Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Unwarping Oneself

I have been warped. It's true, being in a city like Washington, D.C., has the effect of hardening oneself to the people and situations around you. Being in Canada, I've noticed that my once positive, rosy outlook on life has been replaced with an impatient, selfish attitude. This is especially noticeable this time of year when people around me really do need a giving heart and a shoulder to lean on. For example, a very dear friend of mine lost her mother earlier this year. And the last week has been very hard for her as she tries to get into the Christmas spirit. The other day, when she called and was just talking out her feelings, I felt annoyed. Doesn't she know I am working? Doesn't she understand I have other things to do? But then I checked myself; does it really matter if I take an hour out of my day to listen to her, which is all she really wanted? I felt like a first-class jerk for even thinking those thoughts (I did stay on the phone with her, btw).

One of the things I've always loved about D is that his heart is very giving. If a friend needs a hand, he runs out and helps without expecting compensation. So many of us would expect some kind of remuneration for taking time out of our busy lives to help a friend. But shouldn't that be the reward...the knowledge that you helped someone out? I have always admired this about D and despised it in myself. I see that by living in a city like DC, where everyone is worried about "me, me, me," I have lost sight of selfless giving and been hardened to the simple idea of lending a helping hand. So, I am resolved to change that in me and worry less about time and inconvenience in favor of showing love towards others. After all, isn't that the spirit of the season?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for Much

I can't say I'm ungrateful, as this year has been very good to me. I've moved to Canada to be with an amazing man who is everything I've ever hoped and prayed for. And although it's frigidly cold this week, I'm grateful I have a roof, a car that works, and a warm blanket to sleep under. I am thankful for my consulting work, and although I do struggle to make myself concentrate and work from home, I am grateful that I am employed. I am grateful for the Christmas season and the joys it brings. As I decorate the house for Christmas this weekend, I will happily bop along to the Christmas tunes blaring out of my iPod (thank you Glee Christmas and Sufjan Stevens!). I am grateful for my family who have been supportive and uplifting. And although this Thanksgiving I will not really be celebrating with decadent foods and desserts, I am grateful that I can be thankful for so much.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Write Drunk: Edit Sober

Write Drunk: Edit Sober ~ Ernest Hemingway

This is one of my favorite quotes. The writer in me agrees wholeheartedly. The realist in me says, get can't be drunk all the time! True, but that doesn't mean I don't want a glass of wine every now and then to help me get started!

In just a short few days, I will be participating in a writing challenge called NanoWrimo. For those of you too lazy to click on the link, it's a novel-writing challenge where you write 50,000 words in 30 days. You choose a genre and get cracking. They have smaller support communities in different cities, all striving to simply write. They even have these 15-minute challenges where you write to see how many words you can in the short time frame. Sounds like fun, right (write!)?

Well, here's my problem. I've been sober for too long. As an editor, I have honed a special craft of rewriting and rewording almost everything that comes across my inbox and into my magazine. So when I sit down to write, I'm stuck. I keep rewriting sentences and searching for words that don't materialize. I have lost the ability to tap into my creative mind and just write. So when my cousin suggested I try this, I thought "what do I have to lose?"

I'm still not sure what I'm going to write about. I've decided to write in the romance genre because, well, why not? And since deciding this, the phrase "engorged member" has become a running joke around the dinner table at my Aunt's house. But I don't care, the point is to just write, relax your mind and write. Thank goodness I use a computer instead of a pen and paper...I can destroy the evidence afterwards! But at the end I hope I can say I've started drinking the proverbial wine and leave the editing until later.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Working It All Out

Well, it’s been 6 weeks and life here has been, well, fast. I am really surprised by the lack of down time and the number of things to do. I had grand plans of taking some time off, traveling and generally being lazy. Well, that will have to wait until I retire! After 6 weeks, here’s what I love about living in Edmonton:
  1. D, of course! I love being near him, seeing him, kissing him…well, you get the point. I am more and more impressed by the person he is and I am so glad I moved. Any nagging doubts about whether or not this was the right decision are long gone.
  2. Family. I am so glad to be near family. I am feeling so loved and blessed, it’s contagious. I have a blast with my aunts, uncles and cousins! Even though I don’t have many new friends yet, I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
  3. Radio stations. I do a lot more driving here, and the radio is infinitely better b y a long shot. More stations + more variety = a lot of car karaoke!
  4. Food. The quality of food is so much better here. It’s less processed, more organic and servings are much smaller, which is great for my waistline.
But should you think I am looking at all this through rose-colored (or coloured) glasses, I am not. Here is what I am learning to live with, grudgingly:
  1. Cold. Yes, it’s cold here. Hovering around 60 during the day. And they consider that warm! It actually snowed in Calgary over the weekend. And while that city is 2 hours away, it does not bode well for me. I have already purchased a warm winter coat and am shopping for boots.
  2. Expenses. Things here are really expensive. Gas is more, food is more, clothes are more, shampoo is more! The sticker shock is getting old. All my budgeting is kind of out the window because I am always underestimating what I need to spend. It’s like starting over from scratch!
  3. Dirt. There is dirt and dust everywhere! My car gets really dirty and I have to wash it almost every week.
Compared to the love list, I can live with the hate list. I am looking forward to the holidays and experiencing the sights and sounds associated with that time of year. And while I do miss things about the states, I am glad I’m here and this chapter in my life is turning into an exciting one!  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Days 10-12

