my reluctantly gluten-free day.

I’m pretty sure my hubster is scheming against me. You see, he decided a couple of weeks ago that he’s going to be gluten-free. I have to commend him for sticking to it as well as he has for the last two weeks or so, but I haven’t exactly been a supportive wife where this endeavor is concerned. Of course, when he first mentioned the idea, I rolled my eyes.

He was tested by his doctor, and he doesn’t have Celiac disease. He went ahead with the gluten-free thing, though, because there’s always a chance that you still have gluten sensitivity even without having Celiac disease. So far, he’s said that it’s working wonderfully. He says he isn’t tired during the day and he’s sleeping better (though I’ve never known him to not sleep through the night. I’ve always been the insomniac around here.), etc.  My opinion is that it has something to do with eating less carbs. When you cut wheat out of your diet, you obviously eat less carbs. You pay much closer attention to what you eat. So of course you’re going to feel better. Anyway, my opinion doesn’t really matter, since it’s his thing. It’s just that I love gluten. How am I supposed to live a life where I can’t eat pasta or have my beloved PB&J’s on honey wheat bread. And don’t get me started on sourdough. YUM.

As always, I digress.

This is where the scheming part comes in.

Today, I decided to have the aforementioned beloved PB&J for lunch. I took the bread from the fridge, where we keep it to prevent it from getting moldy. Neither of us actually eats bread very often, so we had a problem with loaves of bread going all moldy very quickly. Anyway, I took the bread out, and…

IT WAS MOLDY.

I didn’t feel like eating ramen noodles (we needed groceries), so I used a couple of pieces of Willy’s gluten-free bread.

GROSS.

I did not appreciate the texture of it. It’s so dry and dense, yet somehow crumbly at the same time.

As a sidenote that actually applies somewhat, I had a rather productive Monday. I did my writing work for the day, took Effie on a walk (which taught me that she really needs to walk on a leash more often…),  did a little Ab Ripper session, and did dishes. Then I sat down to make a menu and grocery list, and then went to the grocery store. Speaking of that, strawberries must be in season, because they looked AMAZING. I hadn’t planned to buy any, but they beckoned to me. I must have been peckish, because I bought lots of yummy (healthy) snacks today. Anyway, I came home, did some editing, and then made dinner.

Holy cow. Tonight’s dinner was the best. thing. ever. When I was making my menu, I thought, “I suppose I should at least attempt to be a good wife and try to make some gluten-free stuff.” Sigh.

BEST DECISION OF MY EXISTENCE.

The recipe I found for macaroni and cheese changed my life.

(I love hyperbole, right?)

I really shouldn’t share. I should keep it a secret forever. But I’m not completely selfish. I found it here via Pinterest. The noodles I used were from the gluten-free section, and they’re made of corn. The only other kind I’ve used besides the traditional pasta are rice noodles or bean thread noodles (bean thread are my FAVORITE). I’ll try anything once, which is how I discovered I love  duck, gator tail, and yes, even escargot, which is the less gross way of saying snails. Again, I’ve gotten off track.

So. I cooked the noodles and tasted one before mixing them with the rest of the ingredients (which included bacon—yummmm). They’re pretty good. They taste like noodles. Duh. But they are ever so slightly reminiscent of corn tortillas. That’s okay. I like corn tortillas. As I said earlier, the mac & cheese ended up being the BEST OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. I don’t mind bragging. I’m a pretty good cook. I mean, I’d probably be kicked out of Chopped on the first round, but still. For a “civilian,” I’m pretty good. I’ve made lots of mac & cheese in my lifetime, but this one is the absolute best of all time. OF ALL TIME.

The rest of dinner was equally as tasty. I made an extremely well-seasoned meatloaf and roasted some asparagus in my favorite manner: spread the asparagus over a foil-covered baking sheet, rub some garlic on the stalks, drizzle some olive oil on top, and roast on high heat (in this case, 475 degrees for about twelve minutes). Comfort food. No one needed comforting, but that’s no excuse not to eat comfort food. Psh.

So that was my reluctantly gluten-free day. Actually, I did have a teeny bit of gluten for breakfast, because I ate a Weight Watchers breakfast quesadilla (love).

Conclusion: Gluten-free bread makes me sad. Gluten-free pasta is pretty good. My new gluten-free mac & cheese recipe is utterly amazing. And while I’m confessing, I love a good spoonful of frozen Cool Whip. The end. ;)

 

Prosper and live to tell about it.

