Friday, May 28, 2010

Target ice cream sandwiches

File this under yay:

Target now sells low fat ice cream sandwiches with stats like The Skinny Cow! 130 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per, and they look great. I bought some today... for $3.24 instead of the $5.79 at Shop & Shop across the street.


My newest tea obsession.

Tazo, makers of mouth-watering and unusual tea blends, have a tea named "Passion: A magical blend of hibiscus, lemongrass, rose hips, mango & passion fruit flavors." Brew this and you'll fall in love with it! It's not a new blend and I've been drinking it for years, but it's just what the doctor ordered right now (at least for me). Fresh passionfruit is the most perfect, brightest, slightly sour but mostly sweet flavor I've ever had the pleasure of tasting, and this reminds me that I've got to get more of the frozen pulp to make my best passionfruit smoothies!

But back to tea. When you rip open the sachet, it smells a bit spicy. But brew, and it transforms water into a tangy, intoxicating beverage perfumed by fruit. And the tea is the color of passion, too - fuchsia! I enjoyed it hot yesterday morning, but iced is just a different type of refreshing, especially with a little Splenda thrown in.

Anyway, I recommend it. Yum!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You, me, who?

Great article (paper?) from Jessica Love, psycholinguistics graduate student. The VT's article is an excerpt, so click further to read the rest.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


"A heightened yet fleeting state of accomplishment that makes you realize how unbelievably unmotivated you normally are."

Screw you, Snickers! Speak for yourself. I'm not buying you anymore.

Friday, May 21, 2010


So CC is not so clever tonight. So what? Sometimes it just takes a minute.

I just realized... if I pay the $30 hotspot thing, then I don't need Comcast at all! Simplify! Right?

So that's $69 for the Sprint service, plus $30 for the hotspot service, plus the possible $10 4G charge monthly equals $110. Or, $69 for the Sprint service, plus $45 internet from Comcast, plus the possible $10 4G charge monthly equals $125. $110 is less than $125. Therefore, the first way wins. This just gets better and better. YAY!

Say hello to my little friend

I have to pay for her services, but isn't she gorgeous?

I'm going to make a special bag for this lovely new toy of mine. Buying was pretty painless, too. I can't believe I'm finally getting a great cell phone!

Here's what the HTC EVO has, and can do:

  • A sexy 4.3" touchscreen
  • 8 megapixel camera on the front, a 1.3 megapixel cam on the back for mobile video chatting, and HD output
  • 4G (useful when I'm in Boston, which, admittedly, is almost never -- unless it reaches to my house, which would be AWESOME!) and can handle voice calls and data transfers at the same time
  • Built-in turn-by-turn direction helper
  • Create-your-own-hotspot capability for up to 8 devices (which I won't use since I only have one wireless device anyway)
  • FM radio and thousands of apps
  • 8GB microSD, upgradable to 32GB (currently sitting in my camera)
  • Proximity and motion sensors (no idea what these are for, but I guess there must be a reason)
  • Lots of other geeky gobbledygook about processors and speeds and interfaces and batteries that I find oh so very boring.
Impressive, yes? I think I'll name her Vanessa. Either that, or Vicki. I haven't decided yet...

Where there's a will...

(Oops! I meant to post this yesterday. My next post won't make any sense if I don't share this background.)

...there's a way. And I have found the way!

In order to pay the bills and get the phone I want and also start to recoup some money (hopefully), I have decided to take the plunge and disconnect my tv. That's right... disconnect it from Comcast, completely. Also, dump my land line. Continue with their cable (duh) for $45 a month (12 mbps) and get the remaining ~$115 per month back into my life (my Comcast service had all the bells and whistles, which was quite silly for me because I only used the whistles occasionally, and I barely even touched the bells). Comcast was very nice to have contacted me directly (that reminds me, I need to write them back), but can't compare price-wise to someone who doesn't care much for tv and wants to dump their home phone. (Although the tv idea is new, I have been thinking about losing the land line for months now.)

After FIOS gets installed at the development, I'll just buy cable and internet through Verizon (to the tune of about $79 monthly).

