Spring Break

I wore jeans to work all week just because.  We don't really have a dress code per se at but I typically err on the side of business casual.  Forget casual Friday I went with casual WEEK. 
I ate an assortment of chocolate for breakfast yesterday.  Don't worry, I had coffee too.  I tell ya, it's just been that kind of a week.  Or should I say that kind of a month.  After eating said awesome breakfast I had the nerve to go to the gym after work for one of my quickie 30 minute elliptical sessions.  I basically only burned off a few pieces of chocolate but it was better then not going at all.

Sometimes you just need to eat chocolate for breakfast
In my world there is no Spring Break.  I don't even really know what that is anymore.  We get Cesar Chavez day so I am off today and I'm telling you, the timing couldn't be better.  I really need it! So why did my co workers have to convince me to take Monday off too because it's my Birthday and I've earned an extra day off?  Things are so busy that I contemplated coming in anyways or at least doing a half day but now that I'm sitting at home in my pajamas blogging I'm so glad I decided not to.  It felt good to sleep in today and I might as well do it an extra day.  My Birthday just so happens to fall on the Monday after a holiday? This five day weekend was meant to be. I better take it!

The last time I worked on my Birthday was four years ago and I had a Microsoft Access training workshop that day.  It was awful!  The workshop was not for a beginner.  I spent the day on the verge of tears, didn't learn a thing and basically wasted my job's money.  I told myself NEVER again!   The work will be there when I get back.  It's not like I don't have a million vacation hours that I've been hoarding since I started working there.  In an hour I'll be heading off to Yoga.  I made my own Spring break and it starts today.

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Movie Madness Rant

I've been with Blockbuster for the last eight years.  Back in the old days when I was single, living alone in a studio and broke watching movies was the highlight of my week.  Who am I kidding.  It was one of the highlights of my life.  Between in store exchanges and movies by mail I was watching a new movie almost every day and spending a lot less money then it would cost me to rent them individually.  I still remember the day I walked in and found that the supply of VHS tapes was very limited that the movie selections had dwindled.  I was forced to upgrade to a DVD player.

Mj and I both love to watch movies.  When I met him he had a Blockbuster online account too so he cancelled his and we kept mine.  It was fun to still have the option to rent movies the old school way by going to the actual store and picking it out.  We still had the mail movies and there were no due dates so it was all very convenient and cost effective. 

Over the last year the store nearest to my house finally shut down.  It was one of the last to go.  It's a sign of the times and I accepted it and as long as I could still get new release movies conveniently, and I was but apparently those days are over.  The service at Blockbuster pretty much sucks right now.  I've had House at the End of the Street at the top of my queue for months.  It's on Very Long Wait along with everything else we want to see so they keep sending me filler crap from the bottom of my queue.  Everything at the top is either very long wait, long wait or short wait so we're hardly getting any movies that we really want to see.  I don't want to buy it on demand or go to Red Box just so I can finally see the darn movie when I'm paying for a service that's supposed to send it to me.  The turnaround time on receiving movies is excellent; the problem is that I'm not getting the ones I want.

They have some on demand service for TV, tablets, computers or phone that I could look into.  Netflix may be a viable option.  I don't know how their wait list situation is but I think they are more expensive.  They are $7.99 per month with $2 extra per month if I want Blu Ray and that's only for 1 movie out at at a time per month.  I can't even find a price list for any other options.  We already have Netflix streaming but most of the movies are pretty old.  I don't want to do Red Box because I've been spoiled and haven't had a due date on rentals in years and I don't want to start now.  It just feels like a hassle to actually have to drive somewhere to pick it up and bring it back at a certain time.  I have a hard enough time just getting my mail movies out to my mailbox.  I definitely don't want to get movie channels because our cable bill is high enough and they show the same movies over and over.  We DVR what we want during the free weekends.  We could get rid of Blockbuster and just order movies On Demand but at $4.99 per movie Blockbuster is a much better bargain at $18 monthly for 3 movies out at a time unlimited.  When it works.  

I have no idea why Blockbuster won't increase their inventory so that they can meet customer demand.  That's the obvious solution right?  Unless they don't want to spend the money or just don't care.  When I tried to send them an e mail to complain I couldn't even get the darn thing to send.  I just kept getting a stupid circle going round and round saying submitting when that clearly wasn't happening.  So I can't get the movies I want OR complain about it? Sigh.  What's a movie loving girl to do?  Complain here on her blog that's what.  Maybe they will find this post and call me up to offer free service for life with preferential movie access to win back my love.  Not likely, but at least I get to vent.  So that is my rant for the day.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to rectify this problem I'm all ears.

May Update:  I contacted them on twitter a few days after this post was written.  They got  back to me right away which was nice.  They could not get me House at the End of the Street but did give me a one month credit on my account and I very much appreciated it.  However, the problem remains.  We are still only getting movies at the bottom of our list.  Last week my husband signed up for a Netflix free trial.  I put House at the End of the Street at the top and we got it immediately.  I could not get Blockbuster to send me that movie since it got released in January.  That's a long time to have wait for a movie.  Looks like we will be switching.  I don't know why, but I'm sad about it.  I've been with them for so long.  They were the first ones doing this movies in the mail thing so I don't understand why they can't figure this out.  If they can't increase movie availability to serve their customers better I won't be the only one leaving.

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My Car is Old and other Weekend Happenings

On Friday night we went back to that fancy pants Luxury Cinema that charges you $19.50 for the pleasure of watching a movie in a giant recliner, ordering dinner at an additional cost and access to a button that calls someone over if you asked for 7 Splendas with your coffee but only  got 2. I know 7 is a lot and it could be causing bodily harm but I guess I just have other things to worry about.  Like making my coffee tasty with as few calories as possible.  I really didn't think we'd be back to Cinepolis so soon but Mj made plans for us to meet another couple at the location that's a little bit closer to us.  They live really close so they go all the time.  I didn't even know what movie we were seeing until we walked into the theater. Well, Mj told me a few weeks ago but I forgot then I was so busy enjoying some pre movie champagne that I didn't bother to ask.  I had no idea what Olympus Has Fallen was about and it was fun to be clueless going in and then watch it unfold. It was really good. Gerard Butler was so bad ass.  I ordered a Chicken Quesadilla not the salad and Mj stuck with the same burger he got last time. 

My car is so old I have to get a smog test to renew my registration so I did that on Saturday morning and then headed over to the mall to get my shop on and oh am I ever glad I did.  I found a coupon in my Marie Claire magazine set to expire in a week for $10 off a pair of their Crosby Street pant at New York & Company while supplies last.  It takes me forever to get to my magazines so I'm lucky I caught this one in time.  I went in, tried them on and loved them.  They have the perfect amount of stretch and flare.   The tag said $52.95, but I paid $10.00.  You so cannot beat that.  Later that night we met friends at a Sushi restaurant downtown called Katsuya for a Birthday dinner where I did not eat sushi but did discover a tasty low cal cocktail.  I prefer my food cooked thank you very much and I don't do seafood so I went with the grilled chicken.  The new discovery is Evergreen Fizz and it has Moscato, Gin, Lime juice and crushed rosemary.  I'm thinking maybe the reason it was $15 is because the bartender had to go to the trouble of crushing the fresh rosemary in the glass right there.  Downtown prices are ridiculous.

I felt bad because on Saturday Mj was heading downstairs to go to his homework and I lured him into cuddling which turned into a 3 hour nap....so he ended up doing homework for most of Sunday afternoon.  I finally watched Breaking Dawn Part II.  Soooo good!!  I loved it.  I got all teary eyed at the end.  Never mind Kristin Stewart's seeming inability to open up her mouth when she speaks; the thing that gets me about those movies is Bella and Edward's deep love for each other.  It's the kind of perfect love that you dream about when you are a little girl and watching it played out on the screen gets me all mushy inside every time.  I'm a sucker for an epic love story.  We capped off the night with Walking Dead.  Only 1 more episode left!!  I'm so sad season three is almost over.

I didn't spend one second thinking about work craziness or do any housework. 

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Tostada Pizza Recipe

We made this for dinner on Sunday.  It's one of the first things I remember Mj and I making together when we first started dating.  I made the 1 1/2 hour drive up to his apartment in Orange County for the weekend.  He suggested we make dinner together so he got out his cookbooks.  I was quite impressed that this young guy actually had cookbooks.  I on the other hand, had not a single one or even pots and pans for that matter.  We flipped through the pages and this one stood out to both of as fun and easy to make.  We went to the grocery store for ingredients.  I distinctly remember we HAD to get beer to go with it.  Our mutual love of beer is actually what attracted me to him.  Totally kidding, but it was definitely a plus.  We went back to his apartment, made dinner and watched a movie.  I can't believe that was five years ago.  We haven't made it in a really long time so it was fun to do it again and think back to the first time.

Pizza is my favorite food and I like it that making it hardly feels like cooking.  It's not a traditional Pizza but it still has cheese and therefore I love it.  Adding cornmeal on the pan gives the crust a nice crunch.  The beans and ground beef are a tasty combination.  We've never tried it with re-fried beans but if you don't want to mash up the pinto beans it would also be a tasty alternative.  We used a canned Pillsbury Pizza crust.  If you want another lower calorie and carb Mexican style pizza option check out the flatout version here.

Pinto Beans:  Mashed ones on the right

1 pound lean ground beef
1 4 ounce can diced green chile peppers, drained
1/2 0.5 ounce envelope (about 2 Tbsp) of taco seasoning mix
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 10 ounce package refrigerated pizza dough
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed drained (or refried beans)
1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
bottled taco sauce (optional)

1.  In a large skillet cook meat until brown.  Drain off fat.  Stir in 3/4 cup water, chile peppers, taco seasoning mix and chilli powder.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone.

2.  Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Pat pizza dough into a 12x8 inch rectangle on the baking sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.

3.  In a bowl mash pinto beans with fork (or just use re-fried beans) and spread over partially baked dough to within 1/2 inch of the edges.  Spoon meat mixture over beans.  Bake uncovered for 10 minutes or more until crust is just golden.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake 1-2 minutes or more until cheese is melted.  Top with lettuce, tomato and green onions.  Serve with taco sauce if desired. 

[From:  Better Homes & Gardens 75th Anniversary Edition Cookbook]

Nutritional Information: (1/16th)
Calories:  151
Total Fat:  18g
Saturated Fat:  3g
Cholesterol:  24mg
Sodium:  181g
Carbs:  19g
Fiber:  6.5g
Sugar:  1g
Protein:  12g

Long Short Weekend

This weekend seemed to last for a lot longer then a ridiculously short 2 day weekend normally does. Usually I blink and it's over but for some reason on Saturday I felt like the next day was going to be Monday but it wasn't. I still had one more lovely day.  The last two weekends have been packed with social outings but this weekend we didn't have much planned which was nice.

Saturday I woke up and cleaned house.  I dreaded it so much but was so glad when it was over.  I also got the laundry finished.  That night we went to dinner at a friend's house for an Irish meal.  One of them is actually Irish.   The corned beef and cabbage with potatoes was really good.  I drank some wine, Mj had some beer, neither one of us wore green while doing it and that was the extent of our St Patty's day celebration.
Laundry is Fun-NOT // Grocery Shopping // Watching Figure Skating & Blogging // Mj doing taxes
Sunday we did Insanity first thing in the morning.  Insane right?   I was hanging in there okay with the cardio until the drills.  That's when it got REALLY hard and I had to stop a lot.  It's a tough work out and that's only the first one.  Mj is planning to do it for 60 days but I'm not that crazy.  I'll probably just jump in there and do it every now and then until he gets to the harder ones and then I probably won't be able to do it at all.

Next on the agenda was the ordeal that is grocery shopping.  We haven't really been on a proper shopping trip in about two months.  We've only been picking up little things here and there so it was time to make that trip to the commissary.  We spent $170 which sounds like a lot but would have been a lot more had we not been on base and it should last us for a while.  I really don't like grocery shopping but it's not as bad when  we do it together.  Our pantry was a mess.  Mj totally re organized it as we put everything away.

The tax man finally did our taxes.  It was just Mj and Turbo Tax gettin' it done.  He's been our tax man for the last three years and each time he gets better and better at it.  We don't owe!  We are actually getting a nice chunk of change so that's cool.

For dinner we made Tostada Pizza.  I love this Pizza just as I love all Pizza in general.  I'll be posting the recipe soon.  We had Margaritas on the rocks with it.  I used a skinny margarita mix that has only 10 calories per 1/2 cup left over from my trip to Vegas last year!  It's about time I finished it up.  We watched an episode of Breaking Bad and Walking Dead.  Then watched The Office while eating Jello.  I forgot how good that stuff is. 

We got a lot of quality time in together just being at home and getting stuff done.  It was nice not to have much to do.  I really need that every now and then to re group. 
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