Monday, December 8, 2008

I've Been a Bad Blogger.....

There are a few things going on in my life right now (all good) but they are causing a major malfunction in my time management. I have so many things to post about but not enough time. It should all get sorted out in the next few days and I'll post all about it as soon as I get the chance. Plus there's a great blogger contest going on right now that I am going to be posting about too. Sorry about being so vague, but it's all I have time for right now. Be back soon!!

Hope you are all having a nice holiday season!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Shameless Plug: il Presidenzialista

I'm back from a nice 4 day Thanksgiving weekend up in Gig Harbor, WA with some very good friends who I consider family. I'm going to post about that later though. This post is to plug the Italian's blog. I had been meaning to do it a while back, but never got around to it. So it's my great pleasure to send you over in his direction. His blog is both in Italian and English. His thing is politics but his posts will run the gambit. I am so happy he decided to put up his own blog because he's brilliant! Yes, I am biased, but seriously, he is! Ok, so go have a look and say hello or ciao ;)

il Presidenzialista

And here is his opinion of Starbuck's Espresso.....haha!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Elisa Concert

The Elisa concert was really fun! I had never been to the Doug Fir, only driven by and it looked like such a small place. Downstairs is where they have the concerts. There must have been maybe 100 people. I was right up front and took some good pics, well, a lot came out blurry because I couldn't use my flash, oh well. I was able to make a video, but got caught 3/4 of the way by her tour manager and had to cut it. Of course, there had to be a few stronzos in the crowd and one plowed his way to the front when she started singing, "Gli Ostacoli Nel Cuore". The guy was obliterated and he threw himself on the stage. Elisa just kind of looked at the guy in disbelief, or maybe it was disgust??!! Then there was one guy who kept yelling, "Canta Caruso!!" and she seemed to get annoyed, and told him, "If you want to sing Caruso, why don't you come up here. We've got an extra microphone." Then there was Lucia, the "godmother" of the Italian community of Portland who had to let Elisa know, "Tutti siamo Italiani" Mamma mia...

Anyhow, at the end of the show the crowd was being shuffled out by security, unless you had a bracelet which allowed you to stay for the meet and greet. My group was sort of all huddled in the corner and we just kept speaking Spang-talian amongst ourselves and just smiled and nodded when asked if we had bracelets. They never checked, just asked. So we weezled our way into the meet and greet!! Elisa was really nice, and really humble. There were a few Italian medical professionals amongst us and Elisa commented on how she had met a young Italian doctor who had come to the States to pursue his career here in Arkansas. The guy drove seven hours to see her show and she was totally humbled by this. She said, "E veramente un pecato" that Italian professionals have to leave home to find a better life. I had a lot of fun and met some really cool people. I just wish my Italian could have been here too. Soon baby, soon!

Here is the link to the pic that was taken with Elisa. I couldn't copy it, so I have to ask the photographer about buying it from him. That's me on the right next to her :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Elisa Toffoli

Elisa is a very famous singer in Italy and also sings in English. She will be performing tomorrow here in Portland and I get to go see her!! I believe this is her first ever US/Canada tour for the purpose of promoting her CD Dancing in stores now. She is such a talented artist and I am really looking forward to her show. Her lyrics resonate in my soul and listening to her music even brings me to tears. Here is just a sample of some of her beautiful music. The first video is a short clip from the show Che Tempo Che Fa and is the acoustic version of the song Dancing, which was also featured on So You Think You Can Dance.

This second clip is the same song, but it's the full version. Get yourself some Kleenex!!

I'm going to take pics and videos of the concert and I will post them on Sunday. It's a small venue so I am hoping to get to meet her!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Love Thursday

OK, so I am actually writing this on Wednesday at 11pm, but I won't have time tomorrow and am feeling the love tonight.

In honor of my first Love Thursday posting, I'd like to post a picture of the love of my life when he just a little guy. Circa 1970 something in Milano...isn't he just the cutest little boy?? With his Peter Pan-ish collared school uniform and his cute 70's haircut. I love, love, love this picture!! Sei molto carino amore mio.

Happy Love Thursday Everyone!

Ti voglio bene mi vida!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Club and Sugared Walnuts

My friend Sarah invited me to join her book club and of course I graciously accepted. The first meeting was Friday night and the book for that meeting was Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg. Not normally a book I would pick up on my own but I'm an open-minded person, so why not, right? I'm actually not done with it yet. It was a little hard to get into at first, but now it's got my interest. In a nutshell, it's about a woman who is transgender, although she hasn't had the surgery, it's more about her identity. She really goes through a lot in her life and it's really terrible the way transgendered people are treated. Although this is a work of fiction, it really is quite obviously a memoir.

The other women in the book club are really cool and the hostess's husband was an absolute riot, so I had a great time!

For the book club we are all to bring a dish or dessert and wine. I decided to bring my "famous" Sugared Walnuts. They were a big hit! (Further proving the Italian's theory that I am a golosa!) So I'm going to post the recipe here for you all. These are great for the holidays or sporting events like the Superbowl, or even just to munch on while watching a good flick. NOTE: You can use any kind of nut you like, as long as it's not a nut that burns easily, i.e. pecans.


2 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 cups shelled walnuts (approx. 1 bag)
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1/4 of a stick of butter
2 tablespoons of vanilla (if you can, use the Mexican kind, it's just better!)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a medium size pot over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, cinnamon, butter, vanilla and dissolve.

Add the walnuts and continue cooking,

Stirring frequently until the walnuts are completely sugar coated and the sugar is crystallized and there is no syrup left.