As for a phone, hello, HTC EVO! You're mine... all mine. I pre-ordered today at Radio Shack with an instant rebate ($200 instead of $300, and it's held with just $50 -- plus, I'll get $20 toward accessories that day!). $69 for 450 minutes on an "Everything Plus Data" plan from Sprint is attractive and that's the one I've chosen.

But that's where it gets sticky -- three days without a home phone. I do have the cell though, and I should probably use up the Tracfone minutes I have now, so I guess I'll be using that in case anyone needs to reach me. Also, what if the FIOS installation takes longer than expected? I may be without a tv for months! (In case that happens, I'll call this whole thing an urban experiment. I mean, suburban. Heh.) I could always watch tv on my laptop. Also, should I keep the home number? Then I have to pay for another month of phone, though, and that's not ideal. Or I could keep the Tracfone number if I wanted. I never knew phone decisions would be so numerous!

This is seriously a big few weeks for me. Two years with Comcast is over at the end of May, the FIOS folks will begin laying the cable the first week of June, and the phone comes out June 4th. I'm shivering and quivering with excitement! (Ok, maybe not exactly quivering, more like bouncing.)

Every little bit helps... and it may just be a little bit (about $30) but that's okay; this way, I receive a better quality of life, plus a new toy. Anyway, I think I've figured it all out... and I'm just stubborn enough to make it work...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The book

So I've finished the fourth or fifth or even maybe sixth draft of the NaNo novel. Who can remember? The last time I read it was sometime in December.

My sister (thank you muchly, Niblet), put her considerable editing prowess to work and wanted to get a few things across:
  1. This book would be probably be rated X for violence and maybe sex also... but definitely for weirdness.
  2. She enjoyed some of my phrases, which made me feel good.
  3. Part of the books made her sad, parts made her skin crawl, and she found parts of it exciting.
So all in all, these comments were actually pretty good, even though books like this one are not her cup of tea.

As I reread her edits and comments this week and weekend, I was astonished at my storyline. I wrote this? Huh. It's really... quite... well, dark. It's significantly darker than I remember, but written in almost a bubbly way. Some of the prose is decent, too -- I recognize that. It will never become a classic, but I can see it being a bestseller! There are plenty of published books out there that are far worse than this one.

So, now what? What steps do I take toward publishing? Do I walk into a publishing house and announce that I have a book I want them to buy, and that I want to make me a million dollars? Heh. Should I bother? Writing it was the easy part, compared to this...

It's another Pleasant Valley Street Sunday

Well, sort of. Although we didn't spend time at The Loop today, we were in the general area part of the time. I got lots of errands and other stuff done with Vitamin N:
  • Returned those two pairs of pants to Fashion Bug in Haverhill
  • Bought two more bras there
  • Returned those other two pairs of pants to Lane Bryant at the mall
  • Practically became trapped inside the mall after it closed without our noticing
  • Picked up conditioner and other stuff at the Salem, NH Target
  • Ate a very satisfying $2 dinner at Taco Bell *giggle*
  • Returned four awfully overdue library books to the Nevins Library in Methuen
  • Chitchatted about Maine
  • Debated what to do about a car next year (did you know that right now the Maxda 3i Sport is leasable at $99 a month for 42 months? $99 a month!!! I still love my Impreza, but something to keep in mind. Although the all-wheel drive is totally necessary in the northeast as far as I am concerned. So hmm, I might have just made the decision.)
  • Debated what to do about cable services. I'm not enchanted by Verizon, but $99 a month for the FIOS cable, internet, and phone seems like a good deal for 2 years instead of the ridiculous amount I am currently paying Comcast.
  • Attempted to not feel like a defeatist about my "single" situation
  • Paid as many bills as I could
  • Did a laundry
Now, I chill. Maybe some tea? (I can't believe it's almost 10 PM.) Where did the weekend go?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The jeans are not good

Neither are the pants. So whatever you do, don't buy them. Or if you do buy them, buy them two sizes too small. This way, when they stretch on you, they will be just right.

