Saturday, January 24, 2015

Shrimp Scampi Pizza

It was nice to have time to make dough today as it meant we could have a pizza for dinner.  With the bag of shrimp I've been putting in salads all week having half remaining as well as a handful of onions, I had what was needed.

There's enough dough for me to make bread tomorrow so we can have chicken parm.  I will have to do some grocery shopping, which I hate to do on the weekend -- but that is my lot in life now that I am back to work. 

I managed to take a mondo-nap today which was swell.  The memory foam mattress with added topper is uber cozy but the three of us can not get a good night's sleep on it, so I sleep on my futon -- which has a thin foam topper. It's comfortable but not as much so as the "big bed."  One splurge I plan to make this spring is to buy a proper bed.  I've done OK with the futon but am ready for a regular bed again.

Now I don't know how I managed to get on the topic of mattresses from pizza, but it happened... and I'm not ashamed of it!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sushi Celebration

We celebrated my first Friday at work with sushi and champers.  When we want to celebrate something, these two things generally end up in the plans.  Rather than going out to eat, we like to eat in.  The restaurant is just around the corner so take-out is easy.  The sushi for two is what we order and it is never the same selection twice -- they make the platter up based on what they have on hand and what they have on hand is generally fresh.  I believe we were lucky enough to get a spider roll for one of the selections -- at least that's what it seemed like to me.

My first work-week came to a fine ending.  I like the job and I like the people.  I am learning a lot of new stuff, but some of the stuff I am seeing is also familiar.  That familiarity is comforting but it is also nice that they expect anyone new needs to learn a lot, so I don't feel pressured.  There are a lot of web-based training modules that I'm just digging into.  My desk is across from a lady who is around my age and she's helping me with everything.

The commute is getting more routine.  TBG jokes that I am a "big girl" now since I have a job in the city and I take the train to work every day.  He needs to ride the train -- it's mostly kids and non-professionals, with lots of obnoxious rap music you can hear through people's ear buds (some don't even bother with them although that is against Metro rules).  Every so often I see someone from my building on the train, but mostly they're kids.  But that's my ride.  If I get my list on the employee lot and eventually get a space, that will be quicker and cheaper than transit.  It's anyone's guess how long it will take for my number to come up.  For now I'm fine with the train and working down town is growing on me.  It's a good job, I'm glad I found it!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dregs of the Fridge...

When we are retired on the French Riviera, we'll look back at the desperate meals I made and laugh... OK, we probably won't save quite enough through my miserly ways, but there will have to be a time when some of the money saving meals I make actually pay off!

This mess of a meal started with onions, a chicken breast, and went second class from there.  I had one lone breaded piece of boneless pork and a container of plain left-over spaghetti (which I chopped into little pieces).  There was also a bunch of mushrooms to use up and the last of a bag of frozen corn as well as a  spare handful or so of chick peas.  You can mix up just about anything if you have cream of chicken soup. I also used some broth from an open box in the fridge.

The concept looks and sounds horrible and the quality of my picture kinda sucks too.  But the meal wasn't actually awful.  I don't plan on saving the remains because tomorrow night is Friday.  When I'm back at work, we dine out on Friday. Woooo hoooo!

I always want to use up what we have before we go out to eat and I managed to do it.  It wasn't pretty, but it worked!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Double Leftover Dinner

We had soup last night and soup again tonight because there was plenty left.  I also bought a loaf of Italian bread (it kills me to do that but I didn't have time to make/rise dough) to go with it last night.  The  night before that we had meat loaf.

Tonight along with the soup, we had a meatloaf on Italian bread pizza.  It isn't the most exciting dinner but it fed us and used up stuff we had.  I've got no idea what I'll make tomorrow but if I defrost a chicken breast, that's somewhere to start.
I've already made my lunch for tomorrow.  This is a mound of bagged salad with additional shredded carrots added.  I bought it all pre-washed and cut to save time.  There are chopped mushrooms, raisins & dried currents, plus walnuts.  The jar has a couple of heaping tablespoons of Opa yogurt/dill dressing that I've packed some cut shrimp into. The shrimp is pre-cooked and frozen from Tops.  It was on sale but mostly I chose it for the convenience factor.  This will be a healthy low-cost lunch.  It was the same thing I had today and it was delicious.

For breakfast I've been having cereal and strawberries and noshing at my desk on a piece of fruit (banana or clementine) or a handful of almonds.  I've managed to forgo the expense and calories of coffee with sugar and cream but have a cup of tea in the morning.  I can get all the free ice I want up until the cafeteria closes at 2PM which means I can sip cold water with a chunk of lime (I bring from  home) most of the day.

I'm getting the hang of the commute and today was able to sign up for my transit flexible spending account.   That means I have to save my tickets for reimbursement.  I will probably also try to get myself on the waiting list for the employee parking lot.  That is 60 bucks a month and would cost less than the subway.  However, I've already signed up for the withdraw and can't change it until January.  I've also had a lot of paperwork to send in to prove my identity and marriage.  But I think most of it is done!