Pour the mixture onto an ungreased cookie sheet, spreading and separating the walnuts as much as possible.

Bake until the walnuts are golden, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring at 5 minute intervals.

Let them sit for a few minutes to allow them to harden.

And voila'! The finished product! They are so good while they are still warm...yum!

Please note that I doubled the recipe, so it looks like a lot in the pics but you won't have as much if you stick to the recipe I posted.

Our next meeting for the book club is on December 5th and the book is Flight by Sherman Alexie. I'm so looking forward to it!

Are you a member of a book club? What are you reading?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

iTunes Tuesdays

I love the All American Rejects. This song is a little on the sad side, but it's about new beginnings and taking a stand. I'd like to dedicate this song to my blogger buddy MissB in light of recent events in her life. Stay strong girl!

Your subtleties
They strangle me
I can't explain myself at all.
And all the wants
And all the needs
All I don't want to need at all.

The walls start breathing
My mind's unweaving
Maybe it's best you leave me alone.
A weight is lifted
On this evening
I give the final blow.

When darkness turns to light,
It ends tonight
It ends tonight.

A falling star
Least I fall alone.
I can't explain what you can't explain.
Your finding things that you didn't know
I look at you with such disdain

The walls start breathing
My mind's unweaving
Maybe it's best you leave me alone.
A weight is lifted
On this evening
I give the final blow.

When darkness turns to light
It ends tonight,
It ends tonight.
Just a little insight
Won't make this right
It's too late to fight
It ends tonight,
It ends tonight.

Now I'm on my own side
It's better than being on your side
It's my fault when your blind
It's better than I see it through your eyes
All these thoughts locked inside
Now you're the first to know

When darkness turns to light,
It ends tonight,
It ends tonight.
Just a little insight won't make this right,
It's too late to fight,
It ends tonight,
It ends when darkness turns to light
It ends tonight
It ends tonight, just a little insight
Won't make this right, it's too late to fight
It ends tonight,
It ends tonight,
When darkness turns to light it ends tonight

Monday, November 10, 2008

Slip of the Tongue...??

So as most of the world knows, the "youthful" and often tactless Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi made a remark about our new President Elect being young, handsome and even "tanned". Hmm..anyhow, here is how some Italians have responded to his remark:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

iTunes Tuesday a Day Late: Special Election Edition Barack Obama

I went for a walk today and even though the skies were gray and the ground was wet, people had smiles on their faces and the atmosphere in Portland is joyous and victorious. Last night history was made and there were fireworks, revelers in the streets. The employees at Trader Joe's were happier than usual. It felt like midnight on New Years. I've never seen anything like it, but it's good, really good. The world is happy!! A friend of mine in California sent me this and it's infectous so I had to pass it on. So rejoice, turn up the speakers and get up and dance!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Proud Day for America

We did it. My country voted in the right man for the highest ranking job in the country. I have always been a proud American, but never more so than now. Barack Obama has defeated McCain in a landslide. The people have spoken and the truth prevails. No doubt that he has a tough job ahead of him. Much like Clinton, he will have to clean up the mess that the second Bush has left behind. But true to history, I am positive that a Democrat administration will be good for our economy. There was definitely a ceiling shattered tonight. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!

I can hear people screaming in the streets!! OMG, I even hear fireworks!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

What's Grosser Than Gross?

When you go to the grocery store to buy apples for bobbing on Halloween, and the guy standing in front of you at the check-out lane licks his credit card, then slides it through the point of sale machine. Ew!

Where? Fred Meyer's on Burnside. Beware!!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It's not really a holiday because we don't get the day off and nothing closes, but it's fall and the beginning of the holiday season and I love it!! I have already admitted my addiction to Mellowcreme Pumpkins, because you know, it's all about the candy! But I also love the costumes that people come up with. I have many great memories of Halloween. I remember going trick or treating in San Marino and South Pasadena, some pretty affluent neighborhoods of L.A. (well, at least the closest ones to my neighborhood) Some of these people would actually put out a bowl of money and we would reach our little hands in and grab as much as we possibly could. At one of my former employers, on Halloween we had a contest. Each department was given the task of coming up with a theme. Well, I jumped at the opportunity and orchestrated the whole thing. I turned our department into Skid Row. There was trash everywhere, newpapers, cans. Even plastic rats and little houses made of cardboard with graffiti. It was great! Everybody dressed like bums. I blacked-out a couple of my teeth, ratted out my hair, put make-up on my face to make it look dirty. I even had a plastic booger. Ew! Then I had to take a little something from Eddie Murphy in Trading Places and rolled myself around the office on a crate with wheels. It was pretty hilarious. I'm proud to say that we won first place! Second and third place were the 70's and the jungle.

So in honor of my favorite pagan holiday, I'm going to post some funny costumes. First is a costume designed by some medical professionals, who almost always have a sick sense of humor. I couldn't help but laugh the first time I saw this:

Next we have the dirty old man, retired Hooter girl costume:

And how about a little Magnum P.I.

This next costume had me in stitches. I dressed as Wonder Woman when I was a little girl. Lynda Carter was my idol. I even had the Wonder Woman Underoos! Remember those?

Well, I hope I didn't look like this when I wore them!

And for the cutest/funniest costume, a character from a movie that I found funny, although the Italian didn't particularly like it, we have little Nacho Libre. Isn't he soooo cute!!

I'd say it's a pretty good rendition, don't you think??

One more cute one that I just couldn't resist posting. Isn't that just the cutest little lobster you've ever seen??!!

