Sunday, February 28, 2010


Sometimes I think I post about food too much . . . and then I think, "Well, everyone eats food, so why not?"

I have come to love Sundays - they're my produce-shopping days. Grapes, oranges, yams, jalapenos, portabella mushrooms, broccoli, celery, asparagus and a pound of greens (for salads). The biggest problem here is deciding what I'm eating first.

Today I got up early and met a college friend and a few others to go door to door and pass out information about Jim Cogan, a candidate for District 9 City Councilmember in San Jose. For four hours, I knocked on doors, passed out flyers and talked to residents. It was new, different and gave me a greater appreciation for the groundwork that gets put into place for political campaigns.

The things that brought me joy today:
- tasty produce (mmmmm, I love my fruits and veggies!)
- a warm, sunny day that induced driving with the windows down
- the completion of the closet reorganization project
- a cupcake I'm going to have later tonight (a small way to celebrate Alex's birthday, even though we don't get to be together)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Balsamic sauteed kale . . .

I sauteed some kale with olive oil, garlic, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. I threw in some cut up sundried tomatoes and about a 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans. I mixed it all up, let it get nice and warm (the kale starts to wilt) and plopped it in a bowl. I sprinkled with some goat cheese and voila! Deeeeeeeeeelish! :o)

The rough estimates if you would like to make this yourself -- all in all, it took about 15 minutes after everything was prepped.

Balsamic Sauteed Kale w/ Garbanzo Beans, Sundried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese
1 bundle of red kale
3 cloves garlic, minced
about 6 sundried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

1. Cut out and throw away center ribs from kale and cut leaves into medium size pieces
2. Put in a pan with olive oil and minced garlic, cover and cook over medium heat until leaves start to soften
3. Toss in garbanzo beans and sundried tomatoes, stir. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove from heat and serve. Top with an ounce of goat cheese crumbles and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Soooooooooooooooooooo good! :o)

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em . . . and 25 Days #3

I woke up this morning and sent a coworker a text to let her know that I was officially signing on for pager duty, rolled over and dozed off. I got up a little while later but shortly thereafter, crawled back in bed and snoozed for another 20 minutes or so. Lather, rinse, repeat . . . twice.

In the spirit of compromise, I'm working from bed now . . . Well, I'm not working, but I'm in bed. I brought my computer, my tea and my breakfast with me -- I'm celebrating my low, low cholesterol by eating eggs sunny side up.

Last night, I took the plunge and signed up at Planet Granite. It must have been divine timing that I opted to go home before heading to the gym - as I finished the paperwork, I looked at the schedule of yoga sessions (free to all members) and noted that the Friday night class started at 6:45 - it was 6:39. Woohoo!

I had my butt sufficiently kicked. It was a power yoga class and though I did everything to the best of my ability (I opted out of the headstands), I am now acutely aware of the muscles in my shoulders . . . and my legs . . . and my hips . . . and . . .

But today, I find joy in a lazy day to rest (tomorrow I'm helping a friend canvass neighborhoods for the city council campaign he's managing), my moving, working body, a good book to finish (sorry, San Jose Library - just add the 50 cents to my tab), and a cup of tea . . .

Friday, February 26, 2010

25 Days - Day 2

Happy Friday!!!

Did this week seem especially long to anyone else???? Wow, I must have been dragging. It was busy, but still . . . way too long. I am looking forward to a quiet weekend of cleaning and organizing (that closet project needs to be done already - sheesh!) and reading . . .

I'm looking into a membership at Planet Granite - a rock climbing gym in the area. A few months ago, I was so stoked about getting a free membership to the Arillaga sports complex at Stanford, but I rarely use it. :o( I don't really care for the facility all that much. I think I was a bit disillusioned by the pricetag (uh, free), but now it's becoming apparent that perhaps I should be going somewhere else.

The last couple of days, I've REALLY done well in terms of my eating habits. SparkPeople is an online tool I use to track my calories and nutrition - and I've noticed I've really changed my eating habits by observing what I eat. Example: lunch today is a pineapple teriyaki portabella mushroom "burger" on sourdough, a salad with garbanzo beans and homemade dressing, and a baked yam. So good!! So full of vitamins and good stuff (okay, the teriyaki probably isn't the healthiest of sauces, but it's still tasty when accompanying other good-for-you-foods).

