Friday, March 27, 2009

A Win-Win

Recently, Iwanski started watching the t.v. show “Trailer Park Boys,” a show that’s apparently very popular in Canada.

I never really paid attention to the show, other than to note that there seemed to be a lot of swearing coming from the t.v. whenever it was on.

So I decided I didn’t want to watch it. Because you see, whenever Iwanski likes something new, for some reason I feel compelled to not like it. I don’t know why this is; perhaps it’s because Iwanski and I agree on so much, that I feel like I have to somehow balance it out by disagreeing with him on something minor like a t.v. show.

Anyway, so Iwanski began campaigning for the Trailer Park Boys. Hard core. Every day, he would ask me whether I’d just watch one episode with him—then 10 minutes of an episode—then 5 minutes. And every day, I’d say “No, I don’t want to. I don’t like it. It looks dumb.” (Even though I’d never actually watched it.)

So one day, Iwanski gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He offered to go to the fancy-schmancy olive oil and vinegar place that I love, to buy me some of my froo-froo olive oil and vinegar that I REALLY love. In exchange, all I would have to do is watch one half-hour episode of the Trailer Park Boys.

Man, I could not resist that. I loves me my blood orange oil and strawberry balsamic vinegar (the two mix together to make a salad dressing that’s out of this world). And he was going to take the train several stops, then walk a few blocks, then talk to the fancy-schmancy sales guy, to buy me some. I guess the least I could do was watch a half-hour of some silly show.

So we sat down to watch the very first episode of the Trailer Park Boys. And a half hour later, I was hooked. It is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long time.

Just a brief synopsis: It’s a mockumentary that, according to Wikipedia, focuses on “the misadventures of a group of trailer park residents, some of whom are ex-convicts, living in a fictional trailer park located in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.”

My favorite character is Bubbles, a grown man who lives in a tool shed with probably 20 or more cats, which he refers to as his “kitties.”

The funniest part about Bubbles, I think, is that he’s absolutely terrified of Bigfoot, who he refers to as “Samsquanch.” He’s absolutely convinced that there is a “Samsquanch” living near the trailer park. It reminds me of Buck’s real-life fear of Bigfoot. I think it’s WAY funny.

So there you go. Iwanski was actually right about something. (Yes, it does happen occasionally.)

Now, every couple of days, Iwanski and I anxiously await the next season of “Trailer Park Boys” on DVD from Netflix. It has become our favorite show.

Iwanski is really happy that he won this battle. And I’m really happy that I got my expensive-ass blood orange oil and strawberry vinegar.

I guess everyone wins!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wild America

OK, folks…

If you’ve ever wondered what the Iwanski living room looks like, check out this picture. It made me giggle, and I hope it makes you laugh, too!

If you do click on the link, be sure to:

--Check out the description at the bottom of the picture.

--Roll your mouse over the boxes in this picture…you will get to see Iwanski’s notes on the various items within the room.

Hope you all enjoy!

And hey, if you like that picture, you might like to take a look at other Iwanski photos at this link. The Irish-eating dinosaur is one of my favorite pics, too.

And also (another shameless plug here)—Iwanski’s Chicago photo book is still available at


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Discomfort Foods

A week or so ago, I posted about my favorite comfort foods—and I loved reading about the foods that other people are comforted by.

But what about those foods that make me want to hurl? Yep, I have a few of those, too. Here they are:

1. Olives—they are salty and sour. Blech. For the life of me, I don’t understand why people like them.

2. Mashed potatoes—yes, that’s right. I HATE mashed potatoes. I can eat french fries and even baked potatoes (with the appropriate dousing of sour cream), but the mushy texture of mashed potatoes makes me want to vomit. And as a matter of fact, when I was very little and my Dad tried to make me eat mashed potatoes, that’s just what I did. I said I was going to gag if he made me eat them, and gag I did. He never tried to make me eat mashed potatoes again.

3. Frozen peas—I can eat fresh peas and canned peas, but for some reason, when frozen peas are cooked, they both smell and taste disgusting to me. They don’t even taste like peas to me—they taste like freezer burn.

