Sunday, June 27, 2010

Me feeling hot, hot, hot!

As the temperature creeps into the high 90's, I'm immediately understanding of my body's inclination to shed a little weight in the summer. Having spent a few years in Fresno where the temperatures are decidedly oppressive in the summer, heat makes me feel so lethargic, so disinclined to eating . . . ("How hot is Fresno?" you ask. Well, on May 17, 2008, when I graduated college it was 107 degrees outside. Look at the date -- it's mid-May. Summer had barely started.)

Today, I sat down for about an hour with some exciting (to me) cookbooks -- Vegan on the Cheap, Veganomicon, and The 30-Minute Vegan. I went over to Whole Foods and picked up a LOT of produce after some menu-planning. I'm so excited, though!

I'm becoming quite the foodie, I think. I made my own vegetable stock this afternoon -- with tomatoes, parsnips, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and leeks. I opted to make my own because I rarely need very much vegetable stock and buying a carton of it means I should probably commit to using the whole thing within its "best for 7 days after opening" timeline. So now the stock is cooling and after that, I will figure out some way to freeze it.

stock, simmering
Am also enjoying a glass of my new favorite wine. Yum! :)

Opala - vinho verde
I spent an hour in the kitchen -- prepping the veggies for the stock and washing and cutting vegetables for the rest of the week. I'm so looking forward to some tasty dinners this week. I think the best part of summer is the freshness of food. I hate things that are too heavy and tend to have to force myself to eat things like bread and pasta.

So I will be making live cilantro-cucumber soup (served cold), Greek salad w/ tofeta (tofu feta), and French lentil chili this week. I am elated.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When it all comes down . . .

Somedays, things just suck. It's hard. Life stinks and work makes you crazy.

And sometimes, that's not your fault. (Sometimes it is, but for the sake of argument, sometimes it's not.)

And on those sometimes, it is important to become even more aware of your place, acknowledge your own responsibility, apologize if necessary (but don't apologize if it's not), and move forward.

I'm having one of those "somedays," it would seem. Here's to a happier, less-stressed, more-centered tomorrow.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A list of loves

- Mad Men . . . Almost finished with season three, so I'll be completely caught up for season four starting next month

- Nail polish . . . Haven't worn it in so long, my fingers look so new and novel - like I never noticed them before. Isn't that funny? A little red polish and boom! I'm suddenly acutely aware of my hands.

- Clean laundry . . . I love it. Always. Clean Sheet Day is the best.

- Running . . . It's been so long since I've been really interested in this, but I'm falling in love with the sport all over again. I'm so looking forward to my race in October.

- Working out . . . I've found all sorts of free time now that I'm not campaigning. Time for hitting the gym, though I'm not climbing as much as I could or should. It's something to work on, but in the mean time, I've got plenty on my plate with running and doing more yoga. I'm even starting to like the weights.

- My new trail shoes . . . Since I'll be running a trail marathon in October, it seemed only fitting that I should train on trails, not just roads. I bought some Mizuno Waves and I'm soooooooooooo excited to break them in!!! Probably Tuesday . . . Have a West Wing marathon tomorrow night.

- Books . . . I need to read more. Lately, I've been a bit spend-happy in the bookstores. Nothing too extravagant, but the extra $30 could have been spent a little better. I've been buying cookbooks. Vegan cookbooks. I'm not a vegan, don't expect to be, but I do prefer to eat vegan food when I can. Need to actually COOK the food I lovingly look at in the books, though . . .

- Linchpin, by Seth Godin . . . A personal development book I picked up. I'm really looking forward to using it to help me create a better niche for myself at work. The premise of the book is that it helps inspire you to make yourself invaluable to your organization, no matter your rank. I do well for myself, I love my job and I certainly feel as if they appreciate me, but I know I won't be in this position forever and I would like to leave big shoes to fill should I ever leave. Is that too lofty a goal? I think it's challenging . . . :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

It is so good.

