Monday, August 31

Concert Review

Last night I saw Dave Matthews Band with opening guest Jason Mraz and it was an amazing show, I don't think I have ever been to a happier concert. This is my second time seeing DMB, but the first time was at Staples Center and I quite literally was sitting behind the stage at the very top row. I mean it too, saw a bunch of asses the entire time so I was looking forward to seeing them again from the front and when my brother in law asked if I wanted him to order tickets for me through the fan club, I said absofuckinlutely. Turns out the seats I got were on the floor maybe 10 rows back, just a slight improvement from last time.

Although I am not extremely familiar with the music of Jason Mraz, he is the type of artist where you needn't be to enjoy the show. All of his songs were upbeat and happy and the guy can really sing. I will definitely be listening to more of his music in the future.

Then DMB came out the two things that I think of when I think of their live performance is 1) there is some serious musical talent on stage, and 2) these guys love life and love their jobs. Ok so I guess it is a lot easier to love life when you make a shit load of money doing something like playing music but I have seen plenty of shows where the artists don't so much look happy to be there and it really brings the audience down. I am not sure how far into the tour they are but you would think it was their first show and they hadn't played live in years they were having such a good time. And of course DMB fans are pretty hard core and for them seeing DMB in concert is some sort of tantric orgasmic experience, but that excitment just rubs off on you. You look around and even the hard core looking skin head is dancing around having a good time. DMB concerts could possibly be even happier than Disneyland, but the weed everyone is smoking probably helps that quite a bit;)

Good show, good time!


Look! My grass is coming in!

Oh yes, there will be croquet...

Friday, August 28

This is the first time I have seen this spelling of my name:

Perhaps my barista is hooked on phonics.

Thursday, August 27


Yesterday I tried something new at the gym. I always talk about changing things up in your workout routine so I took my own advice and when I was asked if I wanted to take a spinning class I said sure!

Like most people, I tend to get uncomfortable when I don't know the proper protocal for things and this was my first spinning class, actually my first class EVER so I was a little out of my element. I didn't know how the bikes worked, I didn't know how the class was structured, I didn't know what the commands the instructor was calling out meant etc. It is really good for me to get out of my comfort zone though and I picked things up as I went along. It reminds me of how people must feel when they try to hit the weight room for the first time. There is a lot of machinery there that you have to figure out if you don't know how it works so it isn't easy!

I knew that this was going to be a difficult class. Anytime I walk by and it is going on I look in and everyone looks like they are working pretty hard and sweating profously which is a good sign. The class was also an hour long so I was a little afraid I wouldn't be able to finish without dying. I know I am in good shape but I also know that I will do whatever it takes to keep up with everyone, even if I pass out in the process. This would be my first time when they were old pros so trying to keep up probably was not a good idea but I knew that I would be trying my hardest to do just that.

So I climbed on the uncomfortable looking bike, attempted to get squared away with some much needed assistance and people started trickling in. The music started pumping, the instructor yelled something and everyone started peddaling. My philosophy was just do whatever everyone else was doing because I couldn't hear a word the instructor was saying over the music. The music was helpful to get my rhythm when we were standing up though and I started to feel like I might look like I knew what I was doing, until my foot came flying out of the pedal. Oops.

The class flew by though and I don't remember the last time I sweated that much. I was dripping profuse sweat. In other words, it was awesome. I definitely found it difficult as well. I did not breeze through it by any means. I tried very hard to keep up with the instructor but I couldn't quite hang the entire time, my legs were definitely burning. I loved the continual change of pace and challenges she threw at us though and found it to be a great workout. What's also great is you can go at your own pace. Sure she yells at you to work harder, go faster etc. but if you don't listen what is she going to do? Just by looking around everyone looked like they were going their own pace anyway.

I am a little sore today and one thing that I always have problems with is my hand, specifically my pinky finger on my right hand, going numb when I ride bikes. No matter how I position my hands, it always seems to happen. Not sure what that is about. I will definitely be incorporating this into my weekly workouts though.

Wednesday, August 26

Food Items

First, a slightly lesser known fruit I absolutely love that you should know about (if you don't already) is the Asian Pear. They have a high water content and a crisp, grainy texture that make them very refreshing. It is great on its own as a snack and would also be good sliced up in a salad. They are more expensive than an apple or a pear would be but it is worth it.

