Sunday, December 27, 2009

Words to live by from Miss Marilyn.





Blessed be.

And so this is (after) Christmas.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!!
I feel so blessed for having such wonderful people in my life who love me as much as they do.
They are there when the going gets tough and when the going is smooth sailing ... usually with with a well-made Manhattan at the ready!

Can't believe it's almost 2010 - time to start thinking about my resolutions (gulp).
I have a few different ones this year and I'm really looking forward to getting started on them toute de suite!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Brittany Murphy memory.

Today, at age 32 - the same age as I am (gulp) - actress Brittany Murphy died of cardiac arrest.
My first and second thoughts were 1. That's terrible (as it always is when someone dies young), and 2. I totally had forgotten about her.

I'd seen her in a few films - "Clueless" being the big one.

My favorite part had always been the big "Rolling With My Homies" scene, especially when Brittany's character Tai did it when she was crushing on Elton played by Jeremy Sisco.


On NEPA traffic lights

I am so thankful I don't live in a place where traffic is really, really bad.
When my brother lived in SoCal, it used to take him two hours to drive a distance that equaled the mileage between Scranton to Wilkes-Barre - every day.

And we all know about my beloved city of New York, where, oddly, I'm a really, really good driver.

So we have it pretty lucky here in NEPA - but that doesn't mean I am still not reeling over the fact it took me 20 minutes to get out of the Wyoming Valley Mall parking lot this afternoon thanks to the lack of turning arrows and the ability for more than three cars to make it through the lights.


As I sat there and seethed, I cursed PennDOT for being so dumb.

... and then I cursed myself for being even more dumb for 1. not finishing my shopping earlier and 2. putting myself at the mall on the Sunday afternoon before Christmas in the first place.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wilkes-Barre state of mind.

A week from now, the presents will be open and Christmas Day will soon change into The Day After Christmas.

I am not done shopping and dread going to finish.

Things have been so hectic and busy that I've not had the time to buy the rest of my gifts, and when I have had time, I chose to spend it having fun, like the great party I attended last night at Revere Pictures in downtown Wilkes-Barre, for example.

Is that so wrong?
Will Santa leave me off the good list for taking care of my needing of a fabulous party? I hope not because the party was good for me. I got to hone my rusty mingling skills and, from the seventh floor of a downtown building I'd never been in before, I got to see a Wilkes-Barre I'd never seen before.

I'd driven and walked around Public Square a million times in my lifetime and never did I have such an appreciation for it as I do now after seeing it from seven, and later in the night, 11 stories up.

The way the cars snaked around the Square, white headlights and red taillights offset by its white-lit trees was poetic. I stood in front of a wall of windows and saw the city seemingly for the first time.

It was so moving. So almost metropolitan. So calming. So unlike the things I see when I walk the streets during the day in search of lunch.

And on the other side of the floor, seeing the eagles of the Market Street Bridge, was equally inspiring. Seeing them from such a height highlighted how regal and strong they are.

It was a great evening on so many levels, and the free booze wasn't even at the forefront. It was the conversations, the companionship, the schmoozing, the meeting new people. It was seeing a city I'm often quick to dump on - a lot of times rightly so, mind you (you do read the paper, right?) - in a whole new light: the light of the night.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My mind needs an "Off" button.

While I've been caught up in the Christmas spirit, I've not been feeling very inspired, hence the lack of Ramblings Ons.

I've made nary a journal entry either, choosing to think instead of write or tap the keyboard.

Or choosing to not think at all, and just revel in those rare thoughtless moments, where I envision my mind to be nothing but a snowy TV screen.

Sometimes I live for those moments.
I find it so hard to shut my mind off - to not only relax sometimes, but just go with the flow, to bob with the ocean's waves.

What do you do to shut your mind off for a night, an hour or even 10 minutes?
Tell me your secret, so I can have more thoughtless moments!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Time to take the plunge.

computer Pictures, Images and Photos
I'm not going to lie to you.
I'll just have out with it.

I have dial up.
Yes, I dared say it.
{And if I could whisper-type, I would.}
Dial up.
I'll say it once more for emphasis.
Dial. Up.

I hate it, but I'm such a miser that I honestly don't want to pay for something better even though I so so SO desperately need it.

I need it to make blogging easier.
I need it to "Get With It."
I need it to keep my sanity in tact.

I'm thinking Comcast high speed, and not just because I adore Bill Slowsky commercials. I just already pay Verizon a pirate's ransom and thought I'd spread my debt around.

What are your thoughts on Comcast??

{Speaking of, whatever happened to Mr. Slowsky? Anyone? Anyone?}
bill Pictures, Images and Photos

Four days in November.

Here is sit with my big 4-day weekend winding down.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgorging, I know I did - sans the gorge as planned, which felt good!
{I will have you know I even walked 2.5 miles the morning after at the country haus!}

For the first time in eons, a long weekend was just that - long. Last Wednesday seems like it was a year ago.

I packed a lot into these past four days, and enjoyed well-well-well-deserved time away from the office - and my e-mail which I've often checked over the course of a weekend since having access to it on phone.

I got to spend some time with the parents.
I got to play with my BFF.
I got to bring Christmas to the apartment which, in turn, made me swollen with the Christmas spirit.
{It's such a terrible and fabulous way to describe one's spirit, yes?}
I got to discover Laughing Cow cheese.
{How the hell did I ever live without it?!}
And most importantly:
I got to recharge myself.

Let's go holiday season!
{If only I could make my swollen-with-holiday-spirit self start Christmas shopping!}

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanks-gorging!

After taking a brisk 3.5 mile walk today, I vow to not gorge myself at the table today - as I do every year.

I'm not a huge turkey fan, so I usually take seconds - and sometimes thirds - of green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole and Mom's super-delicious homemade mashed potatoes.

I might have two scoops of the cranberry-citrus relish and I sure as hell have a bigger slice of my bourbon chocolate pecan pie topped with my homemade bourbon whipped cream than I should have, but that's all part of the holiday right?

Not this year.
This year, I'm thankful that I'm putting a limit on myself, for my own damn good.

But that's not all I'm thankful for, in fact, that's the least of it.

I'm thankful that my Mom is well - knock wood.

I'm thankful for her more than I could ever express - for being there, for talking me down from the proverbial ledge, for just being her fabulous self and for making the Manhattans we will drink together today and be thankful for each other together.

I'm thankful for the rest of my family - my father, brother and "sister." For always being there, or just a phone call away when I need them most.

I'm thankful for being strong enough to handle what life throws at me, even if I do let it get me down sometimes.

I'm thankful for having legs strong enough to allow me to take the walk I did today, lungs that were able to breathe in the crisp morning and eyes that could see my surroundings.

And most of all I'm thankful I have people and things to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Words to live by.

The following quotes are taking from the current issue of Glamour magazine. The issue celebrates the magazine's Women of Year. One section had some advice from women - some who've been past Women of the Year, some who were well-known, and all of them strong and inspiring.

These two quotes stuck out at me so much that I couldn't stop reading them, going so far as to cut them out and paste them in my - nerd alert! - Quote Notebook.

They're inspiring words that I think I'll continue to revisit when I need a little picking up and a little Power From Within.

"Cherish your solitude.
Take trains by yourself to places you have never been.
Sleep out alone under the stars.
Learn how to drive a stick shift.
Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back.
Say no when you don't want to do something.
Say yes if your instincts strong, even if everyone around you disagrees.
Decide whether you want to be liked or admired.
Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you're doing here. Believe in kissing."
~~ from Eve Ensler's upcoming book "I Am an Emotional Creature"

"In life, sometimes everything falls into place, and sometimes everything just falls to pieces. The key is to begin creating with these fallen pieces. By improvising, you'll create something magical that might be the best thing you've ever accomplished."
~~ Tori Amos

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgivings, early.

About two weeks ago, I was thinking about how different my life was compared to this time last year.

It was a sad little reflection for me as I recalled how happy I'd been, then, and how hopeful I'd felt about my future.

For the first time in my life, I could almost see that White Picket Fence, even if it was a little imperfect. For the first time in my life, I wanted that imperfect White Picket Fence.
I was so full of love for the first time in a very, very long time.
And it felt good.

As you've probably guess, those feelings and visions are gone - long gone. It was for the best, it really was, but I'm not going to lie and say that when I imagined this time this year last year {got that?}, I thought it would be different.

I'd been carrying around those thoughts, some Woe Is Me stress and burning the candle at both ends when I got some news that made all these things seem as minuscule as broken crayons.
Not that I wanted it, but it was a reality check I so desperately needed.

I needed it to remind me what's really important.
I needed it to make me thankful for what I do have in my life:
- an amazing, strong and beautiful mother who is always there.
- a kind and loving father who would do anything for us.
- a great big brother who is such a sage for me.
- friends who are supportive and caring.

Today, we got the news we were hoping and praying for.
Today, I give thanks for where I am in my life.
I wouldn't trade it for the world, or a thousand white picket fences, perfect, imperfect or otherwise.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Setbacks and stress.

"Is there life before death?"
~~ Graffito, in Belfast

Now that I'm working two jobs, I've been thinking there's not.

I'm lucky enough to work at two places I very much enjoy - even when the one gets highly stressful and hectic - and I'm really enjoying the extra income.
I've become so miserly, which is something I should have done years ago, but better late than never.

As much as I like that cash and having something that fills my time up, it is pretty exhausting some days, so needless to say, I've been a little on edge lately and feeling pretty stressed.

This week, I had some external stress come at me too.

Mommalah told me some disturbing news last week that's really sent us reeling. I've found myself praying a lot more than usual - and feeling angry, and about thisclose to a panic attack or something. It's scary, and I'm scared to death.

In much, much less important stress, a simple flat tire earlier this week resulted in the needing of a new rim - a new $180 rim ... and then I discovered a bubble on another tire so there's that. Bye, bye last few second job checks.

If things happen in threes as the old adage says, I hope the tire situations count.