So this is really late in coming, but I've been busy settling in here. The rest of our trip was fantastic. We headed out towards the South Dakota badlands and enjoyed touring Mt. Rushmore, the caves underneath the mountain, a yummy winery called Prairie Berry Winery, and seeing Deadwood and Sturgis SD, known for outlaws and motorcycles, respectively. It was wild.

You can see Mt. Rushmore in the background.
The rest of the trip was driving, driving, driving, driving. It kind of sucked. There's nothing in Wyoming or Montana, at least the way we came. And, despite my objections, we slept on the side of the highway in Montana. I'm still slightly annoyed by that one. Even if it did enable us to cross the Canadian border early in the morning, allowing an easy transition and export of my car (which I neglected to do 72 hours in advance). We made it to Edmonton safely and here I am. Total mileage: 4,124. The car survived and has since been doing well. We'll see what happens come winter! It's already fall here, complete with long sleeves, pants and socks. I miss summer :(

Welcome to Alberta, where it's rained every day since I've been here :(

Friday, September 3, 2010

Days 5-9

Phew am I ever sick of sitting in a car! Between driving from Missouri to Minnesota to South Dakota, we've been racking up the miles on the Oldsmobile. Here's a quick recap:

1. Darren survived the Kookamonga Challenge. He was sick for a couple days but rebounded nicely for the Minnesota State Fair
2. Went on a great tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis. Totally worth the $25 to drink directly out of the finishing tanks! Great history and tour as well of the behind-the-scenes process of brewing beer.
3. Toured Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Mo.
4. Experienced the Minnesota State Fair where we saw heads of butter, ate lots of food on a stick, livestock being born (yes, born) and had a blast losing at games and taking many spins on many rides.

At the brewery
Heads of butter! In the background you can see a girl being "carved". They get to keep their heads afterwords.

I think D and I will survive if we can make it through the Black Hills area of South Dakota! We'll be here for a couple of days before heading up to Alberta. Almost there!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Days 2, 3 & 4

Well, the last few days have been quite a whirlwind of activity. Between seeing my sister, friends, and attending a wedding in Memphis, I'm pretty exhausted. But still excited because D proposed!!! That's right, he did what few others could do and pulled a surprise engagement on me. I honestly had no idea it was coming. I am so happy though! I think the initial shock has finally worn off and now I can talk about it without getting all flustered. He proposed on UNC's campus, on the kissing bench which, as alums know, if you kiss your true love on that bench you will marry him/her. I showed D that bench during his first visit to see me as part of his campus tour. We did kiss on it. I can't believe he remembered and wanted to go back and propose to me while we were sitting on it! So, as all things have been on this trip, we were running late to meet friends for dinner. He insisted on going through a walk on campus, I insisted we skip it. Especially because he was complaining about losing his phone somewhere in the car (we found it afterwords, in the car). So we walked and sat on the bench. He kissed me, and asked if I had ever kissed anyone else on this bench (no). He kissed me again and pulled out the ring, and asked me to marry him! I must have said "Are you serious?" several times before saying yes :) I was too surprised to cry, which I guess was the objective. Here's a pic:

My ring is so pretty! It's an ice diamond from the mines in Canada so you can tell exactly where it came from. It's 2 and 1/4 karat (so I'm told) and a round cut in a cathedral setting. It's stunning. I really can't stop looking at it! No date, no plans yet. I think I'll let myself move before I decide on anything like that. Just enjoying the moment for now!

The rest of the trip has been fun. Yesterday and Today we are in Memphis. We saw Graceland yesterday and went to the fabulous wedding of some friends. Today we are off to Sun Records Studio and Darren is taking the Kooky Canuck 7 lb hamburger challenge. Then we're off to St. Louis!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 1: Wednesday, August 25

Left DC and Scott’s house relatively early in the morning, and it wasn’t a great sleep. I think we’re both adjusting to the new sleeping pattern of each other in the bed and, well, usually I’m OK with that because I know it’s temporary. But this time I know it’s not. We’re going to be together from now on. I guess I’ll have to get used to his snoring ;-) If we don't adjust quickly, I fear that two grumpy people with quick tempers may lead to a miserable trip! But I think we'll adjust after another couple of nights.

The rest of the trip was fabulous! We picked up a Garmin and headed off to Norfolk to see my little sister and her BF and celebrate her birthday...26 years young. My good friend Wendy joined us for dinner, and we had a great time catching up and celebrating. Tomorrow I think we’ll jet off to the outer banks before heading to the Raleigh area. Good-byes are still coming so I’m not too sad yet. The drive to Memphis will likely be miserable because I’ll be so sad to have left everyone at that point. Good thing we picked up a box of tissues today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Everything's in a Cube!!!

