February 29, 2008
February 28, 2008
February 26, 2008
I had the opportunity to read her story and was just amazed at what she went through. Her entire teenage years were spent just trying to survive. Her mother sent her away from Germany at early age since it was her only means of survival and never saw her mother or her father ever again. She was fortunate to find a family who loved her and cared for her. She had to hide her true identity and bought papers with a new name and non-Jewish identity, she even learned to shoot a gun. All this from the age of 14 to 20! Through the grace of God, she survived that awful time in history with what means she could. At 20, she met a handsome American soldier who she fell in love with and married. At 20, her life truly began. If you asked what her how old she was, she would say she was 63 because her life began at 20.
Fritzi and her husband attended our wedding last May and we had a marriage dance and were able to honor them as the longest married couple. They had been married 63 years! I am so glad that we were able to do that small thing for them. I can only hope that Mr. Bear and I are married as long and have as true a love as they had.
Although I only knew her for a short amount of time, what a privilege it was to know her and listen to her stories, not just of the Holocaust, but of her life. She was definitely one to live her life to the fullest and to get what she wanted. She cherished every moment, she cherished her family. If there is anything that I have learned from her is that you have to live life.
One of the last stories she told me was the story about the Cadillac. When she first came to the US, she did not have a driver’s license and did not know how to drive. She had depended on her husband and others to drive her around. She wanted a car but needed a driver’s license first. Well, while her husband was out of town on business, she called up a driving school, took a driving lesson, and then she asked the instructor to take her to the DMV to get her license. She took the test and on the same day received her driver’s license. Her husband came home and she showed him her license. He said he’d get her a car when she got a license and she wanted a Cadillac and that was what she got! When we saw her at Thanksgiving, she was still driving, this time one of those BMW roadsters.
She always found a way to get what she wanted! She is possibly the most amazing woman I have ever had the privilege to know. There is no one else like her. I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to know her. Fritzi you will be missed, but never forgotten!
Photos by Amy Squires Photography
February 25, 2008
By not asking or negotiating, women place themselves at a disadvantage and stand to lose a lot. For example, the speaker stated that by not negotiating a first salary, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by age 60—and men are more than four times as likely as women to negotiate a first salary. The reasons why women don't negotiate often has to do with feeling of apprehension toward negotiating, feeling so grateful that they were offered the job in the first place, and women do not know their market worth. To all the women out there, we are worth a whole lot; we are definitely worth as much as a man. But, the statistics show that women earn about 76 cents to every dollar a man earns for the same job (click here for the citation) and women with children earn even less, this is called the mommy gap. Now that just isn't right and I may get into that another time.
But even beyond negotiating for salary, women just fail to ask in the first place. Women don't think to ask for more money or to be moved to first class or for a promotion or for a discount when shopping. Many of the reasons that men get ahead is simply by asking. If we don't ask then we probably aren't going to get it, we can't just expect to just get what want without making it known that we want it.
This was a very intriguing talk (especially because this relates to the research I do at work and because I am a woman) and really got me to thinking. All you have to do is ask, it doesn't sound so hard. What does it hurt to ask? The worst that can happen is that the person says no. But women are afraid of rejection and we need to learn to get over that. It is important for women to be assertive and to learn to better negotiate for themselves and believe that they deserve it. Rememeber, there is also the possibility that someone will say yes, but you will never know if you don't ask. So my new motto is "Just Ask."
In keeping with my new motto, I decided to ask Mr. Bear to vacuum this weekend and not only did he vacuum but he ended up cleaning the whole kitchen and he also cleaned the blinds, which desperately needing dusting (not an easy task). Lesson learned: Just ask!
February 24, 2008
Saturday Night Dinner
A friend was in town from Madison, WI and so we all went to dinner at one of our favorite local Mexican restaurants, Tropical Mexico Restaurant in Pomona, CA. This restaurant is located in the most obscure hidden place among residential and commercial buildings. But they have some wonderful Mexican food and people know it because they were packed on Staurday night! I had my regular dish there, the chicken fajitas and of course margaritas! Yummy!! Mr. Bear ordered #28: Tropical Mexico Combination, a favorite among many since it includes Chile Relleno, Taco, Tamal, and Enchilada. It is great combo with some really yummy Mexican dishes. They always have great food for great prices. You can never go wrong with any of your choices. Tropical Mexico is a great place to go with a huge group of people, you will be surprised at how inexpensive the cost even with pitchers of margaritas all around. It is also a family friendly place with kids all around. An awesome value for really good food.
