Archive | October 2012

Iron Man (Girl)

For the past 2 years, I’ve been trying to donate blood every 2 months.  I used to have exceptionally high iron levels (for a girl, it’s harder for women to keep healthy iron levels).  But once or twice in the past year, I’ve had iron levels just barely high enough to allow me to donate.  One must have an iron level of 12.5 g/dL in order to be eligible to donate.

Previously, I had iron levels solidly in the 16 g/dL range.

Last night I donated blood again and I’m finally back up to 14.4 g/dL! Even the Red Cross worker commented that it was good.

The biggest change I made was waiting 30 minutes or more after eating lunch or dinner at home before I consumed caffeine.  I still drink caffeine with breakfast during the week (my breakfast is a lean pocket and a coffee consumed in the car while I drive to work).  I still drink caffeine with my meals if I’m at a restaurant, which isn’t very often.  But every night after dinner, I stopped taking a cup of coffee with my husband.  I now either skip it all together or wait the 30 minutes.  It made that big of a difference!

I did eat liver a few times since my last donation.  Otherwise, I didn’t change my eating habits.  I’m so happy.   I want to see if my iron levels will continue to increase.  It’s so nice that such a small change made such a big difference.

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Be Afraid, Be Very, Very Afraid

Ok.  I am so tired of hyperbole.  I understand that hurricane Sandy is a strong storm.  But to use words like “frankenstorm” and “megastorm” is ridiculous.

I encourage people to be in the spirit of Halloween (or any celebration), but this isn’t appropriate for our newspeople.  CNN, Wallstreet Journal, CNBC, and NPR all have articles about the Frankenstorm.  I expect better.  I expect restraint and professionalism from my news sources.  News reports aren’t book jackets or movie reviews.

And what happens if this doesn’t turn out to be as bad as predicted?  Remember “snowpocalypse”? The weather shouldn’t be giving lame celebrity couple style names to storms.  That’s not journalism or weather reporting.  That’s high school girl style communication.  And it’s just as effective.

Yes, it’s important to take preparatory steps.  Yes, it’s important to warn citizens.  But when every event is some scary apocalyptic event it becomes numbing.  The warnings are ignored.  And that will cause tragedy.

News outlets need to make their employees step away from the Red Bull and behave like rational grown ups.

Pika Pika Pikachu

I was reading my Instructables newsletter and saw some DIY Halloween costume. That little blurb persuaded me to do some searching to try to come up with something fun for my little son, the Monkey King.

I came across an Instructable for a piñata costume and thought it was really cute. But I don’t like to copy so I had to think about how I could make it my own. It didn’t take long for me to decide that my son would be “Piñata’s revenge”. He would carry a stick and demand candy. Cute right? My son said he wanted to be Pikachu. So we settled on a Pikachu piñata out for revenge.

I went to the Dollar Store and bought a few packs of yellow streamers, a pack of black streamers, and a pack of party hats. I also had to buy a glue gun, glue sticks, and brown construction paper. I used an tee shirt I got for free at a seminar and a stick from my backyard. All told, it cost me about $10 and 5 hours to make.

Here’s how I did it.

Continue reading

Columbus Marathon 2012

I ran the Columbus Marathon Half Marathon on Sunday. This was my third ½ marathon, but the first I did by myself.

More on that in a minute. I originally had planned to go to Columbus by myself also. I reserved a room at the Drury Inn at the Convention Center and thought I would run my race, read my magazines, sit in the Jacuzzi , shop, and eat at a few nice restaurants. A weekend by myself to relax. But instead, I decided to make it a girl weekend and brought my 2 daughters.

I am so glad I changed my plans; we had the best time. We visited my new favorite restaurant, Kikyo where we had a bibimbap burger, Asian tater tots, a bulgogi burger, okonomiyaki, and beautiful maki rolls. The food was amazing. I brought a half the bulgogi burger, half the okonomiyaki, and a full order of tater tots home and my husband just loved it all. His favorite thing was the okonomiyaki though. Kikyo food was excellent fuel for a half marathon. Continue reading

Girls’ Big Weekend

Tomorrow is the Columbus Marathon, in which I’m “running” the half.  I use the term running very loosely.

My bag is packed, my e-mail with my bib number is in my purse and I’m waiting for my oldest to get home from work so we can get in her car and make the drive down.

This is the first race of this distance that I’ve done on my own.  I’m nervous.  I usually do these with my friend.  Not only am I doing the race by myself, but tomorrow morning, I’ll be walking the mile from the hotel to the race on my own.  That sort of makes me nervous too.

We’ve turned this into a girls’ weekend though.  And that part is really exciting.  Me and my two daughters are going without the men.  We’re staying until Monday and I have a load of things I want to do with them.  Most importantly is visiting some excellent restaurants.  Continue reading

Boss’s Day

This past Tuesday, I was busy in one of my labs at work when in came 3 of my 4 employees, acting suspicious.  Suddenly, one of them whipped out a card they said they needed me to sign.

