Something to chew on

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Break It Down

I'm on a Kashi kick lately for some reason. I guess in my quest to eat and be healthier, I'm keeping more of an eye on labels. Now, I've always looked at the calories, total fat, fiber and sugar content, but I've never been one to really read the ingredient list start to finish. But I'm definitely going to start.

Not long ago Southern Fried Fatty took a dive into the ingredients list on a couple of bars/snacks that she had strewn about in the bottom of her purse, so when I took a Kashi granola bar out of the pantry this morning for my mid-morning snack, I thought I'd take a look. I feared "high fructose corn syrup" (as we all should) and a dozen things I couldn't pronounce. But here's what I actually found.
  • A seven-grain blend (whole grains) that includes hard red winter wheat, oats, rye, barley, triticale, long grain brown rice, buckwheat and sesame seeds. (I didn't know triticale, but Google informed me that it is "a combination of wheat and rye. It has a much higher protein content and better balance of essential amino acids than either wheat or rye. triticale has a nut-like taste and is great either flaked or milled into flour.")
  • Whole almonds
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Soy protein isolate (simply a concentrated form of protein)
  • Soy grits
  • Evaporated cane juice crystals
  • Chicory root fiber
  • Whole flax seeds
  • Evaporated cane juice syrup
  • Rice starch
  • Corn flour
  • Honey
  • Expeller pressed canola oil
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Oat fiber
  • Evaporated salt
  • Natural flavors
  • Molasses
  • Soy lecithin
  • Peanut flour
  • Whey
  • Annatto color (According to, "Annatto is yellow, natural food colorant obtained from the seeds of the Bixa Orella tree.")
That's it. Yes, it's a long ingredient list. But there's not a single ingredient with more than 20 letters in the word. Nothing "hydrogenated." Nothing that scared me.

Breakfast: cereal: 3 points
soymilk: 2 points

Mid-morning snack: Kashi bar: 2 points

Lunch: panini: 6 points
pretzels: 2 points

Afternoon snack: trail mix: 3 points
(The dynamic duo tricked me during snacktime: T.J. barked at the backdoor, so I went to let him out. At which point Bugsy climbed into my office chair and finished my little cup of trail mix. Reminds me of the PB&J sandwich incident several years ago where Bugsy lured me from the table and T.J. swallowed the sandwich whole.)

Dinner: chicken nuggets: 6 points
(On the drive to see Muffie for a haircut.)

TOTAL: 23 points. I'll take that.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Death Did Not Court Me

I rode my bike again this morning. With much more success than last time. But as I dressed to head out, I started getting nervous... Would there be a terrible repeat of Monday's hard ride??? How did I let myself get this out of shape??? How long will it take to build up my stamina again??? What's the point???

I decided to ignore the veloway this time. Those hills kicked my butt Monday, and I think the veloway is something to work up to. So I kept myself on surface streets. I'm not crazy enough to ride on Mopac or 360 like some cyclists do, but our extended neighborhood provides a nice 30-minute, fairly level ride. Don't get me wrong, there were some hills. But little ones comparatively. My nerves tried to take over as I would come upon one, but then the lazy part of my brain would jump in with, "oh, just think of the nice breeze I'll get to feel as I coast down the other side."

I think that will be my plan of action for at least two weeks at least: neighborhood surface streets to build back up again. Then I'll tackle the veloway with a renewed sense of mental preparedness and physical stamina. And that is the point, right, to progress. To feel better, to be healthier, to maybe even look better along the way.

One cool sight today: As I did my cool down in front of the Wildflower Center before heading to the house, I rode up on a father out walking his daughter. She was probably 1ish, not walking yet and relaxing in a stroller. He was picking a couple of flowers off the side of the street to show her and then gently holding them up to her nose. After she smelled the flowers and made a funny face, the dad added them to a bunch they had apparently been collecting along the walk in a little joint of the stroller. I bet they had a beautiful day together and had a cute little bunch of flowers waiting for the mom when she got home...


