sylvar: (Default)
What I bought:
1 lb organic cottage cheese
2 six-ounce servings of organic yogurt
A decent-sized wedge of pecorino pepato cheese for grating
A package of soy hot dogs
A pint of blueberries
An Ida Red apple
Paid $10.81.  The first three items on the list were 50% off.  Yum!
sylvar: (Alton Brown: What Would Alton Do?)
Since Heathrita asked, here's the dirt on Penzey's:

There are two store in Jacksonville; we went to the one further east.  Its hours are ludicrously short (they're never open past 5:30), but we had over an hour to browse, and used almost all of it.

The store is difficult to find; it's in a strip mall.  But it's worth the hassle.  It's not the smallest store in the strip, and it's not an anchor either.  The interior is structured like a small but airy bookstore, with small "rooms" pocketed off by shelving.  The shelving looks like crates and old furniture; the spices are organized by themes (there's a curry section, a pepper section, an upended-rowboat shelf stocked with everything from coarse fleur de sel to ordinary fine sea salt).  There's also a section that's strictly alphabetical and has no other unifying theme.

Spices are priced just as on the website and in the catalog, but there are three major reasons why going to the store is functionally better. 

Most importantly, there are square jars with silicone gaskets on the lid (apothecary jars) with a sample of pretty much every spice, so you can smell everything in the store.  We even got to taste a sample of the grey sea salt to help convince Jodi that it's worth having around, but this may have been unusual; they replace the open samples every six months to keep them fresh, and we visited at the beginning of the cycle, so there was no reason for them not to open a fresh bag.  Still, I suspect they'd be willing to do that for others if you asked nicely.  I was also fangirling the place pretty hard, and they knew it was a special treat for me to be there.

Another important advantage of the store is that their employees truly love the place and know the spices fairly well.  We're not talking about master-sommelier expertise, but they're enthusiastic and informed, and will offer photocopied recipes using the spices you like, even though they're not generally on display.  They can tell you what ingredient makes "Sunny Paris" so expensive (purple shallots) or whether Dutch-process or natural cocoa is better for baking (Dutch-process).

And finally, there's the advantage of not having to pay shipping costs, which can be a nice advantage when you get about $50 worth of spices (about half of which were a wedding gift).  And you can buy little empty jars at very reasonable prices, too.
sylvar: (Oh purr!)
Now that the holiday season is drawing to a close, I've used some gift money to treat myself to a few things I've been wanting:
I also got a few things that weren't just for me:
And if I can just find out where exactly Office Depot delivered my assortment of disposable fountain pens, I'll have fun with those soon too.

Bed shopping is continuing.  It occurs to me that maybe we should buy a low-profile foundation first, and then if that doesn't provide the support Jodi needs, we could go for a new mattress.
sylvar: (karaoke)
Devin stunned me with an amazing Christmas gift: Guitar Hero with the guitar controller. I was just telling Jodi that I wanted to play Guitar Hero while I was in Stuart, since I can't play it at home. That's when Devin sprung the gift on me. Man, I can hardly wait to play this at home. *fierce grin*

The iPod is back up to $349.99, though -- I'm kind of upset about that. When I sold the 30GB iPod, I accepted an Amazon.com gift certificate as payment because I figured I'd be getting the best deal at Amazon. Now that the sale's over, though, I'll just wait and see. Maybe it'll be a better idea to buy one at a retail store, if I see a better deal (no more than $327+tax), but I doubt I'll be able to beat Amazon's price anyway, what with the lack of sales tax.

Well, still, it's hard to complain. I'm so blessed. This morning I said "God, this is gonna be a stressful trip; be with me. No, fuck that, be with Jodi; she's under more stress than I am." And five minutes later, at Burger King, the woman at the drive-through offered Jodi a free coffee that someone had mistakenly poured five minutes ago; Jodi accepted gleefully and smiled for the first time of the day. And the woman said "Merry Christmas, have a God-blessed day!"

Thanks, big guy. I noticed your impeccable timing.
sylvar: (Oh purr!)
From [livejournal.com profile] heathrow (here:
Go to Lane Bryant. Look for any of the bras that have the Buy 2, Get 2. They have sizes 36C-48DDD. You have to buy 4 bras, same style and same color. When you add them to the cart, it still shows the normal price. But when you're checking out, add the promotional code 00301435. You'll proceed to review your order, and you will see MASSIVE savings. You can pick more styles, but you just have to order 4 of the same color to get the savings.


