Friday, January 29, 2010

Blog Envy

A Few of My Morocco Memories:
poppy fields, a "grocery souk", heading off to the river, our campsite

Oh, my! A friend just forwarded this little treasure along, because another friend is thinking of going to Morocco as a side trip from Spain. I've been to Morocco and can.not. wait to go back! Someday. It's only been since the "war" officially began way back in ... 2003. In fact, we were there for pretty much the entire war, according to good ol' G.W. We left the U.S. just as it was all being launched, and when we returned, Bush was already making his splash landing on the airline cruiser thingie, pronouncing to the world that his mission was accomplished. Obviously he meant his mission to someday fly onto an aircraft carrier (there's the word I was looking for).

Anyway, this woman's blog brought back so many memories, and then I continued on to the rest of her blog and became incredibly envious. What a life! So for anyone who feels the need to live vicariously through another woman's wonderful travels, take a gander: On the Road with Grand Maruby

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thoughtless Thursday

I thought it was Wordless Wednesday, but somehow I missed Wednesday (where did it go?). So instead I am instituting Thoughtless Thursday. Nothing really to say, so we'll let the pictures do the talking.

Here's what I am craving:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Two Posts in One Day?!

So, I often sit and ponder why I can't seem to drop these annoying 30 pounds that seem to have glommed onto me (through no fault of my own, of course) over the past 5 years. (And it has nothing to do with the fact that I do sit and ponder these things rather than getting out there and moving.)

Let me tell you about my day to see if you can help me figure this out:

First, all I had for breakfast was a watered-down smoothie--I only had a smoothie because we are pretty much out of food (I didn't make it to the grocery store yesterday), and it was watered down because our blender sucks and requires much too high of a liquid-to-solid ratio to make anything blend. But that's OK. I'm trying to be virtuous and good, and I can survive one morning on a watered-down smoothie.

Then Mr. J called from his business meeting to see if I wanted him to bring home a latte from the coffee shop. Now, a latte isn't that bad in and of itself, though I know he had it made with whole milk, because skim milk just isn't in his vocabulary. And I didn't add sugar. So that's all something. But I am trying to cut back on the caffeine. And yet after a week of herbal tea and water with lemon and honey, that latte was de.lish.ous! So I am not going to beat myself up about that.

Then, after a couple hours of work, I had to run some errands (including a much-needed grocery run). So I started off at Bed Bath and Beyond, where I had to return some stuff and then of course buy some stuff, And all this took way too long, so that I was starving by the time I was finally heading to the grocery store. And we all know that going to the grocery store on an empty stomach is bad news. (For me, this is not only because I will splurge on all the horribly bad stuff, but also because our local grocery store is a madhouse and I tend to get incredibly snarky and snappy at the people who just STOP in front of me or completely block the aisle as they analyze the contents and prices of every. damn. can on the shelf. Grrr.) Anyway, I knew this was all a very serious possibility, so I decided to stave off the snarkiness by stuffing my face with Arby's (I know ... gross). As I pulled up to the drive-through, I had every intention of just getting one measly little roast beef sandwich and maybe an unsweetened iced tea. Definitely no fries. But then I remembered about their curly fries. And then I saw roast beef with cheddar, which sounded weirdly appetizing. And then I saw the Dr Pepper, which I love, even though it leaves a really weird aftertaste in my mouth. So I totally caved and got a "roast beef" sandwich, curly fries, and a Dr Pepper. The sandwich was pathetic, and the cheddar wasn't even cheddar cheese; just some of that weird nacho cheese spread stuff (which I secretly like, but still, it's just not right). Of course I ate it all anyway. The curly fries were crisp and hot and yummy, even though I know that if I dropped one under my carseat (which I probably did) it would still be there, perfectly in tact, 5 years from now. And the Dr Pepper was ... Dr Pepper. The good news was that I was no longer hungry by the time I hit the grocery store. The bad news was that I ate at America's Roast Beef, Yes Sir.

My only redeeming grace of the day is that I spent a whopping $150 on veggies and fruit. So at least I know that in the coming days, I will be virtuous.

But wait, there's more. Tonight, I was invited to help a friend finish up her quilt (don't be impressed by me; all I did was stick in some pins and then help hold it all together while she ran it through the sewing machine; she, on the other hand, is a sewing queen). Then all the people who came to help were rewarded with an amazingly delicious dinner with appetizers, wine, yummmmmy food, AND a fabulous dessert. If I had known all this, I might have refrained from the absolutely disgusting Arby's lunch so then I wouldn't feel so bad. No, that's a lie. I knew there was going to be good food. I just didn't realize it would be so much and so good and so wonderful. Silly me. Don't get me wrong--I don't feel bad that I ate great food with wonderful new friends and lots of laughter. I do feel bad that I preceded that with my grease bomb of a lunch (which did come back to haunt me about halfway through dinner ... thank goodness for bathroom fans). And I really feel bad that I slept in this morning rather than squeezing in some kind of physical activity to relieve this haggard body of some of the pounds I keep adding on to it.

