of the week.

Just another lesson from the cheapskate midwesterner who found herself in the overpriced Mid-South. Write it down, kids!

^I don’t believe the machine. You shouldn’t either.

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positivity

After what seemed like two weeks of hell on earth, I am feeling quite a bit better. It was a combo platter of too much stress (external and internal), PMS, varying levels of anxiety and a dip into the old vat of depression. As soon as Flo came to town—Alabama guy too—I began feeling leaps and bounds better.

This weekend, Birmingham came to Memphis from Friday night to early this morning. I was a little bummed when I heard the Sunday departure would have to be at 7 a.m., but I managed to get past it, especially when Saturday was such a good day. I fed him leftovers on Friday night, phase two in my “best meal ever” (though definitely not as good reheated): baked bbq/garlic chicken thighs; skillet o’ potatoes, asparagus tips, mushrooms & onions; hickory baked beans with bacon. My landlady was so kind about having him come visit—it makes me feel so guilty for how hard I am to get along with on a daily basis. I’m never openly rude or horrible, but I’m unresponsive and weird. Anyway, it was nice to have him here and have it be a comfortable, not-awkward situation.

We didn’t get out and about till midday Saturday, but it was worth it to lounge around in the morning together. We had lunch at a sandwich shop, where I may or may not have picked up a random duck-hunting stalker by asking him where he got the duck ringtone on his cell. I thought, I’d like to get one of those for my phone; I’ll avoid being a wuss and ask where he got his. Well, that turned into his calling his daughter to find out where she downloaded it, not getting a hold of her and then asking for my number so he could let me know when he found out. My hope is that he’ll be another well-meaning forgetful person who never remembers to ask about it or call me back. I’d be OK with that. Of course, boyfriend was jokingly aghast at the idea that I’d given my number to another man while he was sitting nearby. I am such a dork. =P

Anyway, I took him on a rainy walk at DU in the hopes of identifying a group of ducks that were definitely not mallards. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get close enough, then ended up getting hit with some sleet when almost back to my car. Needless to say, the remainder of the daytime hours were spent drying off on a driving tour of the city.

I wasn’t sure how skilled a Memphis tour guide I could be since I’ve seen very little of the city myself and know pretty much nothing about its history. Plus, with cold, rainy weather, I knew getting out and walking around would sound less-than tempting. I think we probably could’ve gone off on foot, but I’m saving that for a warmer, drier weekend in the future. For the time being, we stuck to the road. And somehow I managed to show him pretty much all the sights! I have to thank Garmin for that, since I would’ve been going around in circles near the end without it. We drove by the FedEx Forum, Autozone Park, the Pyramid, the Peabody Hotel, the Lorraine Motel, Beale Street, the Mississippi River… We drove onto Mud Island, parked and watched a barge go by on the dimly lit river. Then we went to the Cooper-Young district (Memphis’ Ann Arbor), where I showed him The House of Mews (cat adoption center in a regular storefront); we browsed “New, Used & Rare Books”; we had mochas and he tried to teach me chess at Java Cabana. By then, the rain had ceased, but the evening temperature drop made for a chilly return to the car. We did pass by some lofts that I had found on the Internet that sounded neat, and they WERE literally a few steps from Cooper-Young, but the drive to work would be about a half-hour, and it would involve property purchasing instead of renting, so… meh.

My “lame” idea for dinner was to buy Chinese food by the pound from the local Tasty China buffet. I had considered taking him for Ethiopian (still on the list for a later date), Indian or something else semi-exotic, but I felt like relaxing after a day afield and in the rain and cold, so we went lame. Seriously, though, had I known I could get so much decent Chinese for so little money, I would’ve gone there sooner! It was $4.49/lb for take-out buffet, which ended up being a great deal because I made rice at home and we stuffed our boxes full of various chicken, beef, veggies and side items, all for around $15. It’s nice to have that variety, especially if you don’t know which dishes you prefer. We ate way too much while watching a “House” rerun on TBS, then went into Scattergories battle mode.

The bet was that whoever won would get to choose who went where for the next weekend visit. That visit will not happen until the second weekend in March (sad), as he has basketball tournaments and 30-Hour Famine the next two weekends. After that, though, we will have “Watchmen” to see and much lost time to make up. =) So, we fought hard on Scattergories, even though the prize was not all that significant. Both being of writing backgrounds, we wanted to reign supreme in that game. He held the lead throughout, but I started closing the gap in the last few rounds. I think we determined that the deciding factor was my “Liar, Liar” answer to Movie Titles, when he didn’t have time to come up with anything. I figured he’d pull out a double or triple on that one, so when he didn’t, I was able to make up ground and end with a two-point lead. However, I’ve definitely met my Scattergories match. He is far more than a worthy opponent, as he said he’d be. I’ll never tell him, but I knew it would be close—all my smack talk aside, I thought there was a chance he’d beat me even before we got out the boards, the timer and the letter die. Looking forward to the rematch…

His departure was early this morning, after which I went back to sleep, though I didn’t really feel the need. I did, however, want to feel somewhat rested after the weekend, and two nights of fitful slumber meant I hadn’t accumulated a ton of rest. So I dozed till noon-ish, then arose to shower and look online for a new church to visit this evening. I found a handful with evening services, so I’m planning to check one out at 5 or 6.