Where ever you are in the world, whether you celebrate Halloween or not, I hope you all have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend. Now go have some candy, guilt free!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Job Search is Turning Into the Twilight Zone

Seriously, what's happening here?? I know we are in a recession, but this is getting ridiculous! I wrote before that I am working with an agency that places medical professionals, well apparently they have different divisions for different professions/skills. The woman I interviewed with told me to call her this week about the position at a clinic that is about 5 blocks from my home, so I called her on Monday and left a message but she never called me back. So I called again this afternoon and her colleague answered and told me that the woman was not available and if there was anything she could help me with, so I explained to her that I was to call this week regarding the position discussed with me. She said that the position was not yet available, apparently the clinic is installing a new computer system and they are having problems, but she has another position available. Great! My ears perked up. Then she told me what it entailed. These were her words:

"We have a position doing some door to door canvassing for the McCain/Palin campaign" WHAT THE?????? OK, first of all, this is Oregon. The most liberal state in the union, so why would she just assume that I am a Republican??? Or is it that she just assumes my situation is that of desparation, so I'm willing to do just about anything. I told her as politely as I could that I was not interested in a political career, my career is in Medicine. To which she replied, in a sarcastic tone, I might add, "Well I just thought you'd want to put a few extra dollars in your pocket." I was floored. So I'm just supposed to set aside all my morals, beliefs and convictions to campaign for something and someone I don't believe in???? That's like selling my soul to the devil himself. Well, I'm not that desperate, nor will I ever be. I'd just as soon go work at McDonald's flipping burgers before I work McPain. I'm a little worried now though because I wonder if this will somehow ruin my chances to get a good position through the agency. Boh!

I know that I still have a month of school left, but I was hoping to find something before I finish school. To be honest, it's never taken me this long to find a job. I've always been quite lucky. I can't help but wonder sometimes if it's something about me. Am I hideous?? Do I offend?? It's not like me to be negative or a pessimist. I'm normally a positive and confident person, but this is getting to be a bit much. I'm not one to quit or give up easily, so I'll just keep my head up and keep searching. Que sera, sera...Whatever will be will be...

And now, I'm going to drown my sorrows in some Mellowcreme Pumpkins. That ought to do the trick! :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Was Attacked By A Bag of Mellowcreme Pumpkins

Yesterday before going to school, I stopped at Safeway to pick up some bananas for my Morning Banana Diet when it happened. There was I was, innocent as ever, waiting my turn in line to pay for my bananas when out of the corner of my eye comes flying this bag of Mellowcreme Pumpkins. I couldn't believe it. I had been avoiding them like the plague because these little orange bits of goodness are like crack for me. I'm insanely addicted to the little orange happy smiling pumpkin dudes, but my insane addiction only comes about in the Fall. How could I possibly resist?? Plus, they were on sale, 2 bags for $4. I'm a sucker for a good sale, so I caved. I admit it. My name is Piccola and I'm a Mellowcreme Pumpkin-aholic. These tiny bite size wonders have been available since early September, so that should tell you how long I have resisted purchasing these little bastards. This is the last week they will be available, so I gave in. I hope my ass doesn't start taking the shape of a pumpkin...oh God no!

I took one bag to class and gave it to my classmates who proceeded to tell me, "Oh sure, you're on a diet so you brought us the candy. If I can't be skinny, let my friends be fat." How could they dare think that of me?? I showed them that I had purchase one bag for myself and have justified the purchase because I am allowed one sweet snack in the afternoon at 3pm. I also noticed that Weight Watchers allows a serving for 3 points, so there. They won't kill me and for a brief while, they will make me happy. So I'm going to eat them until my teeth hurt. I know the Italian is reading this, gritting his teeth and saying, "Golosa" Si amore, golosa io sono golosa!! Mi dispiace pero'.... :) But hey, they're made with real honey!

There is no comparison to Mellowcreme Pumpkins. Not even candy corn, which can be had any time of the year, can compete. In conclusion, Mellowcreme Pumpkins are a heaven-sent joy that can only be had once a year. Go out and get your bag today before they sell out!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More on the Jobsearch.....

I have probably applied for like, oh a hundred or so jobs in the last 2 months and let me tell you, the competition is fierce. In the last few days I've gotten about 3 or 4 rejections (I expected it because although I have experience in the field, I am going to graduate from my school program in December, so in that sense I am considered too new), but with the exception of one, they were all really nice rejections. All via email and very professional. It gets a little easier each time and I know that perfect opportunity is right around the corner.

Today I had an interview at an agency that places medical professionals and it went quite well. I did work for this agency last year before I got sick. If I hadn't gotten sick, I'd probably still be at the clinic where they placed me. Anyhow, the woman that I interviewed with and I had a really nice conversation (we both lived in the upper midwest and bonded about life there) and she just may have something for me!! I don't want to give too much away yet, but as soon as I know something, you can bet I'll be posting about it here!! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's Wrong With This Picture?? And an Important Message

Can you spot it? This just confirms her ignorance, but hey, thanks for the support Palin.

And now an important message from young America.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rejection: Dodge Ball Style

So I got my first rejection for a job. It was (technically) only my first interview. I did have an informational interview with a professional recruiter too, but that went well and I made a great connection.

On to the interview....It actually went really well. I first interviewed with the Office Manager, then with an RN. The office manager was really cool and made me feel comfortable, the nurse however, not so much. The thing is, she started discussing salary with me, which in my experience, doesn't really happen until an offer is made. So she asked me what my expectations were and I told her. I also noted that since they wanted me to use my Spanish language skills, I would like to be paid a little more, which is standard. I don't think she liked this much, but I'm not going to sell myself short. When she told me what they wanted to pay, I was a little shocked to say the least. She was trying to low-ball me, but I figured there would be room for negotiation if an offer was made. The office manager told me that they would be making a decision soon because they really needed someone.

