So I Tried Some…

Part Two of Recommendations

Again thanks so much for reading and responding! I had some pretty good recommendations on my blog and in person.  I have added links to Goodreads, IMDB and Youtube videos if any of the following media interests you.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley  (book)
More steampunk from the 1880s in this historical fiction. It has mystery, a mysterious pocket watch, and even more mysterious characters. The blurb seems oblique which likely means there are too many twists, turns and mysteries to summarize properly. My sister in law had just started reading it when we went on vacation together and I never got to hear how she liked it, but I am looking forward to trying it myself.

Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changes America by Eric Larson (book)
The blurb reads like fiction. 
Everything seemed to happen at these world fairs. One of my favorite fun facts about the 1893 World’s Fair is that is where Pabst Blue Ribbon beer won its blue ribbon. Although the title seems all inclusive let me share that the book mainly follows the architect for all the amazing buildings that spring from ground and another serial killer that must be drawn to the masses of easy prey. Now I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. 

Max Headroom (TV series)
I came around after the swell and ebb of fascination with sassy, glitchy music VJs. This was another show that was recommended to me and I got to view it right after. I was coached beforehand that this series was created when there were computers, but there was no Internet. I do remember before my family had Internet. And then we exited that musty old cave. Anywho, the show is futuristic (specifically 20 minutes in the future) and the most important difference in this Blade Runner type world is that televisions have no off-switch and they are two way. The show focuses on wordplay and human emotion so despite the sometimes (VERY) silly sounding tech talk this show is still entertaining. Carter, Max and a team of misfits uncover some treachery in the way things are run in their world by broadcasting the facts.  

Mokoomba (band) and specifically the song Masangango
I gotta say, this is not my normal style of music, but I loved it! My friend really sold it when he recommended it to me by saying, 

Mokoomba is an exciting, Afro-fusion band from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Their sound has elements of Afro-pop, hard reggae, and rock. Vocalist Mathias Muzaza’s powerful singing is matched by the incredible musicality of the band. This particular song is a masterpiece. The melodic intro with haunting vocals and subtle blues licks on guitar soon lead to a happier rhythm, punctuated by the traditional African mbira thumb piano. The song builds from there, yielding the fierce and powerful vocals for which Muzaza is famous!…The listener may not know the meaning of the lyrics, but that fact will not diminish the power of song or the enjoyment of it.

Thanks for sharing, Thor! Catch more snark and tune recommendations from Thor on Twitter @RadioThor. The song has an awesome blues/reggae vibe that sits just right and I’m following Mokoomba on Spotify. I suggest you check out more of their music as well.

Naked in Death by JD Robb (book)
Futuristic lady detective who gets involved with one of her suspects. There are quite a few books in the In Death series penned by Nora Roberts under her pen name. I don’t believe I can get through 30+ books, but I will definitely look into the first few books soon.

 

Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander (books)
I can’t tell you how many times I have been told to read this series. Young boy is charged with babysitting a magical pig. It’s a very famous fantasy series with adorable cartoon that doesn’t hold at all true to the books. Maybe I will give this another go. I haven’t ever really given this book a chance.

Pink Panther (movies)
I know I have seen bits and pieces from the Peter Sellers and the Steve Martin versions of these films. Of course, Sellers is the classic. I need to go through and watch the movies again. Good old physical comedy from the way back whens.

They Told Me To Try It

Part one of recommendations

I had some pretty good recommendations on my blog and in person. Thanks for reading and responding! I have added links to Goodreads, IMDB and Youtube videos if any of the following media interests you. There will be more coming soon.

Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (book)

Src: Goodreads

This was recommended to me when I told one of my historian friends that I had started A Young People’s History of the United States (Zinn, adapted by Stefoff). I am having some trouble getting through it because there is little cheer in highlighting every group’s battle with oppression. Assassinated presidents sounds like another jolly topic, but from all the reviews I’ve read the writer presents it with some wry humor and it sounds organized like a travel journal. I’m a voyeur and how can you blame me since I have kept a private journal for nearly 12 years.

