The Good, the Bad and the Grinchy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I know my posts have been few and far between, and I guess it's because life has really gotten away from me lately. I've been so busy between Thanksgiving, which I love and now Christmas, which for this year, not so much.

Let's start with Thanksgiving... It went great this year. I had my whole second family over (bestie, her daughter, mom, dad, and grandma) and we went to town. Tate smoked our huge turkey that his boss had bought him, then he also bar-b-qued a duck. Both turned out excellent. I made stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry-pineapple sauce, roasted green beans with garlic, and Tate made a TON of different breads from rolls in jars to loaves of Irish soda bread and much more. My auntie brought corn casserole and we were set! Everyone dug in and ate themselves sick. It was wonderful! There was good wine, fun conversation and it was a night that I will treasure. My bestie and her daughter were staying the night, so after dinner we all plopped down in the living room until there was that slight bit of room for desert. I had made caramel apple pie and my bestie made some awesome baklava. Oh the gluttony! The rest of the night was spent drinking, laughing and having one of the best Thanksgivings ever. After growing up not enjoying this holiday at all, I am very grateful for being able to host it at my house and invite people who I know will enjoy it as much as we do and just be able to relax and have a good time.

The table all set and ready for a good time. :)

The food!!!

My plate, ready to be dug into. YUM!

Tate enjoying his turkey leg Elizabethan style. LOL

The aftermath, too full to move.

With Thanksgiving finished, it was time to start to focus on Christmas, but all I wanted to do was go back and do Thanksgiving again. I knew this year was going to be hard, but I don't think I had (or have) dealt with it. This is the first Christmas in my 38 years of being on this planet that I won't be sharing it with my parents. We are going through some issues right now and it just didn't seem right to spend the holiday either fighting or pretending all was well. All of this has left me with no Christmas spirit at all, unfortunately. I have managed to get lights on the house with help of one of our neighbors, I have turned the mudroom into an homage to the movie Elf with paper snowflakes and paper chains everywhere. It really does look pretty great. I've gotten all of the Christmas decorations up, picked up the tree, Tate helped get it in the stand, then I put the lights on it. I still need to finish decorating the tree, but I've gotten all of this done and still could basically care less. I feel horrible about this. I want to be happy for Christmas. I normally love Christmas and watch all the movies, listen to Christmas music non-stop, and do everything I can to bring cheer to those around me, but this year I feel like the Grinch. I'm waiting for a bunch of Whos to start singing and make my heart grow three sizes in one day. LOL!

We are hosting a Christmas party on Saturday and all I feel is the stress of having to get everything done for it. Tate was supposed to help on his days off, but ended up not feeling well after his dentist appointment (a reaction from the novacain) and I'm the one left to get everything done. Luckily we are doing a potluck, but we still want to have some stuff for our guests. Not to mention the house needs to be cleaned, dog beds washed, tree decorated, table cleaned, errands run, yada, yada, yada. Maybe I need some St. John's Wort to get me through these grumps. I need something because all I want to do is go home and be with the hubby and leave the world behind. Oh sigh... Well, I will update with party pics and how everything went. Hopefully this will kick start me into being in a better mood for the holidays. I'm off now for my office holiday party, yeah, not looking forward to it, but I'll put on my happy face and make nice with others. Sorry for the Grinchy post, but I tried to warn ya! :~D

What a day!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Yesterday ended up being one hell of an emotional day for me. My best friend had asked me to come over to her house for some emotional support because she had to put her beloved dog down. Miss Landrey Mars was our first baby. Emiley got her when we were living together in Sacramento in an apartment and we spent the next year raising her together. From walks and runs in the field across the street, to taking her to obedience classes, we did it all. Emiley and I split ways and had some differences, but in the last few years we have pulled our heads out of our butts and gotten back to where we left things. As best friends, so when she called and needed me I was there.

I took off a half day at work to head over to house and be with her. Poor Landrey has been suffering from cancer for a few months and her cheek was very swollen, she didn't want to move or do anything. She even smelled like rotting flesh. Luckily, Em's vet was wonderful and came to the house making it an even more special moment. She was very respectful and reassured us that it was the best thing to do and the final gift to her for all that she had given us. We said our goodbyes and Emiley held her paw as the vet gave her a sedative to make her go to sleep, then she gave her the final injection. She was very peaceful and finally pain free. We cried, and hugged and felt the emotions we were supposed to, but did not feel bad about the decision that was made. Emiley did what was best for a dog that had lived much longer than she should have. At 14 years old, not many mastiff/rottweilers are still around and we were grateful for that extra time. I was happy I was able to be there and share the moment with them and say goodbye to one of the best dogs I have ever had the pleasure of being with. Landrey Mars, you will be missed but you will be remembered for a very, very long time.

Pirate Halloween Fun

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friends of ours spend weeks working on their pirate theme display for their front yard for Halloween and this year they asked Tate to play a part for the display. They wanted him to come over, dress up as a pirate and film some cute little jokes that would be projected as part of the Halloween extravaganza. So, Friday night we headed out to their house, had some yummy tiki drinks and filmed Tate doing his pirate gig. He did a great job and created a character all his own. I was also able to give Cap'n Sal the apron that I had embroidered with pirate goodness to her. I had spent quite a while on this apron and it turned out so awesome and she loved it!

The next night, we headed back to their place for their Halloween party and Mark was still setting up the last of the decorations including the projection of pirate Tate, but Sal was already in her pirate gear, so I made sure to get a picture of her in her pirate gear wearing the pirate apron. So much piraty goodness I just couldn't handle it. We had such a fun time hanging out watching everything come to life in the front yard. There are pirate skeletons everywhere, treasure chests, cannons, talking skeletons, the house is on fire, there are multiple fog machines, fireflies in the trees and the skeleton ship captain is in front of a stormy sea. Finally later in the evening, pirate Tate came to life and we saw him projected onto a screen and could hear his silly pirate jokes, it was so awesome to see it come to life. I told them this is what happens when you have a pirate that is also an IT/AV geek. Wonderful things come to life. The rest of the evening was filled with fun conversation, a super strong zombie drink, and good old fashioned fun. Thanks Mark and Sal for a wonderful pirate experience and adding Tate into your amazing Halloween display.

Just Pulled it Outta My A$$

Thursday, October 21, 2010

With the Fall weather finally starting to settle in a bit here, I've been craving comfort food and what is one of the best Fall/Winter comfort foods? Yes, that's right kids, soup. I decided yesterday would be a great time to make some soup, but with our pantry on the bare side, I wasn't too sure what to make. I did remember that we had some left over butternut squash in the freezer from last year's pumpkin picking fest and they had been lovingly roasted by me and properly portioned into bags, so I had husband pull a couple bags out of the freezer so they would be thawed out by the time I got home.

Life has had it's ups and downs lately, and yesterday was definitely a down. It could be that the full moon is coming and since I'm so emotionally connected to the cycle of the moon, I could be feeling the affects, but whatever it is, I was cranky yesterday. I guess it also doesn't help that I have somehow lost my friend at work. She stopped talking to me over the last few months making working in the same department somewhat awkward and stressful so that didn't help my mood either and by the time I got home I just wanted to crawl into bed with a bottle of wine. But there was soup to make.