Second, a great snack that I am currently loving is the peanut butter banana roll up. You get a low carb tortilla, slap some natural peanut butter on it, sprinkle it with slivered alonds if you have them (I really like crunchy food), plop the banana on the tortilla, roll up and enjoy. Whats nice is it is mess free, you dont have to worry about discarding a banana peel if you are on the go and it is delicious. Good for a pre workout or mid morning snack because it contains carbs and protein.

Lastly, the fast food industry is at it again. KFC is trying out a new chicken sandwich in two test markets called the Double Down. Chicken sounds good for you right? Um not when the deep fried original recipe chicken filets are actually the buns of the sandwich and in the middle you have swiss cheese, jack cheese, bacon and the Colonel's sauce (I will let you decide that is on your own). They havent released any offical nutritional info but they are trying to say it is around 600 calories. Bullshit! Other agencies are estimating around 1,300. In any case, it can't be very good for you.

I Love These

Amy Ruppel, a Portland based artist, recently released a new series of state animals paintings. Each one of her wax paintings measures 7.25" by 7.25" but you can also get a print instead for a much more affordable 20 bucks. I don't know what it is about these images that I love so much. They are a bit retro and kitschy but I am completely charmed by them and may need to order me some.

Tuesday, August 25

I want a cactus collection like this:)

Swine Flu

Tennesse, our project manager, and his daughter has swine flu. It is not really suprising since he is always sick that he would get this but hopefully it doesn't become a severe case. So far it is just a bad flu with respiratory problems so I wish him and his daughter a speedy recovery.

Monday, August 24

Possible Layout

My Dad, although not the most handy, is a visionary. He may not be the best at doing the actual work but he has good ideas and here is what he has come up with for a new patio layout:

The pavers have a irregular shape, there is a spot for a table and chairs and a bench that separates the patio area from some flower beds behind it. The legend says "rocks" but it is more of a crushed rock that can pack down well as opposed to actual big rocks or pebbles so it retains a patio feel and not a flower bed feel. Behind the bench I might put in mulch instead of the gravel and plant sprasely. That area also gets a lot of shade so a garden probably won't do well there, however the smaller flower bed to the east would probably be a great place for a garden because it gets a lot of sun. I have always wanted to grow my own veggies so that would be exciting.
So that is the tentative plan, any thoughts, comments, suggestions?

Gym Rant!

Yesterday at the gym I went to the weight room to use the treadmill. Weekends aren't very busy and there was one man back at the cardio area standing in front of the tv watching the Giants game. The rule of the tv in the gym has always been whoever is there first gets to decide what to watch and even though he wasn't working out I didn't say anything and started running. After a few minutes he left and I even waited a few minutes to make sure he wasn't coming back before I got off the treadmill to change it because I loathe watching baseball on tv, particularly when exercising because that game is just so damn slow. I happily found some UFC on Spike and started watching.

After around 25 minutes of running a man came in and got on the stair master. He was on the machine for about 5 minutes when, in the middle of the second round of a pretty good fight, he gets off and changes the station on the tv without so much a glance in my direction. And what does he change it to, the Giants game. Which was over. Are you fucking kidding me fucktard?? Do you think you own the tv and don't find it neccessary to consult me, the person who was here before you, if you want to change the station? Do you think because I am a girl I don't like to watch UFC? Or do you think because you have a dick you own every tv you come across?

Common curtesy and gym etiquite says that the rule of the tv is as follows:
1. Whoever was there first has control of the station.
2. If someone was there before you and you want to watch comething else, you ask whoever was there if it is ok to change the station. If they don't want it changed tough shit, you should have gotten there earlier.
3. If there are multiple people there before you, you consult all of them before changing the station.

If he had asked if he could change it, I probably would have said that was fine since I only had about 15 more minutes anyway. But the fact that it didn't even cross his mind that he should ask if it was ok is just rude. I could have said something but I am not that confrontational so I just shot him a look of pure disgust and decided to blog about it.
I know this is out of character of me but right now I am really looking forward to fall and cooler temperatures. The clouds this weekend reminded me how long it has been since it has been anything but sunny and hot. I would love to be able to curl up in blankets and not wake up with a stuffy nose because the AC was on all night. Of course I will be over it as soon as it has been 50 degrees for a week and start bitching about it being cold but that's just how these things go.

