Monday, August 25, 2008

Mediterranean-Inspired Grilled Chicken Wraps

The combination of sensitive teeth and braces has me eating a lot of pasta, soup and scrambled eggs. And I am getting sick of pasta, soup and scrambled eggs. Last Friday, I remembered that I had a really good grilled chicken wrap at Dairy Queen and it was pretty soft, so I got one for lunch. This one was not nearly as good as the first one and left me with a craving for a chicken wrap. So, tonight I created my own. DQ's has chicken, cheddar, Ranch and lettuce. I was going to copy theirs, without the lettuce, but went a different way instead. I ended up with a quick and easy meal.

The ingredients are based on serving one person; I made two wraps.

1 chicken breast
4 good-sized grape tomatoes
5-6 Kalamata olives.
Feta cheese
Ceasar dressing (I used Wish-Bone because it was on sale for 99 cents. Score!)
Flour tortillas (I used the smaller Diane's ones that come in the package of 20)

Season and grill chicken (I used my George Foreman grill. I love George).
Slice tomatoes and olives lengthwise. (My olive method is one for the dish, one for me)
Heat tortillas on the stove (either in a skillet or on the burner)

When the chicken is done, slice it lengthwise. Place chicken, tomatoes, olives, cheese and salad dressing on tortilla. Wrap it up and enjoy. I had one with the dressing and one without. I liked the one with dressing better.

Suggested side dishes: chilled cucumber salad, cottage cheese and or cantaloupe.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

That's sick!

As I mentioned before, I spend entirely too much time sitting in my car. Today's random thoughts are not due to stop lights however. Today's delay was the drive-thru at McDonald's. Who would have guessed it would be packed at 4:15 on a Wednesday?

So there I was salivating over the thought of a Quarter Pounder with cheese and salty, squishy fries, when a commercial for Famous Footwear came on the radio. Mr. Famous Footwear Announcer Dude was doing his civic duty by explaining to parents of today's youth that the phrase "that's sick!" actually means something is really cool.

I tried to remember how old I was the last time this phrase was cool. Sadly, I couldn't remember, which kinda sucks since I'm really not THAT old. But, it did bring back memories of other classic phrases and buzz words of my youth, most notably "that's bad," "rad" and "that's fat," back when fat was still spelled with an F. I wonder how long it will be before those make a comeback, or if they every truly went away. I hope they went away. That is not necessarily a time of my life I need to be reminded of.

There are some good phrases/buzz words that have stood the test of time, such as my favorite: "bite me" and "sweet!" My favorite buzz word of my youth, however, is "score!" The first time I said that in front of James, he thought I meant to say "sweet!" Apparently, he had never heard "score" as a cool buzz word before. He decided it had to be an Idaho thing. Actually, he thought that about a lot of things I did or said. I don't know-maybe Idaho is in a league of its own when it comes to coolness.

I stopped using "score!" because here in Portland it wasn't the cool thing to say, which was pretty much a bummer. I don't see why it can't be cool, and I don't know why it matters if I am the only one who feels that way. I think I am going to give it a try and see what happens. I'm easy to please. If I can get just one person to start using it, I'll be a very happy camper.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Are you ready for some football?

Last week, I received my annual invitation to play Fantasy Football. I received it just as I was starting to get antzy about not having gotten it yet. Because our league is first come, first serve and more people were invited to join in than there are spots available, I immediately signed up. Last year, I had a miraculous comeback from 8th (out of 10) in the second to last week of the season to making the playoffs and ending up placing 3rd. It's always satisfying to do well; even better is beating out my two rivals-both of whom are silly boys.

I first started playing in 2002. I played that season because my friend was short two players and wanted to know if James was interested in playing. Being that he was a die-hard Steelers fan, and therefore did not want to have to root for anyone who was not a Steeler, James was hesitant to play. So, I said I would, knowing absolutely nothing about what I was doing.

I ended up letting Yahoo draft for me instead of pre-selecting my draft. That is not something I highly recommend. I then "hired" James and my friend Kip (also a Steelers fan) to be my coaches. Everything they told me to do in terms of roster moves went against my instincts. Let's just say I should have listened to my instincts. I finished that first season 8 out of 10, but I was hooked.

The next season, I did about a 50-50 split of pre-ranking players for the draft and letting the system pick for me. I also "fired" James and Kip and did what I wanted to, or asked their opinion and did the exact opposite. That seemed to work better-I finished 3rd (out of 10), thanks in large part to Torry Holt's best season of his career-a draft pick everyone thought I was smoking crack for selecting. A women's intuition is a beautiful thing.

In 2004, we expanded to 12 teams. This is the only season from 2002-20007 that we have had 12 teams; it is the season that I got first. I believe that there may have been some help from above in that one-that Dad was able to give me one last gift, because I should not have won it all with the team I had!

