iscribblings

Charting life's circuitous path


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Ode to Sparkles – Saying goodbye to a beloved car

Ode to Sparkles

Her bright lights lit our travels and our smiles.

We’ll ne’er forget her smooth ride and black wheels.

May your slumber be peaceful and your oil clean.

Goodbye, sweet aveo, our beautiful, wonderful machine!

Review: AutoNation Direct – Sell Your Car

Just before the stop sign that permanently checked our car into extinction, we had just been loving our aqua Aveo.  The bright little car had drawn appreciative looks and smiles as it scooted down to the shops and to work.  The car had never given us grief, even though others seemed determined to crash into us at every opportunity.  What was it about our bright, shiny color that attracted other cars to it like flies?   We remember the horror of the slowly reversing SUV in the grocery parking lot that dented our door, or cringe with phantom pain as the man smashed his door open into ours at a burger joint (they kindly paid for our meal, but it didn’t erase the small dent).  There were the scary icy spiels and the distracted teenagers ignoring stop signs.  Through it all, the trooper kept chugging.

Still, it got us where we needed with nary a squeak and we loved our car.  It was only the second car we had bought and it had a lot of memories.   We went on summer trips to renaissance fairs, attractions and to see family.  We traveled to nearby cities and carted our pets, flowers and groceries.  People would stop us and say “That sure is a nice car!  I love that color!” as we got out.

aveoUntil its timing belt pulley decided to break and suddenly there were no more sunny vacations in its future.  Now, it’s probably destined for the scrap yard.

And I can’t tell you how hard it was to let her go. :(

This happened in April and it wasn’t until a week ago that we finally got up the nerve to sell it. It sat for four months as we struggled with what to do.  Do we keep it and fix it for a cool $5k? Do we trade it in for another car and risk two car loans?  Do we sell it and deal with the hassle of a sale?

AutoNation

So, I looked around online for the answer (as you do) and found that various car sites will buy your car.  AutoTrader will hook you up with a dealer for an estimate and AutoNation Direct will give you an offer upfront.  We tried both, but while we tried to get our car to the dealer for AutoTrader, it didn’t work out.  The sandpaper-y sound from the brakes and the mysterious thumping (along with only running on 2 cylinders) seemed a bit iffy to take up the highway.  We decided to play it safe and take the AutoNation Direct’s offer of…

Are you ready for this?

$300  :|

Wow, right?  To us, the car was worth much more than that.  I had hoped for at least a $1000. :roll: Sure, it had been in a few accidents ( they knocked off $200 for the bad report), but it was in beautiful shape!  Sure, the engine needed replacing (and here’s where they knocked off the rest), but that wasn’t so bad.  Course, we couldn’t afford the cost of a new engine, but that didn’t mean it was worth just $300.  Poor thing. :oops:

While the offer arrived quickly (got it the night we submitted our info), the actual process of getting rid of the car was laborious.

Here’s the basic breakdown of working with AutoNation Direct to sell your car:

  1. Fill out their form with all of your details and the car’s nitty-gritty.
  2. Wait to receive offer, once received, accept or decline it.  They called us the next day and the day after asking us our decision. It was like we couldn’t get them to stop calling us. This did give the impression they were on top of things (especially since the offer expires after 10 days).
  3. Accept their offer by calling their number.  Then, if you happen to live in a large city but unfortunate enough not to live anywhere near their dealers, you wait.  And wait.  We waited for the guy to ask his boss (who was in a meeting) about what to do.  We called back the next day when no call came and then waited to hear from the dealer that was finally assigned to us (they had no clue what we were talking about and called AutoNation Direct who said they had given it to the wrong people).  Then we waited for the call from the correct dealer that we were promised would happen within 24hrs.  No call until 48 hours later to confirm that, yes, we did want to still sell it.  Then we waited again for the call on the day they were to pick up the car and drop off our check.
  4. Finally, you hand over your title, take your check and say a sad goodbye to your wonderful, beautiful car.

And after all that delay, they had the gall to knock off $4!  We were so tired of it by that point that we didn’t argue.  Just took the loss and moved on.

