You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2010.

I think I’m going to create a new blog post category called “Pickles”. Because, I seem to find myself in them more often than not. You’re lucky because they make for good stories.

Wednesday, after Bible Study, we were congregating in the parking lot. Laurie zipped by in her car as she was leaving, and somewhere in the conversation she said she had to go because she was low on fuel and didn’t want to get gas until tomorrow in the day time. When I got in my car to leave I noticed that my gas light had come on. It said I had 50 miles left to go. I thought, surely I can make it to work tomorrow and then fill up for cheap at Kroger during lunch.

Thursday morning, I got up and went to Boot Camp as usual.  When I left for work, it said I had about 25-30 left. Since work is only 20ish miles away, I thought I’d have no problem, given that the majority of my commute is highway driving. Of course I didn’t factor in that it was a rainy morning and that traffic would be bad. But I did know where the designated gas stations were on my way just in case I needed to get a gallon or two to make it to work.

Traffic was good, then it was bad, then it was good, and then bad. When it was bad, my car would decrease in miles left and I would begin to sweat, but then when traffic picked up, things looked good and I got confident. When I was on the home stretch, there was no turning back. There were no stations left. I was feeling good  thinking I was gonna make it. I got to the stop light outside my building and the reader says 2 miles elft. Gulp. I took a right and coasted downhill to the parking garage. Then 1. Gulp. I pulled into the garage and eased into a spot and the reader says, “—-“. GULP. I turned the car off and went into work.

I figured I’d peruse around on some BMW forums to see if maybe there was a secret gallon that was there as a cushion for these instances. No such thing. In fact, some people have run out of gas when the reader says 20 miles left. I realize it’s a miracle I even got to work.

I had plans with Tiff for lunch and I warned her of an impending adventure if I drove. All morning long I was nervous and couldn’t stop thinking about how I would resolve this situation. We headed downstairs at noon and I turned the car on. It still said “—-“ and the car started shaking. I turned it off and Tiff agreed to drive. After lunch we stopped at a small gas station on the way back and I bought one of those red plastic one gallon gas cans. I fill her up and we headed back.

So, now I’ve spent 10 bucks, which is more than I would have spent had I just filled up at the expensive spot in Lakewood. We get back to the parking garage and I get out and assemble the spout. I start to pour it in and oh my goodness, we are leaking everywhere. I’m getting about half in the tank, half on the ground (and my shoes). And the pouring is a slow process. By this time, another coworker has walked up and joins Tiff in watching the spectacle. I hated to be spilling gas everywhere, but I needed to get that gas in the tank so I could stop worrying!  Tiff and Amanda have a heyday laughing at me and the whole time all I hear in my head is the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz saying, “Oil can, oil can”.

Finally, I think I’ve emptied my gallon. We go to turn the car on. I was just hoping for enough gas to get me to Kroger after work, which was about 2 miles away. And uphill. Yes, I thought about it. Bad news, the reader still said “—-“, but the good news was that the car stopped shaking. We decided to go upstairs and I attempted to take a bath in the sink. I get back to my desk and look up BMW roadside assistance. Well, what do you know… they offer free assistance if you run out of gas. I call them up and within 25 minutes, “Rick” has arrived to fill me up. He pulled in the front of the building and my car was in the back, so I asked to hop in and direct him. At first I was concerned about how badly I smelled of gasoline, but after getting in his car, I didn’t think he’d notice. There was an aroma of gas, oil, cigarettes, air freshener and Big Red that filled up his “DFW ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE” vehicle. Ick.

We pull around back and he writes a few things on his notepad and then puts $5 worth of gas in my tank. It takes him maybe a 30 seconds to fill it up, where I was stumbling around trying to avoid the gas spillage for a good 10-15 minutes. I told him about my unfortunate attempt with the gas can and he looked at it and says, “Oh, I don’t think you screwed it on all the way”. Of course not. I’ve already proven myself to be an idiot at least 2 or 3 times by that point.

I could have saved myself the time, the worry and stink by just calling roadside right when I got to work. But, of course we would have missed out on the adventure. And I also wouldn’t have lost 2 pounds. Because yes… I weighed myself this morning and I lost weight from yesterday.