I wore the black pants yesterday. Despite numerous compliments, by the end of the day the crotch felt like it was around my knees, the belly stretched too, and the thighs were significantly wider than they were that morning. That just won't do for me.

And when I put the slash pocket jeans today, they were cute -- right length, good in the booty section, you know, decent-looking. Six hours later, they are three inches longer and four inches wider in each thigh! According to these pants, I have a saggy baggy butt and a rectangular bottom half. Whuh huh!? My butt may be big, but it sure ain't saggy. And I am rounded, not a rectangle.

Maybe washing and heat drying will save these two, but I'm going to return the other black and brown pairs. And when the other jeans come in, I think I'll send them right back... and order the smaller size.

Good news, though! I bought two bras last night, and they fit like a dream. And one is turquoise! I would have bought more, but the North Andover store had a much smaller intimates section than the Haverhill location (I may go back there tomorrow). I must say, I am definitely loving the bras. So it wasn't a total loss.

Anyway, the suspense is killing me as to whether the pants will shrink back up, and I'm sure it's killing you too. Snort. This story needs an ending, though; I'll let you know what happens, when it does.

The Zen of waxing

There's something almost religious about getting your body waxed. It's cleansing, like a good cry or a good scream. A good wax can clear your head, relax you, put in you in the moment, and make you feel sexy all at once.

This morning, I got up early for an 8:15 AM appointment at my local spa. It may sound silly, but I actually feel pious when I attend these monthly "services", especially when I get up early on the weekend and there are so few cars on the road.

I arrive, and am met by an attendant in a stark, robe-like habit, clean in its lines. In a soft voice, the attendant ushers me a little closer to the heavens. Walking down a darkened hall, I see candles flickering on either side of me. Floors gleam. In the dark we pass semi-lit rooms -- the glossy furniture within displays artifacts of the craft.

Ah -- here we are... the room I know so well. We stop at a door at the end of the hall, and enter. I remove my shoes. I lay down on a raised table, and close my eyes. I hear a waterfall, and soft music. A soft cloth dampened with a vitamin-laden liquid is gently passed over my face. Thank you. After years of this interaction, few words need be exchanged.

As the attendant applies an unctuous substance, then strips of linen, I know I am in good hands. Relax, now. Breathe deeply. Yes. Remove from me the accumulation of the past month.

I tilt my head to the either side and back; the applications are repeated until the session is complete. The synergy of attendant and attendee cannot be mistaken.

My service concluded, I am quiet as I rise. The attendant and I descend levels. I leave this building of peace and beauty. I will miss it. Not for another month will I have this exact feeling of freshness and effortless refinement. But the sunlight hits my face. I step into the world again, ready. I can face it now.

Sure, money may be tight sometimes, but you know something? Because of the way it makes me feel, this is one thing I never, ever miss...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My booty has a face

And it's enigmatic, like the Mona Lisa. Or so says my remarkably illustrative sister.

Well, it's actually not my booty, it's my favorite black jeans (Skinny Jeans from The Avenue). They fit like a dream, give me a cuter shape, and are eyecatching due to the cool cut, side detail, and "face" on the back. But they're wearing out and have been unavailable since the day I bought them last year, drat. And I had to chuck a pair of my favorite office pants because the zipper came off its track. So I needed pants. Bad.

After trying on about 30 pairs at various stores in and around the mall two weeks ago, I decided to check Lane Bryant online. But everything they were offering in the store had waaay too much fabric around the legs. (A slimmer cut looks better on me, but was nowhere to be found.) So I had to search and search... but I found a slim cut pinstriped pant (black and white), a straight leg pant (black), and a slim cut longer pant (also black, and AWESOME! I wore them today.)

I got them on a really great sale, picked them up at Fashion Bug yesterday on the way home from work (Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug are part of the same conglomeroo apparently), and found... another major sale. It's slightly embarrassing, but not enough for me to not mention it. Anyway, here goes. Five-dollar pants! I bought three -- two black, one brown. They're nowhere as nice as the LB pants, but hey, for five dollars I could wash the house in them and not worry. I also got three pairs of really cute jeans. Dark wash, straight leg, flattering on the thigh, looks cute, no muffin top, no funny rivets or flashy designs or glittery pictures on the ass, and are all the same (for when I inevitably kill them). And one more totally cute pair with slash pockets in front and small, cute flap-style pockets on the tush, dark wash also. They are really, really cool.