The whole week has had me mindlessly emotionally eating. Like, for example, an entire pounder bag of tortilla chips that I ate as nachos in two day's time. I knew I shouldn't have when I bought the damn chips, but short of screaming from the rooftop, I chose to go this route.
{Never mind the container of gorgonzola cheese that somehow disappeared almost as swiftly. I must have a mouse in the house or something.}

I don't know why I do it, why I don't take my deep breaths, or why I don't, oh, EXERCISE to do away with the stress and the worry and the scared feelings like I know I should do.

It just seems easier to eat my worry away, which we know doesn't ever work.
Maybe it's because eating has always been such a big part of my Italian family and I take comfort in it, even though it makes me feel awful.

I consider myself a strong person - my mother's daughter - but the emotional eating and setbacks and getting derailed at even the most minuscule sign of trouble is not the sign of a strong person.

I need to get my strength back. In more ways than one.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A borrowed survey.

Oh, I haven't done a survey in eons so I thought, "Why not?"

I borrowed this from a favorite blogger The English Muse (see her fabulous blog in the list to the right).

1. Where is your cell phone: Right where it always is: within three inches of my person.
2. Your hair: Freshly blown out just this morning. Never mind that it's in desperate need of a color touch up.
3. Your favorite food: Cake - with buttercream icing.
4. Your dream from last night: I was smoking in the rain with Johnny at his house. His parents and a Times Leader editor and his wife were there and we were trying to be inconspicuous. {I quit smoking New Year's Eve 2007 and had my first cig since then two weeks ago at Tiffany's wedding. With Johnny. He's such a naughty influence, even in dreams it seems!}
5. Your favorite drink: Manhattan.
6. Your dream/goal: To continue writing until my last breath ... and publish my novel(s).
7. What room are you in: My home office. The tree right outside the window has the most gorgeous yellow leaves that look so pretty in the sunlight.
8. What are your hobbies: Reading. Writing. Blogging. Twittering. Journaling. Laughing. Thinking.
9. What is your fear: That something will happen to my family, God forbid.
10. Where do you want to be in 6 years: Still writing. Financially secure. Happy.
11. Where were you last night: Working at my part time job then eating the dinner I made in the Crockpot with Mommalah.
12. Something you are not: Fake. Good or bad, what you see is what you get
13. Muffins: I do love one on occasion.
14. Wish list items: Stability. Health for my family and myself. Happiness. Love.
15. Where did you grow up: near a pond on a gorgeous dirt road in Dallas, Pa.
16. Last thing you did: replied to a text message.
17. What are you wearing: black pinstripe pants, black turtleneck, gray cardigan and black stilettos.
18. Your TV: Is only usually on for "Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Family Guy" and an occasional vampire movie or food show like "No Reservations" or something having to do with cake.
19. Your pets: I am godmother to the most delicious puppy Kasey, a scrumtrulescent Weimaraner.
20. Your friends: Are few, but fabulous.
21. Your favorite store: Barnes & Noble.
22. Your favorite color: Black. Naturally.

The New Regime: Day 29.

I am very disappointed.

I got on the scale this morning, after a vigorous 20 minutes on the Air Climber and a grueling mini-circuit I got from WeightWatchers magazine - and after yesterday's huge 2.5 mile walk and the day before that's vigorous Air Climbing, etc.

I lost absolutely nothing.
Even after this morning being the eighth day in a row that I've worked out hardcore.

I know I've not stuck 100 percent to eating healthy, but I ate my bad stuff* in moderation and no scale budge.
Just continued pudge.

I am disappointed - but not discouraged.
This is not going to derail me as it has in the past.

I will get on the scale next week and it will be down.
And if it's not - God forbid - I will look in the mirror and at my exercise log book** and know I'm making changes in myself - and my health.
Even if I can't see it just yet.

*chips, brie, dessert, cake, Halloween candy.
**a Hallmark calendar booklet where I write all my exercises in. I love looking back and seeing something written on nearly all the days, even if it was a brief 10 minutes. Movement is movement. It all counts.

Crockpot update!

Well the Crockpot chicken recipe turned out

As I blogged yesterday, I was a nervous wreck that I was going to come home to a congealed mess of dinner and chicken that was tough and gross.

Not so!
The only problem was I had added a little bit of water per the Crockpot's booklet for frozen chicken, which created a bit too much juice. But it made for tasty gravy, albeit a little runny gravy, but tasty nonetheless.

I am going to tackle a roast next methinks!

And most importantly, Mommalah was very impressed and I was happy to finally treat her to a good dinner that she didn't have to make, or clean up after.
{Plus I was able to shoo her help away as she always does me. It felt good. And you know what, so did those typical Mommalah-isms that I found coming out of my mouth without a second thought. Guess the old adage
"Mirror, mirror on the wall
I am my mother after all"

is true!}

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Let's be friends, Crockpot.

A few Christmases ago, Mommalah bought me a Crockpot.
It was a tiny, adorable little thing that I felt very grown up having.
I took it excitedly out of the box and set it in a place of prominence on the bottom shelf of my microwave cart and would often gaze at it, imagining the Things I Would Make in it.