But tomorrow is another day, and now my fridge is stocked with all the makings of healthy, healthy food. And our next shin-dig isn't until next Tuesday (a whole week away), when we are having people over for our first "party" ... a Groundhog Day chili fest, where I have already found out that one of our other amazingly-good-cook friends is bringing jalapeno-cheddar-bacon cornbread. So ... where DO those pounds keep coming from??

Feeling Better

Ahh, mood swings. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Oh, that's right. I don't love thee.

The funk has moved on, though the drizzling rain is still here. Not complaining about that, though. Our seven new trees need the water, and the outdoor dismalness is forcing me to stay inside and work, rather than wandering around downtown window shopping or some such thing.

So before the next funk moves in, it's time for a list of things that make me happy, mainly because I really don't have much else to say, but also because I have been seriously absent from the whole blog world lately and need to get the bloggie juices rolling again. And also ... next time that swing is one its way down, maybe I'll remember to cruise back in time to read this happy little list.

My Happy List
Dollar Taco Thursdays
Two-Dollar Fish Taco Fridays
Fresh eggs from our neighbor's chickens
Finding a steal at the thrift store
Eucerin lotion
Mom's margaritas
Mom's lasagna
Mom's spaghetti sauce
Mom's bloody marys
Oh, and of course, Mom
And Dad
And the whole rest of my immediate family
Chips and salsa and guac (it's been so long, my mouth is watering at the thought of it)
The Japanese maple outside my office window
My hydrangea tree (can't wait to see it bloom)
Mr. J's morning tea
Sushi (though I seriously suffer from overfishing guilt whenever I indulge)
Netflix and Hulu
Being somewhat steadily employed
Ripe, juicy melons (and yes, I mean the fruit ... get your mind out of the gutter!)
Mr. J (even when he doesn't hang the towel after showering)
Flannel sheets
River trips with good friends
Camping with good friends
Good friends
Fresh fruit and veggies
Sweet potato fries
That salami we had in France with that cheese we had in France on that bread we had in France
OK, let's just say it ... good food of any kind makes me happy
And last but not least ...

The Dog sleeping in the sun (even if that nap happens to be on my new flannel sheets)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rainy Days and Fridays

So, I had this whole long, maudlin sad post ready to go. But I just can't bring myself to post it. My life's woes are seriously not serious enough in this day and age. Devastation in Haiti, ridiculous rulings by our lost-in-time Supreme Court, crazy local legislation here in Boise (and in Greeley, CO ... I'd be lost without my neighborhood chickens!!). The life and times of one Ms. Tara and her family are not that bad. I just hope the world survives long enough for us to sort out our piddly problems and to claw our way out of our financial woes.

Obviously there is a glass of red on my left, fueling on my funk. I think it's time to get up and knit or be productive or at least figure out what I'm wearing to tomorrow night's Naughty School Girl Party. I mean, how bad can life be when those are my major priorities? Really ...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Eight Years Today

I love this picture. I think that it expresses everything wonderful about our marriage, and everything about Mr. J that is so great. I mean, look at that smile of his. Doesn't it just make you want to go out and have fun and love life?

Life is never perfect every second of every day, and there are so many little bumps along the way. But I am so thankful for those little moments of perfectness and so glad that I am sharing the ride, bumps and all, with this man that I love (even when he doesn't hang the towels after he showers).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


OK, so maybe this prayer/positive thought thing is good. First of all, the plane obviously did land safely and we didn't get knocked down out of the sky by the moderate turbulence (which, in my mind, was the worst. turbulence. ever). Second, a check arrived today from Mr. J's old (current?) business partner. Hooray. We won't be digging into our credit line to pay estimated taxes. Hallelujah. We aren't out of the hole yet, but every little bit helps. Thank you former/current/whatever Mr. Business Partner. Third, my mom's MRI came back completely blank (as my mom says, her head is empty). So we are hoping it's just an infection that the steroids will eventually clear up. And we are really, really hoping that the hearing comes back (though I did say in my little offering to whoever is out there that I was negotiable on that; of course, I didn't check with my mom on that point).

