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The New Rules of Lifting For Women

January 13, 2010 Leave a comment

new-rules-women

Back at the beginning of June, I started a new workout program.  I decided I wanted to learn how to lift weights, so I bought  “The New Rules of Lifting for Women.” The book starts out talking about how to train, then discusses eating/dietary information, and ends with a very detailed workout routine with detailed explanations of all of the exercises.  The book has really given me a better understanding of how to lift weights and the types of exercises to do, and I would recommend it to any woman who wants to start weightlifting, but doesn’t quite know where to start.

Stage 1 completed July 26, 2009
Stage 2 completed August 21, 2009
Stage 3 completed September 24, 2009
Stage 4 completed October 24, 2009
Stage 5 completed December 5, 2009
Stage 6 completed January 13, 2010
Stage 7 in process…

Categories: Mind, Body, & Soul Tags:

The X-files: Season 1

January 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Favorite Episodes:
Ice
Eve
Genderbender
Darkness Falls
The Erlenmeyer Flask

Favorite Quote:
[Scully knocks at the door to the X-Files office]
Mulder: Sorry, nobody down here but the FBI’s most unwanted.
(Pilot)

Favorite Bad Guy:
Teena Simmons & Cindy Reardon, twin eight-year-old girls who are not as innocent as they appear. (Eve)

Favorite Creature:
The parasite from Ice, which infects living creatures and amplifies the host’s feeling of anger and paranoia.

“Oh hey!” Guest Star*:
Felicity Huffman, star of Desperate Housewives (one of my new favorite shows) plays Dr. Nancy Da Silva in the episode “Ice.”

Favorite Recurring  Character:
“Deep Throat” (played by Jerry Hardin), a Syndicate member and mysterious informer to Mulder, who reveals information he choses to provide in a cryptic manner. He appeared in in 6 episodes of the first season.

Favorite Shipper Moment**:
I think the now-famous “conversation in the car” from the episode Tooms says it all. It goes a little something like this:

Mulder: No, you’d be in trouble just sitting in this car. And I’d hate to see you carry an official reprimand in your career file because of me.
Scully: Fox–
Mulder: I–I even made my parents call me Mulder. . .Mulder.
Scully: Mulder, I wouldn’t put myself on the line for anybody but you.
Mulder: If there’s an iced tea in that bag, could be love.
Scully: Must be fate Mulder–rootbeer. [Mulder fakes a wounded sound and throws his head back.] You’re delirious. Go home and get some sleep.

***

*An “Oh hey!” guest star is someone famous that pops up in an an episode and makes you say “Oh, hey!”

**What is a shipper moment, you ask? Derived from the word “relationship”, shipper is the general term for fans’ emotional and/or intellectual involvement with the ongoing development of romance in a work of fiction.  To put it simply, shippers are those devoted fans of the X-files who, more or less, want to see Mulder and Scully get it on. Shippers assert that the relationship does exist, will exist, or simply that they would like it to exist. So, a shipper moment would be some encounter between Mulder and Scully that is romantic or could be construed as being romantic.

Categories: Just for Fun Tags:

Paris, Je T’aime

January 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, it’s official. Andrew and I will be going to Europe in September 2010!

We’ve been discussing a trip to Europe for some time now, and we decided that we would go after Andrew passed his fifth Actuarial Exam, as the trip would basically be covered financially by the bonuses he would receive.

He took the exam on November 4, 2009 and for the past 2 months we have been on the edge of our seats waiting for the results. We tried not to talk about the trip much, since it is the hardest of all of the tests and we knew there was a chance he wouldn’t pass. Well, the results came back on Friday and he passed!

We have decided our trip will consist of lengthy stays in both France and Italy. I was hoping to hit a few more spots (mainly Germany), since who knows when we’ll ever get back, but we decided two will keep us plenty busy without feeling strapped for time in either place.

We spent some time at the library today looking through travel books, thinking about the places we want to go and the sights we want to see. We happily left the library with a couple of books about France and one on Tuscany. We continued the initial research at Noodles & Co (did you know you can get wine there?) followed by dessert at Sebastian Joe’s.

There’s a lot more research to be done, and we still need to settle on dates, but I am so close to making my Paris dreams come true that I am practically bouncing off the walls. Can’t September come any sooner?

The X-Files

January 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I have been obsessed with The X-Files since the 7th grade.

You might think I’m joking, but I assure you I am not.

I started watching during the 4th season (the first episode I ever saw was “El Mundo Gira”) and was instantly hooked. As each new episode (and the old ones I hadn’t seen) aired, I would record them for posterity. Yes, that’s right – my beloved VCR was set to record every Sunday night.

Thank God they invented DVDs or my husband would be seriously upset over the sheer number of VHS tapes I acquired over the years and conveniently would have unveiled after we got married. If it weren’t for the invention of the DVD, I think our wedding vows would have needed to include a line after “in sickness and in health” about my obsessive nature toward and uncontrollable hoarding of all things X-Files.

Even still, the DVDs combined with all of my miscellaneous X-Files paraphernalia (magazines, dolls, trading cards, books, calendars, etc) is enough to drive my husband mad.

Anyway, back to the show…

I have only seen the episodes from the first few seasons and the last two seasons a couple of times each, while I have seen the episodes from the middle seasons (4-7) at least half a dozen times each, if not more.

I think it is safe to conclude that the middle seasons are my favorite.  While the early episodes were very good and really set the tone for the show, I  found the middle seasons to be a perfect balance of the spookiness of the first three seasons with just the right amount of humor sprinkled in. The show was still very true to itself – the comedic parts just added a little extra something to the episodes.

