Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

It's New Year's Eve and I don't have to get up at 2:50 am anymore - at least for this year. That in itself is a reason to be thankful! I don't think I'll last until the New Year - I'm pretty tired and will probably sleep through it.
I tend not to make resolutions although I have a few goals for the new year. I want to do some work on the house so personal spending will be reduced considerably. My house is at an age where everything is needing to be replaced or fixed and I may as well accept that fact. New taps for the kitchen and a new toilet for the bathroom are first on the list - I have the money set aside and will be visiting the local hardware mecca when the shops re-open with their New Year's sales on the weekend, weather permitting. There is a tax credit available this year for home improvements so I may also pick up some paint and check out a sale on laminate flooring for the living room - 69 cents a square foot with a 25-year warranty sounds almost too good to be true but I will check it out. When the weather improves, a new roof will probably be installed, along with an oil tank - it's time for both. Not exciting but necessary - I will be sensible this year.
When I'm not fixing up the house, I will save as much as possible for my RRSP and Tax free savings acount.
I will take on some extra projects so I can make some extra money. I will try to write more and write more creatively. I will practise my instrument more - arthritis has made me lax but I will overcome that.
I will become more fit - exercise at least three times a week for a half-hour or more at a time. I will try not to eat so much junk. I will drink more water and eat more fruits and vegetables. And if I do those things, some weight loss should occur - I'd like to lose 10 pounds. I will sleep more and watch TV less.
These are pretty much the same goals I have every year and each year, I do feel I am making some progress. As long as I don't get any worse, I'll be happy.
And I will continue to try as many new teas and (decaf) coffees, and chocolates as possible. After all, we have to have something to look forward to!
Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Two more wakeups ...

It's quarter to seven in the evening and I could crawl into bed right now, I'm that tired. Of course, it doesn't help that I spent the afternoon roaming around malls looking for bargains; I scored another box of Candy Cane Lane tea, a new drinking glass from the Dollarama and a half-eaten sandwich left from the lunch I bought with a gift card - great sandwich but it was huge!
The good thing is that I am officially sick of shopping and not a moment too soon. I have plenty of everything and I plan to go lean during January. There's nothing I really need, except some heating oil in another week's time so I want to see how long I can go without spending any money, besides fruit, vegetables, milk and bread. I may not reveal my progress publicly since my results are usually pretty embarrassing - not shopping for 3 or 4 days is usually my limit but who knows - maybe I'll do better this time.
When I first started the early morning shift, I would start the day with full strength coffee and by the end of the first week, I paid the price digestively. I've been starting the day off with tea ever since and it has made a real difference - I'm actually more alert but calmer, if that makes any sense. My tummy and throat are a lot happier too. Speaking of tea, I've become a real fan of Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane tea - it's a decaf green tea flavored with peppermint and vanilla. It's only available during the Christmas season. It's milder and much more soothing than regular mint tea - it tastes like a mint cream. Plus the fact it's decaffeinated make a great tea for evening.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I made a mistake - apparently Nova Scotia isn't the only province with no shopping allowed on Boxing Day. I just figured since we were the last place in Canada without Sunday shopping that we automatically had the stuffiest shopping laws in the country. Now, I'm not advocating no family time and working seven days a week - but I think everyone, regardless of who they are, should be entitled to do things when they want and can - and for some, that is on Sundays and holidays. Of course, when I had my small business, it did make for a challenge but you decide your own battles.
I just finished an early morning shift and I'm drinking egg nog mixed with decaf coffee - a tasty treat for the middle of the day. I so enjoyed the long weekend and I have another to look forward to this weekend, after just three more get-ups!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Boxing Day Sales Now On

I live in the only province in Canada where Boxing Day is a mandated holiday - and that means we have to wait until the 27th to hit the big sales. The frugal part of me wanted to miss it but guess which side of me was in the mall this afternoon? Yeah, the spendthrift side. I did get some great deals - a new bathrobe for $24 from $60, two Columbia fleece tops for $20 each and some odds and ends at Wal-Mart. I am happy with my purchases since I wanted them anyway.
I've been trying some Ashby teas lately - lemon and ginger peach. Nothing too inspiring although the red and green box they came in was quite pretty. There are nine kinds in the box and I am hoping the other seven will be better. A friend did send a sample of pear cream white tea to me. I love fresh pears, but like blueberries, pears do not lend themselves well to flavoring other products - it always tastes wrong. It's an OK tea, (as in I did finish the cup) but nothing I'd ever want to try again. I do love it when friends send me samples though - it's always fun to try something new because you never know what your next favorite is going to be!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day - it's over!