Husband had the day off and had ended it by making some breads (banana, cranberry, nectarine - not sure about this one??) so as he finished up I got to work on my soup. I knew I wanted a smooth pureed soup with lots of bold roasty caramel flavors and knew I had little to work with. I cut up the squash and threw it in the pot with some butter and let it go to town in there, then I threw in some left over turkey stock and a container of veggie stock and let it come to a boil. While I was waiting for the soup to boil, I sliced up a couple red onions (because that's all we had) really fine and put them in a pan with more butter and let them sauté until they were caramelized like you would for French onion soup. When the soup had come to a boil and everything was coming along nicely, I got out my handy-dandy stick blender and pureed the soup down to it's creamy goodness. I love that stick blender, it really is the best and makes soups like this a snap. Once the soup was the consistency I wanted it, I put it back on the stove and added my seasoning; 21 seasoning salute from Trader Joes, garlic powder, lots of pepper. That was it, nothing else because I knew the punch was coming with the onions. Speaking of onions, they were browning up nicely and smelling fabulous. Finally reaching their caramel color goodness, I put the onions in the pot of soup, did some final seasoning and let it sit and simmer for about 20 minutes to make sure all that onion flavor just melted into the soup.

I served it simply with a little parmesean on top and it was heaven. Just what I had wanted and had envisioned, creamy, caramel, a little burnt, touch of pepper and just plain good. I love it when a plan comes together and what you pull out of your brain actually works the way you had thought it would. It doesn't happen too often, but I'm finding the more I cook and understand how ingredients work and change under manipulation, the better it gets. By the end of the evening after a satisfying bowl of my soup I was feeling much better. The cranky-ness had left the building to be replaced with the satisfied feeling of a job well done and an idea come to life. So to all of you, I say, keep trying those ideas and if it doesn't turn out like you wanted, try again and keep cooking!

First Anniversary Fun

Monday, October 18, 2010

This weekend marked the first anniversary for my husband and I.  People normally think we've been married longer than we have by the way we are together and I take that as a complement to our relationship.  We are open and honest with each other, but also make sure to take into account the other's feelings when decisions are made.  Everything about our relationship has come naturally to us (with some bumps in the road) and we recognize what a gift something like this is.

Being on a tight budget we didn't really get a honeymoon in the traditional sense and this was no different.  As members of a wine club at Jodar Winery up at Apple Hill, we have found little day trips up there bring a lot of joy, fun and some form of escape from the valley.  When they announced they were going to have a pasta dinner paired with their wines the weekend of our anniversary I thought that was perfect and so did hubby!  We got married at a winery, so why not celebrate the anniversary at one too!

We woke up Saturday morning slowly, but knowing it was going to be a special day.  Our official anniversary date wasn't until the 17th, but it didn't matter to us.  Tate begged for Eggie's for breakfast, and knowing how yummy their food is, I couldn't deny, so we hauled our behinds out of bed and got our acts in gear.  We filled our guts at Eggie's with, what else, eggs!  After breakfast, we headed over to Home Depot to exchange a toilet seat gone wrong, and ended up picking up a couple other things and actually agreeing on paint colors for the bedroom, but that's another post for another time.  After errands at the 'Po, we stopped at Thrift Town for some thrifty fun, and boy did we have some!  Tate found a vintage nut chopper that I have been wanting in pristine condition for $2, then I found a rad tiki cup for my friends Mark & Sal for a whopping $0.49, then Tate came walking up with a huge country style rooster clock that is perfect for Emiley's kitchen.  Great condition and only $8!  Yes, that's right, $8 for a normally $25-$30 clock, I <3 Thrift Town.

When we got home, we decided it would be fun to take the dogs out to Folsom Lake, so we got our stuff and loaded them into the car for an afternoon of fun. We found a nice spot with not too many people around and let the dogs loose. Buddy and Woody had a blast! They took off like a cannon getting their zoomies on running all over the place. Anytime they got a little too far, we would call them back and they would come a runnin'. Woody soon discovered the water and that was it for him, he had found his joy. He and Buddy spent a good hour playing in the water with Woody fetching sticks Tate would throw deep into the water. Woody would swim out to get them and look like a little otter coming back with his stick. He loved it! Buddy wasn't too keen on the swimming part, but liked to play in the water, and per usual, Maggie wanted no part of the water but had to voice her opinion about it the whole time by whining. I think she was upset that she didn't want to be in the water with the boys playing, but she wanted to play with them. I did catch her actually getting her toes wet toward the end of the trip and I think given enough exposure, she may someday go in voluntarily. Until then, I'm sure she will just watch from the side.

Once Woody started slowing down and showing that he was tuckered out from all the swimming, we decided to call it a day and head back home. We still had to get cleaned up and head up the hill for our dinner at the winery. The dogs all but passed out in the car on the way home they were so exhausted from their fun at the lake, so there was no hard feelings about leaving them in their kennels for the evening. I knew they would just snooze the night away and have happy doggy dreams of running and playing on a lake shore.

Our dinner at Jodar was just what we expected it to be. Wonderful. We had some good conversation with people we met there, the food was yummy and you can't say anything bad about the wine! Sue even remembered it was our anniversary and gave us an extra dessert for us with a little candle in it and our table sang us "Happy Anniversary." It was really cute and made the night a little more special. We left the winery about 9:30p to head down the hill and I was zonked. It had been a marathon of a day, but so much fun. By the time we got home, I was fast asleep within 15 minutes and had my own dreams of doggies on the lake and wine in the hills.

Sunday was our official anniversary and we had thought about heading up to Cooper Vineyards where we got married just to do something special, however, the day was dreary and rainy and called for snuggling on the couch and doing nothing what-so-ever, so that is what we did. We spent the day cuddled underneath blankets and dogs watching movies with cold air coming in from outside and loving every moment of it. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend and as I told my husband, I love him more now than I did a year ago when I said "I do."

OMG Roller Derby!

Monday, October 4, 2010

I've written a couple times about my love for roller derby.  To be honest, if I was a bit younger and lighter with knees that weren't so jacked up I'd be a skater, but my damaged body is just not up to it so I sit on the sidelines and watch in awe.  This weekend was the WFTDA (Women's Flat Track Derby Association) Western Regional  Championship held at Memorial auditorium here in Sacramento hosted by our own Sacred City Derby Girls.  Sacred placed 10th in the region and was able to be in the tournament so that made it even better, not to mention that roller derby has not been held at the Memorial Auditorium in probably 20+ years so that was pretty cool as well.  As a fan of Sacred and knowing that this historic event was going to be going on I quickly answered the call for volunteers to work the event to get in for free.  I spent Friday and Saturday getting up very early for my days off and lugging water, sodas, ice, etc. around just to be able to watch roller derby history in the making.  I found muscles I didn't know I had, sweat a ton, learned a lot about pack strategy and fell in love with some skaters that I had the honor to watch both win and lose.

Sunday was my day to stay at home and do chores that had been screaming at me to be done.  There were dishes piling up in the sink, laundry laying on the floor in the laundry room and overall messiness to be dealt with. But there was also the finals going on so I ordered the HD live stream of the tournament that day.  I hooked up my little computer to the big tv and let it play so I could be a good wife and get my chores done, but also get my derby fix for the day.  I couldn't miss Sacred battling it out against Duke City to get 9th place, and for Rat City's epic fight against Denver.  BTW, I'm now a die hard fan of Anya Heels of Rat City and want to travel to Seattle to watch her skate as much as possible.  She is amazing!  But wait!  BAD Girls are going up against Rose City Rollers to see who will go to the finals in Chicago.  In the end Bay Area takes it and are going to Nationals!!  The remaining bout was Oly Rollers vs. Rocky Mountain and it was a back and forth battle for points.  Skill against skill, pack play getting adjusted by each team often for Rocky Mountain Roller Girls to take the win against the undefeated Oly Rollers!  Talk about an historic weekend!