Friday, August 21

Backyard Project

Well the sprinkler system has been fixed and the sod has been laid. Here is a before:

And the afters:

I like it so much better already. It looks a lot cleaner with all of that crap cleared out. It is going to look great when the grass comes in and when I decide exactly how to continue the patio. I am going to use pavers but I am still deciding if I want pavers in the entire area or just some pavers and gravel or pavers, gravel and flower beds, I am just not sure yet. Any suggestions?

It's a....

...girl! My sister called me bright and early this morning to let me know that they found out they will be having a little girl. It appears my Dad is destined to be surrounded by women his whole life. Lucky guy;)

Thursday, August 20

The Cross Body Dumbbell Hammer Curl

For anyone who has seen my collection of muscle and fitness magazines or my big binder of weight training, you know that I love lifting weights. Having those resources available help me to change my routine on a monthly basis and prevent workouts from getting stale and boring, not to mention preventing my muscles from getting too effecient and thus not working as hard. You have to confuse the muscle to continue to build it.

The biceps are a part of the body that on men especially, are something people like to show off. You ask someone to flex and typically they flex their bicep and not say their calves. Most people though don't do a lot of variation on the lifts they use to build this muscle. Barbell curls and dumbbell curls are the most commonly performed. There are variations of these lifts such as hand placement, grip and the position your body is in when they are performed, all of which work well. My favorite bicep exercise variation though has to do with the hammer curl.

The hammer curl is basically holding dumbbells and with your plams facing in to your body, you lift the weights up, keeping your elbow close to your body. It mimics the motion your arms make when you run. Doing this exercise doesn't quite give you that same squeezing feeling you get in your bicep with a regular bicep curl though. I admit, I like that feeling. A variation of the hammer curl is the cross body dumbbell hammer curl. I really like this exercise but I have never seen anyone else at the gym doing it.

The movement begins the same as a hammer curl, but instead of lifting straight up you cross the weight over to the opposite side of your body that you are holding the weight. So if you are performing this lift with your right arm, you bring it up and across your body towards the left side of your chest. More of a visual person? Me too, here is a video of a buffed out veiny man performing this exercise complete with death metal playing in the background:

I like that this guys head is cut off so you can picture any mug you want. I like to think that this guy has glasses, acne and is a total geek. Chances are he probably just looks like a douche bag though. Anyway use your imagination.

So if you are at the gym and looking for a way to change up your routine, try this variation. Oh and consult your physician before starting any exercise program (ha, does anyone actually do this?)
I have had a busy week and have been neglecting my blog but I was waiting to have some things to post that haven't yet panned out.

We were supposed to find out the sex of my sisters baby yesterday but unfortunately the doctor cancelled so we will have to wait until Friday. I have no feeling one way or another as to what it might be but I am looking forward to finding out. My sister is doing really well though and has virtually had no pregnancy symptoms.

The backyard project is going really well. I got home too late last night to take pictures (it is getting so dark so early already!) but all of the trees and bushes are gone from the west side of the patio as well as the bushes in front of the patio. It makes that space feel so much more open and the backyard feels bigger to me too. What has been taking up most of the time though is the sprinkler system. It is whacked out. Sprinkler heads side by side, the pipes only 6 inches from the surface and a whole bunch of other stuff that I don't really understand but am told is a mess. Hopefully they will be able to finish it today but there is a good chance that may not happen. In any case it is shaping up and yes Adam, hopefully in the near future a game of croquet can happen.

Other than all of that I was supposed to hike Half Dome with a group from Centerpoint on Sunday but I got a weird call from some random guy saying that Centerpoint was no longer hosting it-he never did say who was-but the trip was still on and I could get a ride from him if I wanted to. I am not very comfortable with that whole arrangement so I don't think I am going to go. I am a little disappointed but Half Dome isn't going anywhere anytime soon so I will get another chance to make it up there again.

I will post some pics tomorrow of my backyard and solicit some opinions on what I should do with my new pation space!

Monday, August 17

Patio Demo

On Saturday I was planning on just mowing the lawn but when I was out there I noticed that a few of the pavers had been removed when they poured the curb. Upon closer inspection it looked like the pavers would be pretty easy to remove and since they left an axe pick, I picked it up and went to town.