Breakfast: banana: 2 points
Smart Ones muffin: 4 points

Mid-morning snack: chips: 2 points
(mindless snacking in the kitchen)

Lunch: English muffin pizzas: 4 points

Afternoon snack: trail mix: 3 points

... then I quit counting for the day and we still haven't decided what to have for dinner. I'd like to do something yummy and sinful like a burger. Oops!!!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Free Snacks??? I'm There!!!

(No, this is not a paid advertisement.)

But... are you hungry and trying to avoid the tray of stale bagels in the kitchen left over from Monday's staff meeting??? Kashi is giving away free snacks!!!

Just visit their Web site and virtually trade in your usual snack for one of theirs. I have a TLC Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookie on its way to my mouth, I mean house... yummy!!!

Today's points:

smart ones muffin: 4 points

Mid-morning snack: English muffin: 1 point
peanut butter: 3 points
(My blood sugar did a quick drop on me, I had to have some protein, quick.)

Lunch: South Beach wraps: 4 points
fresh tomato wedges: 0 points
snack cakes: 1 point

Afternoon snack: trail mix: 3 points

Dinner: grilled chicken breast: 5 points
steamed green beans: 0 points

TOTAL: 21 points.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Venturing Out for the First Time, Again

I rode my bike this morning for the first time in probably nine months. I put on the padded bike shorts, stylish helmet and new gloves, filled up a water bottle and hit the road. I felt good. I felt confident. It was early and already very warm out, but breezy and nice. I slowly pedaled the neighborhood to get comfortable on the seat again, and then sped up past the Wildflower Center to turn around and head into the veloway...

... Where I was quickly passed by at least five men in their 60s. By the time I got to the "Caution: Snake Crossing" sign, my legs were like jello. My vision had become obstructed by the sweat pouring down my face. But I saw a rabbit. I conquered the hills -- one of which I was afraid I would have to walk my bike up my first time back out. I made it all the way around the veloway -- once -- and dismounted my bike to drink some more water when it hit me... Am I going to pass out, or vomit??? One of the two will definitely happen in the next few minutes. Do I remember where my cell phone is in case I need to call 911??? How many times are those old men going to fly around the course??? What time does Cole get out of his meeting to meet me at the hospital???

I sat on a bench for about 10 minutes. Sipping water, enjoying the breeze, listening to the beads of sweat fall to the concrete below me while birds sang above. I was starting to feel better. But, how am I going to get home??? I left my lemon-jello legs about a mile behind me. I certainly can't bike the rest of the way home...

But I did. I talked myself down from my "I'm never going to workout again" ledge and got on the bike and made it all the way home. I did rest for a moment or two in the bathroom floor... just in case. Then showered and got myself to work.

I may not do again tomorrow, but I can definitely talk myself into doing it again Wednesday...

Breakfast: banana: 2 points
English muffin: 2 points

Lunch: sandwich: 7 points
brownie: 3 points

Afternoon snack: apple: 1 point

Dinner: pizza: 12 points (yikes!!!)

TOTAL: 27 points. Again, yikes!!!

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

If It Doesn't Just Rock Your Socks off to China...

... then don't eat it.

Let me start by saying, I didn't count points this weekend. At the meeting Saturday morning, I clocked a 0.4 pound loss. Fine, whatever, not my best ever. But it is a loss. Progress is progress, and even at that 0.4 pounds per week, that's 20.8 pounds per year. Fabulous if you ask me. But, that's not why I'm here.

I'm here to talk about a biscuit that I ate Saturday afternoon. Now that the lake is back at normal and full levels, Cole and I went out Saturday to clean the boat. After all the rains and moving it back and forth from the racks to the parking lot and back, we feared it would be horribly filthy and overrun with spiders. It wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be, and we were in and out of there in about an hour with a clean boat ready to hit the water today. We pulled through Chicken Express in Lakeway on our way home to grab some sweet tea for Cole, some chicken strips and a biscuit each for lunch. (If you're ever on 620 in Lakeway and hungry for something quick, this place isn't bad, and the service is always friendly and fast.) Anyway, back to the biscuit I ate.

