Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nostalgia: With a Twist

So, based off of that title, how many of you believe this will be a post about twister? all of you? well, you'd be wrong. WRONG!

No, what I will ruminate on tonight will be about habits when on vacation. Are you more of a lay low and enjoy room service type of person? or how about the need to see everything in this town to the point where I have everything planned down to the minute of what we will do type of person? Or maybe even the Eh, we'll figure it out when we get there type?

I fall somewhere between person B and person C. Shawn is more of a person A and C. And he won't even order room service. It's just more that he never wants to do the touristy thing. He finds it...what's the word?..Touristy.

Anyhow, I digress from the real point of this. Things you do while on vacation (sounds like a Family Feud theme doesn't it?).

Growing up, my mom would have these lists of things to complete every time we went on vacation. My dad had lists of every historical thing we were going to see (which is why our trip through Texas took longer than expected--he did not expect Historical markers every 10 miles), and my mom had lists of both things we were going to see/do and things that SHE had to see/do/eat. So like when we were in the south, she had to get her picture taken with a Magnolia tree, eat grits, and buy a doll dressed as Mamie from Gone with the Wind. Though to be fair, my dad will get in on the food some extent (a la when in New Orleans, you have to eat at Arnaud's and Cafe du Monde). But my mom seems to take it to extremes. Like she wanted to drink a mint julep when we were in New Orleans, and I'm sure if she could have figured a way to sit on a balcony with wrought iron at the same time, she would have. Ultimately, she ended up having a hurricane instead of a julep because she didn't realize that a julep is whiskey with muddled mint while I think a hurricane has delicious, delicious rum instead.

Somewhere along the line she stopped buying knick-knacky things and instead started buying Christmas Tree ornaments to commemorate the trip. And this is what has stayed with me. When I got older (college), she started buying Christmas Tree ornaments for me and my sister on each of our family trips. This made some sense since my sister and I each got an ornament from our aunt every year with the theory that by the time we moved out, we'd at least have 22 ornaments of our own to decorate a tree. And so, when I moved out, I continued buying ornaments on our vacations. In some cases, I've had to turn some very non-ornament things into ornaments (like the keychain from Las Vegas), but there is an ornament on the tree from every vacation. At some point after getting married, I also decided that I'd like to have a shirt from each vacation...which of course was busted in the first east coast vacation because I forgot my strapless bra at home and had to buy a freaking expensive one in Manchester, Vermont, so I have three shirts and one bra. I would normally have also started Shawn on this, but he says buying shirts is stupid. I don't know why he says that as he wears shirts he had when he was in high school which are threadbare, but whatever.

So, do any of you have things that you just HAVE to do or buy while on vacation?

Friday, February 26, 2010

So much

So much has actually happened in the last week. Not to me, personally, but big things were afoot.

First on Thursday there was the whole thing with the guy and the airplane and the IRS and the the firetrucks and the weewoo, weewoo, weewoo. and the fact that at work we were glued to the TV for 2 hours straight wondering if we should even be in our building, or you know, maybe going home.

Then I spent all day Saturday reading a book.

Sunday, Shawn and I went to MaBelle's house. There are pictures somewhere of Shawn and me with the kids (MaBelle and her brother, Meegle). I will get a copy of this picture and put it on my desk next to the computer so it will confuse the hell out of people when they come to my office. It will be glorious. Also, MaBelle decided it would be fun to call Shawn "Daddy" for a bit. IF there were any plans for kids in our future, they have officially been pushed back at least 5 years.

Monday...uh, Oh yeah! I ran hills. Fun. And came to the realization with the help of some coworkers that since our interns and temps are counted as 'half a person' for budgeting reasons, it effectively makes them worth less than slaves in 1860.

Tuesday it snowed. Actual SNOW in some places even. So once again, work was a bust because a) we were watching it snow, and b) they let us out early because it was snowing. Some good pictures can be seen here

On Wednesday I talked to my mom and laughed a lot because she said email was the new hip thing in 2001. (we were talking about social networking, texting, faceyspaces, twitter, and what have you). Also we at at Moonie's Burger House on Anderson Mill at 183. I liked it. I think we shall eat there again sometime. Though maybe not on Wednesday because it was packed...because of the live music.

Yesterday was once again boring.

Today I wore a skirt. with heels. and tights. I know, hell hath frozeth over.

Yep. I'm ready for another boring week, but Restaurant Week starts on Monday. And this year they're doing LUNCHES. I may have to broaden my culinary horizons.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

From the Archives

Quazi 12-30-2008

Ivy and Gray Kitteh

Last picture of Ivy before her feeding tube was taken out. It was taken out on Monday, so right now she's all nekkid while the hole heals. Yes, those are some glass sheets from our Window Replacement of '10 project...aka old windows. So, if anyone needs some sheets of glass, let me know.

