The Ongoing Adventures of Naked Girl

The story of my quest to look good naked -- really good.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Well, 'tis the season for reflections. I know 2007 was a real up-and-down year, but in the end, I have to say it's been one of the best for me.

First off, when I look at my weight loss progress - and I don't even know if I can call it that any more - I will probably weigh about the same on 1/1/08 that I did on 1/1/07. That, my friends, is an accomplishment in my book. I've stayed within my self-imposed range for an entire year. My weight has stayed between 162 and 168. I realize that isn't model thin or even below "overweight" per the BMI scale (I'd need to get to 159 to be "normal"). Could I get into the mind game and really work to achieve 159? Sure - but at a cost I'm not ready to pay. I am working so hard to just stay where I am that to beat myself up over a few pounds (that, really, plastic surgery would "fix") isn't beneficial to my mental health.

Granted, there is a part of me that believes 165 (as of this morning) is still "fat." I hate that. I'm in a size 10 pants, a size 8 skirt and can buy bras at Victoria's Secret. I can walk into any store any buy clothes - Eddie Bauer, Ann Taylor, New York & Company, J Jill, H&M, etc. I know that plastic surgery would remove another 10-15 pounds, but part of me is still getting comfortable with my current weight that another 15 pound drop would really throw me into an emotional tizzy.

Anyway, besides the weight success, I am thankful for the health of me, Don, and the dogs. I am still trying to get my iron up to normal levels and they just found the cause of my stomach pain (large ulcer - treated with 80 mg. of Prilosec). My blood pressure still tends to run high, but we're just watching it for now. Don is great - he has just some hereditary issues to deal with, but we have a handle on those. The dogs got a clean bill of health at their last vet visit. We're just monitoring their joint issues but that doesn't seem to bother them. They are as puppy-like as ever!

I know there are areas I could do better in - finances (although we seem to have rounded the corner on that one), exercise (I need to make time for this!!), meditation/yoga (see above). But, for the most part, life is good.

And I can't ask for much better than that.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Sorry about the lack of posting, but work had been kicking my ass and the last thing I want to do when I get home is get on the computer.

I worked through Christmas Eve - until 4:00 - and then came home for an eight day vacation. Woo-hoo!

Don and I had a very nice Christmas - we spent most of the day just relaxing in front of the fire and watching VH1's Best Of series (Best Songs of the 90s, Best Songs of the 80s, Best 100 Toys). It was a very low-key Christmas, which is what I needed.

Today, I braved the weather and traffic to hit Mall of America to spend my gift cards. I got a ton of stuff - black jeans, flannel-lined jeans, a sweater. a few blouses, a few books, some new undies (that fit!!), 4 bras, a skirt and a dress. I still have more $$ to spend at Target and Borders, but that will be easy.

We've gotten a bit of snow - the big, heavy white stuff that sticks. Luckily, the sun is out today and that will melt the driveway. It's very pretty out, and I'm glad I don't have to be out too much. I have been, periodically, running a shovel up and down the driveway and the walk so the snow is thinner and will melt as the sun hits them. Of course, my back, legs and arms are sore but it will be worth it if Don doesn't have to shovel again.

I do need to go into work tomorrow for a four hour training. It's a webinar, so I have to be logged on to my computer plus on a phone. Ugh. It's also 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM, so right in the middle of the day.

Off to put away clothes and maybe vacuum. Or sleep - it's still up in the air.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Playing Tourist, Part II

We had a wonderful day in Stillwater. It's a nice, easy drive - about 45 minutes from Eden Prairie. We had coffee at The Daily Grind - great lattes and Very Berry Scones. The main part of old town Stillwater is only about 4-5 blocks. We walked up and down the street, visiting the fun stores. We went to a few antique places which were a lot of fun. One can really get lost there, exploring, searching, discovering. I don't collect anything but I certainly could - especially cookbooks.

We had a nice lunch and did more shopping. We went into one store that was going out of business and I found a knee-length brown suede coat in a small. It actually fit, although a little tight with layers on. I couldn't believe I could fit into a small. I ended up not getting it, despite the 40% discount.

Despite the cold, we walked a lot and really had a good time...

For dinner, I made my Crab Cake Salad, which is really good. I use Trader Joe's frozen crab cakes (2 to a package - enough for one serving). I defrost the crab cakes in the fridge and then coat them in a thin coat of panko bread crumbs. I then lightly pan-fry them in olive oil just to give them a bit of a crunch. The salad is dark greens + romaine lettuce with green onions, red or orange bell pepper and sweet corn. I dress the greens with Paul Newman's Lo-Fat Balsamic Vinegar dressing. For the crab cakes, I make a creamy cocktail sauce by mixing cocktail sauce with mayo (maybe a little hot sauce...). I put the dressed greens in a bowl and top it with two cakes and then a dollop of the sauce. Yum!

for those asking about the Chicken Poblano Chowder, it's a Paula Deen recipe from Food TV. I do add a package of frozen corn and then top it with fried tortilla strips and grated cheese. I served it with an "open-faced" quesadilla - a corn tortilla with cheese melted under a broiler for a few minutes. Again, yum! What a great cold-weather dish. Plus, it freezes well.