In all, while AutoNation  Direct does take your car and they do give you a check, the actual process was tedious.  Would we do it again? Not sure.  I suppose we might, but I think next time we’ll remember how it all went and we might go a different route.  We wish we had traded it in when we bought the new one, but that’s all over now.  I don’t know if the process is smoother if you happen to live next door to them.  I don’t know if you get more money if your car lacks major repairs.  Maybe our experience was hampered by living in a big city that they didn’t actively support.

I’d give the process a 3/5.  It got the job done, so no complaints there, but if you have other routes, maybe look into them first before you go with AutoNation Direct.  They aren’t bad, but they weren’t something to gush over, either.

aveo2

(All opinions are definitely mine and no, I wasn’t sponsored by any of the sites mentioned.)


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To Thine Own Self

I’m in my 30s.  I’ve gone from being the burrito eating couch potato teenager who hated to even walk across the parking lot let alone down the street, to a woman who’s realized that her body isn’t entirely her own.

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It doesn’t belong to someone else, either.  Apparently, it belongs to itself.  I only live off of it like a camper van with limited access parking on someone’s land.  I just take up residence and from time to time, stomp all over it, mow it, tidy it and generally live off of it.

And I had no idea what it was going through. :o

I still don’t, not really.  Yesterday, my mood decided to pack its bags for the south and I turned into a short tempered, upset and angry ball of sap.  I dripped malaise everywhere and brought our entire house down with me.  Had anything happened to make me mad?  No.  Everything was going really well and in fact, just hunky-dory!  But I was back to where I had been during the winter: verge of tears, shaky emotions and short of wick. :(

What I had done was eat dairy on Thursday.  For the first time in over two months, I had milk, cheese and butter.  I was expecting typical lactose intolerance reactions – bloated tummy, stomach pains, etc.  What I got instead, was a revisit of Winter Hell 2014.

pickles2I’m not 100% sure if the dairy caused my emotion spiral, but there are apparently a lot of people who have experienced the same thing.  I just never knew that something so inconspicuous could be so dramatic.  I’ll be giving the dairy thing a go again later in the month, but this time I’m going to pay attention to how I really feel.  If dairy does cause me to experience a mild depression for two days after eating it, trust me, it’s gone.

And that’s the funny thing about this whole elimination diet thing.

I never knew that I would be so sensitive to food.  When we reintroduced wheat/gluten last week, I had the most horrible stomach cramps.  I had to clutch my blue heated rice bag to my tummy all night to get to sleep.  The experience was so bad, that I don’t think I want to go through with it again, but we will at least once more to see if I react the same way with only a “bit” of gluten.

pickles3

How’s the hubby, you might ask?  He’s actually doing better than me and I was only doing this to go along with the ride!  We both felt bloated from the gluten, but the dairy hardly fazed him.  Except for a bit of tummy twinge, he did okay.  No headaches, no nothing, really.  Disappointing, since that would have given us at least something.

Then there’s me.  All in pain and with a shattered emotional well-being.

Go figure.  :roll:

And you know what really upsets me about all of this?  It isn’t that I might have to be gluten and dairy free for the rest of my life.  Sure, it’s a bit of a social pain to be the dreaded triad of any guest list (no, sorry, I can’t eat that bread with butter or the steak you lovingly prepared…).  But that’s not really all that bad.  What’s really bad is that I didn’t even have a clue that the food was doing all of this damage to my body and all the while it was just trying to do its best.  The poor thing had to deal with the constant barrage of gluten and dairy and I was ignoring all of it.  :'( Just thinking about all of the stress it had to go through when I was a teenager makes me want to cry.

Well, not any more.  I’m going to be better at helping my body be the best.  I’m going to try to listen to it more carefully and not ignore the subtle shouts to “just stop it!” it sends my way.  Try is the key word here.  I’m nowhere as in tune with my body as I ought to be.  But at least I’ll stop to listen. I think it deserves at least that. :)

picklesHere’s a recipe for pickles that’s easy and delicious.  I tweaked it slightly from the Flour, too cookbook.  They’re amazing on salads, sandwiches and on their own.  Both slightly sweet and tangy, they fit the bill for complex flavors.  Oh, and those croutons poking out behind my spinach leaf?  Ian’s Gluten Free Italian Croutons. They’re so delicious that I plan to buy them regardless of whether we’re gluten or dairy intolerant.

