Friday, November 30, 2007

Life List Day 255 - Turn Left Instead of Right

I go for a walk along the beach most days, and for some reason, I always go the the right - heading north along the water - rather then left.


Today, just for a change of pace, I went left.

It's not as if it was spectacularly different - it's still my same ocean! - but just like driving a different route, walking a new route woke me up a bit more to my surroundings.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Life List Day 254 - Wear Red Lipstick

Red lipstick says, "I am bold," I am confident," "I am a woman to be reckoned with!"

Which is why I wear pink.

Today, I was meeting friend for a drink and decided, just for the heck of it, to wear red lipstick.

I pulled out the Mac Viva Glam that I bought years ago and never used.

I'm not 100% convinced red is all that flattering on me, but for such a small change, I really felt a lot different wearing it.!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Life List Day 253- Teach Myself a New Dance

I haven't learned a new dance since the Macarana. Today I looked up instructions to learn how to "Crank That," based on that song by Soulja Boy that all the kids are doing.

I tried for about a half hour to learn it. I got to the point where I could do it as long as I was watching the video at the same time & following along, but I don't know it well enough to, say, try it on a dance floor (much to my son's relief).

Still, I think I'll keep trying. You never know. Maybe I just need a big ol' pair of pants and an oversized jersey to look right doing it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Life List Day 252 - Work out for six hours

I watched the movie Hairspray on DVD, loved it, and was inspired to look up some interviews to get "behind the scenes" news. Truth is, I love watching dancing, and I always wished I could do it (I'm not hopeless...just not any good).

Anyway, in one of the interviews a couple of the actors (including Zac Efron, who I have a serious old-lady crush on) mentioned how they dance trained literally eight hours a day - sometimes longer - to get ready for the movie.

The idea of really pushing myself athletically gave me that nostalgic buzz I get every now and then, so today I put it to work.

I'd planned to work out a full eight hours like they did, as it turns out, I'm not 20 anymore like my crushee Zac Efron (yes, I did look up online to see if he was of legal age, just to see how old-lady creepy I am). I did make it six, breaking it up into several segments. I took a nice long walk down the beach, went for a bike ride, took a spinning class at the gym, did the elliptical, walked on the treadmill, and lifted some weights. When I reached the six hour mark and said to myself, "Two more to go!" my mind said yes, but my weary body said no.

Still, did I feel like a stud, or what?!?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Life List Day 251 - I Can't Say

Oops, can't post today because it involves something new I did for a Christmas present for someone I know who reads this blog.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Life List Day 250 - I Make It to Venice Beach!

This is the third time I set out to ride my bike to Venice Beach, and today, I made it! It's about 20 miles round are a few of the sights along the way (and did I mention I feel lucky to live in such a great place that this is my bike path?):

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Life List Day 249 - Stand Up to The Man

In this case, The Man is Best Buy.

I don't see any way to not make this a long, boring story, other than to say this:

Best Buy screwed up on installing some speakers, and I actually got them to fix their mistake free - and even discount it. (This is very unlike me. I don't even bargain for price at garage sales.) I did it nicely, but I DID it.

Then - buoyed by my success with the speakers and with encouragement from my friend Mary Jo - when I had to buy a new receiver (it was kind because of a mess-up of Best Buy's, but not entirely), I actually talked them down from $500 to $199.

I swear I think this life list has made me bolder ... not to mention richer.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Life List Day 248 - Risk the Crowds for Black Friday

I considered joining in a movement called Buy Nothing Day, in which you pledge not to buy anything today, "Black Friday," the busiest shopping day of the year.

But those sales ads got to me. I swear, at Macy's they seemed to be practically GIVING stuff away!

So today - even though I'm not really big on shopping - I braved the crowds to start my Christmas shopping. I hit two malls and Target.

Surprisingly, I found parking easily and really didn't encounter that huge of crowds. Of course, the sales didn't strike me as all that spectacular, either...I think you had to get up at 5 a.m. to catch the early-bird sales to get the big deals.

Ah, well, I may not have struck a blow for anti-consumerism, but I did spend $12, thus supporting the economy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Life List Day 247 - Cook Dinner & Give Thanks

I've never cooked a Thanksgiving meal before - I'm always either invited somewhere or I blow off the holiday and head for Palm Springs or Vegas.

