31 March 2008

Easter Sunday


Easter Beach
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Once again, a holiday finds us at the beach. Here's a shot of Mark and Henry.

The dogs love the beach. Henry will walk and walk and walk and walk... Suki loves to dig. She'll hit the sand, dig, dig, dig - then stop and look at me for approval. Amazing that she only digs in the sand at the beach, not in the yard at home.

30 March 2008

A Vist from the Stork


Stork Visit
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Came home two Fridays ago to find this in our backyard, tangled up in a the remnants of a dead evergreen. I was a bit worried - was this my version of a message from the Angel Gabriel?

Discovered it blew in from the neighbors down the block. I walked the dogs and returned it to its rightful owners.

25 March 2008

One Ounce at a Time

On Palm Sunday, Mark and I both started Weight Watchers. It's been 8 days now, and I've been doing really well with the Flex Plan (points). I weighed in yesterday, and despite going out to dinner on Saturday and having a potent potable (there's a Jeopardy reference for you!) -- I lost 3.8 lbs.

Although I thought I would struggle with finding foods to eat and stay within my points (26 per day, currently), I've discovered with a little forethought, it's not too difficult. I've had a few days where I was under my point limit significantly, but couldn't eat a single thing more.

It's been interesting to see how I look at food now. On Saturday, Mark and I went up to the mall to find him a suit - we passed Auntie Anne's, Mrs Fields, Starbucks, Smoothie King, Haagen Daaz, and many more. Mark asked me if I wanted "X" each time we passed and I responsed "no" everytime. Even afterwards, when we went to Jersey Freeze, he got a milkshake (low fat ice cream, skim milk) and I got nothing.

Some of my favorite snacks that I've discovered since starting:
  • Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches (2 point) - not a skimpy sandwich, these are delicious! We bought a mega-pack of the chocolate/vanilla mix at Costco this weekend. Chocolate for Mark, vanilla for me.
  • Sugar Free Jell-O (0 points for one individual cup; 0.5 points for three) - Jell-o has become a standard part of my breakfast and evening snack. Some people don't care much for it, I happen to love it.
  • Fiber One Oats & Caramel bars (2 points) - I bought a box of these with some hesitation as I wasn't sure I'd like them. Oh man. I called up my Mom after having the first one. It was bliss. Generally have 1-2 of these per day - and with 35% of the recommended amount of fiber, I'm regular.
  • Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese (1 point per wedge) - Mmmm, cheese. I'm a cheese addict, but unfortunately, most of the cheeses I enjoy would wipe out my points allotment in one sitting. I found the Laughing Cow Light Swiss at Costco this weekend and to my delight 1 wedge and 5 Carr's Table Water crackers are only 2 points! It's just enough to satisfy me -- and it helps me with my dairy requirement since I don't drink milk.

I'm still having a difficult time trying to figure out what to make/eat for dinner. I love chicken (could eat it every day and pretty much do), but Mark's not a fan of it. I've fallen for the Perdue Perfect Portions Tomato Basil chicken breasts (3 points) and made that with a cup of brown rice for dinner last night. Mark opted to make himself tuna salad instead.

My goal this week is to spend a little time on the WW site and see if I can find some recipes that will appeal to both of us. He's keen on salmon, but at 6 points per serving, I'd rather have a chicken breast and rice - much more filling to me. Unfortunately, he's not amenable to trying other fish - and I really don't love salmon all that much. It's to me what chicken is to him.

With an initial loss of 3.8 lbs, I've got only 17.2 to go to meet my first mini goal. I'm not 100% certain that the goal weight the website gave me is realistic -- it's the at low end of my ideal weight range. But, I'll keep counting my points and making an effort to lose weight. Despite Mark's optimism, I don't think a bikini is going to be in the cards this summer.

If there's anyone else out there doing WW (or has done it in the past) and has some great recipes to share -- please comment!

17 March 2008

Happy St Pat's!

The corned beef is in the crock pot, the Guinness is chilled, my iPod is fully charged and full of Irish tunes and my green clothes are laid out. A great day to be Irish - whether or not you truly are. Today, everyone's Irish!

If you think St Pat's should be a official holiday, be sure to sign Proposition 317.

16 March 2008

Selection Sunday

Less than an hour until the NCAA Tournament pairings are revealed. I'm certain IU and Xavier will make it in - but as for what seed and where they'll be playing, I have no idea.