I could come home to cooked meals like Mommalah used to make - and not have to wait until our ritual weekly dinners to eat.
I could eat healthy roasts and have healthy leftovers ... oh, how healthy I would be.

That little Crockpot sat on that shelf and gathered dust for the next few years until last year when Mommalah declared the Crockpot too small for me to do anything with - as if that's the sole reason I never used it. {How angelic of her not to call attention to the fact that it's because her daughter is Inept in the Kitchen as the true reason it was never used.} She declared that the Crockpot's white insert would make the perfect tureen for our Thanksgiving gravy.

Last Christmas, Mommalah went on to buy me another Crockpot, a larger one with a pretty fall motif on the outside. Instead of taking this one out of the box and putting it on the microwave cart, however, this one I let it sit on the spare bed in my office, unopened until today.
Today, I have to work until 7 p.m., so I'll miss out on Sunday dinner at Mommalah's.
Today, I've decided to host Sunday dinner for Mommalah here.
Today, I've decided to make that Crockpot my bitch.

And now I'm a nervous wreck.

Long ago, my dear friend Tiffany gave me a recipe for chicken stroganoff with low WeightWatchers points.
It sounded so easy enough that I, the Inept in the Kitchen, could do it.
And so I am trying.

It's actually slow cooking as we speak.

I want so badly for it to be good.
I want so badly for the Crockpot and I to be friends.
Good friends, great even.

I will be on pins and needles all day until I come home and lift up that lid to taste the concoction.

If all else fails, we have chilled wine and Great Wall Chinese on speed dial.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The New Regime: Day 26

Today, we're going to have a pizza party at the office.

It's been One of Those Weeks, so the mini packages of M&Ms one of my coworkers brought in have been screaming my name. They've actually resorted to marching themselves right into my mouth all week long and frankly, I'm not having it today.

I decided to take smart action and nix the M&Ms once and for all.
No. Matter. What.
I will treat myself to one piece of pizza - it's free so I'd be silly to pass on it, really - and packed a nicely-sized salad to have once I'm done with that sole slice. I've got it chockablock with mixed greens, chick peas, olives and grape tomatoes to fill me up.

Here's hoping the willpower stays strong.

Chronic dieters, how do you fend off tasty diet saboteurs like snack- and fun-sized candies and office pizza parties?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The New Regime: Day 24.

As you can probably tell from the lack of TNR writings, someone went of the wagon again.
{But she assures she's back on full force this week.}

My weight reached Biblical proportions the last few weeks thanks to full-on boozing and noshing during a wedding weekend and I just decided it was time to stop the insanity. Finally.

I've done some Proper Prior Planning this week and actually cooked something: veggie wraps I found in this month's Glamour magazine.

The wraps required sauteing veggies (I chose red and green peppers, grape tomatoes and chickpeas because I had a hankering for them). I took low-fat mozzarella, sprinkled it on a whole wheat tortilla, added those sauteed veggies, made a quasi-pocket and then
to perfection.

It oozed cheese and was delicious.

I couldn't believe it.
I really couldn't believe it.

So tonight, I made it again.
Though the tortilla got a little too blackened (OK, a lot of too blackened), I was tickled pink again.

When added to my extra workout today (SELF yoga in the morning, 20 minutes on Air Climber when I got home), I am feeling pretty awesome right now.

I'm back, New Regime.
For good.
{I hope, oh how I hope!!}

I've spent the evening catching up on some Weight Watcher and Hungry Girl newsletters to help keep me motivated.
What do you do to stay on track?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

T minus 8 weeks. Quelle horror!

Doing my bills this evening I realized something horrid.
Something vile.
Something so disgusting, it gave me goosebumps.

Christmas is only eight weeks away.
ornaments Pictures, Images and Photos
Be afraid ... be very afraid.

Don't get me wrong - I love Christmas.
Adore it even, but doesn't it feel like it kinda just sneaks up on you?
Eight weeks.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Always a guest ...

wedding Pictures, Images and Photos
Yesterday a very dear and beloved friend got married.
She was absolutely gorgeous, and it was so wonderful seeing such a happy couple.

But, my Fellow Longtime Singletons, isn't there just a tiny part of you that kind of dies inside with every wedding you attend?

I've been in two major long-term relationships and neither came close to The Big Day - something I am quite thankful for, believe me.
Vintage Pictures, Images and Photos Vintage Pictures, Images and Photos
They just weren't the right fit for me, I s'pose.
{And honestly, they really weren't worthy.}
{Never mind that I maybe, just maybe, am sometimes too independent ... and maybe, just maybe, too opinionated ... and maybe, just maybe, set in my ways too much for a lot of guys to deal with, and I came to terms with that long, long ago.}

But I truly believe there's a man, a real, decent man out there who's man enough to accept the sometimes bad with the a lot good that's inside this Rambler.
love.. honor.. Pictures, Images and Photos love.. honor.. Pictures, Images and Photos
But that doesn't mean I don't get a little wistful and have a sense of longing for The One sometimes, may Independent Women strike me down.
love Pictures, Images and Photos
But, thankfully, I had the most fabulous date ever - Johnny - and my wistfulness was gone likethat .