Monday night I binged on mozarella sticks after I got home late. After a few days of some clean eating, this was a major blow to my system - or at least it felt like it was. I made them out of convenience. What also would have been convenient would have been dumping some salad in a bowl and tossing in some dressing - but that's a mental note for next time. Later that night, laying in bed I felt queasy, sick and like I couldn't get enough water. With all of the sugar, salt and fat in my dinner, it's no surprise that I had a junk food hangover the next day.

And since then . . . All is well. I'm eating healthy stuff again. I'm working out (running) again. My system is recovered. I'm still working on taking in more water, but other than that, I'm doing very well. Which brings me to day 2 of the 25 Days of Joy - what brought me joy today was packing my lunch and putting in things that I know will make this machine I operate daily work so much better, smoother.

And tonight I'm going to scope out Planet Granite. :o)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

25 Days

Day 1 (for me) of a 25 Days of Joy series started by Ms. Abbey Feldkamp on her blog. Simple enough - post something that brought you joy today.

Today, I found great joy in buying a cup of coffee. A coffee addict, I usually rely on whatever I make in the mornings or whatever I make at work. Trying to be a bit more frugal and finance-minded, I've all but cut out trips to Starbucks. This morning, I made an exception and purchased a grande bold pick with room for cream. It feels more special, you know?

On the agenda today:
- trying to ID over 75 perfect strangers in photos (seriously)
- get in some cardio (went for a run last night and it felt amazing)
- figure out my climbing (am contemplating membership at Planet Granite)
- eating REALLY good food!!! I'm most excited about this, can you tell? In my lunch box: a salad with chickpeas and homemade dressing, some almonds and dried apricots, red lentil dal [a staple for me - I make it once a week], and a baked yam. Ohhhhh . . . it's going to be a tasty day!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Letter box

When I was a kid, my dad worked for a custom home building company. He basically oversaw the entire development and managed the work that got done for beautiful homes that were designed to their owner's exact specifications.

The company built full-scale models of the homes and had interior decorators come in and make the houses beautiful. All of this was to give the idea of the possibilities that exist for buyers.

After all of the houses in the development had been sold, the model homes were sold to the highest bidder. Before they could be sold, though, all of the furniture, linens and decorations were auctioned off to employees of the company. My parents ended up with a lot of beautiful furniture in the years that my dad worked for this company as the minimum bid was 10% of the retail value -- at one point, they ended up with a beautiful solid oak coffee table and paid $35 for it.

One of the things my dad got for me in this process was a really pretty wooden box. It's painted a cream color and has gold edges with a design of vines and leaves on the top. As I've gotten older, I've appreciated the design a bit less, but I know I can always repaint it. I use it for letters - from my grammy, my friends, loved ones or special occasions.

This weekend, I've been purging my closet and dresser of unnecessary items and clothing. Papers that have no purpose are being recycled, objects I no longer use are going to the Good Will and other odds and ends are finding new uses or new homes. The one thing I didn't really count on was finding old love letters.

When I dated Jake, he did a stint in the Marines and spent three months in boot camp. I received several letters from him then, later on I received letters he had written with his future wife in mind - at that time, we were certainly planning on getting married. But now, now that I'm dating someone else, it feels so strange to even realize that I still have these letters tucked away in some crevice of some box that sits on some shelf in my closet.

I'm a bit torn - the nostalgic part of me would like to hold onto these, for the days when I'd like to remember, but it's been almost a year since I broke up with Jake, it's been six (wonderful) months dating Alex and I can't help but feel that hoarding these might be a bit disrespectful. Of course, there aren't only letters from Jake (I had a couple of admirers in high school, ha ha), but I don't feel any hesitation thinking of throwing them out.

Alex and I have talked about a future together in a very general sense, but I feel confident in the strength of our feelings and commitment we share. I just don't really know what I should do about these letters - the ones I've forgotten, the ones that aren't really relevant now. Part of me would like to keep them for a rainy day, to remember the lessons I've learned and experiences I've had that have gotten me where I am. Part of me thinks that past is gone, it's time to cherish memories and not hold onto paper momentos that might be disrespectful to my currenty sweetheart.

So I pose a question - to anyone reading this - what do you advise doing? Do you save letters from old beaus? Do you hang onto things from serious relationships to remind you of the relationship that you had?

I'm completely ambivalent about this . . . yet I feel like I need to decide something more definitive and I'm open to any advice.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

You can expect . . .

