Monday, March 29, 2010

Mucho Queso!

Today, my niece Stacy (AKA the nieciest niece) posted the following inquiry on Facebook:

“Curious. Does anyone besides my family eat a piece of cheese with their leftover waffle syrup?”

Oh. My. Goodness. I totally forgot about that!

Growing up in Wisconsin, I can tell you that all the rumors/jokes about Wisconsinites eating a lot of cheese really are true. Wisconsinites eat an abundant amount of cheese. And they eat it with almost everything.

I can tell you that in the house where I grew up, we always had a plate of sliced cheese, with every meal. It was just something that we took for granted, a normal part of every family mealtime.

And in case you’re wondering, a slice of cheese with maple syrup is really good. I just totally forgot about it until Stacy brought it up. Now I’m dying to try it again.

Then my sisters Sheri and Bonnie joined in the Facebook conversation and mentioned their love of cheese dipped in applesauce, and strawberry jam and cheese sandwiches.

Wow! It had been a long time, but I remember eating both of those combos growing up, and loving how they tasted—especially strawberry jam and cheese sandwiches. Those were a staple of my childhood. Yum yum yum! I also remembered how much I used to like eating peanut butter and cheese sandwiches. Delicioso!

I know, I know—to those of you who didn’t grow up in Wisconsin, it may seem pretty odd to pair cheese with syrup, applesauce, peanut butter, or jam—but believe me, it’s all good.

Don’t knock it ‘till you try it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ten Things I’m Really In Love With This Week

1. The French market by my workplace, which had huge bunches of fresh green leaf lettuce for sale, for only a dollar each!—and yummy Jonagold apples for only 77 cents per pound!

2. The TV show “The Dog Whisperer.” That guy is a freakin’ genius.

3. The book “On the Road,” which I’ve just started to read. What an amazing trip…

4. The fact that the AVERAGE high temperature here is now almost 50 degrees—no more 20’s and 30’s for us!

5. Iwanski’s Grandma doing well after emergency hernia surgery.

6. The Talking Heads song “Once in a Lifetime.”

7. Taking photos on my daily walk to work.

8. Pigeons and ducks obviously trying to get it on, right out in the open, in public!

9. My husband and his silly sense of humor, even when he’s not feeling particularly funny. (Today he told me that he was feeling “canteloupe Lassie”—you know, melancholy.)

10. The beautiful budding trees, waking up to springtime—like this lovely one. (I took this picture on my walk to work a couple of days ago.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Singing of Springtime

This past week—the last official week of winter—was warm, for Chicago—temps in the 50’s & 60’s with not too much wind. And I was stuck inside with a stomach bug.

This weekend—the first official weekend of spring—was cold and SNOWING yesterday, then in the low 40’s and windy today. And I was feeling GREAT, ready to go for a nice long walk.


Still, there are signs of spring that make me ecstatically happy, that help me to remember that the warm weather is not far away now. The trees are budding, and the birds are singing…

One of my favorite birds is the cardinal. For some reason, I can always tell when a cardinal is nearby. It just has this very distinctive sweet, melodic call.

On one of our recent walks, I heard this cardinal and then spotted him in a bare little tree, singing away. Iwanski and I crept closer, and he didn’t move—he just kept right on singing. It was so beautiful. And so Iwanski took out his trusty Nikon and captured him in mid-song.

I LOVE this picture…and I also love that on Flickr, Iwanski captioned it “Hey ladies!” He cracks me up.

Even though it was a rather cold weekend, spring is definitely in the air…and to me, it’s these kinds of moments that make life so sweet.

Friday, March 19, 2010

That Friday Night Feeling

I have been knocked-down, drag-out, yuck-tastically sick for the past few days.

But now, since I’m starting to feel like an actual human being again—and I can actually eat solid foods—I am feeling alright.

It’s now Friday night, and the new Trailer Park Boys movie has FINALLY arrived from Netflix…

Life is good in Miss Healthypants’ world.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Eight Is More Than Enough

Last week, I started doing my “8 Minutes in the Morning” exercises, which I haven’t done in quite some time.

I used to do those exercises every day, but then I started to get lazy and do only the easier exercises—and then eventually I stopped doing them altogether.

But I’m trying to lose weight, and the 8 minutes plan helped me to lose 40 pounds at one point, so I thought, what the heck, why not try it again?

So I made it through the first week of 8 minutes exercises last week. One week down, no problem. Then today I started on week two.

This morning, in total, I did 48 knee pushups, and 48 rep’s of the “bird dog” exercise. That’s this delightfully horrible exercise where you’re on all fours, and you simultaneously lift your right arm and left leg, at the same time, pause—and then do the same thing with your left arm and your right leg. It looks like this.

Anyway, after 8 heart-pounding minutes and 96 combined rep’s, I was sweating my ass off, and I lay down on my yoga mat, trying to catch my breath.

And it was then that I realized why I stopped doing those exercises in the first place.

These are not “quick ‘n easy” exercises. You really work hard during those 8 minutes!

Still, it is only 8 minutes a day—and even I can deal with that—no matter how much it sucks.

So I will carry on, 8 minutes at a time…

Now if only I can stop eating those damn brown sugar bumps!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Trivial Tangents

Iwanski and I have a weekday routine.