 B.A.D. Girls lining up against Rocky Mountain on Saturday.  They really gave it their all, but RMRG took it in the end.

During the half as the next team warms up, there were a lot of fast paced derby girls on the track.

My badge that got me back stage and anywhere else I wanted during the tournament.  I kept this bad boy as a souvenir.

In the end, the dishes were done, laundry washed and put away, bathroom cleaned and I did a whole lot of knitting on husband's scarf.  Also, I now have access to all the bouts on Sunday for the next 90 days if I want to watch any of them over again, which I just might.  Who wants to come over for a viewing party??

Comfort Food for Fall

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I know a lot of you think of comfort food for the Fall as soups, stews, casseroles or something along those lines. Well, my favorite Fall-time comfort food is a soupy mix of tomatoes, chilies, jalapeños, onions, garlic and refried beans all rolled into a tortilla and covered in cheese and lettuce.

Growing up, my mom wasn't the best of cooks and to this day I think she still has a fear of food.  She was always telling me just to try new things, but she's of the breed that is to do as I say not as I do.  This is a woman who thinks garlic and potatoes have no place being together.  HUH???  Yes, you heard me right.  She thinks garlic fries or garlic mashed potatoes are disgusting.  Maybe that's why I have turned into such a foodie; I'm exploring all of these items that were never even mentioned in our house growing up.  Anyhoot, back to my story.  Every Halloween as we were kids, we would go out trick-or-treating with our friends and the parents would stay at the house cooking up dinner.  Yes, this is back in the day where you could let your kids run around after dark knocking on people's doors and not worry that they were going to be taken or even worse.  When all of us kids would get back with our loot, there would be a big pan full of "green burritos" and we would have to eat a real dinner before we could dive into our candy for the inevitable sugar high.  Now, other than the lettuce that is placed on top, this concoction is nowhere near green in color so I'm not sure where it got it's name or how it came to be, but it's warm, spicy and just plain good.

Every year as the seasons change and the weather gets that little Fall nip in the air I start to crave these burritos.  Once again, I was fooled by my mother.  Since we only had them once a year, I thought they must be hard to make and take forever and that's why we never had them.  But, no, they are relatively easy to make and quite an easy weeknight dinner and given I don't eat too much beef, I make mine vegetarian so they're even that much more simple.  As I stated, I have been craving these and so last night after work knowing that I had to go to the store because we were down to almost nothing in the kitchen that could be called food I decided tonight was the night to make my Fall treat.  Knowing that I was short on cash and short on pretty much everything I headed to our local 99cent store where I knew I could find almost everything I needed along with fruits and veggies for the week.  I love that place!  It's not the best produce in the world, but when your budget's tight you can still get fresh items and eat well very cheaply.

Shopping done, I was able to find everything I needed plus some extra food for lunches and such for the week and headed home to comfort food land.  I had several obstacles in my way before I could start to dive into my burritos:

  • Dogs let out of their crates and into backyard - check
  • Set up guinea pig play area in living room for piggies to play - check
  • Clean guinea pig cage and re-fill with new bedding - check
  • Give kitties some love and playtime out in the front yard - check
  • Clean kitchen and do dishes left over from lazy Sunday - check
Now I was ready to cook!  I've discovered instead of just throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot or pan and getting dinner together as fast as I can, I'm enjoying the whole process of it.  I got all of my ingredients out and set them up on my cutting board, got my pan out added a bit of oil and started chopping my onion then added it to the pan to begin to sweat.  I next went to my garlic and pealed a couple cloves, chopped them up and added them to the pan with a can of roasted green chilies.  I chopped up some jalapeño peppers added them to the mix and then my large can of tomatoes.  Once everything was bubbling along I added a can of cream of celery soup.  Not sure what this does to the mix other than thicken it up a bit, but it seems to work.  At this point in the process, my mixture looks like a big pan-full of vomit.  I kid you not.  Don't be discouraged, just keep on going.  After bringing to a boil and letting it simmer for a bit I added a can of refried beans and mixed those in real well.  While the beans were doing their magic in the mixture, I chopped up some more onion, sliced some cabbage I had on hand real thin and grated a bit of cheese.  Now I was ready to assemble!  I heated up a flour tortilla on top of my gas burner then filled it with my green burrito goodness, added some onion, cheese and cabbage then rolled it up.  It then gets topped with more sauce, little more onion and a dollop of sour cream.  I grabbed a Negra Modelo and went to town!  Oh it was good!  Just what I had been craving and wanted.  Just as I sat down, husband was home earlier than expected and was able to enjoy a burrito as well declaring they were "awesome!"

In summary,
  • Fall comfort food - check
  • Happy piggies playing on the floor - check
  • Clean kitchen - check
  • Clean guinea pig cage - check
  • Dogs running amok in the backyard - check
  • Happy husband home to good meal - check
My day is complete and I can now rest...

Wordless Wednesday brought to you by Budrick Joseph

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Friday, September 10, 2010

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a huge fan of pork. I don't like bacon, pork chops, ham, and most pork products. Well, the one huge caveat to that statement is if said pork is thrown on a smoker for hours upon hours until it is tender, smoky and wonderful I love it!

Last Friday I decided to try my hand at doing pulled pork. I've smoked some ribs (with husband's instructions) and they have turned out pretty good so I thought I'd give it a shot. How hard could it be?? Actually, it wasn't too bad. With very little money in hand on Friday I set off early in the morning to hunt me down some meat. I found a nice 8lb pork shoulder for less than $15, then headed over to the 99cent store for some cheap buns and sauce that I could doctor up to make better. Once I got home I got to work on the whole "process." I cleaned out the smoker from its last use and got it started so it would heat up and be ready to go when I was done with the meat. I then pulled all my ingredients for the rub: brown sugar, cumin, garlic, pepper, cayenne, onion powder and a couple other items to make it extra yummy. After I had the rub the way I wanted it, the meat got slathered in the rubby goodness and dropped onto the smoker for a nice long smoke.

The meat officially hit the grill about 10:30am and I thought that would be plenty of time to smoke since husband didn't get off work until 6p and usually home around 7p. Plenty of time, right? Uh, wrong. Of course, had I done my research before hand, I would have known that it takes anywhere between 10 - 15 hours to properly smoke a pork shoulder but that did not stop me from my goal. I went along with my day doing some other chores, but kept an eye on my meat and added my wood chips as needed. Toward the end of the day I noticed that it was starting to look a little dry, so I looked up what the professionals do to avoid this and created my own mop sauce using some apple cider vinegar, oil and some of the rub whisked in. I mopped the shoulder down and it looked just beautiful. Husband called and wanted to be picked up from work that day, so I headed out around 5:30p to pick him up. I left the pork on the smoker to continue to do it's thing until we got back.

I had told Tate that I was going to have a surprise for him for dinner that day, but didn't give him any clues as to what it was. When he got in the car, he immediately wanted to know what his surprise was. Being the deceiving girl that I am, I made him think that I didn't do it today because I didn't feel like it. I told him as a consolation I would take him to Beto's for dinner. He was bummed, but agreed, so back home we went. I told him I needed to stop back at the house first before we went to dinner. We got out of the car and, of course, he automatically smelled the smoke. "Someone's smoking something good." I played it off as that I couldn't smell it. ;~) As I went inside to stall, he was bouncing around the house raring to go to dinner, so I told him, "oh, by the way, could you check on the pork shoulder I have smoking in the backyard?" I think I got him pretty good! He was plenty pleased that I had done that, however, I fessed up that I didn't think it would be done for dinner.

I decided about 7pm to pull the shoulder from the smoker and see how it was doing. It looked great, but not quite pull apart tender. We decided to throw it into the oven at about 275 for a couple hours and just let it melt apart. By this time it had plenty of smoke flavor so once covered with foil it would be fine. We ended up getting Beto's for dinner anyway, but after an additional 3.5 hours in the oven and just sitting there all night I was able to pull the shoulder apart beautifully the next morning.

As you can see, we got plenty of meat off of that 8lb shoulder and Tate made stock from the remaining bone, skin and juices.  I spent most of the day on Monday canning the stock after it had boiled most all day Saturday and been cooled on Sunday.  My pressure canner and I are still getting to know each other, but I'm happy with the results of 5 beautiful quarts of smoked pork stock.  Baked beans here we come!

The pulled pork sandwiches we made turned out amazing and once I doctored the cheap sauce, it was even better!  Not too bad for $15 and a couple days work.  :~)

Happy Eating!

Well, I'm no Rembrant, but not too bad!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I did my first attempt at painting today and it turned out great! As the blog states, I'm fascinated with pineapples and crabs. There is just something about both of them, and I needed them together in a painting, so I did it.

Husband is the artist of the family. Our house is filled with his artwork and the fact that it seems so organic for him always put me off, but I wanted this. I headed into the studio today knowing that husband was going to be stuck in the kitchen juicing a giant bucket of grapes to make wine and I wanted something to do to be near him but still keeping busy. I suppose I could have sat in the kitchen with my knitting or embroidery, but today seemed like the day to get my paint on. I found a great canvas that we had that was oddly shaped, grabbed the acrylics and brushes and set up shop at the dining room table.

After several questions to the "professional" in the next room, I got started on painting the background and blending away. It was a learning experience and is no where near perfect, but every time I look at it I like it that much better. It's bright and cheerful and brings a smile to my face. It now proudly hangs in my pineapple and crab infused kitchen to make the theme complete. Someday when the remodel is done with our kitchen, this painting will be center stage and the true inspiration that I want it to be. Now, look to your right of this page and you will be able to see my masterwork in it's full glory. Not too bad, huh?

Bestie's Birthday Bash

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My best friend put in her request for her birthday dinner about two months ago. She wanted the Italian feast that we did for her last year. A dinner of appetizers and all super fresh and super good. How could I say no to this? Well, I couldn't.

I had to be in LA this week from Saturday to Tuesday for work and I knew that if I didn't have any time off I would not be able to get this meal finished so I took Friday off. It was a good thing too because husband ended up getting Thursday and Friday off instead of his normal Friday and Saturday. This meant that I would have to do all of the cooking on my own on Saturday, but he could help me clean on Friday, so that's what we did. We did our shopping Thursday night and got everything we would need for the dinner and the breakfast I promised to make the next morning since she and her daughter would be staying the night.

Friday morning we got up and started to get to work. Our house was a mess! With the backyard destroyed from our plumbing disaster, the house is nothing but a dust collector for whenever the dogs come in and out of the house. We cleaned, dusted, moved furniture and organized crap that gets dropped off in a rush to do something else. Once the house was shining, we got to work on prep cooking. I baked the chocolate cake for dessert, Tate made foccacia and pesto and I made the bana calda. By the end of the day we were exhausted but well prepared for the next day.

Saturday morning came and Tate had to be off to work and I had some cooking to do. On the menu was Linguine with a tomato, mushroom and zucchini sauce, fusili with pesto, grilled shrimp in a lemon, basil and garlic marinade, caprese salad and a tomato, avocado and shrimp salad. I got to work on the tomato sauce because I knew it would have to simmer for hours to be real good. Once the sauce was cooking, I worked on getting the table set for everyone, toasting some sliced baguettes and general set up. I was ahead of schedule and things were looking good. As the day went on, I had my tomato, avocado and shrimp salad made and the caprese salad ready to go.

Around 3 o'clock I decided to finally jump in the shower and get cleaned up before the "final push" for dinner. Stepping out of the shower, I had the music blasting and was in my own world when I saw a shadow moving in the dining room. The dogs were outside and Tate wasn't due back until after 5p. "Hello?" I called out to the mystery shadow and the next thing I knew around the corner comes a laughing husband to my shock and awe. He was tickled because he scared the crap out of me. If I wasn't so happy to see him I would have killed him!!

The food was done, the table was set and I just needed the guests to arrive. Around 6pm everyone showed up. Emiley and her daughter Kelsey, and Emiley's parents Patty and Larry. It was now time to drop the pasta in the water and grill up the shrimp. The final rush was on, I was starving and my blood sugar was low from working hard all day and not eating too much so needless to say I got a little snappy at Tate when he didn't move fast enough for me in the kitchen and left me waiting. After everything was said and done, we were able to sit down to an amazing dinner. I really out did myself and we ate like kings.

Here are pictures from the dinner and the dish towels that I embroidered for her.

The next morning after a late night of lots of wine, fun movies and girl time I got up to make breakfast for everyone. I had promised to make candied bacon for Emiley and Tate since they are buddies in bacon. They both love it where I am not such a fan, but since it was for her birthday, I went ahead and did it.

Taking all of my knowledge from the many hours of food tv I have watched, I whipped up a batch of candied bacon, scrambled eggs with mushrooms and fruit salad. I got everyone up and they staggered to the table. We all sat there bleary eyed and ate our breakfast. I was told the candied bacon was evil and the best thing ever, so I figured mission accomplished! After breakfast, Tate got ready and headed off to work for the day, Emiley went back to bed and I took my coffee to the kitchen to start to tackle the never ending pile of dishes that had been created.

Em and Kels left about an hour ago and I still have dishes calling my name, but the last round is still drying on the rack so they will have to wait. We had a great time and I can't wait to do it all again!

Mi Vida Loca

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life has been fairly crazy and hectic lately between work, home, and play we're trying to do it all and I don't think it's quite fitting in.

 Saturday was one of the busiest days we've had in a long while. I was able to get the husband up and out of bed by 9am to go for a short bike ride before we headed up to Apple Hill for the Port release at Jodar Winery. We also stopped at Jack Russell Brewery so Tate could fill up his growler with something yummy but then had to book it back down the hill to go to a birthday party at Incredible John's Pizza in Roseville for my girlfriend's daughter. Neither of us had ever been there and were so overwhelmed by all of the noises, lights and games that we didn't know what to do at first.  I then got paired with one of the kids at the party to take him around all of the games so he wouldn't get lost.  If you ever need a good workout, I can highly suggest chasing after a 5 year old at this place.  It was crazy.  I even ended up losing Tate in the process and had to call him only to find him across the parking lot at the bike shop.  (Go figure.)

After the birthday party when the sugar had worn off on all the kids and it was getting late, we headed downtown to the one year anniversary party at Whitworth Cycles. We hung out there for a bit so Tate could congratulate Whit, then headed home. I was done by that time and ended up passing out on the couch for a nice one hour nap before thinking about dinner.