So remember when Fashion Bug was full of crap? Well, it's only half full of crap now! Some of the fabrics were really nice, and remember the jeans I mentioned before? They have the three different certain-size cuts like in Lane Bryant, too. I was pleased to add a few more pairs into the rotation at such a teeny tiny price.

And guess what! Bras are on sale there too! And they are The Right Size (large, round). And The Right Fabrics (nylon, cotton knit, satin, lace) and The Right Cuts (smooth cup, modified sports style, push-up, demi) and The Right Colors (black, nude, white, pink, red, more black). And The Right Price! ($20ish.) I'm going again tomorrow night (payday). Can you believe that during tonight's letdown I accidentally ripped the right strap off my favorite black Olga? What timing. Now all I need are some new shoes. And maybe a few new tops...?

How CC gets her groove back

Oboy. I just did about ten minutes of In the Groove "dancing" for the first time in just about FOREVER and holy crap! I cannot believe I used to do this for hours. Still fun, but it's going to take time to get back into the proper "groove" -- and I realized I'll have to use the night guard while I'm doing it. I was clenching my teeth like crazy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chocolate-covered game night

Ha! As soon as I wrote the title I realized it sounded like lots and lots of my favorite type of risqué fun. But I am simply referring to more brownies, with semi-sweet chocolate melted on top instead of frosting or glaze or my favorite, ganache. I do hope my gaming friends enjoy them!

I made the same brownies as last week but wanted a little something extra with it -- a slight change, because I like to mix it up. I didn't want nuts, but I had lots of chocolate chips. So I dumped about half a bag atop the hot brownies after the pan left its toasty temporary home, letting the chips fall where they may. Melting occurred with no work from me (I love that part) but I did use my trusty spatula to swirl circles around the pie pan. I don't know why I used a pie pan, but I did, and they look really cute. The chocolate set up really nicely... but it occurs to me that they might really be quite too rich now. But maybe not. Probably not! Oh, yum...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gender stereotypes

This article is just plain awesome. I love science.

By the way, "double the amount of painkiller" means five shots of Novocaine for another freakin' root canal for me today. It makes more sense now. (Good thing I don't have my period or it would probably be more like eight...)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sun ups and sundowns

For Mother's Day, I bought my mom a paper hat.

Don't laugh (too much) -- it was actually a lovely, white, raffia sunhat, crocheted in singles and shell stitches with a floppy brim, ideal for avoiding sunburns while still letting a little light in. It's so cute! I even got one to match. The only thing is, we can't wear them in the rain or, you know, they'll... um... melt.

My parents and I spent a little more time at their place, then we went to visit the Wrinklies at the nursing home early in the afternoon, in case they were going to sundown. Grampa was asleep but we were very lucky to spend a little time with Gramma, who actually recognized us all this time, and smiled cheerfully, and was chatty, and was very, very verbal. I say "verbal" but the words weren't all there for us, although she did get out a few real ones. She was totally into the conversation, though -- her voice made inflections and used different intensities, without shouting. She was so happy today and her eyes were clear; not vacant at all or silently staring. I smiled at her, and yessed and hmmmed and ah-hah'd and made other appropriate sounds, and she looked at me the whole time.

We brought over some new clothes and a new pair of shoes as presents -- sweet little burgundy Mary Janes in a velvety material, size 6 (her feet sure have have increased in size in her old age!) When I lifted my foot to show her my shoes (much bigger, black Mary Janes), she smiled directly at me, and actually lifted her foot also to touch her toe to mine, of her own accord. My heart almost melted clear away.

For me, one of the worst things (besides the actual dementia, duh) are her hands. She always had such beautiful nails, and they were always strong, perfect ovals, painted in peaches and corals or shimmery caramels and coppery colors. But scratching is part of the dementia, and she can't help it. So the aides have cut her nails short (not past her fingertips) and someone painted them a cheap-looking pinky-red. Pinky-red!? Gramma would never have worn this color. I felt so indignant when I saw it, but now I am thankful that someone is manicuring her nails at all. She has no more scrapes or lacerations on her arms, which is good.

