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Mission Accomplished!

I apologize to all the people on facebook who watched my mission status updates without knowing about the mission. I'm not usually that cryptic but I didn't want Mary and Miguel to read anything about their cake/cupcakes before their wedding on Valentine's Day.

I am very grateful to have a Kevin for a husband. He's very helpful and took on the cupcake stand. I'm also very lucky that his parents already built one for his cousin Erika's wedding. So last week I drove around from store to store trying to get ideas and then the four of us...yes even Max and Sam "helped" (critiqued)...decided together how to decorate the stand. And then Kevin did all the work. That was nice. Seriously, that's how I'd love to go through life. Here's my design ... someone else make it happen!

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I make White cake with buttercream icing cupcakes...
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My results are dismal

Wish Nicole would play. She'd kick everyone's ass.

1. Bold the shows you watch/used to watch.
2. Italicize the shows you've seen at least one episode of.
3. Underline the shows you own [at least one season] on DVD and/or VHS.
4. Post your answers.

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Facebook Dreaming

I had two bizarre dreams this morning one of which is directly related to facebook. Although not the way it begins. That's just weird all by itself.

I was at a slumber party at Oprah's. But it wasn't grand or anything. Facebook comes into play because there were a couple girls from High School there. As each of us woke up we trickled into the living room. In the living room there were boys from High School. They must have spent the night with Stedman.

We were definitely adults at this time. I went to the refrigerator and grabbed a diet Dr. Pepper. One woman complained that she had given up soda and that I was tempting her. In High School it would have been regular Dr. Pepper and who gave up stuff then?

After we all chatted for a bit (Oprah and Stedman remained asleep), we decided to go to the playground outside and play tag. I never played tag in high school. We must have been regressing at an alarming pace. It was super fun although the men seemed to have an advantage over grown up women who were much slower and wearing inappropriate tag clothing. But I woke up feeling that sense of being free and easy as a kid. So thank you Facebook.

The other dream was weird too but not facebook related. We were supposed to visit my sister Mis who had purchased property in the remote and less populated area of South East CA. We were having a photo shoot with a famous actor. I don't know why and I don't know who the actor was. I only knew that Mis called and asked us where the hell we were because famous actor man is waiting.

And then she was at our hotel with Kevin in her car and me following in mine. And she demanded that we go to her remote place that was about 45 min. away. We get separated. We are off of the freeway on a small road that was cute and country like. For some reason I decided that I'd be better off rollerskating the rest of the way so I left my car by the side of the road and skated merrily along. (Hmmm regressing again) After about 15 minutes I come upon a humongous hill and I'm kind of excited and scared to skate down it. I do it and it's fun and exhilarating. I'm now too far from the car to go back but still really far from Mis's so I decide to call and that's when I realize that I don't have anything at all on me. No cell and no keys. I skate on and find a cell phone by the side of the road and call for a ride. Max answers Kevin's cell and I start negotiating a ride.

I woke up feeling that the dream was kind of weird but all I can think about is how big that hill was. Definitely not as fun a dream as playing tag with your friends.

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MHT (Mel's Healthy Tip) #2 - Brown Rice

I've chosen not to eat the simple carbohydrates. I have a tendency to over-complicate things in general so why not carbs too?

I never liked brown rice until I tried the following recipe. It's easy to put together and risk free because it bakes in the oven. The result is fluffy and flavorful brown rice that isn't so bad anymore at all. I have been known to mix it with pinto beans in a burrito, add it to soup and lately I've been mixing it with vegetarian chili (canned) for a healthy and quick dinner.

Baked Brown Rice

* I use any kind of brown rice including long grain. I sub out the butter with olive oil. The taste is just slightly less delicious. I don't pre-boil the water. I just use hot tap water. Yes I know that's bad but I'm lazy sometimes.

1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.

Mel's Healthy Tip #1

As I said before, I am posting tips. Maybe they'll be helpful and maybe they won't. However, it may prompt discussion which is always good and it may invite you to share a tip of your own that I could use.

One of my favorite things is Sarah Lee Delightful 100% Whole Wheat Bread. It is only 45 calories per slice. Of course I eat two slices (and sometimes four!) which provides 6 protein and 4 fiber grams while only costing 90 calories.

This lets me have toast, sandwiches, hotdogs and hamburgers (veggie of course).

It's easy, tastes good and I always have it on hand.

Incident at the Grocery Store

Many deals to be had due to superbowl Sunday. I filled the bottom of the cart with 12-packs of soda. Seven to be exact. That's five across the bottom and two stacked on top.

I checked out and walked across the parking lot toward my car on a slight decline. One 12-pack fell off in front of the cart and the cart ran over it. Right in the middle of the street. Soda was squirting everywhere and I was a traffic hazard like a big rig with a spilled load on the highway.