Unfortunately, there was lots more stuff that we wanted to do and couldn't do it. I guess it's just the curse of the season. I'm out of town this weekend and will miss all sorts of fun events and outings that I want to do, but am excited for the 28th and making Emiley's birthday dinner extravaganza.

With our busy lifestyle lately, I have been challenged on my diet and have to say I am proud of the choices I have been making. We've been to a Chinese buffet along with the pizza buffet at Incredible John's and each time I made smart choices to help me along on my road to good health. I am happy to report that I am no longer taking my high blood pressure meds. I was having too many dizzy spells and have been keeping an eye on it. I still run a little high, but usually around 135/82 which is not terrible. I still have an issue with water retention so I'm continuing to take my water pills and I just need to keep drinking my water. My main obstacle, as always is exercise. I'm the worst about it and I know it's all my fault, but that too will be conquered!

Until the next time...

Rollin' on the River

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Last night we had the opportunity to go for a cruise on the river with our friends Mark & Selina. it was such a lovely evening and other than getting doused by a wave just as we were starting off, we had a great time. We cruised from the Sacramento marina, past Old Sac and Discovery Park, dropped anchor for a while to have some dinner and check out the wild life, then continued up the American River to the bike trail bridge. We even saw a train go by.

It was Tate's first cruise on the river, and it was just a pleasant way to spend the evening and remember that Sacramento is really a lovely place to live.

Click on the photo below to see all the pictures I took along the way.

Ouch! Well, there goes that plan.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's been a rough week, once again. After my last post I did a lot of soul searching of what I really wanted, what would make me happy and what needs to be done. I'm still figuring some things out, but I think I have a plan. The good news was that I had committed myself to start exercising everyday and be able to work into some sort of routine. Well, that didn't last long. Saturday morning, I went out for a nice bike ride. The birds were chirping, the weather was perfect and I was peddling happily along. As I hit the final hill on the trail before the last bit home I knew I wasn't going to make it but I wanted to try to get at least half way up that hill so I pushed and was on my way until I felt a significant "pop" in my back. I knew at that point I had pulled that same damn back muscle that tends to go out on me from time to time and that it was going to be painful. I managed to stop and get off the bike, then walk the rest of the way up the hill. By that time, the pain had set in and I didn't know if I was going to make it back home, but I had no choice because I was alone on the bike trail with no phone to call for help. I gathered my strength and got back on that bike and rode the last mile home about as slow as I've ever ridden. Luckily, my neighbor was outside and came by to say hi when I got home. When I told him I had pulled my back, he took my bike from me and took it in the house so I wouldn't have to wrestle the 50lb beast by myself. Thank you Patrick! When I got inside, I was in so much pain and was so angry that I went to the bedroom to find the husband and to lie down. I then broke down and cried harder than I have in a very long time. The pain from the injury the anger from all my plans being halted and the frustration of wanting to create a better life from me being stripped away from me like a punishment for doing something good.

The rest of the day was spent lying in the bed in the second bedroom watching tv and feeling sorry for myself. I felt I deserved it. Life had just thrown me yet another curve ball in a life of curve balls and just when I thought I knew how to swing it was "strike 3 you're out!" (hey look, I made a baseball reference!) It wasn't until the end of the day when Tate couldn't take it any longer told me that my current frame of mind wasn't helping anything and only making me feel worse. Of course, it took a while longer to get through my thick skull, but he was right. I was just making myself feel worse instead of concentrating on healing and moving forward.

The accident happened on Saturday, it is now Thursday and I am still hobbling along. I didn't go to work Monday and Tuesday, but was able to make it by Wednesday and made it the whole day, which was great. I'm hoping to be back on my bike sometime this weekend, minus the hills and continue the promise I made to myself. I don't know if this was some sort of test that the fates had decided to put me through, or what, but other than that first day, I'm fairly proud of the way I've handled the situation. Granted I was laid up for four days, but I managed to keep from doing all sorts of boredom binging and stay within my restrictions the entire time making me feel even better about the choices that I had made.

There's still a very long road ahead with some nasty choices to be made, but I'm focusing on some short term goals ahead. A bike ride that doesn't include traction, a pedicure after I've reached my first 20lb loss and many others. So, here's to the choices we all make in our lives. Keep them good and let good things happen to you!

Choices, changes and chimichangas?

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's been a rough couple weeks for me. Ever since my doctor's appointment, I've been sliding down the drastic hill of depression. However, for me, I didn't know it, I mean, not really. It wasn't until last night after several nights of not really being able to sleep and feeling like I was going to pass out any second from crushing exhaustion that I took the time to really try to figure out what was swirling around in my head trying to come out. I was on my way to pick up the husband from work and going over everything when I realized that it was depression making me feel so tired and worn out and that's why I wasn't sleeping.

You see, sometimes I need a kick in the head to realize what I'm feeling because I spent the better part of my life suppressing most of my emotions. I was the strong one, the funny one, the one you could go to for support, but I wasn't going to be the one that broke down. I wasn't the one that cried about "everything." It took me a long time to even realize what I was doing to myself and what I was depriving myself of. My husband has been a great help in getting me to admit if there is a problem, he will actually point out something being wrong before I realize it then I am able to figure out what is going on. That's kind of what happened last night. When I finally opened up to him on the way home, he said he knew something was going on, but that he wasn't sure I was aware of it.

It wasn't until I finally opened up to him and let out that I was depressed and it was triggered by my appointment that I started to figure things out. The fact that I was given not a lot of hope that any surgery would happen anytime soon depressed me, also having to go to all sorts of other appointments to prepare for something that was not promised depressed me even more. I had to ask myself "am I ready for this?" "Do I have the ability to make it through all of this?" and with the fact that I had a crushing bit of depression just after my first appointment, not to mention the fact that I have managed to lose 9 pounds is saying something. So here I am, sitting on a major decision to make. Do I cancel my appointments (next one is next week for some scan) and continue on this journey of self discovery and life changes, or do I stay on track with all of these appointments getting hopes up then crashed again, not knowing what is coming around the next corner and having my self esteem trampled on by professionals? I still don't know. I'm giving myself the weekend to figure things out and talk more with friends and family for their input. Whatever decision I make, I am committing myself to a healthier and thinner me, but boy do I want a chimichanga! :)

Keep on Keeping on

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oh emotions, why do you have to get in the way of everything? I've been a good girl lately. I've stayed on track with the diet, sticking to the 1400 calories per day and even trying to get more exercise. That is my nemesis, as with all other fat people of the world, exercise. The get up and go gene has totally passed us by and it's a struggle to do it. Once up and going, we are fine, at least I am, it's just the getting up and going part that always seems to stop me. They say to set an "appointment" with yourself to exercise. OK, I set the appointment, but then something else just happened, or the kitchen's a mess and I know I'm not going to have it in me to do both, and dinner still needs to be made and am I just rationalizing here? Yes I am. Those damn emotions getting in the way again. I feel defeated. I feel like a failure because I am where I am and the only hope to get out is to totally change my lifestyle for the better. Is that a bad thing, heck no. Will it make my life better, happier and more enjoyable? Absolutely! So, why then do I feel like absolute crap? I have no idea.