"Ate" doesn't even really convey what I did to this biscuit. I can't even say that I devoured the biscuit because it wasn't a rushed or aggressive consumption. I enjoyed this biscuit. I savored this biscuit. Every crumb. My eyes were closed, my feet didn't touch the ground, and I don't remember what or who we passed on the highway for the 4.5 minutes that it took me to eat this thing. That's how cheating or going "off program" should be. It should be an experience. It should knock our socks off and make us feel like it's an incredible treat. It should make us realize how healthy we've been eating and remind us of the progress we've made.

Have you ever stood at a dessert counter drooling over a beautiful piece of chocolate cake??? Maybe there were four layers of moist chocolate cake, held together by a smooth ganache and sprinkled with fresh pecans and chocolate slivers. Heck, for fun, let's just pretend there was a chocolate-dipped strawberry or two on the top. With your eyes and brain and tummy all in agreement, you take it home. First bite: it's okay, but just okay. I've done this, and unfortunately, even though it was okay -- not great or sinful or fabulous or delicious -- just okay, I've eaten the whole thing.

But I'm trying to look at food differently now, as fuel and nutrition, not pleasure. But if and when I do go away from points and splurge, I want the experience to be like it was with this biscuit: eye-closing, moaning-in-pleasure, forget-where-I-am goodness.

So here's my new plan: If the treat doesn't rock my socks off to China, I'm not going to waste the time or calories to eat it. Sounds easy enough. We'll see...


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My 90/10 Rule

Pam is always talking about our "living as a fit and healthy person" in my Weight Watchers meetings. Many times, she will even stop in the middle of her sentence, looking at us through hopeful eyes that we'll all chime in, in unison... "as a fit and healthy person" to finish her statement. It's hard to all get together sometimes at 9:30 on a Saturday morning.

But I try. I like the thought. Yet after doing some soul-searching, I've discovered that I'm doing that about 90 percent of the time. And, I'm okay with that. Ninety percent of the time (and I'm talking about week when I talk about my time since that's how I watch my points and eating), I'm measuring my soymilk and counting grapes and walking three dogs as the sun comes up. But 10 percent of the time, I'm just not. And it's normally Saturday evening.

I'm not eating a whole chocolate cake, but I'll allow myself a slice during this chunk of 10 percent of my week. I won't go on a drunken rampage, but I'll have a glass of wine.

I think it's good for me. It keeps me from craving everything in site and binging when I get mad that I can't have it. It allows me the flexibility to enjoy the taste of food, not just the fuel it provides my body. It also keeps me from feeling guilty. I don't have to be ashamed of eating that cookie because I gave myself permission.

Is it healthy to think this way??? As Pam also says, there are no no-no foods.

Breakfast: cereal: 3 points
soymilk: 1 point

Mid-morning snack: pretzels: 2 points

Lunch: panini: 6 points
red grapes: 1 point

Afternoon snack: English muffin: 2 points

Dinner: salsa chicken: 5 points (recipe here)
roasted potatoes: 3 points (recipe here)

TOTAL: 23 points. Fine with me.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday Food Journal

Breakfast: cereal: 3 points
soymilk: 1 point

Mid-morning snack: banana: 2 points

Lunch: English muffin pizza: 5 points
raw carrots: 0 points

Afternoon snack: trail mix: 3 points
mini peanut butter cups: 3 points

Dinner: club wrap and tortilla soup: no guess on the points

TOTAL: Not quite sure, but not horrible. Cole and I did yardwork this evening. Pushing the mower surely burned off a couple of those evil, yucky peanut butter cups!!!


Monday, August 20, 2007

I Feel More Fit Already!!!

Cole and I ran errands yesterday. He thinks it's dorky, I'm sure, but I love just running around with him when we don't have an agenda or a schedule or a place we have to be. Just running around. Grabbing a sandwich, buying new tennis shoes, dropping my bike off for a tune-up. We have a great time just sitting in the truck, laughing and making fun of the way other people drive...

