Friday, February 27, 2009

Photography Friday #4

And so we come to the fourth Photography Friday. I think I'll make this the last one for a while. I might do another photography series at some point though.

I hope you have some weekend plans that you're excited about. We're having "everybody order something from a restaurant night" at my house tonight. We do this every so often. We all tend to like to order from a different restaurant, so we spend an hour or so running around town, getting each person their order, and then come home and eat together. And L.C. and I may (possibly) go to a dance tonight. Happy Friday......

And the photos for today.....

Two Cookies

San Francisco Architecture

Walk The Yellow Line

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sometimes It's Okay To Eat Baby Food

It seems like lately, my sweet tooth is getting sweeter. I generally try not to eat a lot of refined sugar. But I'm craving a little bit of something sweet with my tea or coffee a couple of times a day. It does make sense- there's something very comforting about a warm drink with a little treat. And because I've been all for finding little pleasures and indulgences in my day, I'm trying to find healthy sweet things to have at these times. Sometimes I have a nutrition bar with my tea or coffee. Sometimes I have a little bit of chocolate. Yesterday I got a box of organic maple cookies. I occasionally get these, and though it might seem a little weird, they're toddler cookies.

Why would an adult want to eat a toddler cookie? Well, these are quite healthy, and just the right amount of sweet. And check out these nutrition perks: they're organic, wheat free, dairy free, salt free, no saturated or trans fat, and fortified with vitamins and minerals. Oh, and did I mention that they're DELICIOUS? The only problem is that if I let myself, I could eat the whole box in one sitting. But that's always an issue with cookies, right? Portion control is key, folks. So have your cookie, and ENJOY it. It's good for you.

Wtih a nice cup of English Breakfast tea, with milk and stevia

Friday, February 20, 2009

Photography Friday #3

The weeks are flying by. I can't believe it's Friday again. It feels like spring here, and I hope it does where you are also.

Photographs of the day:

My Table This Morning {look at that sun} With Flowers Left Over From Valentines Day

Jars On The Kitchen Counter

Mini Jade On The Sill

There's Not Much Better On A Chilly Afternoon Than Home Made Chocolate Chip Cookies And Coffee


Observed While Taking A Walk

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bad Bad Oil {or} When To Use The "A" Word.

You've probably heard some buzz lately about oil. No, not crude oil, although there has been some buzz about that too. I'm talking about the kind of oil you eat. You've also probably heard about hydrogenated oil, and how horrible it is for you.

Hydrogenated palm oil:

I avoid partially hydrogenated and fully hydrogenated oils (trans fats) like the plague. Eating them increases your risk for heart disease and cancer. They raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol, and slow your metabolism, among a myriad of other horrid health effects. Our bodies don't know how to use this kind of un-earthly man-made oil.

If you're like me, and you try to avoid eating this garbage, eating out at restaurants can be quite tricky. After all, a lot of restaurants use "fry oil" which usually contains hydrogenated oil. I try to go to restaurants that use quality ingredients. But even then, I ask what kind of oil they use. It's surprising how often I get a blank stare when I ask this question. Usually restaurant employees have absolutely no clue as to what oil is used. Often, they need me repeat the term "hydrogenated," because they've never heard of it. So, I'll share with you a few tactics to deal with this dilemma, should you find yourself in this kind of situation.

When you get that blank "I don't know anything about oil" stare, follow one or more of these tactics until you get the answer you need:

1) Ask if you can see the actual bottle of oil that the restaurant uses. I've had people go into the kitchen and come back with the (usually huge) bottle for me to read.

2) Ask if they can go ask the chef about the oil and tell you. This sometimes works well. Make sure to emphasize that you don't want any partially or fully hydrogenated oil.

3) If they do use hydrogenated oil, ask if they can substitute regular butter or olive oil for the hydrogenated oil. Sometimes they can/are willing to do this for you.

4) If they don't seem to be taking you very seriously, I give you permission to use the "A" word. Yes, that's right... ALLERGIC. If you tell them that you are ALLERGIC to hydrogenated oil (and actually, you kind of are, because it's so toxic), restaurant staff usuallly get serious pretty quick. They don't want you going into allergic convulsions on their restaurant floor, or filing a law suit.

Last summer, L.C. and I were eating dinner at a restaurant at Pier 39 in San Francisco. I asked the waitress if the pasta dish I wanted to order contained hydrogenated oil. She didn't know, or seem too concerned. When I mentioned that I was ALLERGIC to it, she went and got the head chef, who personally came to our table to talk to me about it, and he went and got me the container of oil to read. So, this tactic can be very effective. It turned out that the pasta dish did normally contain it, but they were able to use olive oil for me instead.

Be careful when you read food labels too. As of January '06, food products are required to list the amount of trans fat on their nutrition label. However, if the product contains less than .05% , they can still say that it is trans fat free (and they usually do, in big bold print). Also, I've recently learned that mono-diglycerides are very similar to trans fat, and should be avoided.

It's sad to me that we have become a society so far removed from real, whole, foods and fats. It takes knowledge and planning to eat well. As the old adage goes... try to eat foods close to their source, and you'll be much healthier.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

V-Day Love

I hope you all have a day full of love,

love for your mate
love for your friends
love for your pets
love for the calm, simple things
love for you~

This video is so cute it's a bit hurtful, and what's not to love about childhood innocence and ingenuity...

Too much candy from Capucha on Vimeo.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Photography Friday #2


I hope you're having a fabulous Friday. I think that uploading my photos in large size rather than medium size helps a little with the clarity.

Here are some photographs for today. All of these, except the last one, are older photos that I took a year or more ago.