Today, I cooked dinner for Danny and me: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, yams, corn, salad and pumpkin pie. It wasn't entirely from scratch, but it was served up all fancy-like on platters and bowls as if it was.

At dinner, I tried to get Danny to list the things he's thankful for, but he wasn't playing ...kept claiming he didn't want to talk with his mouth full.

I listed mine, and - I tried not to be corny -but the truth is, the stuff I'm thankful for IS all pretty son, my family, my good friends, that I've had books published, the rodents, that I get to live in such a fantastic place.

It's easy to wallow in the stuff that's not going right, so it's good for me to remember that, all in all, I'm pretty darned blessed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Life List Day 246 - Try a Martha Stewart Recipe

I often watch cooking shows but never make anything from them.

Today, I tried a recipe I saw on Martha Stewart. I've been trying to find better ways to eat veggies, and this seemed really easy.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Clean & cut in half brussels sprouts
Toss in olive oil
Add sea salt

Roast about 10 minutes in the oven, tossing once.

They looked just like Martha's...and they were yummy!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Life List Day 243 - Brunch at the Hotel Bel Air, Beverly Hills

Today, I had brunch at the Hotel Bel Air in Beverly Hills, which I've never done before. The hotel is quite iconic and old-school Beverly Hills.

I'm not a ladies-who-brunch type of person - it's an awful long time to sit and eat - but I was delightfully surprised at just how long I COULD sit and eat. If there's an Olympic event for sitting and eating, perhaps I could qualify.

All in all, it was LOVELY.

Oh, and happy 50th birthday ------- (name withheld to protect the elderly).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Life List Day 242 - Brush My Teeth With Baking Soda

This is one borne of necessity: Today, I was getting ready to brush my teeth when I accidentally dropped my tube of toothpaste in the toilet. Needless to say, the 5-second rule didn't apply in this situation.

I could have put off brushing my teeth until later after I ran to the store, but brushing my teeth with baking soda is one of those things I've always wanted to try. So I did.

I was worried it would be really gritty (like biting into a sweater...eeeeeegh...the worst feeling ever) but it wasn't.

It was, however, surprisingly sour.

Afterwards, I didn't have that cool, minty fresh feeling - but I have to say, my teeth felt really clean.

I'm not sure if I'll keep doing it though ... isn't toothpaste supposed to have flouride?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Life List Day 241 - Look Up Places On a Map

It started with Bangladesh - I was reading about the cyclone that just hit and I thought to myself (right after, "Oh, how sad"), "Where the heck is Bangladesh?"

So today for my life list, I decided to look it up on a map.

While I was at it, I looked up a few other foreign countries that often make the news that I'm too embarrassed to admit I have no idea where they are. (Although I hope nobody quizzes me - I may have looked them up, but I can't guarantee retention. Still, it's a start.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Life List Day 239 - Whip Up Dr. Oz's Green Drink

I was watching Oprah the other day, and her health expert, Dr. Oz, recommended a green drink that he blends himself. Oprah tried it and called it, "a glass of fresh."

Today, I decided to whip up a glass of my own.

I went online and the ingredients were posted, but not the amounts, so I had to wing it. Here's the recipe:

Dr. Oz's Green Drink


He said toss them in a blender and blend (I took the liberty of assuming I was supposed to peel the apple, ginger and cucumber, and include only the juice of the lemon).

Apparently, Dr. Oz has a much better blender than me. I just had a bunch of dry veggies spinning around in the blender. I tried adding water. Then I had wet veggies spinning around.

I pulled them out, put them in a food processor.

Hmmph. Just a bunch of wet chopped up veggies.

I thought I might take a swig anyway - just to see if it was just an ugly, chunky glass of fresh - but my son cried out, "Don't drink that!" with such passion, I found myself dumping it down the sink before I even thought it through.

Ah well.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Life List Day 237 - Give a Kitty Full Access to My House

A while back I was trying to help a stray cat, who turned out not to be a stray at all, but my neighbor's cat. Even though he has a home, darned if he hasn't been trying to wriggle into mine little by little. (I think he's quite neglected - often locked out for days at a time.)

I found myself feeding him, going outside to sit with him on the patio for a nice cuddle (hiding from my neighbor just in case he's the jealous type), and finally letting the cat in as far as my kitchen. Every time, he wheedles to check things out (you know what they say about cats and curiosity), but I don't let him because, 1) I'm afraid he might have fleas, 2) I'm afraid he may pee on things, 3) he's not my cat!

