Sunday, February 28, 2010

Archeological Find

We've had a lot of digging projects around the house lately. Generally all we come up with are a TON of rocks, but every time John's shovel hits the dirt he swears he's going to find a dinosaur or at the very least an arrow head.

So today when he yells across the house from the garage that he's found something, and I need to come look RIGHT NOW. I really did wonder what it was that he could have found.

I present to you all, John's big archeological find:

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That's right. It's a bottle of the Champagne of Beers, a 40 of Miller High Life. In fact, the lid was still screwed on so it's likely that there are some remnants of that liquid gold in there.

I'm pretty sure it's going to be the most interesting thing we'll ever dig up in our yard.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Recipes

I've been feeling a little Blah in the kitchen lately and Julie has inspired me to look in some of my existing cookbooks for some new things.

Quick Jambalaya

1 package brown and serve sausage links (I didn't use because I didn't have on hand)
1 1/2 cups instant rice (I made regular old rice)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 small green pepper chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
10 oz frozen shrimp (I used a pound. I also added a chicken breast since I wasn't using the sausage)

Cut sausage into 1 inch slices and cook according to package.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

John really liked this. I thought it was missing something. The very next day Annie posted a version. Here's looks more like how I wanted mine to look (it's very red because of the tomatoes) so I'll probably give her version a try next time.

The off the hook recipe are these French Dip Subs. The day I made these I had an interview. I threw it all in the crockpot and rushed off to the interview. I hadn't eaten lunch because I was running a bit behind, but I figured the interview would only be an hour and I could grab something then. Then the interview turned into a 4 hour interview. I was STARVING but knew dinner would pretty much be down when I got home. I walked in and the house was missing it's something has been cooking in the crockpot all day smell. The stupid crockpot had turned itself off! I have no idea why! So I turned it back on and found something to snack on. John had plans so I ate dinner a few hours later without him. These were AMAZING! They're even better as leftovers too!

French Dip Subs (I halved the recipe and we've probably gotten 6 sandwiches out of them, this recipes makes 10)

3lb beef boneless chuck roast
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cups soy sauce
1 tsp dried rosemary leaves
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 dried bay leaf
3 or 4 peppercorns (I just threw in some coarsely ground pepper)
French Bread Rolls

Place roast in crockpot, mix remaining ingredients and pour over beef.

Cook on low 7-8 hours

Skim fat from surface of juices; discard bay leaf and peppercorns. Remove beef from crockpot (I actually just shredded it in the crockpot) and cut into thin slices. Fill bread with beef and serve with broth for dipping.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Unemployment Awkwardness

There's bound to be some looks and some awkward moments when you tell people that yes, you quit a perfectly good job and are facing unemployment.

My first experience was the other day when I took my dogs to the groomers. I bumped into a friend I went to college with but hadn't seen since my last trip to Chicago. He told me he had moved back a few months ago to open a few more law firms down here. He asked how my job was going and I told him I had just recently left. He seemed to understand my decision, but yeah, "Hi, I'm Mr. Successful Lawyer with several of my very own law firms" while I'm, "Hi, I'm unemployed by my own choice!" makes for a bit of awkwardness.

However, I had an interview through a temp agency today. I've worked with them in the past and have stayed in touch with one of the recruiters there. They do a lot of specialized positions and direct hire, not one of those where'd I'd be temping day to day or week to week. The position they're trying to fill is one that would be brought on quickly so I met with the recruiter as well as the owner of the agency. When I tell people about where I worked they're always very interested. Where I worked was an interesting place and does a lot of great things. In every interview I get the inevitable, "why are you leaving?" question. Usually it's been easy to say that I'm looking for a position that's not grant funded. People generally understand that. It's also one of the things that I hated about where I worked. We were constantly chasing money, there was a time where my position wasn't funded and I was facing taking a position I didn't want or being unemployed, the initiatives were always changing and there was never enough money to bring in someone to do something. It became an environment where you were constantly pulled in other directions and couldn't really spend your time doing the core of what you wanted to do. The core is what I enjoyed, but more of more of my time was expected to be spent on all the other things. Plus my core is extremely undervalued in my organization because of our funding requirements. Anyways, the owner didn't even bother with the why are you leaving question it was more shock, "you're leaving your position and you don't have anything yet?" I replied, "Yes. Sometimes you just know when it's time to move on from something. I've enjoyed the work that I did there and the work that the organization does, but it just wasn't for me anymore." Her response, "That's ballsy."