When I looked, it was a Boss’s Day card.  It was for me.  Then they whipped out a big basket filled with assorted silliness that I love:

I talk about my nutella popsicles and how much my kids love them.  So they made me an alcoholic nutella popsicle kit!   It has 2 sets of 3 Crayola popsicle molds, Cool Whip, Nutella, and a bottle of Bailey’s.  I can’t wait to try it.  I have been so busy this week I haven’t had a chance.

They also got me a gift card to my favorite restaurant/brew pub, Fathead’s.

I was overwhelmed.  I had no idea that it was boss’s day.  I celebrate National Guacamole Day, Tsukimi, Talk Like a Pirate Day, and all sorts of silliness.  Boss’s day isn’t on my calendar.  More than that though, is that being a middle manager is usually a thankless job.  It usually means everyone is mad at you.  I’ve had a very hard time being a boss.  I’m a boss when my bosses don’t want to take responsibility but I’m not a boss when they want to enact something.   It’s a completely shitty situation.  Even the way I was made a boss sucked.  One day, I was listed as the manager of my department in the organizational directory.  One of my staff told me.  I didn’t get a raise or a title change or even spoken to about it. Seriously, that was how I became a manager.  I wasn’t asked or offered the job or even told.  They changed my status in the organizational directory.

So, really, it was completely overwhelming to have my employees make such a blatant show of appreciation.  I haven’t received that from my bosses.  Honestly, the only reason I keep on doing managerial things is because I know my team will get crushed if I don’t.  It’s really helps to know that they see it and appreciate it.  Because a lot of times it feels like my efforts are wasted.

Usually, I’m the one doing big silly things to keep other people motivated.  I’m the official party planner and gift buyer and all around cheerleader.  I love doing it.  It was really awkward to be on the receiving end.  But I am grateful.  I am much more grateful for what the gift means than what was in the basket.  Sometimes, I need to feel like people are cheering for me too.

Crepes

In honor of Sweetest Day (which apparently is only a holiday in Ohio), I made my sweeties crepes for breakfast.

I still use the recipe out of the Betty Crocker cookbook I got when I got married, over 18 years ago.  I don’t pull this thing out very often.  Actually, usually only for the crepes recipe.  I forgot how many old school recipes it has.  I might need to go through and try some other recipes.

Anyway, I’ll share the crepes recipe here along with my changes.  I’m always making changes.

Crepes

*Unless otherwise noted, I simply doubled all the ingredients.  If I’m going through the trouble of making crepes, I’m making a double batch.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 T sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder *
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt*
  • 2 cups milk*
  • 2 T butter, melted 4 T melted  Olivio
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract*
  • 2 eggs*
  1. Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.
  2. Spray, coat with melted butter, or otherwise grease a skillet.  8″ suggested, use more batter when using a larger skillet
  3. Over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of batter to heated skillet
  4. Immediately rotate pan to completely cover bottom
  5. Cook until light brown
  6. Flip and cook other side until light brown

Betty Crocker suggests stacking with wax paper between crepes.  It’s unnecessary and wasteful.

True crepes should be paper thin.  These will not be like that.  But they are tasty and useful.

Our favorite filling is nutella, ricotta cheese, and some fresh fruit.  It’s delicious.  This morning, in lieu of fresh fruit, I pulled some strawberries out of the freezer.  I had cut, cleaned and frozen them a few months ago because they were getting old and I couldn’t use them fast enough.


I used too much filling but it tasted so good.  My younger kids skip the fruit and sometimes the ricotta cheese.  They like to drizzle Hershey’s syrup over top.  Sometimes I let them sprinkle powdered sugar.  We’ve covered them in whipped cream.  My husband always uses maple syrup on top.

We’ve used marscapone and cottage cheese as ingredients.  Fresh blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are great additions.  Cooked, diced apples and peaches are excellent also.  If they’re really ripe, I love using diced fresh peaches and cottage cheese.

Sometimes I make a breakfast burrito type of thing with them.  Scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, sauteed onions and mushrooms and peppers, bits of sausage and or bacon or ham wrapped in a crepe is lovely.

The best crepes I’ve ever had were in Montreal at Jardin Nelson.  Part of their greatness was just the atmosphere, part was because I was on vacation and free of normal cares, part was because I didn’t have to make them, part was because I was in Montreal which is amazing, but mostly they were great because they were delicious and light and perfect.

There were crepes filled with lobster and rabbit and duck and just lovely, lovely things.  It was amazing.  Maybe I need to tell my husband we need to go back so that I can do research on improving my own crepes.
They may not be wrapped around duck, but they are good.  And they make my family happy.

 

Happy Sweetest Day to all of you!