And that's a sigh of relief from here. Now I can go back to being my usual crabby self! Seriously though, all the self-imposed pressures of the season end today and that's why it's become my favorite day of the holiday season. No work, no pressure, no relatives. Here in Nova Scotia, there's only one thing open and happily, it's also my favorite - Shoppers! I blew $60 in a matter of minutes, stocking up on my favorite shampoo, that was on sale for a $1.49, half-price good quality chocolate that will hopefully go into the freezer for snacking later in the year and some bath gift sets that are going to me - no one ever gives me that stuff for Christmas and I actually like those sets so every year, I pick up a few after Christmas for myself through the year. Most years, I also pick up wrapping paper but this year I am not doing that - I have enough of that stuff to last a long time.
After two pretty tasty turkey dinners yesterday, we're settling in with a good feed of bacon wrapped filet mignon, vegetables, garlic mashed potatoes and a cherry cheesecake pie. Maybe we'll pig out a little bit more on Sunday - but on Monday, we're going to open that gym membership that I bought - we need it!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Twas the day before Christmas
And all through the home
Not a thing was stirring
Not even the gnome
Because she ate too much and couldn't move ....

And that pretty much sums it up for me. The head cold is gone, most of the presents have been distributed and I plan to eat and sleep too much over my next three off days. I've got a book set aside, loads of tea, chocolate and cheese and a nice bag of Turkish Delight in case I get peckish. Hope everyone gets what they want or need - Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry ah-ah-chooo!

Yep. My cold has really come alive for this festive season. It even gives me a charming cherry red nose - and all these years I thought Santa had one because of the cold weather!
Time for plenty of soup, hot tea and one of those lemon-based cold medicines that you drink hot from a cup. They work as well as anything else. There are worse things than not being able to go shopping when you're sick at Christmas (yay, no mall crowds!) but I do need to work since we're short-staffed (aka I'm the only one left in the department) and I don't want to spread my sneezy joy to others on staff. Fortunately, I can finish up early and get out out before the most of the rest of the crew arrives. Also, I do want to do some visiting over the next few days and deliver presents to some shut-in family members so I want this cold to leave right away - vamoose! Well, I don't know if Mr. Cold will listen but I will do my best to make sure it does. Otherwise, someone else is going to be delivering those presents this year. I will not deliver germs.
I'm drinking the Ginger pear concoction from Tazo and Orange spice teas. I think some Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane will be my choice for the evening - minty teas are nice for colds because of the lovely mint scent.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Money for Christmas

Somehow, even in the years when I had next to no money, I've always managed to find enough for a Christmas that makes me happy. I tend to go overboard with presents for a few but I've never bothered with sending cards or having a Christmas party since there's never been any reason to do so - no one I know bothers with cards either and any parties tend to be either work-related or impromptu. So that's a saving there but for most people, eliminating the annual get-together or not sending the annual greeting is not an option. I also don't have or know any children - so I don't spend any money there either.
I do spend a lot on food - but then again, I really don't. I've never spent more than $60 at a time at the grocery store. What's my secret to avoiding the expensive Christmas grocery order? I buy it gradually through the year.
A lot of the traditional holiday items can be bought earlier in the year and stored. A freezer and a storage area are truly wonderful things. A few years ago, when I was really broke, I made due by buying all my items gradually, one thing every week. Somehow, an extra three or four dollars is a little easier to handle during the week than an extra hundred. A tin of nuts or a bottle of pickles bought in October, a box of chocolates when they go on sale in December or extra cranberries or pumpkin when the Thanksgiving sales are on isn't as hard to handle. I discovered that a turkey bought at one of the sales in July, when it goes for practically half of what it goes for now, tastes just as good as one bought at the last minute. Just freeze it and you're set. And just in case you're wondering about storing a turkey for that long, if your freezer's working fine, it will be OK. I've had them more than a year later and they were good.
If you have treats and chips left over from Halloween, don't eat them - freeze them - and have them during the holidays. Chips freeze really well. If you bought too many or received too many chocolates for Christmas, freeze them as well. It will be good for your diet and you'll have candy for next year (provided you don't raid the stash). Chocolate freezes beautifully - just don't put it in the refrigerator. For some reason, chocolate will turn white in the fridge but not the freezer. Chocolates stored in the freezer will look and taste as good as the day you put them in. I had proof of that the other night when I found a box of Ganong peanut clusters at the bottom of my freezer. They had to be in there since 2004 or 2005. They were delicious.
I don't know of these tips will help anyone but they worked for me.
Buy extra when you have the cash. When you need to, use up the stash.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