Take for example the episode “Arcadia,” in which Mulder and Scully (who will, for the remainder of this post, be lovingly referred to as Mully or Sculder) go undercover as a married couple to investigate several disappearances at an idyllic planned community.

Or how about “X-Cops”? Sculder is followed documentary-style by a ‘Cops’ camera crew as they investigate a supernatural monster on the streets of Los Angeles.

Oh, and we can’t forget “Hollywood A.D,” where an X-File becomes the plot of a Hollywood movie, but Sculder finds their case — and themselves — distorted on the big screen.

Don’t get me wrong – all of the episodes from the middle seasons are not like this. Many of them are still very true to the tone set in earlier seasons. But there are a few gems, such as the episodes described above, that definitely rely more on their comedic parts.

Basically, the point of all of this is to stress a) how obsessed I was and, let’s face it, still am with the X-files and b) how excited I am to go back and watch all of the episodes in chronological order.  I am really looking forward to falling in love with the show all over again. Oh, and getting the opportunity to drool over David Duchovny on 176 separate occasions.  Of course I wish it were for 201 separate occasions, but I guess I will be happy with what I get.

Categories: Just for Fun Tags:

Garlic-Herb Mac & Cheese

January 3, 2010 Leave a comment

I had to make several changes to this recipe.  Since it was a King Arthur Flour recipe, several of the ingredients were products that they make exclusively and therefore I had to omit.  I also did not have panko breadcrumbs, garlic oil, or Pizza seasoning, but I think the Italian Style breadcrumbs I used made up for the missing seasonings. The resulting Mac & Cheese was tasty, but was lacking in cheese flavor, most likely due to the fact that I did not have the special cheese powder the recipe called for.  I would like to get the proper ingredients and give it another go, because I think this recipe has the potential to be really kick-ass.

Garlic-Herb Mac & Cheese
(Source: King Arthur Flour)

Macaroni:
8 ounces (about 2 cups) uncooked pasta (elbows, trumpets, or ziti)
1/4 cup Signature Secrets Culinary Thickener or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I used flour)
2 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup Vermont cheese powder (I omitted)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder, optional
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

Topping:
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons garlic oil, optional (I omitted)
2 teaspoons Pizza Seasoning or rosemary and thyme (I omitted)
1 1/2 cups Japanese panko (I used Italian Style bread crumbs)

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease four 1 1/2 to 2-cup ramekins, or one 2-quart baking dish.

2) Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente (slightly firmer than you would normally eat it). Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.

3) In a large saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together the Signature Secrets, or flour, milk, and cheese powder. Bring to a boil.

4) Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and seasonings. Stir occasionally, until cheese is completely melted.
5) Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce. Spoon it into the baking dish(es).

6) Melt the butter and garlic oil together, then stir in the pizza seasoning and panko bread crumbs. Sprinkle a thick layer over the pasta and cheese.

7) Bake the casserole for 25 to 35 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Remove from the oven, and serve hot.

Categories: I ♥ Food Tags:

Operation Organization: Part 3

January 3, 2010 Leave a comment

Organizing the closet in the basement bedroom went hand-in-hand with organizing the storage closet, so that was also tackled this weekend.

The main thing that was stored here was all of our Christmas decorations. All of the decorations were in little boxes within a huge box, which really annoyed me. Having five little boxes of Christmas ornaments just didn’t make sense to me. So, after the holidays, I split all of the decorations into 3 of the wonderful PPI boxes: ornaments and lights, knick knacks, and stockings, towels, etc. Everything is now incredibly accessible and I don’t have to rummage through a dozen little boxes to find all the ornaments.

The leaf for the dining room table and the spare chairs had to stay because there is no where else to keep those items right now. There is also a bin of towels and a box of my childhood stuffed animals but, once again, I can’t really do anything about that right now.

All-in-all, a very productive weekend on the organizational front.

Categories: Home Is Where the Heart Is Tags:

Organizing the Storage Room

January 3, 2010 Leave a comment

The area under the stairs in the basement is our long-term storage. It’s where those items we don’t need to access on a daily, or even a monthly, basis are kept.  Ice skates, rollerblades, our fancy wedding china, Halloween and Christmas decorations, and childhood memorabilia all have a home here.  A lot of the boxes in the closet were ones we never even bothered to unpack after we moved.

My biggest pet peeve down there is the boxes themselves. They are all different shapes, sizes, and colors and I don’t like the feng shui of it all. In order for it to feel (and look) neat and tidy, I wanted everything to be in perfectly proportioned identical (PPI, for short) boxes.  I acquired a dozen of those several months ago, so I was all ready to go.

The next step was unpacking the hodge podge of boxes so I could figure out what exactly we had. I sorted everything into the new boxes in a very orderly fashion.  Photos and trinkets  got their own box, as did the Christmas and Halloween decorations (respectively of course – can’t combine those holidays, though I swear the stores do these days). The china, which was in nice dinnerware protectors, also got put into boxes to condense it all down.  Old home videos went in another box as did all of the miscellaneous power and electronic cords and gizmos.

The last step, before putting everything back in the closet of course, was labeling the boxes. Everything is properly labeled now, so we don’t have to paw through all the boxes before we find the one that we want. The short wall, which I have dedicated to kitchen miscellany, has a few items that are not in the designated PPI boxes, but I have it arranged in such a way that will not drive me nuts and throw off the feng shui of the closet.

Categories: Home Is Where the Heart Is Tags: