Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Amending That Christmas List

I realized recently that I already have to make some major changes to that list of things I'd like for Christmas. Since putting that list together, I was given a couple of bags of clothes from a fellow newbie runner who has been losing weight and has shrunk out of her size 12's- and passed them along to me. Along with the pants and a couple of skirts, plenty of fantastic sweaters for this winter!! Nutella is scratched. Christy got me a nice big jar of it and I've realized I have a problem. A chocolate and hazelnut problem. I'm out of control and I must be stopped. A little treat is fine... but I can't be trusted to have it around regularly. Music from Amazon isn't a necessity- especially as I realize that I seem to prefer listening to podcasts while running. Workout clothes would always be a nice addition- I do need to build my winter workout wardrobe. But I can't wait until Christmas for that so will probably be taking care of it myself within the next week or so. Anything else on the list no longer matters. I have the best husband in the entire world and he has taken care of Christmas in a big way. This past Friday, I had that lovely day off. Jeff and his friend, Brian, went out to do a little shopping Friday morning- guy stuff like HH Gregg (electronics type place) and a comic shop. While I was at my movie Friday afternoon, Jeff and Brian were cleaning house. Brian cleaned up the kitchen and vaccuumed the living room. Jeff was working on a major overhaul of the bedroom. I usually get in and give it a good cleaning once a year and it's generaly a pig sty the rest of the year. He was clothes, cleaning out drawers, cleaning out from under the bed and more. I've never seen anything like it. I was gone Saturday to get the kids... and he stayed home and continued to clean. Monday. We pick up the kids from school and go to grab a bite to eat. Jeff mentions he'd like to go look at mattresses after dinner- fine by me! Our mattress is the queen size my parents bought me when I was in high school. It's more than 20 years old. It's been topped and covered and foamed a handful of times and simply needs to be replaced. We've talked about it several times and almost done it several times but never taken the plunge. We head to HH Gregg- they sell mattresses and appliances and lots more than just electronics. I start laying on mattresses, checking to see what's comfy, what's too soft, what's to springy, and so on. Sidenote on Tempurpedic. I have laid on them before in stores and again last night and I just don't find them all that comfortable. Maybe because the price tag stays floating in my head- I just can't see spending $5,000 on a mattress. Jeff and I found a Serta we both like- it was soft enough but also firm enough that when one of us turns over, the other isn't getting jostled about. I assume we're going to buy it when... The saleguy apologizes for ruining the surprise. Now I'm confused. Surprise? Turns out... when Jeff and Brian were there on Friday, Jeff picked out that very mattress and bought it and it was supposed to have been delivered yesterday but there was a warehouse issue and it wasn't in stock so it won't be delivered for another week. My husband took the initiative, went out and made a bold choice, made an awesomely great choice, and was planning to surprise me with a new bed. That's why he's been insanely cleaning the bedroom. He made a decision and kept a secret and I am so impressed and amazed! So I've got everything I could want for Christmas. I've got a husband that saw our need and took action to solve the problem that we've been putting off for far too long. I've got a husband that took the initiative to not only order the mattress but to also clean the bedroom. I've got a husband who kept it a secret for 4 days before he just had to share the surprise with me. I've got a husband who loves me and takes care of me. Nothing feels so good as when he takes care of me. I've got everything I want for Christmas. Photobucket

Monday, November 29, 2010

4 Hours in Jungle Jim’s

Christy and I have talked for a while about making a trip to Jungle Jim’s International Market for a while now. We’ve both heard incredible things about the amazing variety of cultural foods. Food brought in from all over the world and organized by country… a variety of international product… an amazing cheese selection… unreal wines…

For the most part, our socks were pretty much knocked off. We had some complaints we talked out in the car- nothing against the store itself, more about the shopping experience. Some compare Jungle Jim’s to Trader Joe’s. One major difference is that Trader Joe’s is a shopping experience. The employees love their jobs and their passion and happiness is infectious. People who shop at Trader Joe’s are passionate about the food and you can easily strike up a conversation at any section of the small store and learn about great experiences others have had with what you want to try. Jungle Jim’s… the employees often didn’t want to be bothered with our questions and the other shoppers certainly didn’t seem to enjoy our eagerness and passion for all the wonderful food. So we found things we were excited about but our spirits were dampened by the lack of enthusiasm.

4 hours in 1 store- yes, it is that big- and you know I took pictures!

Sit back and relax- this might take a while.

We spent at least an hour in the huge wine section. It’s divided into a fine wine section, a section by grape, and also sections by country and a section of local/Midwestern wineries. I didn’t take many pictures- until I came across the locked away private section of the wines. The area where you will spend a minimum of $100 on a bottle… and where bottles as high as $5000 were displayed in the window.


There is a butter bar. An entire section dedicated to butter. Roll butter, Irish butter, herb and garlic butter, black truffle butter and more.


These cheddar cheese were adorable. I had to get some for the kids. Zach has a monkey and Teagan a giraffe- the monkey is now headless and the giraffe no longer has legs.


This is Charlie Cheese. Comes in a big block and when cut off slices- it’s a smiley face!!


At the cheese section of the deli counter, the cheese guy was cutting an order of something like parmesan for a woman. Huge block of cheese, a wire, and a crank to work the wire through the cheese…


An entire section dedicated to bleu cheese… my own little bit of heaven.


Considered getting a fresh mozzarollup- the offerings sounded so tasty!


They offer a variety of gift baskets. You can make a basket with anything in it and they had some previously put together baskets. I thought this one was fun- a taste of Cincinnati.


Unique mushrooms that I don’t find at my neighborhood grocery.


I picked up a pummelo. I’ve never tried one but the sign says the pummelo is the ancestor of all grapefruit. And I love grapferuit so it’s worth a try. It’s a HUGE fruit so I will have to share it!


A shot of just one of the multitude of rows of “regular” produce.


And then I started into the international produce…


5 different kinds of coconut!!


Eggs. Not just chicken eggs… quail, duck, and something called balut eggs (I had to look it up- balut is a boiled, fertilized egg. Blech.)


The hot sauce section… was… eye opening. I was curious what could possibly be so adult about hot sauces that they had to go on the highest shelf and have a screen to cover them. Trust me- they were basically porno labeled hot sauces.


What shocked me though… was that after seeing the screen and looking behind it… the labels of the sauces on the regular shelves and at the level of my waist or my knees… (click to enlarge)


Very interesting beers, as well. I love when breweries have fun with the names of their brews!


My final stash- a good amount of alcohol, some cheese, some juice, ponzu sauce, greek seasoning, palmbutter, almond butter, artichoke and garlic salsa, a large jar of capers, and some dark chocolate spread.


Something caught my eye… as you can see in the above photo, there is something colorfully wrapped in the picture above, right at the conveyor belt where I usually see gum, candy, chapstick at my local grocer. Nope. Fruit flavored tobacco products. I was kinda appalled at that one- brightly colored and placed where there are usually treats and goodies.


Jungle Jim’s has a lot of unique and interesting decorations. I should have gotten more pics. As you exit the store, you pass through a concrete “zoo.” Inside the store, there are displays like Sherwood Forest for the British area and other themed displays. What I wish I’d investigated and photographed were the bathrooms. You can check them out here- fantastically creative!


It was a fun trip. And I think Christy and I might venture back again sometime if the circumstances line up right for us to do so. However, we generally found that the prices were pretty high on the things that didn’t need to be so high and the people weren’t very friendly, fun, passionate, or helpful. In the meantime, I’ll keep heading to Trader Joe’s for cheese, wine, snacks, and staples and be happy with my food and delighted with my experience and the price tags.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Before, During, After

Yes, it was delicious. Yes, we have a lot of leftovers. Feel free to share your fave turkey leftover recipes!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jellicle Cats Have Moonlit Eyes...

Last night, Jeff and I had the opportunity to go see the touring Broadway show Cats. We were offered tickets thanks to my affiliation with Indianapolis MomsLikeMe. When my mom and I moved from Kentucky to Ohio (after she married my dad), one friendship my mom had in our church became really important. There was a woman who owned the concessions business at a theatre downtown- the theatre where the touring Broadway series performed. My mom and I started working for her. We came early to help stock the stands, we watched the show, we sold goodies at intermission. I wish I had a better memory recall to be able to tell you exactly how many years we had this sweet gig. But I can tell you I saw fantastic shows for a few seasons at least. It was through this opportunity that I first saw Cats. I'd heard people talking about the show- bottom line seemed to be you would either "get" it or you wouldn't. The show was about to start, the lights were going down, the lights onstage started flashing all those yellow cat eyes... and I was hooked. I saw the show multiple times through that venue and had an opportunity to see it at least once over 10 years ago. Last night, I made a wonderful discovery. I still have the same favorite cats. Everyone who sees Cats leaves and has a favorite Cat. In fact, I remember freshman or sophomore year of high school... it was a topic of conversation in the computer lab one day. I can still remember the favorite Cat of this one guy that I never would have pegged for a Cats fan (his favorite was Mr. Mistofelees- the conjuring cat). My favorite cats from the moment I saw the show were Mungojerry and Rumpelteazer. And they still are. I felt like a kid all over again when they came on stage. I knew every word of their song, I was mouthing it along, and I still "knew" a bunch of their choreography! When I was seeing Cats in my youth... I always had this fantasy... see, by working the concession stand, I got to see a show multiple times in its run in our city. So I used to imagine that someone Big and Important in the production had been secretly watching me because I was there early... and surely they noticed that I had this natural talent... and my daydream was that a cat was suddenly ill and just couldn't go on... and this Big and Important person comes to me and asks me to be in the show... I had that daydream a lot. I wish I could tell you exactly why Mungojerry and Rumpelteazer were my favorite Cats. Maybe because they got into such trouble. Maybe because they were such a great team. Last night, my second favorite cat- Gus, the theatre cat- became a greater favorite. I connected more with him now because I've been involved in community theatre and I've known real life people who are Gus. That had these great careers behind them... when they were younger, more handsome, more beautiful, and so on. When I first started in the community here, one of my favorite times at a rehearsal or cast party would be when one of the "old folks" would talk about the history of their performances at our little theatre and they always had that "one great role" to tell us about. Seeing Cats last night was about more than just a bunch of Jellicle Cats dancing and singing about who would be chosen to go to the Heavy Side Layer. My excitement about seeing Cats- and it did not go unfulfilled- was to connect with that excitement I knew and loved about theatre when I was a kid. As a kid, theatre was the ultimate escape. Theatre offered fantastic opportunities to imagine a way to escape that chaos that, at that point, was trapped inside of me. As an adult, I could enjoy my childlike enthusiasm but also marveled at the strength and skill of the actors onstage. I loved that I could be watching a bunch of cats one second and the next, I am in awe of what these actors can do with their bodies. Cats is currently touring and if it comes to your town or city, I definitely encourage you to try and go see it. Plan ahead and save up for it. For you, it offers an amazing display of talent in both singing, dancing, makeup, costumes, and more. For you and your children, it offers an escape to a secret world of cats... meeting up in an old junkyard... sharing with us a slice of their feline lives as they keep trains running on time, conjur up magical tricks, and even give off sexual energy that makes a cat's toes curl! Have you seen Cats? Most important question- who is your favorite Jellicle Cat? Photobucket

Friday, November 26, 2010

Things I Wouldn't Mind Getting For Christmas

Gift cards for Chateau Thomas Gift cards for Target and Kohl's (need to keep buying new clothes as I shrink!) Gift cards for The Running Company (have to buy new running shoes every few months) Gift cards for Meijer (great selection of wicking workout gear) Gift cards for Amazon.com (so I can buy songs to listen to while running) OK, gift cards aren't very exciting so I'll get a little more detailed. Size 12 Merona casual dress pants in khaki, tan, black, chocolate brown. Cute size large tops. (Blows my mind, still, that my size 14 pants are too loose. Crazy!) The magic jeans in a size 10 wouldn't hurt, either. Classic Cabernet Sauvignon from Chateau Thomas. That's my general favorite wine but there are many, many others that I love there, too. Like the Barbera or the Cabernet Franc Ice Wine or the Tempranillo or the Vintage Port... Size 9 Mizuno Wave Universe 3 or size 9 Mizuno Wave Elixir 5. Wide width. Size large workout gear. Sports bras, wicking socks, wicking long pants, wicking long sleeve shirts. Wicking, duo-dry, and so on are the key words. Except for those running pants from Meijer- those I need in a medium. As for music, I can't get totally specific because my taste changes all the time! Nutella. I seriously love the stuff but it's expensive so I don't like to buy it very often. But if it showed up in my stocking... A soft cover for my phone. Something like this, perhaps. ***** What are you hoping to find wrapped in pretty paper and topped with a bow this holiday season? (Really hoping my husband leaves a comment with some ideas for what he wants for Christmas...) Photobucket

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for YOU! My readers- my friends. I can't express how grateful I am for having such awesome readers who give such awesome advice, support, and ideas. I'm so blessed to have connected with so many fantastic people!
If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful holiday with family, friends, and food.