It only took me about an hour and 15 minutes but I removed all of them and stacked them at the side of house. I figured since this was something I knew I could do I would get the work done so the guys can do the stuff I can't. Plus I really like manual labor. The weather was so nice I really didn't want to be couped up inside doing housework either. So here is a before and after:

I admit, it was fun using the axe pick:) My grass is also starting to come back! I have been watering longer and the weather has been a little more forgiving so it is nice to not have all dead grass again. Very slowly the backyard project is coming along.

Friday, August 14

My Clean Recipe of the Week

Ok so this recipe is a lame excuse for an actual recipe but it is clean and it is yummy. Remember clean eaters should eat every 4 hours or so so smaller more snack like meals are neccesary to keep your hunger at bay and to keep your energy level consistent throughout the day. A really good healthy, clean food is low fat cottage cheese. I haven't been very fond of this food in the past and I have tried different things to add to cottage cheese to make it more palatable for me like fruit and nuts, but this week I found my favorite combination is cottage cheese and cantelope. Cantelope is such a sweet melon that it balances the cottage cheese and makes it more interesting in texture and flavor.

So the recipe is as follows:

Cottage cheese (1/2 cup to 1 cup depending on how hungry you are)
Cantelope cut up in chunks (however much you want!)

I plan on making a chicken fingers recipe this weekend that I will post next week.

Thursday, August 13

Let the oohs and awws commence

Our superintedent Jon raises Basset Hounds, which I am almost convinced is the cutest puppy breed in the world. He has a new litter and brought one by the office today. She of course pooped and peed in the office but with that face, how can you get mad?

For 500 bucks, one of these little guys could be yours! Here are pics of her brothers and sisters:

Wednesday, August 12

Intervention Parody

This post is mainly for Heather because we have had conversations about how we both like to watch Intervention and this Funny or Die Video is a paraody of the show where Fred Armisen is addicted to watching Intervention and thus needs an intervention himself.

Dumbbell Prone Cuban Snatch

Monday I started a new workout. One of the exercise I am incorporating this month is called the Dumbbell Prone Cuban Snatch. I type up my workouts and to save space I just wrote "Cuban Snatch". I send my workouts every month to one of the girls at the gym I have become friends with and when she doesn't know what an exercise is she will google it. Well guess what comes up when you google "Cuban Snatch". When I was doing the exercise on Monday I giggled to myself at the dirty sounding name of the exercise but I didn't think I would promote the googling of Cuban porn by sending that workout. Good times.

Oh and if you are wondering what a Dumbbell Prone Cuban Snatch is, you set a low incline bench, lie face down on the bench with a pair of dumbbells, your arms hanging straight down holding the dumbbells. Pull your upper arms up and out to your sides, your elbows will be at a 90 degree angle. Rotate your arms so the weights rise up to about the level of your ears keeping them at a 90 degree angle. Rotate back to sides and lower to starting position. It is a good shoulder exercise but not one to do with heavy weights as it is a bit awkward and the shoulder is delicate and easy to injure. You can also do a standing version but I like this better. And now everytime I do one, I will think of porn.

Tuesday, August 11

Lord I am about to lose it. Maynard, the little dog that belongs to one of our superintendents, is in the office today. Us office folk are babysitting him because the poor little guy had a run in with a pit bull and is recovering from the attack. He had to have 14 stiches, all around his neck, but luckily Mike was able to get him away without serious injury. Very lucky, that dog is so small that if the pit bull had the chance to shake his head even once he would have died.

Anyway he is just fine now, his wounds are healing and he did not get an infection and can do everything he could do before. Unfortunately it appears he is also suffering from some anxiety now about being away from his owner because the dog has literally been whining and crying at the door looking for Mike since he has been here. He got here at 9 AM. There has literally not been more than 2 minutes of quiet since then. 5 hours of listening to a poor dog whine is not fun for anyone. I think my dad is about to finish off what the pit bull started.

My head hurts.

Suggestions Wanted

Hey all of you music fans out there, I am creating a new playlist to workout to as all my music is getting very stale and I need new music suggestions. I know most of you who read this are more into music than I am so you know a lot of the more obscure bands and songs that I am not familiar with. Your suggestions are appreciated!