Today, I gave in to the inevitable and let him into my house.

As you can see, he was quite content to visit.

He hung out for an hour or so, slept, ate, then went on his way without so much as a goodbye.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Life List Day 236 - Don't Go to the Gym

Today I was driving to the gym when the thought struck me that I should be riding my bike along the beach instead of being inside. It was a glorious day - freakishly warm for November. Pretty soon, it'll be too cold to ride along the beach (at least, too cold for a sissy like me).

I turned the car around, went home, and rode my bike to Marina del Rey, where I watched the sailboats.

Much better.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Life List Day 235 - Do Yoga in the Comfort of My Own Living Room

I ordered a yoga dvd from Amazon (MTV Yoga, which came at the recommendation of my niece). It's been sitting on my countertop for a week and, I'm not too proud to say, I've walked past it quite happily without the slightest temptation to open it and actually do it.

Today, I gave in to lack of temptation and tried out the yoga dvd.

It was a pretty good workout - and nice to be able to get my ya's out on a rainy day without having to go to the gym.

I'll do it again (and even if I didn't, the dvd was cheaper than a single class).

Friday, November 9, 2007

Life List Day 234 - Attend a "Passion Party"

Tonight, my friend Erin was hosting a Passion Party - one of those parties where a bunch of gals get together in someone's home and shop for sex toys, massage oils, etc.

Trust me, if it weren't for this life list, I'd never have gone. There's no man in my life, and I refuse to put myself in a situation where my only boyfriend has batteries.

Still, it was pretty amusing. The woman showing us her product line had her work cut out for her: Bascially, they get you to relax by getting you all liquored up, but there's that fine line between a crowd of ladies that's loosened and one that's unruly. I showed up a little late, and there was already a lot of whooping and laughing going on. The Passion Party Lady (kind of like a Tupperware Lady, only discussing how to make sure you have the "big O" rather than how to burp your lid to keep freshness in) nonetheless managed to keep everyone in line.

I felt compelled to buy SOMETHING (the people who host these things always say you don't have to buy anything, but they don't mean it). I bought a cologne called Pure Instinct, which is basically pheromones and essential oils. I tried a sample of it, and it smelled pretty nice. It's supposed to attract men like crazy.

I don't know about that...but when I stopped on the way back to have a drink with friends while I was picking up my son, a female friend kept saying, "You look so pretty today...doesn't Jill look pretty? And you smell so good. Did you do something to your skin? You're radiant." So much for it attracting MEN.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Life List Day 233 - Plan "A" Thwarted...So I Make Onion Rings Instead

My plan for today was to go the entire day without buying anything - not even so much as a pack of gum. I've been spending like a drunken sailor on leave, so I thought a day off would be good for me. A couple hours ago, however, my son called and said, "Kevin has a migraine. If I buy Advil for him, will you pay me back?"

Rats. Far be it from me not to underwrite my son's friends' over-the-counter drug habits. There went Plan A.

Luckily, I'd been thinking of trying this new Weight Watchers onion ring recipe, so that's what I did instead.

Weight Watchers Onion Rings

sweet onions
bread crumbs
egg beaters
spray cooking oil

Slice onions into double rings. Dip each double ring in egg beaters, then in bread crumbs, and set on a cookie sheet. Spray with cooking oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn, spray again and cook 5 minutes more. And, tada!...

If you're expecting restaurant-style onion rings, you'd be sorely disappointed. They beat the frozen kind you buy in a bag at the grocery store, though, and for any Weight Watchers in the crowd, they're 1 point for about a cup's worth.

(Oh, and Caitlin, here's the recipe for those Oprah fries.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Life List Day 232 - Champagne at Lunch

I'm attempting to teetotal for a while because I'm dieting - and I'm just not willing to spend limited calories on alcohol - but today, I had some girlfriends over for lunch, and one of them brought a nice bottle of champagne. I still might have said "no thanks" (I'm not much of a daytime just makes me sleepy), but it seems we were toasting her successful cancer surgery & upcoming round of chemo.

What could I say but, "I'll drink to that!"?!?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Life List Day 231 - Vote

Today being election day, I exercised my civic right (or is it performed my civic duty?) and headed to the polls.

