Sunday, November 25, 2012

All Decorated

It must have been the previous night's tree lighting festivities that made me be right on the ball and in the mood to decorate.  I pretty much do the same thing every year so at this point it doesn't take a ton of thought or effort to get everything together.

Before I had barely gotten started Lou curled up and took a nap:

Here is the finished tree:

And here is the mantel:

After I decorated I continued listening to Christmas music while making a pumpkin spice cake with chocolate glaze. My favorite holiday song is Little Drummer Boy but being a child of the 80's I never feel like the season begins until I hear "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tree Lighting

A bit last minute a friend and I decided to head down to Monument Square to watch the annual tree lighting. 

We passed by this at Longfellow Square:

The library has its annual open house the night of the tree lighting.  This year they have an art exhibit that has been going on all fall.  I'm open to nearly any kind of art.  This guy had very whimsical works that told little stories.  Some of the stories were funny and some were just plain weird.  We also enjoyed a bit of live Jazz music before heading outside into the not at all cold air.

After a verrryyy long musical set by Rick Charette and his Bubblegum Band we were rewarded with this:


Here are a couple of cool light displays as we made our way back up Congress Street:


Earlier in the night the when deciding where to have a post-lighting drink the comment was made "I would like a good martini". There's only one place to go in town if you want a good martini.  So, Kathadin it was:


The night got a bit crazy after that.  Let's just say we ended up in Scarborough at the beach with me dipping my fake Ugg boots in the water at high tide! This is what the beach looks like at night in November!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Embarrassing Cabinet

When I moved in to my apartment the kitchen was brand spanking new including pristine, beautiful cabinets.  They have mostly stayed that way except the one under the sink.  I keep trash under there and various messes have leaked and spilled.  Here is the disgusting result:

I decided to pick up some of that shelf liner paper. I was pleasantly surprised that some of the patterns were fun and pleasant to look at.  I am not the best at measuring and getting stuff just so but I figured that for the space under my sink perfection wouldn't be noticed.  Here is the result:

I was thrilled with the result.  Here is everything back in its place.  That big box is filled with place mats, table clothes and holiday dishes.  I would love to find a better place for it but for now at least everything looks clean and tidy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why didn't I do this years ago??

As Lou has gotten older and has had issues with thyroid and kidney disease he has needed frequent meals of canned cat food.  It has made going away on vacation a stressful proposition for the both of us.  I can't expect a pet sitter to come by the house 4-6 times a day and so I worry about Lou getting enough to eat.  Even a few weeks ago I left for Foxwoods at 7am and didn't return until 9pm.  He was fine but I felt bad leaving him without food for so long.

The more immediate concern is that he has suddenly stopped being able to make it through the night without a snack.  He eats about 9pm and then again about 6am.  Lately he has started yelling at the top of his lungs starting around 2am and it continues until I get up to take care of him.  My mother said "what about one of those automatic feeders?".  Well, call me stupid but why had I never thought to try it?  I suppose I thought that they were a gimmick that wouldn't work. But really anything was worth a try.

I did my usual research on Amazon and found this:

Pet feeder

The night I received it I decided to try it out without the timer just to see Lou's reaction to it.  Here he is hungry waiting for food and the feeder is in the background with the feeder doors shut:

And here he is with the door open.  It's food, he's eating, not a big deal to him:

It's really easy to take the trays out to clean them.  There is also a blue ice pack that sits in the bottom to help keep the wet food fresh.  It has two feeding trays and each has it's own timer.  You can set each to go off from 1-48 hours in the future.

The past couple of nights I have set one time for a 1:30 am feeding and since it's the weekend I've set the other one for about 5:30 am so that I can sleep in.  It has been a dream.  He has still been coming up to get me out of bed but it's much later, he isn't screaming and we are both much happier and more content!  I hope it keeps up!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reebok Freeport

I have a friend and former co-worker whose husband works for Reebok.  In the past she would offer up "Friends and Family" coupons that gave 40% off.  I always need sneakers so I would take advantage of those coupons and get a great deal on a new pair of sneakers.  I had seen her post that the Reebok outlet in Freeport is going out of business.  I hate that for many, many reasons.  Still, I was thankful for the heads up as she mentioned a while back that things were 50% off and she didn't think they would go much lower.

I was headed north up I-295 yesterday so I decided to veer off the highway.

I even managed to find a parking spot right in their little lot out front -a good sign:

I had been expecting 50% off so it was also a good sign when I saw this:


There was still a surprisingly good selection.  I was a bit amazed to see that the clearance section was really full of sneakers even in my size which is a popular size and tends to sell out.  The 60% is off the lowest price.  So, basically you take the regular retail price, lower it to an outlet price, lower that to a clearance price and THEN take 60% off.  I walked away with two fantastic pairs of sneakers for 15.99 each.  I also got a sports bra and two pairs of socks:

Here's the proof:

I will be very sad to see Reebok leave Freeport.  I will be very sad to miss out on great deals.  I take peace in the fact that it will be some time before I need new shoes :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Food I'm Loving Right Now

The past couple of weeks I have had a bounty of fresh, delicious, healthy food.  I have been coming to terms with the cliche middle age spread that occurred at precisely the moment I turned 40.  I have also been paying more attention to the fact that some of my favorite extremely healthy foods are not low calorie...bummer.  It's frustrating to think that I could eat junk food and calorie for calorie come out ahead of fresh plant based food. 

Here are some food wins from the past week.

I seldom eat ice cream these days.  There are some good substitutes using soy or almond milk but the variety of flavors isn't very wide and I usually just pass it up.  I had a recipe for frozen banana ice cream that seemed to simple but when I tried it...magic!  Freeze a couple of bananas and then process in a food processor.  Keep scraping down the sides.  You might think that nothing special is happening and then...poof...the magic happens!

I also love baked kale chips.  They are ridiculously expensive to buy and pretty darn easy to make yourself so that is the route I have tried to take.  It has taken several rounds to perfect the baking time, oven temperature etc. but I think I may have finally gotten it!  I take washed and dried kale, sprinkle it with sea salt and garlic powder and add a drizzle of olive oil.  I bake it in an oven at 225 degrees for as long as I can stand it (about 30 minutes) before I think that the smoke detector (which is extremely sensitive) will start going nuts.

I've been experimenting with having different homemade wraps at lunch.  I've been taking nuts and processing them into a spread.  Last week it was almonds with celery and pickle.  This week it was cashews with garlic and oregano. 

On a separate note-I would like to report that Lou and I weathered the storm without any worries.  The lights flickered a couple of times and the wind howled like crazy.  This is Lou at the height of the storm.  Unimpressed it seems: