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Apparently it is NaBoloPoMo, yeah, I didn’t know what that meant either until I looked it up. National Blog Posting Month, where folks challenge themselves to blog everyday to get [back] into the habit of it. I’m not sure I can come up with something worth sharing EVERYDAY, but I can go for 2-3x week (at most).

Sunrise in Boulder, CO

Between my new job, (which I started after returning from Labor Day/Rosh Hashanah week Boulder, during in the middle of the High Holidays), commuting, and general house chores I am exhausted most of the time. Thankfully the major holidays are over and things have settled down to our new normal. We attend Segulah Minyan every other week, and blob out at home and maybe stock up on local produce and other items at the farmers market on the alternate weeks. Ben has been keeping me sane by packing my lunch every morning, otherwise I’d be spending all my hard-earned on lunches (plus I’d be breaking my personal policy of not eating out more than 1x week).

Here are a few photos from our week in Boulder. It was SO nice to spend time with friends (and their baby bellies and babies), as well as have some time with Ben where I didn’t feel like I was keeping him from work or where either of us were competing with a laptop for the others attention. Sometimes we have trouble putting our gadgets down, it’s a work-in-progress.

Yom Kippur was a Segulah Minyan event, at a rented church social hall in Sheppard Park/Silver Spring. Services were great and I actually felt present for most of them, but it really punctuated how much we miss CBS in Boulder. Speaking of Congregation Bonai Shalom, the synagogue was CRIPPLED by the flooding in Boulder in mid-September (it started 2 days before Yom Kippur, which was thankfully held at nearby Naropa University’s East Campus). Reading the news out of Boulder in mid-September was terrifying and sad. If you have any pennies to share, I’m sure Bonai would appreciate them (instructions on how to donate via email or phone are on their website).

You’ve already seen our photos of the AMAZING sukkah Ben built on the patio, and my friend Jennifer came down from NY for the day for the first day of sukkot (we dwelled with dinner, brunch over the news paper in the AM, and general lazy lounging in the afternoon after a nice walk exploring my neighborhoof) before she had to head back to the city for work the next day. Boo. We don’t see each other enough. I guess I need to take a turn and go to New York again!

What else is going on….

Weight Watchers as a program is great, but my progress has been glacially slow. lately I’ve either hit a plateau or gotten lazier at tracking than I thought. Blergh. Soon it will be cold enough to blame it on heavy winter clothes, but that trick only works once!

Now that we’ve moved past the craziness of ALL the Jewish holidays feeling like they are ALL AT ONCE (it always feels like that when they swallow Shabbat whole, or turn it into a virtual 3-day chag), and I’ve gotten more used to my 8 hour + lunch day, things are settling down.

In more upbeat news:

In late September we helped my friend Andrea, from way-back-when at IAC, move from her temporary furnished apartment into a gorgeous flat in Adams Morgan. She’s pregnant and her husband was traveling for work and Ben and I didn’t want her trying to unpack without help! We also explored her neighborhood a little (all new to all of us) and ate some awesome falafel and fries for lunch and pizza for dinner, YUM! It was the first real fall-weather day we’d had and it was crisp and beautiful. It was a bit of a shame we spent it unpacking, washing bedding, installing a new printer, and buying what felt like ALL THE THINGS at Target, but it showed off how great her apartment is that the windows really let in the light and air and it was still nice and quiet even though she’s 1/2 a block from a major urban shopping/dining area (think Pearl Street in Boulder). I’m kinda jealous.

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BKS building the sukkah

Ben and I built our first ever sukkah this year. It is HUGE (8×12′), big enough to fit our 6′ table and four comfy chairs around it. It is awesome. We mail ordered the 6×8′ s’chach from The Sukkah Project and built the frame from 2x4s (and two 1x2s) from Home Depot and some metal framing braces.

best sukkah ever

Here’s a photo of our sukkah all lit up and set for a nice dinner. Lovely! The back wall (up against the parking garage) looked bland, so I picked up a plastic shower curtain from the BB&B clearance section to hang up there and it really helps it look less blocky and more festive.

