Monday, December 29, 2008

Home from the Holidays

The holidays in Missouri were great, and it was good to see family and friends.  It's always nice to come home, although I'm still not quite used to calling Wisconsin my home.  The snow has melted some, and it's a little warmer here, but still very windy.

We had some crazy weather in Kansas City over the weekend.  Sixty-eight degrees on Friday, followed by crazy thunderstorms in the early a.m. with snow by the Saturday evening.  I think the saying is, "If you don't like the weather in Missouri, wait five minutes."

The countdown to the wedding is on!  I've been busy this afternoon looking up the "flat-belly" diet, and I'm going to mix up a recipe of the "Sassy Water" this afternoon to have tomorrow and the rest of the week.  It's supposed to be some miracle elixir to help eliminate water weight.  This is the recipe I found:  
2L of H2O
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
12 small spearmint leaves
Let sit overnight, strain out all the stuff, and drink the entire 2L in one day.  

I think I'll give it a shot.  

As for the swimsuit, I chickened out on the bikini, even though I'm in the best shape I've been in for a couple of years.  I needed strapless, and all of the bikinis had straps, plus, there's just something about your belly hanging out over 40.  Maybe it's my mother in my ear, but the tankini is going to have to do.  I got it at Everything But Water.  Not cheap, but hard to find a deal on a swimsuit in December in Wisconsin.  

I had the opportunity to shop a little in Kansas City, but unfortunately didn't get out of the cosmetics department at Nordstrom before I had spent my allotment for the day.  If there is such a thing, I'm a product whore!  I love makeup, lotions, potions and anything "new & improved!"  I went in for a few Laura Mercier staples, such as the foundation primer, tinted moisturizer, and a new lipstick, and came out with a couple of new brushes, and a whole new look.  It might be a tad dramatic for the wedding, but is great for a night out.  The new Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer is great to mix with the regular tinted moisturizer.  I think sometimes when you're feeling a little "schlumpadinka", it helps to make yourself up, even if you're not really going anywhere.  Like my mother always says, "Everyone looks better with a little lipstick."

I forgot to mention my other shopping treat in Kansas City!  Pryde's in Westport has to be my favorite store in the world.  They call themselves "the hardware store for cooks," and it's better than any Home Depot, let me tell you that!  I love going in and catching up with Louise Myers, the owner.  She's one of those people that always makes you feel like a million bucks, and no matter how busy she is, always takes time to make sure you have what you need (or want, in my case).  Pryde's has the best selection of Fiesta Ware in the City, and probably the state.  Perhaps the entire Midwest.  My mood completely changes when I enter the store, and my sweetie was amazed with the rush I was experiencing just being in the store!  We left with a few things, but the biggest was the Chocolate place setting of Fiesta.  That was in addition to the two place settings my mom got us for Christmas!  We hauled them all home on the plane, too.  

It seems if I'm not eating, I'm thinking about what I'm going to eat, and now it's time to start prepping dinner.  Off to the market for a few staples, then I will put the rotisserie chicken to good use in a main dish salad.  One weeks 'til swimsuit!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh the weather outside is frightful!

Brrrrr!!!  It's extremely cold here, and I'm not so sure I signed up for this!  I will say that my "best buy" so far this year has been my North Face coat.  I am soooo happy that it is warm in our house!  The temperature has not gotten above zero today!  

We are leaving tomorrow for Kansas City and Columbia.  Snow is expected to start falling around 6 a.m. and our flight is out of Milwaukee at 9:10, so I'm hoping we'll get out of here before things get crazy.  I keep telling myself that "everything's going my way", and usually that helps me get through the stressful times.  

I need to pack for the next 5 days.  Jim got me some fabulous cashmere sweaters that I wanted from L.L. Bean.  Two zippered hoodies (I live in these!), and a v-neck, so those will definitely go with me.  I think we only have 1 "fancy" night when we will go out for dinner with friends on the 27th, so mostly casual clothes.  I'm sure my mom got me a couple of things, so need to leave room in the suitcase!

I'm getting used to the casual lifestyle we are living in Kohler, however it has taken some adjusting.  I'm used to dressing up for work and play.  Here I live in workout clothes and jeans, so am trying not to get into "schlumpadinka" mode, as Oprah would say.  It's hard to motivate yourself to "get fixed up" when you know you're not going anywhere!  

I haven't cooked much this week.  Jim's has asked me to make main dish salads, so that was the beginning of the week, then we went to a fancy wine dinner on Saturday.  It was a lot of fun and I'm glad we had an opportunity to get dressed up and meet some more people.  Hopefully we can do things like this at least once a month.  I think the diet food will go by the wayside over the next few days.  My mom cooks a lot, and makes lots of sweets, so there will be plenty of temptation.  I will be bypassing her Amaretto Slush.  Too many calories without much kick!  If she'd put more alcohol in it, it would be much better!  You can take the girl away from the Baptist Church, but you can't take the Baptist out of the girl.....