One breakdown analysis I saw showed IU as a 5 seed and X as a 3 seed. Really? A three? *sigh* Gone are the days when X was just another mid-major school having a great run in the tourney. I figure Carolina will come out as the overall #1 seed. I was cheering on Va Tech last night (so close!) and Clemson gave them a good run today as well.

---

I joined Weight Watchers this morning - along with my husband. While he's got only a paltry 20 lbs or so to lose to meet his goal, I've got much more than that. I'm a flex plan sort of gal, counting and tracking, whereas he can't be bothered with that, so he's going to try the core plan. Should be fun trying to balance a meal to meet both our needs in the evenings. I'm not sure where corned beef and cabbage fit into this tomorrow, but at least a bottle of Guinness is only 2 points.

14 March 2008

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Early this week, I met with my boss with the intention of resigning to pursue some artistic endeavors. He asked me if I would contemplate staying on in a part-time capacity instead of leaving outright. As I had planned to look for another part-time position, this offer was a pleasant surprise.

I had a second meeting with our department head to discuss the possibility of part-time employment and what my duties would be. She was quite receptive to it, but needs to run it by her boss and the HR department before committing. I've had to submit a brief summary of what I envison my role/duties would be and she's going to take it from there and see if a 20 hour work week would be feasible (or 40 hours over the two week pay period). It'll be a few weeks until I know what the decision is, so please keep your fingers crossed for me.

With my FIL passing away, we've come into a bit of money that's allowed us to pay down our debt. I can afford to take a pay cut and decided this was my opportunity to pursue some artsy-fartsy courses; particularly metalsmithing and ceramics. Both have been interests of mine for some years, but I haven't been able to pursue it - until now.

So, either I'll be unemployed by mid-May or working a reduced schedule. Either way, it's just in time for summer vacations and visitors. I'm really excited about the opportunities coming my way and hope that they'll lead to bigger and better things.

09 March 2008

Half On, Half Off


Henry
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

My precious pup was crashed out on his bed last night -- well, his back end was on the bed, but his head and chest were on the floor/rug. I took a few pics of him sleeping like that, ears cocked as if he were aware of my actions, and finally he lifted his head and looked at me to say, "Enough!"

After two days of never ending rain, the sun is out here, but the temps have dropped. It's downright chilly now compared to the last several days. I don't have anywhere to go, anything to do today. I might try to make some jewelry. If Mark continues to sleep (because he's "sickly" - his words), that might actually happen.

08 March 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Ugh. It's coming down in buckets -- or as my dad used to say, it's raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock. The wind has picked up, too. No day for man or beast to be outdoors. But I've had to venture out in this mess.

Suki visited Dr B this morning for her vaccinations. She wasn't out of control, but she wasn't miss mellow either. However, we picked up the tranquilizers for her -- and the mobile vet will be visiting on the evening on March 19th. Knock wood that these pills will calm her enough to allow for a bath and trim. She's not matted at the moment - her hair is out of control. (Imagine a canine version of Einstein hair.)

I've been having fun on iTunes the past couple days -- downloading some Irish tunes and making a "Paddy Rock" playlist. I've got everyone from the Dubliners to the Pogues on the iPod now. My head was bobbing quite a bit listening to the Irish tunes while I was at work yesterday.

Not sure what's on the agenda for the evening -- it's supposed to be ugly throughout the night. At some point I'm gonna have to venture out with the dogs for their daily constitutional. I'm not looking forward to getting soaked.

06 March 2008

Idol Babbling

Yes, I'm addicted to American Idol. I'm enjoying the guys a lot more this year than the girls.

Jason Castro has been one of my favorites since I first heard him sing, but I *LOVED* his performance on Tuesday (80s night). I'd never heard the song, Hallelujah, before. I'm told it's Leonard Cohen and I've since splurged on iTunes for the Jeff Buckley version (which is awesome!).

Here's Jason's performance if you didn't watch -- the song starts about 00:26, after he shares his most embarrassing moment.



Hoping that he won't be getting the boot tonight. I love his voice and his laid back personality.

05 March 2008

Stormy Wednesday


Stormy Wednesday
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

I was rudely awakened this morning. At 5:30 AM, Mark flips on the lights and demands, "Do you have any idea what's going on?" Uh, no. I was just listening to the radio waiting for the news. I ask him to elaborate and he just huffs, "Nothing."