A friend from Interlochen, JMV, came down from New York for the first day of sukkot and I had to remind my new bosses that I wasn’t kidding when I said that there were 3 major Jewish holidays in 3 weeks (really 4 in 4 weeks, but I usually only fully observe two of them, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). Ben worked his spousal magic and had a wonderful dinner waiting for us when we got home (picking up cupcakes at the train station, en route home) for Erev Sukkot (the night before the first day). We had a great time and ate too much together. JMV and I spent the first day of Sukkot living in the sukkah (i.e. vegging out, the weather was lovely!).

That’s the latest from here. I’ll try and catch up on my photos from Boulder and then tell you all about my new J-O-B soon!

 

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Let me start by saying that this pie was DELICIOUS! It also looks like Slimer from the Ghostbusters cartoon. I’d say it also qualifies as a FAIL inspired by Pintrest.

Almost every week one of my favorite bogs, Serious Eats, has a Share Your Sweets photo roundup. This weekend’s challenge was “summer pie.” I had just bought a bag of HUGE, Costco-sized avocados (from Costco) and decided that since I’d purchased them in August they were a summer fruit and therefor I would look for a recipe for avocado pie (also because I realized WTF am I going to do with 7 huge avocados when they all ripen within 24 hours of each other?!). This seemed like a good plan to use up the smallest two (AKA normal sized) avocados.

Here were my inspirations:

Pinch My Salt’s seemingly simple avocado pie, as modified by chez us.

Yeah. Mistakes I made:

  1. We didn’t have any sweetened condensed milk, so I googled how to sub evaporated milk and sugar (hint, it’s 3/4 cup of sugar for every 5 oz of evaporated milk, I eyeballed 1 1/3 cups of sugar into 12 oz of evaporated milk to “keep the sugar content down”). You have to heat the mixture to combine the sugar and then cool it completely before using it, mine was tepid. FAIL ONE.
  2. I misread 3.5 oz of lemon juice for 3.5 Tbls. FAIL 2. Plus, I used lime, but that shouldn’t have mattered as much as the missing 1.5 Tbls of juice.
  3. I tried to “bling out my pie” by slicing a small avocado into thin slices and fanning them in the crust before pouring in the goop. FAIL 3. SPLORT!

Oh, you want to see how mine came out? Sure, OK:

VERDICT: I will try it again with the right ingredients, without sliced avocado, and without the meringue topping and maybe just a dollop of plain yogurt or unsweetened whipped cream. Even with the slightly reduced sugar it was a seriously SWEET dessert. I remember sweetened condensed milk as a more mellow sweet, kinda caramel-y, rather than the assertive WHITE SUGAR sweet that I got from the glop I made. With so many possible easy fixes, how can I not try to make this again in the future?

avocado lime pie

avocado lime pie “glamor shot”

I know I’m not going to win any food photography contests any tim soon, but I really did want to try with this! Look, I had props and everything! I was going to cut open the avocado and display the 1/2 with the pit, but decided against “wasting” good fruit on such a deliciously sloppy pie.

FINAL LATE NIGHT THOUGHT: If I rename this Slimer Pie, would that make it better?

NUTRITIONAL INFO: I don’t want to know. I guessed 7 WW PointsPlus per 1/8th. It might be closer to 11. Like I said, I don’t want to know. I ate my slice 90 minutes ago and now I have a slight sugar hangover.

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Here’s my take on it: I like baking bread, cookies, canning, entering recipe contests, etc. because they give me projects, goals, and satisfaction when I’ve completed/entered them! Sending resumes out into the great void of employers is demoralizing and depressing (I send out 12-20 cover letters  and resumes per week, I hear back maybe 3-5 times per week, most of those being something like “We have received your resume and will contact you if we would like to interview you.” If I don’t get some curt, reply-all, email I don’t know if a person or a computer has screened me out but I typically don’t get so much as a note saying “Your application has been received” to let me know that the email and attachments even went through. Thank goodness for mailer daemon or I might think they’ve all been rejected!

And Emily Marchar‘s take on the subject of why my peers and I like doing stuff is why she’s a writer and I’m not:

There’s a degree to which this New Domesticity helps people justify and feel good about the choices that they basically had to make. A lot of women are pushed out of the workforce, and nobody wants to feel like they’re a pawn, nobody wants to feel like they don’t have any power.