4. Salmon loaf—now don’t get me wrong, I love love love fresh salmon. In fact, it’s probably one of my favorite types of fish (second only to fried walleye). But salmon loaf is an ENTIRELY different thing. For those of you who’ve never had it, I have procured a picture of the putrid pink concoction for you to enjoy.

It even looks disgusting, doesn’t it? I remember when I was a kid, and my Mom would decide to cook salmon loaf (I think she bought the pre-made frozen salmon loaf). The whole house would fill with that foul, fishy odor. And the taste—well, let’s just say that whenever my Mom made it, I opted to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead. I absolutely can’t stand the taste of salmon loaf.

5. Blue cheese—now why on earth would someone deliberately choose to eat mold? I just don’t get it. Now, I have recently realized that I can somehow stomach some types of blue cheese salad dressing—but generally only if it’s accompanied by buffalo wings. I still can’t eat it on salad. Sour, moldy cheese is pretty much the opposite of appetizing to me.

Okay, now that I’ve thoroughly lost my appetite just thinking about these foods, perhaps you can all enthrall me with tales of tastes that you just can’t stand.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not Proper Etiquette

Let me just set the scene for you.

I’m on the computer, and I hear a sound coming from the cat—a sound like she’s drinking water. My first thought is "Oh no! She’s drinking from my water glass again!"

I said, "What are you?—

But then I looked down and saw her licking her own butt. "Oh, you’re just licking your own ass. Carry on then."

This is what it’s like to have cats. You learn to just ignore their disgusting habits.

Unless they are sitting right next to you doing that kind of thing. Then they get launched halfway across the room.

You’d think by now they’d get the fact that licking their own butt while sitting 6 inches away from you is not proper etiquette.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


My Mom’s 75th birthday was this past week.

A year or so ago, I started calling her Mamacita. I have no idea why, but now whenever I talk to her, she’s always Mamacita. I guess I just like having nicknames for my parents.

I mean, most people call them “Mom” and “Dad”—but Mamacita and Daddy-o just sound more fun, don’t they?

Anyway, I digress.

What can I say about my Mamacita? Well, the thing I love the most about her is that she is just so sweet. When I was a young’un and had lots (and lots and lots) of growing pains, my Mom was always there for me, with her wonderful listening ear and comfy shoulder to cry on. I can’t even tell you how many times she comforted me when I was sad over being picked on at school, or heartbroken over my boyfriend breaking up with me.

And the thing I remember most that she would say to me often was, “It’ll all get better someday soon.”

And you know what? She was right. It all got better. Now I rarely get picked on (except sometimes in a good way), and I am in a more loving relationship than I could have ever dreamed of. And even though I still have my occasional bad days, her words always echo in my head “It’ll all get better someday soon.” Because it always does, doesn’t it?

My Mamacita is also a wonderful baker. I’ve mentioned before her lazy daisy bars, but those are only the tip of the iceberg. Between her delicious crispy chocolate chip cookies and her cold, creamy strawberry freeze dessert and her sweet and tangy rhubarb torte, we never were at a loss for yummy treats in our house.

And even nowadays, whenever we get together with my parents, my Mom always has her chocolate chip cookies (my favorite!) on hand. I love that.

And Mom never forgets to send a card for her sons’ and daughters’ birthdays, anniversaries, or even on Valentine’s Day. She’s just so thoughtful like that.

Whenever I think of what being a good mother is, I think of my Mamacita. She is kind and sweet and the kind of mother that always has chocolate chip cookies on hand.

Mamacita, sorry this is a little late, but Happy Belated Birthday! Thank you for being such a wonderful mother, and love you lots!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sit Back and Get Comforted

Mmmm…comfort foods. Who among us doesn’t have certain foods that they turn to when they just need to feel—well—comforted?