Backyard Renno Project, Day 1

When I came home last night I wasn't sure what I would find but things weren't that different. I thought they might have pulled out all the shrubs and trees but that won't be happening until later in the week and yesterday and today will be just getting the concrete set. Here are some pics (oh and turns out the camera on my new phone is terrible, will use a real camera next time).

View from my existing patio. The tree and all the shrubs you see will all be taken out.

The tree that the curb is formed around will stay. It is a beautiful shade tree though I know not what kind of tree it is.

Just a quick before shot of those bushes to the south of the patio that will be coming out and where grass will be put in its place. See how they completely obstruct the view from the patio?

This is to the east of the patio. Not doing much here, just putting in a curb. Right now there is a baby Japense Maple but I think I am going to dig that up and put it in a large pot to put on my new patio. I would like to do some kind of succulent or sun loving drought resistence plants there.

I am looking forward to when they pull out all of the plants and tree because I will be able to better visualize what I want to go there. Right now I am having trouble picturing what I want so seeing a clean slate will help.

Monday, August 10

My back yard is currently getting demoed, woo hoo! The biggest perk of working for the family construction business is I get to utilize free skilled labor. We have 3 full time superintendents and 2 superintedents in training and occasionally throughout the year there will be a few days or a week or so between the end of one project and the start of another. When that happens my dad puts them to work on projects around his house so they can keep working and they aren't forced to take time off, so everyone wins.

Today I win though because I am expanding my patio to the west and right now all of the trees and shrubs that were in that area are being removed and a concrete curb is being put in. It might be a little while before I decide what exactly I want to put in that area, but some sort of pavers will be going in. Grass does not grow well in that area anyway so instead of it being a wasted space I am going to utilize it better with some seating and maybe some planters. It is also a fairly shady area so perfect to hang out. The area will be set by a concrete curb that will separate the grass from the new patio area. This will also help with mowing because the lawn will be a rectangle so I wont have to go around sharp corners. Oh and even more exciting, those stupid rose bushes and the Japenese Maple bush that are right off my patio to the south will also be going away and grass will be put there.

I am excited about getting this done and I think it will be a big improvement on what is there. I still don't feel like it is fully my house and I think this will help me make it my own. I will take some pictures tonight and post them tomorrow of the progress.

Friday, August 7

The Blender Bottle is Awesome

I have protein shakes usually on a daily basis. Sometimes I get fancy and use a blender to whirl up, fruit, yogurt, peanut butter etc., but more often I simply add a scoop of protein powder in soy milk or coconut water. If anyone has ever tried mixing protein powder into any liquid (especially soy protein powder), it is a pain in the ass. I usually use a small whisk I have which always causes the liquid to splash over the side of the glass and no matter how much I mix will always leave me with lumps. If I don't have the whisk I use a spoon which is 10 times worse.

Well the problem has been solved with the discovery of the Blender Bottle. It has a whisk like ball contraption inside so you put in your liquid and your powder and shake it up and everything blends together smoothly. It works wonderfully and is relatively inexpensive at 8.99 a bottle from Amazon. I highly reccomend it.
It is no longer about calories or looking good, my stomach is rebelling against junk food of almost any kind now. I had an appetizer sized chicken pesto pizza on pita bread from BJ's last night and my stomach is painfully bloated this morning. I seriously had to unzip my jeans so I could let it all hang out since holding it in made me feel like my stomach was being torn up from the inside out. I look more pregnant than my sister does right now. This is horrible. I hope I can remember hope how bad this feels next time I think I want something greasy, fatty and gross. Hmmph.

Thursday, August 6

I just about flipped my shit when I came across this! Cleaning my floors by wearing slippers is definitely my kind of cleaning. They are microfiber, which is the material that dirt and hair and stuff cling to and they are only 9.99! Oh joy!

It has been a bad week for exercise

First there was the pyscho who shot up a gym in PA and killed 3 people. Then a woman, also in PA, was jogging and was hit by a falling tree branch and killed. What horrible ways to die.

Then there was this Time Magazine article titled "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin" which is an incredibly misleading title. The gist is that while it's true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise can also stimulate hunger, so people who exercise tend to overeat and negate their calorie deficit. So actually exercise can still make you thin but you just can't be a dumbass and eat more because of it or have mentality where you reward yourself with food for working out. Just another one of the confusing and conflicting messages about diet, exercise and weight loss that we are confronted with. I do admit that it wasn't until I figured out how to eat that the exercise really started paying off, but diet and exercise work in conjunction and exercise has far more benefits than just weight loss.