Now, I did wake about 3:30 AM to heavy rains and winds, but it wasn't a window shaking wind, so I didn't think much of it and rolled over and went back to bed.

I get up and I get it out of him that he can't get out to Rt 9 (the main road) because trees are lying across the road, have hit houses, etc. We've got some wooded areas on both sides of our subdivision, so it's understandable. I decide to take the dogs out and investigate for myself -- as well as search for one of our garbage cans which I left outside last night. (Found it - three houses down, pinned beneath the back end of a car.)

This photo is a house just outside our subdivision -- or towards Rt 9. Going the other way, there's a cop car with lights on the other side of some downed trees. In essence, we're trapped in the section where even taking the scenic route through the subdivision, we can't get access to Rt. 9. Lovely.

I phoned my boss to explain to him that I might not be in - last thing I want to do as I've got a ton on my plate and a couple meetings this morning. *sigh* Mark's attempting to give it a go and get to Belmar to catch a train now... If he gets through then I know I'll be able to get out to the main roads as well.

Off to shower and prepare for work...

04 March 2008

Update


Suki
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Spoke with the V-E-T yesterday about the groomer debacle.

Dr B is going to prescribe a sedative for her to take before her grooming appointments. He also suggested having the mobile groomer come to the house to minimize the trauma for her.

I've started to look for mobile groomers that service our area and will begin calling them tomorrow and see if I can get an appointment scheduled for her.

Meanwhile, life continues to roll along here in Jersey. I'm anxiously awaiting the results of the primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont tonight. I suppose I'll be flipping between Idol and CNN/MSNBC tonight. But if Idol is a suckfest like last week, I might just watch the talking heads on the news networks instead.

02 March 2008

Snaggletooth Strikes Again


Snow Day - Suki
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

I dropped off Suki at the groomer yesterday - only to get a call an hour later with the owner saying, "We can't touch her today." I immediately jumped in the car to go pick her up.

I walked into the grooming salon and smiled upon seeing a cute little dog on the nearest grooming table. The owner sees me and snaps at me, "It's not funny. She better be up to date on her rabies shot. She bit me." I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, but I managed to calmly reply, "I'm sorry - I wasn't laughing at you. And yes, she does have all her current shots."

The owner asked me to come back into their workspace to get her -- she was cowering in a corner, but jumped up and came to me the moment she saw me. I managed to get her collar and leash back on and scooped her up. As I walked out I stopped to apologize to the owner again -- who then gave me an earful about how Suki's become more and more difficult each time I bring her in. (Gee, maybe you could have mentioned that to me before? This is the first time I'm hearing about it.)

She also claimed this was only the third time in fifteen years that she'd been bitten -- and would need to go get a tetanus shot. She says to me, "I thought she only had one tooth?" Well, one canine and a couple small ones... (I don't know that I ever said ONE tooth, because I usually say 3 teeth - but she knows how to use them.) I asked if she would like any money for the doctor's visit, and she snapped back, "I have health insurance." (I have insurance too, but I have a copay.) I took my leave with Suki under my arm.

I cried all the way home (the full 5 minute ride). I understand Suki's a bit of hellion - when I try to brush her she'll snap at me. Which is why I don't brush her and leave it to the professionals. I just felt beaten down by the owners verbal assault and after the crap week I've had, it was something I didn't need.

In hindsight, I should have realized something was up -- when we left her, she was shaking and was hesitant to go in back at the groomer. I thought it was because Mark was there -- he tends to coddle her, thinks she can do no wrong. But now I'm wondering if something happened to her on a previous visit and that's why she acted the way she did.

I'll be calling the vet on Monday morning to talk about something to calm her a bit before the next grooming attempt -- and for a recommendation on a groomer. Suki won't be going back to this joint - even if they'd take her. Apparently one of my neighbor's had an issue with this groomer too - was asked never to bring her dog back. The groomer said that my neighbor's gentle mutt (beagle/lab) attacked the owner's dog. As she's one of the most mellow dogs I know, I don't know what to think about that story.

Suki's very loving most of the time, but in an instant can turn into a snarling ball of fur. With only three teeth or so, she can still do damage. She got me when I tried to bathe her -- in hindsight, a dumb idea since she was so worked up from the experience at the groomer. I should have waited a day or so. Ouch. Lesson learned.