Protected: She’s ALIVE!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2012 by poojaland

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Check it, because I wrecked it

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2011 by poojaland

Aw yeah, it’s a gold-star day for me — I scored 418 points in Scrabble, against Norm1 the computer! This was done on my Scrabble iPhone app (the official Scrabble app), which is my go-to time-waster when there’s any time to be wasted. This score is my highest ever, kicked off with my first word, “Higgles,”which garnered me a huge points bonus as it took all my letters to build.

It’s all about the little things, my friends.

New favorite nutritional shortcut

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2, 2011 by poojaland

Being that I’m not so good at eating well — and don’t have the sophisticated palate that really enjoys healthy food — I’m always looking for nutritional shortcuts. I.e., how can I get the benefits of eating fish without eating fish? (Here’s my solution.) Last year, I happily discovered V8 Fusion. It’s 100% juice with no sugar added, and each serving contains one full serving of vegetables and one full serving of fruits. As a bonus, you can even now buy the cans at Costco! The Costco pack has two flavors, Pomegranate Blueberry and Strawberry Banana. Good stuff!

I know you’re ideally supposed to have more than one serving each of veggies and fruits per day, so I do eat additional fresh stuff here and there (and I don’t drink a can of this every day). Still, it’s a great supplement to my otherwise relatively unhealthy “diet.”

Sheet, I forgot to mention —

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2011 by poojaland

After my last post, I went onto my blog and re-read some of my last few entries. I read the post where I whined about my white sheets … and now, only a few months later, I’m a bit sheepish to report that I have an entire new set of bedding. Um, yes. So, I finally reached my limit with the super-light bedding. And for a few years now, I’ve been coveting various Calvin Klein bedding sets. Macy’s always has great deal on bedding, so I went on to their Web site and was happy to discover they had several CK bedding sets on sale. My dream sets were still prohibitively expensive ($200 for just a duvet cover?!), but there were a few that were around $150 for a duvet set (duvet cover + two shams). In the end, I went with the Marin design. I didn’t like the accompanying sheets, so I splurged on a new set of sheets as well (also on sale!); they’re a dark blue-gray color. Rather than spend more money on accent pillows, I took one of the shams with me to Ross and wandered their surprisingly well stocked pillows section to find a color that would complement the color scheme of the bedding set. I ended up picking a large, square pillow with a ruffled edge in a cool dark purple color that I thought went well with the dark sheets and lighter blue of the duvet and shams (as a bonus, it was only like $9). The duvet is more vibrant in person, but below is a pic of how everything looked once it was washed and set up — excuse the bad quality of the photo, which was taken on my iPhone.

The duvet cover is 100% cotton, but I was still worried about the effect Buster’s claws might have on it. The first night I slept with the new bedding, I did hear his nails catch on it a couple times. The next morning, upon inspection, I discovered a couple places where his nails pulled out a little loop of fabric. So…I ran back to Macy’s and picked up a cheap fleece blanket to toss over my bed. It’s not super sexy — I remove it when company’s coming over — but it provides a great barrier between pricey bedding and a kitty’s sharp claws.

The blanket also gets the stamp of approval from the feline himself, who curled up on it within minutes..

Pulse check and quickie updates

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2011 by poojaland

Yes, I’m still here!

I’ll skip the excuses and blah blah blah and just give some quick updates on some of the past few months’ activities instead..

Posing with N on the uphill portion of the hike. In the background you can faintly see some nearby peak (I forget the name of the mountain).

I went snowshoeing for the first time in January. I’d seen a Groupon for an outing, and sent it out to some girlfriends (the core of whom refer to ourselves as the Girls’ Adventure Club). However, we decided we could do an outing on our own for much less than the $45 Groupon, although only a couple of the girls had done any snowshoeing – and that wasn’t much. Then, I saw an article in the Seattle Times about snowshoe walks guided by rangers. I passed the info on to the girls, and we ended up deciding to go that route. We had a great time! Eight of us girls were in the group (plus two random people) and we had two volunteer Forest-Service guides with us the entire way. There were two options for the guided walk — a 90-minute “interpretive walk,” and a half-day outing to Commonwealth Basin. We decided we had the recommended “higher level of fitness and winter preparedness” and signed up for the half-day trip. Walking in the snowshoes took some getting used to, but I managed to stay upright the entire way (typical — one of my snowshoes came off just a few minutes after we started walking!), and though I was seriously huffing and puffing during a steep 600-foot uphill climb, I didn’t have to ask the group to give me a five-minute breather. We stopped periodically so the guide could tell us about some snow formation, or snow bridge, or logging history tidbit, and took a 30-minute break at the halfway point to eat some lunch. The weather was a bit gray and gloomy when we first set out around 9:30, but cleared up quickly, and we were in sunglasses for most of the hike.