Everything's packed and ready to go! No fights, we just "got er done." I'm always amazed how one's life fits into boxes, and in this case one massive box with room to spare. Let's hope nothing gets broken en-route. Tonight we spend the night with a friend and then it's off to our first stop, Norfolk, to see my sister. Let the road-tripping begin!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Final Countdown

Today makes it official...I only have one week left here in the good ol' U.S. of A. I am a mix of emotions right now, which is fun for no one, least of all myself. But the boxes are mostly packed (except for some last minute stuff), the moving cube confirmed, and the anticipation great. I want to go. NOW. Just leave, but I have to be patient for one more week.

I'm always amazed at how one can literally fit a life into a bunch of boxes. It kind of makes you think, that's it? That's really everything? But it's strangely liberating and terrifying at the same time. Like you're closing off a loose end and everything's wrapped up neatly in a pretty little (or big) box. There's nothing left to come back to after this. Which can be incredibly depressing because I love all my friends here and leaving them is just about the hardest thing I've ever had to do. But then I'm reminded of the incomparable Dr. Seuss:

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the [gal] who’ll decide where to go...

Oh! The places you'll go! 
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights....

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

One more weekend of celebration for my friend's wedding then I FINALLY (5 months later) get to see Darren and I move! One week will fly by with the wedding and other last-minute good-bye plans, but it's already too far away. I want to hit the open road, knowing that the end of this journey is really just the beginning of another one. And I can hardly wait to start.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chef Mel

I am so grateful at this moment to be here in Arlington. I really am going to miss all my friends and support network. But one of the fun things about moving, and also just summer, is the gatherings. Birthday/going parties, potlucks, random BBQs, needing to clean out the freezer, etc., have given me ample opportunities to stretch my chef legs and make different culinary delights. Examples include: red/white/blue cupcakes, my first angel food cake (which turned out terrific), a crockpot roasted chicken (slow cooked so the meat literally fell off the bones) in an apple wine sauce, bite-sized quiches, vegetable-au-gratin (which sounds gross but is possibly the most delicious thing I’ve ever made) and my standard 5-minute strawberry shortcake. I really love to cook/bake. I’m told the food’s good too, and I know I certainly enjoy it. There are never any leftovers, so it must be true! I’m glad I can cook for my friends while I’m still here and hopeful that I will find wonderful friends up there to cook for as well.

Raspberry angel food cake with raspberry preserve topping. Lo-cal and low fat too!

The moving plans are slowly beginning to finalize. Road trip is in progress (keep those ideas coming!) and so are the pre-move wedding details. (Just to clarify, I am NOT getting married. At least not yet. My friend is the weekend before I move.) I also received my consultant contract and it’s a lot more than I was expecting. I’ve started the selling process of furniture I’m not taking with me and I have a small city of boxes in my dining room area. As the details become more finalized, the move becomes more real and I am finally starting to get excited. I can tell because when someone asked me about it today, I didn’t panic as a reaction and start thinking about everything I still have left to do. Instead I gave her a big toothy smile and said, “I can’t wait to go!”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'm going on a road trip and I'm bringing...

A car full of stuff! After a successful convention in Orlando, I am finally on the home stretch to my move! I have secured transportation for most of my stuff, mapped out a loose plan for actually getting it from DC to Edmonton, and started working out the great summer road trip to Canada.

So far, D and I will be traveling to Alberta via North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana. So my question to you out in the blog-o-sphere is, where should we stop? We’ve considered a few places (Memphis, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Black Hills, etc.) but would love to hear about where you’ve been, where to sleep, where to eat, what to see, etc. Please send me your best bets and ideas!

The whole experience has been overwhelming. Not just the logistics of moving, but the mental implications of the move as well. It’s not easy to just pack up and go, leaving behind wonderful friends and fond memories. And for people who have never gone through a large move like this, I gotta tell you: No matter how in control you feel, you’re not. My sister just recently moved to Norfolk and she’s been my litmus test…Results indicate that this is not going to be easy. I think the experience of having done this twice now is haunting me, making me feel worried and apprehensive about it all. But I still know I’m doing the right thing. I know it because I love D. I know it because I think I’m just ready to move on and begin a new chapter.

If nothing else, this will be a grand adventure! No work, no responsibility, just a few weeks months of rest and relaxation. I think I will like being a lady of leisure, at least for a little while.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


So, I was ready to write a blog about how crazy I feel, how I'm freaking out about moving because I haven't actually done anything yet and how I'm worried about jobs because I have zero leads and the consulting work with my current company seems to be falling through. Then I thought about the word "melancholia" and this is how Webster's dictionary defines it:

A mental condition and especially a manic-depressive condition characterized by extreme depression, bodily complaints and often hallucinations and delusions.

Huh. That's not how I feel AT ALL or what I thought the word "melancholy" meant. So I looked that up. Again, Websters:

A depressions of spirits; a pensive mood.