When you have lemons,

You make lemonade, which I just did. I used two large and very pretty lemons - but they were so sour, I had to add a third more sugar, which I really don't like doing - but no one would drink it unless I sweetened it a bit more. A few weeks ago, I bought a box of clementines and normally we eat these in no time. This box has been hanging around because they're so sour. And of course, you don't buy new ones because you have to eat the ones you have. Normally, I like sour foods (grapefruit is one of my favorites) so you can imagine just how sour these babies are, when I can't even eat them. I wish there was a way you could tell if citrus is abnormally sour before you bought it.
True to my word, I slept in until nine this morning - six extra hours of sleep! And I'm contemplating a nap as I write this. I'll be glad when this shift ends since I have a hard time with it.
I may make some shortbread cookies later - it seems like that sort of day. And it will go well with the lemon tea I am currently drinking. Actually, I couldn't detect any lemon off this batch so I added a half-teaspoon of of my puckery lemon juice. It's lemony now!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Week one of the dreaded early shift is over. There are two more weeks to go but each are four day weeks so that will be a little easier. The older I get, the more the early mornings bother me. It's bothered me so much this time, I actually got physically ill at work this morning and I'm sure it's the result of tiredness and stress. I don't care if it is the wrong thing to do - there's no alarm clock going off in this house tomorrow - I'm sleeping in! I need the rest.
Tonight I'm having an old sample of decaffeinated peach apricot tea from the Metropolitan Tea Company. It still tastes good and has to be at least 18 months old. I've also just had a piece of some German dark chocolate covered marzipan. Sigh. It tasted wonderful - the right amount of everything and not overly sweet but a lovely genuine almondy sweetness. Even though I haven't had supper, I don't think I'm going to have anything else today. As you can probably guess, my tummy is pretty sensitive today so I'll lay back from the gluttony for a night or two. However, the small piece of marzipan was necessary.
I find it interesting how ginger and peppermint are always being touted as cure-all for stomach problems. For me, they cause stomach problem - I like both but peppermint often nauseates me. I have to be careful with ginger too - there's somedays when it's too much for a delicate tummy. Besides mints and ginger, does anyone have any suggestions for stomach soothers for those of us who can't always tolerate them?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


It's Day 2 of the early morning shift. I've been waking up naturally extra early which is good since my job requires a fair bit of preparation - I've been going to work at 3:45 am the past few days and it seems to be working - you get so much accomplished when you're the only person in the building.
But it also means I'll be going to bed extra early - I'm sleeping at 8:30/9 pm. Considering I'm more likely to be watching TV at 2:45 am than getting up, it's a huge change for me.
Physically, it's a challenge. I really can't eat much past 5 pm and no matter what I eat, my stomach isn't terribly happy about it. Once I get back to my normal work hours, I'll feel better.
Of course, that isn't stopping me from munching and drinking. Bought some Christmas appetizers today - chicken wings, mini quiches and oriental-style goodies such as eggrolls, potstickers and spring rolls. It's fun to make a meal of those things every so often. And of course, I've been drinking lots of teas, including a green tea from Tazo that features ginger and pear - quite pleasant. Can't remember the name of it right now. I bought a box of Celestial Seasonings Candy Lane Lane, which is a decaf green with a creamy mint flavor - a nice tea to have before bed. I may get another box since it's only sold at Christmas time but would be nice at any time of the year.
And remember all that snow we had on Sunday? T'is gone. It's now raining. And that's winter on the East Coast.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

One of those days

I think it's predestined that I not accomplish much today. In fact, I am doing my best to avoid doing anything at all and that may have something to do with the fact there's a five foot drift waiting for me at the end of the walkway to my house. The entire driveway and walkway needs to be shoveled and I'm not in the mood. There are times when owning a home is downright tiring. In fact, a one bedroom apartment is beginning to sound pretty sweet right about now.
I opened the Harney's Boston blend this morning. I bought it last year and didn't like it then so I thought I'd give it another try. I'm still not sure about this one. It's a black tea flavored with almond and cranberry but to me, it tastes like their Paris blend with some cranberries tossed in for good measure. I love Harney's Paris blend and enjoy the occasional cup of their Cranberry Autumn but for some reason, the Boston blend leaves me cold. Maybe I'll try it again next year.
Now, what else can I do, to avoid shoveling? Sigh.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How much?