Wednesday, August 5

Yesterday a report on antidepressant use in the US came out that showed a marked increase of anti depressants being prescribed by doctors. Antidepressant use in the U.S. doubled from 1996 to 2005. More than 27 million people now have a prescription for an anti depressant, making it the most commonly prescribed class of medicine in the U.S. The authors also found and emphasize that pharmacology often supplants psychotherapy as the primary treatment for mental ailments. About 80% of antidepressant patients are receiving care from someone other than a psychiatrist, which means that majority of doctors who are prescribing these drugs are not experts in the field of mental health. Although there are definite positives with this increase, it is also quite scary how quickly and easily you can get your hands on these drugs without necessarily receiving proper screening.

This report indicates that there is an increased acceptance in society of the legitimacy of depression and the treatment of it. Because it is more readily accepted by the general population people are less likely to be embarrassed to seek treatment. This is a good thing for a lot of people. You don't have to feel ashamed if you are experiencing depression because it may often have a biological cause, which causes people to see it as a disease and not a weakness of the individual.

I feel there is a definite downside to the increase in prescribing anti depressants though. We are a society of quick fixes and readily giving drugs to people who may just be feeling down is just another quick fix. I think doctors need to exercise caution when diagnosing people as depressed, particularly when 80% of doctors who are prescribing these medications are not experts in this field.

When I was in Austin the last few months I started to feel very depressed and down. I knew I didn't want to go continue getting my doctorate, which made me feel like a failure since I had never really quit anything, at least not that big. I felt like I was letting everyone down, even though I knew deep down it was the right decision for me. I also didn't know what I wanted to do instead which made me considerably stressed out. I was doing temp work and I hated it, I felt alone and isolated. It was hard to be around my friends because they were all still in the program and when you are in that program it is all consuming. And on top of all of that, my ex boyfriend who was my best friend at that point and someone I talked to daily, started seeing another girl and pretty much stopped talking to me. This was the absolute lowest I had ever been.

So I thought maybe I should take an anti depressant. I had friends that had taken and currently take them so it was somewhat normalized to me. I talked to my doctor who readily wrote a prescription without any suggestion of another method of treatment or really being all that inquisitive as to what my symptoms were. Before I got my prescription filled my friend Melissa called and when I told her what I was going to do she told me that she would not recommend it. I love her and respect her opinion and she was currently in pharmacy school so I trusted her advice. Anti depressants can have negative side effects that I didn't want to mess with. I thought about it for awhile, did a little more research and decided to not get the prescription filled. Instead I signed up for a marathon, thinking that it would be a positive way to fill up my time so I wasn't just sad at home watching tv. It worked. It forced me to think about my life and the direction I wanted it to go, it made me feel good about myself again because I was accomplishing something and exercise gives you endorphins which just make you feel better. I felt in control of my life again and much more positive.

Now I don't tell that story because I think running a marathon is the solution for everyone who is depressed, but it highlights two things. First, the ease to which I could get anti depressants and second, that it wasn't even suggested that I try something else first before turning to medication. Doctors are just too quick to medicate in my opinion. "Among antidepressant users, the percentage who also received antipsychotic medications increased, whereas the percentage who also underwent psychotherapy declined" the study found. So people are turning to drugs for the only method of treatment, which for lack of a better word, is crazy to me.

When people medicate first and only, they are less likely to engage in the retrospective process of examining their lives to find ways to improve themselves or understanding why they are depressed. Taking the time to examine your issues, understanding and coping with them is a highly beneficial process. People need to deal with their problems and not just pop a pill to forget about them and I think that is a huge thing people are missing out on. Exercise and talk therapy can do wonders when depression isn't caused by biological reasons. If that doesn't work then perhaps medication is good for you, but why not try other methods first? Lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in people mentally. Sure it is more difficult and takes more time than popping a pill but hard work and introspection can be good for you. A little depression now and then helps you to appreciate life when it is good. "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." - Kahlil Gibran. I think we forget this far too often these days.