The good news was that I got that $5 worth of gas for free. And with it I had 50 miles left in the tank. Which I figured was totally enough to get me home and then back to work again.

KIDDING. Lesson learned!

Today didn’t get off to the best start.  I’ve been fighting motivational issues from the moment my alarm went off this morning.  And, the fact that I feel the onset of a cold coming on doesn’t help.  However, a large envelope arrived on my desk about an hour ago.  It included to two tickets to a show I’ll be seeing in New York in May.  I am officially jazzed (insert Jazz Hands)…

Why is it that extremely sarcastic people make me happy?  Because they do.  And you have no idea how happy they make me.

P.S.  Don’t worry New Jersey beach beauties… I’m still planning on a shark and chard rendezvous this summer!

In my three weeks of sobriety, I totally forgot how much fun it is to go out with friends.  I also forgot how much fun a random night can be.  Case in point, please watch the videos here.

We hit up an art gallery, Cafe Izmir, a cougar themed birthday party and then had a chocolate martini nightcap at the Balcony Club.  Talk about  a sweet joint.  They had a band that was jamming to some sweet jazz similar to what I used to hear waking up on a weekend morning at my Dad’s house.  Naturally, I was really into it.  So much so, that I think I could get a second job moonlighting as a jazz band interpreter.  No, I’m not talking about signing.  I’m talking about movin’ and groovin’, trying to convey the emotions of the music through facial expressions and body movements.  Crystal and I dabbled that a little a few years ago on a family vacation to San Diego.  We practiced our skills to the open credits of ER.  It was powerful.

On a related note, I took Rocky for a walk this evening when I got home.   It was dark out, but I chose well lit streets so my dentist wouldn’t worry.  There were some good jams on the radio and I realized that if I go walking when it’s dark, I can really rock out to the music, much like I would if I were a jazz interpreter.  It was definitely considered free style walking and I am glad no one could see it.  Cause if they did, they’d think I was a crazy person.  Which might not be too far off from the truth anyways.

We are under the 24 hour countdown to the end of Daniel.  I can’t tell you how much I’m craving a rare piece of meat.  In fact, I’d be totally happy tomorrow consuming only a steak, a brownie and a glass of wine.  As Daniel comes to a close, I wanted to share a new smoothie recipe that I’ll probably be sticking to post-Daniel.  Don’t be deterred by the green ingredient… you can’t taste it AND it makes your smoothie the coolest color of the rainbow.

Turtle Power Smoothie

1 cup baby spinach

1 cup Almond Milk (or milk of your choosing)

1 T ground flax seeds

1 or 2 blocks silken lite tofu*

1 frozen banana

1/3 tsp peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 tsp xanthan gum**

1 packet of stevia or sweetener of choice

Put all ingredients in a blender or Magic Bullet and let er rip!  Enjoy the smoothie as you admire its beautiful color.

*This tofu usually says “perfect for smoothies, sauces, etc” and is normally 45 cals a serving.  I use 1-2 servings based on my hunger factor.

**This stuff magically makes your smoothie thicker, it’s awesome.  I got the Bob’s Red Mill brand that was on the baking aisle.  Don’t use too much though, apparently it helps move your system along if you know what I mean.  And I hope that you do.

Aside from going on the Daniel Fast and doing a total body cleanse, I really didn’t start 2010 with any resolutions.  And since the cleanse ends tomorrow (PTL) and the fast ends next Friday (PTL times 2), I think I have come up a good year-round resolution.  I didn’t brainstorm it, it sorta just happened and I thought about it for a while.

During my daily lunch break internet perusing, I caught up on the devastation of the Haiti earthquake.  It’s pretty hard to wrap your head around something that massive which has killed and injured hundreds of thousands of people.  It’s incredibly sad and humbling to think about.  I know in the last week I’ve complained about having to work late, being tired, and losing sleep (over a knocking sound coming from neighbor below because he can’t move his bed at least a foot away from the wall… ahem).  When here are thousands and thousands of people who have lost relatives, who are hurt and can’t get help, and who won’t be eating or sleeping for days on end. I have no reason to complain.