I just can't stop writing today - blame it on the weather. I actually see this as a good thing. I started this blog with the express wish to force myself to write on a regular basis.
I do want to write a book someday. My computer is filled with half-hearted attempts and I do want to eventually complete something. It may never get published but that's doesn't seem to be the goal anymore - just to complete a fictional project would be fine by me.
But back in the real world, is it me or does food seem to be getting a whole lot more expensive again? Supposedly here in Canada, there's next to no inflation when it comes to food prices but I really doubt that. While I don't mind paying a bit extra for locally produced foods that keep farmers in business, it does seem like some basics are getting pretty pricey. Bananas have been running at just under a dollar a pound after years at being 70 cents a pound. It's hard at any time of year, but especially now, to get a lettuce for under $2.49 a head. I bought a kilogram of frozen corn today for $2.99 on sale - most of the other brands were well over $3. for smaller bags. Maybe I notice prices too much but that's the result of growing up in a family where every price was watched and nothing was bought unless it was on sale. I simply can't imagine going into a grocery store and just buying the stuff I need. Unless it's at a price that I think is reasonable, it will not be bought. It means doing without some things sometimes but it also means buying more when it's at a good price. This attitude is also part of the reason why we rarely eat out. When we were visiting the Big City a few weeks ago, we went to a Fast Food place for supper. After a chicken burger, deluxe burger, two fries and two pops, the bill came to almost $18. That was a shock - especially when I thought of the amount of food I could buy at the grocery store for that amount of money. I have no idea how people can afford to eat out every day. Even in magazines and on TV now, you'll see references to preparing a meal for $10 - and they make it out to be a big deal. Well I should hope that I can prepare a meal for under $10. I can make a pretty good meal for under $5, if need be. And I often do. In fact, supper tonight will be bacon, eggs and toast. Total cost for two people - just under $2.50.
Just remember - the more money you save on food, the more money you have for tea!

It's beginning to look a lot like ....

I'm going to have to shovel pretty soon. We went to the market, got the stollen, which hasn't yet been attacked (and I have no idea why we're being so civilized), a half-dozen of the best, butterlicious cranberry scones and a pile of vegetables - potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic. We purchased some lemons for lemonade at the grocery store but we finished our shopping early because the weather went from fine to a blizzard within a half-hour. So much for the occasional snow flurry that was predicted.
It's a great day to be home though. Hot drinks and cold weather are a perfect match. When we came home, I tried an envelop of Land o Lakes French Vanilla hot chocolate that I picked up at the Local Bulk Barn. It wasn't quite what I expected - I didn't really get a vanilla flavor but rather, a rich, buttery flavor, but hey - what's Land O Lakes known for? Butter. Butter and chocolate are an interesting and tasty combination although I can't imagine drinking this one in the early morning hours. I bet it would be dynamite with shortbread cookies.
And I wonder why I'm gaining weight ....

Christmas Party the day after

Last night was the job's Christmas party. A festive time was had by all, even us quiet ones. I'm not much of a partier - I've never been the life of any party; I'm the one who sits in the corner with one other person, next to the buffet table. On the down side, it makes me look like a cranky old fogey, even when I'm not; on the up side, I always feel fine the next day, when I know others don't!
More importantly, the buffet - it was pretty good - boneless chicken in a barbecue sauce, rice, mashed potatoes and other vegetables along with carrot cake for dessert. The tea of course was terrible - few restaurants are going to bring out the best darjeeling for an office party. OK, I'm making a joke - few restaurants even know what darjeeling is.
I'm off to the Farmer's Market in a few moments to pick up the stollen that I ordered a few weeks ago. I normally make my own but this year, I decided to cut back on some of the home baking, for my own sanity. I bought a fruitcake as well. While I'm sure the fruitcake will be better than my homemade (any fruitcake would be better than the bricks I produced), I did bake a pretty good stollen so I hope this one is as good. I confess I'm a sucker for any holiday-related foods - I've gained a fair bit of weight the past eight years and I'm blaming most of that weight gain on December's treats. Good thing tea has no calories. I'm drinking New England Harvest Blend this morning; it's perfect for a cold, snowy day.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lunch - blech!