Our wedding is two weeks from Christmas day, and it can't come soon enough!  I can't wait to get to some warm weather and relaxation.  I, for once, am not stressed about it, either.  Jim's ring doesn't fit, so we'll need to find an alternative until he can get it replaced, but other than that, I'm sure everything will go off without a hitch.  I'm not sure if our marriage license will be in Spanish, or how we get copies to use here in the States, but I know thousands of Americans get married in Mexico every year, so it must not be that big of a deal.  

Well, best get back to my laundry and packing.  Will post again after the holiday when we get back to the frozen tundra.  Ugh.  It's really not that bad--in the summer!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Days!

Wow!  Quite a snowfall we had over night.  It was a winter wonderland when we went to the gym this morning at 6:30, and by the time I went back out around noon, we probably had six more inches!  It reminds me when I was a kid and hoped for snow days every time it flurried!  

My mother and her teacher friends would sometimes have wine & cheese parties (Mogen David & Port Wine cheese spread on TownHouse Crackers) certain that school would be canceled.  I can think of more than one occasion where they were painfully wrong and had to work the next day. 

I guess it truly looks like Christmas now.  I haven't spent much time on Christmas this year, but Jim and I did a little shopping yesterday.  It's a good thing he has me or he would end up with lots of age inappropriate gifts!  I swear, his nieces are almost 8 & 10, and he's still looking at toys for 5 year olds!  They would be very disappointed.  I have taken the easy way out for the last couple of years.  College kids love money, so that's what they get.  Parents love plane tickets, so that's what they get.  Grandparents don't need a thing, so I get them a sack of oranges.  They're useful, and they like them.   I would liked to have gotten Jim something more special, but I did get him two things that he asked for, so in times like these, I'm sure he'll understand.  We have the wedding trip coming up, so that's plenty for us.  We're going to a wine dinner this weekend, so that is gift enough.  Now, about that wine....

I'm trying to learn more about wine, since I have quite a collection.  I have no idea what years are best, but from being a member of the Cellar Rat wine club over the last couple of years, I've accumulated quite a few bottles.  I picked up the Andrea Immer Robinson's 2009 Wine Buying Guide for Everyone at the Kohler Food & Wine Fest, and am finally starting to look through it.  I like how she marks things:  a fork for "food friendly", a smiley face for "crowd pleaser" and a thumbs up for "wine-geek favorite" so you can impress your wine-snob friends.   She also gives each wine a "kitchen survivor grade" for how long it will last with a cork in it on your counter. Lord knows that even with fancy vacuum sealers, most of us just stick a cork in it, right?  Another great thing is her "Vintage Chart" in the back of the book.  Tells you what years were good vintages for different varietals and regions.  For example, California Cabs had great vintages in 2005, 2002, 2001.  Now how would I know that without truly studying up on this stuff?  So, that's what I'm working on in the wine world.  Next, are the wine racks I will be ordering so we can finally get all these bottles sideways.   

Did I mention that this blog would be eclectic?  Who knows what I will talk about next time! Food, fitness, fun?  


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First Timer

Yes, I am a blogging virgin, who is not really sure what to write about, so this blog will be very eclectic.  I intend to talk about what I'm doing, cooking, reading, watching, and hopefully to share some of my favorite things, websites, recipes, etc.

I'm also looking for something to fill my time right now as I am adjusting to not working for the first time in 19 years.  Everyone says you should have a "plan" when you retire, and I don't really have one!  I'm just trying to wing it for now, and enjoy what comes my way.  

Oh, and did I mention I just moved to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin?  This morning it was -3 when my future hubby and I went to the gym. It actually felt warmer than yesterday because there was no wind.  Luckily, he lets me keep the heat up high (72), so at least I don't have to bundle up too much!

I found out yesterday that I have been accepted into the 2009 Master Gardener's program through the country extension service.  They only accept 24 participants per year, so I was happy to get the call.  This is something I've wanted to do for the last 10 years, but with my travel schedule and the career, it just wasn't possible.  I could barely keep my herb garden going over the last few summers, but thanks to good neighbors in KC, they survived.  We don't have garden space here at the condo, but there is some community space, and I will be doing a lot of volunteer gardening throughout the county.  There's just something about digging in the dirt that makes me feel good.  I love growing herbs, and have missed making my herbal infusions of oils & vinegars for the past several years.  Now I have nothing but time, so am dreaming of summer when I can actually get to growing again.

My days since retirement have consisted of a lot of gym time, grocery shopping and cooking.  An acquaintance here in Kohler who also moved from the South, told me her first year she made a daily "triangle" between the gym, the Arts Center where she volunteered, and the market.  That made me feel much better.  Since we don't yet have kids, I'm not involved in the same activities as others my age (except for the gym!). 

There are lots of things I could be doing, like finishing the unpacking and organizing, sending Christmas cards, etc., but I like to do things I enjoy, and I don't find those things that enjoyable.  Plus, I will be sending New Year's cards this year, with a photo from our wedding in Mexico, so am not worrying about it too much.  

As you can see, I have lots of changes going on right now, but change is good.  I always say "If you're through changing, you're through."  

Well, as my mother would say, "That's all for now."  Oh, did I mention that she's starting to incorporate "text" lingo into her e-mails?  She asked me the other day what "ttyl" meant.  Then, it all made sense to her.  She's probably signing off with that on all of her e-mails.  Too funny.


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