So yes, I think my decision is ballsy. Someone else congratulated me on taking such a strong stand, being courageous and for taking a leap of faith. I'm sure there are plenty of people that think I'm making the dumbest decision of my life. That's fine. For me it is a bit ballsy and a bit courageous and I'm definitely taking a leap of faith. I'm lucky enough to be in a position in which I'm able to do this. There are tons of people that are stuck in horrible jobs that they wish they could leave, and there are tons that are unemployed not by their own choice and are struggling to find something. I feel for those people. I know what it's like to struggle to find something - I've been looking for over 2 years stuck in a work environment that I hated. I may spend another year or two or even five finding something that I truly enjoy. John quoted to me last night, "Find a job you love and you'll never work another day in your life." That's so what I want! For now though, I consider myself lucky to be able to do this and I'm proud of myself for making this decision. I know it's not going to be easy, but I know I'm going to come out of this a stronger, happier person.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Unemployed

So I quit my job.

Yep.

Just up and quit.

Granted, I gave "two weeks," I'm just spending those on vacation.

I must confess, I don't regret this decision one bit. Is it the way I wanted to go? No. Not at all, but it was the only way for me to do it and save sanity in the process. I made my decision, took several days to think about it (and to calm down about everything per John's request) and was still set on leaving. For me it was the best decision I could have possibly made for myself. Your happiness and sanity aren't worth any dollar amount.

One of the things that has always stuck with me from one of my many HR classes I took as an undergrad is that pay is not a motivator (go read up on Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene theory). I remember in my nativity thinking that was just insane. I thought, "I don't care what the job is as long as it pays me a lot of money!" Boy was my 20 year old self wrong. Is it nice to make a lot of money? Yes, but it's not nice to be totally dissatisfied with your job. Even if things like supervision, relationship with boss and coworkers, security, company policies and work conditions improve, you're not going to be satisfied. If you're not feeling appreciated and recognized, you really aren't going to be satisfied in your job. If there is no opportunity for advancement, you're not going to be satisfied. Those things were totally the case in my job. I would have been a fantastic case study for Mr. Herzberg.

So after a lot of discussions with John, a look at our budget, knowing we had a backup plan and that I will hopefully have a couple of job opportunities that I will hear about sooner rather than later, I went ahead with my decision.

Leaving was still hard to do, but the right thing to do. I felt good for the first time in a long time. I felt this huge weight lifted off my shoulders and could finally breathe a big sigh of relief when it was all said and done. I did what I had to do and I did it for me.

I've learned a lot in the past five years at my job. I've met some great people that I hope to stay in contact with. I think what we did there is extremely important and know that what we did helped people, helped the economy and made a real impact. I enjoyed the core of what I did, it was just all the other stuff, the stuff no matter what happened was ever going to change. It just wasn't the right work environment for me.

So I'm on to new things. Bigger and better things. Things and places that will let me be happy again. I'll let you know what they are as soon as I know.

Ten on Tuesday


1. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I like plain jane vanilla with chocolate syrup. Unless we're at Brindles. Then it's vanilla fudge maraschino.

2. What is your earliest memory?
Picking up frogs at my grandma's house. There would be tons of frogs and we'd catch them and put them in these big buckets. My mom swears that I kissed one. I'm not so sure about that.