Anyway, back to dropping my bike off. I haven't put my butt to seat in well over six months, so when we got a coupon in the mail for half off of a tune-up at a new bike shop on South Lamar that had just opened up, I knew it was a sign. I've been whining for months now about needing to do something more active, and this was the kick in the pants I needed. My plan, if I can keep from just turning my alarm off, is to bike three mornings a week. I can get up, walk the dogs, jump on the bike, shower and be at work by 8:30 on those mornings. Then on the evenings when we have a simple dinner planned and Cole is feeling up to it, we can bike together before relaxing for the night.

Ahhhh, I feel better already just to have a plan in place... and my bike should be ready by this weekend.

My day in numbers...

Breakfast: cereal: 3 points
soymilk: 1 point

Mid-morning snack: banana: 2 points

Lunch: quesadilla: 6 points
pickled okra: 0 points
mini peanut butter cup: 1 point

Afternoon snack: SB snack bar: 2 points

Dinner: pork chop: 3 points
apple: 1 point
parmesan: 1 point
Oreo snackster (evil): 3 points

TOTAL: 23 points.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Do You Know Your Waist-to-Hip Ratio???

No??? Then get out the tape measure, take 90 seconds and find out.

If you hate looking at the number on the scale -- and many people do -- there are other ways to track your weight loss and keep an eye on your risk for many diseases included heart disease. And finding out your WHR is one of them. BMI is so yesterday... hehe

Do this: Take a measurement of your waist at the smallest part. If you don't have a defined waist, take this measurement right around your bellybutton. Then measure at the widest point of your hips. Divide the waist number by the hips number, and there is your WHR. No cheating.

Joy Bauer, a nutritionist and diet editor from the Today Show, did a segment Friday that said new research from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas shows that "adding several inches to the waist -- even if body weight still falls within a normal range -- markedly increases the risk of unhealthy plaque buildup in the arteries of the heart and the rest of the body."

So, your weight can be in the "healthy" range according to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or WebMD, but if your WHR is higher than 0.9 for men or 0.8 for women, it might be time to add an extra mile to your daily walk. I'm surprised and happy to say that mine is 0.76, but I'm still taking my bike in for a tuneup tomorrow...


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday Food Journal

Breakfast: 1/2 cup cereal: 3 points
1/2 soymilk: 1 point
1/2 blueberries: 0.5 points

Mid-morning snack: ham slices: 1 point

Lunch: sandwich: 9 points
chips: 4 points

Afternoon snack: SB snack bar: 2 points

Dinner: salad: 4 points
edamame: 1 point

TOTAL: 25.5. Three too many. That yummy Which Wich? sandwich at lunch was too much.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fruit Is Good

We should all eat more fruit. It's good and good for us. Our bodies make good use of the nutrients and there are no empty, junk calories to worry about.

After making the peach-blueberry crisp yesterday, I had leftover blueberries. Sadly, the thought of just tossing them in the trash crossed my mind. Can you imagine?!? I'm glad I didn't...

I put half a cup in my cereal this morning. And I don't know if that had anything to do with it or not, but I didn't need a mid-morning snack. I say "need" because that is normally what a mid-morning snack is for me: a need. About two hours after breakfast on a regular day, my blood sugar drops to sometimes dangerous levels (if you consider passing out dangerous). But today, I was fine. Was it the natural sugar in the berries? The fiber? Was it the protein in the soymilk? I don't know. But it saved me a couple of points today, and I like that.

1/2 cereal: 3 points
1/2 soymilk: 1 point
1/2 blueberries: 0.5 points

Lunch: mini bagel pizzas: 5 points
pretzels: 2 points

Afternoon snack: snack cakes: 1 point
trail mix: 3 points

Dinner: taco: 4 points
chips and salsa: 2 points

TOTAL: 21.5. I wish I could do that every day...


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Peach-Blueberry Crisp Recipe

Here's a new recipe for you to try. I picked it up this weekend at Central Market and it was so good. (Don't tell Cole, but I made it with organic fruit.) I'm sure it's meant to be a dessert, but we had it alongside sandwiches. Very yummy!!!

Fresh Peach and Blueberry Crisp
3 cups fresh peaches
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 tsp. almond extract*
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 stick butter

*I didn't haven't almond extract on-hand, so I just used vanilla extract instead.