Every so often, I get so bored with packing a daily lunch that I avoid it until the last evil minute. And that's bad for me since I feel the effects of my inattention, boredom, whatever, the next day when I'm hungry and need something to eat. A daily packed lunch is a necessity since I have to stay in an office all day (any errands have to be done before my shift or on a day off) and there's no fast food places nearby, for seven months of the year. There is a small ice cream/burger stand at the end of the road but frankly, I wouldn't eat there even if I did have tons of money to spend and it's only open from May until October anyway. I try to pack a mid-morning snack such as a granola bar, a main course, such as a sandwich, leftovers or crackers and cheese or hummus and a mid-afternoon snack, usually fruit and/or cookies or nuts. It sounds like a lot of food but I tend to eat a very light breakfast (usually just yogurt or fruit) and my hungriest periods have always been between 11 am and 3 pm. I also take a Thermos of boiling water and a selection of teas. Because of the nature of my job, a lot of snacks that I can eat through my shift are much more appropriate than one big meal. I go through periods where leftovers from the previous night's supper are the best thing to frozen dinners and packaged granola bars to my bento lunches, which includes small servings of a lot of things that are best cold. I buy lots of food so there's lots of selection - so why am I having problems picking out my lunch tonight? It could be because I pack it the night before and by tomorrow at noon, I'm craving something entirely different ... like the fries that the guy in production just brought in from one of the fast food places further down the road. And even though I would love those fries, I do try to avoid greasy foods as much as possible. There are times I wish I could go back to the simplicity of a peanut butter sandwich - wait, I can - that's what I'll have for lunch tomorrow!
Am I the only person working outside the home who is lunch-obsessed? What do you take?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yet another obsession

Chances are, if you're a dedicated coffee and/or tea drinker, you also have all the things necessary to properly and serve it. Sometimes, the desire for the latest and greatest can lead to some interesting collections.
I have to hold myself back from purchasing every do-dad imaginable. Right now, I have an obsession for cups. Not mugs (shudder), but beautiful, tastefully designed cups for both tea and coffee. Of course, I would never drink tea out of a coffee mug and vice versa so that means I have to have two of everything, right?
Well, not quite. I try to keep the coffee cups separate from the tea cups so I can tell which is which, something that can get a little confusing if you haven't used a certain cup in a few months. My preference for both are the thinner shaped cups, since the liquid inside the cup tends to cool at a slower rate than in the fatter mugs (hence my shudders). It also has to be bone china because for me, it has the least effect on the final taste of the liquid. Yeah, I can taste the differences between cups - if you put tea in an earthenware mug and a bone china cup, it tastes completely different. There will be those who say all cups are the same and there is no difference but I seriously can taste a difference. Bone china and glass have no flavor (unless it's dirty!) so they're the best for my tasting preferences. Porcelain I will tolerate and while I like the look of earthenware and pottery, I buy them strictly for looks only. Oddly enough, I don't mind tea in a paper cup, even though I can taste the paper so I guess the taste doesn't bother me too much. The same can't be said for styrofoam and plastic is simply unacceptable. I've tried the stainless steel travel mugs - again, I get a taste off it that's simply unacceptable. If anyone knows of a Canadian or US source of bone china travel mugs, please let me know!
Right now, I'm using Christmas bone china cups for my tea and my decaf coffee. And once the season is over, I'll put them away and take out a whole new set of wintery cups. Or, now that it looks like the snow is staying, there's a chance the spring cups will be coming out earlier than expected.
So what type of cup do you use? Do you have seasonal cups?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snowing and The Prisoner

The tree is up, the lights are on and outside, it's snowing steadily. We're in the middle of a winter storm, complete with high winds that could bring us up to a foot of the white stuff. We may already have that. The roads are a mess and I'm worried - I have loved ones who are out today and all I really want is for them to get home safely.