Sunday Morning Brunch
We went to the beautiful Mission Inn in Riverside, CA for Sunday Brunch to celebrate the 80th birthday of a wonderful and special lady. The Mission Inn has the most wonderful brunch buffet with every possibility that you can imagine. The food is excellent and they have a really awesome spread going on. With so many options, I had to have a little bit of everything: eggs, bacon, Belgian waffle with berries, roast, salmon, flank steak, shrimp cocktail, scalloped potatos, and an assortment of desserts (yes, I did break down and had some sweets!). I am so full!! I ate so much, but everything was so good and you just have to have a little bit of everything.
On top of the great food, the Mission Inn is an absolutely beautiful place. The architecture of the buildings and historic nature makes it such a great place to visit and explore. Mr. Bear and I have done so on more than one occasion. One of the best times to go is when it is decorate for the holidays. It is fun with all the holiday decor up. Click here for some more photos of the Mission Inn.
This was a busy weekend filled with eating. The Eating Machine strikes again! Time to get to the gym!!
-- A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
I think too much and that is often an issue I have. I tend to overthink every little thing and every little purchase. Sometimes to the point of driving myself crazy. Sometimes I think about nothing, which I know sounds strange. It is awful when I think too much and can't fall asleep, which is why I usually read or play Soduku before bed so that my mind can calm down and stop thinking and I can fall asleep. It is not that I am worried or stressed out about what I think about, it is just that things run through my mind and I think too much about things. I wonder about things, I contemplate different things, sometimes the thoughts have no rhyme or reason. Sometimes what I think about is as random as my cat, the sound of the rain, the temperature in the room, or thinking about thinking (hence this blog entry). Sometimes my thoughts are more focused with my day, work, family, etc.
I guess that was one of the reasons I started a blog, this is my Thoughtful Spot. If you haven't figured it out by now, I am a big Winnie the Pooh fan and if you know about Pooh Bear, he has a Thoughtful Spot. Halfway between Pooh's house and Piglet's house is a Thoughtful Spot where they meet sometimes when they decide to go and see each other. And it is warm and out of the wind, so they would often sit down there for a little and wonder what they would do now that they had seen each other. While Pooh Bear isn't a great thinker (since he is a bear of very little brain), he is still a deep thinker. I like to think that I too am a deep thinker like Pooh Bear with more than a little brain, I hope. In fact, I just might be "smarter than the average bear," to quote another well known bear, Yogi Bear. :) Oh, bother! There I go again thinking too much. As Pooh Bear says, "Think, think, think."
February 20, 2008
When I first brought home Chase Monster over 11 years ago, he had some poop stuck to his behind and his first experience with me in a new home, was me holding him up to the bathroom sink trying to clean him up. This was our first bathroom time together, poor thing was sooo scared at first but this was the beginning of our bond and bathroom rendezvous. Funny thing is that after he was cleaned up, I was the one scared of him that first night. Chase Monster is the first real pet I have ever had in my life (unless you count a blue fish my brother had when we were kids named Bloog Bloog). I was 21 when Chase Monster came into my life and a little scared of a little kitten; I didn't know much about cats and I thought that he might scratch me as I slept. Well, now he sleeps with me every night. Generally, he sleeps on my head or right next to me sometimes leaving very little room for Mr. Bear to squeeze in (remember Chase Monster is a 24 lb. cat so he takes up a good portion of our queen size bed). Needless to say, I am no longer scared of my monster cat. I love my monster cat and I love our nightly bathroom rendezvous.
In fact, he is in the bathroom right now! I am off to rendezvous with my monster cat!
The recipe from Shape Magazine uses a technique to drain the fat away from the meatloaf by using a baking sheet or baking pan instead of the traditional loaf pan. So instead of the fat being absorbed into the meat as it bakes, the fat is drained away to the side of the pan. Well, the draining away of the fat is lost by using the muffin pan so this would probably slightly increase the calorie and fat content of the mini meatloaves.
When Mr. Bear came into the kitchen to see what was for dinner, he thought I made muffins again and was quite confused when I served him meatloaf muffins, LOL. The mini meatloaves were good and it was nice that they cooked in half the time. We didn't eat the entire loaf like we usually would so there was enough leftover to use with my spagetti sauce for dinner tonight. This mini meatloaf technique was definitely helpful to control portion size, if only I could drain the fat too as with the Shape Magazine technique and then I would have the best of both worlds.