And (this is [livejournal.com profile] sylvar speaking) we just ordered 8 bras for about $32 including shipping; this is real. They're moving pretty quickly, though, so get 'em NOW. On lanebryant.com, go to "Cacique intimates" and choose "bras", then choose your size to see what's POSSIBLY available. Note that only some are "buy 2, get 2", and you can't be sure you've snagged them until you actually see them in your shopping bag; you may well see "it's been deleted because we just ran out". Have patience.
sylvar: (Polyamory Heart)
Yesterday, following a trip to Safety Harbor for business purposes, I went to the airport to pick up Cat. I had a little time, so I parked on the top of the garage and took some photos of birds, construction, and occasionally the airport itself. I've included a few recent photos here, but check [livejournal.com profile] sylvarphotos or http://www.flickr.com/photos/sylvar/ for all my most recent images.

We went to International Plaza and browsed through the hideously bright 75%-off rack at Dillard's. At Build-A-Bear, we watched as a helpless teddy bear was impaled on the largest needle I've ever seen and injected with fluff from a huge scary machine. I have no idea how kids don't get scarred for life by this process. But we also discovered that they're going to be selling a Hello Kitty stuffed toy soon, so I'm sure I'll be taking Jodi there at some point.

Teavana had some interesting samples, and I eventually chose an iced Strawberry Kiwi/Rooibos Peach with German Rock Cane Sugar. (I could ignore the sugar because the chocolate and cappuccino gelato from Gelateria del Duomo had been sugar-free, and the cappuccino gelato was fat-free. Go them. Go me.) As Cat was paying for her looseleaf tea (the same thing I had, only dry instead of wet), Katie arrived.

We headed over to TooJay's for dinner, and each of us ended up taking home some delicious leftovers. Since Jodi wanted to see Katie again and meet Cat, we headed up to my place, which I quickly gave a superficial cleaning. Sadly, Katie had to duck out early, and Jodi arrived just as Cat and I were coming back from walking Katie to her car. But we did get to spend some more time with Cat, since we decided to drive her to her hotel in St. Petersburg. We all got along famously, and around midnight I got back home with Jodi. I collapsed into bed shortly after we played a 10-card round of Skip-Bo and slept soundly.

And then I spent 45 minutes typing this up on a T-less keyboard while munching cheese and crackers, so that will have to suffice for details of the evening as well as for my breakfast. What a shame there's no TooJay's in Brandon. Where else will $6 buy you a huge spinach and feta omelet, sliced tomatoes, and a bagel and cream cheese? (It was dinner for me, and the leftovers were dinner for Jodi, if that gives you any idea of the size.)

Oh well -- I've been having fun. And I can't wait to see Katie again! (I'll have to wait to see Cat again, since she lives in Tallahassee, but I don't want to wait for that either.)



UPDATE: I've added a few images here.
sylvar: (Utena: Did You Hear?)
Last night I saw a special preview of S.O.A.P. (Snakes On A Porch). It was half a meter long, brown, and utterly panicked. It had obviously gotten in under the screen door but couldn't figure out how to get back there. I guided it back with a broomhandle and it slithered happily away.

After 11 hours of sleep (aah!), I woke up and went over to Starbucks for a dose of my drug of choice, LiveJournal. Oh, and their new green tea latte, which is only 70 calories with nonfat milk. (If you get the 'short' size -- which I didn't -- but it's still A LOT better than the chocolate chip Frappucino, which is a lower-sodium version of a Big Mac with a straw in it.)

I went back to the condo, watched a bit of TV, and removed the slab of ice from the bottom of the freezer in one huge piece. It didn't even entirely fit on top of the sink, so I used hot water to break it up into manageable pieces. Matt came by and helped me demolish it with a well-placed karate chop. Actually, he and I leaned on opposite sides of it, which snapped it in two across the sink's middle ridge. We got everything defrosted and put back in the freezer.

Then we went geocaching. Matt spotted a few caches before I did, and we picked up a very cute travel bug named Pat. 'Pat' the Travel Bug next to the GPS She's sitting next to the GPS on my dashboard in this photo, though she has a habit of stage-diving as soon as I give it some gas.