Banks of the Ohio (song)
I listened to several versions of this to get a feel for this creepy, creepy song that was first recorded in 1927 (Wikipedia). Bill Monroe and Doc Watson was the first that I listened to. It has all the charm of an Uncle picking on the back porch with a couple of the other older farmers. Feet dangling off the back porch and smoke curling up through the battling heat and humidity. This is a song that falls under the sub genre of murder ballads of which there were at least enough for Nick Cave to fill an album of them. The second one I listened to was by Dolly Parton, which I had hoped was a tweaked female version. It takes a very Dolly spin in the way it sounds and although some lyrics are different the main change is found in the first few lines: “I went into his prison cell/To write his story, if he’d tell/He spoke as tears fell from his eyes/And he told me when and how and why/And he said…” before moving onto the story. Olivia Newton-John changes to a female perspective and has the same “knife to breast” murdering that Dolly sings about. I prefer Bill’s straight off pushing and drowning murder. Seems simplest. Johnny Cash has the best of both worlds as he stabs and then pushes his love into the Ohio River. Moral of the story, if the man’s name is “Willie”, don’t turn him down by any sizable body of water.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (TV series)

This is a TV show that got recommended to me and then I got to watch several episodes. First off, if you are a Bruce Campbell fan and haven’t seen this, then you might need to look to fixing your life. This is a wild west TV show in which a man comes to town to avenge his father’s death (Brisco County Senior). It’s your typical wild west TV show (27 episodes), if your norm involves the Chin himself, snorting with laughter at Julius Carry (who played Sho-Nuff in The Last Dragon), and a little bit of weird that can most easily be categorized to 1890s steampunk. Watch it.

Gary: Tank Commander (TV series)
I have already started watching this on Netflix and as I have gotten into it, I dinnae ken who can avoid watching it! Okay, it’s not going to change your life, but this is a funny Scottish military TV show. Gary barely scrapes by without keeping out of trouble and the many duties that the armed forces take on while at home. I still have to have subtitles on and near the beginning of the series the actors poke fun at Americans who can’t understand their slang and accent so there is plenty of cheek. There are a few jokes that are culture specific, but I haven’t had to look up anything that I didn’t understand by context. It kinda reminds me of the pranks and scrapes of the characters in MASH except there aren’t any episodes that include folks getting dead. Around the time of posting, Netflix has 3 seasons available.

Vegan Bourbon Hazelnut Pancakes (recipe)
This is not actually a recipe I made, but one that I ate. The recipe that my vegetarian friend was one that she got from a vegan recipe book. I’m not certain, but this one seems damned similar. Let me clearly state, I don’t like pancakes. I’m also a lover of cheese, milk, butter, and eggs, so vegan recipes are hard for me to get behind. However, I’ve got a friend who is brave enough to try it and forces me -nicely- to try stuff. These were THE BOMBDINGO. We ate them with plain maple syrup, but you could have eaten them plain as well. I ate huge helpings and was waddling around after dinner. If I had any complaint, the ‘butter’ didn’t quite melt like butter. None of that mattered since it tasted ah-mazing. Get outta here with your banana pancakes, Jack Johnson.

Did this short list remind you of other awesome things you’d like to share? Please post below.

Have you already tried some of the above things listed? What did you think?

johnny 5

Photo: movieweb.com

Over Christmas and New Year’s I got exposed to some new-to-me music, movies, games, and books. One game especially kinda pulled it all together. There’s a card
game named Slash in which you try to find the best mate for each character. All the character cards are from TV, movies, and books. This brought to my attention to how many cards I needed to discard since I was at a loss as to who or what the character was.

I would love to get recommendations for all types of media in the new year. It is so readily available but it’s like diving into the middle of the ocean. Where to begin?
It doesn’t have to be new media either. For example, I watched Die Hard just before Xmas for the first time. Alan Rickman makes a cool bad guy and I hope he’s enjoying some peace just now. Oh, and dear god, get that cop some shoes.

alan rickman

Photo: Buzzfeed

So, can you recommend some media to me?

  • Movies–I like comedies, romances, thrillers, action films. Not keen on angst ridden, artsy films nor horror flicks. Although, classic horror is good.
  • Television–Similar to movies. I like crime shows and comedies. Such as NCIS, Castle, and Parks &  Recreation.
  • Anime or Cartoons–I love all things Studio Ghibli. I am not into mech.
  • Books/Graphic novels–Mostly fiction/fantasy/sci-fi and some biographical nonfiction.
  • Music–I really like singable and dance-able music and sometimes I need chill background music.
  • Podcasts–I like em short, informational (somewhat), and funny.
  • Games–Solitaire type games, two person/small crowd, cards, dice, paper–I’m easy.
  • Recipes–I love cooking! I am not the most experienced, but I love playing with recipes!