It turned out to be not such a big deal you know? I quickly got the cart free of the soda and picked up the messy 12-pack in one hand and pushed the cart to my car with the other hand. As I was loading my groceries into the truck I was approached by no less than two people at two different times. Both wanted to make sure that I planned on taking that 12-pack back into the grocery store and making sure the store would give me a new one to replace the destroyed one for free.

I appreciated their concern initially but told them that I was the one that packed the cart. They said "Still. You should do it."

I said that I only lost two cans out of twelve and they said, "Still."

Finally I had to tell them that it really isn't that big of a deal. It's my fault and it's not a big loss at all. No.

Am I missing something?

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New Years Resolutions Gone Wild

This year I made a quiet resolution to myself that I shared with a few people in conversation. Basically, I wanted to fly. There are people that I know in real life (not just TV shows like "Leave it to Beaver") that have their households run like finely-tuned machines. When I say that it sounds like I'm looking for perfection but I'm not. I want to have my house always "company ready". I'd love to spontaneously have people over without any thought at all to how the house looks. I'd like my clothes put away in the closet. I want wake up each morning to a bare desk that invites morning pages.

The main reason I am going down this path is so that I get what I really need. Because along with the peace of mind that a well-organized living situation provides I will also gain TIME. I know a family that after dinner the husband and wife wash, dry and put away the dishes. They bathe and get the kids in bed. Leftovers are packed into lunches for the next day. The key is that they do everything without thinking about it. It's a habit and it gets done fast.

So I started keeping my kitchen sink fairly clean (remember no dishwasher here!). I started deciding what I'm wearing the night before. I'm building these habits see?

But I was feeling like crap. At first I thought it was resistance until I remembered that I'd been slowly getting worse since before Christmas. I also noticed clothes were getting to be too tight. At first I thought that I couldn't possibly commit myself to eating healthy and exercising along with becoming more organized until I realized that I was shooting myself in the foot trying to do one without the other. There's no way I could put into place new habits while becoming more and more run down.

The first thing I did was quit the full calorie soda. After our wedding last September, I went from diet to regular in case I got pregnant (no phenylalanine). It's funny how we think. Like a baby needs full calorie soda! So now I'm drinking water and tea and the occasional diet soda and I feel so much better.

I started using sparkpeople again. I bought a wii fit that I love. I joined a "biggest loser" group at work and have a chance to win $1,000.

I think that if I eat in a way that energizes I gain time as well. I've always subscribed to the idea that goals need to be specific and measurable. I'm following my gut now not my head. I also know that in order to succeed, sometimes you have to fail a lot and with each failure it brings you closer and closer to your goal. So I'm not going to worry. I'm just going to keep moving forward and see what tomorrow brings.

I will also be making posts about things that work for me in this process and hopefully people reading this will share their ideas with me. I could use them!

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That time of year again - Oscars

I deliberately took today off of work. Last Monday I knew I needed a day for myself. I had no plans and that was kinda the point. Turns out I had my Oscar season kick off event.

This year I thought I had decided to forgo my mad obsession to see every major Oscar nominated film prior to the Oscars. I didn't see that many 2008 movies. At least not Oscar caliber films. I tend to like the action movies and go with my dad whenever a new one comes out. Those don't normally get Oscar nominations. Why can't there be more Lord of the Rings type films?

So in my meanderings online this morning I happened to see the nominations that were recently announced. The analyst in me decided to see how many films were still playing and it turns out quite a few. In fact, if my day had 10+ hours free to watch movies and the theaters cooperated, I could have seen all of the Best Picture Nominations today.

Instead I saw just one. The one that no other person in my household would ever care to see. Sam wants to see Benjamin Button and Milk. Max wants to see Frost/Nixon and Slumdog Millionaire. No one wants to see "The Reader".

As I drove through the drizzle and then walked to the ticket counter I enjoyed the damp weather and the quiet. It felt just like this movie.

I haven't even seen the other movies but I don't think it will win Best Picture or even Best Actress for Kate Winslet. It was well done and thoughtful though. It was quiet. It was interesting.

I would never have seen this if it wasn't nominated. It's not my type. And that is exactly why I do this. I enjoy the stretch.

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Currently...

Reading:
Inkheart

Last Movie:
Vantage Point (A)

Watching:
American Idol; Sarah Conner Chronicles

Excited about:
Barack Obama

Knitting:
SOCKS!
And an afghan 4/62 squares complete
A secret project X 1

Cooking:
Many many inexpensive dinners

Doing:
Planning my new ideas.
Learning about cameras
Fixin' to get married

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