Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Oscar Picks 2011

ooohhhh yeahhhhhh
My post reviewing Black Swan has had 5,392 Pageviews. Which easily makes it the most popular post on my blog. (I think the second most popular has around one-tenth the number of views, and only because it was about Mad Men).

So I'm guessing after tomorrow night my blog viewership will go way down. Bummer.

Anyway, I am by no means an expert, but here are my Oscar picks, in preparation for my brother & sister-in-law's party tomorrow night. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Presidents Day! Now for some random facts about U.S. Presidents.

President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho
addresses Congress in the movie Idiocracy
These could also be quite helpful if you ever appear on Jeopardy. Or attend dinner parties. Or like random facts.
  1. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) is the only U.S. president who was also a licensed bartender. He was co-owner of Berry and Lincoln, a saloon in Springfield, Illinois.
  2. The “S” in Harry S Truman doesn’t stand for anything; therefore, there is no period after his middle initial.
  3. Six presidents were named James: Madison, Monroe, Polk, Buchanan, Garfield, and Carter.
  4. President Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) was the only president to serve in both WWI and WWII.
  5. Jimmy Carter is the first known president to go on record as seeing a UFO.
  6. President James Buchanan (1791-1868) quietly but consistently bought slaves in Washington, D.C., and then set them free in Pennsylvania.
  7. James Buchanan is the only bachelor president. He was virtually inseparable from William R. King (1786-1853), a senator from Alabama, earning the pair the nickname “Miss Nancy and Aunt Fancy” and “Mr. Buchanan and his wife.
  8. Every member of Teddy Roosevelt’s family owned a pair of stilts, including the first lady.
  9. When Martin Van Buren wrote his autobiography after serving as president from 1837-1841, he didn’t mention his wife of 12 years. Not even once.
  10. James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other hand simultaneously.
  11. John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) would often skinny dip in the Potomac River.
  12. Harding was obsessed with poker and once bet an entire set of priceless White House China and lost it.
  13. Calvin Coolidge liked to have his head rubbed with petroleum jelly while eating his breakfast in bed.
  14. No president has ever been an only child.
  15. Every so often, Calvin Coolidge would press all the buttons on the President’s desk and hide and watch his staff run in. He would then pop out from behind the door and say that he was just seeing if everyone was working.
Source: 99 Interesting Facts About the U.S. Presidents.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

reason #whatever why I'm a lucky lady:

My husband knows how to bake a cake from scratch. Including making the whip cream filling and chocolate icing from scratch. And the kicker is, it's his Dad's recipe. (Who by the way is a Vietnam War veteran and former cop of two different towns. He just happens to also love cooking and baking.)

build her a cake

build her a cake

While he was doing that, I was enjoying this:

happy Friday

What a surprise, it's a dry red whine.

Anyway, he made the cake on Friday night for a Saturday evening birthday party because we had plans to spend Saturday afternoon seeing Les Miserables, one of the few musicals my husband has ever expressed an interest in seeing. And it was pretty great.

On Saturday night, I did something for the first time.

Tripel Karmeliet

No, not enjoy a delicious beer. I've done that many times before.

I played the Wii. Yes, I'm 28 years old and I've made it this long without ever playing a Wii. (Unless .... is Rock Band or Guitar Hero part of the Wii? Can you tell I'm not into video games?)

Oh yeah, like I said, it was a birthday cake he made. Here is the birthday girl.

Happy Birthday Paula

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I love numbers but this math is hard [to stick to]

I've always loved math. I love the beauty that is numbers. That probably sounds crazy to a lot of people. But you can't argue with numbers. Everything you see can be reduced to numbers in some way.

Anyway, recently I decided to start doing something crazy. I started counting my calories. I've been using a web site (that has an accompanying smartphone app) to take the guesswork out of it.

I will admit, I've never been the type to watch what I eat. I love food. If it tastes good, I'll eat it. I was raised to clean my plate, and I still do that, even if my plate is loaded with huge portions.

But I'll tell you a secret. I have gained almost 50 pounds since graduating from high school. Yes. 50 pounds. (When comparing my most active high school days - soccer season - to my highest recorded weight, taken after a recent evening at Flat Top Grill.) Probably about 20 of those pounds came during college, and the other 30 since.

It was a real eye opener to weigh myself at the gym and see that high of a number.

And that's when I realized I need to gain some self control. I'm not a 17-year-old chasing a soccer ball for two hours every day after school. The number on the scale isn't going to start magically going backward just because I want it to. I'm a 28-year-old professional who is more or less chained to a desk 40+ hours week. I need to adjust.

I've used other diet plan web sites before but was unimpressed. The site I'm using now has me hooked because it's easy to use and easy to understand. If I don't record any exercise for the day, I'm limited to my daily basal metabolic rate minus 500 calories (with the goal of losing a pound per week). If I do work out and record it, I earn extra calories. At the end of the day, after I log all my food and exercise, it'll tell me "if every day were like today, you would weigh [this many pounds] in 5 weeks."

There's no getting around that stat.

I interpret that as "eat like a pig and be a sloth everyday like you were today and you should wear a muumuu to the beach" or "keep it up and maybe you'll feel confident in a bikini again."

No pressure.

But I'll tell you what, it is hard sticking to the calories. I still have to eat dinner tonight and I only have 200-some calories left  :-\  Looks like today is one of those "go muumuu shopping" days. AND The Sailor brought home six (6!!) boxes of Girl Scout cookies on Monday. I've had one so far.

HOWEVER! Did you know that playing a wind instrument (like the flute) burns around 150 calories an hour? So yes, I do log my weekly band rehearsal as cardio.

Monday, February 14, 2011

From the I'll Try Anything Once Archives: Valentines Day Edition

My favorite Valentines Day memory comes from my senior year of college...

Sometime in January, I saw a call go out that some students were putting together a production of The Vagina Monologues in honor of Valentines Day / V-Day. As an eager Women's Studies minor, I thought "hey ... why not?" I'll try anything once, right?

Despite my immense hatred/fear/discomfort at the thought of public speaking (I once fainted in class after giving a speech), I volunteered to perform. To talk about vaginas. Publicly. At a Catholic university. (I like to think Loyola U Chicago was relatively progressive for a Catholic school.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

snotorious b.i.g. [photos and video part two]

So we've survived the Chicago Blizzard of 2011 (that has hit more than just Chicago). It stopped snowing but it's freaking cold out (mostly due to the wind) and snow removal is a slow process. That's fine with me. We are lucky - our power never went out, so we've got heat, a refrigerator full of food and internet (and Netflix!).

And photos! Duh. Of course there are photos!

This was my car this morning:

my car. not going anywhere for awhile.

Yup. Not going anywhere for awhile. (Where would I go anyway? Everything is closed.)

Time to start clearing out the driveway.


Trying to get shots of the backyard. Hard to get through the snow drifts + the large gate.


More snow blowing.


Cleared off the front steps.


Investigating the back yard with the neighbor.


Snow drift in the other neighbor's back yard. And yes, that's a tall fence. As tall as a person.


Clearing the sidewalk.


Here is the video made on my roommate's camera last night (starting with the video it was in response to). Check out the lightning around 1:25ish.