Since the logistics of me physically helping the victims are not realistic (and how could an accountant help anyways), I donated money to UNICEF.  I recently discovered that Goldman has a gift matching program (dollar for dollar), so I utilized it and doubled my donation.  Better take advantage of that while I can.

Today, during my daily iPhone Facebook perusing, I saw a post from my friend, Christen, about her and her sisters blog on their Avon Walk for Breast Cancer team.  They are fundraising and I decided to help them out.  Christen’s mom recently beat her battle with breast cancer.  And Gamma had it and beat it twice.  It’s an extremely worthy cause.

My point in all this is not to gain points for being a great person.  Because y’all should already know that, right?  My point is that my New Year’s resolution is to give more.  Because it’s something I have always enjoyed, yet often neglect to do.  My goal is to donate my time or money twice a month.  (I’m not limiting myself to only volunteering twice, I just like numbers, particularly even ones).  Right now my schedule doesn’t permit me to volunteer my time, I’m going to donate monetarily until I can.  I used to get scammed donate money as a kid, and I’m definitely more capable of it now, especially since I make more than $15 a month these days.  Although I did have free food and rent them… hmm. (Funny how I used the same blog title today as that post a year and a half ago without realizing I was double dipping).

If I’ve encouraged anyone to give, here’s a list of organizations to donate to for the Haiti victims.  I think giving time is much more meaningful that money, but in situations like these, money works wonders.  If you have any organizations that are in need of volunteers or want to go volunteer together, let’s make it happen!

Is the phrase my Mom used to describe my recent car buying experience.  Once I decided I was going to get a new car, I went full speed ahead until the decision was made.  Which was about 2-3 days later.  That’s how I operate on big decisions.  I can debate for an hour what I would like to eat tonight, but when it comes to spending a chunk load of dough, my gut tells me what’s up at the drop of a hat. 

Which means I didn’t have much time to mourn the passing on of my Passat.  I knew one day we would have to say goodbye, I just didn’t expect it so soon.  And I get all sentimental thinking about how my car will probably be shipped to Mexico and sold for parts.  In reality, it’s probably ready to kickback with a Corona and be lazy on the beach for a while.  It’s probably been waiting for the day I’d retire it so it wouldn’t have to put up with my crazy Dallas hands-in-the-air driving antics.  You were good to me, Passat, you really were. 

Luckily, I will never have to retire that fleece.  Now, onto the new (to me) wheels.  I test drove three cars.  This was the third one and when I got in the driver’s seat, my gut said, “Holla”!  Well, that was after I researched it to make sure I was getting a good deal.  You know me, I’m always happiest when I get something on sale. 

I love that it sits up so I can see better, I love that the steering is tight, I love that it’s sporty and can put up with said driving antics.  I hope it’s up for that kind of challenge!

Lastly, while we are on the topic of cars… let’s go ahead and pour one out for my first love, Elmo.

P.S.  When I went to google pictures of my car to put on here, this is one of the first I saw.  I hope it’s not an omen.  Yikes!

My brother, you are older than me.  Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won’t heal?

Three years ago, when Jamila and I were “surviving” Nortel, she introduced me to the Daniel Fast.  Three weeks.  No animal products.  Whole grains only. No booze.  No sweets.

“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” Daniel 10:2, 3

She survived on veggie soup from Jason’s Deli as well as Frito’s and tortilla chips (they are whole grain, right?).  This was also the same time I had ordered Jason’s to be delivered and they forgot the lettuce on my salad.  Seriously.  I was just an innocent bystander to the fast at the time, but this year I somehow made a promise that I would join her. 

I am right at the halfway mark of my sober-sugarless-vegan trial.  It’s not been as easy as I was hoping.  January 1 was cake.  It all sounded like a marvelous idea at the time, especially given I’d had my share of vodka the night before.  A cleansing of the system for New Years.  What better way to kick off 2010? 

Fast forward to now, after multiple nights drinking water in a bar, every night ordering a grilled chicken salad (sans the chicken) for dinner at work,  and missing out on Elvis’ birthday cake.   It’s not the most glamorous life imaginable, but I have learned to really enjoy Amy’s California “Burgers”.  And I made a pretty sweet tofu smoothie this morning.  I will say I am amazed at the number of faux meats that Whole Foods carries.  Burgers, roasts, tamales, you name it.  When I see all these things on the aisles, it kinda makes me giggle.  Anyone want to have tofurkey at Thanksgiving next year?