I was WAY over-prepared, of course! I did end up leaving my borrowed avalanche beacon, probe and snow shovel in the car, but still packed some of the other 10 essentials (emergency blanket, waterproof matches, headlamp …) and brought tons of layers. I started out that morning wearing: a silk, base-layer tank top, long-sleeved wicking T-shirt, long sleeve microfleece pullover, silk long underwear, lightly lined waterproof, breathable snow pants, knee-high wool socks, Primaloft-insulated jacket, wool scarf and gloves. As you can see by the pic on the left, I quickly stripped off a lot of that stuff, and stayed comfortable for most of the time, except when we paused for more than a few minutes at any one time. As you can also see, I used trekking poles with snow baskets, which helped a lot, especially on the downhill section. Though I was in the back of the pack on the way up (literally, I was right in front of our back guide!), I was cruising along behind the front guide for the majority of the trip down. In the end, I think we hiked about 5 miles total, over the course of 5 hours. I highly recommend local folks give the outing a try next winter, I think we may do it again as well! You need a reservation, and I’m sure the slots fill up fast (group size is limited to 10 clients), so I’d suggest you call in December sometime (the outings run Jan. through March). Get more info here.

In March, also with many of the members of the G.A.C., I went on the Chocolate Box Experience (through another Groupon-like Web site, love all these deals we’re finding!). Though I’m not a huge chocolate freak like some of my girlfriends, it was a lot of fun. We started at the Chocolate Box (a chocolate store in downtown Seattle near Pike Place Market) and got an overview of the history of chocolate while we sipped some C.B. hot cocoa. Then we hopped in a van and were off to Theo Chocolate.


Sex-ay self-photo with my pitch for chocolate-flavored chapstick.

Though the machinery didn’t seem to be operating when we got our tour, we all still got hairnetted up as we walked around. After wards, we milled about in Theo’s lobby and OD’d on the copious amounts of samples (they let you try nearly everything they make — and they make a lot!). They had a lot of fancy sounding flavors (chili, toasted coconut, curry), but my favorite was a flavor I can’t currently find on their Web site — NiB Brittle (dark chocolate, with 70% cacao — see pic above). I actually didn’t see/buy it until a revisit to Theo a couple weeks ago, so it may be a seasonal product. As part of the experience, we also spent some time enjoying some semisweet-chocolate fondue. Yum!

In other news.. in December of 2010, I realized my hair was thinning. Not that it was coming out in clumps or anything, just that I had a lot less hair than usual. I’ve always had pretty thick hair — I periodically would have my hair stylist thin it out here and there — so this was alarming. After a few e-mail exchanges with my doctor and a blood test, I discovered I had an iron deficiency. Most women have an iron level of 13-150, and my level was 3!! I was expecting the doc to say I needed to start eating like a bag of spinach a day, but thankfully — there’s a pill for this. I started taking an iron supplement — just your garden-variety drugstore version — at triple the dosage a normal person would take. I was on the regiment for three months, then went back in for another blood test in mid-February. Whew…I was just inside the normal range at 14. So, now I’m taking just one pill a day. Other folks online have raved about the improvements in their lives and energy levels after returning their iron levels to normal, but I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference there. It’s also a bit too early to say whether my hair is going to return to its normal state. I can see lots of short, wispy hairs near the crown of my head, but I’ve always had hairs like that, so I may just be seeing what I want to see. At the very least, I’m addressing the problem of the most likely culprit for my having less hairs, so…fingers crossed, I’ll be feeling more confident about the new-hair growth in another few months.