Gray Kitteh! is "owned" by one of the neighbors...which is obviously why he spends more time in our yard. duh.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I have gotten to the point where I refuse to see myself less than fully clothed in front of a mirror. See, my metabolism has finally started to slow down and so now I've got a little pooch of a stomach. This doesn't bother me so much. The part that bothers me is that I can still see my ribs. So...ribs and a pooch. How does that work? So, the solution is to never be topless in front of a mirror. Ever.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Since Shawn and I are homebodies and he is anything but romantic (yeah, I dont know how this worked out--all through high school he gave all of his girlfriends flowers all the time, then we start dating in college, and I can count on one hand how many times he's given me flowers, gah), we decided that instead of going out on Valentines, we'd cook a nice meal at home.

Now then, I'm no slouch in the kitchen, oh sure, I can be lazy, but when the occasion calls for it, I can prove that I know my way around ingredients. Back in the day, my dad, sister and I would create a 4 or 5 course meal for my mom once a year. It required planning, team work and preparation. And we only had one day to do it since the whole goal was to surprise my mom on when we were doing it (by the time we were in college though, it was pretty obvious that it would be done sometime after New Year's but before we went back to school since that was the only time that we'd all be home together with nothing to do). Usually my dad would choose the Appetizer and Soup course, I'd choose the salad, and my sister and dad would choose dessert and we'd all throw in our ideas for the main course and what sides. The only rule seemed to be that everything had to be made by us, and other than dessert it had to come from some cook book, and we couldn't repeat recipes year to year. Except for the soup. Because it was the Colorado Cache French Onion Soup. After I started dating Shawn, I was invited to dinner with his parents one night but I couldn't make it because it conflicted with our 5 course meal night. When I told my now Mom-in-law about this, she sighed and said that her kids would never do that for her (which, well duh, Christina had already moved out and Shawn is somewhat hopeless in the kitchen especially when it comes to making more than a main dish with sides). So that year, I did a 5-course meal for Shawn's parents too. Of course, because there was really only Shawn and me and I felt bad about making him do work since he didn't really care, I did tone it down--slow cooker main course, chocolate chip cookies and ice cream for dessert, French Onion Soup for the soup course, my go-to salad, and the Texas Razzpotle dip for the app.

Anyhoo, since moving to Texas, I have tried to continue doing some nice meal thing every year. So far, it has normally ended up being on Veteran's Day since I had that day off and Shawn didn't. This year I had already pre-decided not to do a nice meal (which was a good thing since I ended up babysitting Ma-belle while her baby brother was born). Instead I figured I'd once again, make Shawn help and we'd do a nice meal on MLK day or President's day.

So I was somewhat surprised when Shawn said we should do the fancy meal on Valentine's day. He had a special request--Oso Bucco. I mean it WAS the reason I got a dutch oven for christmas 2 years ago and we still haven't made it. So Oso Bucco it was.

I used the recipe from America's Test Kitchen Restaurant Favorites cook book. I typed in the shopping list on my phone, we went to the store, and i tried to pull up the list while there. It didn't work because somehow I had been signed out of my gmail account while I was filling out the shopping list so it didn't save it. Yay! buying ingredients I never use from memory! somehow I managed to remember everything. $50 later we come home and put everything away. At 3pm I start dicing. Shawn starts dishes. Just as I'm finishing dicing, Shawn's finished enough dishes so I can start cooking. For the most part, everything goes okay. The only thing i screwed up was the peeling the potato in, I didn't. I don't know why this is the step I always forget. So whatever. non-peeled potato. it isn't like it will end up in the final product anyway (you fish out all the solids at the end of the cooking time and only keep the liquids and meat). The meat and vegetable filled dutch oven goes in the regular oven for 1.5 hours. During which I read my book (Catching Fire), instead of doing something useful, such as prepping the next batch of mirepoix . So the timer goes off and then I have to chop and dice like a madwoman to get everything back on schedule, and CRAP I haven't even thought of when to start the risotto! So Shawn is called in to help (which he was supposed to be doing anyhow). And is set to work smashing all the vegetables through a strainer while I make the stuffing for the Bucco and start the risotto. Ultimately Shawn starts telling me that he can't set the table because everything on it is mine (which is true), so i tell him he has to watch the risotto while I clean the table. Somehow everything manages to actually get done and finished at about the same time (other than I wanted to have some salad with the meal, which we didn't. psh, who needs green vegetables anyway?).