Let me just tell you that this clinic, without revealing too much information, is a super high-tech specialty surgeons clinic. These guys have money and I wasn't asking for much. I mean I was actually quoting the lower end of the pay scale hoping to negotiate my way up. One MD won't even see patients unless they are willing to have surgery. Yeah, one of those.

So after my interview I emailed the office manager and told her thank you for taking the time to interview me and that I look forward to hearing from her, etc etc.... Then I called her and left messages 3 times. She never called me back. On the 4th call, the receptionist told me she was available and put me on hold, then hung up on me. When I called back, someone else answered the phone and told me the office manager wanted her to relay the message that the position had been filled. I'm not stupid. I knew they gave the position to someone else. What I wanted was to get feedback regarding my interviewing skills. She wouldn't even take my phone call for that. I think it's kind of strange. Other interviews I have been on in the past, that I didn't get the job for, I either got a phone call, letter or email. Rude. That's what I think.

So as I was writing this, I got a phone call for an interview. Cool! I'm moving on and this job pays exactly what I want. Pray for me!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

By MissB in California She devirginized my blog! Ok so here's how it's gonna go down:

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Share 6 non-important/habits/quirks about yourself
4. Tag 6 random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs
5 Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website
6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up

1) I am a foreign film geek. I have a whole collection of movies from around the world. You know, I'm into the whole neorealism movement. Now I'm downloading Italian films without subtitles in an effort to immerse myself in la bella lingua.
2) I once got 2nd place in a tennis tournament for both singles and doubles.
3) I love to travel and have had the good fortune to visit 14 countries so far. I had my 15 minutes of fame in the Philippines. (Don't ask!)
4) I have somewhere near a hundred pairs of shoes, which brings me to my next item...
5) I love my feet. I really do! Haven't posted a pic of them yet, but after my next pedicure, I just might!
6) I am a card-carrying member of the Ultimate Girls Fight Club. Mess with me and I'll kick your ass, hahaha! ;)

OK, who will I tag...

Lulu in Toronto
Leanne in Rome
The Shock of the Old
Ceci Reporting From....

I cheated..only 4 blogs :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008


So my official ballot arrived in the mail on Friday. This is the first time I will be voting as an Oregonian. I have had the pleasure of voting in other states such as California, New York, North Dakota and now Oregon. Things are done a little differently here in Oregon.

I asked at school if we were going to be allowed to miss the first hour of class so that we could go to our local polling place and cast our votes. The whole class looked at me like I was smoking crack. What?? They said, duh, you mail it. What?? Um, hello, this is my first time voting in Oregon and every other state I've ever voted in, you go to a polling place and vote. Oh ok, so they understood. I was kind of surprised by this method. I mean, anybody could steal mail, even if it is a federal crime. Just recently, I swear, someone was stealing my Netflix movies and watching them and then returning them. (In my apartment building you leave your outgoing mail out above the tenant mailboxes) It's usually a 2 day turnaround from sending in the movie to getting the next one. Well the last 2 weeks it was taking 5 days to get to the Netflix distributing center which is right here in Hillsboro, a suburb of Portland. So that's my theory and now I walk them over to the mailbox on the corner.

When I told the Italian about having to mail in my ballot, he laughed and said, oh, that would never work here in Italy. All the ballots would be stolen. I'm sure the same thing would happen in Mexico. So I'm a little uncomfortable about putting my ballot in the mail, but I guess I have no choice.

I thought it was kind of funny that there is a "secrecy envelope" that goes within the outer envelope. I mean, is this really going to deter someone who wants to take a peek at my ballot?? If they've opened the first one, why stop there, right??

It took me a couple of hours to research all the measures on the ballot and the politicians running for local government. It was pretty interesting. Did you know Oregon has a cap on the tax deductions you can claim on your tax return??!! It's only $5,500. As a student and someone who is paying medical bills, I find that a bit hard to swallow. So you can guess which way I voted on that one. I wonder if I can claim my IRA losses?? Anybody know?? So my ballot is filled out and I will walk it over, along with my Netflix movies, to the mailbox tomorrow afterschool.

I did something kinda evil too. You see, the Italian and I like to play jokes on each other and so I thought I'd rub it in a little (remember, he's a Republican sympathizer) and took a picture of me filling in the little circle next to the Obama/Biden choice. I emailed it to him with a big I LOVE YOU written in. Ah, bipartisan love conquers all, doesn't it??

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Morning Banana Diet

There seems to be a shortage of bananas in Japan and that's because of the Morning Banana Diet craze. The lastest fad diet to hit Japan. There are literally no more bananas in Japan and the Philippines can't keep up with the demand.

This is how the diet started:

A Japanese white-collar worker named Hitoshi Watanabe (currently 31 years old) had ballooned from his college days weight of about 135 pounds to about 175 pounds. Through various fitness and diet practices he managed to get himself back to 160 pounds, but he couldn’t get any lower.

Enter Sumiko. Hitoshi’s girlfriend was a pharmacist with additional training in traditional Chinese herbal medicine, yoga, and various natural and alternative health practices. When Hitoshi confessed that he wanted to lose that last 25 pounds, Sumiko suggested the ideas that became the core of the Morning Banana Diet: a banana for breakfast, room-temperature water to drink, and dinner well before bedtime.