D.I.-Why?: Emily Matchar on the Allure of the “New Domesticity” | The Hairpin.

home made sushi

home made spicy tuna and carrot maki rolls, for a gluten-free friend’s birthday in 2009

UPDATE: And while we’re at it, THIS! Our life isn’t ready for a baby but I am: let’s talk about dealing with baby fever” | Offbeat Families. I just wanted to throw that our there too, to add to this morning’s general “Woe is I” feeling. I ♥ you, ladies of the interwebs.

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I don’t really like blogging about my Weight Watchers success. It makes me feel weird, like I shouldn’t have let myself go so far before I had to look for outside enforcement, but that’s the nature of having a problem. You won’t accept help until you look for it yourself. Going to a WW meeting mustn’t be too far off from an AA meeting, food addicts, alcoholics, we’re not that different. Well, maybe our stories are less depressing at WW, but we’re there to be supportive of each other and to share what’s working and what isn’t and learn the science behind the whats and whys of the program.

Anyhow, it’s working slowly but surly for me. Since Thanksgiving 2012 I’ve lost 20 lbs (well, I hit that milestone a month ago and have been near it since, but I haven’t been great about limiting my birthday/wedding celebration consumption either). Yes, that’s 9 months to loose 20 lbs, or about 2 lbs per month overall. I’m actually quite proud of it and expect that because I’ve lost it so slowly it’s more likely to stay off.

Every time I hit a setback it’s been 3-4 pounds over 2 weeks after some major event revolving around food: baby shower, road trip, baby shower, wedding, birthday, etc. Then it takes me a month to get back on track, and loose what was there before too, which is really frustrating because I feel like I’ve lost the same weight over and over again. It also means that sometimes I loose 6 lbs in a month when 1/2 of those were pounds I’d already lost and yo-yoed back because I ate too much salt/fat/whatever and just had an awful weigh in previously. FINALLY though I’m starting to see that I look and feel different. My waist is back where it should be and old clothes not only fit but are a tad roomy! And the best part is that yoga is getting easier, not because I’m getting stronger, I feel I may have in fact lost muscle tone because I’m not as active as I have been in the past, but because there’s less belly to have to modify around!

The biggest milestone for me is that my wedding dress not only fits again, but it fit without the Spanx I wore underneath for my wedding! WOOHOO!

wedding dress on 30th birthday

pointing out my favorite wedding photo in my wedding dress almost 3 years later
PS- please ignore the mezuzah that appears to be sticking out of my head

Go me! Oh, and I got new glasses too. Not a huge change, but I also got my first pair of prescription sun glasses rather than the magnetic/clip-on sunglasses that went over my regular glasses that I had in the past. I feel like a real grownup now. Watching my food intake, trying to track my physical activity, and real sun glasses. I guess 30 isn’t so bad, it just can’t the tequila/beer and nachos/pizza festival that 23 was and I am 100% OK with that; I like veggies, whole grains, and lean protein!

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Belated Birthday Post

Last Thursday, the 8th, was my birthday! It was pretty low key. The previous Sunday we hosted a birthday brunch at home and had a bunch of friends and some family over too. It was lovely, but my younger brothers “forgot” and didn’t show up, which was a bit disappointing. Oh well, I should have know I was asking for too much when I set brunch for 10:30ish AM, about 90 minutes before I should expect anything from them on the weekend.

Anyhow, I’ve been on a big salad kick and made a HUGE salad (I had to split it into two bowls) for the brunch, along with a lemon poppy seed bundt cake, coffee cake, and we also served watermelon, fresh feta, and aged manchego (Costco has some amazing cheeses). Ben made a big batch of creamy scrambled eggs with herbs, and he also spent a chunk of time the previous day ironing out crackers in the pasta roller!

