Paczki

(Chocolate covered, custard-filled paczki.   Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Yesterday was Paczki Day, also known as Fat Tuesday.  If you celebrated by eating a paczki, you know one of the reasons why it’s called Fat Tuesday.

M and I look forward to this one day of the year when we can pig out on paczki.  Paczki are a lot like donuts only better (and, no doubt, unhealthier due to all the fat).  I’ve noticed (and I could be wrong about this) that paczki show up in our local grocery stores sometime around the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.

(Raspberry filled paczki.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

For those that don’t know, paczki are Polish donuts.  The traditional reason behind making paczki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs, and fruit in the house before Lent.

I’m not a religious person, but I’m going to steal the idea of giving something up for Lent this year.  I’ve decided to give up potato chips.  For some reason I can’t figure out, I’ve been on a potato chip kick.  Normally I do not eat potato chips all that often.  Lately they’ve become almost a standard part of my diet.  It’ll do me good to give them up for a while, especially since I’m working so hard to make some big lifestyle changes.

Twenty-five days ago I signed up at MapMyFitness for two 30-day challenges:

  • Go 100 miles in 30 Days
  • Quit Drinking Alcohol for 30 Days

Since beginning these challenges, I have walked 80.12 miles and burned 8,930 calories.  I’m also sleeping and feeling better without the alcohol.

With all the studies that have come out regarding alcohol, it’s hard to know which way to go.  Today’s big news story is that even moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to cancers in women.  It wasn’t all that long ago that red wine was being touted as heart healthy.  So, what’s a girl to do?

I don’t know.  I do know that I’ve been working hard to improve my health, and one thing I can do to help is to take a vacation from alcohol.  I don’t need the extra calories, that’s for sure, especially if I want to indulge in things like paczki every now and then.

(For those who want more info on alcohol and heart health, the American Heart Association has some guidelines here.  But even they aren’t sure so I guess it’s a matter of balancing things out to fit your lifestyle, your health, and your history.)

We’re having warm and sunny weather here in the Bogs today.   By warm I mean the high today is going to be around 46°F.  I’m going out for a walk in a little while.  The snow is melting quickly this morning.  It’s going to be a muddy walk.


Tired

After a full day and a fun night, I’m feeling pretty tired this morning.  I’d have slept in, but M and I decided we should get up early since we have an early flight home tomorrow (6:00am).

Cabrillo National Monument Park and the tidepools were interesting.  I’ll write more about it once we’re home so I can post photos with it.

Lunch at the Soup Plantation was great.  The food was fresh, delicious, and plentiful.  They had one of the healthiest all-you-can-eat buffets I’ve ever seen.

We had sushi for dinner.  It was fab.  After dinner we stopped at the Liars’ Club for a little while.  It’s a good thing we were walking home.  Between the sake at dinner and the beers at the Liars’ Club, driving would not have been a good idea.

We’re going to Kono’s Surf Club for breakfast this morning, then heading into the city to do a little touring and shopping.  The weather has not improved, but it’s hard to complain about it.  We had a drizzly misting kind of rain yesterday afternoon and last night.  Rain is so badly needed here that it seems selfish to utter even one word of complaint.

I’ll try to post in the morning before we leave.  If I don’t have time, I’ll check in again when we arrive home.


One year old

Life in the Bogs is one year old today. Happy birthday, Blog!

And one year later, I’m writing about the same thing, different year: Oktoberfest!

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Things work out as they should

(Longwood Gardens at dusk.  Photo by Robin.  July 2007)

Yesterday two guys from the Salvation Army came by. We had called them a couple of weeks ago to arrange for them to pick up the furniture we’ve been using in our sabbatical apartment. The friend that loaned us the furniture wanted to donate it since he doesn’t need it back.

I was very unhappy with the Salvation Army guys when they left here with only one item. It was obvious from the moment they walked into the apartment that they did not want to have to move anything. The one guy kept coming up with excuses as to why they couldn’t take this, that, or the other thing. According to this bozo, the Salvation Army only wants high-end, in perfect condition furniture.