Hitoshi lost the weight before his marriage to Sumiko, and he was so excited by the diet that he uploaded his before and after photos to the quarter-of-a-million-member Yaseru (”slim down”) community on Japan’s most popular social networking Web site, Many members tried it, asked questions, made suggestions, and the diet took off like wildfire.

I was kind of surprised by this since most Japanese people are quite healthy, unless they are sumo wrestlers. OK, maybe that sounded ignorant....Okinawa has some of the healthiest people in the world, who also happen to have the longest life span. So this banana diet sparked my curiousity, because you know, I am perpetually on a diet. What woman isn't these days?? Plus, I love me a good banana!! So I did a little research on the internet and found this website It's not a starvation diet and is much easier to follow than the Extreme Fat Smash Diet which I have done in the past. The Extreme Fat Smash is very limiting and I was always starving on that diet. The banana diet is much more reasonable. The rules are simple:

Eat a banana for breakfast

* You can eat more than one, and in fact the inventor of the diet often ate four bananas in the morning, but don’t stuff yourself to the point of fullness or discomfort
* Eat only raw, uncooked, unfrozen bananas
* Some variants of the diet allow other fruit to be substituted
* If other fruit is substituted, some variants require it be restricted to one type of fruit per meal
* If you are still hungry 15 or 20 minutes after your banana, you can eat other food (the inventor of the diet sometimes ate a rice ball two and a half hours later, about 200 calories worth)

Eat anything you want for lunch and dinner

* Dinner must be eaten by 8 p.m. at the latest (6 p.m. is better)
* There are no limits on what you can eat or the amount, including fried foods
* However, you should not eat a dessert with dinner or any of your meals
* At all meals you should eat only until you’re satisfied but not full or stuffed

Drink only water

* The only beverage allowed at most meals is water, preferably mineral or filtered
* The water must be at room temperature, not chilled or hot
* The water should be drunk in small sips and not used to wash down food
* There is no quota of water to drink, and you should not drink it in excess
* Outside of meals non-caloric beverages like tea, coffee, and diet soda are generally allowed but somewhat frowned upon, and in general water is encouraged as much as possible; milk products are not considered compatible with the diet
* On social occasions you may drink beer or wine

Eat your food mindfully

* Chew your banana and other food thoroughly and be mindful of its taste

You may eat an afternoon snack

* A sweet snack of chocolate, cookies, or the like is allowed at about 3 p.m.
* Ice cream, a donut, or potato chips are not recommended
* Some substitute fresh fruit for their snack, but if you want sweets you should not deny yourself
* Some Japanese who like salty snacks eat salted konbu (seaweed) snacks
* Some Japanese who are very hungry in the afternoon substitute a filling, fist-sized rice ball for sweets
* If you are hungry after dinner, you may have a second snack of fresh fruit, but this should not be a habit

Early to bed

* Go to bed by midnight. If you can manage to go to bed earlier, all the better

Exercise only if you want to

* Put no pressure on yourself to exercise
* If you want to exercise, go ahead: the test is to do what puts the least stress on you

OK, so I don't agree with the exercise only if you want to rule. I believe that exercise is key to a successful weight loss and lifestyle change. I'm going to be a guinea pig and try this diet. What have I got to lose but this tire sitting around my waist?? If it works, great, if not, I'm sure I won't gain any weight, right?
There are many health benefits to eating bananas, such as:

Bananas ease depression
Bananas treat anemia
Bananas help regulate blood pressure
Bananas are brain food
Bananas reduce constipation
Bananas cure hangovers
Bananas soothe heartburn
Bananas help avoid morning sickness
Bananas calm nerves
Bananas ease peptic ulcers
Bananas are a cooling fruit
Bananas help to quit smoking
Bananas help reduce stress
Bananas minimize stroke risks
Bananas help prevent cramping
Bananas help reduce swelling and irritation from mosquito bites
Bananas help kill off warts

So after my Italian class this morning, I went to my favorite grocery store Trader Joes and was thrilled to see that they had plenty of bananas. I'm going to start it on Sunday morning and see how it goes. I'm on a quest to get my bella figura back! I'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 17, 2008

On Joe the Plumber.....

Joe the Plumber is full of shit. Surprise, surprise. First of all, he's not even a licensed plumber, second of all, he owes back taxes. How does he expect to buy a business if 1. he's not licensed and 2. he can't even pay his taxes! But I love that McCain tried to use him as an example of why his policy would be "better". It's typical though. McCain/Palin can't seem to get any of their information straight now, can they?? So now poor Joe is the butt of many jokes. Here's a little video with all the heckling. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Last Debate Before the Elections

Wow, this was McCain's chance to redeem himself, instead he showed just how little control he has of his emotions. He might as well have thrown himself on the floor to complete his little tantrum. The incessant blinking, rolling his eyes, snickering and sneering. Grow up dude! It's obvious that he knows he's in trouble but instead of ceasing the opportunity to take the lead, he acted like a child. Obama had the opportunity to completely discredit Palin when he was asked if she was qualified for the VP, instead he took the high road. Did McCain when posed the same question?? No, of course not. Personally, I don't want a man or woman with a temperament like that representing my country. McCain and Palin are like two peas in a pod. Neither of them can speak eloquently, nor can they remain composed in the face of adversity. They should take their act to the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. I think that's more their target audience. Those "Joe six pack" types. Speaking of Joe, Joe the Plumber sure got his 15 minutes, didn't he? I hope he realizes that McCain isn't the right choice for him. Especially with regards to his healthcare plan. This is one of the most important issues to me both because I am still paying medical bills from last year and because I will soon be working in the healthcare industry (and have in the past). I'm not a doctor but I have lots of friends that are and this is what the very respected New England Journal of Medicine has to say about McCain's healthcare plan:

The choice facing health care professionals, like all Americans, is basic: Who deserves to be trusted with the stewardship of America's health care system? The McCain proposal violates the bedrock principle that major health policy reforms should first do no harm. It would risk the viability of employer-sponsored insurance and the welfare of chronically ill Americans in pell-mell pursuit of a radical vision of consumer-driven health care. Senator McCain's plan does not demonstrate the kind of judgment needed in a potential commander in chief of our health care system.