Barbeque Turkey Meatloaf
from: Shape Magazine, January 2001 (pp. 64-67 - I still have the torn out copy from the magazine)
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
1 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup barbeque sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 egg whites or 1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat a 13 X 9 inch baking pan or baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray (or muffin pan if making mini meatloaves).
In a large bowl combine all ingredients (except the 1/4 cup of barbeque sauce).
Place meatloaf mixture in the center of a baking pan and shape into a loaf by hand (or place small loaves into muffin pan). Spread remaining barbeque sauce evenly over the top of the loaf. Bake for 1 hour and let stand for 5 minutes before draining fat and slicing (for mini meatloaves you only have to bake for 30 minutes).
Nurtition Info per serving (2 1 inch slices): 190 calories, 16% fat (3.5 g; 0.9 saturated), 41% carbs (17.7 g), 43% protein (18.7 g), 0.7 g fiber.
February 17, 2008
This weekend, Mr. Bear and I headed to Downtown LA for the LA Boat Show to peruse the boats and party with his internet friends. It was interesting to meet people and to introduce yourself by a screen name, even stranger when you are the wife of the screen named person since half the conversations have to do with boats and the boards. Regardless of my confusion from time to time, we definitely met a great set of people and saw some beautiful boats.
From the boat show we went to The Standard Hotel for a private party for one of the boat manufacturers to party more with internet friends. It helps that Mr. Bear is in the know with the right people from his internet networking to get us on the "list." We had a good time. Late night, we headed up to the rooftop bar at The Standard complete with waterbeds and pool (picture of me on one of the waterbeds). Very fun, hip, and modern.
We booked a room at The Standard so that we didn't have to worry about a designated driver. We booked the "cheap" room and that was literally the classification of the room. A very modern hotel, the room kept up with the modern decor. The "cheap" room was not so cheap, but had all the necessary accomodations, a queen bed, a bathroom with toilet and shower, a closet, and a television. The bathroon was very unique, between the bathroom and sleeping area was only a glass wall. Basically, anyone in the room has a perfect view of someone showering or using the toilet from anywhere in the room. If privacy is an issue be sure not to share this room with anyone.
February 16, 2008
Bench press 75 lbs - last month I did 7 or 8, today I did 15! Still a ways to go until the absoltue goal of 50, but that is an improvement. I would like to get to 25 for next month's assessment.
Shuttle run - I did it in 42 seconds this time around, an improvement of 2 seconds! Pretty good considering this was the one skill I hadn't really focused on. I'd like to cut another 2 seconds off next time around.
Box jump - I got through all 50, I jumped about 25-30 of them and then stepped up on the rest. I did it in 1:10 min, so I believe there was improvement too (this was the first time making it through all 50 so not clear point of comparison, for the first few though my time did improve). Next month's goal is to jump at least 35 of them and cut my time by 10 seconds.
We started the morning off at a track and simulated the obstacle course (see previous post for what the course entails) for the first time. I got through that in 1:12 minute, so I feel pretty good about that. I got over the 3 hurdles which mentally is a hurdle in of itself. We didn't really climb a wall or do monkey bars, so that will have added another 30 seconds of so to my time. The wall will be a tough one. Hopefully next month we'll be able to find somewhere to do that.
So I have goals set to meet for next month's assessment. In talking with the ladies that competed last year, many of the women at the competition are professionals and this is what they do all the time, this is their life. So for an amatuer regular person like me, I need to remember not to compare myself to them. For me it is all about meeting my goals, making the effort to even fathom doing this, and to finish the competition!
February 15, 2008
Crock pot salsa chicken
4 Frozen Chicken Breasts
1/2 a packet of Taco Seasoning (or you can make your own Taco Seasoning)
1 can of Cream of Chicken soup (I used 99% fat free)
1/2 a jar of salsa
Spray crock pot with some non-stick spray and then put all ingredients in the crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Top with sour cream (we used low-fat) and cheddar cheese (we used 2% cheese). Eat with flour tortilla or tortilla chips.
It is a very yummy meal. Nice and easy for the working woman!
February 14, 2008
(Not a bad photo with my old point and shoot digital!)
Photo by sherthebear
February 12, 2008
photo from: http://www.muppetcentral.com
"It's not that easy Bein' Green", as Kermit says/sings (click here to listen to his song). It may not be easy but it really isn't too hard to do a few things for our environment, it is just about making the effort to go green and be more like Kermit. So in my goal to be more green (gotta love Kermit, so who wouldn’t want to be green like him), I bought reusable Target bags for my many Target runs this weekend and I re-used and brought back my Trader Joes brown paper bags for my groceries. Those Target bags are pretty big and hold quite a bit!