I wrote about this at my other blog and you’re welcome to hop over there to read all about it if you’re interested. Basically, I was upset that we live in a world where the people who are supposedly helping others turn down things that someone could use all because they won’t make money on it.

So, being stuck with everything except the futon (the one item the lazy gits from the Salvation Army took, and I’m quite sure that was because they couldn’t find a good excuse not to), M and I put up a notice in the mail room announcing the give-away of our furniture.

Someone came by and took the kitchen table yesterday evening. He didn’t need the chairs.

This morning we received a phone call from a woman who teaches learning disabled young people (mostly the mentally retarded and/or those with Down Syndrome). They have a model apartment here in the building where they teach these young folks how to do the daily chores of life. She wanted to come by to look at the furniture.

She showed up around 10:00am with another teacher, her son, and about eight or so of her kids. She used it as a teaching opportunity. And best of all, she took some of the furniture because they can use it in the model apartment.

I’m so glad those lazy gits didn’t take the furniture yesterday. I like that it’s going to people who can use it.

In other news, we had dinner and drinks with E and A last night. E is the friend who loaned us the furniture (and the guy who brought M here for the sabbatical). It was martini and The League of Gentlemen night. M and I had never seen The League of Gentlemen, and A thought we might enjoy it.

A was quite right. We did enjoy it. It’s hysterically, and darkly, funny. Sometime after midnight I was beginning to think we might have somehow entered Royston Vasey and were fulfilling what is posted on the sign: You’ll never leave! If it hadn’t been so late, we wouldn’t have left, but stayed to watch a few more episodes.

I’ll have to see if we can get it from Netflix when we return home.

The martinis were good. E approaches martinis the same way he approaches margaritas. He had several high-end gins and insisted we taste-test them throughout the evening. I never realized how different gins can be. I thought the same about tequila when we were doing the tequila taste-tests a few months ago.

Dinner was delicious. E and A are fantastic cooks. They don’t hesitate to take on work-intensive recipes (as evidenced by the mole` they made for us the last time we had dinner in their home). Last night we had grilled shrimp in an orange-tequila sauce with a lovely tomato and avocado salad.

I’m a little worse for the gin this morning, but that will pass as soon as I feed the hangover with enough carbs and a few more hours of sleep.

I’m hopping on the wagon when we return home. All the partying has been fun, but enough is enough. My body is in need of several months of good, clean, healthy living.


Wrapping things up

M and I went to New Jersey for the weekend to visit with my family. My sister and her husband had their summer party on Saturday. Lots of people, lots of food, lots of drink, and lots of fun.

The weather was hot and sticky, pretty much typical of what the weather has been since summer rolled in and decided to stay for a while. There was some rain, but it didn’t dampen the party or anyone’s spirits. In fact, most people stayed out and played in the rain, getting cooled off and having fun.

M and I went early so we could spend some time with my parents before the party. This is our last visit before we move back to the Bogs. I’m going to miss the monthly visits. It was nice being so close by. I’m hoping all the visits have encouraged family members to start making a few visits out to the Bogs.

We were supposed to go the shore on Sunday, but the weather didn’t cooperate or permit. We ended up spending the day at my brother’s house, relaxing, eating, and getting caught up on life. I enjoyed it. A big thanks to M & K for the sleeping accommodations, and to K for the fab food.

Last Tuesday M and I went out to Longwood Gardens for what I hope wasn’t the last time. We’re hoping to go at least one more time before the big move. We’re also making plans to come back here for the occasional visit so we can see the gardens during the different seasons. Our passes are good for a year. Might as well use them.

(Tree draped in red. Longwood Gardens. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

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This, that, and a few photos from home

(The pond. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

The blog spam was getting pretty dull there for a while. Just lists of drugs and porn sites without even bothering to come up with some creative way to try to force it through the spamulator. The porn spam grows increasingly offensive. It would be nice if there was some way to block it completely. I could stop looking at what ends up in the spam bin, but then I’d miss a few comments from friends that somehow wind up in there. (I think that happens when people post more than one or two comments in a short amount of time.)

