Jun 29, 2008

Entertainment Tonight

I love all things relating to celebrity entertainment. I'm a junkie for the latest scoop of gossip and I prize myself on being very knowledgeable about who did what to whom and what they thought about it. It's fun and I never know what's going to happen to my celebrities each day. Which brings me Entertainment Tonight. I never watch it...until now.

My friend Heather text-messaged me to tell me Justin Timberlake was going to be on Entertainment Tonight. Fortunately I received the message in time and was able to DVR the episode. But upon watching it, it occurred to me that I should be taping Entertainment Tonight every day. Not only were they doing a retrospective on JT's career, but they were having a 'Mama Mia!' extravaganza all week long. How did I miss that Meryl Streep was staring in the movie version of this hit musical? Even better, Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy in the wet shirt from Pride & Prejudice) was also staring as one of her three lovers who might be the father of her daughter who is on the Greek aisles about to get married. Mama Mia!

Now I compliment my need of knowing the latest Entertainment news by regularly recording Entertainment Tonight. But here's the really funny thing. I kinda watch the show hoping to see entertainers who have had plastic surgery. They carry themselves like they are the most beautiful people in the world, yet their faces seem all unnaturally distorted. I love those inflated lips and the stretched up puffy faces slathered in cosmetics. Just this past week they had a feature on Loni Anderson's recent marriage and I couldn't believe her face! Or Priscilla Presley...what the heck happened there? Gawd, they all look so terrible. I was shocked to see Mary Hart is still going strong and yes, I believe she's had some work done, too.

Entertainment Tonight is my new guilty pleasure.

Jun 22, 2008

Jenny Craig - Day 5

I joined Jenny Craig last Tuesday, June 17th after finally giving up my battle of trying to lose weight on my own. I threw my hands up in frustration and gave myself over to a higher power known as an expensive commercial weight loss program.

I signed up for a year membership because I have that much weight to lose. The counselor wisely didn't offer me any package deals like, "6 weeks for $36 plus the cost of food." It didn't even come up. I'm in this for the long haul and I've invested a huge chunk of my hard earned money to get healthy with this weight loss program.

After my introduction session, I was given a weekly calendar that has all my meals planned out for me. I bought the Jenny Craig food which took up three plastic bags and would be everything I'd be eating in the week ahead. The only extra stuff I would have to buy is milk, yogurt, fruits and vegetables.

After I returned home and put all my packages away, I was so pumped up that I wanted to send a mass email out to everyone letting them know I took the plunge and joined Jenny Craig. I was going to ask for their support in the coming weeks because I would have to decline going out to dinner for a while until I got used to the program. I wanted everyone to know what I had done for myself to keep me motivated and involved in the long road ahead. I even considered starting up another blog to keep track of my weight loss struggles, but eventually decided to just use this blog to fold in any topics I wanted to discuss while I'm on the program.

Today is Day 5. I've done an excellent job of sticking to the menu. The only thing I have no idea about is this meal called a Souptizer which is on my menu every day. I'll ask my counsellor about it in my first meeting this upcoming Tuesday.

You're probably wondering about the cost of the food. They estimate it will cost approx. $70 a week. It frightens me that the food is so expensive, but in one respect it's the bottom line of how much I'm spending on the programs that prevents me even thinking about failure. I have no doubt in my mind that I will reach my weight loss goal in a year. (Jenny Craig also will refund me half of my membership fee if I reach my goal weight in a year. That would be $215 back since a year's membership was approx. $430)

The food is actually pretty tasty. I'm not kidding. I had a fish and chips frozen dinner tonight that looked disgusting on the box. After heating it up in the microwave, I was pleasantly surprised that it tasted so good. Granted the portions are so tiny compared to what I think a dinner should be, but I'll come to understand that it's all about portion control and eating healthy.

I had to go grocery shopping tonight because I needed to buy a jar of peanut butter, fruits, veggies and some low fat yogurt for the week ahead. Shopping is so much quicker now because I don't find myself wandering up and down the aisles looking for tasty treats. Now I've got a purpose. Get in and Get out.