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

Peel and cube peaches.

In a large bowl, combine peaches, blueberries, extract, lemon juice, sugar and 2 Tbsp. flour. Pour into a deep-dish pie plate or 8x8" baking dish.

In a separate bowl, blend 1 cup flour, brown sugar, almonds and butter; mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over berry mixture and bake for 30 minutes.

I'd suggest letting it cool about 10 minutes before enjoying.

Here's how my day ended up:

Breakfast: Smart Ones muffin: 4 points

Mid-morning snack: banana: 2 points

Lunch: sandwich: 5 points
peach-blueberry crisp: 8 points (I had seconds)

Afternoon snack: pretzels: 2 points

Dinner: Hatch chile chicken sausage: 5 points
apple and parmesan: 3 points
dessert (leftover crisp) 4 points

TOTAL: Please keep in mind, I had almost decided not to add up or post this total since I know I've gone way overboard today. As of this very second, I still haven't added up all my points. But that's why I'm here. That's why I'm blogging. To keep a true count and to be accountable, to myself if to no one else. 33. Eleven too many. Hey, at least I ate plenty of fruit today!!!

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Being Judged

I enjoy cooking. I'm not a pro or a gourmet by any means, but I keep us fed and hopefully healthy.

So I've decided to do something out-of-the-box for me: I'm entering a recipe contest.

One of our favorite local grocery stores is sponsoring the contest and creating a cookbook from the winning entries. They stated the one main ingredient, and the rest is up to those of us who dare to enter. I came up with my entry driving down the highway this weekend, and I whipped it up last night. It won't be the grand-prize winner -- that will be some fancy main dish that's stuffed and wrapped and dipped -- but the recipe that I came up with could be a contender as a side. We'll see, and I'll keep you posted.

It is Hatch chile pepper season!!!

Breakfast: Smart Ones muffin: 4 points
yogurt smoothie: 1 point

Mid-morning snack: banana: 2 points

Lunch: South Beach wrap: 5 points
chips: 2 points
snack cakes: 1 point

Afternoon snack: banana: 2 points

Dinner: nuggets: 6 points

TOTAL: 23 points. One too many.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

"I Want the Frickin' Yogurt!!!"

Seriously. Verbatim. That was the fit I heard come from the mouth of a 4-year-old girl this morning at my Weight Watchers meeting. Yep, the same little girl who can't sit still without having her mother stop everything to start a new DVD for her in her own little personal portable DVD player.

"This is Mommy's yogurt. You can share the grapes and apples with me though."

"No. I want the frickin' yogurt!!!"

I didn't even turn around to see if the little girl won the argument. My guess is that she did.

After not weighing for two weeks I was a little nervous to step up on the scale this morning. There had been a bottle of wine and a pizza in the last two days, so I wasn't expecting much. But, to my surprise, I was down 0.6. Yes, it's the slowest rate of weight loss ever known to man. But a loss nonetheless. I also hit the 16-week mark today. A big deal for WW members. Now just 8.2 to reach goal. I'd really like to do that before we go to NYC in October. We'll see...


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thursday Food Journal

Breakfast: cereal: 3 points
soy milk: 1 point

Mid-morning snack: banana: 2 points

Lunch: SB wraps: 5 points
chips: 1 point

Afternoon snack: bagel and peanut butter: 5 points

Dinner: pizza: I don't even wanna talk about it.

TOTAL: Really. Let's not talk about it.

Steps: 5,018 at 8:02 p.m. More by day's end I'm sure.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wednesday: A Day off

I took today off of work. It was very nice, but it went very fast. I got up at my normal time -- like the dogs would ever let me sleep in. After walking them and seeing Cole off for work, I jumped in the shower, ate some breakfast and headed to Zilker Botanical Garden with the camera.