We found three caches and took a travel bug from each, leaving two aloe-and-sunscreen kits for the next folks who come along. One of the caches involved decoding a hint written in a made-up language. If you want to try to translate it, you may find this page helpful. (If you don't want a hint, don't click that link!)

Greek salads, hummus, skordalia, and melitzanosalata (note: 'aubergine' means 'eggplant') with pita filled us up with healthy veggies. After dropping off the leftovers in the fridge, we came back to Starbucks to log our caches and upload a few photos, then went to Costco for $2.82 gas (the cheapest in the area). I dropped off a disposable camera and we shopped together.

I got a bottle of Panarroz Jumilla 2004 for $6.89 (hard to go wrong with a Wine Advocate score of 90 and a price under 1¢/mL, que no?), and Matt got two DVDs and a backpack with a two-liter water bladder that will serve him well in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. It looks pretty good for long bike rides, too, but I'm going to hold off and just use 1L water bottles for now.

Matt is now on his way back home because he's got a lot of work to do (he's a third-grade teacher, so he's got loads of progress reports to write and tests to grade). I'm chilling at Starbucks again, and I think I may go play some NTN trivia at Pizzeria Uno tonight. There's a bar area with booths and stools, and I can think of little else I'd rather do right now than act the know-it-all while having a cold beer.

In fact, I've just invited my friend Mrs. Dana Anderson. Yes, that's right, Sheryl Andersen Morgan Anderson got married yesterday with all their kids watching. I'm looking forward to hearing the details!

This mini-vacation is going wonderfully. Tomorrow I think I'll go to Flea World. How many people can say they got a haircut at a flea market? Well, I probably won't, although there is an air-conditioned barbershop there. I'll probably just cruise the schlock and play a few games at Fun World. Eventually I'll want to go back to Tampa and make sure the apartment has been certified poison-free, then go get the cats and bring them home to piss out their annoyance. I'd better leave some dirty clothes on the floor to give them a target I'd prefer: feline realpolitik.
 
sylvar: (PUTV: Dirty thought in a nice clean mind)
Around midnight last night, I gave up on bagging all the food before the termite-tenting began. I set my alarm for around 3:15am. Amanda apologized for the noise she made during the few hours that followed, but I never even heard her.

I woke up, got ready for the day, and by 4:30 the three of us left for the airport. Once Jodi got to the security gate, Amanda and I went back home (stopping at Einstein for a quick breakfast) and bagged up all the remaining food that wasn't already in airtight packaging. Then we grabbed the cats, and while they complained loudly, I dropped Amanda off at Stately Segnboraweth Manor (the home of [livejournal.com profile] segnbora and [livejournal.com profile] tregoweth, natch) and took the cats to the boarding kennel.

I managed to get to the office a bit early, but soon realized I was pretty tired and didn't want to stay until five, then get stuck in rush hour traffic on the way to Sanford (on the far side of Orlando, up the under-constructionest bits of I-4). So after a meeting, I called it a day and took a little road trip.

After a fuel-efficient but pokey 55mph journey without air conditioning (I'm still not used to the idea, but it hasn't killed me yet), I got to my family's place in Sanford and discovered that the freezer's icemaker was broken in a way that resulted in an inch-deep puddle behind the fridge, plus seepage involving the padding under the laminate flooring and the carpet in the bedroom behind the wall.

One and a half washing machines full of towels later, the floor was finally dryish and I'd found out how to turn off the icemaker's water pump. It was about this time that I realized I had left my suitcase in the apartment, which was by then full of poison gas.

So I headed to the thrift store and found khakis, a shirt, and other necessities at a combined price cheaper than one pair of pants from Wal-Mart. I did get one pair of socks on clearance from Wal-Mart for 50 cents. Later I found out that they were size clown, but I'm not hiking in them, only walking while I launder a better pair.

Finally, showered and in clean clothes, I came here to Starbucks for an Internet fix, and to plan out some geocaching for tomorrow. I might also see a movie tonight, but I might just be too tired. Fortunately, it's still 18 hours before Matt will arrive for some brother time, so I'll be able to get lots of sleep no matter what I do this evening. (NTN trivia and a beer at Pizzeria Uno's bar? A haircut? Reading a library book? Truly, the nerdy possibilities are infinite. Countably infinite, probably, but still...)