I had a complete food fail on Monday and I don't know if I'm still recovering from it or what. I ended up shorting myself about 300 calories and really felt it. The next day I was ravenous and light headed all day. I made up for it with a huge lunch of broccoli with hummus, a big salad and some laughing cow cheese and crackers. Then made creamy chicken and rice with corn and had a great bike ride with the husband. I feel much better today, but emotionally I'm a wreck. I haven't been sleeping well at night and it's just driving me down because I feel I don't have the energy to do anything. There is one bright spot to my day though. I got paid! I get to go grocery shopping and have actual food in the house and not the scavenger hunt food-o-rama it's been this last week. Now if I can just get the husband to quit suggesting we go out for dinner all will be much better. I don't think I'm quite ready for that challenge yet. I miss the goodness that is Beto's and Pasquale's and let's not even mention Eggie's, Sammie's and Crazy Sushi! I don't think I have the will power and proper state of mind to go out and order sensibly at this point.

So today's plan is get some grocery shopping done after work, make an excellent dinner and go for another bike ride tonight. I really did enjoy my ride last night and the fact that I was able to peddle for such long periods without having to coast gave me a big boost of confidence.

Until we meet again...

Reconnecting with my mini-me

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I spent the day today with my 8 year old niece and it was wonderful. I haven't seen her in a while and usually when I do see her it's at family dinners and such and we don't really get to 'hang out.' So, when my sister-in-law asked me to watch her today, I was stoked.

I headed to Woodland bright and early this morning to pick her up and we headed back to Sac with some thoughts of what we wanted to do today. We got back to my house and she wanted to play with the Wii since it's something she doesn't have and doesn't get to play with too often, so out comes Just Dance and we started bouncing around the living room. Next was Sports Resort and a bowling tournament and some sword fights before taking a break to go play Mancala. We played Mancala for a while then decided we wanted to go do pottery painting. We had done it last time we had a day together and had great fun, so we packed up and headed over to Alpha Ceramics to spend the afternoon painting.

We spent about three hours painting our projects, her a little sea turtle and kitty cat and me a gnome statue that I named Bill. :) After we finished our painting, we were starving so it was back home for some lunch, more Wii, more games and more fun. During this time I realized how alike she and I are. She is really a mini-me in how she competes in games and how she takes wins and losses. We are both fierce competitors but we will lose gracefully but love the win.

By the end of the day, we were both pooped, but had a great time and I was so happy that I was able to spend the time with her since I really don't see her much at all anymore. Here's Bill to prove that we did go pottery painting and what fun it was. :D

Took the leap and fell flat

Friday, July 9, 2010

I mentioned in my last post that there would be changes coming.  It's taken me a few days to get up the courage to write this post.  I'm still not sure how I feel about what is going on, but I think if I write it out and talk about it I might be better so here it goes.

I finally mustered up the courage and the resignation to make an appointment with a surgeon to discuss weight loss surgery.  I've been thinking of this off and on for years, but never really had the courage to do anything, but with my last attempts at dieting failing and all that happens is I get bigger I knew something had to be done.  So, Tuesday morning I went in for my first appointment.  You have to sit through a one hour "seminar" then you get your consult with the doctor.  The seminar wasn't anything but me and one other lady in a conference room with the doctor, his power point presentation and a laser pointer.  I didn't really learn anything new other than a few statistics that I could have gotten from my research on the internet, so it seemed like a waste of time, but I had told myself I would go through all of it, so there I sat trying to get all I could out of it.  After the seminar I had my consult with the doctor which didn't last too long and basically got summed up with him telling me I was too fat for surgery at this point, putting me on a diet and telling me to come back in 4 weeks.  I also have to have a bunch of blood work done and x-rays and later some other stuffs like sleep studies and psychological studies, not to mention another visit with a nutritionist, which I don't really learn anything from because my problem isn't not knowing how to eat right, it's just that I tend to make bad decisions and eat too much.  I guess admitting that to myself is something, isn't it?

So after leaving the doctors office, I was pretty depressed.  I had been told that I was too fat to have the surgery which had taken me a very long time to work up the nerve to admit to myself that I needed as that final tool to keep me in line with my food and that he didn't think I would be able to ride my bike to or from work for a while.  The quitter in me wanted to just say "fuck it" and go have a llama burger and Flaming Grill, but I reminded myself of what I want back in my life and have put myself back on the diet train.  Since my appointment on Tuesday, I have lost 7 pounds.  Most likely this is all water, but it still makes me feel good to drop that much so quickly.  I also rode my bike home from work yesterday which is a 3.5 mile ride and I did it in about 25 minutes.  I was fairly proud of myself because I hadn't done that in a while and I only had to walk up the one really big hill up to the levee, so all in all, that wasn't too bad and my doctor could just kiss my ass!

I'm still depressed that I've gotten this bad and don't know if I have the persistence to keep it up, but like I said if I write about it, maybe it will keep me honest and keep me going. I also have goals and I've told myself that this time I will reward myself along the way with something just for me. Welcome to the beginning of a very long journey and help me keep an eye on the light at the end of the tunnel because I know it's there.

Calorie Counter

A quiet fourth

Monday, July 5, 2010

Well, today is Monday and I just spent three very lazy but very nice days with my husband. During the week we don't get to see each other very much and we are lucky if we get one day during the weekend together if that. So, I was very excited when I heard that he was going to have Friday, Saturday AND Sunday off for the fourth. My office closed at noon on Friday, so I went in for a few short hours then came home just to be with him.

We had no grand plans, no huge party or bbq to go to, we just wanted to spend the time together and that's what we did. We did some chores around the house and ran a couple errands, but most of all we just spent the time with each other enjoying the time we had. We managed to get out of the house on Saturday to go to the store and get some ribs to smoke for the next day and I made a big mac salad that we've been munching on. So that was our big fourth of July. We smoked ribs, watched cheesy movies, lit some fireworks and had a wonderful time. It was the first time we had ever been alone for the fourth and we didn't feel like we missed out on anything.

I hope everyone else had a good holiday and kept it safe. Husband is back to work today while I have another day off so, here I am, back in the real world of laundry, dishes and what to make for dinner. Tomorrow is the possible start to a whole new journey. I don't know what is going to happen, but there could be big changes coming to our house so stay tuned.

Zucchini Friday

Friday, June 25, 2010

This Spring we planted our garden and it was quickly taken over by weeds that we were not able to keep up on. We keep watering it in hopes that something will survive the jungle that has become the garden. Well, the other night, husband braved the weed covered pot holes and discovered some zucchini buried within the depths of our garden. He walked into the house with two humongous zucchini and said that he thought there was probably more out there. I took it upon myself to go out there the next day when I got home from work and made several trips into the garden to pull out 5 just as big zucchini and one baby onion.

With zucchini on the brain, and husband and I both off work today, we decided it was zucchini bread day. I promised to clean the kitchen if he would make the bread as he is known as "the bread meister" in this house. With the kitchen clean and dishes done, husband got to work on making the bread. After setting up the cuisinart for easy shredding, he cut up one of the mammoth zucchini.

He then put the zucchini in the cuisinart to be shredded.

Once shredded, it was time to get a-mixin!

Of course, we used only the best ingredients...

Once mixed, he poured it into the pans and got to work on the second batch with a different recipe.

Once done, you could see the difference between the two recipes. Both turned out de-lish!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lately Dear Husband has been ruminating that life is "just about perfect." His eyes will start to glaze over, he may tip his head a bit to the side, tell me I'm awesome and that he loves me then go back to what he was doing. All in all I do agree with him. We have a pretty good life, husband and I. For one, after a long dry spell he is again working and seems to really like his job. We have some great friends and life does seem to be going along pretty smoothly. So, why then, do I not feel the perfection? Am I happy? Yes, very much so in a sense. So what's wrong then? That, my readers, I do not know. I feel lost. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing and I'm not getting that fulfilled feeling I used to get from life.