3. What is your earliest memory of a dessert?
I have no idea. Maybe that I'm craving one right now?

4. Do you have any recurring dreams?
Nope. I usually don't even remember my dreams.

5. Have you ever dreamed about dessert?
Never dreamed in my sleep about one. Maybe day dreamed about one though.

6. What is one thing (aside from a cell phone or computer) that you cannot go the entire day without?
Currently, TV. Sad, but that's my life at the moment. Otherwise some type of interaction with someone. Don't think I could sit an be absolutely by myself all the time.

7. What is one dessert you could go your entire life without ever having again?
Most citrus flavored things or fruit tarts. I don't really like the whole fruit and custard thing. I'm not really a dessert person so I could probably go without most as long as I could still have chocolate.

8. If you could go on vacation tomorrow, where would you go? (Assume someone else is footing the bill, but within reason…so “the moon” won’t work)
Someplace warm and sunny. Maybe Hawaii. I'd also like to do a cruise if I could ever talk John into it.

9. If you could have any dessert tomorrow, what would you have (assume someone else is buying it for you. Within reason though, no “gold sprinkled ice cream cones.”)
I'm craving chocolate. Something good. Something new that I've never made before. Might have to do some baking today.

10. What was your first impression of your significant other? If you’re single, what was your first impression of your best friend?
I thought he was married and his girlfriend at the time was pregnant (poor thing was just fat). Also thought he was really nice.

11. What is your first impression of dessert pizza? (Personally, I think it’s weird. I love dessert but I don’t want any on my pizza.)
Yum. Going with Chelsea on Cici's dessert pizza.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Washcloth

I finished the washcloth last night. Will I even actually wash anything with this item? Probably not. Here it is in all it's uneven, holey glory though!

My very first knitting project - a washcloth

I like that it shows my progress. I have a tendency to drop stitches no matter where I am in the project as evidenced by the first half. The second half is where I really got good. My stitches are tighter and my rows straighter. I noticed when I was about the drop a stitch and fixed it. Everyone else in class did a more complicated one with decorative holes on the edges and that they knitted in a diamond shape. I took the easy route, but I'm rather proud of my uneven holey washcloth thank you very much!

I had no idea how to cast off so I You Tubed it. I found some comments about a knitting tutorial that a lot of people recommended. I've found a lot of great videos on things, but nothing that goes step by step from beginning to end. I'll watch something and wonder, "what do I do with the leftover tail?" "How come mine always seems stretched out when I knit my first row?" and so on. This tutorial actually goes from slipknot to casting on to knitting your first several rows. It was made for teenagers and the little boys that are knitting in the videos crack me up, but it's the MOST helpful tutorial I've found online.

Tonight in class we move on to fingerless mittens. From what I can tell they're really just washcloths sewn up the middle with a thumb hole. I'm totally going to rock those mittens!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oh hi!

Yes, I'm here. Yes, I'm alive.

For those wondering.

4 days without a post isn't really a bad thing, but considering I've been pretty regular recently it kind of is.

I have a post, a good post, I think at least, I just haven't published it. It's one of those to post or not to post type of things.

I've also been pretty busy despite some things.

I've been watching the Olympics pretty much nonstop.

I've also been trying to finish this super long book that I was only 1/3 of the way though that someone put a hold on so I couldn't renew it at the library. It's currently 3 days overdue.

I've had a couple of girl's nights and friends' nights this week.

I've been trying to finish my washcloth before knitting class starts again tomorrow.

I finally went back to the gym this week. I hadn't been since The Toe! started hurting. I just did cardio, but felt fine afterward so that's great. May try to go a couple of times this week.

I've been cooking too. I've made two awesome recipes that I'll try to post this coming week. One was totally off the hook.

That's about it, at least as much as I'm sharing for today. Maybe more this coming week, we'll see.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Garden Progress

How did John and I spend our Valentines Day? Shoveling cow manure that's how! Saturday I ran all over town buying the necessary supplies and dirt. We even marked out the stepping stones that we threw down in the dog path. Reese is obviously not happy about the change.