Naturally, when you are #1, there is nowhere to go but down. And down I went. I dropped to 4th in 2005 and 9th in 2006. But, when you are in the basement, there is no where to go but up, as I proved when all the stars aligned to give me a 3rd place finish in 2007. I seriously needed 6 scenarios to go a certain way that last week of the regular season and they all did, jumping me from 8th to third going into the playoffs.

This season, we are playing with 12 teams again, so I have high hopes for another 1st place finish. But as excited as I am to play, it is going to be hard to not have James here cheering me on, giving me advice to ignore, and telling me I am a goof for shouting "Woo-hoo!! Points for me!!" when one of my players scores a touchdown, or to laugh at me for shouting "Will you stop throwing to him?" at the TV when my opponent's player keeps getting the ball . It won't be the same not having him here to catch me actually watching a game only to insist that it was only on for background noise while I made dinner because I couldn't find anything else to watch. He stopped believing that a few years ago, and rightfully so.

All I can do is believe that James is watching over me and that he and Dad will be shaking their heads over my silly girl moves-like drafting players for no other reason than because I like their name. I really do want to take first this year, and I want to do it for them: two of the biggest football fans I had the honor of loving.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Six months

182 days. 26 weeks. 6 months. James has now been gone for 6 motnhs. 1/2 year has already gone by and I do not know where the time has gone. The truth is, I don't remember most of the last 6 months and I am okay with that. There are some things it is probably best I don't remember anyway.

This last week leading up to today has been miserable. Last Monday, I called in sick to work which is something I rarely do. I went to the Same Day Clinic first thing and was diagnosed with viral bronchitis. I was given some super-strength cough pills and told to come back if it turned into pneumonia. I have always been given antibiotics for bronchitis, so late the next morning I called my primary care physician, only to find out his office is closed on Tuesday afternoons. They finally called back Thursday and I told her my cough was getting worse and more productive. She said that if I started to run a fever of 100.4 to come in and that I needed to give it two weeks to fight it on my own. I reminded her that I was grieving the loss of my fiance and that my defenses were down. She agreed that I probably won't be able to fight this on my own and said to make an appointment when I have pneumonia. Right now, I don't really feel health "care" is an accurate phrase, but I have felt that way for awhile. As a result of this, my brother decided it was best to not come spend the weekend with me on his way to the coast after all. While I understand he has to do what he feels is best for his kids, it was still horribly disappointing.

So, getting back to Monday. After being sent home with my super-strength cough pills and sleeping all day, I felt a lot better, so I kept my appointment with the orthodontist to have the spacers put in. They told me they would be sore for a few days and then feel better. That I would need to eat soft foods for a couple of days and then I would be able to chew again. In theory, yes. In practice, not so much. I was finally able to almost chew again Monday (a week later) after they took the spacers out to clean my teeth and put new ones in that sat more comfortably. I really did enjoy that soft taco and chalupa! The top braces and bottom bands went on today so no more Taco Bell for a few days. I can still have Starcrack though, so all is not lost.

I have been having bad dreams in which James wants absolutely nothing to do with me and is downright nasty to me. My head knows they are just dreams, probably brought on by stress. My heart, on the other hand, is devastated. In a fit of desparation Thursday night, I pleaded for a sign that everything was going to be okay-that I was going to be okay. Friday morning, my co-worker buzzed my desk to ask if I was aware one of my tires was almost completely flat. After I finished a tirade of swear words, he and I slowly drove to the gas station on the corner to fill the tire. I felt so helpless. After work, I went and had the two rear tires replaced. This is the 4th time this tire has gone flat in 3 years and after the last time, I told James if it happened again, I was just replacing it. I also realized that I have never had to pay attention to my tires before. It was something that James just did for me and I just let him. I felt less helpless after that.

So, being sick, hormonal, unable to eat anything that requires chewing, and having bad dreams has made me a lot more emotional. I miss James more than ever and want nothing more than to have him here to give me a big hug and tell me everything is going to be okay. I have basically been a sobbing wreck for the past two weeks. I know I need to let it out but it is exhausting. I can tell there is something eating away at me, but I can't figure out what it is. He was so good at drawing things out-most of the time, he knew when something was bugging me long before I did.

I have been told that I am doing everything "right" which I find amusing since there is supposedly no right or wrong way to grieve. I go to bereavement group, see a grief counselor and a grief therapist, I am in contact with other young widows/widows of the heart, I keep a journal and I consult books on grieving for some extra guidance. But lately I just feel like I am hanging on to the edge by my fingernails and I really don't know what else to do. It is said that around six months, shock wears off and reality sets in. I believe that to be true. And reality sucks.