Dear Braggamama

It’s been ages since our planets have come within 2 light years of each other and I was, in fact, beginning to thank my lucky stars when… well, just my luck that as I was packing to leave the gym, you should come walking in!

Okay, so you had me trapped between the machine you were on and where I was cooling off under the fan and air-conditioning. If I’d been hoping to get away with a hi and bye, I’d be kidding myself. It’s obvious no one runs into you and gets away with less than a deafening blast of your relentless trumpet.

You and I go back quite a ways. Your son and mine went to the same school, so we used to run into each other. a. lot. More and more, I was noticing a disturbing trend with you. You would ask leading questions like “Oh, did you go anywhere during the school break?” and…

… before I could open my mouth, you’d be rattling off details of your family vacations to far-flung lands, the new car you’ve just bought, the expensive private school you’ve transferred your kids to… as if I needed to know all that. No, seriously! 🙄

Now that both our sons are in college abroad (thankfully thousands of miles apart), your questions are centered around the topic of universities. Today your question was, when will Steev be graduating? Again, even before I could utter 3 syllables, you were off about which university your son is at, when he’ll be finishing and what’s next for him… 🙄

Great plans, good for you but it’s really none of my business.

As usual, I didn’t get a chance to say much. Just aha, hmmm, whenever you stopped to come up for air. I think you’d make a great diver, you can probably hold your breath underwater for a good half hour!

Sorry, I couldn’t help stifling mental yawns and rolling my eyeballs to my mental ceiling quite a few times. To be quite honest, I wasn’t not even listening half the time. I’m well-trained like that. I have lots of friends and family like you. So I’ve learned to switch off on demand.

Anyhoo, happy your son is doing well. So’s mine. And I hope you and I don’t run into each other too often.

What I’d like to be eating right now

What I'd like to be eating right now

Can you believe I haven’t published a single post about food this week? Strange, I know. I find writing recipe posts a bit of a drag but food posts are okay. So let’s drool over some of my favorite foods.

I love, love, love this Cranberry, Apple, Walnut Grilled Chicken Salad. The minute I grab this off the counter at Carl’s Jr, my fingers are going crazy ripping open the little bags of dried cranberries and glazed walnuts. Once when I couldn’t crack them fast enough, I brought them back to the counter to have the guy cut the bags open for me.

When it comes to In-and-Out burgers, I’m usually quite conservative and never go beyond a single. I look across at the folks having double and triple burgers and I’m wondering how to even start eating it. Do you eat it one layer at a time, or try to cram all 3 layers in at once 😆 ?! It’d be interesting to watch me try it!

And Cheesecake Factory, I absolutely love. I don’t care how many thousand calories my order is. I really don’t. I don’t count calories so what do I care?!! I just want to get at my pasta. OMG, this is so rich and so so so fattening good! I can usually only get through half my serving with no room left for cheesecake. But then next day, I can’t wait to get to the leftovers. Yums.

Ack, I’m super hungry just looking at these pictures.

Quinoa and us, the anti-climax

Quinoa and us, the anti-climax

I’m not sure what possessed me to buy a whole bag of this. But I did.

Yup, you see it right there inside that mushroom cap, peeking out from underneath the layer of cheese.

Quinoa!!

That’s right. Quinoa.

I’m sorry I can’t post a close-up because just looking at it gives me goosebumps! This is the best I can do. As long as I don’t see it, I’m fine. I mean, after all, it’s just a grain, right? And the name sounds so cool some celebrity will name their baby after it, just you wait.

So how was I to know an innocent grain could look so utterly unattractive when cooked?

Okay, here’s the story. I’ve been reading about quinoa. The rave reviews. The health benefits. The disclaimer, I’m not someone who falls for health fads like detoxes or enzymes or electronic belts that can jiggle away your belly fat (huh!), or whatever’s making the rounds on the internet today.

I prefer to err on the side of common sense and I do my homework before I even think about jumping onto the bandwagon. Exactly why I don’t bother with Facebook. Apparently some people (not all) get such a big kick from posting a bunch of bull. And people actually believe that bull!! 🙄

Quinoa, now that’s a different story. It’s not an urban legend. It’s not from an email spam written by some 10-year-old kid with too much time on his hands. Quinoa is supposed to be good for you and I thought we could actually be good together. But I just can’t stomach looking at it!

