Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mid-day meditation

It's been a few days since I've posted, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten my challenge. I have missed a few days due to travel. I don't like anyone to see me meditate (I think I look silly) so sharing a room with my mom wasn't very condusive to meditating. I made sure to meditate today, though. I had a dinner date with my family and, since I tend to be a little quiet and withdrawn during family meals, I decided to try to get happy before the dinner. I got to the restaurant early and spent 10 minutes in my car smiling and focusing on the sound of the rain on the roof. I love the sound of rain, don't you? It was very relaxing. I think I succeeded in my goal since I was pretty smiley when I went in the restaurant (even after being soaked). Unfortunately, things went downhill kind of quickly. I felt a little insulted moments after greeting my family and that kind of ruined my good mood.

I have been trying so hard lately to release the woman I'm in love with. She needs to gain some self-confidence and self-esteem and I can't help her with that. I have tried, but it's something she needs to do herself. No one can make her believe she's beautiful and worthwhile. So, I've been trying to let her go into God's hands. I believe God can reach her heart and soul where I can't, so whenever I think about her, I pray for her. I've been praying a lot. I think it's a good thing, though. God and I don't talk often enough. Praying for her problems prompts me to pray for my own release and I think God's the only one who can truly change my heart, too.

Between the meditation and the prayer (and the talking to her less), my heart has been a more restful place. For the most part. Money problems are getting me down and family problems always bog down my spirits, but I am trying to focus on the future and the positive. I'm going to share a poem with you tonight. It's Shel Silverstein's The Land of Happy.

Have you been to The Land of Happy,
Where everyone's happy all day,
Where they joke and they sing
Of the happiest things,
And everything's jolly and gay?
There's no one unhappy in Happy,
There's laughter and smiles galore.
I have been to The Land of Happy-
What a bore!

What a great reminder to you and me that life's most entertaining moments are not found in peace and happiness. The pain of the trenches and crawling through metaphorical mud make much better stories. No matter how much you're hurting in whatever life is throwing at you and no matter how much you wish for a life without pain or drama, just remember that what you're living through will make a great story, today or tomorrow. A life without pain is boring. Friends bring pain, pets bring pain, family brings pain. Money, food, cars, houses, all things can bring you pain. But without those things and relationships, what would our lives be worth living for?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Smiling as a chore

Today was my first day meditating. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to keep the place silent or not while I meditate (or even if there are rules). I put some music on. It helps me keep my brain quiet. Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I like the fact that I can't understand the lyrics. Life has been really stressful since yesterday, yet I am oddly cheerful. My Jen is in the hospital and I was pretty much scared numb yesterday. Today I found out that I've probably lost my job. It was only something to keep money coming in while I work on my books, but I still need the money. I figure I probably have to record my stress factors while I examine whether or not my experiment is helping me.

Smiling for 10 minutes straight is painful. I'm not used to smiling for that long non-stop and my face was hurting afterwards. My back was hurting too, but that's just because of my bad posture. I am feeling more cheerful and smiley now. Not a lot, but it's nice to feel a smile on my face that doesn't want to go away. I like it :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Down, but not out

If you follow this blog, then you know that this month has not been a good one for my challenge. I started out valiantly trying to see the sunrise and it died pretty quickly. Truthfully, with my nocturnal tendancies, seeing the sunrise every day was just not feasible. But that's okay. I saw a couple and I was well rested for the rest of my life this month. And this month has been crazy. Women hurting me, guests visiting, work kicking my butt. September will be a busy month for me too, but I hope that my September challenge will fit into my life a little easier.

This coming month's challenge comes straight out of Eat, Pray, Love. I went to see the movie a couple of weeks ago and I loved it. I thought it was a great movie that you had to be in the right (or wrong) place emotionally to truly appreciate. If you've seen it, then that should tell you where I've been emotionally. I have been lost in the soul of another person and, while I still love her, I want to move out of her soul and back into my own.

I thought for a while that my efforts to focus on who I am rather than who I am with her were selfish. I thought that I should be focusing outwards, on other people I love, rather than inwards on myself. But you know what? I love myself and I have to keep working on that. I am not always an easy to person to love (yes, I do know that) but there are a lot of things about myself that are wonderful. When I get lost in the soul of a woman who doesn't want me, it's too easy to only see the flaws she sees. So now for the challenge.

I am not a meditating person. The idea of sitting in one place thinking about nothing is kind of painful and boring sounding to me. I don't have any interest in yoga (although tai chi sounds appealing). So this month, I will meditate. As the creepy old guy with no teeth told Liz in the movie, I will meditate and smile. Smile with my face, smile with brain, smile with my liver. Not really sure how I'm going to achieve the last one, but I will try. I will try to meditate for 10 minutes a day, more if I feel the need to. It's a pretty well documented fact that smiling will make you happy and I need that. So, if you are like me and you need to be happy with who you are again, I would also challenge you to join me. Join me in making yourself happy and not relying on someone else to do it for you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sunrise and worship

As of this morning, I have seen the sun rise twice this month. The first two days of the month I was too tired to stay up that late, but I managed it on the 3rd. This morning's sunrise was interrupted by my father waking up and turning a bunch of lights on. In order to really appreciate the shifts in the natural light, one must not be surrounded by artificial light.

I've been enjoying watching the sunrise, actually. We have a pond in our backyard with a lot of animals living there, so it's fun to listen to the birds wake up. It's silent one moment, then one bird makes a noise, and then whole set of them start talking. I also like watching the shifts in light. I studied stage lighting in college, so it's fun to look at the colors in the sunrise and compare them to the colors in the sunset. I like watching the leaves on the trees go from one dark blob to barely distinguishable individual dark leaves to green leaves.

Watching the sun rise also makes me wish I was into Earth worship. I don't actually want to worship the Earth, but I think it's silly to remove the Earth's cycles and properties from your worship of the Creator. Watching the sunrise makes me want to be in a circle with candles at the four corners, chanting and singing. Maybe that sounds silly, but it's what I want. I don't actually think I will (my father would not be pleased to wake up to me chanting) but it's a nice thought. This morning I ended up thinking more about a personal situation than what I was watching though and I kind of wished I didn't have to sit there with nothing to do but think and watch.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Moving on

Well, it's that time of month again. Time to reflect on this past month's challenge and prepare to move on to the next one. I wanted a challenge in July that didn't demand much from me. I wanted to be able to relax a bit from the daily challenge stuff and what I chose did provide that relaxation from me. Unfortunately, I think I relaxed a bit too much. I only got through Jane Eyre this month. I have been reading a lot of Shakespeare and I read parts of 1984 and Atlas Shrugged (my favorite book). I also read The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy and parts of The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth and The Historian. I was hoping that I'd actually read more classics this month than I did, but all it really motivated me to do was avoid my bookshelf. I disliked that. So, we won't be doing this challenge ever again.

For August, I am returning to the daily challenge. This month's challenge will be seeing the sunrise every morning. I am nocturnal by nature and I like it that way. However, this whole challenge thing is meant to shake me out of my routine and place me in the path of new things. I have enjoyed the few sunrises I have seen in the past, so there you go. I am not restricting myself as to what I do after the sunrise though. By that I mean, I can stay awake to watch the sun rise and then go to sleep or I can wake up in time to watch the sun rise. I'm curious to see which one I do more often. I'm hoping that this event-driven sleep schedule will force me to be awake more and get more done with my day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


David Copperfield is still sitting on my desk, trying to avoid my kitty cat's claws. I don't know why she chooses to attack a book I want to read and not The Sun Also Rises. If she liked attacking Catcher in the Rye I would happily get copies of that piece of trash for her to shred too, but no. She chews on my old homework and tries to shred David Copperfield and Harry Potter. My poor confused baby.

I suppose I have been mostly reading classic books lately, but not with the single minded pursuit I hoped this month's challenge would bring. I have been studying and working like a fiend lately. That means a lot of reading that stupid, stupid CAM book and pretty, pretty Shakespeare. I don't think there are many people out there who would debate Shakespeare's place on the classics shelf, so I'm still safe with that. I have set aside my pregnancy book in favor of work and Law and Order, so less reading there too. Overall, I feel like I'm not reading at all, but I know I am. It's just all work reading. Still, if my job involves reading Shakespeare, how bad can life really be?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Getting distracted

Well, I've already broken the rules this month. On the plane ride home, I couldn't bring myself to suffer through any more of The Sun Also Rises. I just don't like it and I believe it has been abandoned for greener pastures. For right now, the greener pastures are The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy. I am not pregnant, but I love reading about pregnancy and to have that shiny new book in my carry on next to David Copperfield was just too much temptation. I gave in and amused myself with this very funny book and it has remained what I want to read. (I really hate starting a book and not finishing it if I want to.) So, for now, I am trying to read the Guide quickly and get back to Challenge.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

One down

Well, reader, I finished Jane Eyre on the plane up to Maryland. If you've read it, do you think that the ending kind of sucked? I don't mean the plot points of the ending. I think that Charlotte Bronte produced a lovely happy ending. I simply mean that I felt like she didn't want to end the book or maybe she didn't know how. The writing at the end felt rushed and half cocked to me. Perhaps she ran out of time and had to write the last chapter more quickly than the others? I don't know.

I've been pretty busy here in Maryland, but I have started reading The Sun Also Rises. I'm kind of amazed that it's considered a good book. I'm a few chapters in and have yet to find the writing or the plot engaging. Hemingway introduces characters without explaining who they are or what their relationship to the protagonist is. I don't have a problem with that as long as you explain their relationship shortly after the introduction, but that hasn't happened yet. Hopefully, it will get better as it goes on.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jane Eyre

I'm now about 3/4 of the way through Jane Eyre and I hope to finish it today or tomorrow. It was a slow start, but I am completely involved now. I kind of think Mr Rochester is an ass, but I think it's really just that Charlotte Bronte is awesome at writing men. Because really, how many men still use the "I'm going to find a new woman half my age because my current wife is an embarassment who won't have sex with me" trick? I'm proud of Jane for not falling for it. No offense to any "other women" out there...

I have about 5 hours of plane time (not to mention airport time) in my future, so I should have some fun reading this week. I stopped by the library to pick up Great Expectations for my trip. Alas, the library here sucks and they didn't have it. They did have David Copperfield, though, so that's coming with me up North. I also grabbed The Sun Also Rises. I hear that Hemingway is "so romantic" but that he's "a misogynistic pig who spent half his life hanging around Picasso trying to screw his leftovers". But that's coming from "a bitter, self-righteous hag who has no friends", so I may have to chalk that up to her being a "Miss I Have An Opinion About Everything". Seriously, points to you if you get my references. One of the best Shakespeare movies EVER.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First week

Well, dear reader, we're roughly a week into July (can you believe it's already a week?!). I have been reading my handbook for the CAM test, but that's the only non-classic book I've been reading. Trust me, I would rather be reading cereal boxes than this handbook, but I don't want to take this test more than once. I am also about a quarter of the way through Jane Eyre. It's a slow start, but I am really enjoying the story. It's so awkward to go from the everyday language of facebook and blogs to the beautiful, elaborate words of 1847. We prefer simplicity in our communications today and Charlotte Bronte did not. The story, thus far at least, is not particularly elaborate. I don't believe that the romance is realistic or even desirable, but the words she uses to describe Jane's life are so different from our own.

One thing that I've been intrigued by, reading this book, is how different "ideal" courtships are throughout time and authors. Bronte and Austen write courtships that are begun chastely between people of neighboring classes. Frequently these courtships start with friendships based on banter. At least, that is what I have seen. Ayn Rand writes courtships that are based on first impressions, respect for one's ability, and violence. Twilight shows a courtship based on obsession and unpredictability and another courtship based on friendship and protection. Which is right? Are any of them wrong? Do you think that these changes are based on cultural/chronological changes or simply personal preferences written into stories?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Finally, the end of June

Well, my friends, June is over and it's time to move on from this month's challenge. I have to say, I'm thrilled. Finding something scary to eat every day became more a chore than a challenge and most of the time it meant subjecting myself to disgusting flavors and textures. I did find a few good things that I can eat again that I would not have, so I guess it's a win.

Because I am so tired of the "every day" challenge, July's challenge will be different. I will only read classics during July. No Twilight, Harry Potter, or Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (side note- AAR is getting married in 4 days and I'm super excited for her!). I'm hoping to try to get through Jane Eyre and Great Expectations. We'll see how it goes. July is a busy month, what with my birthday and taking the CAM test and all.

I hope you enjoyed my food blogs and I hope you like July's challenge too!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I know it's been a few days since my last entry. Having a challenge every day is a lot more difficult than I really thought it would be. Next month's challenge is going to be something I don't have to do every day. Today I had a bag of Steamfresh chicken flavored rice with vegetables. I don't normally eat stuff that's different from what I normally go for, so I decided to pick up this weird concoction. I microwaved it for the specified amount of time. I think it needed a little longer, the rice was chewier than I really like. It smelled absolutely awful, but I dutifully took that bite. It wasn't very good. I didn't eat more than that. The veggies were so tiny it seemed like there were barely any there. Definately not worth purchasing, let alone trying again. I'll just stick to RiceaRoni when I want chicken flavored rice.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ben and Jerry's

Ben and Jerry's makes my favorite ice cream. Yes, most women can say the same thing. My favorite is Half Baked, a combination of Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. I would never pay the high price for a pint of Ben and Jerry's that I didn't already know I loved, so I never considered their ice cream an option for my June challenge. Until I remembered their mini cups. Mini cups cost a dollar (still an insane price for the amount of ice cream inside) so they are easier to try and discard. Of course, Ben and Jerry's only makes 3 varieties of mini cups: Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. I'm guessing you can figure out which one I purchased for today's challenge. The first thing about Cherry Garcia that surprised me was the color. I was expecting cherry ice cream to be pink. It was not. It was white. Makes sense, I suppose. No artificial colors. The combination of cherry and chocolate threw me off. Who wants cherry and chocolate in the same bite? Very strange. I did not care for the ice cream, though I did find that I appreciated the high quality of the ingredients. There are actual pieces of cherry in Cherry Garcia! Cherries are one of my favorite fruits, though I can't eat them often. It's a shame I didn't like this ice cream.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Panera Bread

Today, while waiting for my father, I spent an hour and a half at Panera Bread. Dad bought me lunch, but I got my favorites (chicken noodle soup and mac and cheese). I also bought myself the delicious black cherry smoothie. Amazing! As my scary food, I opted for the brownie. Okay, no, a brownie is not that scary. I am running out of courage for this challenge though. The brownie was not ideal, so I got it. Afterwards, I drifted past the free samples table. "This is perfect!" I thought. "Bite size pieces of something I don't want to eat!" Sure enough, there it was. Cinnamon chip scone. I have been wanting to try the cinnamon chip scone, but I was afraid to spend money on it and hate it. I'm not really a scone person. I like cinnamon and sugar though, so now's the perfect time to try the scary scone. It was really good. The scone texture was a bit irritating around the edges, but not enough to keep me from eating it again. I loved the flavor and I really liked that there was nothing chewy in it, like raisins or currants. A definate win for Panera Bread!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

4Rivers and then some

If you read this blog, you know that a few days ago I enjoyed some barbeque from 4Rivers. Well, we have continued to enjoy it for dinner ever since. My mother, trying to spice things up a bit, took the barbeque and turned it into the fixings for taco night. Mexican food is on my permanent list of "Food I Will Not Consume". Since I'm trying scary things though, I figured I had to try some. My mother added some kind of mild taco sauce to the chicken, so I put some on my plate. I was expecting it to be spicy and it wasn't really. She was right, it was very mild. Spicier than I prefer, but then ketchup is spicier than I prefer most of the time. The taste of it, however, was disgusting. I don't know why anyone would want to consume that flavor combination on a regular basis. Ew.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pretzel M&Ms

Do you like chocolate covered pretzels? As a woman, I have been told many times that they are the PMS food of the Gods and that I'm crazy for disliking them. Salt and sweet together = YUCK. Nevertheless, I shelved my prejudice and picked them off the shelf of candy at Publix today. I brought them home, unpacked my groceries, and told my mom she'd have to wait until I had one before she could eat them. I opened the bag, popped one in my mouth, chewed... and promptly gagged and spit it out. That's right, the first food in this month's challenge that I have actually refused to swallow. Had it been an unsalted pretzel, I would have liked it. The texture of crunchy pretzel with crunchy candy coating was pleasant. The combined taste of pretzel and chocolate was pleasant. The salt tang with the sweet ahhh was incredibly unpleasant. Ew.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


4Rivers is a barbeque joint in Orlando. My sister works there. In order to make today a little easier on my mom and to let my family try some of their food, my sister brought food from work today for Father's Day. (Happy Father's Day!) My mom, knowing my weird food aversion, offered to make me something different, but I chose to eat what everyone else was eating. Well, except for the shrimp with crab stuffing. I don't like shrimp. Melissa brought three different kinds of meat, cole slaw, and cheese grits. I didn't eat the cole slaw, but I did try everything else she brought. If you are anywhere near the Orlando area, you should check out 4Rivers. The meat is SOOO tender. I wasn't terribly fond of the beef brisket or the chicken (it was fine, just not slendiforous). I really liked the pulled pork though. I even had seconds! I put it on a roll, but I probably would have eaten by itself.

The cheese grits were another story. Mel was so excited about them that I knew I had to try them. The texture was AMAZING. Smooth, but not creamy. The cheese flavor was too intense for me though. I like mild cheese (American, Muenster, provolone) and this was CHEDDAR. Like wham! kind of cheddar. If you're into that, eat these. Probably not too much of it though because I'm guessing it has a lot of calories.

I hope you had a great Father's Day if you're a father and, if you're not, I hope you told your dad that you love him. Most of all, I hope you do love your dad. It's a sad life without a dad you can love and respect.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ice cream

One of my goals for this month was to try low fat or fat free foods that I wouldn't normally try due to wussiness. I accomplished that goal today. I tried Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle ice cream bars. I was expecting hard, gross ice cream, kind of like a fudgesicle. It was actually soft and tasty. I mean, it's no Ben and Jerry's Half Baked ice cream, but it's definately something that I would eat on a regular basis. I'd even recommend it, so there :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

John's Steak and Seafood

I've been craving steak for a few days, so we finally went to a place that sells steak. The soup and salad bar was included in the meal, so I decided to finally try a food I have avoided for years: clam chowder. I'm a chicken noodle soup girl, so something with clams and milk and whatever else is in chowder is a bit disgusting to me. The first bite wasn't so bad because I simply gulped it down. It wasn't until I actually let myself taste the clams in the soup that I got grossed out. Clams are slimy and gross. Having little bits of it in the soup ruined it. Maybe if it had been pureed or something... I don't know, but I won't be in a hurry to try it again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I'm not a big fan of barbeque. It tends to be on the "too spicy for me" side. Now that we're eating at home more, I am running out of options of food that scares me that I haven't tried. We have some disgusting food in the house, but that's mostly all stuff I've tried at some point or another. Dad picked up some kind of barbeque pulled pork and had that for dinner, so I tried some of his sandwich. It was pretty good, too. I didn't want it for my dinner, though. I'm hoping that I'll be okay with barbeque this weekend too. My sister works at a barbeque place and is bringing food from work for our Father's Day dinner. I want to try it, you know, be supportive of her job, but I'm kind of nervous about it. Hopefully it'll be as good or better than the barbeque today!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


As you might imagine, Subway is not my favorite restaurant. I believe I've already gone into details about Subway in this blog, so I'll leave it at that in this entry. My father went to Subway last night and brought home part of a chicken salad sandwich. He had that for lunch today and allowed me a bite. He thought it was amazing, I thought it was okay. Until the chicken flavor kicked in and then I was grossed out. I like chicken, I really do, but for some reason combining chicken with whatever they use in chicken salad just makes it yuck.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Today, I broke out of my peaceful dessert world and tried my first scary candy. Twix is scary for a couple of reasons. The first is the cookie mixed with chocolate and caramel part. Two soft foods mixed with one crunchy one? Unappealing. The second reason is the caramel. (Car-mel? Car-a-mel?) I don't like it. It tastes yicky to me. However, I opened that wrapper and took a bite. The caramel taste wasn't noticable. I actually liked the flavor of the chocolate and caramel mixed together, but the chewiness of the caramel weirded me out. I had the texture of caramel and the taste of chocolate in my mouth and my brain didn't know what to do with it. The cookie part was the real kicker. Chewy chocolate and hard, crunchy cookie was too much for my poor mouth and that one bite was the only one I had. I was seriously tempted to spit out the little bit of the Twix in my mouth. In the future, I will stick to Three Musketeers bars and plain M&Ms.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


What's your favorite sandwich? As you may have guessed, I like my sandwiches plain. White bread, one kind of meat or pb&j, and nothing else. I like turkey and ham. That's about it. It's a waste of money for me to go to sub shops since all the condiments are included and I don't use any. When I do go to Subway, I get weird looks from the employees because they don't understand how someone could want a foot long ham on white with American cheese on the side and nothing else. You would think they'd be like, "Sweet! Less work for me!" but they usually are too busy thinking I'm lying to them to rejoice in my simple order. So, all that being said, today's scary food was a scary sandwich. My dad came home with honey wheat bread and ham and chicken lunchmeat. I already had white bread, so ham on white became my dinner. I also concocted a half a sandwich out of said honey wheat bread and chicken. I tried very hard to get past the strangeness of chicken sliced thin and placed on a sandwich. I almost did. Almost, but not quite. The part I couldn't get past was the bread. Bread is a beautiful, delicious food that comes in many wonderful varieties. I enjoy trying new kinds of bread. Oatmeal, rosemary, challah, fried bread. I love all of those strange kinds of bread. Honey wheat bread is disgusting. It is an insult to bread to call that crap bread. Calling Wonderbread bread is a bigger insult to the bread world, but that honey wheat stuff was definately a close second on my "Worst bread ever" list.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Home (Again)

I didn't feel like going out or spending money today, so it was back to the pantry to find scary food. I considered the chex mix, but I think that's less scary and more plain disgusting. I looked at the cereal, but I did that yesterday. Finally, I settled on the mystery cookies. They're my father's. How do I know? My father is one of those people who takes the package of cookies, opens it, and puts single servings in little ziploc bags. Intelligent for portion control, irritating for the people who have to live with said OCD. I have OCD too, though, so I can't complain too much. Hmmm, maybe it's hereditary... Wait, what was I talking about? Right! Mystery cookies! They say Lotus on them (I think) and I ate one. It had a great texture, tasted like cinnamon and vanilla. Not a bad cookie, really. It did have a slightly unpleasant aftertaste though. All in all, not disgusting, but not my cup of tea.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Today's scary food hails from the land of, "Healthy foods are scary!" No offense Kashi people, but all natural, organic food is like commitment to me. Seductive as hell, but just as frightening when it comes time to actually do it. So, as I was perusing my favorite aisle at the Publix (that would be the cereal aisle) I stumbled across BOGO bags of granola. They were beautiful. So many varieties, all lined up in the "All Natural" section. I, being the well read person I am, know that "all natural" means "clever marketing term that means NOTHING", but I am seduced anyway. Seeing that these bags are buy one, get one free, I carefully choose my two bags of overpriced grain. One is some variety of chocolate and the other is sunflower and pumpkin seed. I actually love sunflower and pumpkin seeds, so I'm thinking, "Sweet, something that isn't chocolate for when my conscience says, 'You never eat healthy stuff unless it's chocolate!'"

Tonight, it was time to test my sunflower and pumpkin seed granola. I have yet to decide if the chocolate counts for this challenge or not since I was tempted to get it before the challenge, I just never did. The scary seed filled granola definately counts though. I was silly and forgot that I only needed to take a bite of the stuff, so I got out my pretty Ariel bowl (Yes, I have Ariel dishes. I love them.) and measured a half cup of granola with a splash of milk into it. It took a couple of bites to get used to the cereal, but I actually really liked it. I like cereal, I just rarely eat it since my breakfast consists of coffee. Usually when I go eat cereal, it's an unhealthy amount of Kix. This cereal is healthy AND tasty. A total positive considering the vauge "lose weight" goal I have.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


What is your favorite potato chip? In Maryland, where I hail from, Utz chips are a way of life. Specifically, crab Utz chips. It may sound like a stereotype, but we Baltimorians looooove our crabs. So much so that we insist on these gross crab flavored chips. I, of course, am one of the few people who dislike them. They're very popular. Truthfully, I don't really care for Utz chips at all. They're okay and I'll grab a handful at the picnic or potluck, but if I'm going to spend money and calories on greasy, potato-y goodness, I buy Ruffles. I don't know why Ruffles are my favorite chips. Maybe it's the ridges or perhaps they have a salt content higher than the average chip. I actually think I like them the best because they're the first chip I remember eating. Yeah, go analyze THAT, psychology majors. Okay, don't really, because analyzing my food preferences seems like a waste of your time.

Nevertheless, despite all brand preferences, I stick to one rule about chips. This rule is the same rule I adhere to in all areas of my diet: Keep it plain. No salt and vinegar, crab, barbeque, Cajun, honey cinnamon cayene, whatever. So today, as the witching hour drew nearer and I hadn't fulfilled my task, I reached for the first scary food I could find. A bag of Lay's Barbeque chips. I was at the Blue Lizard Hookah Lounge (it's awesome, by the way) and they are for sale there (but don't buy the crappy food, buy the hookah). I ate one. It was awful. My friend laughed at me as I tried valiantly to finish my bite and unscrew my water bottle at the same time. The lesson? Barbeque chips, very bad. Awesome hookah lounge, very good.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Well, I'm still sick, but I can swallow without wincing, so I have returned to my challenge. My mother is home and cooking for us, so for dinner tonight she made salmon salads. Well, she and dad had salmon salads. I had salmon. And vegatables. Two very separate items. She also baked some zucchini with spices, tomato chunks, and shredded cheese. This zucchini pizza became my scary food of the day. Suprisingly, it actually tasted kind of like pizza. I kind of liked it. I'd eat it again.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Yesterday morning I woke up with 102.2 fever and a sore throat. It hurts to swallow. Yesterday I ate toast. Today I had half a grilled cheese sandwich. As you might imagine, eating scary foods is not high on my list right now. Hopefully I will be well soon and back to eating frightening stuff. For now, we're going to work on drinking water without wincing.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fail day

Today, I did not eat anything scary. I planned to and tried to find something, but it was a failed operation. My father's cereal was an option, but by the time I remembered (again) that I hadn't met today's challenge, I had overeaten at dinner and I am also trying to lose some weight, so no go. My dinner was delicious though. Three cheese chicken Voila and No Pudge brownies. (By the way, if you're a chocoholic like me and trying to lose weight too, try these brownies. They're fat free and AMAZING.) I had plain white rice and a cheese stick for lunch, coffee for breakfast. Please, no comments from health gurus about the unhealthiness of my day's menu. I know. I care very little. I am, however, disappointed in my failure. I shall strive to do better, reader!

Friday, June 4, 2010

China Wok

As a child, I only ate two things from Chinese restaurants: white rice and wonton soup. Those are still my two favorite things, but I have added two items to the list: veggie lo mein and steamed or fried dumplings. Now, last night, we were going to go to the Chinese buffet and I was going to get something scary there. Since that didn't work out and my father was tired tonight, I suggested we skip the buffet and just get Chinese. So we did.

I got my fried dumplings ("No, dad, I don't want vegetables") and dad ordered pork egg fu young. So, pork egg fu young was my scary food of the day. By the way, have you ever seen egg fu young? It's frightening! Definately on my scary food list. I tried some and actually liked it. I was shocked. Why does my dad like it? It's not his usual taste at all. I just expanded my Chinese food options by 25%! (I think. Math isn't my thing.) So, reader, there you are. The very first scary food from the June challenge to get the picky eater stamp of approval.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Golden Corral

Buffets are a great place to go when you're trying new things. In fact, buffets are a scary place to go if you're not willing to try new things. A new Chinese buffet opened near our house not too long ago and my father has been wanting to try it, but I'm a food wuss and always say "no". Today, in honor of my June challenge, I put on my big girl panties and said, "Sure, let's do it." I was even kind of looking forward to some fried dumplings and veggie lo mein. My dad, grandfather, and myself loaded up in the Mariner and headed out to the only road that leads to the Chinese buffet. Guess what? We got off it about 5 minutes and a quarter of a mile later. Yep, some kind of accident was preventing us from eating questionable meat.

Plan B (no, not the contraceptive kind)
Golden Corral. After all, they'd already gotten me to agree to go to a buffet, so why mess with a good thing? I like Golden Corral. Decent mac and cheese, fabulous white rolls, yummy steak. Plenty of all-American goodness for this picky eater. Also, plenty of scary options, so today's challenge was on! The scary food I opted for was turnip greens. They are easily one of the most unappealing foods I have ever seen. I usually judge whether or not a food falls into the "scary food" category by how much I don't want to touch it. Turnip greens ranked pretty high up there.

Suprisingly, they taste better than they look. I would certainly hope this would be the case since they look like they got blown out of an elephant's trunk. I wouldn't eat them on a regular basis, but I would definately pick them over, say, live spiders. Or even dead spiders. (Now is not the time to remind me that the average human consumes something like 4 spiders a year in their sleep.)

So, my reader, there you have it. Turnip greens: looks nasty, tastes kind of nasty, but does not taste nearly as nasty as they look.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

West Park Village Deli

Today's scary food is one you have probably eaten many times: potato salad.

I am not a fan of cold salads or really salad in general. I do not believe that food should be mixed together. Many tastes and textures in one bite? Ew, no, thank you! I have tried potato salad before. I hated it. I have since avoided it at all picnics and potlucks.

I have been told many times, "When you get older and your tastebuds mature, you like a lot of things that you didn't like as a kid." So, with that in mind today, I ordered potato salad with my plain ham on white from the West Park Village Deli. The sandwich was delicious. The potato salad was as bad as I remember it being. I tried very had to keep an open mind (mouth?), but it wasn't happening. Potato salad is still gross.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Panera Bread

Today's scary food came from Panera Bread. "What could possibly be scary at Panera Bread?" you might ask. Today's answer: Apple Pastry.

My idea of pastry involves chocolate croissant and nothing else. Seriously, between a cheese danish and plain white bread, I'm picking the bread. So, I bought my favorite smoothie and this very pretty pastry and took a seat. I postponed the actual eating by cutting it up first (yes, I'm that wussy) but I did eventually have to put some of it in my mouth.

Amazingly, it wasn't bad. I don't think I would order it again (apple should not be mixed with other flavors, in my humble opinion) but the crust was delightful, I enjoyed the texture of it, and I even managed to eat another bite. I finished half of the pastry and went, "Do I really need to finish this? Nope" and threw the rest out. The goal was to try and it was accomplished. I even managed to straighten up some of my tangled, twisted up feelings while out and about. All in all, a successful trip to Panera Bread.

Monday, May 31, 2010

It's time to begin again

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

I plan to celebrate today by revealing the June challenge to you. Yeah, I know it doesn't have much to do with our soldiers, but that's what I'm doing.

The June challenge is to try one scary thing everyday. My idea of scary food and your idea of scary food are probably pretty different, so don't be surprised if you see me trying cinnamon raisin bagels or something like that. I am one of the pickiest eaters I know. Amazingly, I am not THE pickiest eater I know, but that's not important. My menus usually consist of foods 5-year-olds would find appealing. For example, ice cream sandwiches, Jello, macaroni and cheese, pizza, spaghetti, etc. So the rule is that I have to try one thing everyday that I would not eat if I were not doing this challenge.

I'm hoping that I actually find some foods I like that are not what I would usually eat. My sister and brother-in-law have invited me for sushi this month, so this challenge will also provide me with the opportunity to spend more time with my family. Perhaps it will even give my family a break from always going to restaurants I want to go to.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ending early

I think it is time to bury my poor dead May challenge. My father's eye surgery makes seeing anything too difficult right now and asking him to read notes from me instead of listening to me when I am capable of talking just seems too cruel. I am not forgetting my plans though! I already have next month's challenge ready to go and it will be MUCH easier to stick to all month.

Because this month's challenge was so important to me, I may have to resurrect it later on. Perhaps later on in this series or just sometime over my life. It was really nice having my father avoid fighting with me since he knew I wouldn't say anything back to him. Oh well.

Friday, May 14, 2010

So far away...

In case you have missed my posts over the past few days, I apologize for my absence. I went out of town on Saturday to visit a friend in another state and, while I took my computer with me, I was a bit busy so I didn't use it much.

As you may logically have guessed, I did not hold my silence while I was gone. If I'm going to drive forever to go see my long lost friend, I'm going to talk to her. Makes sense, right? But, now that I am home and desperately trying to reestablish order in my life, I intend to pick up where I left off. The only complication is that my father just had eye surgery and my not have any patience with my attempts at silent communication. We'll see how it goes.

I missed you and my challenge this week, but I had a super time away, so I'm not sorry. Mea culpa.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


The hardest one for me to avoid talking to is my cat. Explain that. She never talks back, so maybe I just don't notice that I'm talking to her? Before you worry too much, I say things like, "Hey baby!" or "No, don't chew on my computer charger cord". I don't have long conversations with her.

Observations Post #1

I have several observations to share with my reading public about my current experiment.

First, contrary to what I believed, silence is an easy mode to get into. It's kind of annoying to have to write everything down, but the instinct to speak immediately disappeared surprisingly quickly. Actually, I'm finding that I just open my mouth a lot less since nothing can come out of it except carbon dioxide. Of course, because I'm writing stuff down, I say less. I was talking to my dad about the top 5 American entrepreneurs earlier. I had opinions, but we were sitting on opposite sides of the room, my notepad was on the kitchen counter, and I didn't feel like altering either of those things. So I just didn't contribute to the conversation.

We went out to dinner tonight. I anticipated that I would have to write out my meal orders since we eat out a lot (my dad doesn't cook and I don't turn down free food). My dad did not seem to anticipate this experience. He anticipated a meal of him talking to himself and planned on bringing a book. I probably shouldn't have minded, but I was a little bothered. Just because I'm not speaking doesn't mean I'm not talking, you know? I showed him my notebook and he left The Case for Faith at home.

Dinner was entertaining, both for the company and the experiment. I was surprised by the waitress. Because I wasn't speaking to her, she didn't speak to me. It was strange, but I probably should have expected it. Instead of asking me if my food was alright, she pointed to it and performed the "thumbs up" gesture. When she approached the table, she touched my shoulder to get my attention. We informed her that I had laryngitis, so she knew I wasn't deaf. It was just surprising and entertaining to observe.