I'm drinking Queen Elizabeth blend today; it's a mild-mannered black tea with unfailing good manners - good for a day when calmness is needed.

Last night, we finished watching The Prisoner. Let me give a little advice: never watch four episodes of The Prisoner in one sitting. Yikes! It's often said the first seven episodes are the best but there's a lot to be said for the last three. For one thing, it's definitely ... imaginative ... To keep a tea-theme going, there's a memorable scene of Patrick McGoohan carrying a tea tray in a windowed trailer speeding down one of Britain's motorways, and the people in the passing vehicles doing double-takes.
Yeah, my kinda series!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hooked on points

I have a new addiction - points at Shoppers. For every purchase, they give you points and eventually you get enough to get some money off a future purchase. I've never gotten more than $10 off before because I usually cash them in as soon as I can. It's kinda nice getting $11 worth of stuff for a dollar. But this time, I've held out a little longer and now I'm up to 35,000 points - that's $55 off a future purchase. Today, with a $75 purchase, they were giving an additional 15,000 points so that's why my balance moved up so fast. Did I mention how easy it is to spend $75 at Christmas time in a store that sells drug store products, magazines, makeup and food? Yikes! Anyway, this, along with an order to Amazon pretty much wraps up my Christmas shopping - hurray! I even got my Turtles at a good price. Now I've got to figure out what to get with that $55 - it sure will come in handy during those lean weeks!
One of the things on sale was Tazo tea bags at $2.99 - it's usually $5.99 here. I got a green tea flavored with ginger and pear - it sounds quite intriguing.
After I finished posting, I'm going to do some house cleaning and hopefully start on my Christmas decorating. It's not that the actual decorating takes so long - it's all the prep work before hand, such as moving furniture and stuff to make way for the tree. Oh well, I'm drinking some regular eggnog coffee that I bought from the Second Cup so I hope this will energize me for the work ahead!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Turtles move fast

I'm starting to wind down on my Christmas shopping - just a few more odds and ends to pick up, including a few boxes of those necessary Turtles - well, necessary for some members of my family. Apparently Turtles is celebrating 60 years in the chocolate world and I'll never be accused of getting in the way of an anniversary celebration. This past week, a shop was suppose to have these favored sweeties for $5.99 a box. Of course, somehow none arrived from the distributor for the $5.99 sale, which is odd because they're always around when they're $9.99 a box. Funny that. They're advertised this week for $7.99 - wonder if they'll arrive or not. Doesn't really matter - I've never been able to get Turtles on sale around here - they always disappear off the shelves too fast. Even at work, I miss out - today there was a box in the lunchroom and by the time I found out about it, it was empty. They may be Turtles, but in this part of Nova Scotia, they move pretty fast!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Winter Chill and Chitchat

We had a dusting of snow last night and today, the temperatures are reminding us that winter is nearly upon us. For the past few months, I've been taking Bento boxes full of nutritious snacks as my lunches but these past few days, I've been craving warm foods in the mid-day. I work in a toasty warm office so it's not like I'm outside freezing, yet, because of the change in temperature and the time of year, my body is instintively craving warmth. Good thing the grocery store has some interesting frozen lunches on sale this week! I've bought some breakfast-style meals, pot pies and pasta dishes to have on hand for those days when only a hot lunch will do - and that's ready in three minutes or less. Tomorrow it's leftover Chinese takeout which is almost enough to make me look forward to going to work.
Christmas at work is busy and we'll soon be shorthanded as people start taking their holidays. Even though I work in news, this is a time of year when no news is good news and I'll be hoping for everyone's sake that the next few weeks are quiet. I addition to working in a warm office, it can often get dry so I stay hydrated by bringing a Thermos of boiling water and a selection of teas into work everyday. The first teas of the day are black, the afternoon are usually green and if I need another cup by the end of the day, it will be a white since the temperature of the water remaining in the Thermos should be about right for a white. A typical workday of teas could go like this: Mornings - Tazo Awake, Stash Orange Spice or Earl Grey (all blacks); Early Afternoon: Harney's Tropical Green, Twinnings Graperuit/Pineapple, Bigelow Eggnoggin, Blackcurrent; Late Afternoon: Earl Grey, Bigelow Tangerine White, Stash Chai. Sometimes I'll bring in a selection of loose teas in T-Sacs; I did try using a teapot at work but found it cumbersome since our lunchroom is on another floor so now I rely on my Thermos, some carefully chosen bags or T-Sacs and a decent china cup. At home, I drink only loose tea but at work, the bags do work better - and they mean I can get a cup together pretty quickly. That's important for those of us who work continually on deadline!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Getting To Know Me

Happily snitched from Saving4Later and Moving On Up!