Sadly we forgot to take any photos. Doh. Here’s a photo a the “major salad” that I made for the same pre-wedding potluck that I made the curried popcorn for. It’s the same as the salad I’d made for my birthday brunch, but the tiny grapes were a birthday present and thus not present in the birthday salad (they did sit quite handsomely in a tupperware on the table of food for eating.

major salad

Home grown basil and home made balsamic vinigrette are the “secret” ingredients (along with cracked buckwheat cooked with a spoonful of vegan broth powder).  I love big salads because I feel like they’re OK to keep snacking on when the social context calls for continued eating but in terms of more filling foods (like cake or pasta) and WW points I’ve met my limit for the meal. You can even stretch out major salads like this by adding more spinach as you empty the bowl, there’s usually a little pool of over dressed toppings on the bottom of the bowl anyway.

Oh, so you want to hear about my real birthday? Like I said, it was pretty low key. I thought I was going to have a temp job, I got a call right at 9 AM, but then the computer system at the staffing agency went down and they actually lost the client to another agency because of the lack of communication and they couldn’t call me back to let me know because they couldn’t look up my number! That was a bit frustrating, but by noon I knew that it wasn’t going to work out and called a girlfriend who was savoring her last week of maternity leave to see if she wanted to meet up for lunch. We ended up at Tara Thai in Bethesda after wandering around a bit and then wandered some more. I’d brought my gym bag with me in the car and begrudgingly went (my ankle is still a bit weak from a fall 3 weeks ago) and I walked 3 miles on the treadmill while watching Ellen. Dinner was equally low-key, a progressive meal of frozen yogurt and hot food and salad from the local up-scale/healthy grocery with a friend from WW and his wife and Ben too.

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I’ve made some great DC/MD based friends, but we’re all so much more spread out and I don’t have anyone to call and say “I had a bad day, I need someone to talk to over wine and gourmet french fries” with here (also, I’m trying to lay off the wine and french fries because neither are particularly WW friendly).

first tomato of the 2013 sesason

first tomato of the 2013 sesason

Anyway, I saw some old friends, and a new one, while in NY for a 24 hour visit last weekend for a baby shower. It was great, I had wine and gourmet french fries! No, the food isn’t the only reason it was great. It was amazing to catch up with friends from Boulder, Interlochen, and DC and I had a great time with all of them (and great food too, I came back having overspent my flex point allowance for the week by 17 points in just 2 days!).

Sometimes I just have trouble adjusting to my new physical location in the world because all the people I have collected along the way aren’t all around me all the time. Sometimes, I’m just homesick for boarding school or even summer camp, when most of my peers that I cared about were in the same physical place I was at the same time and we could stay up talking (until call to quarters) about everything and anything. Is that more nostalgia that homesickness? I guess I just wish my new friends were closer and had fewer obligations/more flexible schedules so that social calls didn’t need to be so planned out.

Whatever.

One of the newest bonuses that I’ve discovered to being a real grownup, one who spends their Sundays doing chores and running errands, is that I get to garden on my patio! It was too dry and hot in Boulder, plus our patio was coopted by Crazy Neighbor Lady. Lately, Ben and I have been chowing down on Thai food every shabbat, to keep up with the growth of the Thai Basil; eating lots of farmers market eggs and goat cheese with fresh chives, eating salads topped with fresh baby greens from the garden (they don’t grow fast enough to make whole salads out of all the time), making lots of Italian-style pestos and salad dressings (green and purple!), rosemary bread, and we’ve ordered some Kosher meats to eat with all the thyme we’re growing too.

Container gardening is fun! We mulched everything well, so there’s very little weeding, and it’s been raining pretty frequently so we hardly have to water. I don’t think it will be cost effective to grow our own foods unless we stay here or re-use the same pots and dirt for a few years (the pots were the real investments at $11-19 each), but it’s nice to get outside and have some plants to tend to and chat through the fence with neighbors (yes, one smokes, but she’s not crazy!).

Time to pull myself out of my melancholy, call my adult play date buddy (she’s on maternity leave, bonus baby snuggles!), surf the job boards, and then head downtown for our lunch and museum date. Maybe I should spend a few minutes weeding (more like trying pluck off all the basil flowers) in the sunshine to perk myself up. WEEE, SUNSHINE (dutifully ignoring the 90 F temp and potential for afternoon storms).

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