By this point, you may or may not know that I have recently found a renewed love of Star Trek. Especially the original series. *waits for teasing to cease*

I used to watch The Next Generation as a kid, but I haven’t really thought much about it in my adult life. When I found out my hubs had never (never!) seen any of it, I decided we were going to watch it all. Starting from the very first episode ever. Hubs loved the new movie (and we’re both crazy-excited for Star Trek Into Darkness this summer!), so I figured he’d be down. We’ve now finished the original series and are on the first season of The Next Generation.

Anyway. Enough backstory.

You might have seen my ramblings on Facebook or Twitter about my new mission in life: Getting Captain Kirk himself to tweet me. AKA: Shatner Tweeting. Go ahead and laugh, but it’s fun. You have to have fun goals in life along with the serious ones. I’ve made three attempts, one of which was thwarted by Twitter when it decided it didn’t want to work properly one night. My first tweet to him was:

tiff_nichols
“Her 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life & new civilizations,” & to get a tweet back from @WilliamShatner :)
1/18/13 4:29 PM

Heh. :)  I thought it was pretty clever. Unfortunately, he didn’t respond. I’m sure he gets 2348723098472093847 tweets per minute. But the good thing is, he *does* respond to fans’ tweets. So, from time to time, I click on my Twitter app just to see if he’s tweeting. And if he is, I tweet. He tweets pretty much every day. It’s just a matter of being on there when he is. And trying to be clever enough for him to want to respond. Honestly, sometimes he just answers mundane questions like, “So when are you coming to Lincoln, Nebraska?” So my next tweet to him (the one Twitter ate) was:

tiff_nichols
@WilliamShatner Any plans of coming to Charleston, SC anytime soon? We need some Shatner in our lives. <3
1/21/13 10:01 PM

No response, of course, because TWITTER IS A BUCKETHEAD.

My third tweet:

tiff_nichols
@WilliamShatner I’m having way too much fun with the Shatoetry app!
1/23/13 11:02 PM

For a little perspective on this, there is an app (it’s only in the Apple App Store right now) called Shatoetry. You know those magnetic poetry sets you put on your fridge? It’s like that. You make a little poem, sentence, saying, what have you, and he reads it. Well, his pre-recorded voice reads it. IT’S SO MUCH FUN (for a little bit). You need this app in your life.

Anyway, those have been my three attempts. I have a document on my computer entitled “Tweeting Shatner.” In it, I’m supposed to be keeping possible tweets so I’ll have them at hand whenever he’s tweeting. Listen, folks. This is a serious mission. ;) LoL. My doc is empty right now, though. If you have any clever suggestions, I’m open to them.

So all of this is basically to tell you this funny thing that happened last night.

We went to the Music Farm last night to see Swear and Shake, an amazing band whom I highly recommend you check out. Their music is phenomenal, and they’re all adorable on stage (and in person). They opened for G. Love & Special Sauce, a band that I haven’t really liked since…like…1999, so we didn’t stay after Swear and Shake played. Haha.  Anyway, because they are friends of my dearest friend Jen, we stayed for a bit to talk to them and buy a t-shirt and stuff. When I got home, I got a notification that they had followed me on Twitter and tweeted that it was nice to meet me and thanks for coming, etc.

WELL.

Not to make light of that, because it’s super awesome, but just when I was showing Hubs the tweet, I caught a little “Hello Twitter!” at the top of my feed. It was none other than Captain Kirk himself.

Mid-sentence, I shouted, “OHHH! SHATNER’S TWEETING!” and jerked my phone back.

Hubs laughed for…like…minutes. I’m not even kidding.

Then he asked me if I needed to go do some coding on my computer. LOL! I’m not a computer person; I don’t even know HTML, which makes me sad, because I really should learn it. But he likes to basically call me Sheldon whenever I get all googly-eyed about Star Trek.

Of course, I’m no Sheldon. Sheldon likes Picard better than Kirk. To which I say, “Psh.”

So no tweets from Shatner yet. But I shall keep you informed.

Because I know you’re waiting on the edge of your seat.