Ok, so how can pretty much the same word be defined so differently? It made me laugh and definitely lifted my spirits. Only I would be lifted by the intricacies of the English language. Nerd.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Favorite Time of Day

Everyone has a favorite time of day…A small piece of their day that is peaceful and calm, regenerating your spirit for whatever comes next. For me, this moment happens in the morning when I drink my first cup of coffee. I am one of the few people I know who actually likes the taste of coffee. Day, afternoon or night, I enjoy the flavor of the beans. I don’t particularly need the caffeine; it’s just my drink of choice.

But I look forward to that first cup in the morning. I make my way to work, fighting the DC-metro traffic, and trudge up the four flights of stairs to my office. I sit down, let my computer start up and take that first sip. Immediately everything I’ve been worrying about or dreading at work is gone. My body relaxes and my mind is calm as I savor that first sip. And as the email floods in and the files load, I continue to sip my coffee barely noticing anything around me. I feel serene and at ease with the workload or problems facing my day. During the weekend this is even better because I don’t have to shift gears right away. I can enjoy my first cup and stare off into space as the caffeine slowly coaxes my body awake. For me, this is better than a massage because I feel very relaxed after that first cup and ready to conquer the day.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


This week, I am extremely frustrated with life. I am struggling to understand myself and what I want versus what the world around me is trying to convince me I want. Long story short, I was at the beach this weekend with some very good friends I've known a very long time. We've gone through a lot together and I was looking forward to it. By the end of the weekend, I was in tears and angry about some of my own actions and some of theirs. It seems that they don't think I really want to move to Canada. Which got me wondering, do other people think that? What am I saying to others to make them think that? And are they right? I have never been so doubtful about a decision before as I am right now. True, big decisions are, well, BIG. But at this point I've already "quit" my job and started cleaning out my apartment. Everyone knows I'm planning to leave, so why tell me you don’t think I want to go?

It hurts that I feel so little support for this decision. I am flattered that people don’t want me to leave, but come on. Shouldn’t my friends be somewhat supportive? I am still going to be friends with them. I am moving to be with a guy that makes me very happy. I mean, ridiculously happy. I was telling another friend about this and asked her the same question, “What do you hear when I talk about D and Canada?” Her answer surprised me. She said that in all the years I’ve known her, she’s never seen me so happy. So how can others doubt my intentions if I am “so happy”? I just wish I felt more support from the people around me. This is going to sound harsh but the whole thing makes me think that maybe certain friends aren’t really the good friends I thought they were and that makes it easier to leave them behind.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Adventures in Baking

I have never been much of a baker. I enjoy baked goods, but prefer the feel if a knife and sizzle of the skillet while cooking. Standing in a hot kitchen, watching something rise in the oven is not always fun to me. But every now and then I have an occasion to bake and yesterday was a great excuse.

My friend S and I were born 10 days apart. For the last 6 years we’ve taken turns baking each other a birthday cake. It started with a cheesecake, and every year one of us makes a cheesecake. This year was my turn and now that I’m not eating sweets, I searched for a recipe that involved cream cheese but would be small or easily frozen. And, thanks to the awesome cupcake recipe deck I got one year, I found a cheesecake cupcake recipe. Huzzah! It turned out really well. These are dense, but could be either a dessert or breakfast, depending on your mood. The recipe calls for an extra large cupcake pan, but I made them in a standard, cutting the batter measurements in half. In retrospect, I think the extra large allows more room for the cream cheese filling, but they still turned out well. I also used low fat cream cheese and sour cream. I don’t think it took away any flavor. Next time I think I’ll throw in some coconut for variety.

Vanilla Cheesecake Crunch-Top Cupcakes

Cream Cheese Filling

1 8-oz package cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla extract

Crumble Topping

½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Cake Batter

1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola or corn oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream

Powdered sugar for dusting

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line 12 extra-large muffin tin cups with large paper cupcake liners. Spray the inside of each liner with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the Filling

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smoothly blended. Beat in the egg. Mix in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Set aside.

Make the Topping

In a medium bowl, using a large spoon, stir the flour, brown sugar, and salt together. Add the melted butter and continue stirring until the crumbs form. Set aside.

Make the Cake Batter

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg, egg yolk, and sugar until thickened and lightened, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla. Mix in the sour cream until no white streaks remain. Mix in the flour mixture until the batter is smooth.

Spoon three generous tbsp of the batter into each cupcake liner. Spoon 1 ½ tbsp of cream cheese filling into the center of each; the soft filling will spread slightly over the batter. Sprinkle a generous tbsp of crumb topping over each. The paper liners will be filled to about ½ inch from the top. Bake just until the top feels firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes [mine took a couple minutes longer]. The cupcakes will rise to the top of the paper liners. Cool the cupcakes for 20 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the cupcakes from the pan into a wire rack and let cool completely. If any crumbs fall off, replace them.