Ok enough soap boxing but that is how I feel. Again though, there is a definite purpose to depression meds and I have seen them make a huge and positive difference in peoples lives, I just don't think they are needed as often as they are prescribed.

It's my birthday and I will blog about it if I want to

Today I am 29 years old. Thats right, one more year left in my twenties and it is hello 30's! I have to say, getting closer to the big 3-0 is a lot better than I thought it would be. Some say that with age comes wisdom, but for me with age comes acceptence which I guess is a form of wisdom. 10 years ago I was insecure and unsure of myself. Now, I feel confident and I like who I am. I have flaws and don't always make the best decisions but that is ok, perfection is boring anyway, right?

I am a lot more honest with myself than I have ever been. Oh yeah I can be moody and my tolerance for really drunk people is quite low. I am not incredibly social but I get lonely sometimes. I have a tendancy to react to things first and then think through them and then regret my initial reaction. I can get stuck in a rut and then loathe myself when I do, but overall these are all a part of who I am. I can acknowledge these imperfections but I will probably need to continue to work on improving these areas my entire life.

My life is no where near what I thought it would be when I was 29, which is not at all depressing but quite funny. I can't really imagine being married with 2 kids right now, ick! I have always been a bit of a late bloomer though and generally go through things a few ywars after my friends do which is neither good nor bad, but is just my pace in life.

I intend to enjoy 29 but I will also be happy to be reach the 30 year mile stone. Next year I will turn 30, my mom and dad will both turn 60 and my Grandpa will be 90! Kinda cool the way that works. So that is all I have to say about my birthday. I intend on having a normal day, work, gym and then go home and enjoy the fact that I have a house by mowing the lawn:)

Hahahaha, I love you Fail Blog. You just made my morning.

Tuesday, August 4

Clean Recipes, Volume 1

Oops! I took some lovely pictures of my recipes, but when I tried to transfer the images, I ended up only creating shortcuts and then proceeded to delete the images from the camera, which of course deleted the shortcut so I have no pictures to share. You will just have to trust me that the looked really delicious:)

Here are the recipes:

Chili Lime Chicken Kabobs

3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 tbsp Balsmaic Vinegar
Juice of 1 Fresh Lime
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 Large Onion, chopped into thick pieces
2 Garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp Cayene Pepper
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (2 breasts) cut into chunks

1. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and lime juice. Season with chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pressed garlic.
2. Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish with the sause and stir to coat.
3. Preheat the grill to medium high. Thread the chicken onto the skewers, alternating with chopped onion pieces.
4. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill the skewers for 10-15 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Cooking Spray
Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary (enough to cover the bottom of a baking sheet)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 medium sweet potatoes

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread resomeary sprigs on sheet in a single layer, making sure the entire surface is covered.
3. Mix together all other ingredients, except sweet potatoes, in a small bowl.
4. Square off potatoes and slice into steak fries. Lay strips of potato on rosemary in single layer. sprinkle generously with seasoning mixture. Bake 20 minutes.
5. Spray again, return to oven for about 25 minutes more or until fries are golen and puffed.

One thing I am not so great at is timing dishes so everything comes out at the same time and these two recipes together make that really easy. I started with the fries. First of all I wasn't exactly sure I had gotten sweet potatoes or yams, not having much experience with either. When I was at the store they literally had these piled together with two signs "sweet potatoes" and "yams" but no indication as to which was which. Embarassed of my ignorance I didn't ask and just went with my instinct, luckily I was right. (Want to know more about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams? Click here)The grocery store I went to also didn't have fresh sprigs of rosemary so I skipped this step but that would have made these even better and will definitely try to find those for next time.

The spices to this dish were wonderfully fragrant. I am a big fan of cumin and that was the strongest smell and taste that emerged. I wasn't sure how to cut the potatoes so I just went for it but later discovered it is important to try to make each fry approximately the same size so the smaller ones don't burn. I popped them in the oven and started work on the chicken kabobs.

This was another easy recipe to prepare. Throw the ingredients in a dish and coat the chicken. I would make some changes to to spices next time though. The cayene was a little strong and over powering. For me if the recipe calls for 1 tsp of cayene, I only use 1/2 tsp, which I did with this recipe but it was still a little much. I would also reccomend sqieezing the juice of another lime on the chicken when they are done to cut some of that hot taste.