I think that covers some of the highlights/milestones of the past few months. More recently, I’m trying to be a little more healthy; I joined a gym that’s closer to my house, and have consistently been going more often, though that’s still only 2-3 times a week. I also still hit the pool for a one-hour lap swim once a week, most weeks. Eating healthier is my bigger stumbling block. Food is a real quality-of-life thing for me. I don’t eat all that badly, but I do hit up a fast-food joint (not to mention my fave bubble-tea place) once a week or so. Now, I’m not going to give up those vices, but I need to try and eat better the rest of the time. Baby steps, my friends..

Bus post: November snow

Posted in Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 by poojaland

I was pretty bummed last winter when we got nary a flake of the white stuff. I used to grumble over the snow like a lot of Seattleites (we have a bad rep for not being able to deal with ice/snow, but that’s mainly because this city is basically hill after hill), but due to where I live now, and how I commute, as long as I have a little advance warning that snow is coming, I’m good to go. My condo is within walking distance of my bus stop, a movie theater, a Target, a grocery store, my bank and even my doctor and haircut place.

Anyway, it snowed off and on for several hours yesterday (Sunday). This time, it did make me a bit anxious, as I had early-evening dinner plans, and then would have to head downtown straightaway to meet up with a bunch of folks and see the semifinals of the Seattle Comedy Competition (for which I’d already bought a $19 ticket). My back-up plan was to bail on the dinner and bus downtown, though that wasn’t super appealing as the later it gets, especially on a Sunday night, the less often my bus runs. Thankfully, the snow never stuck yesterday, and had tapered off completely by the time I headed out for the evening’s activities around 4:45. Both the outings were a lot of fun!

I’d heard it might snow overnight, so when my last alarm went off this morning around 6:30, I bounded over to the window and looked down to my building’s backyard. Sadly, I didn’t spy any dusting of white. But 30 minutes later, after I’d gotten out of the shower, I peered outside, and dang if snow wasn’t coming down steadily — and sticking! I thought about e-mailing my team and saying I’d work from home, but I already had my contacts in at the point, my bus looked to be on its normal schedule and finally, being that it’s a short week due to Thanksgiving, I figured I’d venture on in. Plus, I was really eager to have a chilly, snowy walk to the bus stop (in my Sorels, of course, plus my long, down coat with faux-fur trimmed hood!).

The bus was on time, pulling up to the stop with the crunch-crunch of the chains on the back tires (though there was only maybe 1/2″ of snow on the roads). We took a detour to the main road by going around the block, and then all of a sudden, some dude went up to the driver and asked to be let off. So she pulled over, and the dude, plus to other folks, piled off about four blocks from where we’d all piled on. The driver, hilariously, called out “Chicken!” as they stepped off. Two blocks later, some chick did the same routine.

The next mile or two to the freeway on-ramp was a bumpy ride, especially when the bus got up to 20-25 MPH, as the chains didn’t have much snow to bite into on the road. I was submitting some Words With Friends words on my phone (basically Scrabble), and my letters on the screen kept shuffling due to the bus’ motions — usually you have to give the phone a good shake to cause that shuffle!

So now we’re about halfway to my office, when we’re usually there by now. There’s basically no snow on the road here on the freeway (except between the lanes and on the shoulders), but there’s the usual rush-hour traffic compounded by folks driving slowly and our bus not being able to drive full-speed due to the chains.

The snow is still coming down, though the flakes are maybe half the size they were an hour ago. (Oh, and one more person just got off the bus.) I’m hoping it keeps falling so I can get in another snowy walk this evening.

Oh sheet(s)!

Posted in Uncategorized on November 14, 2010 by poojaland

So I’m still using and enjoying the new bedding I purchased earlier this year (full details here: The upside of having the lighter sheets is that Buster’s orange/red/white hair doesn’t show as readily. The downside is that the white part of the bedding (which is most of it) starts looking dingy pretty soon, within a couple or three weeks of being washed. Now, I don’t know about the rest of y’all who have duvet covers, but those things are a huge pain to deal with in regards to washing, because after you’ve washed and dried the cover, you have to wrangle the down comforter inside the duvet and then get the thing flat inside there so it looks decent (this involves reaching your arm up inside the duvet multiple times and pulling the comforter around, shaking out the whole thing, etc.). Maybe I’m just a major wuss, but I often break into a little bit of a sweat when I’m re-making my bed after washing all the bedding..