Since there wasn't anything "big" on the ballot - just city council and school board - I nearly blew it off. But then I remembered a few years ago when a city council position was decided by TWO VOTES. Yes, that's how small my town is, and how important every vote can be.

It was a good thing I went. They didn't have me registered for some reason. I was able to cast a provisional ballot, but now I know I'd better go check on my registration - I sure don't want to miss out on the upcoming presidential election. For that one, I plan to vote early ... and vote often.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Life List Day 230 - Create a Menu for the Week

My son, Danny, and I have had more than our fair share of dinners consisting of frozen entrees or such culinary delights as cheese melted on Triscuits. I often WANT to make a good dinner, but I don't have the ingredients I need. Or I can't think of anything.

Today, as part of my effort to eat more healthfully, I made a menu of meals for each day this week. Then I used the list to do my grocery shopping.

So now I have everything I need on hand.

Tonight's dinner: Veggie burgers and "Oprah fries."

I've never planned meals ahead like this before, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Danny is already loving it: he can't wait for Thursday - that's chili night, his all-time favorite.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Life List Day 229 - Attempt a Long Bike Ride Down the Beach

Please note use of the word "attempt."

Today, I had planned to ride my bike to Venice Beach, which is about 20 miles round trip. My bike is a beach cruiser - no gears, hand brakes - so that's a pretty long ride, but I thought it'd be quite the adventure.

The weather apparently had other ideas. I waited until 1:30 for the sun to peek through and the wind to die down. When it didn't, I decided to head out anyway.

Even with the wind, it was a great ride. I made it as far as the airport (about five miles away), where - tired ... and worried about how flat my front tire was looking - I stopped to sit and watch planes take off over the beach and disappear into the clouds. Then I headed back, delighted to have the wind pushing me rather than fighting me.

I'll try my great bike exodus another day. In the meantime, this was just fine.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Life List 228 - Go See Live Music

My friend Irina and I met for a drink tonight, and instead of going to one of the usual places, we picked a bar called Grog - for the sole reason it was in the neighborhood, we've never been there, and they promised an '80s band. It's been a while since I've seen live music in a bar.

As it turned out, the band wasn't an '80s band, but more specifically, a Tom Petty tribute band.


I'd have liked to have been in the room when they decided, "Hey, let's only do songs by Tom Petty." Is it just me, or is that rather obscure?

The entire evening, my friend and I were trying to come up with what tribute bands we'd put together that might be on par with the Tom Petty band.

She was going to start a Rick Springfield band.

I made a joke about being in a Carpenter's tribute band thinking that was ridiculous but, the more I thought about it, that'd be pretty bitchin'.

Life List Day 227 - Try Heirloom Tomatoes

I actually bought heirloom cherry tomatoes before, but they went bad before I got around to eating them because I used the prettier, red, perfect tomatoes I had on hand first.

Today, I bought a pack of heirlooms from Trader Joe's and made it a point to break into them right away.

Heirloom tomatoes, I learned from Wikipedia, are open pollinated, which is why - in the absence of cultivating for characteristics of what we define as tomato perfection - they can be kind of freaky looking.

I tried the greenish and the brownish looking one first. Not bad! They definitely tasted tomatoey - which I enjoy in a tomato - maybe not as much as I expected, but more than the supermarket ones I've been buying.

I'll try them again.

After all, don't ugly tomatoes deserve to get eaten, too?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Life List Day 226 - Lunch at Costco

I often grab samples when shopping at Costco. Today, just for the heck of it, I stopped at Costco for no other reason than to make a lunch out of the samples.

I had some sort of ravioli thing, a chicken sample, a dip, and - my favorite - a sticky rice (I thought about going back for seconds on that one, but I was afraid the samples lady would recognize me).

Life List Day 225 - Throw a Halloween Party

I've always lived in apartments where I never get any trick-or-treaters. In my new house, I was told I'd get HUNDREDS - so I decided to have friends over to party on my patio while we handed out treats.

It was a blast! We ate, drank and were merry, and I ended up giving out over a thousand pieces of candy. The littlest kids that came while it was still light out around 6:00 were the most fun - my favorite was a girl dressed up as an enchilada.

Unfortunately I have several bags of candy left over...and I have a feeling it's going to keep calling to me until it's gone.

(The photo is of my cousin Jerri and a piratey friend, who took over candy-handing duty after my arm got tired...there were a LOT of kids!)