Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sugar-Free Update

I did really well for the first few days (M,T,W) - and I felt really great. Then Thanksgiving came and I had one piece of Pumpkin Pie with whip cream - not too bad. But i repeated that the next day and the next and followed that with some homemade goodies that my sister G and I made while she was here - fudge and sugar cookies. So I fell off the sugar-free wagon and by the end of my days I was feeling lousy again. So I am recommitting.

The key to my success (on the 3 days I was successful) was to eat small healthy snacks often. I never went without food for longer than 3 hours. I ate cottage cheese, string cheese, yogurt, grapefruit, oatmeal with flax, bananas, apples, green beans, frozen veggies, etc. If I have those things on hand and in mind, I can avoid my (disarmingly strong) urge to eat a sweet treat.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I am so excited. I am going to attend my first Jane Austen Society meeting next Saturday in DC. I haven't officially joined the Society yet, as I figured I should attend a meeting first and see if it is really my cup of tea or not. It is a luncheon at the Embassy Suites and the speaker's topic is titled: "A Rushing Stream: Reading Beyond Austen". To be honest, I am a little skeptical about how much I will like this topic. I am also a little nervous that I will be the most under-read of all the Janeites there. I mean I have read all of her works at one point, and some of them many times over, but to be honest, I haven't read any Austen since the summer. What if everyone else reads her much more frequently and think I am a bit of poser.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Sunday afternoon I had an epiphany. I realized I am addicted to sugar. I use it as a substitute for anything and everything (sleep, medicine, entertainment, etc.). This is not a recent phenomenon for me, back in college my secret cure-all to any ailment was brownies. Subconsciously, I still believe there is nothing a delicious brownie or k.a. cookie can't cure.

Back to Sunday - that afternoon and evening I had a stomach ache. Not a doubled-over-throwing -up-kind-of-stomach-ache, just a dull,-everything-is-not-right-sort-of-stomach-ache. In fact, I realized I have those quite often, so I decided to try an experiment. I have cut out all superfluous sugar. No sugar in my coffee or oatmeal, etc. I am not going extreme, I am planning on having a slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and I am still eating things that traditionally hide a little sugar - like bread and spaghetti sauce. I just want to see if I really need all the sugar I eat, or if I just eat it because my blood sugar is spiking up and down. I am also hoping my stomach just overall feels better at the end of the experiment.

The good news is I have been eating less sugar the last two days and while I am dead-dog-tired right now, I haven't felt too bad otherwise.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Book Club

Ryan and I used to have a book club. It was co-ed and made up mainly of co-workers and former roommates. We got together roughly once a month and we alternated between fiction and non-fiction. We rotated who picked the book and hosted the meeting/led the discussion. I actually really miss those book club days.

These are the books we read (in no particular order): Sea Biscuit, Life of Pi, Atonement, The Tipping Point, His Excellency, Into the Wild, Middlesex, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, Treasure Trove, You Shall Know Our Velocity!, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Looking for Class and Bluebeard.

Clearly, we read a wide variety of books.

Friday, November 17, 2006


I consider myself a Janeite (lover of all things Jane Austen). My first introduction to Jane Austen was in the movie Clueless (which is an adaptation of Emma). While I loved Clueless, my real conversion did not happen until after I graduated college. (I read Pride and Prejudice one summer during college. I really liked it, but didn't bother to rent any movie versions or read any of her other works. )

Shortly after I got married I was looking for good reading material. We took the metro to and from work everyday and because we lived so close to the metro, we took it quite often for other things as well - so I had lots of good time to read. One auspicious morning I grabbed my old paperback version of P&P to reread on the train. This time I fell in love!! I was actually irritated when the metro ride went off without a hitch because I got less reading time. When I finished it, I read Emma. Within a few months, I read them all, including her unfinished ones. I watched all the movie versions of her books that I could find and I now own almost all of them. (Of course, P&P with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is standard by which all others are measured.)

So now, I am setting my sites a little higher - I really want to go to the Jane Austen Festival in Bath (England). I would love to go with a group of friends who love Jane Austen too. So let me know if you are game.

In the meantime, here is a fun little puzzle for fellow Janeites to enjoy:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Healthy Breakfast

As I posted earlier, I have become a real fan of Irish oats. Well, I just found a way to make them even healthier and add a bit of a nutty flavor to them - flax seed meal. I just added a couple of tablespoons of flax seed meal to my Irish oats this morning with my brown sugar and it was delicious. Plus, because flax seed is so healthy (fiber, omegas and lignans) it felt good to eat and helped me stay full a little longer.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A bit down

Lately, I have been feeling a bit down. Strangely, it took me a while to realize it. I noticed that I was lethargic and that recently I haven't come up with any of my usual "good ideas" or wanted to work on any of my "fun projects." I thought maybe I was bored, but then I realized I didn't want to do nothing (except rest) because I was bored, but rather because I am just plain exhausted. I haven't had a good nights sleep in a very long time.

So I am renewing my resolve to take better care of me with going to bed early, eating healthy and doing a little exercise too. Hopefully in a few weeks I will be back to my perky self again.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Life 101

I was the oldest kid in my family, so I kind of had to learn the ropes on my own (and with the help of good friends with older siblings). I tried to pass on a little bit about how life (meaning higher education, getting a job, managing a career, etc.) actually works to my little sister William. To be honest, though, she has a native sense about how to jump through hoops and work a system to her advantage that I just don't have.

I see my other younger sisters really struggling to figure out basic life decisions and it troubles me. One of them seemed to be on her way to graduation (though ever so slowly), until she met her now husband, and then quickly abandoned the education ship altogether. Another just moved to Boston just to get the hell out of dodge - which I can appreciate - but she has no real ambitions towards getting her degree either. Thankfully one sister, F, has some good friends who are all in school and keeping her on track a little bit more.

Even so, I am worried about her job prospects. She is currently working as a waitress to put herself through school. I am very proud of her for working so hard and going it on her own, but I really want her to graduate with a chance to get a real job that she will enjoy when she is finished. I am hoping to steer her towards doing either an internship or a study abroad in her field of study so that she will have some relevant experience and possibly a few good references too.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bright Idea

Throughout the entire house, almost all of the fixtures, hinges, doorknobs, etc. are brass. Annoying, but not worth fixing - except in the bathrooms where the rest of the fixtures - towel racks, tp holders, faucets, etc. - are all silver-toned. I actually liked the light fixture the builders put in for the powder room, so I decided to just paint it silver and reinstall it. Pretty and Frugal!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Powder Room Update

Recently we had our one-year drywall fix. The powder room, which was previously painted a dark grey, needed a lot of touch-ups. I was nearly out of paint, so I decided since I had to buy some more paint anyway, that I might as well go two-toned.

I really like the effect, it brightened the space, but still kept a little of the drama that the dark color added.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Irish Oats

I think food can be one of the finer things in life. I love finding a new food, trying a new recipe or rediscovering a forgotten favorite.

So when I saw a show about Irish Oats (also known as Scottish Oats and Steel Cut Oats), I had to try them. Sure enough, these delicious oats are my new favorite breakfast food. They are slow cooking - it takes 30 minutes to boil them to a delicious creamy yet chewy consistency. In fact, they are so good that I hardly put any brown sugar on them at all.

It took me a while to find them, but the search was worth it. For anyone else interested in trying them, Trader Joe's has the best price and selection.