We had so much fun - though my feet are killing me (and they want to kill him for keeping me on the dancefloor all night!). I felt pretty fabulous in my pretty party dress and know I've got a lot of wonderful things in my life already.

Now that's love.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to ... this!!

It's hard to believe Ramblings On turns one tomorrow!
I started it on a whim, and despite a few lapses, I've discovered I really love blogging.

I love having a place to put my thoughts, a place where I can call myself out on my never-ending saga of trying to be healthier and lose weight, hone my writing skills, and "meet" new people, as well as discover bloggers I really cannot live without now.
{Check them out, won't you, on the list to the right.}

Thanks you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading Ramblings On!
And now let's eat cupcakes!
{I'll buy, but don't get used to it! ;) }

The New Regime: Day 10.

Last night - which is Day 10 - I went to dinner with a friend and did something I've never done before: I didn't inhale - or finish - everything placed before me.

I daresay I Ate In Moderation.
portion control plate Pictures, Images and Photos
My friend Amy has always been in control of her food intake.
I've seen her push aside a sandwich and fries about halfway through, while I eyed up those fries ravenously, still hungry as I finished my entire meal across the table from her.

I had been looking forward to the dinner all week and had every intention of eating, because I was starving.

Instead, I followed Amy's lead.

- When she pushed her salad plate aside, I followed suit.
- Our fantastic appetizer was taken away with two pieces of tuna - instead of me polishing off the leftovers "because there's starving kids in Africa."
- While I enjoyed one extra - and I will have you know tiny - piece of bread dipped in a delicious olive oil, I didn't go hog wild on it as I kind-of/sort-of wanted to.
- As I made it halfway through my entree, I pushed it aside before her because my brain was already pre-conditioned after two courses of eating in moderation.
- We pondered dessert, which I said we'd only take one bite of - and meant it, but opted to just enjoy one more glass of wine instead.

As we sat there and talked over that last glass, I couldn't help but revel in how I felt.

I didn't feel stuffed to the gills, nor did I feel guilty about being weak and gorging myself as I may or may not have been known to do.

Instead, I felt a little hungry still - and like someone who ate a great dinner with a great friend and enjoyed every bite of all that I had.

And best of all, for the first time ever I felt like I was in control of my eating.

I finally realized I don't have to stuff myself to the point of sick to enjoy a dinner.

Is that the sign of a lifestyle change or what?!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just dance.

"I can't dance, I can't talk.
Only thing about me is the way I walk.
I can't dance, I can't sing
I'm just standing here selling everything."

~~ Genesis, "I Can't Dance"

Today was the longest day ever.
My best friend Johnny gave word that two of his friends were coming over for drinks, so as soon as I was finished at work, I sent the smoke signal to have a glass at the ready for me as I hightailed it to his fabulous haus.

Johnny is pretty much the most fabulous person I know.
Not only is he my BFF, he's a kindred spirit - one that I can discuss books and a million other things with and share my love of good libations.
He's also my fantastic date to many a thing since I'm always the one going stag, but more than that, he's just great to be around. Aside from my family, he's the only person who ever really helps me feel good about myself, and plus, he keeps a fabulously pristine haus that makes me regret my own somewhat uncleanliness.

By the time I got there, two bottles of wine had magically disappeared, and upon my arrival, three more - including a tasty homemade vino that was to die for - somehow found their way into the same black hole.

Instead of cracking open another bottle, we turned to our old standby, Stegmaier.

What followed next was inevitable.

A dance party.
Which is pretty miraculous considering I'm the worst dancer ever, something Johnny can attest, considering he's tried to teach me about a million times, including a two-step across his dining room tonight.

But enough about my shortcmings on the rug cutting.
Back to the dance party.
It included Murray Head's "One Night in Bangkok" and Cindy Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
It included more than a few show tunes before morphing into Madonna - during which Johnny and I made up a routine to "Like a Virgin," "Like a Prayer" and an off-the-charts (if I do say so myself) "Vogue" - before ending with the ever-queenly Cher.

It was totally what this Tuesday ordered.

And I totally envisioned myself dancing amid "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,"
but it just might have been the booze talking ... never mind the routine we did during "Half Breed" and "Like a Virgin."
Like A Virgin Pictures, Images and Photos
Some things are sacred, you know.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My fabulous Mommalah.

"All that I am,
or hope to be,
I owe to my angel mother."

~~ Abraham Lincoln

She is the most loving, kind and just downright incredible person I know, or probably will ever know.
It's a great feeling to know that you are loved so completely and so unconditionally.

Yesterday was her birthday, so we went to the fabulous Tunkhannock Rotary Harvest & Wine Festival.
We got our commemorative glasses and hit the grapes, falling in love with a few wineries, and the exact opposite with a few wineries - though you'd never know the latter from our always-empty glasses!
We got ourselves a nice little sunny fall day buzz before heading to the fabulously quaint Twigs for dinner. If you ever find yourself in Tunkhannock, you simply must eat there! Athenian chicken is to die!