I'm willing to bet that Palin has never even heard of the New England Journal of Medicine! Shoot, she probably doesn't even know where New England is and I'm sure has never been there. What would be the point? That part of the country is as blue as the sky.

Here is a little video on what the analysts had to say about John McCain's anger mismanagement:

Only a few more weeks and I can cast my vote. Get out there and vote people!! I had a dream that we won and I didn't care what time it was, I sent a text to the Italian in Milano saying, "WE WON, WE WON!!" This of course wouldn't be good news to him being a Republican sympathizer and all, but man would I love the chance to rub it in his face!!I hope my dream is a prelude of good things to come.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

iTunes Tuesdays

Today's song is called "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglova. If you haven't seen the movie "Once", go out and get it immediately! I saw it early this year. I love this movie because it's so simple, so real. Friendship, music, coincidence, life, love...that's the movie in a nutshell. It moved me and this song brought tears to my eyes. If you do see the movie or have seen it, let me know what you think. Lyrics to follow. Enjoy!

I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You've made it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along

Monday, October 13, 2008

La Cucaracha

My Mom gave me this nickname when I was a baby. She says it's because once I learned how to crawl, I got into everything. There was no stopping me. But that's not what this post is about. You see, Sunday night after I finished dinner and washed my dishes, I curled up on my super comfy couch, wrapped myself up in a blanket and indulged in my book Eclipse. The third installation of the Twilight series. (I'm loving this whole vampire romance crap!) So I'm reading my book when I see something out of the corner of my eye. What is that?? So I got up and got closer....Oh.My.God it's a friggin' roach!!! I have lived in this apartment for exactly one year and four months and have never ever had roaches. Che scifo! Que asco! Horrified, I grabbed the nearest thing, which happened to be a library book, (sorry Multnomah county library, but it had to be done) threw it on top of the roach and jumped up and down on the book. Then I carefully picked up the book expecting to see guts all over the book and carpet, but no. This little bastard is a survivor. His legs were still moving. So I ran to the kitchen, grabbed a papertowel and picked up the little bastard. I had a closer look to make sure it was in fact a roach and much to my chagrin, it was indeed. I flushed that little monster down the toilet and looked everywhere for more. Nothing so far. Where did it come from??? I am anal about cleaning up the kitchen and any crumbs that might fall. I'm a clean person, so why did this little bastard invade my home?? I even had nightmares last night about having a giant roach infestation in my apartment.

Today when I called the Italian I told him, "Baby, I'm scared" to which he replied in his adorable Italian accent, "What's happened?" "I killed a roach in the apartment last night". He started laughing! He said, "Oh, I was thinking you were going to say you were scared about the financial crisis going on in the U.S. It's just a little creature. Poor guy. Don't kill it" WHAT????? I was expecting a little more sympathy. He said I should never go to Southern Italy or Africa. Growing up, my house was immaculate. My Mom cleaned everyday. She always told me that roaches came from filth. I've been traumatized since I was a child about roaches. Here are my reasons why:

1. When I was a little girl, I used to spend my summers in Mexico. There are flying cockroaches in Mexico and some are as big as my foot. No joke. While having dinner at my uncles house I felt something land on my shoulder. Yep, it was a flying cockroach. EW!!! OMG!! I screamed and my cousin flicked it off me. I was so grossed out I couldn't even finish my dinner. Everyone else just shrugged it off.

2. When I was about 12 years old my friend invited me to the movies to see The Karate Kid. I took the bus to her place, which happened to be in the projects. I grew up in the hood so this didn't bother me. Her Mom told us to go wait for her in the car, so we were in there for about 5 minutes when I felt something tickling my leg(I was wearing jeans) so I patted my leg and it stopped. A few minutes later I felt it again, so I slapped my leg, then out comes this roach from the bottom of my jeans. OMG!! I screamed again. My friend said to me, "You're in the projects, everybody has roaches". When I went home and told my Mom she was horrified! She said, "I hope you didn't bring any home with you".

3. When I first moved to New York I stayed at a friends house in the Bronx and there were roaches everywhere. These roaches could move furniture. I remember going to a restaurant in Times Square and there was a roach crawling around in the booth we were sitting in. I got up and said, "I'm not eating here!" When I finally got my own apartment I asked the landlady if there were any roaches because I did not want to move into a place knowing there were roaches. She laughed and said no, there are no roaches here. I lived there for two and a half years and only saw one roach the whole time I lived there. I did however have a mouse towards the end of my stay there and it was enough to make me stark raving mad! Luckily, my landlady acted fast on these things and got pest control to come out right away.

4. Claire Danes was chastised for saying that the Philippines was infested with roaches. She was even declared persona non grata. See her wikipedia page under "controversy". Well, I'm sorry to say that she is absolutely, 100% correct. I spent a month there and not a day went by that I didn't see at least 20 of them, and they fly there too. Don't get me wrong, outside of Manila, the Philippines is a tropical paradise with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the people are so nice and welcoming. But the fact is that it is a tropical place and there are tons of roaches. I did not sleep comfortably the whole time I was there. I saw them crawling up the sides of the bed I slept in and I had my suitcase open one night and before I could close it, one ran into it. Argh! I was so paranoid that I was going to bring one back home with me.