Every day after work, we eat dinner while watching an episode of Judge Judy. (It’s very important to watch Judge Judy every day. It’s very stress-relieving and entertaining to see people being held accountable for their stupid-ass actions.)

Then, after we eat, we sit down on the couch and watch Jeopardy together. I call it “playing” Jeopardy, because I always try to see if I can answer more questions than Iwanski.

Of course, that’s really a foolish feat, since no one I know has half the random facts stored in their brain that Iwanski does. I’m telling you, this man can name actors in obscure movies that he’s never even seen before. He just remembers EVERYTHING.

Then there’s me. I remember some things really well—my best topics are health (hey, they don’t call me Miss Healthypants for nothin’!), science, and music (sometimes—unless you have to name a famous singer. I’m terrible with names). But ask me to remember a President’s name or the date that a war started or—God forbid—something about British history or the Royal Family, and I’m completely lost. When we get those categories in jeopardy, I just sort-of sit there, staring off into space, absent-mindedly petting the cat who has settled onto my lap. (Autumn loves those categories, as she knows she’ll get a really good belly rub as Iwanski rattles off the names of Senators from the 1950’s.)

It’s similar to the experiences I’ve had playing Trivial Pursuit with Iwanski. At least with Trivial Pursuit, you can keep somewhat entertained and involved in the game by having to read the questions to the other person. And believe me, I’ve had a lot of experience in reading Trivial Pursuit questions to him.

But one of the best games of Trivial Pursuit I’ve ever played was with Iwanski and our good friend Jonathan. We decided we were going to play it as “Tangent Trivial Pursuit.” What that meant was that even if you got a question wrong, you still could earn a piece of Trivia pie by going off on a tangent and telling an interesting and/or funny and/or entertaining story related to the topic of the question. For example, if the question was about dinosaurs, I could tell the story about how all of the women in my family do “tyrannosaurus arms.”

Or if it was about cooking, then Jonathan could tell about the fabulous “ingredient party” he participated in recently.

Of course, along the way as we played the game, we made up more rules. For example, if someone told an incredibly lame story or re-told the same story again, then we could “de-pie” them. But conversely, if someone told an extremely touching or emotional story, they could be “double-pied.”

And of course, if someone told a really bad story and was trying desperately to get a piece of pie, even though he/she was told repeatedly to “give it up,” we would refer to them as a big ole’ pie whore!

It was a really fun (and funny) way to play Trivia, and it actually gave Jonathan and I a chance to beat Iwanski.

But of course, Iwanski still beat us.

But it was fun. Really fun.

And after all, isn’t that really the point of life?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Things That Iwanski and I Don’t Agree On

I was watching a movie on Lifetime tonight (yes, I admit it, I was actually watching the “I Hate Men” channel), and Iwanski kept talking about how bad the movie was and kept asking me to change the channel, until I finally relented and turned on “The Soup,” a show that we both enjoy.

But it got me thinking: Iwanski and I agree on most things—in fact, before we got married, the church made us take this “pre-marital quiz,” and I remember that the married couple who had administered the quiz to us were very surprised at how many things we agreed upon.

But after almost fourteen years of marriage, I have realized that there are also plenty of things that we don’t agree on. And after pondering on this for all of five minutes, here are some of those disagreements that came to mind:

Iwanski thinks that when socks are taken off, they should be balled up and thrown across the room—preferably at a nearby cat. I disagree (about the balling up and throwing of socks at felines; I’m fine with socks sitting there quietly on the floor, minding their own business).

I feel that the floor is a perfectly acceptable place to put any object—cereal boxes, two-liter soda bottles, purses, free weights…Iwanski feels that the floor is only acceptable for balled-up socks, and he freaks out about cereal boxes on the floor. (“We’re going to get bugs!”) No matter that we’re on the 21st floor of a downtown high rise, and the only bugs we’ve ever gotten in our apartment arrived via flour purchased in the grocery store. (Ewww, those were disgusting!)

Iwanski feels that two Snuggies in one apartment is too many Snuggies. I would be perfectly happy living in a Snuggie village. (Think of how comfy that would be! Ahhhh….)

I am happy when the heat is on full blast and it feels like Hawaii in our apartment. Iwanski likes it when it feels like Alaska in our apartment (and I’m wearing a sweatshirt, sweatpants, socks, and two Snuggies).

I love the movie “Pretty Woman.” I think Julia Roberts is wonderful, and I like the “rags to riches” story. Iwanski thinks it is the worst movie ever made.

Iwanski likes The John Dore Television Show, a mockumentary-style sitcom on IFC. I think John Dore is disgusting, and his show is absolutely ridiculous and horrible.

My idea of a wonderful meal is spaghetti, garlic bread, and a Caesar side salad. Iwanski is not much into Italian food—unless you count the can of Spaghettio’s that he eats at least once a week. (I don’t even count that as real food.)

Iwanski’s idea of a wonderful meal is a 4-piece spicy chicken meal from Popeye’s Chicken, with a biscuit and sides of fries and red beans and rice. I would throw up if I had to eat that meal. It just seems way too greasy to me.

So as you can see, we do disagree on a lot of things.

But we both agree that bacon is the best food known to mankind. And after all, a love of bacon is all a couple really needs to make a marriage work.