I wanted so desperately for her to have a wonderful birthday, a day she's never really been too crazy about.
{Clearly my obsessive compulsive zest and excitement for my own birthday comes from the mailman.}

And she totally did.
And so did I.
I hope and pray everyone has as amazing a woman for their mother as I do.

"God could not be everywhere,
and therefore he made mothers."

~~ Jewish proverb

Friday, October 9, 2009

The New Regime: Days 4 & 5.

Wow. I can't believe it's been five whole days since I started TNR.
And that I stuck to it as rigidly as I did.

Yesterday, I had a really good morning workout and went out to dinner with Mommalah, where I actually behaved myself.

Today, I did a killer ab routine.
I got terribly peckish at work after eating my salad for lunch, so I grabbed my wallet and headed to the elevator that would take me down to the vending machine, where I was sure to fall prey to a bag of pretzels I'd eat in one sitting - a bag that probably had a serving size of three.

I hit the down button, and as I waited for the doors to open, I remembered the banana I brought in two days ago, that was slowly turning brown.
bananas Pictures, Images and Photos
I remembered how good I felt this week.
I remembered how noticeably thin my face was already.
I remembered how proud I felt of how strong my willpower had been.
I remembered feeling my jammie pants get less snug as the week went on.
I remembered how I've been reveling that my stomach, which is still and probably always will be more fleshy than I'd like, was less fleshy than I began the week with.

Can I just tell you I enjoyed the hell out of that banana?
Almost as much as I enjoyed finding this:
brian banana Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The New Regime: Day 3.

I am completely dragging ass today.
Still haven't really slept and it's starting to catch up to me.
But I did take one hell of a walk after work like I had wanted to. It was my usual 2-mile loop, but I seemed to be trekking a lot more brisk than usual.

Because of my uber-ridiculously early outing this morning, I ate my breakfast super early and didn't eat again for another six hours.

That is virtually unheard of for me, unless I have to fast for blood work.
I'm the type of girl could - and would before TNR - binge all day long.
I even used my rarely-seen willpower to not have any of the tempting, tasty-looking subs from Quizno's while I was at 98.5 KRZ this morning.

Me turning down food? Or, more importantly, me turning down free, carb-laden food?
A whole new regime, indeed!

I know pride is bad, but I can't help but feel so proud of myself!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The New Regime: Day 2

Today was sort of stellar, diet-wise.
I ate very well, did a heck of a yoga routine from an old SELF magazine - the one with tips from Jennifer Aniston's own instructor.

I just felt lighter, and felt completely wired most of the day after the morning's grande red eye from Starbucks (a medium coffee with a shot of espresso. SO GOOD! and SO EXPENSIVE!).

Was kind of pissed I got out of work a little later than expected, only because it meant I wouldn't be able to take a walk tonight. And I have to be out of the house retardedly early tomorrow, so no pre-work workout.

Enter The Testing Zone.
Historically, if I get sidetracked or have a crazy schedule one day, it derails my whole regime.

Well, not this time damn you.

Since the early bird will be out ... well, early tomorrow, she'll be home early as well, and plans to take a big ole walk.
I can't wait.

On Sunday, I stocked up on Lean Cuisine and bought myself a new SHAPE magazine for inspiration, even going so far as to ask Mommalah for a subscription for Christmas.

That little question spawned The New Regime's first challenge (as if eating healthy and exercising at least five days a week isn't challenging enough).

The challenge is to lose 10 pounds by the time my first issue arrives.

I think I can do it.
I know I can do it.
I want to do it.
Do you think I can do it?
Bathroom scale Pictures, Images and Photos
{Because I am so easily discouraged, I'd love for you to comment below with some of your suggestions and tips on how to keep my will power - and call me out if/when I fall off the wagon.}

Monday, October 5, 2009

The New Regime: Day 1

OK, I'm not gonna lie to you.
Day 1 of The New Nikki didn't go off to a half hour on the Air Climber. I did still get up at 6:20 a.m. and did a half-hearted 10 minutes on the AC, but I was so exhausted because I had one of my Insomniac Nights.
Not that that's an excuse, of course, even though I didn't really push myself.

I ate well all day and was starving by the time I left work.
I was so starving that I got one of my Nikki Hungry headaches,* yet I courageously ventured out for a quick walk around the school.

Damned if I didn't feel better!
The crisp air and the beautiful fall sky made everything better, even though I felt weak from starvation.**

The neatest thing happened at the end of my first lap. Just as I came around the corner of the school, I, deep in thought, looked up at the sky.
In parts it was bright orange as the sun began to set, and toward my house, amid ominously dark clouds, a very faint rainbow was visible.
I don't know why, because it certainly wasn't raining, which is the really only time I've ever seen a rainbow, save for through the mist at Niagara Falls.
It made me happy.
Rainbow #7 Pictures, Images and Photos
Like maybe I'm on my way to my pot of gold - my pot of mental and physical happiness gold.