You know we don’t like to waste food. *sigh* So I forced down 4 of those quinoa stuffed mushrooms, Hip2bDaughter2 ate 3 with her eyes closed and Hip2bDaughter1 only managed 1 before she started to gag. We were laughing so hard we almost fell off our chairs as we tried to wash it all down with a gallon of iced lemon tea. Pretty traumatic but funny! 😆

Now I have a whole bowl left over! No one’s going to eat it. So it’s going to the dogs. Or birds. Literally. I’m dropping the whole bag of it off at the park with a little note to our feathered and furry friends, Enjoy and here’s to good health! Hip2bDaughter2, my animal lover, is going, Mom, are you trying to kill the birds in the park? Or the dogs? 🙄 No, honey, they’ll be in the pink of health when they’re done with dinner.

I have a whole bag of uncooked quinoa in my pantry! It’s expensive and I don’t want to waste it. What am I going to do? I’m thinking maybe I should make quinoa dog food for Tyson. Now where do I find quinoa recipes for dogs?

Our own table and other 5-star surprises

Our own table and other 5-star surprises

While I’m known to rant quite a bit, I always give credit where credit is due. It’s just that there’s very little here that truly jumps out at me, ya know. So when something like this happens, it gets me giddy with excitement and I can’t wait to blog all about it.

In a city bursting with restaurants, there are only a handful that we frequent. We tend to avoid the ones that come highly recommended because from experience, those are usually the ones that fail our standards of food quality, hygiene, customer service and/or the Hip to be Picky Eater Index. 😉

At the handful of restaurants where we are regulars, it strikes me as really weird that their staff always act as if they’ve never seen us before. They don’t acknowledge us. They don’t remember how we like our orders. They don’t remember where we like to sit. Not only do we not get any preferential treatment – whatsoever, the service can sometimes be frustrating.

Friday lunchtime, the girls and I went to our favorite Nando’s restaurant outlet. This is the only one of all their franchise outlets that we go to simply because it’s probably the only place in town we know of where the staff are always smiling and happy to see us.

Mind you, this is not a Mom and Pop joint where friendly, personal service is a given. These guys just work there but still they would greet us loudly, sometimes in chorus, every time we walk through the door. They would nod us to “our” table with knowing smiles. Yes, we even have our own table!

Last Friday, we noticed our portions were super-sized. Our plates were heaped high, higher than usual, with our favorite grilled vegetables and peri chips, and they brought us an extra drink on the house. The girls and I usually share drinks (because we hate going to public restrooms) and these guys said, no, go ahead, have a drink on us.

When the check came, we were in for an even bigger surprise. We eat there so often we practically know how much our meal would come to. Only this time, the figure was wa-ay lower than what we normally pay. A surprise discount!

Okay, if I’ve ever doubted that good customer service exists, I take it back! This is definitely one for the record, and in case you’re wondering, the answer is no, we didn’t ask for a discount, we’re not on back-slapping terms with the staff though they always seem happy to see us, and I’m not getting paid to write this. 😀

 

Can a week have more than one Monday?

I want the holidays back!! It would be an understatement to say I wish we were carrying over our laid-back days from last year. Going by the first 3 days of my topsy-turvy taxi schedule, it’s going to be a REAL stretch in the coming weeks, and it’s only the 9th day of the year.

I’m usually indifferent to Mondays but this last Monday takes the cake. I barely got 3 hours of sleep on Sunday night. Must be the tea I drank at dinner time or something. For someone who needs 8-10 hours of sleep, 3 hours is almost no sleep at all. So clearly, it’s not going to work!

Nevertheless I had to be up at 6:00a Monday morning to have breakfast with the girls and drive Hip2bDaughter2 to school. I would’ve jumped straight back into bed if I hadn’t just washed my hair and had to wait for it to dry. And no, I do not own a hairdryer and I’m not one to dash out in my jammies without brushing my teeth either. Not me!

As we turned the corner to Hip2bDaughter2’s school, Mrs BA aka Bad Attitude (lots of those around these parts!) turned right into my path as I was turning into the opposite lane. Clearly I wasn’t in a good mood so I gladly waved my middle digit. Not proud of it but she asked for it.

We usually try to eat lunch together which, on most days, means 3:00p when Hip2bDaughter2 gets home from school. That’s why you keep hearing me rant about the long school hours. If you ask me, 3:00p is tea time, not lunch time. And do longer school hours make smarter kids, I wonder?

The last taxi run of the day was at 7:30p with one stop for gas. Note to self: fill up on the weekend, why don’t you? Dinner was at 8:00p by which time our tummies were in knots because dinner is 2 hours later than usual. Shower at 8:30 and by 9:30p, we were ready to call it a day and hit the pillows!

The past 3 days have been Mondays for us. I wonder if it’s time to move to another planet.

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