And now this! Mamma mia, I will never learn to live with these little bastards. I hate them. When I got home from school today, I took all the cushions off my couch and vacuumed between every crevice. I moved my couch and ottoman and vacuumed every corner for fear that there might be a crumb lurking somewhere. I have friends with kids and when they visit, it's inevitable that there will be crumbs left from their snacks. It looks like someone moved out recently. Maybe it came from their apartment. I don't know but if I see another one, I'm going to have to tell the manager. He's new to the property and I don't think he likes me because we sort of got off on the wrong foot, but I'll save that for another post. The previous manager was so cool. I miss her! Should I buy some of those little roach motels?? I'm embarassed to do so because people might think that I'm dirty! Ew!

Did anyone ever see the commercial that started out with the roaches crawling all over the screen? When this commercial first aired, people were actually throwing things at their tv's and breaking them! I searched for the commercial on but had no luck. I did find this article about it.

My apartment is on the ground floor so I do get spiders and other creepy crawlies. I did have an ant invasion last year for which I damn near lost my mind and my poor Italian bore the brunt of that. He ran to the grocery store to get some Raid while I searched for the entry point. Anyhow, I hope to never see one of those little bastards in here again, in the mean time I am going to live in a paranoid state. This may be a job for the Verminators.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Take That Gov. Palin!

I haven't had much time for blogging lately what with school and Italian language classes (Mamma mia, that deserves a post in itself) but I saw this video over on Mudflats and decided it needs to be shared. Keith Olbermann hit the nail on the head with this one. It's a little long, but trust me, it's worth 10 minutes of your time. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

iTunes Tuesdays, Special Edition

This Tuesday I've decided to share a really special song. I'm just gonna lay it all out there, why not?? So this song is called "Sabes" which means "You Know" and it's by a group from Mexico called Reik. They're kind of "popish" but I really like some of their ballads, in particular this one.

I first heard this most romantic song when I had just gotten back from Italy, after having met the Italian. It was a beautiful spring day in March when I fist laid eyes on his beautiful face. I knew he was going to be someone very important in my life. I spent 7 of the most wonderful days of my life with him in Milano. He was my personal tour guide and left quite the impression on me with his knowledge of all things Milano. Art, architecture, culture, history, etc. and it wasn't just limited to Milano, global really. He took me to restaurants where I was the only tourist and I had some really memorable meals. Somewhere in the course of those 7 days, I fell truly, madly, deeply (in Spanish, "locamente, siegamente, profundamente, enamorada") in love with this man. The day I had to get on a plane back to the states was torcher, serious agony. I was happy and scared at the same time. He promised me he would come visit me in the summer and I knew deep down in my heart he would, but I couldn't help but feel this least bit vulnerable. I mean I pretty much put myself out there to get my heart torn to shreds. I had never participated in a long distance relationship of this nature. When you first fall in love with someone, you want to spend every waking moment with them, and this was pretty much out of the question for us. How was this going to work?? A wise woman once commented on this here blog that "if it was meant to be, then it already is". She couldn't have been more right. Once I learned to let go and trust, the pieces just sort of fell into place. The Italian has been here to Portland twice now and our bond continues to grow stronger with each passing day. We have a bright future together, and even though we are still living apart, I wake up every morning knowing that we are one day closer to finally being together on a more permanent basis.

Back to the song, this song thoroughly describes what I have felt for him from the very beginning. It resonated in my soul. So this song is for you chiquito lindo. I love you.

Translation to go along with the lyrics.

You know?
No pido nada mas que estar entre tus brazos
I ask for nothing more than to be in your arms
Y huir de todo el mal
And flee from all that is bad
Que ha todo he renunciado
I have renounced it all
Por estar junto a ti
To be by your side

Sabes? No dejo de pensar
You know? I can't stop thinking
Que estoy enamorado
That I'm in love
Te quiero confesar
I want to confess to you
Que soy solo un esclavo
That I'm just a slave
Que no sabe vivir sin ti
That doesn't know how to live without you

Cuando llegaste tu
When you arrived
Te metiste en mi ser
You entered my being
Encendiste la luz
You lit the light
Me llenaste de fe
You filled me with faith

Tanto tiempo busque
I searched for so long
Pero al fin te encontre
But I finally found you
Tan perfecta como te imagine
So perfect, like I imagined you

Como aguja en un pajar
Like a needle in a haystack
Te busque sin cesar
I searched for you without ceasing
Como huella en el mar
Like a footprint in the sea
Tan dificil de hallar
So difficult to find

Tanto tiempo busque
I searched for so long
Pero al fin te encontre
But I finally found you
Tan perfecta como te imagine
So perfect, like I imagined you

You know?
Te quiero confesar
I want to confess to you
Que te encuentro irresistible
That I find you irrisistible
No dejo de pensar
I can't stop thinking
Que haria lo imposible
That I would do the impossible
Por quedarme cerca de ti
To remain near you

Cuando llegaste tu
When you arrived
Te metiste en mi ser
You entered my being
Encendiste la luz
You lit the light
Me llenaste de fe
You filled me with faith

Tanto tiempo busque
I searched for so long
Pero al fin te encontre
But I finally found you
Tan perfecta como te imagine
So perfect, like I imagined you

Como aguja en un pajar
Like a needle in a haystack
Te busque sin cesar
I searched for you without ceasing
Como huella en el mar
Like a footprint in the sea
Tan dificil de hallar
So difficult to find

Tanto tiempo busque
I searched for so long
Pero al fin te encontre
But I finally found you
Tan perfecta como te imagine
So perfect, like I imagined you

You know?
No pido nada mas
I ask for nothing more
Que estar entre tus brazos
Then to be in your arms

Friday, September 26, 2008

Just Some Fun Facts.....