Here is a countdown of my five absolutely favorite comfort foods:

#5—Pasta of any kind, but especially Miss Healthypants’ Homemade Chicken Helper Pasta. I made up this dish (not from scratch exactly, since it’s mostly made of canned and packaged stuff), and I absolutely love it. Even Iwanski likes it—although he’s not generally a big pasta eater (unless you count Chef Boyardee). Here’s how you make it:



2 Bowls of “Bowl Appetit” Pasta Alfredo (I buy these at Walgreens.)

Lots of cut-up vegetables—whatever you have on-hand—I like to use:
--Bell peppers (Trader Joe’s sells frozen red, yellow, and green bell peppers strips—awesome!)
--A small can of mushrooms (rinsed in water to get rid of the crazy amounts of sodium in the can)
--Fresh spinach
--Fresh broccoli

Some olive oil (I like the fancy-schmancy jalapeno olive oil the best.)
1 teaspoon (more or less) fresh garlic
1 big (12.5 ounce) can of chicken in water (again, rinsed to get rid of the crazy amounts of sodium in the can)
Red pepper flakes to taste


Follow the directions to make the bowls of pasta. While that’s cooking away in the microwave, in a big pan or wok, sautee the garlic in the olive oil, and then add the veggies and mushrooms (if you like mushrooms) and sautee them. Add the chicken, and then add the cooked pasta. Add some red pepper flakes to taste, and then let the whole lovely mix simmer away for a few minutes.

And that’s it! Yummy!

My #4 favorite comfort food is:

Lazy Daisy Bars—these are the easiest cookie bars to make, and Iwanski and I love them. When I was just a wee little one, my Mom would make them all the time, so they really remind me of my childhood. Here’s the quick and easy recipe:

Lazy Daisy Bars

2 eggs
¼ cup water
¼ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup brown sugar
1 package yellow cake mix
6 oz. chocolate chips

Beat eggs—add water, butter, and sugar. Add cake mix
and chocolate chips. Bake at 375 degrees in a 9x13 greased
pan for 15-20 minutes.

My #3 favorite comfort food is definitely grilled cheese sandwiches. Nothing like cheese to make you feel constip—oh, I mean comforted. I like Muenster cheese the best for my grilled sammich. And very recently, Buck introduced me to the best grilled cheese addition EVER—bread and butter pickled jalapenos. YUMMY!

My #2 favorite comfort food?—Tomato soup. Hell, if you’re gonna eat grilled cheese, you gotta have tomato soup!—at least in my opinion. There’s something about how that velvety soup mixes with the melty cheese on the sandwich…man, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

And my #1 favorite food (drum roll please) is definitely...Triscuits and cream cheese. I mean, what’s not to love about it?

Triscuits = good

Cream cheese = sinfully good

Triscuits + cream cheese = the best comfort food EVER.

I especially love the Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil Triscuits, with the cream cheese. It’s a spicy, dry cracker with a creamy, cool topping—to me, it’s just the ultimate sitting-at-home-on-the-couch-in-my-fat-pants comfort food. I love love love it!

But it doesn’t love me—or at least my waistline. So alas, I have to be careful of how much Triscuits & cream cheese I devour on a daily basis. Sigh…

So there you have it, folks—Miss Healthypants’ top five favorite comfort foods. Honestly, I just don’t know how I’d live without them.

Now…I’m dying to find out what all your favorite comfort foods are—so tell me, dammit!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Scary Moment

I almost choked to death once.

That damn sandwich from White Hen Pantry! I was at my job, eating my lunch at my desk while trying to get 5 million projects done (never a good idea). At the time, I had my own office (gone are the days!), and I was completely alone. I bit into my sandwich and thought, “Man, this bread is dry!”

Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe at all. I frantically grabbed my water bottle and tried to wash the bread down—but to no avail. Nothing—no water and no air—was going in or out.

I panicked and ran out of my office. Luckily, there were a few people standing around the photocopier right outside the office, and I ran up to them and started gesturing wildly, trying to tell them what was wrong. (I didn’t even think to do the hands-on-the-throat international symbol for choking—I was just so panicked.) One of my them looked at me and said, “Are you okay?” and rubbed my back a little. (She thought I was just sad or something!) In exasperation and terror, I stamped my foot on the ground.

“Oh my God, she’s choking!” someone finally said.

“Who knows the Heimlich?” someone else asked.