Here are a few things I’ve been taking in recently:

  • Movies–Watch Die Hard if you haven’t. If only to hear Alan Rickman say “Yippie Ki yay, mother fucker” one more time. (Spoiler: https://youtu.be/7tKr5XRPGmQ)
  • Television–iZombie has been getting recommended to heaps of folks by me. I want to get into Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series.
  • Anime or Cartoons–Last animated feature I watched was Animatrix (again)–some not so bad ones in there.
  • Books/Graphic novels–Reading Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls.
  • Music–Uhm, I have been listening to same playlists for years…
  • Podcasts–Thrilling Adventure’s Sparks Nevada Marshall on Mars is great!
  • Games–I enjoyed King of Tokyo over the holidays among several others.
  • Recipes–I don’t know why but homemade chicken salad is so simple and worth every ounce of effort.

Please leave me some recommendations in the comments below. I would absolutely love all input! I can quickly do a search and read a quick blurb on the media you suggest, but I would much rather like to know why are you recommending this? I assume because it was good, but it is thinky, inspiring, funny, great for a party, perfect with a cup of tea?

 

Body Shot Invention: Hottie Body Toddie Shots

I realize it has been an embarrassingly long time since I posted anything on my blog. Figured if I was gonna start blogging during the [awful] winter months, that I should return with a BANG!

With Thanksgiving just days…Yeah, it’s tomorrow, folks, it is the time of year where we put away our margarita mixers and Thanks, centercityteam.combring out the eggnog, cider and whiskey drinks. Let’s focus on the whiskey drinks for a minute. Hot toddies are quite yummy and very simple. Great for when you’re sick or if you just want to feign sophistication while you get hammered in front of a lovely wood burning fire.

Tequila and its little hoodlum friends have ruled the [trashy] custom of body shots for too long. Salt, lime, tequila and a drunk, agreeable stranger. During a dull moment at work I put my creative juices to work. I do want to give partial credit to my coworker, who I’m sure wishes to remain anonymous in all this, but she was a huge help in talking out the order of things with me.  After a 30 second Google search and scan of the results, I realized no one else has written up instructions for this awful idea. I feel obligated to share for other cold, trashy people that enjoy drinking.Thanks, personaltrainer.gr

Tools

  • Brewed, still warm/hot tea
  • Two shot glasses (preferably non-breakable)
  • Honey
  • Whiskey  (honey whiskey if you can shoot it)
  • Fresh lemon, cut into small wedges
  • An agreeable person (Shot Holder)

I noticed on several other sites that the authors pointed out the people you’re doing body shots with should be totally okay with this and not coerced. Also, you should drink responsibly and make sure everyone has a safe ride home. As if you’ll be getting up off the floor when you decide to do this one evening. There, disclaimer made.

Method

1. Pour shot each of whiskey and brewed tea. Do not fill to the very tip top. Your drunk friends will spill it.

2. Depending on the size and shape of your Shot Holder, you may want to adjust the placement of the items. So, with a dash of tequila salt, do something like this: Have the Shot Holder lay down andThanks, air-n-water.com

  • Hold the shot glass of tea in mouth
  • Drizzle a preferred amount of honey around the clavicle of the S.H. (~2 teaspoons)
  • Place a lemon wedge in the area of the base of the ribs (solar plexus)
  • Balance a shot above the naval of (probably uncontrollably laughing) Shot Holder

Once everything is placed, don’t waste time or spill your liquor! Work your way up starting with the shot, biting into the lemon wedge, licking up the honey and gulping down the warm tea. Good luck getting past the honey, honestly. Especially if you think the collar bone is too mundane a place to drizzle honey. Feel free to adapt as needed.

There you have it, the

Hottie Body Toddie Shot

To protect the agreeable folks involved, I have not included photos. None of these pictures belong to me. Full cred and thanks to others. Enjoy those stock photos until you make some of your own memories.

 

Spring Trip

image

In IL visiting the siblings. We have great plans for my weekend. Of course some of our plans involve a bit of wine.

Everytime I come to visit we try to hit a new winery. This time we visited Star View Vineyards. They have beautiful grounds surrounding their events/tasting building. We tasted five of their sweet wines which were all quite tasty. We left with souvenir glasses and a bottle of wine for later.