In the meantime, I’m going to pull through.  I do feel a protein void in my life.  I honestly can’t wait to kill a grilled chicken breast.  Most likely I will eat it with my hands and dip it in ketchup like a little kid.  Also, I seem some chocolate in my future.  As well as beer, vodka and wine.  Oh my.

Now that I’m off my soapbox, let’s get on to the one thing that’s been good about this week.  Elvis’ 75th birthday. 

In typical fashion, I’m celebrating the day much like I have in years past.  I set the Tivo to record all the movies airing today.  And also the E! True Hollywood story on LMFP (just for you, nans).  Viva Las Vegas, Blue Hawaii, Jailhouse Rock, Spinout, Speedway and Elvis on Tour.  That’s what I’ve got waiting for me once this work week is through. 

For breakfast I had a PB&B sandwich (english muffin).  And tonight we are going to Chuy’s for the birthday bash.  I’ve been tuned into Elvis Radio all day, which is broadcasting live from Graceland, so I was able to catch the cake cutting ceremony this morning on the front lawn.  Priscilla and Lisa Marie were there.  Heck yes. 

I’m also wearing these bad boys that I picked up on our last trip to Graceland.  Which is just what I’m doing today… Takin’ Care of Business (in a flash).

Now, to continue my blog tradition… here’s the latest Top 10 Things Elvis.  I’m going with my favorite Elvis quotes, either by him or said about him.  I hope you enjoy…

Top 10 Elvis Quotes

10. “A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man’s music, when in fact, almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis.” – Jackie Wilson

9. “You have no idea how great he is, really you don’t. You have no comprehension – it’s absolutely impossible.  I can’t tell you why he’s so great, but he is.  He’s sensational.” – Phil Spector

8. “His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac.  It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.” -Frank Sinatra, 1950’s

7. “You know, Bush is always comparing me to Elvis in sort of unflattering ways. I don’t think Bush would have liked Elvis very much, and that’s just another thing that’s wrong with him.” – Bill Clinton, during the 1992 presidential campaign.

6. “There have been a lotta tough guys. There have been pretenders. And there have been contenders. But there is only one king.” – Bruce Springsteen

5. “Before Elvis, there was nothing.” – John Lennon

4. “That’s my idol, Elvis Presley. If you went to my house, you’d see pictures all over of Elvis. He’s just the greatest entertainer that ever lived. And I think it’s because he had such presence. When Elvis walked into a room, Elvis Presley was in the f***ing room. I don’t give a f*** who was in the room with him, Bogart, Marilyn Monroe.” – Eddie Murphy

3. “I wasn’t just a fan, I was his brother. He said I was good and I said he was good; we never argued about that. Elvis was a hard worker, dedicated, and God loved him. Last time I saw him was at Graceland. We sang Old Blind Barnabus together, a gospel song. I love him and hope to see him in heaven. There’ll never be another like that soul brother.” – James Brown

2. “Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.” -Elvis

1. “When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times… I learned very early in life that:

‘Without a song, the day would never end;
Without a song, a man ain’t got a friend;
Without a song, the road would never bend;
Without a song.’

So I keep singing a song.”

- Elvis, from his acceptance speech for the 1970 Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation Award.

Watching that always gives me chills.  Happy birthday, E.

Last night’s game was a big bummer.  Not because Texas lost, but because Texas didn’t get to play at their full capacity.  Which would have provided a much more fair and exciting game.  Not to say it wasn’t exciting, because it definitely was.  At least in the beginning and the end.  Not the very very end though.

I’ve realized there is a lot to be said for a person that is from the state of Texas, who didn’t go to UT, that can still cheer for the home team.  I made the mistake of checking Facebook too many times last night during the game, only to be frustrated at the abundance of (not to name any names) Tech, A&M and TCU fans (whoops) who were “roll tiding”, making fun of Colt and joking about how all the UT fans, who didn’t go to school at Texas, will be returning their burnt orange shirts to Walmart. 