It's time for a change and time to make even better things happen. I want that glazed look my husband gets. I want to heave that sigh and know that life is perfect. Now, I just need to figure out what that change needs to be and how to do it, then I'll have it set!

Playing Around

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Experimenting with the new camera. Enjoy...

Camera Envy No More!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

For several years now, I have wanted a Digital SLR of my very own, but with how much they cost, I knew it was never to be. I satisfied myself with my old Minolta 300si which takes great pictures, but it's film. You have to use up the roll and then get it processed before you can see what you have and by the time you get the prints back, you forgot what you were taking pictures for. So I have been making due with my crappy little Olympus digital camera. It takes ok pictures, but they are digital and I can instantly get the results I'm wanting.

Well, I am happy to announce that I am now the proud owner of a Nikon D5000.

I'm so happy! I've been playing with it a bit in the evening and taking some pictures of the dogs, but I can't wait to take it on an adventure! I have two lenses for it; a 18mm-55mm and 55mm-200mm. I tend to like the longer lenses because you can get great close ups and really change the mood of your photo just by how you frame it.

Here's some pics I took last night at our house just trying to get the hang of this monster of a camera I now own.

I love the detail and clarity of the flowers on this one. *sigh*

Sea Glass Makeover

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A couple years ago I had to get a new car because my current car, which had just been paid off, got squished by a tree while I was living downtown. But that's another story. This story is about the new car and the fact that I had a desire to change the license plate frame on the back.

Being the crafty chica that I am, I didn't want to just go out and purchase a new license plate frame, I wanted something unique and cool. Digging into my box of crafty goodness, I found a container of sea glass I had collected in Fort Bragg several years earlier. I thought that was the perfect idea for my re-vamped license plate frame, so I got out all of my supplies. I top coated the frame with black spray paint to hide the white lettering of the car dealer info, and set to gluing my sea glass. I used Gorilla Glue thinking it was perfect solution to my gluing needs, well I was wrong. A few years down the road and my sea glass has been falling off my license plate frame leaving a trail of shiny bread crumbs all over Sacramento.

Now having to look at a partially decomposing license plate, I knew it was time to do something. Husband told me that when I re-do my license plate frame that I should use marine epoxy since it's built to hold up to the weather and be water tight, so while we were at our local Ace hardware this past weekend, I picked myself up a bottle of marine epoxy and headed off with the goal to finally re-vamp the frame.

We got home and I set to work peeling the remaining sea glass from the frame and chipping away at the dried out decomposing glue. Once all was clean, I assembled my tools and got to mixing the epoxy to begin gluing a whole new set of sea glass onto my frame. Having to wait 24 hours to make sure the bond is set, I took my beauty outside and gave it a clear coat of lacquer to make it shine!

Two coats of lacquer, all dried and ready to go, I'm set for the road!

The Tale of a Clogged Drain

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I've been putting off this post because it's a doozy. A couple weeks ago, the hubby noticed that the shower was backing up a little bit during his morning shower. After that, the toilet clogged one morning, so we did our duty and got the uber drain-o to clear the matter at hand, so to speak. Well, things just got worse. Having gone through something similar back in January, I was fearing the inevitable of having our main line replaced, so I went to my trusty Craigslist in hunt of a plumber and an appointment was made to have our drain snaked.

I left work Friday afternoon planning to go home, wait for the plummer, have him snake our drain and be safe for another couple of months. Well, this is when the fun really started. At this point, our drains were really clogged. We couldn't use the toilet, the shower was backed up and we didn't even consider doing dishes. The plummer arrived and got his big snake machine all set up to do it's job and goes to press the start button only to have a 'click, click' sound. Oh fail. After monkeying around for a bit he realizes he's stuck and has to get his machine fixed, so off he goes with a promise to either be back with a new machine or have someone else out at the end of the day. Fine, ok, I can understand these things happen. He's promising to get it done by the end of the day, so at least I will be able to shower that day.

A couple hours go by and he finally shows back up with a fixed snake machine ready to go. The snaking begins. Progress is being made. The snake is moving down the pipe, then as he's bringing it back up, I hear an "uh-oh" from him. Well, that can't be good. I ask him what's up and he says he's got mud coming out, which isn't a good sign. He doesn't seem pleased about this and if my plummer isn't pleased I'm not either. After a bit more snaking and seeing that nothing is draining he admits defeat and tells me the bad news. We have a hole in our main drain and it needs to be replaced. Well, crap! It was the worst case scenario and the one that I just really didn't want. After processing this, I realize we have to go forward, so we head into the backyard and he does some measurements with the thought of how much this is going to cost me. I'm automatically thinking I'm now in the hole for $6-9 thousand dollars. I'm stressing and freaking (all on the inside, of course) and then I hear "$1,500-$2,00" Well, this I can live with. "Yes, yes, yes! Go ahead, get started, when can it be done?!?" He promises to be back the next morning with a crew to start the all might dig out. The backyard is to be sacrificed to the plumbing gods. They have to dig to #1. find the main line and #2. replace it to the city water line.

Did I mention that I don't deal well with stressful situations? I mean, I do, but the whole time I'm having a panic attack and stressing over every little thing that needs to be taken care of and finished, so after the plummer leaves, I have to go pick up hubby from work. On my way I call on the bestest bestie of them all and see if we can come crash at her place that night so at least we have a place to stay that night. I pick up husband, we decide to stop for dinner on the way home and actually manage to enjoy a meal and some wine without me freaking too much, then head home to pack and go to bestie's for the night. The next morning, we wake up nice and early so we can get back, meet the plumber get husband to work and I can figure out how I can pay to have water again.

I spend the day hanging around the house, not able to do dishes, laundry, go to the bathroom or pretty much anything.

I do manage to get a loan to pay for all of the digging going on in my backyard, so I'm feeling better. I know that soon my life will be back to normal. However, I know we're going back to Woodland for the night to be able to shower and sleep somewhere that we can use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

By the end of the day, my yard is a series of trenches and is not done yet, however, Izzy (the plumber) has promised that all will be restored to me tomorrow. I head out to pick up husband from work and head back home to see if they are still digging. We stopped and got the boys some beer for all of their hard work and soon after that they called it a day.

So we once again head to the bestie's house for one more night. I end up not sleeping too well, because we brought all three dogs and the 2 boys were in the room with us, fascinated by the guinea pig and not able to settle down. Not to mention I'm sleeping on a twin bed designed for a 6 year old girl. LOL! I wake up early, tired, stressed and just wanting my own bed, shower, and toilet.

Luckily, on this particular Sunday, husband has the day off so once we get home and find that trench work has resumed in the backyard, we go out to breakfast. As we are eating, I find myself almost falling asleep at the table. All I can think about is going home and going to bed and sleeping until this is all over. I manage to make it through breakfast and back home. Izzy tells me that he needs a "progressive payment" so he can pay his workers, so I write him the check, hand it to husband and head to bed. Half an hour later, I am out like a light and wake up about four hours later to find that all is finished, they are just patting down all of the dirt that they put back over the newly replaced main line and water has been restored to my house! Whoo-hoo!! It happened just as I wanted it to. I went to sleep and woke up to have my world back to working order.