Tomorrow at lunchtime I have an appointment with a therapist at Memphis Mental Health Resources. This will be the first time I’ve seen a psychiatrist in my life (outside of one epic-fail visit to the counseling center at MSU, where the therapist wanted to help me write out a schedule for my day, with my bagel condiments being of the utmost importance—I didn’t go back for a second session) and I’m kind of excited for it. Less excited about the $80 fee, but I am still hopeful it will be of help to me. With the past two weeks of crazy mood issues, I fear the depression of yesteryear sneaking up on me without my noticing, something that I cannot allow to happen. My current road is not without deep potholes and ruts, to be sure, but it is so much less hazardous than the roads of my youth, which were often impassable and washed out by heartache, depression, fear, anxiety, stress, self-consciousness, self-loathing and pain. I want to stay off that earlier road at all costs. I don’t know what it will take—just talking to someone, implementing self-help exercises in my daily life, getting on medication—but, whatever that is, I want to do it. I want to feel my definition of “normal,” or at least have some steps in place to keep me from getting too abnormal again. There are many reasons for doing this now, but the past two weeks scared me, and that was the main thrust behind it. Costs aside, it needs to happen. It needed to happen when I was 16, 18, 20, 22… but it didn’t. So it’s happening now. I hope it will be beneficial for me and that’ll I’ll be patient enough to let it work.

All right, time to make a move toward accomplishing something today. Sorry for the blog silence, faithful readers. I’ll do my best to write more now that I’m about to be a full-fledged psycho. =)

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all about motivation

So, I went to the gym tonight, despite having absolutely no desire to be there. I stretched out the workday until 6 o’clock, then sat in the car talking to Mandy for another hour. But when I walked in and got changed, I thought to myself, All things considered, I’m looking pretty damn good right now. Better than I ever have, anyway. And doing this is the only way I’m going to manage to stay that way. SO GET TO IT. And, boy, did I. I did a full hour on the elliptical, even though I could breathe only about 60% of the time because of the freaking humidity in there. Also, I was watching “The Biggest Loser,” which helped with the motivation. I know I’m not 387 pounds, but I know how they feel, and I can sort of imagine how difficult it must be for them to jog in place for three minutes, let alone power through an hour on an elliptical trainer. So I feel like I might owe it to them to do what I can. They are my people and always will be, no matter what department I shop in.

In any case, the elliptical machine claimed I had traversed more than 9 miles and burned 850 calories. I felt good about that. I then did all the usual weight-lifting activities, stretches and lunges. By the end, I could’ve rung out my sports bra. I mean, you can ring out pretty much anything wet, but this was SATURATED.

Anyway, when I climbed into the car, I realized it was NINE O’CLOCK. Makes sense, really, since workouts take me two hours, but I just didn’t realize it would be that late. Came home, nuked a frozen chicken breast, steamed some broccoli and cauliflower and toasted a slice of bread. Probably too late to be eating anything, but I thought it best, since I wasn’t ready to fall straight into bed yet. I’m afraid I’m going to be too amped to sleep so I can get up a little early and get this month’s DU newsletter done ASAP, but my eyelids remain heavy, so I think I’m OK.

Tomorrow night, the 20-something singles from one of the churches are meeting at PANERA for dinner!! So excited to go there. I’m still worried about how the prices will have inflated, but I’ll just have to find out. I will be disappointed if it’s too expensive to justify ever going again, but hopefully not. Apparently southerners are unimpressed with it, which doesn’t surprise me. I have a feeling they didn’t add anything deep-friend, barbecued or slathered with lard to the menu, so what southerner would have a use for the place? =P (No, I don’t hate southerners; I just pick up on their inability to go anywhere but Cracker Barrel, Corky’s (BBQ) and Huey’s (burgers).)

Time to wind down for the evening.

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not quite as planned

Well, I made it to the mitten yesterday around 5. Surprisingly, it didn’t feel like 11 hours at all. More like 6 or 7. Either way, utterly endurable! However, what greeted me upon arrival sort of killed the rush of finally being back… I knew it was coming, as I’d been forewarned on the phone en route, but actually seeing my mom in tears when I walked into the kitchen was too much. Earlier the same day, her fiancée left her. After nearly 10 years together, he just suddenly said they were two different people and he didn’t think it would work out. After hearing most of what he said from my mom, I realized it was just one long line of bull. He said that our family never really accepted or embraced him, which was the last straw. Every gathering we’ve had for the last 9 years has been timed and planned and scheduled around when he needed to milk cows back at his farm. We’d start at a certain time, clear out early, rush through my niece’s birthday party and eat dinner at weird times just to make sure he could come. We’d pick out gifts he actually WANTED for Christmas, even though he claimed he didn’t want anything. I don’t think there’s a harder embrace on the market today! My sister was pretty miffed to hear that, too, since many of the rescheduling requirements were on her part and her family’s. It just makes me wish we’d never accommodated him, if we’d just known he was going to turn out to be a total jerk who didn’t give her any chance to know something was wrong or try to fix it. He just up and told her he was done, handed her the list of things he needed to get back from her and then left.