I've only been on the program for five days, but already I'm feeling healthier. My body hasn't had candy for five days. I've had a few headaches which I'm attributing either to early stage PMS or my body adjusting to not having a constant influx of sugar.

My next appointment is when I get my measurements and my step on the scale to see if I've lost any weight since last week. I'm not worried at all because I know this time I've followed the diet to the letter-no deviations whatsoever.

Going forward, I'll occasionally blog about my progress or experiences being on Jenny Craig. I hope you'll join me in cheering me on to a healthier me.

So Say We All

Sometimes I like to daydream about all the crazy shit I'd buy if money were no object. Case in point: this life size Battlestar Gallactica Cylon from SideShow Collectibles. It's available for purchase for a mere $7900.00.

Now I know I'll never be able to afford such a thing, but seeing this Cylon brought to mind why I love Battlestar Gallactica so much: those Cylons scare the crap out of me even though I know they're pretend. It's just that vertical eye slashing so expertly back and forth and that devilish hum they make. Oh! And the pounding of their marching feet. That, too.

I eagerly sat in front of the TV yesterday thinking I'd be able to see the final series episode which would reveal the final six, but to my surprise I didn't have the show taped. I'm assuming the series finale will be next Friday.

This last season of Battlestar has been disappointing to me for a number of reason, but I won't get into the details for fear of boring you. But I am pleased to report they finally found earth.

Getting back to this awesome statue. I would so buy this and place it outside my front door for all to see. Those magazine solicitors would think twice about gracing my doorstep.

Jun 14, 2008

Ice Ice Baby

Today Spencer and I bought (2) refrigerators at Percy's in Worcester.   Actually we bought a traditional fridge for the kitchen and a stand-alone freezer for our basement. I am pretty excited about the fridge because it has the freezer on the bottom of the unit and everything else up top.  No more crouching down to pull out the lettuce or digging around to find my bag of grapes in the crisper. If I want ice cream, I'm bending down for it and that counts as physical activity so it ought to burn at least five extra calories, right?

The fridge in our kitchen is pretty old and for the past few years we've had a Tupperware dish positioned on the top shelf directly under the light bulb to catch a leak that mostly produces an annoying drip from some mysterious place within the fridge. So every couple of days, Spencer finds himself removing the Tupperware container that by now has a nice frozen block of ice in it and he either tosses it outside off the front porch or puts it in the kitchen sink to slowly melt away.  I like to think that we're giving the neighborhood dog Rosie a little frozen Popsicle treat should she mosey on by looking for Minnie's cast-off rawhide bones.  "Would you like ice with that bone?"" Why yes, I don't mind if I do. Thank you very much, my friend."

The new freezer is a replacement to our spare refrigerator downstairs so we can take advantage of bulk purchases of Eggo Waffles, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and sides of cow.  Plus we also get to help out my mother-in-law who is a very savvy shopper when it comes to finding buy one, get one free deals in our local supermarkets.  Her freezer is so jammed packed with food that pulling out a Popsicle is like playing the frozen version of Jenga:  yanking out a bag of frozen peas might yield an avalanche of various containers of all shapes and sizes containing everything from mashed strawberries from the summer of 2007 to misshapen plastic bags of sweet potatoes from last Thanksgiving. 

We went to Percy's in Worcester since they instill a comfort level of reliability and service that I can't find shopping with big box retailers like Best Buy, Sears or Lowe's. Plus we've had good luck with them.  We bought our dishwasher from them two years ago and they hooked us up with a fantastic local plumber to help with the installation.  Last week we bought a 10,000 BTU air conditioner from them and got a great deal: a local rebate because we're a National Grid customer, the use of a $50 gift card for giving them my email address and a great sale price to sweeten the deal.

Another impressive aspect of buying from Percy's is that they don't overwhelm you with pressure to buy a service contract.  However, they really should because it's the best deal around.  We bought a 5-year service contract for $129.99 and if we don't use the service all I need to do is notify them and they will refund me 50% of the price.  It was a no-brainer to buy the service plan for both the refrigerator and the freezer.  

The sales person also waived the $30 disposal free for removing both of our existing refrigerators which was a nice touch to round out the sale.  We were an easy commission for Jared today because all he had to do was process the transaction and answer a few of my questions.