Mr. J always wonders why I get so worried, nervous, neurotic about things like this, because for my family, things almost always work out well. But even just typing that line makes me worried that I just jinxed us forever. Not that he's belittling what could have been a bad situation, but he has such a better attitude. He knows it is out of his control (well, except for the money thing), so he just has the whole wait-and-see attitude and only gets excited, nervous, anxious when the the final diagnosis, whatever, is there in front of him. Actually, even then, he stays calm and approaches it from a "what can we do to fix this" standpoint. Easy for him to say! But he's right, my family is ridiculously healthy. I mean, my 90-year-old Nana just got a cochlear implant. Two days after the surgery, she was doing laundry and cooking up homemade mac and cheese for my aunt. I don't even have that kind of stamina, and I'm (barely) more than half her age.

So, for now, all's well that ends well. As for me, maybe I should start sending some positive vibes to my work attitude, because I really need to get busy and S-T-O-P procrastinating. Really. (And ignore that package of yarn that just arrived yesterday. Really. Focus.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dear ... Someone ... It's Me, Tara!

So, who do you pray to when you aren't sure that you believe in God? Lately I've found myself with the need to ask someone out there for help.

First it was the bumpy flight back home. (Have I mentioned I really do not enjoy flying anymore? Could it be all those falling-from-the-sky dreams? Hmmmm, could be.) Then it was a general anxiety about life and Mr. J's unemployment and stress about money.

Now it's more important (and more realistic) than any of that. A week ago my wonderful mom shook her head, got an instant headache, heard a weird whooshing in her ears, and now, suddenly, has 50% hearing loss in both ears. Just like that. So we are waiting (anxiously) for the MRI results. (Why does it take so long? Why isn't it like on House where they just look at the screen and, boom, there's the answer? OK, so maybe it's more like, they look at the screen, come up with an answer, that answer is wrong, come up with another answer, that answer seems to be right, everything is hunkey-dorey, the patient is healthy, and then boom, a new symptom appears, the person almost dies, and then, at the last minute, House saves the person. And there you have a synopsis of every episode of House ever, and yet I continue to watch it each week.)

I, of course, am a wannabe hypochondriac and the ultimate drama queen. So my first instinct is, Oh my god, it's a tumor. Or an aneurysm. Either way, bad news, and get it taken care of NOW. I mean what else would explain that sudden loss, just like that? I have resisted the urge to Google the symptoms to diagnose it myself, something I am usually too eager to do. I'm just biding my time, hoping and praying ... to ... I don't know who/what/where that she is healthy and out of pain and able to hear again soon.

Note that when I do try to pray or beg or whatever it is that I'm doing, I am super careful to be ultra-specific in what I want. First I asked that she be out of pain. But then I realized that, yes, death would lead to a lack of pain. So, no, that's not what I was asking for. So, now I've added on, out of pain, alive, healthy, and hopefully with her hearing (such as it was) regained. But I worry ... am I leaving something out? Did I word it wrong? I don't know why I stress about these things. If I don't necessarily believe in an all-knowing God, then why I am so worried about what I'm asking him/her/it for? Well, I am superstitious that way. So maybe that's it.

Saying all that, I do believe in the power of positive thinking/prayer/healing vibes. I'm just having a hard time making all my thoughts/prayers/whatever positive. My brain tends to immediately start worrying and thinking the worst. And then I worry that I'm projecting that negativity out there into the world, instead of the happy, healing thoughts that I want to send to my mom.

So, here is my prayer for my mom: Please help the docs figure out what is wrong with her ears. Please help keep her sane during her time in silence (even the radio is too much for her right now, and she loves music). Please let this be something that once they figure it out, they can make it better. Please make the pain go away while also keeping her alive and healthy. Please don't let her lose her hearing (though I'm willing to bargain on that one if she comes out of this healthy, with no tumors or blood clots or anything like that). In other words, please help. Amen.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sad Day

As I sit here writing on this appropriately gray, dreary day, I'm listening to murder and mayhem outside my front window. I have my red curtains closed, but they are kind of sheer, so it gives the whole event an even more macabre feel.

The tree guys are here. Our one big tree, which in the summer shades our upstairs as well as our entire backyard (once the sun starts its descent), is being taken down. Yes, I know it is (allegedly) more than two-thirds rotten inside. Yes, I know it is leaning precariously over our upstairs bedroom. Yes, I know that silver maples are not really a pretty tree, at least in terms of fall color. Yes, I know we are getting three (very small) trees in its place ... someday. But, it's still a living (barely) tree that has been here probably more than 50 years (how long does it take a silver maple to grow to be over 50 feet tall?). Not to mention the fact that all fall I've been watching a family of squirrels scurry around and stock their home with all sorts of goodies. And that home just happens to be in the big silver maple (OK, so those squirrels probably contributed to its downfall, as their home is in the huge knot on the side of the tree. But still.)

