Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Housewarming, and Three New Things I Love

I haven't gotten around to posting to my new blog lately, so thought I would now even though it's 11:48 p.m. and I'm getting sleepy. I just had a rare 3-day weekend and don't want it to end, even though it pretty much has ended. It doesn't feel like I had a 3-day weekend, since I was busy preparing for our looooong-awaited housewarming yesterday on the 13th, then actually had the housewarming, and spent today pretty much wiped out and trying to recover. (I also worked hard to complete my peach "sand dollar" ghan before people came over; it turned out beautifully and I hope to have a pic of it on my site soon.) I also haven't walked long-distance since Thursday all weekend, which is the first time since the end of July I missed walking for more than one day. And I've been snacking on dip, chips and crackers left over from the housewarming, as the relatively few people who came didn't eat much. So I will be surprised if I lost any weight at all this past week when I get weighed in tomorrow night at TOPS. I most likely will have a small gain. As of last Mon., had lost around 16 pounds, and fully plan to continue to press forward and get this weight OFF. So this is just a small temporary setback. (I don't want to say much about work on a public online blog, but it's been especially stressful the past two weeks, which didn't help the urge to munch this weekend.....) Everyone who did come loved our home and was very happy for us that we finally have a nice place to live in (now to pay for it in our lifetime!).

Three things I love that I've wanted to mention here -- one being very new, one being a couple years old, and one being more like 14 years old, but all being new to ME. I'll start with the one I discovered first, a few weeks ago. We have Showtime and The Movie Channel on our cable system, at least till the end of the year, on a 3-month trial. I doubt we will renew them; too expensive, but it's been fun having the extra selection of movies. I had never seen "Elizabethtown" before (we have Netflix but somehow missed renting this one) and now have watched it each time Showtime has repeated it the past few weeks. It is the story of a young man who experiences a monumental job failure followed by a family tragedy, and has a chance encounter with a young woman who is unphased by both. It is a touching combination of family reunion, romance, travelogue, and just the right timing altering a situation that seemed hopeless. It has become my 2nd favorite movie of this decade, topped only by "The Majestic" and, as with that movie, I will never tire of it.

The next delightful surprise was being sent a complimentary issue that I did not request of Cooks Illustrated magazine. I looked at it and it was SO skinny (only about 32 pages) and I thought, what the heck! Well, it contains NO ads whatsoever and to my amazement, unlike every other magazine where I rip out certain stories or items I want to keep and toss the rest, this entire little skinny magazine is a keeper. NO filler whatsoever; everything in it is valuable. Each issue is literally like a little mini-cooking encyclopedia! They take classic dishes anyone would want to make such as lasagna, peach cobbler, etc. and explain to you in plain English what ingredients and techniques you need to use to make the recipe great and WHY these ingredients and techniques make the difference. It also contains Consumer Reports types of articles where they compare different implements, ingredients, etc. and tell you which is the best and WHY. For instance, in this issue they compared baking pans and explained why a $9 pan is vastly superior to a $95 pan! I told my hubby about my amazement with this magazine. He was already familiar with it and had just acquired a 5-year supply someone was giving away on Freecycle! I have not had a chance to look through them yet but sure look forward to doing so. I just found out this weekend that this little gem of a magazine actually originated in '93, since I acquired the first-ever issue on eBay today! Am amazed no one bid against me, but it could be most other people also haven't discovered it. Hopefully more people will, because it just doesn't compare to any other cooking magazine.

The last new thing I love is a TV show that just premiered on ABC less than two weeks ago. I may not have watched it except that I saw one of its stars discussing it with Jay Leno the night before and was intrigued. I can usually tell with new network shows in the first few minutes if I want to keep watching it or not. This one started out in an unexpected manner, with a British man narrating in the background as if it were a fairytale. It was just weird enough to keep me tuned in to see how it would progress. It didn't take long before I realized I was hooked. "Pushing Daisies" is original, innovative, funny, entertaining, offbeat, whimsical, unexpected, addictive, and delightful. The lead character, Ned (a piemaker who works in a pie-shaped diner called "The Pie Hole"), discovered as a child that he has a special power whereby if he touches a "dead thing" (person or animal), it becomes alive, BUT if he touches it again, it stays dead forever. Also, if he keeps something alive for more than a minute, someone else in close proximity dies instead. 20 years later, he discovered his childhood sweetheart, Charlotte Charles ("Chuck") had been murdered. He seeks her out and brings her back to life. They are now in love and always together, but they can never touch or she will die. They use his special power to solve crimes by his bringing a murdered person back to life and asking who killed them. But because he only has a minute before making them dead again, it is never enough to get any more than a cryptic clue. And it all takes place with the British man narrating in the background. It is just so funny, different and entertaining. I just love it and hope it will get the attention it deserves to stick around!

Well, I need to log off for now and reluctantly bring my weekend to an end, but wanted to first share these three new unexpected pleasures!