We're having the delivery this Friday and it's important to note that at the time of purchase they were able to confirm inventory and schedule the delivery within a 3-hour time window.  

Percy's also is an authorized Bose dealer and they have a great layout featuring our products.  I am looking forward to going back to Percy's when it's time for us to buy the big TV for our basement remodel which hopefully will be in the next few months.

Believe me, it's a rare experience that I can go into a retail establishment and not leave feeling pissed off and annoyed at their lack of customer service.  If you're looking for a full-service appliance store in Worcester, make sure you visit Percy's.

Jun 13, 2008

Work Husband Leaves, Widow Remains

Today marked Christian's last day.  I affectionately considered him my work husband at Bose.  He had all the qualities of the ideal work husband: tall, smart and handsome. 

I suppose everyone who works in an office 8 hours a day, five days a week sharing lunches, bathroom traumas, gossip, corporate-speak and stress are bound to form some sort of kinship with one another. If you're lucky and depending on the situation, I imagine it's not uncommon for work relationships to bleed into one's personal life. Maybe it's as simple as going out for a drink after work, enjoying a sporting event together, having dinner or simply having a buddy you can go out shopping with during lunch.  But every once in a while, you meet someone truly special who makes all those things seem so effortless.  It's doubtful I'll ever find anyone of such high quality who was so in synch with what made me tick at the office.  He got me.

I can't recall exactly at what point in time I realized he was more than just a co-worker. I suppose the timing doesn't really matter. What is important to know about Christian is he made me look forward to going into work every day-especially on Monday's when I could catch him up on my weekend adventures.  He was a great listener and I considered it a high compliment whenever I got him to just laugh out loud and roll his eyes at me.

I'd like to use the remainder of this post to detail very specific memories or thoughts about Christian.  I would like to think that these are solid examples of what I would have wanted to write  if he asked me to sign his High School Year book.

  • He was influential because he introduced me to such things as  Tenacious D, Tim & Eric Awesome Show-Great Job!, Brule's Rules with Dr Steve Brule,  the Bone comic book series, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Batman, Star War, Lost, Rescue Me, Flight of the Conchords and South Park.
  • He taught me that no matter how hard I tried to change his desk habits  it would never work because he was in charge of his work area.  He stubbornly left up his South Park Cartman Christmas ornament all year round.  He thanked me for printing out a nice  clean color-version of the Bose store listings and proceeded to toss it into one of his plastic desk trays and continued to use his original which was working for him just fine thank you very much.
  • He ate the same lunch every single day: turkey sandwich, granola bar, store-branded yogurt and an apple.  When our group would go out to celebrate a co-worker's birthday, he almost always ordered the chicken with a glass of water.  He never ate birthday cake and was very choosy about sweets.  He liked Pez, orange Tic-Tacs and this yucky tin of breath mints that I had sitting in my office for what seemed like six months.
  • We travelled together on business to Columbia, South Carolina and he came down with Mono.  I have never seen a person so sick who complained so little.  He dragged himself through a day-long manufacturing plant tour in miserable throat pain, indulged me by going to visit a Zoo and then drove himself to the hospital across the street from our hotel to get medication later that night. He lost his cell phone on the flight back and managed to retrieve it with minutes to spare before our flight took off.  Did I mention he had MONO? 
  • He convinced me to put up my pink Christmas tree and decorate it with Hello Kitty ornaments when I wavered a little thinking it wasn't a very professional thing to do.
  • Christian is a seasoned weekend drinker.  But you'd never know it by the way he carried himself at work.  I never once witnessed him coming into work wrecked or in a bad mood due to a hang over.  He was a good boy during the week eating healthy and exercising, but let loose on the weekend.
  • He hated my Maxine page-a-day calendar and indulged me on all things Justin Timberlake.  I am the only person in his circle of acquaintances that is (a) a member of the Justin Timberlake fan club and (b) has a Justin Timberlake email addy.
  • He bested me on pop culture more times than I could count.
  • He shamed me on his depth of knowledge using the safety stock analyzer and had the patience of a saint trying to make me understand Intermediate Eschelons.
  • He had excellent customer service skills and owned the right to call "Eye of the Tiger" his personal theme song.  
  • He had a propensity to turn quickly in his chair and smash his knee into the desk.
  • I think he also loved to throw his stress ball at me to get my attention when I was wearing my Quiet Comfort 3 headphones.
  • We had a great time doing last minute Christmas shopping in 2007 at The Wrentham Outlets.  I got him to appreciate the coolness of Restoration Hardware.
  • Christian was a good son.  He kept in touch with his brother, sister, mom and dad regularly and was never ashamed to say he was going home to the Cape for the weekend to spend it with his family.
Seriously...this list could go on and on.  I need to wrap this up and tie the bow.   My work husband has left.  He has boldly traded in his life in a cubicle farm for a full-time shift  in a liquor store on Cape Cod. He's spending the summer  in the place he calls home and who knows what will happen come the end of Summer.  He is the proverbial Leaf on the Wind.