My parents and I stayed as long as we could before we all started to dissolve. then kissed and hugged Gramma gently and took off. We had to compose ourselves in the car before we drove off.

My mom said the only saving grace is that Gramma has no idea what has happened to her, unlike Grampa. And she's right.

I hate it. I miss them so much -- and even if I tell them a hundred thousand times, they'll never be able to understand what I mean. I hate that, and I hate feeling helpless like this, and I hate Alzheimer's, and I hate Parkinson's.

I feel like the only thing I can do to make things better is to make sure my parents know how much I love them. I'm so lucky to have them, and that they are who they are. Sharing more love won't help my grandparents at this point, but it does help me, at least a little.

Happy Mother's Day.

88 years old and awesome

Betty White is freaking amazing. She's a cutie/rock star/comic genius, and she has perfect timing. She is just so great, and totally cool. I can't believe she's 88. To Betty!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Baking for others

I love when people eat food that I've made. It gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling!

Bringing food into the office is fun, and I've done it with my various truffles and cakes and cookies and yesterday, the brownies from the night before. The compliments are nice, but I must confess -- the main reason I like to bring baked goods into the office is because it wouldn't be inappropriate to attach a note that says "eat me." And they all do! Ha!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I felt like brownies tonight, so I whipped some up, using Hershey's Special Dark 100% Cacao. ¡Ay! ¡Qué rico!

I'm a Droste dame at heart, for whipped hot cocoa with milk, and a Ghiradelli girl all the way for truffles. But this special, deep, dark, decadent cocoa was leftover from Passover. Did you know that Hershey's cocoa is kosher for Passover without special certification? So says

Anyway, they are cooling now. Aren't you jealous? I know you are!!!

Update: I'm healthy, too! There are some antioxidants in there!

Making sugar and salt scrubs

What a great article on making body scrubs! I love this minty recipe.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Do you like corn?

I like corn!

Actually, I love corn. It’s the best summer food, and second only to cherries (my most favoritest favorite). I would be happy with corn on the cob for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And snack!

I had two wonderfully sweet ears of corn last night at my friends’ house where the grill commander cooked us a feast! I also had a cute chicken sausage (low fat and calorie), three spicy grilled chicken wings, and half a lemon pepper chicken breast. (No one here but us chickens! Heh.) There were also turkey burgers which looked great, but it was enough food already. Dinner was so much fun, especially with the spirited conversation and two kinds of hot sauce we doused the onto the ears of corn along with buttery spray – and the only reason I could believe it wasn’t butter was because it made a nasty cloudy pool on the tin foil when it mixed with the green and red hot sauces. By the end of the meal our lips were on fire, but oh baby, it hurt so good.

They watch The Biggest Loser, and as a guest who am I to change up their tv schedule? (Although I did suggest the Dancing with the Stars results show, they didn’t bite.) It was the big makeover day, which was nice. Of course we were all crying about 20 minutes into it. The place had basically turned into Waterworks Central… at least until we saw one candidate fall off her treadmill. We were able to… well, maybe not laugh hysterically at her misfortune, but rather stop sniffling. She looked so extraordinarily miserable. Poor thing! (But it did lighten the mood.)

Rich chocolate Ovaltine with delicious organic milk for dessert. What a nice night!

Sesame sticks

Oh my goodyums. Sesame sticks are the absolute most perfect snack EVER!

I have always liked these crispy, short, thick twiglike sticks studded with delicious sesame seeds, tasting a little salty and deliciously seedy, but never getting stuck in my teeth. A small portion is plenty and I actually feel full after. Today I had some for breakfast. What could be bad? They are fried… but let’s not talk about that right now.

Come to think of it, I have always liked sesame candy too. And the smell of toasted sesame sends my nose into raptures. I guess I just love sesame! Maybe I lived another life in the Middle East…