Then a few interesting bits showed up. This one:

A good example is the best sermon

Ironic in that it’s linked to websites about Paris Hilton. Or maybe not so ironic after all. Somehow, though, I don’t believe her prison time did much for her in the long run. I could be wrong. Ya never know.

The other makes me giggle for some reason:

leave one’s cheese out of the wind

Because I’m childish that way. Or something.

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The busy life

(E & A’s swimming pool. Photo by Robin. June 2007)

M and I have been pretty busy over the past few days. We spent Friday shopping for the big reunion party on Saturday. A group of folks who used to work for/with M and E (the friend and collegue who brought M here for his sabbatical) all gathered at E’s home for food, fun, and the chance to see who aged well. In my opinion, we all aged well. 🙂

I paid my first visit to Costco on Friday. E and his wife A are members. We decided it would be a good place to stock up on some of the party food as well as beer and wine. I was impressed with Costco. I’ve decided M and I should join when we return to the Bogs. I don’t think M was quite so impressed and sees Costco as just another place to spend too much money. He’s probably right.

Because people were driving in from as far away as Huntington, West Virginia (about a 7 hour trip, I think), we decided we should have plenty of food and plan on feeding people two meals since the party started at noon. For lunch we had a variety of hoagies from PrimoHoagies. The variety included the ever-popular and delicious Italian style; turkey with American cheese; and a fantastic veggie sandwich made with eggplant, broccoli rabe, and roasted red peppers. For dinner we had hamburgers and bratwurst. In addition, there were all kinds of salads (potato salad, coleslaw, pepper slaw, pasta salad), a veggie tray, a cheese tray and crackers, chips and salsa, fruits (grapes and a watermelon we never cut into), and a yummy cheesecake for dessert.

If you’re throwing a party and have a PrimoHoagies near you, I highly recommend them. Their hoagies are fantastic. They use good quality luncheon meats, the provolone is always sharp, and the rolls are freshly baked each day. The PrimoHoagies location I’m most familiar with closes when they run out of rolls and that can sometimes be fairly early in the day if they’ve had a good run of business.

After all the shopping on Friday, E thought we should try out his margarita recipe, just to be sure it was good enough for the party. We’d had one margarita by the time A arrived home from work and from there it turned into the Margarita Evening with the Tequila Gang. It was fun, silly, and resulted in the four of us feeling a little rough the next morning. I’m not sure how many recipes we tried out, but they were all pretty tasty. E makes a good margarita, that’s for sure.

The reunion was a blast. The only thing we really overindulged in was food. We had WAY too much food. However, in our defense, we started with a head count of 22-24 and last minute cancellations resulted in an actual attendance of about 13 or 14. The good news is that neither E and A nor M and I will need to do any grocery shopping for a while.

It was wonderful spending time with old friends and coworkers again. For E, it had been about 20 years since he’s seen some of those people. M and I left West Virginia about 7 years ago so it hasn’t been quite so long for us. It was agreed that we have to do this again without waiting so long the next time.

On Sunday we took one of the party guests to the Philadelphia airport to catch her flight home. M and I decided that as long as we were in Philly we might as well do something in the city. We started with a late (noontime) breakfast at Little Pete’s.

(Little Pete’s. Photo by Robin. June 2007)

Little Pete’s, I’m told, is something of an institution in Philadelphia. It’s a great place for a fast and decent breakfast that’s apparently popular with the after-party crowd. M and I both had omelets which came with home fries and toast. The food was good and plentiful without going overboard, the service was speedy, and the price was cheap (about $14 for the two of us).

(Inside Little Pete’s. Photo by Robin. June 2007)

After breakfast we strolled around the neighborhood for a few minutes, making our way back to our car.

(Somewhere on 16th Street, near Locust, in Philadelphia. Photo by Robin. June 2007)

(Philadelphia sights. Photo by Robin. June 2007)

(Philadelphia neighborhood. Photo by Robin. June 2007)

After our stroll we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a culture-filled afternoon. I’ll post a few photos from that adventure sometime tomorrow. Right now I need to get off this computer and make myself at least semi-useful in life.