I have also been working on moving toward using more natural cleaning products. There are a lot of great websites on green cleaning. For example, I no longer buy dryer sheets or fabric softener. I have been using a homemade recipe for fabric softener that has worked really well for me.
Homemade Fabric Softener
2 cups baking soda
2 cups white vinegar
4 cups water
- Carefully combine all ingredients (the baking soda and vinegar will fizz).
- Pour into a plastic bottle.
- Use 1/4 cup in your laundry's final rinse.
You can also add 1/2 tsp of essential oil like lavendar or lemon. I used rose since that is what I happened to have on hand. Be sure to label the container and keep it out of the reach of children, if you have children.
I have also bought the blue dryer balls to help with static cling, but they don't work with my static cling issue. So I searched the web for a natural solution and learned from some website that you can use a ball of aluminum foil to control static cling. I did that this weekend and it worked!
Yay for being like Kermit and going green, it saves us money and helps to save the environment. It is not much, but I am a believer that every little bit helps.
February 11, 2008
Yesterday, Mr. Bear and I took my mommy out for lunch. She chose a really yummy seafood Chinese restaurant , Ten Ten Seafood Restaurant in Artesia, CA. It was soooo yummy. If you are looking for a great Chinese restaurant, this place is awesome. They are pretty busy on the weekends but definitely well worth the wait! We had some dim sum and other yummy dishes. Their pan fried chow mein was very good.
Isn't she beautiful and sooo young looking!
Photo by Amy Squires Photography
February 8, 2008
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am the song that will never end.
I am the love of family and friend.
I am the child who has come to rest
In the arms of the Father who knows him best.
When you see the sunset fair,
I am the scented evening air.
I am the joy of a task well done.
I am the glow of the setting sun.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die!
~ Mary E. Frye
This poem was read at Tricia's funeral. Today is Tricia’s 40th b-day. Happy Birthday Tricia! I miss you!
In her memory, I will be participating in the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation Race for the Cure on Saturday, March 15th. I have participated in this 5K for the last several years because I believe in the cause and I have several family and friends affected by breast cancer and who are fortunate to be survivors. Tricia was the first person that this awful disease has taken from my world so this year I am running in her memory.
As part of the event, I've created my own Personal Donation webpage to which you can make a donation of any amount. It is a good cause.
February 7, 2008
It is crazy, I have my jacket and scarf on in my office and I am tempted to put my gloves on (that would make it a little difficult to type). Yes, I bundle up when I leave my house on the way to work, I even have a beanie in the car. Mr. Bear laughs at me when he sees me get ready to go out the door for work. I think he pictures that scene in "A Christmas Story" where the mom bundles up the younger brother and he can barely move. Well, I can move enough to drive myself to work. But I get cold, especailly my poor little toes! If I could wear my Uggs to work I totally would, my pumps just don't keep my toes warm. My toes are trying to defrost with my tiny little space heater. At least I have that and it is helping a little. But I can't wait til they turn the heat on in the building!! Brrrrrrr!
February 5, 2008
I know it is kind of late to be reflecting back on the past year. But there were a couple of events from 2007 that can never be forgotten. 2007 was filled with ups and downs, the biggest up was my wedding!! However, our year ended with a down that impacted my family so deeply.
Getting married in 2007 definitely made it a memorable year. However, 2007 was the year that I not only planned a wedding, but also a funeral. It was the year that my sister-in-law passed away. A beautiful, vibrant, young 39-year old redhead is no longer in our life because of breast cancer. With her birthday in a few days, I think it is a good time to remember her.
December 2007 was a month that I will never forget. One day I got a call from Mr. Bear that his step-sister was in the hospital because she had a brain seizure and 2 weeks later she was gone. On December 17, 2007, Tricia Borba Vasquez passed away from breast cancer of the brain. After beating breast cancer, it was found that it spread to her brain. Within weeks, she quickly deteriorated and passed away.
She had Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis (LC), I can barely even say or spell it. LC is found more often in women, as breast cancer is one of the more common tumors to spread in this fashion. She had breast cancer which she had beaten but then it spread to her brain and got into the meninges (meninges is the system of membranes which envelope the central nervous system and along with the cerebrospinal fluid protect the central nervous system/brain). Once it gets there, there is very little you can do.
I do not share this to sadden anyone but to bring awareness of the importance of early detection of breast cancer. As women, we need to be educated and proactive regarding our health. Monthly breast self-exams are one way we can be proactive and make sure to get yourself checked. It is important that we do this for ourselves and the ones we love.