I got home from my brisk 1.5 mile walk, had a nice dinner, ate my pudding cup with a dollop of peanut butter**** and here I am.

I feel better. Clear headed. Like I'm getting back on the road to myself. Yet again.

Well, I guess everyone is a work in progress, right?

*a searing headache that comes along during the first few days of a diet. According to my medical analysis, the headaches happen during the drastic switch from gorging myself to diet mode. Now granted, my medical analysis is done by me, who is not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, so it's pretty much bunk.
** I am not, under any circumstances, starving myself. I just like to hyperbole. And use big words.
*** Photo courtesy of, not moi.
**** For the first time in my adult life of living alone - nine whole years - I bought generic peanut butter. I am a total Jif Extra Crunchy girl and immediately following the demise of this jar of generic reduced fat peanut butter, I am totally going back to my Jif Extra Crunchy. I don't give a damn how many Weight Watcher points it is. That fresh roasted peanuts taste is worth the higher price. I'm ashamed of myself, really, for trying to pinch pennies, when all I did was pinch taste. What kind of foodie am I?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Down in the dumps plus a TV marathon and a Happy List.

I've been feeling pretty miserable.
On Friday, I took my first sick day ever - yes, ever - during my 3.5+ years at the Weekender on Friday. It broke my heart, too, because it was our annual Model of the Year party, the biggest shindig we throw. It's like the prom for us staffers, and what girl doesn't love her prom??

I had a horrid cold. Sore throat. Fever. The Works.
But even before that, I was pretty down in the dumps.
Fall is my favorite season and I always feeling so reinvigorated and ready to Go. Walk. Bask in the cool temps.
But these past few weeks I've been going through one of my Lonely Periods. (Plus one of my I Feel Fat periods. Ugh.)
The change of seasons made me yearn for someone to go pumpkin picking with. Someone to kick up leaves with. Someone to cuddle when the temperature goes below zero in the apartment (or someone who has a warmer house to crash at).

But enough about the lonely period.
He'd probably find it weird that, in between numerous naps on Friday, I spent an awful lot of time watching the Canadian teen drama "Degrassi." I fell right into its soap opera-y world and it was everything I knew it would be. I'm not even ashamed to say I watched it for the better part of 10 hours.
{The last TV marathon of that caliber was when I happened upon a "Ninja Warrior" on G4 a few years back. It, too, was an exquisite way to spend 10 hours of my life I will never get back.}

Now that you've snickered and judged my "Degrassi" addiction, what is your TV guilty pleasure?

And now on with 10 Things That Make Me Happy:

1. Sundays with Mommalah …
2. … especially ones when she lets me be all whiny.
3. A blue sky over the pond so dark that’s lined by vibrant fall-colored trees.
4. Fall weather.
5. Seeing leaves dance in my rear view.
6. A gorgeous Halloween-worthy moon.
7. Feeling better, finally.
8. A “Degrassi” marathon.
9. A new episode of “Family Guy.”
10. Looking forward to making Mommalah’s birthday special on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This was going to be a blog about math ...

I had a quippy little title all picked out and everything
(Me + math = 0) ...
but then thinking of numbers scared me, so I nixed the idea.

I do so hate math.
I can multiply, but only if I have scratch paper.
And I will blatantly refuse to do any sort of division.

I still, at 32, count on my fingers if - God forbid - a calculator isn't in arm's length.

It's stupid. It's silly. And I don't apologize for it.
{well maybe part of me does, but I sure as hell can't tell you what percentage of me it is.}

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The epitome of a lady.

Even with my sometimes salty language, I fancy myself a lady.

I have a fabulous pair of pearls I break out on occasion, which were lovingly presented to me from Mommalah on my 30th birthday.

I think men should open doors for me - well, all ladies actually, but you get my drift.

Even if I offer, I think men should pay.
{Let it be known that I offer because I don't know how to handle having a man pay a lot because I've never actually dated any man who even resembled a gentleman.}
{Also let it be known that I do not have that '50s-housewife-take-care-of-me weak mentality, so don't go getting all Women's Lib on me, people. [Even though I daresay I really wouldn't mind having someone take care of me. I am in my 32nd year of being single, you know ...]}

The epitome of a Lady, to me, is Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
I mean just look at her:
jackie Pictures, Images and Photos
The pearls. The resolve. The high-head holding. The grace.
Even when she smoked she was absolutely stunning.
jackie kennedy Pictures, Images and Photos
And look at this picture of her on the day she married Jack.
Jackie Kennedy Pictures, Images and Photos
I should hope and pray to look that gorgeous on my wedding day, should there ever be such a day in my lifetime.

"The first time you marry for love,
the second for money,
and the third for companionship."

Jackie is fashion to me.
The shifts - long, long before Mrs. Obama. The pillbox hats. The pumps. The sunglasses. The Chanel. Oleg Cassini.
Even in casual clothes, the lady was Fashionable.
JACKIE KENNEDY Pictures, Images and Photos

Whenever I find myself in an uncomfortable situation, like if I'm at an event by myself, or at an event where I am Dressed to the Nines, I think of her. How she would stand, hold herself, mingle. What Would Jackie Do?