 

best thing ever.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who is stationed on the ISS, tweets awesome pics and stuff from space. AMAZING. But the best thing ever? His tweets to (and tweets to him from) William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Wil Wheaton. Buzz Aldrin even chimed in for this one! I love the very end part with Hadfield in the red shirt. LOL! 

Click on the link to see the Twitter conversation:

http://www.cyberbuzz.com/2013/01/05/the-single-greatest-meme-to-ever-happen-on-twitter/

 

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from etsy seller handz

new year, new plans.

Happy new year! 

It’s been quite some time since I last blogged. School really got the best of me this past semester. I was constantly working on homework or projects. But guess what? It’s all over now! I graduated on 15 December with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts and a minor in English. The job hunt is on.

Since then, I’ve been doing my freelance editing job, celebrating Christmas with family, and crocheting like a madwoman. Willy and I went to a fun New Year’s Eve party at a Doubletree hotel in Columbia. It was nice. Half low-key and half awesome party.

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We had a nice New Year’s Day too. We had lunch with friends, went to the Columbia Museum of Art (I’d been wanting to see the Rothko exhibit “1940-1950: The Decisive Decade”), stopped by an antique store, and swung by Mom & Dad’s house for Hoppin’ John on our way home. If you’re not from the south, you probably have no idea of what I’m talking about. Hoppin’ John is basically a bowl of rice and black-eyed peas, usually seasoned with some type of pork fat (bacon, ham, whatever). It’s supposed to bring luck and fortune for the new year. Most people add collard greens to represent money as well.  As these are some of my favorite foods (I love all greens!), i gladly partake. ;)

So, as I’ve probably mentioned before, I don’t really do resolutions. But I do make mental (or sometimes written) lists of plans or goals for the year. I thought I’d share them here, since one goal includes plans for this blog. To quote from Pirates of the Caribbeanthey’re more like guidelines, really. I spent the last year stressing over the goals I set for my last semesters of school, so I’m taking things lightly in general for 2013. 

Guidelines for 2013:

*Find a job.

*Blog more—at least twice a week.

*Get back on track with Weight Watchers. I fell out of the habit of putting my points in, and then I (along with most of the country) ate way too much junk food for the month of December. Addendum: Get back on track with Zumba, too.

*Read a chapter from classic literature each day. The best part of being finished with school is being able to read whatever the heck I want! My parents’ pastor & his wife gave me a gift card to Barnes & Noble. I cannot wait to spend it! My to-read list is so long. Anyway, along with reading the fun books I want to read, I’m going to add at least one chapter of a classic each day. I just started Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables last night. I’ve always wanted to read it (along with quite a few other classic titles), but we just saw the movie last week, which spurred me into *really* wanting to read it. We’re also going to see the show in February!

*Read one book per week. I’m not too sure how easy this will be, because I’m a slow reader who likes to bask in details and narrative voice. Speaking of that, I’m editing a manuscript right now that has an EXCELLENT narrative voice. :) It makes my job pretty easy when it’s something I’m interested in reading further. I just finished the first two Narnia books, and the next one on my list is In the Bag, a book I just picked up on a whim at Target last summer. It looks cute. I also need to finally finish On the RoadAfter that will be The Perks of Being a WallflowerThen The Night CircusJust to name a few. By the way, The Night Circus was born out of NaNoWriMo! Neat, huh?

*Don’t let painting and drawing fall by the wayside! 

*List crochet items in my Etsy shop.

*Find an awesome deal for our trip to Europe in May!!

*Finally get our wood floors put in!

That’s about all I can take for now. LOL. I’m sure more stuff will crop up. We have a few trips planned for 2013. We want to try to make it to Texas during Willy’s spring break. Then there’s our tenth anniversary trip to Paris and London. And we think our annual Disney trip will be during the second week of December this year. That way, it’s not crowded, but it’s all decorated for Christmas.

Now to get started with those plans…

I wish you a happy, prosperous, and peaceful new year! What are your plans for 2013? 