You can expect an interesting day at work when you receive a photo request and the words "brain" and "tapeworm" are used in the same sentence.



Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Sometimes, I am prone to some seriously crippling self-doubt. The kind that sabotages my work in how it tricks me out of being as productive as I need to be. The kind that makes me question whether or not I deserve the kind of happiness I've been experiencing lately. The kind that makes me wonder if my friends, boyfriend and what have you will even want to love me in a week, month, year.

I don't know how to reconcile what I know to be true with this darkness that sweeps over me from time to time. Occasionally, I can identify how it stems from something else that's bothering me -- stress about work and stability will make me question whether Alex is loving me just as much today as he did yesterday. (Yes, I know that it MAKES NO SENSE.)

Taking a magnifying glass to the last couple of days, I look at the factors that are causing me to doubt just about everything right now: some slip-ups at work make me feel like I can't hack it, busy schedules and tired bodies mean Alex and I haven't talked as much and I feel a bit neglected, the realization that for living in this area as long as I have, I haven't exactly made many friends (the fault is me not putting myself out there enough), and an upcoming trip has me fretting about saving enough money.

All of these things are so minor, but create a drama that's so unnecessary, so much bigger than it ought to be. I KNOW I'm doing fine at work, I KNOW things are great with Alex, I KNOW I can make friends (just need to go be social - what a concept) and I KNOW I'll have more than enough for all of my needs/wants even with this trip.

So why do I worry still? Why do I doubt myself? Why must I fret?

I like to believe my desire to see the bigger picture in life can sometimes be overwhelming - that the reason I sweat the small stuff is because at times, I don't see the big stuff. I'm literally missing the forest for the trees. But stepping back, and wiping away my nervous, anxiety-fraught tears, my vision's a bit clearer:

Things are fine. Truly just fine.

And as simple as that statement is, it has such a profound effect on me when I really allow myself to absorb its truth.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday Tops

1. My proximity to Trader Joe's
I had an irresistible craving for salt & vinegar chips today. And for chocolate. And bread. And cheese. (Ladies, let's ponder for a moment what this must mean.) Moving on . . . I live on the same block as a Trader Joe's, which is a happy miracle. I honestly chose my apartment because I liked the complex, the granite countertops and other things about the building and grounds. Happily enough, I'm within a mile of two Starbucks (very important, though sadly neither have a drive through), a Trader Joe's, a Whole Foods, a Chipotle, a Target, a branch of my bank, and several gas stations. Not too bad, right? Needless to say, the fact that I can WALK to Trader Joe's came in pretty handy. ;o)

2. Remember the Milk
I used this site for three days before I upgraded to the pro account. It lets me keep my to-do list at hand (there's an iPhone app that works with the pro account), let's me break down, prioritize and organize complicated tasks, and the tags and keyboard commands to sort each item make my OCD heart so happy.

I started my account several months ago but kind of forgot about it. This year, I have a resolution to become more financially savvy, to save more money and to start investing (in what I don't know, but I'll figure that out later). allows me to plan my budget, factor in aaaaaalll of my spending, and weighs my assets/loans/etc. The budgeting feature really helps me evaluate and plan for regular expenses like groceries, gas, etc. It links through to my BofA account and analyzes my spending based on the transactions coming through. It's so smart and I don't have to go back and put "Chevron" into my gas budget or "Trader Joe's" into the groceries budget. Plus, it has an iPhone app too, meaning my budget is at my fingertips.

4. Pugliese bread
Trader Joe's sells sourdough pugliese bread which perfectly dense yet chewy and just a little bit crusty. Sooooooooooo good.

5. Gerber daisies
Found them at Trader Joe's. The stems are long, but that will give me plenty to trim as I maintain them. They're so happy and colorful. They look great in my kitchen. :o)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Books to come back to???

I just created a list titled "Books to come back to" listing, you guessed it, books that I haven't finished but would like to though they're not on my priority list anymore.

I'm currently working on several books from the library, but all are approaching that final renewal category. There are so many books I have in my own library that haven't been finished and (worse still) have never been read that I really feel the pull to make a dent in that stash before I continue to yank books left and right off of the shelves.

In the mean time, I've chosen a few from my library stash (and the one I most recently requested -- it took me two months to get it because there was a wait) to keep trucking along with - one I'm enjoying in spite of it's slower pace, one I love because it's a memoir, and the last is my current read ("Eating Animals," by Jonathan Safran Foer).