Despite my fatigue, this has been a pretty good day. Or maybe it hasn't, but I've enjoyed it anyway, 'cause I'm stubborn like that. And hey, new icon from Pump Up the Volume, so how can you go wrong?
sylvar: (Did you hear? (Utena))
$18.99 for 18 PowerBar Pria Carb Select bars -- and buy one, get one free with the coupon available at the Membership desk. So that's around 50 cents per PowerBar.

Just do yourself a favor and get the coupon first. You can always get a price adjustment, but you'll wait in one line to get a coupon and another line to get the adjustment. Be smart and save yourself the trouble.

(And call your local store to make sure they're running this deal, too. The Brandon store certainly is.)
sylvar: (Oh purr!)
The Car: Doesn't have ABS. Ferman Mazda cut their usual diagnostic fee in half because there was really very little to diagnose. So I called the insurance company and informed them that the car doesn't have ABS. I also found out they thought it had an anti-theft system. Since I have no reason to believe this, I asked them to remove that discount as well. This means I might pay an extra $9/mo for car insurance, but it also means that I'm being honest and therefore (a) am doing what I ought to, ethically, and (b) will be able to get a claim approved in the future should that become necessary.

The Chocolate: Tell Bryony to stand well clear of the intercontinental trebuchet, DaveyP. I found Green and Black's Organic 70% Cocoa at the local SuperTarget for $3.50 (£2). Of course, this means I will have to go buy some more Lindt 70% Cocoa for a proper comparison. The things I do for science!

The Stand Mixer: I ordered it as soon as I got home. It should arrive at the office December 23. I might not even be in town by then, but then it might come early. And its color shall be... )
sylvar: (What Would Alton Do?)
Hooray! I've finally earned a KitchenAid stand mixer! With the Amazon.com discount code HOHOHOHO and free Super Saver shipping, I can get an excellent one for $146. I'm getting around $40 in fun money for a crossword puzzle I just created, I've got about $80 in fun money from turking, and I've already received $50 in cash as a Christmas gift. That's enough to put this in motion any time I choose.

(We've agreed that of the money I earn at turking and crosswording, half of it is "fun money" for me, and half of it will retire some debt. So I've also earned about $120 for that purpose.)

So what do y'all think -- should I get one in white or onyx black?



[livejournal.com profile] turtlebat23, you are tagged, please respond! :)
sylvar: (Soul by Curve)
We spent yesterday running around doing errands -- getting gifts for the two parties we would attend that evening (both at restaurants), mainly.

The Frontier Steakhouse Cattle Co. is slightly more vegetarian-friendly than you'd think. They do have baked potatoes, fried potatoes, salads, and (for the British or for those who are afraid of vegetables recognizable as such) a half-cup of overboiled former veggies ($3). The fried mushrooms, while not as good for your health, are at least not a calculated insult.

The company on this occasion was much better than the food. We were happy to see a gleeful [livejournal.com profile] rancourt and [livejournal.com profile] kiarrh celebrating their marriage, and were fortunate to meet (and, if I understand correctly, be inducted into) The Powers That Be. Our fellow PTB are [livejournal.com profile] kaia0976, [livejournal.com profile] argentee, [livejournal.com profile] dbcooper, and [livejournal.com profile] nancybunny (and a very nice George Lucas lookalike whose name I've already forgotten; shame on me Corwyn -- I wonder if he's walked the Pattern yet).

This morning we found a great backpack at Cold Gravy for under $5 and promptly filled it with shirts for [livejournal.com profile] turtlebat23. We ended up getting over a dozen shirts (and the backpack) for about $80.

[livejournal.com profile] turtlebat23 is at Ethics Bowl practice now, so I did some more errands (library, video store, paying a bill at the department store, dropping off bills at the post office) and came home for dinner -- a bag of spinach, sauteed without fat, topped with two hard eggs sliced and some sesame-soy dressing, and good cottage cheese with stale dill. (Must get some fresh dill v. soon!) Protein much?

Well, whatever works. I've lost more weight, which gives me the boost I needed to quit whining and get on the treadmill. (I skipped two days and I want to reinforce the habit.)


sylvar: (Default)
Tomato-mozzarella-onion-basil salad from Costco for about $4/lb. Pretty darn sweet. Even included little containers of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I bought a 2lb tray and will enjoy it for several days' lunches.

Also got a six-pack of rice cracker packages (tasty and dippable) and some foodservice-sized Boca burgers (50¢ each) and sliced cheddar cheese. I should be eating healthy stuff at the office for a while! Woo woo!

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