Last Movie I Saw In A Movie Theater? Angels And Demons
What Book Are You Reading? Like An Ever Rolling Stream
Favorite Board Game? Scrabble.
Favorite Magazine? Victoria, Tea Time
Favorite Smells? Lilacs
Favorite Sounds? Rain falling, wind through the trees
Worst Feeling In The World? Knowing I'm disappointing someone.
First Thing You Think of When You Wake? Am I dreaming?
Favorite Fast Food Place? Starbucks
Future Child’s Name? Not having any children
Finish This Statement—“If I Had a Lot of Money,” I’d quit my job and do exactly what I want.
Do You Drive Fast? No.
Do You Sleep With a Stuffed Animal? No. I like fleece sheets though.
Storms—cool or scary? Prefer more peaceful weather, especially since I live in a house surrounded by large trees.
What Was Your First Car? Nissan Sentra Classic Lemon (OK, I added the last word myself but it was a lemon even if it did end up being a new car by the time I traded it in - every part on it had been replaced.)
Favorite Drink? Dr Pepper.
Finish This Statement—“If I Had the Time, I Would…do more work on my house.
Do You Eat the Stems on Broccoli? Yep. I'll eat anything.
If You could Dye your Hair Any Other Color, What Would It Be? Black
Favorite Sport to Watch? Not a sports fan
What’s Under Your Bed? Dust bunnies. A lot of 'em.
Would You Like to Be Born As Yourself Again? Yup
Morning Person or Night Owl? Night Owl
Over Easy or Sunny Side Up? Omelets
Favorite Place to Relax? Home, in bed, watching Ghost Hunters on a rainy night.
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor? Butter Pecan or Peppermint

It's December - more foods to try!

I'm a seasonal eater - I eat everything that's in season and then some. Every year, I eagerly wait for December because that means it's time for those seasonal goodies. I used to be a big fan of magazines but I got tired of seeing articles on healthy eating and how to lose five pounds during the holidays - come on, for one month of the year, let us indulge without guilt. If you believed everything that's written in magazines, every food is a deadly sin to be avoided at all costs and we should exercise 24 hours a day - that doesn't sound too healthy to me.
So what are the foods I like to eat without moderation at this time of year? Here are the traditional favorites.
1. Chips (and dip) - I like chips all through the year but for some reason, the onion dip comes out in December and despite my dislike for condiments, I do like it.
2. Bits and Bites - For reasons entirely my own, it just doesn't seem right to eat these at any other time of the year.
3. French Creams - These are nearly impossible to find now. For those who live outside the Maritimes, they're sugary pastel confections that manage to have a creamy, hard fudgelike taste.
4. Barley toys - Again, hard to find but Robertsons of Nova Scotia I think still makes them.
5. Candy canes or red and white striped mints - again, it's almost sinful to eat these during any month but December.
6. Eggnog - My father made the most incredible (non-alcoholic, of course) eggnogs for me when I was a child - until I was 21, he made me one first thing Christmas morning. I get kinda sentimental since he died when I was 22 and I haven't had one as good ever since. I just buy a quart or two of the storebought stuff now but it still brings back pleasant memories
7. Cheese - I have to have a selection of cheeses every Christmas - and it has to be ones that I don't normally buy.
8. Boxes of cheap chocolates - Yep, it just ain't right unless there's a box of not-so-hot chocolates to snack on at parties - you know the kind - they're on sale now at the drug stores for $3.99 or less.
9. Turkey! Turkey! Turkey!
10. Mashed potatoes, mashed carrots and turnip, stuffing - the holy triumvirate of turkey accompaniments.
11. some sort of pie - maybe even mincemeat.
12. clementines - the easiest way to get some much needed vitamin C. Plus, they're really cute.
13. Glasses of cranberry juice or tomato juice - to imbibe before all the other stuff, of course.
14. Antacids. 'nuff said.