Flowers in the river at my cousin's wedding

"Pink Martini"

"On The Bias"

And to leave you with something tantalizing,
my salad that I made at a salad bar today for lunch. Oh my, was it good. I loooove salad.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

You Know The Kind of Day...

Is Mercury in retrograde?

Alex was getting ready for school this morning, and I heard the dreaded words "I don't have any lunch money." "what??" I said. "I gave you 20.00 last Friday for lunches. In three days you've gone through 20.00?" Clearly, I need a better lunch money system. I'll have to dole it out to him in smaller amounts because he likes to spend it too quickly. I didn't have any money to give him, so I told him to meet me outside his school at 11:50 and I'd bring him some before my pilates class at 12:15.

A little while later, I was driving home from running an errand, and turned onto a one way street towards my house. It took me a minute to realize that the traffic was coming towards me, and a woman on a bicycle was waving her arms frantically at me, trying to tell me I was going the wrong way.

At around 11:45 I stopped at a little market to buy something, and get some cash back to bring to Alex for lunch. As I was paying, I somehow dumped the contents of my gym bag on the floor. I scrambled to pick it all up, and left.

I drove the couple blocks to Alex's school, and noticed that a police car was in front of me. "Drive carefully," I reminded myself. The officer turned into the school parking lot ahead of me. It was Officer Z, the policeman that monitors the school. Alex likes him a lot, but has told me that he's tough and likes to give tickets. Stupidly, I turned into the "out" driveway instead of the "in" driveway. I always get those driveways mixed up. I saw Officer Z pull into his alloted parking space. I had to pull right alongside him to turn my car around so that I'd be facing the right direction. I tried to ignore him, be nonchalant. Be cool. No such luck. He was walking towards my car, motioning for to me to roll down my window.

"I'm sorry," I said, before he could speak. "I always get these driveways confused."

"Yeah, you came in the wrong driveway" he said.

He looked at me somewhat suspiciously. "why are you here?" he asked in a flat tone.

Now it's true, I do look younger than I am, and though I usually like that, sometimes like today, it can work against me. "I'm here to bring my son his lunch money" I said.

He paused for a moment. "Does he know to meet you here?" he asked. Alex was late, and was nowhere to be seen.

"Yes, I said," "he should be here any minute." And then I added "You probably know him," and I told him his name.

"Oh yeah," Officer Z said. "He's a good kid."

"He likes you a lot," I chimed. Officer Z smiled for the first time, and let me go without a ticket.

But I waited and waited, and was getting upset because I didn't want to be late for pilates. I hate being late. I'm an "on time" kind of person. I'm usually at appointments a little early. Finally, Alex came out and got his money. By this time it was already 12:05 or so. I started driving downtown towards class, and then it hit me.... what the f*ck was I thinking?? Pilates isn't at 12:15. It's at 12:00. For some reason, I was having a massive brain glitch all day, thinking that class was at 12:15. Why? I have no idea (although I'm a little concerned that it might be from eating tuna with too much mercury in it in the past). So, I had to walk into class sheepishly and apologize for being late.

Happy to say, the rest of my day has been without incident so far. I went to the grocery store, came home, and I'm making soup. I think I won't go out again today.

Just in case.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Photography Friday

I love photography for the same reason I love poetry-it brings the viewer into a specific moment and feeling. I've been taking a lot of pictures during the last couple of years, since I joined flickr. When you view the world through a lens, the way you see things changes. You look for the art amid the ordinary. When you document yourself and your life through pictures, it has the same effect as if you were reading a biography about yourself. Your story unfolds before you. Words and pictures give weight and understanding to what is there and has been there always, and also lets you see more clearly where it is that you want to go. I think that is why so many people focus on self portraits and self-documentation on flickr and other social networking sites.

I'm working on improving my photography skills. I'll be getting another camera soon. My dad, also a photographer, is giving me one of his Canons that he doesn't use anymore. Really, I think part of taking good pictures is having good equipment and technical skills, but the more important part is simply having passion and vision, and being able to convey that to others.

I'm not loving the way my photos are showing in this blog.. they seem a little washed out. I have to look into a way to fix that.

And so here starts the first in my "Photography Friday" series.


I love S.F. architecture (and have a soft spot for S.F. in general)

Fiona's Feet. Yes, she has a lot of toes. She's a polydactyl.

Derby Grrls

My new coat, and Hyacinth

I love windows

Fiona, camouflage

Thursday, February 5, 2009

On Trains and Hot Cereal

It's almost the weekend. Do you have any fun plans? L.C. is away for a week. I drove her to the train station at 5:00 a.m. this morning. So, I'm trying to think about what I need/want to do while she's away visiting her family. It's always interesting to have your partner/wife/boyfriend/husband/girlfriend be away, and live in your "own world" for a while. You do things just a little differently, don't you. I think it's a good time for self reflection.

Driving to the train station to get that 5:30 Amtrak is very nostalgic for me. She and I had a long distance relationship for two years. Every couple of months I'd get on that early morning train and make the 12 hour trek up to see her. I know the route well- the sights, the smells, and sounds. I know to bring my own food because Amtrak food is not very palatable. I know that trying to use the bathroom is no easy task, with the high toilets and sharp swinging movements of the train. I know how the woven fabric on the seats gets worn around the edges, and how it's easy to get lost in other worlds as you gaze out the window for hours.

Today I might have hot cereal for breakfast. I never used to like hot cereal, but lately I've been enjoying it. I found this one that's delicious and organic, which is important to me. I got some ground ground flax seed to put in it too. Flax seed is so incredibly good for you. I also put a little milk in it (you could use soy, rice, or hemp milk), brown sugar, and raisins.

But before I eat, I'm going on a little run~

{ooh, there's that train whistle. I can hear it from my house}