I still haven't been able to maintain a COMPLETE day of silence and it's a bit irritating. My dad kept asking me questions about the plot of an NCIS episode he walked in in the middle of, so I finally gave up trying to gesture the answers. It's complicated, okay? Also, more phone calls regarding my speeding ticket. On the plus side, that's almost completely taken care of. I'm waiting on one more piece of paper and roughly $200 and that sucker will be washed right out of my hair. I did have one fabulous distraction from my silence though. My girl in NC and I only text. She hates talking on the phone, so she calls me about... once every two months or so. She called today to let me listen to her two-year-old say my name. TOTALLY worth it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I'm two days into my first challenge and failing miserably. I've worked both days and been silent before and after work, but I really wish I was able to be consistent all day. I'm missing out on the full experience by allowing myself to talk so much. I'm not working again for a while, so I have plenty of time to work on that.

One of my other problems has been the "legal exceptions" part. I got a speeding ticket this past week and making all the arrangements to fulfill the requirements of my ticket has been annoying and verbal. It's amazing to me that there are government agencies that have barely functioning websites.

In short, I'm looking forward to tomorrow, my very first complete silent day. Thus far, I think the only real result is annoying the crap out of my father. Sorry, dad!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Challenge #1

Well, it's finally here. May 2, the day before I start my first month long challenge and the day that you, my darling reader, get to know what my challenge is. So..... *drumroll please*

I will NOT be talking for a month.

Of course, like everything, there are exceptions. I will talk if medically or legally necessary (oh my goodness, can you imagine trying to mime your way out of a speeding ticket?). I will also talk when my infrequent job requires it. I'm going to be working TWO days this week, so that's two days I'm breaking the rules. Outside of work on those days, I will be silent. Other than those exceptions, it's going to be a quiet month for me.

I will still type, text, write, and gesture, so I won't be totally non-communicative (in case that would be a sad thing to you). I will probably be playing Ursula's "Poor Unfortunate Souls" a lot this month.

I'm interested to see how other people will be around me if I'm not really contributing to the conversation. Will they talk to me? Will they ignore me? Will they forget I'm there and say things they don't want me to hear?

It will also be interesting to see how this challenges the people who serve me. I'm probably just going to have to have a card I keep on me at all times that says, "Water, no ice, no lemon".

So here's my first observation: I dye my hair red. I have The Little Mermaid paraphanalia everywhere. Now, I'm not speaking. It's possible that I'm taking my Ariel obsession to an unhealthy level. On that note, if you're hot, single, play the flute, and are named Eric, call me. In June.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's official

The start day for the May challenge is May 3. Looking forward to telling you what the challenge is on May 2.

PS Is it just me or has April taken forever to end?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Still waiting

I still do not have an exact start date for my May challenge. I am supposed to be signing up for a two day certification class on May 1 and 2 (hence the May 3 start date) but the money to sign up for the class is not showing up in my bank account. Boo.

I've decided that I am not going to reveal each month's challenge to you, my reader, until the day before it starts. So, you don't get to know yet what my May challenge is. You may have inferred that it will interfere with my life slightly from the fact that I am scheduling it around a class, instead of ploughing on ahead with both the challenge and the class.

Here's another hint. I have made plans to hang out with my sister this weekend so that I will not have to wait until June to have some real visiting time with her.

I hope you have as fun a weekend planned as I do!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Before the Beginning...

there was an idea. The idea is to spend a month at a time challenging myself to one thing that is different from the way I normally live my life. There is no limit to how long this challenge will continue, but a year is the normal time frame. I may give up challenging myself before a year is out or I may decide that I have more than 12 challenges in my head that I want to try.

The purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet to describe my experiences, as well as to document them. I don't know if anyone else will want to read about my challenges, but mayhap you will. Mayhap you will be inspired to imitate my challenges. If not, that's alright.

Let me describe myself and my daily life so that you know who I am before you know what I am changing. I graduated with my master's degree roughly a year ago. I won't say that I've been lost for this past year, but I do feel like I've been in a never-ending, slightly gray limbo. Since graduation, I have struggled to find a job (like most graduates right now). I am currently unemployed and living with my parents in Florida. I work one day a week with my father at one of his jobs. That income covers almost nothing, but I am grateful for it. I am writing a book. Well, I have written a book and I am trying to make it perfect for publishing. I'm also trying to find an agent and learn as much as I can about publishing.

I talk far too much. I do have some fairly brilliant insights, comments, and quips, but I also make many remarks that offend/hurt people and make me feel stupid.

I have a love/hate relationship with sleep and other people. I adore sleeping, but I wish it wasn't necessary. I have sleep onset insomnia, but I can easily sleep for 10-12 hours. I drink 3 cups of coffee every day, usually around 12:30pm when I wake up.

I enjoy one on one time with friends and family, but I get incredibly stressed out when I have to be around more than 3 people at a time. I try to hide it. I fail.

I do not have a significant other, nor do I want one. Relationships are more than I wish to handle at this point in my life. Besides, how could I afford to date? :)

I have a cat. I adore her, but I do not spend enough time with her lately because I'm spending far too much time watching TV. NCIS is my biggest drug, but I'm also addicted to Glee and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

Well, I believe that is enough information for my first blog. My first month long challenge is set to start on May 1 or May 3 (to be determined). Hopefully you'll be intrigued.