So, we sit down to eat and the risotto is kinda bland and then we bite into the Oso Bucco, and it's one of those things where the first couple bites are delicious...and then the next couple bites are kinda blah...and then by the end you're hoping that you can just finish because it doesn't taste good any more.

Final verdict: I think the whole going from great to 'just get this over with' was just something that was my issue since I think Shawn liked it the whole way through...maybe I had too much sugar, or something just wasn't right for me. But, we both felt that it was way too much work for the pay off. Only funny because Shawn did mashing, and stirring, while I was the one that did all the measuring and dicing and mixing and timing. Shawn even mentioned that the Oso Bucco at Trattoria Lisina was much better (which, at $50 for ingredients, it would have been cheaper to go to Trattoria Lisina), and if we ever tried this again, we would need to add more tomatoes and make the starch mashed potatoes instead of risotto. I think instead we'll go back to the chicken pot pie in the America's Test Kitchen Best Skillet Recipes, or with the Shepherd's pie in the Restaurant book. Both of those recipes also took some time, but it didn't seem to be as much time as this one took (two batches of mirepoix while the shepherd's pie only required one), and we like the flavor of those better.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

thank you for the awesome genes in regards to my teeth. I have always taken it for granted that my teeth are awesome. Dr. Nick always used to joke that he could never make any money off of me because there were no problems with my teeth. I always assumed that most people did not have major tooth problems. I have since learned that this is not the case. At lunch the other day I found out that 3 of the 4 coworkers I was eating with all have weak enamel and it is likely they will have an entire mouthful of fake teeth by the time they are 40. These coworkers are also all younger than me. I, knock on wood, do not have that problem and I can be pretty bad to my teeth before there are problems. So it seems the worst that I've gotten is the predisposition to gingivitis, which is preventable with flossing and Listerine. Much easier and cheaper to deal with than enamel that dissolves on contact with soda.

Love Much,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Befores I forgets

I noticed a sticker on the toilet paper dispenser/holder/whatever you want to call the thing at work today (okay, I really noticed it like eons ago, but totally kept forgetting to blog about it until recently). The sticker says "Protected by Microban" or something like that. The funny thing is that this sticker was only put on fairly recently (within the last 6 months) while the toilet paper dispenser has been there since I started working at the building (almost 5 years ago). So. What is Microban? It's supposedly some coating that makes it tougher for bacteria to adhere to the surface. But seeing as how they didn't to ANYTHING to the toilet paper dispenser, I'm thinking it's something that is sprayed on instead. So...why not just call it what it is--Lysol. Wait, it's probably not Lysol, it's probably generic Lysol. Generic Lysol called Microban.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


After having a conversation at work today in which we talked about "OMG! SURPRZE! Baby in ur pantz!" and whether people were "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob" (keeping in mind that the gender ratio was still 60-40 in favor of the guys), I decided that I would post about something most decidedly NOT silly.

And what is decidedly NOT silly is the fact that in regards to the Haiti earthquake and the relief efforts it seems as if some people are forgetting that children are not dogs. While they may be cute, and cuddly and fit well in a kennel; small children do not qualify as dogs and therefore you shouldn't just walk around a disaster-ravaged country picking up children all willy-nilly regardless of whether said children have parents who are still alive*. Children still qualify as people and perhaps, instead of transporting them out of the country (without the benefit of having a picture taken, being microchipped, and placed on a national website for the lost...wait, damn, that was the dogs!), one should attempt to help the country itself so that it may one day be able to take care of its own children. Besides, how big of a leap is it from "They're helping our children by taking them to a different country!" to "They're stealing our babies!"? And then where would we be? Somewhere not good. That's where.

*Oh great, now I have this silly scenario running through my head and it's totally like the scene in Old School where Vaughn, Wilson, and Farrell are 'kidnapping' the fraternity recruits and they go for the guy with his wife in the parking lot of the grocery store where they get the guy, then promise the wife that he'll be home before midnight and ultimately take all the snack foods that were just purchased, while this poor lady, who doesn't know what hit her, just stands there quietly freaking out.

Also, I read about the top brass in the military wanting to do away with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which I'm fine with, but are the people in the trenches okay with that? I mean it's been fairly recently that women have been allowed in the "trenches" and there are accounts of that not going so well (like here). Do I think that it's going to go any better with gays being allowed to be open about their sexual orientation? Not unless said person is a woman. I guess I could ask all the military and ex-military people I have as friends on facebook, but that would require work...and the assumption that those guys would actually respond (yeah, I'm sorely lacking on knowing any women in the military). But I do wonder...