Aggravation Number 1: The workout
My two a day workout plan has a hiccup. For starters my seat bones are a bit too sore for that much cycling, though I expect that to pass soon. I've also been too exhausted either in the morning or in the evening to workout, but at least I've managed a single workout most days. In any event, I don't think I'm working quite hard enough. I'd like to feel like I've worked out for at least an hour or two afterward. That's just not happening. I'd like to think that's because I'm in better shape than I think I'm in, but the realist in me suspects I'm just not working hard enough or long enough. Tomorrow I'll get out the workout DVDs and give the old seat bones a break.

I was reminded today that I do have time to workout daily if I would just *make* the time for it. If being fit is truly a priority, I will find a way to make it fit and I need to stop worrying about what the neighbors might think if/when I haul my not-so-fit body out onto the road for a walk or run. I can find time to check e-mail before and after work, I can find time to blog, I can find time to hit the snooze button, etc. If I can find time for those things, I can find time to workout. People find time for the things which are important to them. A year from now I would much rather be able to talk about the improvements in my fitness level than about the extra time I spent in front of the TV or on the computer. Certainly there will be time for watching TV when I am no longer physically able to run around and do fun stuff. Besides, TV is all about living vicariously. I'd rather live in reality. It may not be glamorous and it may be full of outtakes, but it's real life.

Aggravation Number 2: The Leaky Christmas Present
When I was in New Orleans last month I picked up a jar of olive salad for muffaletta samiches. It wasn't the olive dressing from Central Grocery, but it was a comparable product safely packaged in a glass jar. The clerk at the shop carefully wrapped the jar in paper for traveling and I was able to transport it back to my house without incident. I stored the jar in the spare bedroom where the presents for this year are slowly gathering. (Conveniently this is also the bedroom where the gift boxes and wrapping paper are stored.) Last night I discovered that the jar had been stored on its side and had leaked olive oil into the paper wrapping the jar. Fortunately the bag the jar was in was plastic so the leakage was contained. I took the jar to the kitchen to clean it up and that was when I noticed the bulge. Not my bulge, thank you very much, but the bulge in the jar lid. Just an ever so slight doming to the lid. I wasn't even completely convinced it was even there, so I opened the jar and was greeted with a burst of pressure from *within* the jar. This is not good behavior for a jar of food.

I had already concluded that the seal to the jar must have been compromised somehow since the olive oil had oozed out. Now it appears that there may be some sort of microbial activity in the jar that resulted in increased pressure in the jar. There are a few things which would cause this, the most notable of which is botulism. Given that the olive salad is stored in olive oil, which makes a lovely anaerobic environment, botulism would make some sense. I could take some to the lab at work, but I don't know that it would yield anything useful. There probably wouldn't have been a problem if I hadn't stored the jar on its side and the seal hadn't become compromised. That jar has been at room temperature for a month growing whatever it wanted. Right now it's sitting in the refrigerator, but I'm definitely not going to be eating anything from it.

Dang it. Now I'm back to ZERO Christmas presents figured out. And I was really looking forward to having a sammich with the olive salad too.

Aggravation Number 3: Gossip Runs Amok
Yesterday, one of my few male coworkers announced that he's getting a divorce. Coworker M(ale)'s wife apparently has been unfaithful for some time. The result at the office is that all the female coworkers have how made M and his estranged wife the only subject of conversation. I could understand if they were expressing concern about M and how he's coping. They're not. They're doing the Monday morning quarterbacking and deciding what he should be doing now, how the marriage should have been run all along and how they all knew that something was going on for years. They knew this because a) there had been rumors for some time, b) all rumors are mostly true and c) nobody would ever spread a rumor that wasn't true. Riiiiiight. And everything printed in People, In Touch and the other tabloids is true. What I find particularly aggravating is that these same coworkers are all kinds of upset about people elsewhere in their lives spreading rumors and gossip about them, but seem to be unable to notice they are doing the same thing. It really makes me want to start a rumor about myself and a fictitious girlfriend in New York, with perhaps a boyfriend somewhere else. Just to see what they do and say, except that it wouldn't be nice or particularly ethical to use them (the coworkers, not the imaginary significant others) for my entertainment purposes.

Personally, I think it's A) nobody's business how someone's marriage is being run but the persons IN that marriage and B) just flat out disrespectful to gossip about people. If the people in the marriage are ok with it, what other opinion matters? Everybody else needs to get their head out of it and focus on their own crap instead of being judgmental about someone else's life. If a non-standard, non-traditional marriage works for a couple, isn't that *their* business? Why must marriage fit a single strict definition and who chooses that definition anyway? Frankly I don't know what sort of marriage that M and Mrs. M had and I really don't care. What matters is that it's over now and M is having to deal with going through a divorce. This is going to be stressful for him no matter what. I think it would be nice if the response at the office wasn't telling him that Mrs. M is a bad person or other negative things. Let's remember, while you, I and everybody else may think that Mrs. M is the worst person on the planet, M himself did, until this week pledge himself to her and had a very different opinion. If everybody else tells him that she's horrible, wouldn't that indicate that he was stupid for choosing her in the first place? I know I never found such commentary particular supportive or comforting or helpful.

Since the boss lady is away this week, the lunch hour has been turned into 90 minutes by most of my co-workers: one hour out at lunch followed by 30 minutes of sitting in the break room. I don't mean to be anti-social, but I don't care to join in the gossiping and sitting in there during lunch just ticks me off, which isn't good for anybody. So I have my lunch quickly and quietly in the corner of the break room, avoiding conversation as much as possible, and returning to my desk as soon as my meal is finished or I eat in the car in the parking lot or while out and about. I don't care to participate in the gossiping and I don't particularly care to be present when gossiping is taking place either. It serves no constructive purpose and certainly isn't being supportive in any way. It makes me crabby to hear it, so I just avoid it as much as possible. They can talk about whatever they want. I just don't have to listen to it.

The Glad Company (makers of Glad Wrap, etc) now makes microwave wrap or microwave bags. So you can easily and quickly steam things in the microwave. I only watched a commercial about this product, but I cannot think of a single thing this product does that I cannot accomplish with a lidded glass bowl and a bit of water. Well, nothing other than perhaps surviving being dropped on the floor without breaking and getting glass all over. That is a very desirable feature, but is not my first consideration in cooking vegetables in the microwave.

Crockpot Soup Mix
I found some crockpot soup mixes at the store today. For three to four dollars, I can make 5-6 servings of soup with very little effort over 8-10 hours. The mixes appeared to be the dried beans and seasoning packets. Various other ingredients are added at the beginning or end of the cooking process. I cannot, of course, remember the exact titles, but there was something which was cajun and some regular bean soup. There might have been a chili mix too. It's not the same brand that I'm used to seeing, but it looks good and isn't particularly high in sodium. Rather than being in the soup aisle, I found this stuff in with the Hamburger Helper and other packaged meals. I might get a package this fall once the weather turns cool. It seems like it would be easy enough to duplicate the soups at a much lower cost, but I may try it anyway.


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