Dust the cooled cupcakes lightly with powdered sugar before serving. [I added fresh raspberries instead of the powdered sugar, but whatever suits your taste. These are very sweet without the extra sugar.]

Diet Update

I am currently down 25 pounds! Surely but slowly getting there. My summer clothes don’t fit, so I may have to indulge in some transition items just so I have something to wear!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Just Slammed

I haven’t had time to write lately because I have been just slammed at work with projects and deadlines. There really is too much to do these days, and the weeks and months ahead appear to be worse. BUT the diet and weight loss continue to go well in spite of this increase in stress. My go-to stress reliever has always been food. And while I can feel the chocolate cravings more intensely these days, they are easier to ward off because it’s a psychological thing, not a body addiction thing.

So, I still feel great. To date, I have lost 13 pounds! And I guess it’s starting to show because every day, someone stops me and tells me how skinny I look. I can’t say I hate it. It feels really good to hear and motivates me to keep going! So far, none of my work clothes fit and the bridesmaid dress I have to wear in three weeks went from being too small to too big, so big I WILL have to get it altered this weekend. Dangit. I did not want to spend the money!

The only thing I wish I had was time to continue trying new recipes and low-glycemic meals. For now, I’m running on soups and salads, and my shirataki noodles are sitting in my fridge untouched. I’m hoping that after the wedding, my weekends will be mine to enjoy and I can start trying these recipes. Until then I’ll just keep my belt tight and hope my pants don’t fall off as I walk up the stairs to my office.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fave Food Find: Shirataki Noodles

This weekend, I was invited to a Chinese New Year’s luncheon. And while I usually stick to bringing my staple of baked goods for dessert, now that I’m no longer eating processed white sugar it’s hard to justify making a dessert when I’m not going to be able to eat it! So, while searching through my cookbooks for an Asian dish, I came across a Hungry Girl recipe that included my new fave food find for the month: Shirataki Noodles. These are essentially tofu noodles, low-fat and gluten free, and function much like any regular pasta or noodle. I was so excited about this recipe, that I woke up early Saturday morning, unable to sleep, just so I could get out and find these noodles. I had to go to Whole Foods to get them, and I hate Whole Foods just as much for the locations (which are hard to get in and out of) as for the prices. However I was pleasantly surprised to find that the noodles are only $1.99 a package. So I bought four :-).

I think the dish turned out great. It includes Shirataki noodles, zucchini, scallions, mushrooms, egg whites and pancake mix (I bought mix with a whole wheat base). I think it tastes great, but the next time I make it I will add some bell peppers and a little more eggs and pancake mix. This iteration was a little noodle heavy so the pancakes fell apart easily. But the noodles tasted good. And although they are a little unconventional, I am very excited to try them with pasta sauce as a substitute to pasta noodles and see how they go. My Hungry Girl cookbook has a lot of recipes with these little noodles, and I look forward to trying them soon.

Noodlicious Zucchini Pancakes (courtesy of Hungry Girl):

(50 Calories, <0.5g Fat, 8 Carbs, 1.2g Fiber, 4g protein - 1 WW point)

2 x 8 oz. pkgs. House Tofu Shirataki Noodles
4 egg whites
1 cup pancake mix
1 Tbsp. salt
3/4 cup green onions (scallions), chopped
4.5 cups zucchini, shredded (unless you can find them pre-shredded, this takes about 45 mins and equals about 4 zucchinis)
1 cup finely sliced fresh mushrooms

Rinse noodles well. Microwave for 1 minute, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 2-3 inch pieces. Next, combine egg whites, pancake mix and salt in a bowl. Stir in noodles, green onions, mushrooms and zucchini. Place skillet over medium heat, and coat with non- stick cooking spray. When hot, scoop a little less than 1/3 cup of the mixture (per pancake) onto the skillet. Cook until underside is golden, then flip and cook the other side. Continue until all the batter is gone. Makes 15, 4-inch pancakes.

Serve with a dollop of fat free sour cream or even some salsa. Yum!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow, More Snow and, oh yeah, Snow

Well, this is day 6 of the snow event of the century. For 6 days, I have enjoyed the comfort of my institution-white apartment walls and limited television and video options. I have successfully rationed my food and have maintained power. And you know when the federal government is too scared to go outside, there is no way I'm gonna do it! Just kidding, here is a sampling of last Saturday's snow fun:

(At this point, the snow was just above my knees. Since then, we have had 10 more inches.)

In all seriousness, by the end of the third major storm of this winter, the DC-area will have broke all snow accumulation records, ever. That's no small feat for an area that doesn't get snow. It gets cold and windy, but not snow. And while I applaud the snow removal efforts, you gotta wonder how those guys could possibly dig everyone else out before the end of next week? I'll be lucky if our offices are open at all this week. Maybe Friday, but it's highly doubtful.  Today we're in the midst of snow storm 3.0. There are 40 mph winds and whiteout conditions, causing the power companies to cease efforts to restore power. Let's hope ours stays on! There are cars completely buried under the snow, and this kind of things blows my mind! Yes, I'm from Canada. And I do have vague memories of this kind of weather. But it doesn't cripple a city like it does here. This is truly crazy.