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if it’s something that’s hard for you to do…

…then you should probably do more of it. 

that quote is printed on a piece of paper that hangs outside a professor’s office door in one of the buildings at my school. i had a class in a room near that office two semesters in a row, so i walked by it multiple times per week. the first time i read it, it was like an epiphany had hit me. almost like a “duh” moment. i’ve tried to remember it as often as i can. i don’t have anyone to which i can attribute it—i googled it and came up with nothing.

i’m so stuck on the weight loss thing right now. i haven’t lost anything in weeks, and it’s very discouraging. granted (as i mentioned in my last post), i haven’t been keeping track of my weight watchers points as well as i should. i’m changing that today.

i’ve also been going to zumba every week. i went once the first week, twice the second week, and after tonight, it’ll be three times this week. my friend liz got me into zumba, and it’s fun to have a pal to work out with. it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also sometimes pretty difficult. we sweat like ca-razy. i’m talking sweat pouring down your face, your back, your scalp, even. the classes i go to are held in alternating places (karate centers), and both of the places are extremely hot. what is with that?! do martial arts people not love air conditioning? lol. it’s okay, though. it’s nice to feel like i’ve worked hard and sweated out toxins.

my knees do not love zumba. lol. but hopefully that’ll change as i lose more weight (and once i get info back from the rheumatologist about my joint pain…which is more than likely due to my hypermobility. aka: not much you can do about it except take care of yourself to try to prevent osteo-arthritis).

anyway, my purpose of posting was this:

while in zumba class tuesday night, i suddenly remembered the aforementioned quote. and it was like another epiphany hit. zumba is downright hard sometimes. the lady that teaches it is hardcore. seriously. this is not a piddling little dance class, like i’m sure some people consider it to be. it’s tough. by 2/3 of the way through, when i’m sweating buckets and my muscles are burning with lactic acid and my knees are screaming at me, it’s something that becomes hard for me to do. so i need to do more of it.

maybe it’s a little simplistic, but it works for me. i hope i don’t forget that quote any time soon! people’s words inspire me so much.

things.

*i’m eating tiramisu right now. jealous?

* i was able to sign up for drawing 2 the other day, which is the last thing i need for my degree. something told me to look the other day, and i did, and there was one open spot. :D  this is great news. the not-so-great news is that i’m going to have a very heavy course load for the last semester of my senior year. but the really great news is that it’s my last.

*i started going to zumba with my friend liz a few weeks ago. it’s a lot of fun! very hard work. it makes me sweat like crazy, and i feel really good afterward.

*the weight loss thing is driving me nuts lately. i’m stuck. admittedly, i haven’t been very good with keeping track of my WW points for the last few weeks. i need to work harder. (let’s pretend i didn’t tell you i was eating tiramisu, mkay?)

*i’m addicted to two games on my phone: stupid zombies and where’s my water?  i’ve never been a phone game person, but these are so much fun. willy is addicted as well.

*we took a super fun trip to las vegas at the beginning of june. we met a group of friends there, including jen & liam. you should read about their hilarious escapades on jen’s blog. :)  i also got to see my soulmate chelsea and meet niki and gen, two friends i’d never met face to face. it was seriously a blast. we hadn’t had that much fun in a while. willy & i learned how to play craps on one of our cruises, and we love it. it’s so different in vegas, though. minimum bets are higher, and the dealers aren’t quite as forgiving as they are on cruise ships. SO we were elated to find electronic craps tables! there are huge dice inside this tube in the middle of a circle of video consoles, and the roller pushes a button to roll the dice. it was very neat and a lot less stressful than regular table craps. i ended up walking away about $200 richer.

*i got an A in my principles of nutrition class. i’m doing music appreciation right now. this summer’s classes have been electives only. i needed a break from paper writing and painting (paintings i get graded on, anyway).

*i’m already getting anxious about next semester. i haven’t had a photography or drawing class in over two years. i’m also not looking forward to the amount of money that will be spent on supplies with three studio classes. yeesh.

*confession: um, i just cried a little bit while watching chopped  (one of my favorite shows). the chef who always judges food network challenge is playing for the make-a-wish foundation, and he cried a little bit while explaining what they do. i hate that i cry when other people cry. such a baby.

*effie is getting SO. BIG. she’s almost as tall as lola now. she’s also got a zillion nicknames now, which means she’s an official member of the family. i know i’ve mentioned our crazy tendency to give weird nicknames before. effie’s are fifi, feef, fife, fayfay, effer, eff, little b (she’s going through a wild, bad puppy phase, so you can imagine what the b stands for). lola has a new one, by the way. i’ve found myself calling her gogo a lot. don’t ask. i shudder to think what kind of nicknames we’d come up with if we had a kid. lol

*i reeeeally need to make a new wreath for my front door. maybe i can do that tomorrow. i’ll try to post a tutorial if i do.