So, I’m annoyed at the fact now that I have to wash my bedding so much more often (OK, OK, I admit I probably didn’t wash my previous bedding as often as I should have, but I sleep in all my clothes pretty much all the time [insert sarcastic comment about my FUN single life], don’t eat in bed or do much of anything to get the sheets that dirty that quickly), especially the duvet vs. the bedsheets (the bedsheets are also white, but obviously, are usually invisible under the duvet cover). I will say, however, that after going through all the hassle of stripping off all the sheets, washing them, drying them (on low heat, so this also takes some time) and wrangling everything back onto the bed, there’s nothing like climbing under the sparkling white sheets at night and burying my face into the fabric-softener-scented pillowcase.  It’s almost as enjoyable as putting on PJs right out of the dryer!

Sole healing

Posted in Uncategorized on November 12, 2010 by poojaland

As if I needed further proof that I’m getting old(er) — I bought my first pair of insoles the other day. The deal is that my usual choice of footwear on work days — when I do the most amount of walking, due to being a bus rider — is one of my five pairs of Converse sneakers. Those sneakers, out of the box, have very little arch support, and after wearing one of those pairs for a few months, that support becomes even less noticeable. As far as I know, I don’t have unusual feet (not a high or low arch), but my feet definitely get a bit cranky once I walk more than a half mile or so in my Chuck Taylors. In a recent REI sale catalog, I saw that insoles were on sale, so I decided to give them a shot. However, I hit a slight hitch when, in preparation of buying the insoles, I tried to pull out the insoles of my CTs and discovered they were quite solidly glued in.

Went to REI and grabbed a staff member in the shoe section. I explained that I would mainly be using the insoles in my CTs, and asked if they had any sale insoles that would work with those. He directed me toward a line of insoles by SOLE, and said he himself used their thinnest sole in his own CTs. So…I picked up a pair and took them home. I went through the optional preparation process of heating the soles up for a few minutes in the oven, putting them in a pair of shoes and then standing in the shoes for two minutes to mold the insoles to the shape of my feet. I’ve now been wearing the insoles for a few weeks now — transitioning them from shoe to shoe — and wow, I’m hooked! They really do make such a difference to me! I feel like I could walk for hours in my CTs now. My CTs vary in size from 7-8.5 (I snatched up a couple pairs at Nordstrom Rack, and was limited by their selection), so I have to wear thinner socks sometimes so my toes aren’t completely smashed up, but as the REI guy said, the insoles do indeed fit into the CTs on top of the factory insoles. Click here to get more on the insoles.

Protected: Fin (in the French sense of the word)

Posted in Uncategorized on November 7, 2010 by poojaland

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Bus post: Just a day in the life…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 3, 2010 by poojaland

So I planned a trip downtown after work yesterday to run a number of errands. I had my voting ballot to drop off (just a few hours before the filing deadline — typical), some items to return at H&M (a couple days before their 30-day deadline, also typical), and also, I wanted to get some bubble tea, as it’d been over a week since my last fix. Hopped the bus into Seattle after work, and rolled into downtown just before 6. Took care of the ballot and clothing-returns business, and then hopped back on the bus to go south a couple stops in the transit tunnel to the bubble-tea shop in the International District (I was headed to Oasis, for you local folks). Emerged from the tunnel, and the scene before me was super spooky — it was fully dark, there were only a few people and cars around, and the area just seemed eerie. Went to cross the street and then noticed that oh crap, the traffic lights are out! As I walked up the block to Oasis, I went “Oh crap” again — all the freakin’ lights were out everywhere! After peering into Oasis to verify they were dark as well, I dejectedly walked back to the tunnel to hop the bus home. I pulled up the Seattle Times Web site on my phone to see if they had a mention of the power outage, but there was nothing about it. Anyway, thankfully I only had to wait 7-8 minutes before my bus showed; I was super disappointed to have not gotten my bubble tea (yes, my life is a bit blah right now, it’s all about taking pleasure in the little things ;o). The next few days are busy, so it looks like bubble-tea pilgrimage try 2 will have to wait until the weekend. Don’t ask me why these stupid things happen to me; I mean, a power outage on a sunny, clear day?? Sheesh.

BTW, I know I’m long overdue to post with an update on that other “situation” (though most of you are already in the know). I’ll try to do that later this week.