I titled this “Blog Title” because sometimes just getting past the title is a pain, especially if I don’t know what I’m going to write (beyond the meal plan, oh yes!)
This was my first full week at work, and it went just fine. I’m getting to know people, I have billable work, everyone seems nice. One girl just quit for another firm, but I already knew she was looking before I came (I did my homework/research before making the move). So it’s not a surprise, but it is a bummer, as she’s pretty cool. Also, you always get that little sick feeling in your stomach when someone else rejects what you just joined . . .
On Wednesday night I went with a friend to see Roxane Gay speak during her book tour for Hunger. She was really great, really funny and clever and honest. Purchase of the book was my “ticket,” and I read it in about three days. I’m reading Bad Feminist next. Good, difficult stuff. She’s breathtakingly honest. There are whole passages that just floored me. Afterwards, the friend and I went for a drink and a bit of food at a lovely old seafood place in uptown New Orleans, and talked of this and that. I had a frozen French 75 and crawfish macaroni and cheese, and did the math wrong on my tip, accidentally underpaying the waiter. I still feel embarrassed by that – having been a waitress for years, I always over-tip to make up for the inevitable cheapskate table. I almost want to swing by and hand the guy a fiver to apologize. Tonight, the Prof and I are going to a dress-up dinner to watch the Game of Thrones premiere – except we’ve only seen the first episode of the first season, so we’re going to have dinner and then sit and have drinks on the back porch during the episode itself. The wife doesn’t watch, so she’ll sit on the porch with us – the husband and other friends will watch. I know it’s weird but whatever it takes to be social.
I’ve been working out 3-4 times a week at least. It feels pretty awesome. I continue my running, although my mileage is slightly lower now that it’s boiling hot outside and I go to the gym instead. Treadmill running is harder to do 6 miles – so boring – so instead I run sprints on the treadmill for 3 miles or so, and then lift weights. I don’t feel any stronger, though I am able to continually increase the weight, so I must be stronger . . . I don’t know. I just know it feels good to go, to have been going about six months, to have a good healthy base again. Although I still have bouts of back pain, it’s helped my back a lot, too. I do lots of yoga moves and stretching at the beginning and end of each workout, and it helps. I also have pedals under my desk (and have for a while), and that helps the old granny back as well.
I also went to a dermatologist at last. Due to what I believe to be a mixture of stress, increased working out/sweat, and the hormonal changes of being almost-forty, the skin on my face has suddenly begun looking terrible. Scaly, simultaneously dry and oily (yes, this is possible somehow), breaking out, lots of spots and dark patches and just a mess. So in a bow to my vanity and a slight bit of worry over possible hormonal issues, I finally saw a dermatologist. The waiting room was full of incredibly rich, beautiful, thin women talking about how ugly they are and how many wrinkles they have (THEY HAVE NO WRINKLES). The two dermatologists at this practice are stunningly gorgeous, thin women who clearly practice what they preach and also have DEFINITELY had lash extensions, and who tiptoed around telling me that I’m getting older. “As we add time to our lives,” “as time goes by,” “when we hit a certain season in life.” It was quite funny. Like, YES I’m nearly forty and that is ok with me, it’s ok to say I’m getting older. The “O” word is fine! I left with a bag full of samples, a skin care routine, and a prescription for a hormonal thingy that should help. The routine is simple enough – they told me what facewash and night moisturizer to use, let me stick with my daytime spf30 moisturizer, and gave me some vitamin C cream for the morning and Tazorac cream for the night. I have a follow up in three months to zap some things on my face and double check that the regimen is working.
Last update in this random stream of consciousness – I continue to play guitar. I add a song or two a week, and try to make sure each new song has a new chord so I can add to my list of chords I know. The boys want to learn and for some reason this annoys me. I’m very uncharitable about it. I just want one thing that is MY THING that I don’t have to be a patient, gentle, self-sacrificing mom about, but every time I get out the guitar or start to play the piano, they surround me and ask me to teach them. We’re going to figure out how to get them back in piano lessons for sure, and I said if they practice their piano really well, we will think about getting them a kid-sized guitar for Christmas (mine really is too big for them to play, so they just bang on it and knock it out of tune). Meanwhile, occasionally I give in and show them a thing or two, but mostly I tell them to back off and listen (and sing along, if they want), since playing my instruments is a stress-reliever for me and it’s just gotta be ok once in a while to tell them no. Although, I really want to encourage music! Catch 22.
Now for the meal planning portion of this mess of a post: As for last week’s meals, it was fun to cook again after a month off. The stir fry noodles were delicious – Jack had about 4 bowls, no lie. In addition to the recipe as is, I also marinated some pork chops in homemade teriyaki sauce and cooked them over the weekend, and then the night we had stir fry noodles, I sliced the cooked chops thin and threw them in at the last minute, so they would warm up with overcooking and totally drying out. This would be fine without chops, but the chops bulked it out. I will say soaking the rice noodles in cold water did not work for me. I soaked them a long time and they never got soft enough to chew without feeling like you were eating straw, so I put the pot on the stove and heated it up. It took only a minute or two of heat – didn’t even get to boiling – for them to soften, and they didn’t glop together as she warns in her post, though I watched them closely.
The buffalo chicken salad was fine, though I marinated the chicken overnight and it still didn’t taste very buffalo-ish. It was fine, but sort of plain – perhaps I need to marinate, cook, then re-soak in sauce for a while? The salmon was delicious, and the chicken enchiladas are a repeat old favorite and they were a hit this time as well. We also ended up having tacos last night from the leftover chicken, and I made homemade guac. Mmmm.
This coming week, I over-indulged on Costco-sized bags of produce and so I’ve made lots of soups. This was a hot afternoon, getting all of these soups prepared, plus cutting carrot sticks and chunking squash (one of my favorite breakfasts is squash chunks sauteed briefly in butter, then a yolky fried or poached egg on top, with perhaps a slice of cheese and/or halved tomato – based on this recipe). Always worth it for the ease of weektime cooking when I don’t get home from work til 7pm . . .
Summer squash soup – the spices in this soup make it soooooo good.
Chicken and dumplings – I asked Liam to choose a meal to make and he chose this (he’s made it before). I boiled some chicken breasts today to get ready for it.
Broccoli cheese soup – I tasted this when it was done and WOW. The nutmeg I think pushes it over the edge.
Costco ravioli with jarred pasta sauce
Sour cream noodle bake – this is leftovers that have been in the freezer for heaven knows how long, finally chipped it outta there. I hope it tastes ok . . .
Steak, roasted potatoes, asparagus