Of course, the good news is that my workload is light so I've been hitting the gym everyday. The bad news is it hasn't done a lick of good! I am still at the same weight! It's getting frustrating. I know I am probably building muscle mass and I am really sticking to the diet, but I need to see results soon. I'll be tested over the next few days as my next shipment of meal replacements are stuck somewhere in Pennsylvania, thanks to the weather. So over the next few days I'm on my own for all my meals. I should be ok, I stocked up before the first storm last week. But given the results I've achieved so far, I'm not hopeful that I won't gain everything back. Today I plan to break into our pool (which is closed bc the lifeguard can't make it in) and do some swimming. Maybe that will help? Until then, I am in my P.J.'s, drinking coffee and doing what work I can. I think I can wait awhile to move to Canada :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010


And I'm off! The weight loss is, well, stagnant but the clothes fit a whole lot better! Which is good, because it means I'm building muscle mass, which will increase the level of weight loss. What's more fun is the effect of the diet on my body. Last night, due to bad weather, we held a bridal shower for my friend Sarah (it was supposed to be this afternoon). It ended up being a much smaller affair due to the last minute change, but we still had all the food. So I did my part by having mimosas and cake. Well, I had the worst headache and woke up this morning feeling hungover and gross. For the record, I had only one drink. So it's quite shocking the effect that reintroducing white sugar has on my body. I've decided to stick with this till March and the wedding. Then we'll see where I am. It's so hard to stay away from white sugar, since it's everywhere. I just wish it didn't shock my body so badly.

In other news, I am snowed in! Well, in NC. It's icy and snowy, and while I could get out of here tomorrow, I'm not sure where I would go. DC is getting about 10 inches of snow today, and last time that happened it took a couple days to clear the highways! I may be stuck here a lot longer, which isn't good for my magazine. We're in the final stages of content development and a little behind, so when the editor (me) isn't there to move things along, it just doesn't happen. Good thing this issue is so light! I think the readers will forgive me (I hope!). It's one of those things...If I am not there, nothing happens. So frustrating! Oh well, I know there isn't anything I can do about it so why bother stressing? I'm going to snuggle up with a blanket, tea and a good book and enjoy the break while I have it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Built Ford Tough

Current Weight:  185
Pounds to Go:  40

One week after I started my RESET, and I have lost 5 pounds! Granted, four were because of RESET, but one since is still something exciting to brag about! I feel really good. Thursday night I went to a dinner party, and while there was plenty I could eat, I felt bad about not being able to sample everything the host made. I did take a lot of leftovers from her, though, and she seemed to appreciate that.

Over the last couple of days, though, I feel myself getting more and more hungry. Not for bad food, just for solid food. I think my body is just telling me to eat. Now, let me set the record straight. I do not think nor feel that I am starving myself. I think I'm just really tired of the mostly-liquids diet. I am going to do my best to go as long as I can, but I am not sure how far I want to go for two reasons. First, the shakes and protein bars are pricey. Now, I know I'm not buying nearly as many groceries as I have in the past, and that certainly helps. But I'm still spending 3 times as much money on food than I typically would. This bothers me because I'm trying to save for my move and whatnot. Second, if I am spending my money on shakes to lose weight, I won't have any money left over to buy new clothes once mine stop fitting. It could only be a matter of a month before my work clothes no longer fit. I've been this size for so long, that I don't have any skinny clothes anymore and with my financial goals for the summer in place, there isn't a lot leftover for wardrobe.

Sure, a lot of that is just excuses. If I were serious, it shouldn't matter. The truth is I don't know how long I can avoid other foods beyond bunny food. Plus, since I am being fiscally conservative with my food budget, I'm scared to overeat my veggies because if they run out before my grocery budget is replenished, I'm pulling cash from other budgets to cover food and Dave Ramsey wouldn't be happy about that. Maybe I just need to give it time to find a good balance.

On a funny note, I was talking to my sister the other night about our bodies and she goes, "We're built Ford tough." It's true, our bodies are resilient, meant to be working to fields and popping out babies. Thanks Canadian prairie genes! So I'm sure that I can overcome this temporary lull. After all, I'm built Ford tough. Hopefully one of the many people I've been talking this program up to will bite and I'll have a buddy to commiserate with so you all don't have to read about my whining :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Hunger meter: 2
Energy meter: 8

I made it, I did it, I'm awesome, oh yeah! I finished the RESET program today and I feel GREAT!

Day 5 was a breeze. All day I felt full of energy, not very hungry and excited about incorporating real food tomorrow! But enough about that, back to today. I was excited to go to my weekly boot camp class and see how much stamina I have right now. Although I've been working out daily, it's been very moderate per the program's instruction. So I really want an aggressive workout. But the instructor never showed! Nuts. I still managed to have a good workout on the treadmill, but still a little too moderate for my liking.

