Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hot and Cold

Feeling the artificial breeze move across the top sheet covering my body reminded me that I had a mission this morning. The air conditioning had gone on the fritz again yesterday. It wasn't blowing any cold air and indoors registered 82 degrees when I got home. By 8am today, the humidity had thickened within Chez Sprinklesville. Oppressive! A small oscillating fan I kept in the storage room outside moved with me from room to room lessening my discomfort.

I rushed through breakfast scarfing down cold cantaloupe pieces and a stick of cheese. The cloying warmth didn't encourage any cooking. A quick shower followed but I stopped myself from the instinctual urge to shampoo my hair. The last thing I wanted was to use a hot hair dryer on it and I refuse to go out with wet hair.

An hour after I visited the main office, one of the maintenance guys came to investigate. He soon discovered the problem outside - a burnt wire! Thank goddess it was easily rectified to bring back the cool in Chez Sprinklesville. When it was chilled enough I trekked to the other side of town to spend the afternoon and early evening at my aunt's.

I gave my uncle his Father's Day gift one day early (a rare bottled six-pack of San Miguel beer imported from the Philippines) and a humorous card filled with heart Sprinkles he had to dump out from his netbook. They scattered all over as he opened to read the card. Whoops!

Sharing some pics...

Stuffed Bell Pepper with Rice and Kale. Two of these were perfect for lunch during the week.

This was done for instructional purposes only. Zucchini ribbons are a great alternative to pasta. These were too thin really to blanch for a minute or two. I should have eaten it raw with the hot tomato sauce I made. If you were to use a mandolin slicer or a vegetable peeler, you can get thicker and more firm ribbons to blanch and hold their shape better. I used a saladacco (spiral slicer) which can also be used to do spaghetti-style noodles.

Yes, I used chopsticks. I included the pic of my personal stash. Round chopsticks not square, mind you, are my preference.

AND THEN....(There is always an AND THEN, right?)

My eyes bore into the title and picture of this DVD at the craft supercenter during a trip with my aunt to today. What was the author thinking? Why did the producers allow this? Egads!

Just sayin'.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Hate Popcorn...for Other Reasons

I actually love popcorn, but I can no longer eat more than 1/2 cup. To that end I avoid it completely. My body balks at its intrusion into my system. You may recall a trip to the emergency room and then doctor about a year ago. No repeats - no, thank you. Craving it when someone cooks a bag of it at work is no longer an issue. The shame of not being able to indulge in it during a movie theater outing has lessened, too.

This evening my enquiring mind led me to "How Stuff Works" website which is filled with fascinating information. It is pure joy to read their pages. Feels like drinking in words through my eyes and nourishing my mind. The added knowledge are like tiny electric flowers swaying and basking in the energy of my body. I love learning...until the small and galling hiccup in numbers 12 and 13 in Twenty Things You Didn't Know About Popcorn.

I recoiled and huffed when I read the following obscenities:
12. Unpopped kernels are called "old maids" or "spinsters."

13. There are two possible explanations for old maids. The first is that they didn't contain sufficient moisture to create an explosion; the second is that their outer coating (the hull) was damaged, so that steam escaped gradually, rather than with a pop. Good popcorn should produce less than 2 percent old maids.

Perhaps I am bristling too much. Still. Damn kernels.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Still Sprinkles

While I enjoy living in Florida, there are two things you can count on during the summer, the rising heat from the blinding sun and the intense humidity that hangs around it like a lusty lover that cares for nothing else but merging with it. The product of that post coital bliss is left for us Floridians and visitors to bear from June to September.

Maybe it is the heat that has made my blogging sluggish? Truth be told -- I've started a few entries and never finished them. As you read I did keep some pics to remind me what I've been doing. Just about the time I get the inspiration to write again, a week has gone by and I decide to start over. After umpteenth attempt, let me catch up with you with some life lessons I've been reminded lately.