It seemed like an eternity before one of them finally put her arms around my back and squeezed hard. And pop! Out popped the offender, a very dry piece of bread from a White Hen sandwich.

I coughed and sputtered and breathed deep breaths of relief. “Oh my God, thank you, thank you!” I said to my rescuer, Elizabeth (one of my temporary employees). “You saved my life!”

Everyone was asking me if I was okay, and insisting that I sit down, but I felt wonderful, just being able to breathe again. I felt like I could run a marathon.

I thanked Elizabeth profusely, over and over again. I will never forget how she saved my life that day.

Nowadays, Iwanski sometimes makes fun of me for taking tiny little bird bites whenever I eat (sometimes they really are teeny tiny little bites)…and when I’m with a group of people, I’m usually the last one done eating.

But I will do whatever it takes to never feel that choking feeling again. It was probably the scariest experience of my life.

And as far as work goes, I never eat at my desk while working any more. That shit just ain’t worth it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Miss Weatherpants

56 degrees. Right now. At 8:30 PM in Chicago.


I am just ecstatic that the coldest-of-the-cold weather is over with for now. Goodbye winter, hello spring!!

The other night, I had heard that the weather was going to get warmer soon, so I checked it out for myself at Sure enough, the weather forecast for the next week is full of 40’s and 50’s, instead of 20’s and 30’s…and I couldn’t be happier. I am definitely more of a warm weather girl.

Then I decided to check out weather forecasts in other countries around the world.

Yeah, that’s something you may not know about me. I am really interested in weather. (Iwanski calls me a weather nerd.)

Ever since I was a little girl, I was always fascinated with what the weather was like in Hamburg, Germany or New Delhi, India, while we were sitting there buried under three feet of snow in my little Wisconsin hometown. (Just in case you’re wondering, right now it’s 41 degrees and raining in Hamburg, and 62 degrees and hazy in New Delhi. I couldn’t help it—I just had to look it up.)

I don’t know why the weather fascinates me so much—I think part of it is because I think it says a lot about the people that live there. I mean, don’t you think people who live in the coldest place in the world live at least somewhat different lives than people who live in the hottest place in the world?

So of course, as I was thinking about this the other night, I had to look up where the coldest place and the hottest place in the world were at that time.

Although I didn’t necessarily find out where it was the coldest and hottest in the world at that moment in time, I did find out that there are some really crazy-hot places and some really cold-ass places in the world.

One of the hottest places I found was Jakarta, Indonesia, where the forecast is calling for temperatures in the high 80’s for the next several days. That is pretty hot, but I figure there’s got to be a hotter place than that on earth right now; I just haven’t found it yet.

But even more fascinating to me was when I started reading about the town of Barrow, Alaska. Right now, the temperature there is a frigid 6 degrees below zero, and the forecast calls for highs between 16 below zero and 3 degrees above zero for the next several days. And those are the high temperatures—imagine what the low temperatures are like! All I can say is, there’s a negative 23 degrees mixed in there. Yikes!

So then I thought, well, it can’t be that bad there all year round—right?

Um, yeah, it’s kind-of bad.

From early October to late May, temperatures never get above freezing. And get this—the average high temperature in JULY (the warmest month) in Barrow, Alaska is a steamy 46 degrees. That’s it. That’s how warm it gets there IN JULY. How on earth do people live there?

Then I thought, there can’t be that many people that live there—maybe a few hundred eskimos or something, right?

Wrong. There are over 4600 brave (or perhaps crazy) souls who live there—and they’re not all eskimos! I couldn’t believe it.

Oh, and it’s also one of the cloudiest places on earth, and they have two full months in complete darkness—the sun goes down around November 18th or 19th and doesn’t come up for a full two months after that. How horrible!

While I was sitting here at the laptop computer, shocked that anyone would choose to live in such a place, Iwanski remarked that he once saw a picture from there, and there was a school bus in the picture.

Those poor kids!!—was all I could think. I just couldn’t imagine living in such a dreary existence.

I’ll tell you something—the next time I’m tempted to complain about the cold weather here, I will first think of the poor schoolchildren of Barrow, Alaska, who are forced by their heartless parents to live in the coldest city in North America.