Sometimes, life is so good, it almost hurts.

I slept in today and spent the morning on the couch, drinking tea and flipping back and forth between MSNBC and CNN, catching up on the current events I have so sorely been neglecting.

I showered, got dressed and hit up Santana Row, one of my favorite places to shop in San Jose -- it is so nice to sit in the outdoor cafe areas and listen to live music (flamenco guitar, anyone?). Indeed, it's a beautiful spot for a warm summer day where I sat with my iced Passion Tea and read.

I hit up Lululemon Athletica and found a new yoga mat and a DVD of yoga designed for folks with tight hips (which I totally have).

I drove to my gym, where I ran, biked and climbed for about an hour (total - not each! I'm not THAT fit . . . yet.) ;) A quick shower at the gym and I was off . . . to Whole Foods! The store is almost a religious experience for me . . . or at least, the produce aisle certainly is.

After picking up some goodies, I found myself on my way back to my apartment, where I cooked up some mustard lemon butter cauliflower and made a salad of fresh heirloom tomatoes, shredded basil and fresh mozzarella. I ate in the cool, evening air on my balcony.

Dessert was plain Greek yogurt with fresh raspberries, some rolled oats and a drizzle of honey. Also had me a glass of Riesling - delightful!

And now I'm drinking in the night air (okay . . . and some more Riesling!) and am so blissful . . . so relaxed . . . so THANKFUL for this. Sometimes life is so good, it almost hurts.

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Slacker, slacker, slacker!

I am such a bad blogger . . . Well, lately I have been. I've just been so busy . . . So frickin' busy. Work seems to be picking up lately -- I find myself leaving in the evening and realizing that I feel like I've just arrived. That's a good feeling, no doubt, but the campaign has certainly taken up a lot of my energy.

Alas, there will be no more campaigning, though. Jim Cogan came in third place, which means he didn't even make the run-off to possibly get elected in November. We felt pretty blindsided -- the entire campaign, we had been crunching numbers that supported the thought that Jim would likely end up with 23% of the vote for the district, which would almost guarantee him a space in the run-off. On election night, we watched precinct numbers coming in, only to see that after 65 precincts were accounted for, Jim only had 13% of the vote.

That doesn't seem like a whole lot, but given that there were six candidates, it's pretty good. And he did come in third, which isn't bad . . . except it doesn't qualify him for the run-off. Majorly disappointing. I don't doubt that the volunteers were circling the correct spaces, but with limited funding and an apathetic district (less than 12,000 voted in a district of 46,601 registered), it feels like such a huge letdown.

Here are my tips on how to be a good voter:
1. Register -- seems simple, but seriously, you'd be surprised at how many people don't care. If you don't care, don't register and at least be honest about the fact that you don't really care.
2. Read -- read everything. It makes you more informed, it helps make the decision easier. Read the good stuff, read the not-so-good stuff. Every candidate has pro's and con's -- don't assume your guy is flawless.
3. Vote -- again with something seemingly simple, this is a huge deal. I get frustrated hearing how disappointed people are with their leadership, but they don't actively engage in the process. Did you vote for your council member? No? Then stop complaining about the roads and vote for a guy who will take care of that.
It became pretty clear on election night just how apathetic our district is -- I doubt very seriously that all of those people who said they would vote for Jim did, in fact, vote for him. If they had, he would have done much better.
4. Stay informed -- it can be hard to do all of the necessary research for voting, but it's so much easier to stay informed if you make a point to listen to at least a little bit of news every day.
5. Donate -- you don't have to send big bucks to a political campaign, but even a $25 donation makes a difference. It will go toward mailer supplies or at least, for a pizza or some water bottles to keep the volunteers fueled and hydrated while they're making (literally) hundreds of phone calls and knocking on thousands of doors.

I could go on and on and there are probably a bunch of things to write about being a good voter, but those are just my general, hopefully-helpful tips.