I did have a pleasant surprise this morning when I put on a shirt I seldom wear, only to find it was too big! Yipee! I have not yet taken my final REST weigh-in, but I think that I've dropped a few pounds. I recommend this program to anyone who is like me and struggles with cravings and controlling food intake. It's worth the sacrifice!

UPDATE 1/21/09: I weighed myself this morning, and lost 4 pounds! Only 41 more to go...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Hunger meter: 3
Energy meter: 8

It's day 4 and I'm on a roll! I was a little worried since I had to work today, and that meant being away from my fridge and veggie snacks. Encouraged by the fullness of last night, I woke up full. Yes, full. I drank my shake anyway and off to work I went. And, honestly, did not want food again till 12:30 or so. Before, I would have had a snack and lunch by then. So far I'm very happy with the RESET. I did get hungry towards the afternoon, but was so happy to have lots of cucumbers and an apple on hand to fill the void. And I didn't feel sleepy or lethargic at all as I tend to get around 3 or 4. Maybe that means I'll be more productive now? Meh, we'll see :)

And just as I was feeling so good about myself, I left work. I drove to the store to get a couple of necessary items and the smell of something grilling was almost too much. Then when I got back from the gym tonight, my roommate had made the most amazing smelling pita pizza (which is actually low-glycemic, and I fully intent to make one this weekend). I really really really want to eat food again! It wasn't what was cooking, it's the idea of eating a hot meal and actually chewing something. I'm chewing ice right now and my jaw hurts. And I'm cold. Good thing there is only one more day of this!

Monday, January 18, 2010


Hunger Meter: 3
Energy Meter: 6

Today has been a much better day. I didn't have to work today, and thought "Yes! Another sleep in day!" Imagine my surprise when I woke up at 7. Huh? Yeah. I had energy to spare and my body did not want nor need more sleep. It was amazing to realize that even though I thought I was eating healthy, the food I've been eating has kept me slow and sluggish. Just, wow.

So with all the spare time I found myself with, I spent the morning looking through my cookbooks and food lists, picking the foods I'll need to get for the next week. See, I had to go grocery shopping today as I ran out of fruit. Plus I need to prepare a dish for a dinner party on Thursday, one which I am sure will be the only dish I can eat. This must be a week of firsts because I made, and stuck!, to my list! I only bought the things I should be eating, not even tempting myself by picking a dish that contains food I can't eat!

But it wasn't all roses. I really wanted to eat the food I bought for later in the week now. I miss chewing food. And even though I've been snacking on veggies and fruit all day, it's not the same when dinner is a shake. I actually half-blended it with ice so I could have something to chew on. I just keep telling myself, two more days!

Lastly, I am full. What? Yes, I am full. It's after "dinner," and I'm not hungry at all. I wonder if I'll even want all that food when I am able to eat it? Let's hope the answer is yes :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Hunger meter: 7
Energy meter: 2

I'm on day two of my RESET. So far, so good. I am surprised that my usual hunger headaches haven't shown themselves, even thought I do feel hungry quite often. I woke up to a cheerful note of encouragement from my Aunt Sandy (who introduced me to the RESET plan and USANA) that stated "Day 2 is the hardest...snicker, snicker."


Even so, it really hasn't been as bad as I would have thought, or was led to believe. The big thing about today is that I have no energy. Very little. I woke up late, got to church late, came home and took a 2.5 hour nap. Partly due to weather (because it has been raining heavily all day) and partly due to just lack of food. My aunt did redeem herself this afternoon by sending me much more information and some food shopping lists. Oh yeah, she also said she was proud of me so I can overlook her "snicker, snicker." It's amazing how our bodies are so hard-wired to crave sugars and carbs. I am learning that my hunger pains aren't just hunger for food, they're cravings for carbs and other sugars that I would normally consume. The RESET is really an attempt to get your body to crave the other stuff, the fruits and veggies and proteins that are far more healthy and less likely to store as fat.

I think that's pretty cool.

Now, I spent some time reviewing the food lists. As someone who really enjoys food and cooking, I think it will be hard to adjust to these low-glycemic meals. They're pretty boring. It's too bad that the really yummy gourmet food has so much bad stuff in it. But I am determined not to let my new diet be boring, and am excited about figuring out ways in which I can "dress up" my food! And your recipes and suggestions are more than welcome.

So long day 2, can't wait for day 3!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Weight (I’m only posting this once a week): 190
Goal weight: 145
Pounds to go: 45

Hunger Meter (out of 10, 10 being really hungry): 7

Well, it is toward the end of my first day of the RESET. I admit I was so excited to start that I had a horrible sleep last night, but I was up and raring to go around 9 anyway. First thing, I went to the gym and did my 30 mins on the treadmill. I was planning to weigh myself this morning, to get the most accurate number, but the scale on our gym disappeared. So I made a trip to Target this afternoon to buy a scale so my starting weight is about as accurate as you’re gonna get!