And on top of all that, I know I will eventually be reprimanded by the batty woman who scolded me a month ago when she heard that the tree was slated to come down. Even though I told her that we are planting three trees in its place. Even though I know that since we moved in this past August, we have planted seven trees. She still scolded me. Like it was my fault the tree was dead. She is probably also one of those people who want to protect all the prairie dogs, even though they breed so fast and have so few natural predators, that in two years' time they were able to turn a field of tall grasses into a barren dust bowl.

Oops, how'd I get off on that tangent?

So I'm giving a little offering of thanks to our silver maple. We've only enjoyed its shade for 4 months, but we will miss it. (Though, admittedly, I won't be missing all the dead branches it dropped in our yard.) So long, tree! I hope you come back in your next life as a long-lived (male) ginkgo!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


In all the excitement that were the holidays (and the holidays were very nice, I might add), I have neglected my little blog. Poor blog. I'm sorry! But the nice thing was that I pretty much neglected all things computer and email related for at least a week. Ahhh, heaven. Of course, I kept tabs on it all with my Blackberry, but say what you will about Crackberries, they do keep me from being tied to my computer every damn day.

When last I wrote (before the whole Clean thing), I had just had my icky mole scraped out (blech), leaving me with an almost-2-inch, stitched-up, bandaged-over hole smack dab in the middle of my neck. When the bandages weren't on, and if you didn't look too closely, the row of stitches looked something like a gang tattoo written in some kind of ancient Chinese type. Either way, very attractive, and not exactly they look I was going for when I picked out the cute little scoop-neck sweater for the holidays. But, in the grand scheme of things, all was good.

I was, however, more anxious about the biopsy results. It took them a week to gt back to me, and after I few rounds of phone tag, I finally got in touch with the PA at the dermatologist's office. Here's the main part of the conversation:

PA Dude: We got the results.
Me: Oh, good?
PA Dude: Yes, and the good news is that we got it all out and the margins were negative. [Whatever the heck that means.]
Me: OK. And ...? [waiting for the bad news]
PA Dude: And ... Well, you have a follow-up appointment scheduled, right?
Me: Yes. And ...? [are they really going to make me wait until the follow-up to tell me the bad news]
PA Dude: Well, good. We will see you then.
Me: OK. But wait. Was it all good news, then?
PA Dude: Yeah. [not even a hesitation, like of course I should know this]
Me: Oh. Whew. Good. [Mentally screaming at him that he really needs to brush up on his "phoneside" manners and perhaps rethink the way he words things.]

So, very long story longer, I am fine. The mole is gone. However, I have to keep an eye on it for the rest of my life, as it is the aggressive (but localized) kind that can come back. And if this means another surgery on my trachea in the same spot, I am not going to be a happy camper!

And don't even get me started on the squeamish that was the removal of the stitches on Christmas morning. All I can say about that is thank God for the super-strong Bloody Mary my mom concocted for me.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Clean in 2010?

Holy moly, 2010?!? How did that happen. I remember when it was just a very-belated sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. And now here we are.

I haven't made any official resolutions, but after packing on 5 pounds in 10 days, I'm ready to cut out all junk for a while. Mr. J and I are somewhat committed to trying the Clean program by Alejandro Junger. I have the grocery list all set. We'll see how it goes. The hardest part is that we are just too social (oh, boo hoo, poor us). But seriously, we are surrounded by people who are fab.u.lous cooks. And while we wait for dinner to cook, we all sit around nibbling on whatever fantastic cheese or snacks while sipping (oh, OK, more like guzzling) really good wine.

So as I said, we'll see how it goes. I believe that as long as we are eating better at home, we cannot deprive ourselves when out on the town. We just need to make sure that we are eating more at home than we are at the homes of our friends. (Note: I was going to say "we can indulge" or "we can spoil ourselves," but "not depriving ourselves" sounds so much more virtuous, doesn't it?

We also have sworn and double-dog promised to get moving more. In our absence, The Dog has been getting 2 walks a day. So he's going to be giving us the puppy-dog eye treatment. Now we just have to not ignore him and get up and move, even if it's just a walk to the park so he can chase squirrels.

So, no real resolutions. More like affirmations, a la Stuart Smalley. I am good enough, I am smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!