While shopping in town we got more scrapbooking supplies. Beth and I have decided that our distant descendents will likely be putting the final touches on our wedding scrapbooks long after our deaths.

We also stopped by the international grocery to grab a sushi mat. I hope you’re looking forward to see photos from the sushi rolling tonight. I expect a delicious train wreck.

image

After shopping we hung out at Rustle Hill Winery with a pitcher (or two) of their white sangria. Tom opted for a Gunslinger beer. After getting sufficiently spiffled we came home so Tom could catch up.

Beth and I slowed our boozing down with chocolate chip cheesecake dip, graham crackers and port. I made the sweet dessert dip earlier yesterday. It is so completely worth the 10 minutes it takes to put together. Want the recipe? Stay tuned.

image

Hope your week is going just as well. We’ll be hitting the Giant City State Park trails midmorning and picnicking in the woods.

Walkabout The Snow Day

Snow DateDepending on your line of work (teachers) and your age (still in grade school) you will see a ton of snow days in Kentucky. I don’t get many snow days as I am not a teacher nor am I in school. Snow Days in the South are a big joke to people up North who get snow in feet not inches. Down here, it would be insane to send a standard yellow school bus down curvy country roads that haven’t seen salt trucks ever. We got several inches of snow and several inches of ice overnight and I got a snow day! Sometimes it is good to live on back roads. It took most of the day for the road crews in our area to get the main parkways and interstates clear. We’re still waiting for our main highway to be cleared today (day two).

On our snow day we made a big pot of chicken and dumplings and sipped on hot coffee through the morning.

Veggies in broth

This photo of the chicken stock and the onions, celery and carrots was too beautiful not to share. Isn’t food just BEAUTIFUL! You can tell why my weight loss is so slow going. Hah!

Chicken n' dumplings

I painted my nails blue while we watched tons of episodes of Bones, Leverage and Rules of Engagement. I also caught up on some reading–glorious, glorious reading.

messy blue

In the afternoon, I donned three shirts, two pants, a sweater, hat and insulated overalls. I hadn’t ventured out of the house much because I hate being cold, but given the proper preparation I love it! I romped in just about every snow drift on the farm to show how impressively deep the snow had gotten–Several feet.

I attempted to  throw a snowball at Kit but quickly realized it was much to powdery for any real fun. A snowman would have been out of the question.  However, I had a grand time romping in drifts, making a snow angel, spying tracks of and seeing some actual wildlife.
We brought the camera: 

driftone

One foot on top of snow and the other sunk to what I assume was the ground.

makesnowangel

I remember making dozens of snow angels as a kid until I got the perfect one. Then my brothers usually walked through it.

Drifttwo by fence

Sunken into a drift that built up by the neighbor’s fence row. My knee is below the snow line.

snow angel poseHad to pose by my not-so-perfect snow angel.

geeseonpond

We wanted to see the half frozen pond and had to stop in short to keep from scaring off the pair of moose enjoying the pond. Okay, moose is a weird inside joke and it is what we call Canadian geese. If I explained it you would just think I am more crazy and less funny.

sillysnowfaces

The obligatory Snow Day Selfie! I hope you guys got to stay home with your loved ones. And if you didn’t get to yesterday, then make a point to spend a day with the people who make you smile soon!

Kat’s: Food and Exercise Updates

It has been ages since I’ve mentioned anything on my blog about my progress. I don’t want you all to think I’ve given up on this whole healthy thing. If you please, follow my twitter I update followers frequently on my eating/exercise progress. I also share articles, snarks and videos that are amusing to me.

Here’s the run down: I went from a size 14 to a size 6 since January 3rd. I truly hope you didn’t believe that. I haven’t changed sizes at all in fact. Haha! Getting fit is a slow process for me. I have been exercising almost daily at the YMCA since January 3rd. My worst streak of going without working out was three days.

Food & Exercise Tracker

Since the end of January I have been tracking and trying to reign in my calorie intake. I am trying to stay at or under 1,720.

When I first started I struggled because there was no

mfp

baseline for how many calories typically I consumed in a day. I would hazard to guess around 2,500 to 3,000 given how many sweets and snacks we have around the house. I am a terrible habitual snacker and could probably can eat a family size bag of chips all by myself.