Seriously, it’s taking pretty much every ounce of my self-restraint to keep from driving the three miles to his house and raising hell. I guess there’s a little southerner in me after all. I can’t stand to see my mother crying, to hear her say it’s all her fault, that she always manages to screw everything up, that she’s going to be alone forever. I told her, only partly in jest, that we could both be alone forever and she could move to Memphis and live with me. I don’t want that and neither does she. But to go back there and think of her alone here, trying to survive through tax season without someone waiting for her at home every night like she’s had for so many years… God. It just breaks my heart. I don’t know what to do.

Sigh. In other news… I tried out the local Anytime Fitness today, after being told I could use my member key fob to get in at any AF in America. It worked! I did an hour on the elliptical and several weight machines. I went during the workday, so very few people were there. Sooo nice. I came home and made a makeshift shrimp stir fry for my mom and me. I didn’t have anything great for a sauce, but ended up mixing together honey BBQ sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper – it actually wasn’t too bad. I threw in some peas and put it over rice. I think she enjoyed it, which was the intent. Then I cleaned the stove top and washed the dishes. We watched “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” (that’s the order they’re supposed to be shown in, southerners!) and then watched the movie “Penelope.” Very cute, very good. I loved the Tim Burton-esque feel of the whole movie.

I’ve raised $100 so far for DU! Very exciting! Of course, my six donors have all been former or current DU employees (or people directly linked with the company in a professional sense). Either way, though, that’s $100 for the ducks! I’m still looking for blog-related donors so I can match your donations… It’s never too late. Donate today!

Wednesday, Carla and I are slated to drive up to Lansing and see Mandy’s new place! Woo! Friday, I’m going to GLARO for Nina’s farewell lunch. Excited to see everyone there and wish her well. Sunday is a family Christmas meetup in Battle Creek at Clara’s, so that should be an interesting change of pace. The 23rd is the GLARO Christmas party, the 25th is Christmas here and the 27th is dinner at Tod’s. I actually have a lot on the agenda, which is good. I’m planning to work out as much as possible as well. And sleep. And work. Just the usual, really. =)

TV notes… 1) I just saw one of the funniest episodes of “Family Guy” ever, and 2) I am currently watching the most ridiculous show in the world. I just don’t understand this “ion life” digital channel. Ion is this sort of Christian-esque channel, right? Well, ion life has shows like “Girls Gone Fishin'” and “Get Out!” which is all about girls with their midriffs out playing with monkeys and giggling. You know, I get that skinny blonde girls are hot. I also get why guys like to look at their bare bellies and tan limbs. But can’t they just be smart? A little less giggling, that’s all I ask.

All right, it’s late. In short, I’m glad to be home, I’m sad for my mom, thanks for considering donating, I’m excited to be seeing everyone soon and I shouldn’t bother watching TV. =P Goodnight.

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buttercream frosting

That’s what’s on my mind at the moment – I just finished icing a dozen and a half cupcakes for a potluck cookout this afternoon. The 1980s singles group from Hope Church is putting it on, the last of my church-related activities this weekend. Yesterday was the Hope blood drive, 5:30 service and attempt at a singles’ concert (didn’t stay as the fun level seemed dangerously low). Today I went to the Heartsong 11 o’clock service and the second half of their two-part class on becoming a “partner” (member) of the church. And I managed to interact with almost no one during any of these events. =P I’m like a loner participant in social stuff. Strange how that works.

My landlady is on the road to Kentucky right now, off to care for her aunt who’s got some pretty advanced cancer. What seems crazy to me is being that close to an aunt. I mean, of course I would be sad and do what I could to be there for that part of my family, but I can’t imagine driving to another state to be at their bedside. Maybe that just makes me a heartless person. =\ I don’t know.

My blood donation last night was pretty eventful. First, the person giving me my initial Q&A/mini physical was a hot EMT named Jim. Later, I reflected that I should’ve given him my number, but that’s never my first instinct. I’m too much of a wimp anyway. I also found out from another blood mobile worker that my blood is without CMV (Cytomegalovirus), which makes my donations viable for babies less than 6 months old. How cool is that?? And she said there’s something else weird about my blood that makes it extra useful in some other way too. GO DONATE BLOOD NOW. Even if yours isn’t as cool as mine, it’s still more than worthwhile. =)

All right, time to head out. Hope everyone’s having a great weekend!

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