Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This confirms it: I'm a twelve-year-old trapped in an adult body.

Last night I watched a TV show I'd never seen before: Wipe Out. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, it is an obstacle course game where contestants have to climb, jump, swing and swim to get to the end. The contestant with the fastest time, or longest endurance (depending on the challenge) wins.

The commentary is sarcastic, reminiscent of Blind Date or Maximum Exposure. The entire time I was watching I thought, "Well this is just immature." They showed face plants repeatedly, in slow motion and in reverse. But every time I saw the same face plant I laughed hysterically. I am still shocked at how immature I am. I laughed so hard I started to cry. There's just something about seeing people fall in awkward positions and bounce off of giant rubber balls in ways that human physiology should not bounce that is hilarious.

So, it is officially confirmed: I am a twelve-year-old although I don't look it. I think I'll go get a Slurpee.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Joy of Havanna

On Tuesday, TC's mother Beatriz (or la Mamu as I call her) came into town. She's here for a month to see her new grandbaby in Provo. She brought us treats.

Knowing her son all too well, she brought alfajores for TC, which are a tasty chocolate delight (at least the ones she brought).

See how pretty they are?

I was pleasantly surprised when she gave me these Havanna Lemon Cookies, which are purely lemony deliciousness. She said that she and Carlos know that I'm more of a fruity treat fan, so they bought those especially for me. They smell divine, they look exquisite, and they taste like a dream come true.

Thank you Carlos and Beatriz. I will not soon forget your thoughtful and kind gesture.

Welcome to the Planet! We've got fun and games.

On Tuesday I had a chance to meet the newest member of TC's sister's family: Sebastian. He's a cute, dark-haired, button-nosed bundle of baby. Here is a photo of his cuteness.

Here is the proud older brother.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Other White Meat

In an effort to overcome my culinarily lazy tendencies, I made a dinner menu for this week. On Saturday we bought the ingredients necessary to accomodate our gourmet, low calorie delicacies, and Sunday dinner began our quest for gastronomic pleasure. We had chili burgers, which although more like Mexican sloppy joes, were delicious.

Last night, however, we enjoyed Fajita Pork and Pasta, a Weight Watchers recipe. I'm leery of pork, but this was delicious, so delicious in fact that I am blogging about the recipe. The ingredients are as follows:

1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste (for cooking pasta)
6 oz uncooked whole-wheat pasta, penne recommended
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
6 Tbsp fresh lime juice, divided
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 pound lean pork tenderloin, thinly sliced*
1 medium yellow pepper(s), sliced into thin strips
1 medium sweet red pepper(s), sliced into thin strips
1 medium green pepper(s), sliced into thin strips
1/3 cup carrot(s), thickly shredded
1 medium onion(s), cut into thin wedges
4 oz canned green chili peppers, mild, drained, chopped
1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced

I did not use any canned green chili peppers (I didn't have any and didn't buy any, oops!). Also, I thought it would be a waste to buy lime juice, so I opted to use the lemon juice I already had at home. Also, I used regular pasta. Weight Watchers (and many other diet programs) often encourage the use of whole grain pastas and breads because they have more fiber and therefore are more filling. Calorie-wise, they are usually about the same.

Anyhoo... On to the instructions. I combined the spices and lemon juice and half of the olive oil in a bowl, then dipped the pork in to coat. In a frying pan, with the other half of the oil heated I cooked the pork and the leftover juice mixture for about 4 minutes on either side. While it was cooking I chopped up the vegetables and popped them in the frying pan. I added more lemon juice (I didn't measure, but it was probably about 2 tablespoons), covered and let steam for about 7 minutes while the pasta cooked. Once the pasta was done and the vegetables were tender, I combined the two and served.

This photo shows just how colorful the meal is. I give full credit to the Weight Watchers website for the photo and list of ingredients.

The meal was fantastic, and filling. Note: the ingredients as listed are to serve 4.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Obi-Juan Kenobi?

I have frequent brain lapses. Sometimes it takes me a long time...I mean a really REALLY long time to understand things that most people understand in an instant. When I was a child, I understood Obi-Wan Kenobi to be Obi-Juan Kenobi, and I wondered why he didn't speak Spanish more. Han Solo was Hands Solo in my mind. As an 8 year old, when asked what kind of God God is, I replied that he is a jealous God, just like it says in the ten commandments. I wondered for the longest time why there weren't any "sistren" if there are brethren. Being familiar with sewing patterns, I always thought that the brand Simplicity was Simpli City, and I wondered where this city was located. When I was administered an IQ test as a child in grade school, I was asked "What is a lotus?" At the time, the only lotus I was familiar with was the software program Lotus 1-2-3, and I didn't understand why the lady administering the test smirked at me when I told her about the software.