An editorial note - I don't actually measure the veggies or the chicken. I use what I have in the fridge as far as amounts. I also usually roast 4 big bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (from Trader Joe's) the day before I make the soup. I take the skin off and de-bone them and then shred the meat, although you could use a rotisserie chicken or baked skinless chicken breasts. I also omit the hot sauce at the end since I use 4 poblano chiles. You can roast them or de-vein them, but I just chop and go. I also add extra garlic, just because I like it. You could add toppings like salsa, green onions, cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, black olives, etc.

It's now time to catch up on Nip/Tuck and veg out for the night.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Playing Tourist

My dad is here for a long weekend visit, and we are having a great time. He got in on Thursday and I had made a fab Chicken Poblano Corn Chowder topped with melted cheese and crispy tortilla strips. It was a perfect meal for someone coming from California to sub-freezing temps!

On Friday, I took him to a few fun stores - The Find in Eden Prairie (home furnishings), The Galleria in Edina (fun stores that you can't find in California, although they have some typical stores - Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, etc.) where we had lunch at CRAVE (two thumbs up),Patina (gifts) and The General Store of Minnetonka (Minnesota gifts, lots of Christmas items). We came home and relaxed for a bit, then went to dinner at Campiello's. All three of us had their top dish - short ribs in a balsamic reduction. YUM.

Yesterday, Don didn't need to fly to SF until late, so he was able to join us for the Pompeii exhibit at the Science Museum. It was an amazing exhibit. They had 6 plaster casts of victims of the volcano, including a boar and a dog. I got a little teary-eyed seeing the dog, who looked like he was writhing in pain since he was chained up and couldn't escape. We also checked out their dinosaurs, which still interest me. We took a drive up Summit Avenue where the big, beautiful houses were decked out for the holidays and then had lunch at Dixie's on Grand.

Since it's been so cold out, we weren't able to take Dad on a hike with the dogs around Staring Lake, but we did drive by so he could see the lake and the trail. Last night, I took him to Babalu, which is a Latin restaurant.

Today, we're going to brave the temps and drive out to Stillwater for some shopping and lunch. We'll play it pretty low-key tonight since we'll need to be up pretty early tomorrow for his flight. I'll be making my crab cake salad and maybe some leftover chowder for dinner.

Other than that, I have been totally caught up in reading Pretty Little Mistakes which is like a "choose your own adventure book." It is so much fun to read. I have traveled to so many countries, been killed in numerous ways, died of old age several times, made good choices that turned out horrible and made bad choices that turned out great. There are over 150 different endings - some are funny, some are depressing, some are touching. I would highly recommend it and can't wait for her next one to come out.

Off to finish getting ready for our Stillwater adventure!!

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Two Hour Commute

My commute from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie is usually 30 minutes, or 45 minutes if traffic is bad. Because of a few inches of white stuff, it took me ONE hour to get from my office to the freeway and another ONE hour to get home. My right knee hurts from the gas pedal, my hands hurt from gripping the steering wheel and my head hurts just because.

We're expecting more snow on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Ugh. The worst part is that my dad is arriving on Thursday at 5:45 - right in the middle of "rush" hour and a snowstorm. Not a good perception of Minneapolis!

I had planned on getting out of work a little early today but had to cover a meeting that went until after 4:00. I might have made better time, but by the time I hit the roads, they were pretty well cleared by traffic. It was slow going - only about 20 MPH. but safe enough to get home without incident.

I really do like the snow, especially at this time of year. It makes everything festive and wintery. Of course, it makes it a bitch to drive, but as long as you can stay inside by the fire, it's all good. Plus the dogs get a huge kick out of it - until their little paws get cold. Now, they just want to curl up with each other in front of the fire.

We're tucked in for the evening - we're catching up on some TiVO'd shows. I really don't want to have to repeat the commute tomorrow morning, but I'm hoping the roads will be mostly clear.

I have Thursday off - to clean the house, get the car washed, stock the fridge, get my nails done - all important stuff. I'm making Chicken Poblano Corn Chowder for the night my dad gets in. Yum! Good stuff for cold weather...


Saturday, December 01, 2007

First Snow of the Season

It's snowing. It wasn't expected until this afternoon, but it started at about 8:30 AM. The forecast was between 1" and 2" an hour with a total of 6" to 10" by tomorrow. It seems like a lot more.

I did run grocery errands this morning to get those out of the way. We're pretty well stocked for the next few days including stuff for Chicken Marsala tonight. The idea was to get everything done before the USC/UCLA kickoff at 3:30. I even got the makings for Hot Buttered Rum for tonight. Yum!

I'm still not in the Holiday Spirit, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy others who are. I just think, for this year, I will take a break. I don't need to pull out the fake tree, the lights, the ornaments, etc. to have a good Christmas. I may cave into cards, but for the most part, I don't need to add to the stress.

We did don snow boots, gloves, hats and the like to play with the dogs in the snow earlier. I don't think that's the last time I have to go out and play today. They are full of beans, which means we may need to take them for a walk, weather not withstanding.

Here's to a warm hearth...

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