Pickles

Ingredients

  • 4 English cucumbers (or homegrown cucumbers that are at least 6 inches in length)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp Ball Dill Pickle spice (or your own pickling spice, if you have some)
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

Directions

  1. Slice cucumbers about 1/4 in thick and place in a large container with a tight lid.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and vinegar and heat on medium until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Remove pan from heat and add all of the spices.  Pour over cucumbers and let cool to room temperature before you refrigerate.


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Gluten Free Lemon Chia seed muffins

lemonpoppy

Some things about elimination diets that you should know:

  • You might find that you haven’t eliminated enough.  *sighs*  We’re 7 weeks into our elimination diet and the hubby has added soy and chocolate to his list.  The headaches, while not worse, aren’t really better so we’re taking out a few more possible culprits.  It was always a possibility that dairy and gluten weren’t the sole offenders, but it’s even more restrictive with the addition of soy.  Chocolate is easy to spot (although a LOT more painful to give up – bye, bye chocolate chip cookies!), but soy is sneakier (especially if you’re wanting to eat out).  Still, we’re fighting the good fight and it’s another 2 weeks before we start to reintroduce foods slowly to see how we react.
gokusen-the-movie-screenshot

Fight-O!

  • Everyone will think you’re crazy and they’ll ALL tell you (or give you “the look”). o_O Some might even make tasteless jokes about not being able to eat anything and starving to death.  Ha.  Ha.  Others might give you their horror stories of not eating such and such or give you dietary advice. In fact, be prepared to be looked at like wierdos for trying to do something about your health.  Only those that have gone through it are supportive about your endeavors and everyone else will continue to ask you if you can eat cake when you’ve expressly said no.  Again.

Then there are the wait staff who ask you if it’s a “real allergy” or if it’s, and here they trail off.  As if it’s something they can’t even bring themselves to mention.  Personal choice.  Diet.  Fad.  Or, in other words, just weird.  Maybe I’m being too sensitive but I’d like to think that it doesn’t really matter whether I’m “actually” allergic or doing this for my own good – the food should be prepared with the utmost care.   So far we’ve explained that we’re trying to determine if we are allergic and everyone smiles and walks away with our order.  Call me paranoid, but I don’t trust those smiles.

zsofi

Eating on the wild side.

  • Food will become a joy again.  You’ll get yourself out of that cooking rut of recipes and suddenly you’re making quinoa with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes or gluten free moussaka for dinner and loving every nutritious bite.  Food hasn’t been this varied since I overhauled my diet years ago to combat my cholesterol.   I’m cooking a LOT more than I used to, but it’s all been so delicious and we’ve both enjoyed our meals.  I feel so much more freedom now than before.  And that’s odd because you’d think it’d be the opposite.  You know, like how everyone keeps reminding me.  :roll:

lemonpoppy2

Here’s a recipe for Gluten Free Lemon Chia Seed Muffins I made today.  They have a great crumb, they’re moist and the chia seeds do an excellent job of subbing for poppy.  We didn’t notice a difference and we loved them paired with the bright lemon.

I used a homemade flour blend that consisted of:

  • 700 g Brown Rice Flour
  • 250 g Potato starch
  • 50 g Tapioca starch

The blend worked really well in this recipe, but go ahead and try any gluten free flour you have on hand.

Gluten Free Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

(Notes:  Some measurements are in grams since I found it easier to do my tweaking with the weights rather than with tablespoons.  Original recipe was for Orange Poppy seed mini muffins in the William-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book.  I tweaked it so much that it hardly resembles the original.)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 280 g gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1/2 cup splenda
  • 25 g vegan butter + 65 g applesauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line 12 cup muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs until blended.  Add sugars, butter, applesauce, and milk and stir until mixed.
  3. In another bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  4. Pour dry into the liquids bowl and mix carefully – when dry is almost incorporated into the wet, add chia seeds and mix until incorporated.
  5. Spoon into muffin tin, bake for 15 minutes.  Turn out onto a cooling rack and drizzle with icing made from powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Cool and munch.  :)

 

 

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