Educational background of candidates:

Occidental College - Two years.
Columbia University - B.A. political science with a specialization in international relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D .) Magna Cum Laude

University of Delaware - B.A. in history and B.A. in political science.
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)

United States Naval Academy - Class rank 894 of 899

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in journalism

Hmmm, a couple of Lawyers vs. a couple of jackasses. The choice is obvious.

But don't take my word for it. See for yourself:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Saturday I had to drive out to Beaverton, a suburb of Portland, to pick up some pants I was having altered by a seamstress. She told me last week that she was going to be home all day so I could stop by anytime on Saturday. As luck would have it, she was not home when I arrived. I called her cell phone and she told me she was out running errands and wouldn't be home until 3:30pm. It was now 12:30pm. Great. Lesson learned. I should have called before I went. I didn't want to have to drive back to Portland and back again, so I remembered that there was a movie theater nearby. There are a few movies I've been wanting to see but the only one starting when I arrived at the theater was "Righteous Kill", the DeNiro/Pacino movie. All the others had already started, so "Righteuos Kill" it was. This movie was just ok, not their greatest body of work. It was a bit predictable. The Italian would have probably liked it more than me as this is his kind of movie and he is a DeNiro fan. When the movie ended, I still had an hour to kill, so I headed over to Barnes & Noble.

Normally, in terms of buying books, I scout out the book at Barnes or Powell's(Powell's deserves it's own post and that will be coming soon), then I come home and order the books that interest me from Unless Powell's has a used version. So when I went to Barnes, there was quite the display for this book called "Twilight". Being artistically inclined, I'm a sucker for a good display. I was intrigued. So I picked up the book and kind of thumbed through it. Seemed pretty good, so I wrote it down on my list of books to scout out on Amazon. Now I have to tell you that this book is about a love story between a vampire and a normal girl. Not normally a subject I like to read about, vampires. I like books that transport me to another place, and perhaps another time, but I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer back in the day, so I thought, why not? Plus, it is listed as a young adult book, but there were some older women talking about how they loved the book. I'm such a sucker, I know, I know. Some of the other books that interest me are "The Bastard of Istanbul" and "The Flea Palace" by Elif Sharak.

So when I got home and started researching this book, which is actually the first in a series, I was sort of thrown for a loop when I found out that this book has like this total cult following all over the world. It's been on the NY Times bestseller list like forever, it's been translated to over 20 languages and there's a movie coming out in November AND it was filmed right here, in Portland, Oregon. Where the hell have I been??? People have created websites dedicated to this series of books and they are traveling to the litte town of Forks, Washington where the story takes place. I'm not normally one to "jump on the bandwagon" but all of this really has me intrigued, so I am going to order the book from Amazon. I checked the library website to see if it was available and the system has 89 copies with 471 holds on this book. Insane. I want to read it before the movie comes out, so I'm not willing to put my name on a waiting list of 471 people. After I finish reading the book, which may take a while because I have a lot of other reading to do for school, I will post my review. Off to order my book!

Here's a trailer for the movie:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The People's Republic of Portland

Yep, you read it right. That's what Portlanders have affectionately named this great city to reflect it's increasingly left-wing personality. Portland is a mecca for liberals. People here really take quality of life and the environment quite seriously. As I stated in a previous post, it is the only U.S. city in the top 5 list of amazing green cities. You really get the sense that this is a city run by the people and for the people. Something that our ahem, great leaders in D.C. seem to have forgotten.

The Urban Dictionary's definition of the People's Republic of Portland is: nickname of Portland--it got that name because the city is very liberal.The People's Republic of Portland is located on the Left Coast. It's also been called "Little Beirut" by the Bush family because they are not so popular here.

Some other names given to Portland are Bridgetown (because we have 6 bridges in the city center alone), Brew City (because we have so many microbreweries here), P-town, The City of Roses (for obvious reasons) and Greener-than-Green-land (again, for obvious reasons).

Ok, this is a little much but I thought it was funny :)

I couldn't neglect to post the most famous (besides the Obama/Biden '08 stickers) bumper sticker in Portland:

Portland is a really fun city. There's always something going on, something to do and somewhere to go. If you're a nature lover, this is your paradise. Even my conservative Italian loves it here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

El Grito 16 de Septiembre

Last year I wrote about the Mexican Independence Day celebration in Portland here and this year was much of the same, except that this year it was held on Monday the 15th, instead of on the 16th. Boh, wait, that's Italian. In Spanish we would say, "Sepa la bola". Good food, good margarita's, good music, good entertainment, good networking going on, and I had a really good time with my friends.

We have the same colors as Italy, except the Mexican flag has that really cool eagle with the serpent in it's mouth. Viva El Tricolor!!

J was super extra happy to wait in line for her margarita! Ahoooaahhh!!

The obligatory photo with the Mariachi's. I have always been the whitest Mexican on the block. In elementary school my nickname was Casper

J and I reminisced about our days as Ballet Folklorico dancers. Ah, those were the days where we had not a care in the world. All we had to do was dance, go to school and play. How times have changed.

This part made me feel like I was in Mexico, except for the Nordstrom in the background.

And last but certainly not least, my friends, the Spain's. Isn't their baby so cute!! She was bopping and dancing along to the Mariachi's. It's in her blood.