I didn’t go to UT and I am not ashamed to admit I’m a fan, even after they lost last night.  I’m just as proud today as I would have been had we won.  I’m just not as giddy, because, well, we lost.  I will even admit I’m a bigger Longhorn fan that I am a TCU fan.  Sorry, it’s true.  I grew up on Longhorn football and so when I root for the Horns, I am in a way reminiscing my childhood.  For 18 years of my life (minus the brief stint I had being an Aggie… thanks relatives), I lived in Austin and was surrounded by the excitement and enthusiasm that is Texas Football.  All of the memories I have sitting in my parents seats, playing football with Kelley at halftime, and seeing the other fans in our section over the years… they all come back to me when I watch Texas play. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love TCU.  I had the opportunity to go to Texas, but I chose TCU because I thought it would be a better fit.  And it was a great fit, I had the best experience possible.   But, that doesn’t mean I can’t root for the Longhorns and not be taken seriously because I didn’t go to school there.  No one in the DFW area went to The University of Cowboys, but they can still be a fan of the home team.  So, why is it such a big deal to be from Austin and be a fan of Texas? 

I do think Texas would have won last night had Colt not been injured so early.  However, it’s our own fault for not playing Gilbert more all season that we did.  I can’t imagine the pressure he felt last night and after seeing him in the second half, I’m even more excited for next year.

Hook ‘em and Go Frogs.

About a year ago, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop getting Starbucks every morning.  I attempted to make a home-brew Monday – Thursday and then treat myself to the real deal only on Friday’s. 

I lasted the better part of a year.  Morning coffee is a tricky formula to get right.  There’s the issue of transporting it.  Even with using the 4 Starbucks tumblers I had purchased, there was still significant amount of spillage.  You wash those in the dishwasher ONE time and the plastic get’s jacked up.  Just screwing the cap one would cause a few dribbles of coffee to fall on your hands.  Or your clothing.  Not the best way to get the day started.  There is also the issue of temperature.  By the time my 30 minute commute to work is over, my coffee is cold.  There is the option of reheating it, but you can’t to that in the tumbler.  Plastic would leak into my coffee and I would die.  I could pour the coffee into a mug and reheat that, but that involves way too many variables for a simple cup of coffee.  And sometimes it hurts.

Long story short, in order to save my health and mental sanity, I decided it’s best to just pay $2 a day for a good, strong cup of fresh coffee.  I reasoned that since I am single, I work hard and I don’t eat lunch out, I can afford it.  Which brings me to the point of this post.

I’ve been stopping at a new Starbucks the last couple of months.  I used to stop there often until one Friday I had a run in with Bob Marley.  Since it’s convenient, I’ve been going back.  Carefully.  About two months ago, I noticed this grungy guy standing behind the cream and sugar kiosk.  He would kinda of watch me and one day he said, “Hey”.  I wasn’t sure if he was homeless or just creepy.  Turns out he works there because a few days later he was behind the front counter. 

He seemed like a pretty nice guy and I always love having a barista know my order by heart.  He’d see me walk in and would grab my grande decaf, so it was ready by the time I checked out.  Occasionally, we’d share small talk.  He once told me it was “always nice to see you”.  I just thought this Starbucks branch was exceptional with customer service.  And then came the big one.  Yesterday.  Donovan was pouring my coffee the moment I walked in the door.  I said to him, “Wow, you are fast”.  He said, “Well, I saw you drive up”.  He asked how my day went and then as I was turning to walk away, he says, “Hey, I was wondering if you’d like to have coffee with me sometime”? Surprised, I said, “Um, sure”.  He responded, “Ok, well you know where to find me”.

Which means now I am in a pickle.  Donovan is really nice and I enjoy having an attentive barista, but he is not really my type.  And I don’t really want to jeopardize our “relationship” because I do enjoy the service.  So, I’m not sure what to do.  I stalled today and went to another Starbucks.  But, that can be blamed on the “arctic blast”… for all he knows, maybe I’m a teacher and had the day off.

I am open to suggestions on how to make this not an awkward situation.  Do I have coffee with him?  Do I just avoid the subject each time I see him? 

It’s funny to me that he choose a coffee date.  I guess he figured he was safe in asking me to do something we both have in common.

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