Saturday, January 31, 2009

This May Not Work Out

I'm trying to grow culinary herbs indoors, from seeds. The first few green shoots are appearing - so far so good. But, I don't have a good track record with indoor plants. (The ones I got at IKEA for my cubicle are still doing okay, but those don't mind being ignored.) If it works, great, I'll have fresh basil (x3 types), oregano, lavender, chives, and dill growing on a kitchen bookcase. If not, I'll be disappointed, but I'm not going to be surprised.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reference Point for Cold Temperatures

At -15 degrees F, or -26 degrees C, the packed snow/frozen slush on driveways and parking lots SQUEAKS when you walk or drive over it.

Rather than put on workout clothes that had been sitting in my cold car since 9 am, I laid them out on the bench in the gym's locker room sauna. Five minutes later the clothes and shoes were wearable and I actually felt warm for the first time all day.

I don't think they should be allowed to call it a "High" if it is only forecast to be -5 F. They should have another word for "Least Cold it will be Today" that does not imply that much relative motion of molecules.

Ridiculous cold is very unpleasant and uncomfortable, but at least it isn't snowing again.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sim City DS = Sleep Deprivation

B&J got us GameStop gift cards for Christmas. I used mine to buy a used copy of Sim City DS. (Does anyone else just erase the former owner's saved game without looking at it? I'd rather not know what they may have left on there as a joke. Could be the most awesome simulated metropolis ever, or it could be something rude spelled out in trees.) Anyway, both times I've turned on the game I have then stayed up until 2 or 3 am playing. Last night I even plugged the charger in because the red light was blinking, and proceeded to sit down on the dining room floor and KEEP PLAYING. So, new rule is: no Sim Anything on work nights.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

High-Quality Yoga Tools

If you have a chance to try Yoga, you should. Most gyms offer classes, the Wii Fit has a good introduction, and of course there are DVDs for sale/rent/loan everywhere. I got my first tastes from a DVD, took my first "live" classes at my former gym, and I'm now taking (free!) classes at work. A few years ago I even took an all-inclusive yoga vacation at Kripalu after a really stressful project phase was over.

I've shredded a "deluxe" yoga mat after a few years of use. When it started leaving bits of foam on the floor and on me after a session, I decided it was time to replace the poor thing. One instructor would talk about his Manduka mat, so I looked into it. Amazon reviews were positive, so I ordered one. I'm very happy with it so far, and highly recommend it once you know you'll be doing yoga for a while.

The bare-feet aspect of yoga is uncomfortable to me, so I've also tried a few solutions to that over the years. (Leaving your regular socks on is too slippery.) First, I used shoes left over from parent-mandated jazz dance class. Then, I found yoga shoes (by Nike) on clearance at a sporting good store. Neither of these let me spread out my toes or put my fingers between my toes, which is actually part of some poses. Solution? Amazon Search! These ToeSox (yoga/pilates version) do work very well, with the added bonus of being machine washable.

Finally, if you are looking at yoga props, I'd suggest getting a cork block instead of a foam block, and a cotton strap (or other natural material) instead of a plastic-based strap. Cork feels more stable, and cotton feels soft instead of sharp. Target's sporting goods section is a good place to find yoga stuff like this.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dessert for Breakfast

Here is a breakfast that I make often. It feels like dessert and only costs 3 WW Points (TM) when figured with the Nutrition Facts from the individual ingredients. For one serving:

*1/2 C dry old-fashioned oats
*1/2 C fresh cranberries (stock up now and keep in freezer)
*water to the top of the oats (adjust as you like - this is on the dry side)
*1 Tbsp packed brown sugar

Microwave to your preference. I like my oatmeal al dente, so I use 3'30" on 70%. Actually, I like raw dry rolled oats (a favorite childhood snack!), so take that into account for the water and cooking time.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Best Wishes for 2009

One amusing thing last night about watching the New Year's Eve broadcasts was the overtone of "wow 2008 sucked let's not do that again" that kept coming up. For the did-professionals-really-produce-this-show Chicago broadcast where the local news celebrities were forced to stand outside on the 16th floor of the Trump Tower, the attitude was "let's get this over with and 2009 HAS to be better."

Personally, I'm doing okay. I mean, if I ignore my 401k performance (I've got a while to retirement, so this is just a blip, or so I keep telling myself. Pretty painful blip...) the economic troubles of 2008 haven't hit home. The weather in Chicagoland was terrible, but just to the point of discomfort, we didn't suffer any property damage. The only memorable low point of 2008 for me will be the ordeal with the bathroom paint. I am very thankful for my luck, blessings, friends, family, work, health, and learning experiences of the past year.

Whatever your plans and resolutions are for 2009, best wishes for the New Year ahead.


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