I spent about an hour wandering around the grounds and working up quite a sweat. I could hear kids running around, and I saw a couple at one point, but for the most part I felt like I had the place to myself. I even had a groundskeeper give me a lesson on beetles when I stopped to take pictures of a butterfly that was chowing down on a banana. There were beetles, wasps and gnats feasting on the banana, too. I can't remember what he called it, but he grabbed this silvery-green beetle in his bare hands and said that it was one of the prettiest they see in the garden. It had kind of a mother-of-pearl looking sheen and was about two inches long. Very pretty, for a bug. It flew out of his hands before I could snap a picture.

See all my pictures from the day if you're so inclined.

After leaving the garden and cranking the A/C in the car, I made quick stops at Target and PetsMart and then headed home. I ate lunch, watched a little TV, hit the grocery store, did some laundry and scrubbed the bathroom. All in all, my random day off was very relaxing and industrious at the same time.

I even kept my food on track... for the most part.

cereal: 3 points
soy milk: 1 point

Mid-morning snack: Dark chocolate mint Three Musketeers: 3 points
(super yummy, by the way)

Lunch: English muffin pizzas: 4 points
chips: 1 point
snack cakes: 1 point

Afternoon snack: pretzels: 2 points

Dinner: Hatch chile and chicken sausage: 5 points
Hatch chile scone: 4 points
green beans: 0 points

TOTAL: 24 points. Two too many. But the scone was totally worth it!!! Plus, I walked a good deal today.

Steps: 9,268. That will definitely go above 10,000 once we walk the dogs later. (Updated total: 11,026 by bedtime.)

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tuesday Food Journal

Breakfast: Smart Ones muffin: 4 points

Mid-morning snack: banana: 2 points

Lunch: quesadilla: 7 points
pretzels: 2 points
sugar-free pudding: 1 points

Afternoon snack: bagel and honey: 3 points

Dinner: filet: 5 points
roasted peppers: 1 point
snack cakes: 1 point

TOTAL: 26 points. Four too many. Today is just one of those days were I felt like I could graze all day long.

Steps: 8,882 as I push the publish button. (Update: 9,165 when I finally took it off.)


Monday, August 06, 2007

Don't Judge a Burger by Its Wrapper

So, so sad: Foods Tastes Better With McDonald's Logo, Kids Say. Sorry, you'll have to skip the annoying "welcome" screen, also known as a big, fat ad.

Carrots. They even said that carrots -- when wrapped in the familiar bright red and yellow wrapper -- tasted better than those without.

yogurt smoothie: 1 point
toasted mini-bagel and honey: 3 points

Mid-morning snack: banana: 2 points

Lunch: Chicken pasta: 7 points
fresh tomato: 0 points

Afternoon snack: trail mix: 3 points

Dinner: fajita salad: 6 points
Blue Bunny Health Smart ice cream bar: 0 points

TOTAL: 22 points on the dot.

Steps: 6,036 at the time of publication. Not too bad for never having left the neighborhood today. (Update: 6,335 total.)

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

It's Been a Week and I Should Be Blonde

I can't believe I let a whole week go by without journaling my food intake or griping about the scale. But tomorrow is a new day and a new week, and I need to start fresh. I didn't even weigh in on Saturday. I could use going to a wedding as my excuse, but the week before wasn't my best ever as far as eating goes, so I'll simply say: I didn't even weigh in on Saturday.

So, my goals this week are:
  1. To journal my food every day.
  2. To wear the pedometer every day and add the number -- however big or small -- to my journaling.
  3. To drink 68 ounces of water each day.
  4. To drink no more than one Diet Coke each day.
  5. To get back on my schedule and weigh Saturday morning at 9 a.m.
Oh, and here is an actual conversation that you could have overheard in Cole's truck today if you had been a fly riding with us. We enjoyed a late lunch at Tin Star and I asked him where we were going after we finished. He said we'd go get gas and wash the truck:

Me: "Are we gonna wash the truck at the gas station or at Aladdin?"

Cole: "Aladdin?!?"

10-second pause

Me: "HA!!! I mean Genie, not Aladdin!"

Cole shakes his head, laughs at me and calls me a genius.

10 minutes later, we're pulling into the gas station.

Cole: "Should we just go see how busy Genie is?"

Me: "Who's Jeanie?"

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