This transition hasn't been as hard as last time and I'll have it figured out soon.  As long as I can keep on top of the food part if it, I'll be half way there!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Happy Day 1

OK, so this wasn't the lunch box I took to work today.  The truth is I am using a small rolling luggage bag to cart my stuff in -- it makes it easier to go up and down escalators and navigate the subway.  I did pack a lunch today and I ate with a new colleague.  She's the lady who sits in the cubicle across from me and she is really nice. In fact everyone in my new department is remarkably nice.

I am so very glad my contract ended the way it did and that I had the opportunity to get that experience but move on.  My gut tells me that I will do better and be much happier in my new position than I would have been had I managed to find a way to stay in the area where I originally contracted.  It is a bonus that I made good friends there that I will continue to be connected to -- after all, we still work for the same bank.

In addition to meeting my wonderful new team mates, I was photographed and fingerprinted.  My new ID picture is fine.  I also worked out the timing for my commute pretty well.  From door to door, it's about 40 minutes.  I might leave a little bit earlier tomorrow just to see if that makes a difference.  Commuting will be a little more expensive because I am spending 4 bucks a day on top of the gas needed to drive to the station.  I'm going to wait until next week to start swimming before work -- I'll have to work out the timing for that too.  My preference is to do that after work so I can relax in the sauna, but the place will be too crowded after work.  I still plan to have some sauna time but will have to do my hair and make-up then get dressed in the locker room, which doesn't thrill me.  Oh well, at least I have a job!

As of today, I am feeling fully recovered from my original lay-off.  Even before I was downsized, there were years where I was always waiting to get the news I was out of job.  It was a persistent fear that I could never shake. I was afraid that there would be nothing good for me next.  I am now past that fear and feel I could not have had things work out better.  

I'm not religious or really spiritual and don't tend to believe things happen "for a reason."  I believe things occur because of timing and are influenced by our efforts and motivation.  It worked out for me that an opportunity was available at a time I was paying attention and the situation was there for me to take advantage of it.  Vigilance pays off -- as does persistence and a positive attitude.  So I will be looking forward to what I can make of this new chapter, and I plan to be dressed well for it too!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tomorrow is Day 1

Tomorrow is the first day of what I hope is the rest of my working life.  I am excited to be entering this new phase of my career and am looking forward to being at this job for a long time.  As per my usual wardrobe obsessed self, I have outfits selected for the next three days.  I'll find out what the Friday dress code is before I select clothing for that day.   Of course, this picture is just a jumble of stuff on hangers, but I've got three days selected.

I also have a bag stuffed chock full with desk supplies -- my cups, plates, tea, sweetener, etc.  I have a few other items I'll bring in each day.  I don't want to show up with too much but I'll want to be able to enjoy lunch and beverages my first day. 

In addition, I had to remember to dig out the important identity documents you need to verify citizenship.  I know I'll be photographed and finger printed tomorrow. 
Since it was a holiday, there were sales at local thrifts so I decided to try Savers for the first time.  Two dresses a belt and a sleeveless top came in at $8.32 including tax.  The black and white dress will need a bunch of new buttons but I think it's sharp.

We are supposed to have a frigid cold week so I am happy to have prepared myself with boots and other winter appropriate footwear.  Commuting in Buffalo during the winter months takes a certain amount of planning and fortitude.  But I plan to prevail!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Quick Dinner

There are a lot of different ways to have one dish or one pot dinners.  In addition to my "cookie sheet" meals, I've gotten to like casserole dish meals that don't have to be casseroles.  When frozen manicotti or shells are on sale, I like to put them in a baking dish with sauce, then add veggies and/or meat plus cheese.  Tonight we had manicotti topped with red sauce, frozen red and green peppers (a buck a bag on sale at Tops this week), plus a package of "Use Today" hot Italian sausages.

This provided the two of us with a nice meal (started with a salad) and there is enough for TBG to have lunch tomorrow.  I would guess that this dish cost seven bucks to make and there are three large servings out of it.  The salad for both of us came in at about .75 cents.  That means we had a dinner that cost eight dollars and there were leftovers too.

We did have a nice dinner out at the Center Street Steak House in Batavia, NY.  We wanted to go to a spot called Alex's Place but we had a fifth friend join us and that meant we needed reservations and none were available.  I Googled for another place and found the steak house and was glad we found it.  Our meal was awesome.  We met up with another couple from camp and they drove out to pick up the camp manager so it was a happy five-some.

The couple we know on account of Teddy and her talent for singling out dog lovers and sucking them into her orbit.  These friends aren't seasonal campers but they come up a lot during the summer and now request the spot next to us.  Teddy latched on to them and would accost them (as far as her lead would let her) any time they walked by our pad.  Whenever they reserve a spot, they ask to be next to us and bring Teddy biscuits.

We will all meet up one more time this spring before camp opens and will probably choose the same spot.  While it was a bummer that our original choice didn't work out, it was nice to discover another spot and have a chance to share it with good friends.

We are lucky people!