The fitness tracker app I chose to help me with my calorie count is My Fitness Pal (MFP). You can also just used the regular website if you choose to.
MFP has an awesomely huge food database and a code scanner if you are having trouble finding a product by search terms.wtrackerexcel

The exercise tracker aspect of MFP isn’t quite as refined so I only keep about half of my exercise logged. I consistently use a spreadsheet to track the times, weights, speed and reps of my different exercises. It may sound tedious to keep two trackers but it doesn’t bother me too much. And it only takes about five minutes out of my entire day to input stats.

Water and Vitamins

I haven’t been doing so well on these goals. It is all too easy to reach for coffee in the AM and then lightly sweetened homemade iced tea throughout the day.
My goal is a formula that PBS mentioned in one of their health series:

The old adage of 8 glasses a day is no longer true.
Instead, think about how much you weigh and divide that number in half. That’s how many ounces of water you should drink per day.

I have realized that adding a touch of lemon can make water taste a little less watery. I like the taste of it but I am a bit sporadic about drinks. Each time I refill my glass I want a different type of drink. Just ask my husband how long it takes me to pick a drink at the gas station.

Taking a multivitamin slips my mind most days. I tried setting up a reminder in MyFitnessPal and one on my phone. Neither one pops up to remind me, much less at the correct set time. I don’t take any other meds on an actual routine so it

jellybracelets

is hard for me to start this. Forreal, I only take an allergy pill in the mornings when my nose is stuffed up and even then I tend to forget.

I found a whole blog with tips on how to remind yourself to drink water. Starting today I’m going to do my best to follow the bracelet trick. I recently re-discovered my jelly bracelets from when I was a teen–Don’t judge me.

Exercises

I don’t really have a well defined plan here. If I can’t make it to the gym, I do have an extensive at-home workout plan that requires only free weights and a chair. I say extensive because I’ve never made a 45 minute at-home plan like it before.

I broke it down into the basics: Some warm ups, arms, legs and core and cool down stretches. All the warm ups and cool down exercises must be completed.
There are about six exercises in each of the arms/legs/core categories and am challenged to pick three from each group. I feel less trapped into one particular routine. If anyone is interested, I can share my plan. It includes instructions on how to perform most of the exercises but no photos or diagrams.

Not a picture of me

Not a picture of me

Mostly, I get to the gym when I can because I feel accountable to do a good job. My favorite classes of late have been the Pound Fitness class that is offered three days a week at my YMCA. If you’ve never heard of it you must Google a video! You use lightly weighted drum sticks to drum along with songs. Mostly focusing on the core. I feel like a badass akin to the sensation a non-musician gets from playing guitar hero. Accomplished even if it isn’t exactly the way the pros do it.

Another favorite class of mine is the Aqua Zumba class. The instructor stands on land to lead and you follow except all the arm and leg motions are intended for under the water. This is an ideal exercise for me because I stay cool in the water and can feel the water resistance. Also, no one can see how badly you mess up under water.

When there is not a class at a convenient time, I do my own thing in the small weight room. I do a mixture of treadmill walking and machines that focus on my arms, legs or abs and back. I have been upping my weights on those machines when I don’t feel worn out after my sets.

Extra full belly--post lunch weigh

Extra full belly–post lunch weigh

Weight

I honestly should be going by measurements. That is a justification for my pitiful progress, but also I am told a more accurate way of telling how your body changes. My heaviest that I weighed since starting—Oh yeah, brace yourselves, the reveal is coming!!was 181.2 lbs on the gym scale. The lightest I have weighed and what seems to be consistent is 176.6 lbs.
It is a slow slogging struggle but I am keeping at it.

Looking ahead

I have a feeling that things will get easier once I begin my season at MACA. I will be average hiking four to six miles in a day depending on my schedule. Some of those days I will be doing the crawling tours which will engage even more muscles. I do not intend on slacking off of my gym time. I may go three to four days a week instead for five to seven days simply because work will keep me busy.

couchto5kI had a tipsy revelation last week regarding me and running. A good buddy of mine—actually many of my peers—are runners for health. One program that several have suggested to me is the Couch to 5K program. The thought of it excites and terrifies me. Afraid of failure but also willing to try to beat the stitches in my side and coughing to catch my breath. Yes, I really do suck at and hate running.
I also hate sweating all over myself, being out of breath and red faced in front of others, YET I have kicked serious ass the last two months at a gym!