IKEA in Tampa opened the beginning of May. I was invited to go the first weekend it opened. The traffic was diverted and managed like that of a big sports event. The cult of IKEA was in full force. My pals and I survived the mad crush and later stopped at the art center and then for ice cream. The little girl [pictured below] ordered the most sugar laden ice cream and topping combination that was poured into this chocolate and sprinkle dipped waffle cone. Her enthusiasm reminded me the idealism of childhood and the joy that can be experienced when you allow yourself to live in the moment. Especially during the sweetest moments. (She is also going to be Tawny's future step granddaughter.)

A couple of weekends later had me attending my cousin Dave's kids' First Communion mass. My aunt and uncle had just arrived back the day before from their week-long cruise around the Caribbean and Virgin Islands. They remind me of what true love can be like as long as it is cherished and not taken for granted. Look how happy they are! While sitting one pew behind them, I noticed how they would find ways to touch each other and what made me really chuckle was when my aunt would sway her hips to left to lightly bump my uncle's right hip in a playful gesture during the hymns we sang standing up. I hope to rock like them in my 60s.

These custom made First Communion outfits came directly from the Philippines thanks to their mom's relatives still living there. I should have taken a picture of Kristen's hair from the back because it was really cute woven with silk ribbons and flowers. Carter in his traditional Filipino "Barong Tagalog" shirt was quite the little man. He read from scripture with a deliberate and thoughtful delivery. We all felt such pride in them both. I got to see them again the following weekend during Kristen's dance recital event at the performing arts center.

Two Fridays ago I took as a vacation day to just "chill" from the hectic work pace. Tawny and I hung out (rare moment!) most of the afternoon and joined me again later for dinner before we left to see her youngest son play at a bar several miles up the road. I hadn't seen the boys play in a couple of months. Their improvement was impressive. In fact, a touring band that played after them was horrible in comparison. Singing death metal incorrectly can make you sound like the Cookie Monster on meth. Really.

It was on to new worlds the next day. I drove 240 miles north to Jacksonville, Florida to visit Kathy and Jamie in their new home. Kathy advised me that it would take me about 3.5 hours to get there. Erm...uh...I made it in under 3 hours. My personal speed limit was mostly 80mph. I only slowed when I went through Orlando and a couple of rainy spots.

It was a fun change to get away from Tampa for a weekend and I missed Kathy a bunch. Within an hour of getting there, she took me to a tasty Filipino restaurant. With the exception of dessert items, there were only two things she could eat off the menu as a vegetarian. She still ate well and we went crazy on dessert. We worked it off by shopping a few hours.

In the evening we ended up at the movie theaters watching "Star Trek" with Jamie. He and I agreed ahead of time that I would explain things to Kathy during the movie if she had any questions. Kathy is not a trekkie even in the loose sense of the term. The movie was a lot of fun and the new Captain Kirk was rowrrr!

I drove back on Sunday afternoon accompanied by the Twilight series (vampire theme) audio books playing in my car. Listening to the first book made the drive back home pass magically. I am still listening to the first book to and from work creating a zen feeling. Being incredibly relaxed driving is a new sensation for sure.

Now to the present...This weekend was supposed to be my hermit weekend. Not so, said fate. Ant called me yesterday to invite me to lunch with his wife Becca and cutie pie son, Garrett at a German restaurant near me. He is such a good and flirty baby.

Tawny called me in the evening to go to the art center. They were hosting a small high school band that was going to do 80s covers. How could I say no? The band ended up being really entertaining. The kids were set up in the garage facing the street with amps, lighting and their instruments. The songs could be heard down the street and caused cars to pause as they drove by. When "What I Like About You" came on, I had no choice but to do an impromptu 80s style dance in the middle of the street in front of strangers. Tawny, my ultra cool pal, joined me while her husband embarrassed by our antics retreated back inside the art gallery. We laughed in response.

I am about to make some stuffed zucchini using seasoned vegetarian crumbles, brown rice, red dal and sweet potato. I will also make some stuffed red peppers with kale, brown rice and my special tomato sauce I have already cooked and reduced. These will be my lunches these week. Cooking and freezing whole foods versus paying more for processed junk or buying junk is more in line with what I am trying to achieve. My goals are of increasing fiber, nutritive values and lowering meat intake. It is a delicious time all the way!