Monthly Archives: October 2010

Trick or Treat

What better way to spend a Halloween weekend than touring a cemetery.  Every year for the past 15 years the Long Beach Historical Society has conducted a tour of Sunnyside Cemetery in Long Beach.  While it may sound a bit macabre it is fun enough that we’ve gone back for our third year in a row.   Sunnyside dates back officially to 1914 although the land was used as burial grounds prior to Norman Argetsinger purchasing the land from the City of Long Beach.  Before that it was known as Signal Hill Cemetery.  Ansel Adams took a famous picture of one of the statues, “Angel of Sorrows” back in 1939.  This year we noticed a group of headstones of very young children who all died before the age of 5 during 1918 and 1919.  When we asked what had happened back in those years we found out there was an influenza pandemic that claimed the lives of many children.  More than just a stroll around the cemetery this annual event engages local actors who dress in period costumes and tell the stories of people buried there.  The actors are wonderful and some of them get so into the character you almost believe it’s the person come back to tell their tale.  I’ve always loved history and hearing about local places and families whose names you see on schools and street signs and parks is a great way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon.  And who knows…maybe it really is the ghost of halloweens past that we’re chatting with.

The original gossip girl telling James Butterfield’s story

Think he was turning over in his grave as she told about his shenanigans.

Mr.  Wardlow




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Vegan MoFo Is Almost Here

The Vegan Month of Food or Vegan MoFo is just around the corner.  Reading the many wonderful vegan blogs last year inspired me to start my own and I’ve been looking forward to this all year.

I’ve tried on numerous themes…Cookie of the Day, Muffin of the Day, Cupcake of the Day, but since moving my office to my home I feel that by the end of the month I would either have a freezer full of baked goods or I’d be on the floor in a sugar induced coma with cats snacking on my toes.  A little too scary for me!  I also thought about pulling out some of my ancient cookbooks, if you can believe after getting rid of 80 cookbooks I still have more.  My idea is to do some reviews on those oldies but goodies that turned me on to the vegetarian lifestyle to begin with.

Or maybe there will be no theme as that seems to be the theme of the day around here!  Get ready for The Vegan Month of Food!

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Oatmeal Ala Rice Cooker

Remember the Amazing Mumford; the Sesame Street magician who performed magic with the words “Ala peanut butter sandwiches”?  I still use that phrase when I come upon something particularly magical, like making oatmeal in a rice cooker and have it magically appear for breakfast, piping hot just exactly when you’re ready for it.  I love that I can dump everything into my Zojirushi rice cooker, set the timer for when I want it to be done and then go to bed, get up, go to the gym, shower and voila…ala peanut butter sandwiches, breakfast is served.  I made enough for N and me for breakfast and an extra serving for one of us tomorrow morning.

Into the pot went:

  • 1/2 c of steel-cut oats
  • 1/4 c of Bob’s Apple Cinnamon and Grains hot cereal
  • 1 ripe banana, chopped
  • 1/2 c canned organic pumpkin
  • 1 T chia seeds for an omega burst
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3 c water

This morning it got served up with a dollop of Cranberry Apple butter from Trader Joe’s, another of soy yogurt, and a sprinkle of toasted pecan bits.  It was awesome.  Too bad it was hotter than blazes today.  The Santa Ana winds have arrived bringing the last hurrah of summer and a flurry of sneezing!

The night before

This morning, that dollop of yogurt looks bigger than I remember and clearly I sprinkled the pecans on after I took the picture.

And for lunch a beautiful pear and greens salad with another sprinkle of pecans.  This time you can see them.

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When it Rains

And it wasn’t even raining here today but it sure felt like it was raining on my little parade.  I set off to the gym to take the 5:30am 24-Lift Class which I love but haven’t been able to take because of early morning conference calls.  I got there at 5:25 and the class was already in full swing, hmmmm….check schedule, yep 5:30.  Oh well, I’m a few minutes late, it will be good anyway.  Into the weight room I went only to find there were no clips to hold the weight plates on the bars and the lightest hand weight they had was 10 pounds.  I know that sounds pretty light but when you’re swinging your arms around, stepping up and down on a step 10 pounds becomes a deadly weapon.  That and the fact I’d have to do a lift class without a weight bar seemed kind of pointless so I left and did my time on the elliptical. 

I had to head into the office to gather up the last of my belongings and do a little clean-up after being out for a week.  My laptop started stuttering and distorting an hour after I’d turned it on.  After rebooting a couple of times and missing an important demo call, I packed it in and headed home.  I reported trouble and was told I would hear from someone by 6:00…well that really kills the day.  Reading email on the BlackBerry leaves something to be desired.  Someone mentioned my computer overheating last week and suggested it might have something to do with cat hair…really cat hair in my house…no way.  Then I remembered a co-worker who had the same problem and it turned out to be dog hair clogging her fan.  Enter the super suction vacuum and I was back in business.  So much for IT, who, by the way, never called me back.

By the time I was back in business I needed lunch…a delicious fall salad with a chopped pear, toasted pecans, and arugula was in order.  Dressed up in olive oil and champagne vinegar…yummo.  Ate it too quick to be photographed.  I did pause and take a picture of my snack of 3 dates stuffed with TJ’s sunflower butter.

And speaking of good meals…mom cooked an awesome batch of minestrone, cornbread and salad just because I picked up dad from the airport.  I forgot my camera but it was from the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook…too tasty and she kindly set aside the bleu cheese for the salad.  Thanks Mom!

Dates always remind me of cockroaches…sweet and yummy cockroaches, but cockroaches nonetheless.

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The Air From Up There: A Pictorial Metaphor About Tough Times

Sometimes things look a gloomy from our perspective.  A job loss, an injury or illness, financial tough times, a tree falling on your house, you know what I’m talking about.  We see the clouds and sometimes it even rains.  It weighs us down and can become all-consuming.  Negative thoughts chip away at our joy for life.

Sometimes the clouds get so thick we can’t see the tip of the wing, or see our way out of our current predicament.

But on the other side of those clouds the sun is still shining and good things still happen.  We just have to stay on the plane and ride out the storm until we break through on the other side.  The sunshine has been there all along we just become too focussed on the clouds to see through them.

This occurred to me on the way home.  I am so blessed to be in a wonderful place right now but tough times come and go and I want to remember that bright blue sky still up there beyond the gloom, I’ll just have to look for it.

So glad to be home!

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A Find or Two

What a find at the Brandon Target…Sabra Hummus with pretzel thins just perfect for travel.  Tucked into my carryon it will be an awesome mid-flight snack. 

The second find was a recipe for Yellow Eye Bean soup from Rancho Gordo.  I’ve never heard of yellow eye beans but you can buy them on-line and make a delicious soup…so I snagged the recipe from the local paper and will try it out in the coming chilly months.

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Eating Out Again

I have to say, I’m a little tired of traveling and eating out and sleeping in hotel beds.  In the last couple of months, I’ve put on weight, missed a ton of workouts (which could explain the weight), and in spite of the travel sox when I came back to the hotel today my feet and ankles looked like balloons.  Very aggravating!  Since this should (pray for me) be the last trip of the year I’m resolving to get back to healthy eating and regular exercise as soon as I land in Orange County.  You can try very hard to eat healthy while travelling but it is difficult with many meals out and limited vegetarian food choices.  I’ll take the blame though, I’m not making excuses and someone else may be able to work travel into a healthy routine.  I just haven’t figured it out!  Tonight…dinner at Carraba’s Italian Grill.  Food was good and I took half home for lunch tomorrow.  Sipping a cup of green tea as I watch a bit of news and wait to call home.  I’ll get it one day. 

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