I am sorry if I brought a downer to your day; that was not my intention. I just believe it is important to share our experiences so that we can make others more aware. Cancer does not discriminate by age, race, or gender. She was too young and I want to make sure she is not forgotten and that we can learn from what she went through. It might be a little too late for New Years’ resolutions, but your health is something that should be a priority all year long.
Yesterday, I had jury duty and although I was dismissed and never had to set a foot in the courthouse, I served my duty as a citizen. Today, is Super Tuesday and I did my part to vote and make my little voice known. Every vote counts! I feel like I did my part this week to make some sort of difference.
Don’t forget to vote!
February 4, 2008
Ash Wednesday is this Wednesday and for Catholics it marks the beginning of the Lenten season. Lent is the 40 days of prayer and fasting leading up to Easter. It is a time of soul-searching and reflection. Often during Lent, Catholics give something up and/or do a generous or positive act.
Well, because I always try to be a good little Catholic girl, I observe Lent. For Lent, I will do the following:
- Give up shopping: I have decided to give up unnecessary spending (aka shopping for myself). I have been doing this for the past month or so since we have no money anyways. But I plan to continue this through Lent. I might allow myself one opportunity to shop for myself and that is for my Birthday.
- Give up candy and cookies: I have such a sweet tooth and every year I work hard to do this. This is very hard for me and this will be especially difficult since there are few kids parties that fall during this time and I always grab some of the pinata candy with the kids. That also means no birthday cake, not even on my own birthday!
- Make an effort to go green: I have just started to work toward this and I think this will be a good opportunity for me to follow through. I've already started using a natural recipe for fabric softener. I am also going to get some "green" bags when I go grocery shopping next.
One year I gave up soda and I no longer drink soda. So sometimes giving something up lead to more positive acts in the future.
My birthday often falls in the middle of Lent and it is hard because I love my birthday and it is a time that I like to treat myself. I am going to try extremely hard not to make any exceptions for my birthday at all this year (not shopping for a birthday gift for myself will be very hard!). Maybe since I now have this in writing I will have better willpower and be more accountable. Only time will tell.
February 3, 2008
Cottage Cheese Chicken Enchiladas
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - boiled and shredded
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (7 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups cottage cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce (I used 28 ounce can)
1. To Make Meat Mixture: Heat oil in medium skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, onion and green chile peppers and saute until browned, then add taco seasoning and prepare meat mixture according to package directions.
2. To Make Cheese Mixture: In a medium bowl mix sour cream with cottage cheese and season with salt and pepper; stir until well blended.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
4. To Assemble Enchiladas: Heat tortillas until soft. In each tortilla place a spoonful of meat mixture, a spoonful of cheese mixture and a bit of shredded cheese. Roll tortillas and place in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with any remaining meat and cheese mixture, enchilada sauce and remaining shredded cheese.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
A few suggestions: use extra enchilada sauce and put sauce on the bottom of the baking dish too. From making enchiladas in the past, I have learned that you want to make sure the sauce covers the enchiladas while baking so they don't get dry. I used low-fat cottage cheese and sour cream to make it little bit lower in fat and my own little taco seasoning mix (also from http://www.allrecipes.com/).
February 2, 2008
So, where else would we go for sushi but Ken's Japanese Restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga. It's a little place that has been around for 19 years so they definitely know what they are doing. IMO, the best sushi place in the area. This was actually the first time we had to pay for dinner there. We usually go with the in-laws and they are always so generous to us, so we have never had to pay. We had the rock cod roll with soy paper, yellow tail, and spicy sashimi bowl. So yummy!!! Since hubby is still getting over his flu, his appetitite is not totally back to normal, so we had a few to bring home. This is the rock cod roll.
February 1, 2008
One year, my mommy forgot to call me on the actual day of my birthday and called me on the 29th instead (since it was a leap year). I told her she was a day late and she said, it’s the last day of the month, and I reminded her it was a leap year so she said that I got any extra day for my birthday since it was a leap year. I love her reasoning, so I have stuck by that philosophy! This is an extra special year since I have a 48-hour birthday instead of a mere 24 hours!
So what am I doing to celebrate, nothing. This year, the budget is tight so there are no big plans for my big 3-3. I know that as you get older that many people dread their birthdays, but not me. And it doesn't matter that there is nothing planned, I just love knowing that the day is my special day and that some 30 odd years ago I was born on that day. That’s my silly stuff and fluff! 27 days till my BIRTHDAY!!! :)