*we finally have dvr. hee. i love it. i never have to miss an episode of jeopardy or chopped or martha or little house on the prairie. :)

*ashley has been coming over a lot so we can work on homework at the same time. it’s more fun that way. we try to keep each other on task (but sometimes we end up on pinterest or disney sites instead). and sometimes i make her read my textbook readings to me. heh.

that’s all for now, i think. i’ll try to be better about blogging. ashley & i are starting up a new beauty blog, so i’ll let you know when that gets off the ground. ttfn!

teaser.

i’m going back and forth between working on a year of days and my other story, which is a young adult coming-of-age type of thing. it’s the one i was working on for nanowrimo, and it’s tentatively called liarface. i’m switching it up to keep things interesting. leaving one for another every now and then helps me keep it fresh, especially when i get frustrated or stuck on something. anyway, here’s a quick teaser for liarface: 

We sat around the dining room table twenty minutes later, passing around dishes of gooey, cheesy pasta, sizzling meatloaf, and spicy turnip greens. I pushed the greens around on my plate to try and make it look like I had taken at least a few bites.

“Just suck it up and eat the greens, Addy,” said Dad. “They’ll put hair on your chest. Take it like a man.”

“In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a girl. I don’t want hair on my chest.”

“Either way, they’re full of vitamins and goodness,” Mom said as she passed on the dish of mac and cheese. As much as she loved southern comfort food, Luanne only did carb overload on very special occasions.

“Just put some vinegar on them,” she said.

I wrinkled my nose. “I hate the texture of cooked greens. They’re so slimy. What’s with the comfort food, anyway? Are we celebrating something?”

Mom dropped her fork and sat up straighter, looking over at Dad, who had paused midway of taking a big bite of meatloaf. He shoveled it in and chewed thoughtfully for a minute. The silence was killing me. Something was going on with my parents.

“Oh, God,” I said, staring agape at Mom. “You’re not pregnant, are you?”

Mom started to giggle, which turned into full blown laughter. “No, Lady,” she said between guffaws, wiping her eyes. “That ship has sailed.”

“T.M.I.!” I shouted, dropping my silverware and covering my ears with my hands.

Dad laughed too. “Well, that’s as good a lead-in as any, I suppose.” He wiped his mouth with a napkin, took a drink of water, and sat back. “The news I have is pretty life-changing.”

I was suddenly nervous. I didn’t want my life to change.

“The firm has decided to open up a new office.” He paused for effect, eyes darting around the table, and a smile growing on his face. “And they want me to be the Vice President.”

“Wow, that’s great! Congrats,” I said, secretly sighing in relief.

“Thanks. There is one catch, though.”

And the nervousness was back as I looked at him and waited for the other shoe to drop.

“The new office is in San Diego.”

My heart dropped to my feet immediately as I awaited the next piece of information. I looked at Mom, who was wearing her best neutral face. I knew she felt anything but neutral. Luanne Jackson leave the south? Never in a million years. She gave me a small smile, and I looked back at Dad.

“Sooo…” I said slowly. “Does that mean you’re going to be traveling a lot, or…”

Dad shook his head, looking apologetic. “It means we’re going to be moving to the west coast.”

The tension in the air was thick and devoid of oxygen. Burning. Smoggy. Much like I’d imagine the air would be in California.

“We can’t move to California,” I said with a derisive laugh, as if it were the final decision. I absentmindedly put a forkful of greens into my mouth and chewed before I knew what I was doing, trying not to gag on the texture of the slimy greens and the tightness in my throat.

“We can, and we are.” Mom spoke up for the first time. “I know this is going to be a huge adjustment for all of us, but I think it’s going to be a good thing. It’ll be nice for you to be able to explore a new culture while you’re young.”

Dad jumped in. “San Diego is a great place. There’s so much to do there. And Disneyland is only a couple of hours away! So is Hollywood. Hey, maybe you can get a glimpse of that actor you love so much. And there’s a beach that’s a haven for seals. You can just walk right up next to them and say hey.”

He looked at me with a hopeful grin. I tried to lift a corner of my mouth in a half smile, but I couldn’t manage it. All I could think of was leaving my friends behind during the most important time of our lives so far. Suddenly, I wasn’t so hungry anymore.