(Let me tell you two things I believe are fundamental about scales. First, they are not an indicator of how healthy you are and second, they lie. No, really. I’ve never “looked” as heavy as the scale says I am. I’ve always had a lot of muscle mass, so that may be why. I have not had a scale in my possession in more than 10 years. And, except for once or twice a year at the doctor’s office, I make it a rule to never weigh myself. I generally gauge my weight by how my clothes fit. I think this is a far better indicator of how I’m doing. But, in the interest of trying a new weight-loss strategy, I will count my success by the numbers on the scale.)

The day has been ok. I kept myself busy most of the morning/afternoon doing some writing. This was great because mentally, my mind was busy and physically, I wasn’t moving around too much and making myself hungrier. I have felt lightheaded and slightly nauseous, but I think that’s partly due to my lack of good sleep. I did have one moment this afternoon where I felt awful and had to lie down. But 30 minutes later, I felt much better.

I ran errands this afternoon, and was proud of myself for limiting my food purchases to veggies. See, I had to walk through the candy aisle looking for items for a wedding shower at the end of the month. I was not tempted to buy ANYTHING for me! Huzzah! Of course, I just walked by our pantry and thought, “hmm what will I have for dinner?” Duh, a protein shake but getting out of the habit of eating whatever I want promises to be very challenging.

Tonight, I plan on relaxing by watching football and movies. I would say that Day 1 has been a success. Let’s hope Day 2 will go just as smoothly.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Burgers, French Fries and Thai… Oh My!

For the time being, I am turning this blog into a diet journal to chronicle my journey from flab to fab. No, really. I have decided to get serious about losing weight this year. Last year I focused on finances, this year it’s my gut.

Those of you who know me well know that I am a loyal gym member. I work out 4-5 days a week and try to maintain an active lifestyle. Those same people also know that I love food. All food, as much as I can get. I wouldn’t say I have a problem; I just don’t really pay attention to what I eat. Any time I decide to lose weight, I am successful momentarily but after I stop paying attention to what I eat, I start adding back in the food I shouldn’t be eating.

Weight loss has been a life-long struggle for me, and I am determined to be successful this year. Yes, I am joining the millions of other Americans who have decided to lose weight but the difference is that I am going to do it! And all 2 people who read this blog are going to keep me accountable.

But I am not doing this on my own. I clearly have no self-control when it comes to food, so I am employing help and doing something I’ve never done before. I’m following an eating plan. Now, this may not be drastic to you but I’m in new territory here so be kind. The plan I’m following is the USANA RESET plan. It’s pretty neat. The first 5 days is a cleanse, basically to reset your body, and then you slowly build back in a low-glycemic diet. My hope is that the cleanse will also kill my cravings, and that I’ll reset my body to crave the good stuff, not the bad stuff (and I don’t mean the “good stuff,” my friend Betsy’s yummy peanut butter, chocolate, marshmallow and peanuts concoction). I dream of the day when I can walk past a plate of cookies and not want one. I hope that some day, the smell of McDonald’s french fries won’t drive me wild. I long for a time when the sultry sound of bacon sizzling won’t set my heart a flutter.

Tomorrow I begin my journey. I will keep you posted of my success as I lose the weight so wish me luck!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year, New Beginnings

Well, uh, sorry for the LONG hiatus! I stopped blogging before I even got started! haha. I guess life got really busy. I was reminiscing with my sister about 2009, and we agreed that a lot of stuff happened, but mostly it didn't. This was an entirely boring year. Since my last post, I went camping with Darren in the beautiful mountains of Alberta, got some really big projects are work rolling (yay resume builders!), attended two wonderful weddings of very wonderful people (congrats Jenny and Ed, and Ken and Naomi!), successfully completed Financial Peace University (I'm starting 2010 DEBT FREE!), and got involved and invigorated about my church. 2009 wrapped up with a two-week Christmas vacation (thanks blizzard of '09) that included our last holiday season in North Carolina and a turning point in my LDR (more on that later).

(Falls we hiked to this summer)

I know that the title of this post is somewhat contrived, but 2010 really is about to blow our socks off. My parents are moving to Houston in February, which means I'll be doing a lot of traveling to and from Raleigh to help pack and calm my mother down. Since my wonderful friend Sarah is also getting married in March, her various pre-wedding events will provide me with an excuse to leave the house sometimes. As for Chris-Anne, I don't think she'll stick around Raleigh very long after that. Her boyfriend is in med school in Norfolk, so I expect her to move soon.

Since I am starting 2010 DEBT FREE, I am looking forward to having some extra cash to travel. My sister, cousins and I are planning a girls trip sometime in May/June. After my association's big Covention at the end of June, I have the rest of the summer to chill and plan my next adventure: moving to Canada! That's right, I'm ready to announce it. It's officially on. Darren's most recent visit really proved to me that we should be together and I don't want to wait anymore. So I'm not. Come July/August, I'll be living in the great white north again. And yes, you all have to come visit!

I'm not big on resolutions, mostly because if I really want to do something I'll just do it. But I am hopeful that 2010 will result in positive changes and excitement for me and my family. I also pray the same for you and yours.