"I want minimum information
given with maximum politeness."

I remember when I first started learning about her, as I watched the footage and saw the photos in my many Jackie-related books about JFK's funeral, how she carried herself.
JACKIE KENNEDY Pictures, Images and Photos
How, even in the deepest depths of grief, Jackie was still beautiful.
Still graceful.
Still held a grieving country together, because if the widow could stand tall and regal, well, so could the president's people.

She was the closest thing the United States has ever had to royalty - or ever will.
Say what you will about the scoundrel her father was, about the families she married into, about how she might have been "phony" and "snooty" as the First Lady.

You can't say she wasn't a lady.
Maybe the last, honest-to-goodness American Lady.
Jackie Kennedy Pictures, Images and Photos
Jackie Kennedy Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Neglect by Nikki.

I feel like I'm neglecting Ramblings on ... actually I know I am.
Things are crazy at work and in life, but I'll be back after this weekend, I promise you!

I hope I'm missed!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Analyze this, dream doctor!

Last night, I had a disturbing dream.
It was one of those long, drawn-out dreams that, even if you wake up briefly - like say to hit snooze three times and crawl closed-eyed back into bed - you fall right back into.

It involved my father and brother Michael who were vampires trying to kill me.
Not make me a vampire, which of course would have been super cool, but actually kill me.
{Blogger's note: This might not be too far from reality when, as children, my brother tried to kill me on at least seven different occasions. One is well documented in a photo my mother took of us because she thought it was "cute" that Michael was holding a shut-off chainsaw to my belly and had a maniacal smile on his face. Said photo is displayed prominently on his entertainment center - and is the only photo of us that is in such a prominent place. He - and our parents - adamantly deny the Seven Times He Tried To Kill Me. I wonder if this could count as number eight??}

Through the whole dream, myself and a girl who resembled Taylor Swift, who was a cashier in a grocery store that helped me find its soap display - apparently my OCD even makes me dream about Ivory soap - and I gave chase to my Papa and Michael.

The weirdest thing isn't that the chase spanned all four seasons.
It was the fact that as we chased them, we were doing it in RC cars and tanks because we were miniature-sized people.

Toward the end of the dream, Taylor twin and I went to the house next door to the house my brother lived in when he lived in Pa. seven years ago (got that?) and Papa killed the Taylor girl because she went in first, and Michael came out to talk to me, teeth bared naturally.

He was like "This has to happen. You can't keep hunting us. You tried to kill our leader in the grocery store with your soap hunt."

I was crying and trying to get away from him, but he had me cornered in the garage attic we used to play in - one that was ironically bat infested.

The reason I was crying and pleading with Michael?
Not because he was going to kill me, but because he wouldn't make me a vampire, something I'd so enjoy, what with my already fang-like canine teeth, penchant for black and insomnia.
What a jerk!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I made a Happy List!

... even though I'm feeling kind of grumble-y since the fridge isn't fixed and I'm not feeling well and, while the temperature is my kind of temperature, there's no sun ... oh, this is supposed to be a Happy List entry.

On with it then! :)

10 things that make me happy:

1. Fall. Glorious, glorious fall!
2. Taking a morning walk and having the crisp air nip my nose.
3. My OCD morning rituals.
4. The smell of crab apples.
5. Russet-colored leaves blanketing the ground.
6. Knowing that we put out a kick-ass issue of the Weekender today.
7. Having a super busy next two weeks (and kind of secretly loving it).
8. Wearing my velour winter robe with animal-print cuffs.
9. Seeing the blindingly clean inside of my fridge, even though I’m still pissed that it still isn’t fixed.
10. Cardigans!

Hope you'll have lots to make you happy on this Hump Day!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Photoblog of Steamtown's RailFest 2009 ...

... on the trip from Scranton to Moscow and back, mixed in with some train haiku/tanka I've written over the past few years. It's been so long since I felt like posting any po-ems of mine. Hope you enjoy!

Mighty whistle blows
as the train goes roaring past
on its photo run. 9/6/09


{Johnny holding a magazine that has that very train on its cover.}

{Real engineers!}

{Another real engineer! In the actual engine!}

{Our chariot to Moscow.}

{We had a WWII reenactor riding with us, and I kept thinking about my beloved Pop-Pop, who was in the Battle of the Bulge.}

{En route, at the bend behind the Radission Lackawanna.}

We traversed the tracks
just as Phoebe Snow once did
in a simpler time. 9/6/09

{An old-time advertisment inside the train. Please pronounce it "ad-ver-tiss-ment, kindly.}

{At the Moscow Station.}


I hear the not-so-
far-away train. My heart, a
vagabond, hops it,
wistful that somewhere out there
is a lonely heart like mine. 5/20/08


On a rolling train
she smokes, as lives rush past her;
exhaled lovers
swirl around her. Deep in thought.
On a rolling train, she smokes. 4/11/09