I wrote my final check to Izzy's Plumbing said my thanks to him and his crew and went inside to clean my tub! I now know that I am safe from major clogs in the future, it wasn't as painful as I thought it was going to be and Craigslist has once again provided a great service to me. Thank you to Izzy's Plumbing for the great work and fair prices and to my bestie who is always there when I need her. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got dishes to do. ;^)

A Long Weekend That Never Seems Long Enough

Monday, May 3, 2010

This weekend was my three day weekend that I get to have every other week because I work a 9/80 schedule. What this means is I work my 80 hours in 9 days instead of the normal 10 days of a regular work schedule. On the week that I don't get Friday off, it's a long week of 9 hour days, but on that second week when I only work 8 hours on Thursday and know that I have that Friday off, it's a great week indeed.

Luckily, husband has Friday and Saturday off every week and we are able to have two days together every other week. This weekend was one of those great weekends we had together. With nothing special planned, but chores and errands to do, we set off fairly early (well, early for us) on Friday and went shopping. We made our first stop at the post office to mail off some packages of my canned goodness we have been promising people for a while then decided to head to OSH to see what they had there. With the husband working now, we have a little extra spending money and can start working on the house again. Since we've been focusing on the outdoors recently, we decided to keep that going and do some flower shopping.

After doing some roaming in the nursery, we found a Santa Rosa plum tree on sale, the exact red/orange rose tree that we both wanted, yellow daisies to add to the row of purple and white daisies we have in the back yard and a cute fern for the front yard next to the hose. We were both very excited with our purchases and spurred on for more shopping. The next few stops were to stock up the pantry for the week ahead. Strawberries were found at the 99cent store, huge artichokes were picked up at Trader Joe's and bread was on sale at SaveMart. By the time we were done with our shopping extravaganza we were fairly peckish since it was around 3p and decided to stop for a late lunch/early dinner. We ended up choosing Bobo's Cafe right there at Town & Country Village and had a great meal that was just what we wanted. Something light but tasty!

When we pulled up in front of Bobo's, Tate noticed a vintage guitar shop next door and so it was decided we "had" to check it out, but that would wait until after we ate. Once our bellies were full and we had sat for a bit having a nice lunch, we headed next door to check things out. First thing we noticed was this cool Batman looking guitar that we had to have a closer look at. Roaming around the guitar shop, Tate was loving it and knew that he would have to be back, but we were able to beg a photo of the Batman guitar from the owner.

With frozen peas in the car getting mushy as we spoke, we headed out of the guitar shop and made our way home to unpack the car and head out for a quick trip to Big Lots for some potting soil.

We were awake bright and early Saturday and we knew that it was an "Eggie's" Saturday. Every other Saturday we meet friends of ours for breakfast at Eggie's and it's great fun, but since we were awake so early (8am) I knew we had to wait before we called to set the time for breakfast. Being wide awake, but not ready to get out of bed quite yet, Tate decided it would be a great idea to let the dogs in and have them up on the bed. So there we were, the two of us and the three dogs jumping all over us in bed. It was a riot and we're lucky we didn't end up bruised with Buddy and Woody bouncing all over the place. :^D

Doggy fun over with, we got up, cleaned up and out the door for our breakfast fun. After breakfast we were back home to do the planting of all the pretties we had purchased the day before. As the husband was getting stuff squared away, he asked me what I wanted to do with the two little daisy plants we had got at the 99cent store. Knowing that they should be in a pot instead of the ground, I was searching the yard for somewhere they could go when I found the perfect container. Recycling at it's best in our house!

Leaving Tate to work on the yard, I headed out to take care of Daisy, the pit bull that I volunteer to help take care of once a week. We spent the rest of the day taking care of stuff around the house and Tate got all of our new lovelies planted, fed and watered.

Sunday Tate was back to work and I was left home alone to my own devices. This meant a day of canning. I had lots of strawberries that needed to be made into jam and a co-worker that has been begging for more of the Thai Hot & Sweet dipping sauce so to work I went. I spent a good three hours making two batches of strawberry jam that yielded me a good showing.

And I spent another three or so hours making two batches of the dipping sauce which left my day looking fairly productive.

Sunday evening came and the weekend was over. It was nothing special but when you're spending time with those that you love and enjoying each other's company, you don't really need anything more than that. Thank you, husband for being who you are and keeping me company in life.

Besties are the Best!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My best friend and I have had a very interesting relationship over the last 30 or so years that we've known each other. We've gone from being inseparable as children, to moving in different directions during high school and college, only to end up living together in our early 20's. After that, we split up and didn't really see each other for about 10 years.

During those 10 years apart, I missed the friend that had always been in my life, and the closeness that we had always shared. A few years ago we "discovered" each other again. We both agreed to move forward and whatever was in the past, was in the past. Since then, we have had the best relationship we have ever had. We have both grown in different ways, but we are still the same friends we always were. If we go for more than a week and don't see each other, we get antsy and start scrambling to get together.

I still feel sad for those long years apart that we both missed so much in each other's life. She married and has a little girl, but tragedy struck and her husband was taken away from her before his time. It kills me that I wasn't there for her during that time. I went to the funeral, but it just wasn't the same as being there for your best friend and holding her hand through it all. I never really "knew" him and I feel I lost something I never had. I love the fact that she and my husband are like brother and sister and I just wish that her husband could have been apart of what we three have together. However, I still think would we still have that if he was still alive? Would it be different? Better? Worse? Who knows.

Now to the point of it all. For my birthday last month, I got a special present from said bestie. She did a painting for me based on our relationship. She has always been very artistic, but hasn't painted in many years and for her to take paint to canvas for me is something very special indeed. Here is what she did for me and I love it to death.

It hangs in my dining room so I get to see it all the time and it never fails to make me smile. Thank you, my bestie, for not only a very thoughtful gift, but for your friendship throughout the years. Good, bad and ugly. I love you.

We'll Make it Spring One Way or Another!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The weather here has been fairly unpredictable lately. Used to wonderful Spring weather this time of year, we have had more rain than normal making us wonder if we will ever have a proper Spring before the Summer heat arrives. All was going well for several days in a row, but the rain is back today making it a wet dreary mess.

Seeing the forecast for rain this last weekend, I decided to bring Spring into our house and add some cheer. Having the day off on Friday, husband and I started off our day with breakfast at Sammy's Restaurant. It's a great place for yummy basic diner food. Since we haven't been there in a while, I was naughty and got the biscuits and gravy breakfast. Oh, it was so good no matter how guilty I felt.

After breakfast and feeling the need to do a bit of walking, I asked the husband if he would like to go to Michael's to get supplies to make a Spring wreath. I already had a vine wreath that just needed some colorful flowers to make it pop. Luckily, Michael's was having a sale on their flowers and I had a great selection to choose from. I also picked up a white apron for my next embroidery project. I'll keep you posted on that as it moves along.

Once we got home, I started to work on my new Spring wreath. Positioning the flowers here and there making everything just so until I was happy with my results. What do you think?

It hangs on our door that leads into the house from our mud room. I love that our yellow door is the perfect backdrop for this Spring explosion. I had some left over flower stems that I didn't want to throw out and wasn't sure what to do with, so I took this great wine bottle holder we received as a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law and put the flowers in a wine bottle we saved from our honeymoon. That now sits on our dining room table extending the Springy vibe into the house.

Now if this weather would just go back to sunny and warm, Spring will be complete!

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