As an adult, I told my husband that I wanted a car with remote-less key entry. I asked him why, if a food had never been frozen, couldn't it be thawed? When a coworker told me his contact lens prescription I exclaimed sarcastically, "What are you, legally blind or something?" to which he replied, "Yes." When I was told a joke about two tomatoes crossing a road I laughed hysterically at the punchline and retold it with the wrong punchline for months (which incidentally rendered the joke completely humorless, but not to me). When I get caught up in a web of misunderstandings and saying the wrong words, my coping mechanism is to say, "Shut up."

I'm thick. I say the wrong things at the wrong time. I don't get things that come so easily to other people. Does Obi-Juan live with Hands Solo in Simpli City, and drive a car with remote-less key entry? Perhaps someday I will discover the answer to those questions that you all discovered a long time ago. Shut up.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Listen to the still small voice, listen listen...

That song has been playing in my head this morning. Why? Because on Saturday morning, going against my better judgment and ignoring any premonitions I had about the ride, I went on a bike ride. It's not the bike riding itself that was the problem--I'm by no means an experienced biker, but I enjoy a ride now and again. It was the trail, the Bobsled. I knew I should not have gone, and yet I decided to ignore that still, small voice and go anyway. And now I'm hurting.

Part way down the trail, after a little rest, I had a bad feeling. I prayed. My prayer was something like, "Father in Heaven, I'm stuck. I can't go back the way I came. The only way out of here is down. I don't know what I'm doing. Please bless me that I won't die. Also, please bless me that I won't get seriously injured." And so I closed my prayer and began my descent.

A few minutes later I found myself sliding on the ground like I was sliding into home base. I don't know how I end up on the ground, but apparently I flew over my handlebars. My head was craned up, and I watched TC, who was ahead of me to mark the path, to see if he saw me sliding toward him.

TC threw his bike several feet off the narrow trail and ran to me. He knew exactly what to do. He took the shirt off his back to tie around my bleeding arm, and kept telling me that it wasn't that bad at all (an effort to keep me from completely losing control of my emotions). And it wasn't that bad. My elbows are scraped and the palms of my hands are in pretty bad shape (especially my right hand). My legs and stomach are bruised and have a few lesions. But I did not break any bones (no serious injuries), and I am sill alive (I did not die).

Lucky for us, our friend Jake was several minutes behind us. He caught up, saw that I was hurt and continued on to tell Jared and Sarah what had happened. TC and I walked the rest of the trail, and only had to jump out of the way once for fast riders coming down.

This trail is great for people who know what they are doing. Look how fun that turn looks. You can pick up some great speed.

These happy, serene flowers belie the adventure that lies in this trail. I thought this photo was pretty ironic.

From all this I'm grateful for so many things: for Jake and Jared who biked uphill for who knows how many miles to get the cars so they could take me home quickly, for Sarah who was waiting at the end of the trail for us and just cheered us on and was so quick to help me with my bike, for Jake who let us borrow these great jumbo-sized Band-aids and Neosporin (we owe you), and for Jared and Sarah who took care of our bikes so we wouldn't have to worry about them. I'm amazed at how great of a doctor TC is, and I'm grateful to have him to take care of me. He just knows what to do. Once we got home he cleaned up the wounds and wrapped them so they wouldn't bleed or get infected. Most of all he assured me that everything was going to be all right. And even though right now he is under a lot of pressure to finish writing his dissertation this week, he still takes the time to care for me, and change my bandages every morning. He's a wonderful man. I'm grateful to be reminded of how blessed I truly am.

P.S. I won't include any photos of the injuries because they are gross.
P.P.S. My advise to all my readers: listen to the still small voice.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Self Esteem

Okay, so a lot of articles on self-esteem seem like bunk to me, but this one I encountered in O The Oprah Magazine had a lot of information that hit home for me, especially this part:

Why it that some people, the Donald Trumps of the world, seem to believe only the best about themselves, while others—perhaps especially women, perhaps especially young women—seize on the most self-critical thoughts they can come up with? "It turns out there's an area of your brain that's assigned the task of negative thinking," says Louann Brizendine, MD, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, and the author of The Female Brain. "It's judgmental. It says 'I'm too fat' or 'I'm too old.' It's a barometer of every social interaction you have. It goes on red alert when the feedback you're getting from other people isn't going well." This worrywart part of the brain is the anterior cingulate cortex. In women, it's actually larger and more influential, as is the brain circuitry for observing emotions in others. "The reason we think females have more emotional sensitivity," says Brizendine, "is that we've been built to be immediately responsive to the needs of a nonverbal infant. That can be both a good thing and a bad thing."

You can read the rest of the article here, or you can pick up the August issue of O.