Alex tells me I'm not quitting because I have plans to come back to them. I'll stand by that answer . . .

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wear Red Day 2010 (or, How I Learned to Write Myself a Note)

Soooooooooo . . . Today is National Go Red Day, to promote women’s heart health awareness, and our hospital’s clinic is participating and we’ve really been pushing it from our office. Well, Gary took us out for breakfast this morning and we just met him at Hobee’s but guess who showed up NOT wearing red? Yup. I forgot. Completely spaced.

So after catching some good-natured grief from everyone else, I get in my car to drive back and grab my badge (on a red lanyard), my nametag holder that Hayley made me (with some red beads) and looked in the backseat for anything else I could pass off as intentional red. I found . . . my rock climbing shoes. Yes, brick red rock climbing shoes. I’m sporting them with jeans and a navy cardigan and they totally look out of place, but desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

My feet look like this:

I feel so fashionable. LOL. Just more subject matter for that book I end up writing, right?

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I really struggle with guilt. Things I did years ago still bother me, still make me feel like a horrible person. I try to reconcile that I've grown up, that I'm different, and that really, I AM a good person.

But I still feel like I'm just not good enough. Your classic INFP, I have very idealistic expectations of myself and the world. While I'm usually very forgiving of the shortcomings of others, I have a hard time extending this forgiveness to myself. I feel badly, I want to let things go and sometimes I'm very good at it, but every now and then, it is almost crippling how badly I feel about my own shortcomings.

I have a pretty strict code of right and wrong and a guilty conscience that goes with it. I often struggle with the notion that I can be a very good person without being perfect. I expect a lot of myself and I don't always know how to reconcile this.

Last night I was reading a Joyce Meyer book and she briefly discussed learning to accept ourselves as God accepts us - knowing full well that our flaws are present, but loving us in spite of them. God doesn't approve of our sin, our transgressions but he loves us all the same. It seems like such a simple concept, to be able to separate a person from their actions, but for me, it's hard to do with myself.

As I grow, I'm learning that things don't have to be perfect to be satisfying and fulfilling. My job is not perfect - yet there are stretches of time where things fall into place easily, I tap into my creativity and feel a sense of purpose to what I'm doing. My relationship with Alex isn't perfect either - it's wonderful, but there's no such thing as perfect in my book since he and I are both human beings. But it's still great - he makes me laugh, he makes me think, he makes me feel loved and special. My friends sure aren't perfect, but they love me and I love them.

I'm learning to let go of these perfectionistic expectations, but sometimes it's really hard. It's hard to think that I'm giving up on a task without even trying, but then I remember that I'm not giving up on something normal, I'm redefining my already too high standards. There's nothing wrong with having high standards, but sending them through the roof is often asking for failure, which hereby brings on the guilt. Here's to the learning process . . . **lifts coffee mug**

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Snaps, snaps, snaps! :o)

Snaps to me indeed!

Recently, our hospital's monthly newsletter got a major facelift. As the manager of this particular publication, the task was laid before me to learn our new format, including some new Photoshop skills and put everything together in a matter of just a few weeks. My task list looks like this every month:
- schedule photoshoots
- review and assign photos to pieces appropriately
- publish webpages for each story and link to each article snippet
- edit photos for newsletter (both for the individual pages and for the newsletter itself)
- plug everything into our Constant Contact template
- final review with Gary before distribution
- create PDF of newsletter to mail to physicians

All in all, it's not a great deal, but this month was slightly complicated as we tried to get in the Photoshop fun stuff that needed to be done for our photos to work with our gorgeous new layout. Add to this the back-and-forth of one particular piece on which we haggled over wording and it gets more drawn out than it should be. Things came together somewhat seamlessly and in the end, the newsletter looked just gorgeous.

So much so that our Vice President of Public Affairs (my boss's boss) came over to me to congratulate me personally on "a job well done." True, I didn't design it and was only following instructions, but it came together very well and didn't require any frantic phone calls to the designers from under my desk while I remained in the fetal position.

So snaps to me, I guess. :o) I'll take the compliment especially considering who it came from. Below is a screenshot of the top of our new, snazzy newsletter - when it's finalized (i.e. we have this in PDF format and on our webpage), I'll link to the better copy. (But didn't 1185 do a bang up job?! Here is one of our old newsletters -- there really is no comparison.)