It's special and deeply meaningful to me that I can call Christian my friend rather than my co-worker.  I've promised to keep in touch and I don't make a habit of breaking my promises. Even though I could quite possibly never see him again, somehow I just know that my name will make the invite list when he gets married and I'll be around when my boy turns thirty - whichever comes first.  

Did I mention I have his cell phone number?

Jun 1, 2008

A Classic Marc Anthony

Fast forward to 6:58 for my favorite part of the cartoon.

Bottle of Wine, Fruit of the Vine

I have to thank my recently graduated from BC Law sister-in-law Katie for turning me on to a wine all the way from Israel's Samson region. She and her mom went to a wine tasting in Shrewsbury a few weeks ago and Carmel Young Moscato 2007 was one of their featured spirits.

I tried a glass last Saturday during her graduation party and I couldn't believe I liked it so much after just one small sip. It's a sparkling white wine that is very sweet-tasting and delicious.

The following day, she ended up bringing over a bottle that had probably just enough to fill a small glass and I greedily gulped it down hoping for more and being disappointed that there wasn't a refill.

We had a little time to kill this morning while Minnie was at the groomer so we took a trip to Renaissance Wine and Spirits of Shrewsbury since this was the store that had introduced Katie and my mother-in-law to this wine via a Wine Tasting event the week before.

The first thing I noticed upon entering the store was the level of organization in the aisles. Signs hung from the ceiling above the aisles to help customers head in the right direction if they were looking for Wine, Vodka, Rum, Beer, etc. Even better, their wine section featured sub-categories of Wines from different countries. I looked around for a bit and then found the bottles on one of the end-caps. Katie said the bottle cost about $10, so I ended up buying 3 bottles. (Yes, this is how I'm changing my driving habits-I have resorted to buying wine in bulk to save at the pump)

I was carded at the register by a very nice woman who took my driver's license and scanned it to verify I could handle 3 bottles of wine. As she handed it back to me, she said (almost to herself) 'huh' and began to ring up my purchase. She flattered me by saying that I didn't look my age and that I had such pretty skin. As you know, I suck a small talk so I think I said something about how I try to stay out of the sun. Yes, nice lady. I stay hidden in my bedroom getting drunk on wine and only come outside when my reserves get low.

Seriously though, she was very nice and I explained how excited I was to find the very wine my sister-in-law discovered during a recent wine tasting. The woman said this particular type of wine was "...their little secret." I think what she was implying is that I made a lovely choice and she approved of my three bottle purchase. It's good to know they do special orders. Should the need arise that requires a case of this deliciously sweet wine, I could have them order it for me.

Renaissance Wine's website is surprisingly rich with content. Aside from the usual, they have a very comprehensive FAQ section that gives a wealth of information about Beer, Spirits and Wine. I also liked that I could purchase a gift card online and have it sent to me via certified mail. I've since signed up for their newsletter so I can be informed of tfuture wine-tasting events. In fact, I like this store so much that I'll buy all my alcohol from them instead of Austin Liquors because of their easy aisle navigation and super friendly employees.

I think I'm on to something here. I feel so very adult. I have 3 lovely bottles of wine in my kitchen ready to be consumed when I have one of those days that needs fixing right quick. Maybe I should just open the first bottle to take a little sippy.