Unfortunately my BBQ still doesnt have propoane and I couldnt find my George Foreman so I threw them in the skillet. This worked but the smokey BBQ flavor would have made this recipe even better. I also would use a red onion instead of a yellow onion next time because the onion was sort of pointless and had no taste.

While I had the chicken kabobs cooking I pulled out the fries and sprayed them again. By the way there is a clean cooking spray recipe but thats a little extreme, even for me. They smelled and looked wonderful! If I had the rosemary sprigs, I can't imagine how fantastically fragrant it would have been. I pulled the fries out 20 minutes later and some were burnt and some were still mushy (will definitely cut them the same size next time) but I sampled one while I was finishing up the chicken and it didn't effect the taste. I also bought reduced sugar ketchup which was really tasty and contained less sugar and less calories and carbs then the organic version. The ingredients were all natural, just not organic, so I went with the reduced sugar version.

The chicken finished up and I put a kabob on some arugula and went to town! The fries were freakin fantastic, I will definitely make those again. The chicken kabobs were good but I think with some of the tweaks I mentioned before they could be improved. And as far as serving size goes, if you make this it is perfect for 2 people. I only made one of the potatoes and have chicken left over.

The positives: recipes were easy to prepare, they used similar spices, they didn't use many dishes, they tasted good (especially the fries)
The negatives: It is hard to wait 40 minutes for the fries when they smell so great, chicken spices needed a little tweaking.
Overall Ranking (1=very very bad, 10=unfuckingbelievably good): Fries=9, Chicken=7

I think my first clean recipe experience went rather well. Next time I will actually have pics that I dont erase though:)

Here is the nutritional info:

Sweet Potato Fries
(Makes 6 servings - HA! it Makes 2-3 servings so double the nutritional info)
Calories: 44
Protein: 1g
Carbs: 13g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 1 g
Fat: 0g

Chicken Kabobs:
(Makes 4 kabobs, nutritional info is for 1 kabob)
Calories: 186
Protein: 25g
Carbs: 6g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 8.5 g
Remember that Planters Nuts Can that was up at the cabin? I made a succulent planter out of it to give to my mom:
I love using unique containers like this for planters. It was super easy too. I poked drainage holes on the bottom (or actually I stabbed the bottom with a knife and twisted), put a layer or pebbles on the bottom of the can, added some potting soil, put the succulents in (I like putting succulents together that have different heights for interest) and then put a few more pebbles on top of the soil. Viola! It took maybe 10 minutes and cost maybe 10 dollars.

I hope she likes it.

Monday, August 3

I won't be able to post a recipe and review until tomorrow because I ran out of propane last night and I wasn't able to make the recipe. I realized at about 7 PM that I was out of propane and was way too tired and grumpy at that point to go out and get more. So on the menu tonight is chili and lime chicken kabobs and sweet potato fries. Sounds pretty good, we will see how it goes.

This weekend was pretty good, mainly tiring though. Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to do the big yard overhaul. And overhaul it was. This fall I plan on doing some planting and hopefully I will be able to extend my patio as well, but before that was to happen I needed to get rid of a lot of plants. It seems the woman who lived there was a big fan of planting and letting it go wild, me not so much. I prefer a more sparse yard with a cleaner, neater look. I also don't really like rose bushes and there are a minimum of 30 in that yard. I got rid of some of the smaller rose bushes and all of the roses in the front yard, but I will take out more in the fall. In particular, I hate the pavers that extend the patio and the flower beds that contain rose bushes on one side and a Japenese Maple bush on the other. Those will be going though because they make no sense there and block the view of the yard. Once that is all gone I will put grass over it and extend the patio to the west, since grass doesn't grow there anyway. My parents came over the help (bless them) and we hauled off two truck beds full of bags of leaves and vegetation and also filled a large trash can.

Yesterday I got up and went on an hour long run at Woodward Park. I love running there but I haven't run there in quite some time so it was nice to be outside again as I attempt to acclimate to outside running again. There are some decent hills there so that was a little tough but overall I did fine. My toe didn't hurt at all and was fine for the entire day but when I woke up this morning, yozer it was stiff and sore. It feels better now but I am getting pretty close to needing to go in and get this checked out, sigh.

I can't seem to shake my feelings of restless right now. More on that later maybe, but if I seem distant, that is why.