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Sunday afternoon John started getting the raised bed together. This required finally buying a new drill which is modeled here with the bed.

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Once we got the bed built we had to level out the ground a bit and so shoveled, found a ton of grubs (EW! No wonder skunks have been grubbing in the yard) and a ton of rocks, but had a level bed in the end. Next came mixing up the soil. I did 1/2 compost, 1/4 vermiculite and 1/4 peat moss. I read this is a better mix for Texas on different blogs (isn't that dorky of me) than the 1/3 of each ingredient. We'll see! Plus the peat moss and vermiculite can really start to add up.

My bed is 4x8 so we mixed the dirt in two batches. Definitely start mixing when you're throwing the contents onto the tarp or whatever you decide to use. It'll be easier to mix the giant mound of dirt if you start while you're adding.

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Here it is with all the dirt. We mixed it with shovels on the tarp and by lifting the corners and moving the dirt around. Then we shoveled it into the bed until the tarp was light enough to pick up and dump.

The stakes are for some type of fencing to keep the dogs out. I've already caught them walking in it and Riley has tried to mark the bed a couple of times. Don't know how I'm going to deal with that one. I guess I should be glad our two male dogs are short and probably won't ever hit a plant. We're going to probably enclose all four sides, I just didn't buy enough wood to make stakes.

We did a temporary grid with sting. It was just easier that way. The squares aren't exactly 12x12 because of how you have to build the box, but it's no big deal. I'm very glad John was there to measure off the grid because it would have made me go crazy to do on my own. I'm not a numbers person and he just broke it up into sections in a way that I would have NEVER considered.

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Now it just needs to warm up a bit so I can start putting some seeds and plants in!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ten on Tuesday


1. If you could open any type of store/place of business (money is no obstacle), what would you open?
Ummm I wouldn't open my own business ever. Never ever. As someone that works with small businesses on a daily basis, I could never do it myself. However, I could invent something really awesome and sell it for a ton of money. That would be just fine by me.

2. If all jobs paid equally, what occupation would you want? Why?
Stay at home wife. Wife. Not mom. John can stay home with them whenever we get around to having them. I'd be an awesome stay at home wife.

3. If you could be any animal in the world, what would you pick? Why?
A dog all the way. Especially if I could be my little dog Riley. His life is all about food, warmth and comfort. Freaking awesome.

4. If offered one “service” free of charge, which would you choose? (chauffeur, maid, personal shopper, chef, etc.)
Personal assistant. One that would totally organize my life, occassionally clean, cook a meal here and there, do the grocery shopping.

5. What is one habit, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to break?
I don't think I have a habit that I can think of....hmmm....

6. What is one thing that no matter how many you own, you still love to buy all the time?
Shoes. Purses. Underwear. Oh wait, you wanted just one?

7. Out of all the game shows (past and present), which would you want to be a participant on and play?
Who wants to be a millionaire. I may not make a million, but I think I could get a couple hundred thousand and I'd be happy with that.

8. If you could play the lead role in any movie that’s already been made, which movie would you pick?
Hmmm.....I don't really know on this one.

9. Name 5 things on your bucket list (things you want to do before you die).
Go to Europe with John
Go to Ecuador with John
Those are top two, not really sure of the rest!

10. Which one of your birthdays was the best? What did you do that day?
They're all fantastic. I'm constantly trying to come up with ways to top the previous year's bday. Maybe 16 and 21 since those were significant, although I could have done without the massive amounts of throwing up I did on my 21st.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Devil Dog

also known as Rufus in our house. We call him the devil a lot (be sure to add in a Kathy Bates accent from Water Boy). He has incredibly stinky farts that are made of just pure evil. He's recently learned to crop dust. I kid you not. That damn dog will be standing next to you at one moment, gone the next and you're left standing in this green cloud of stench. Most of the time he's just a complete terror. Recently the vet determined that he's suffering from separation anxiety so we're trying a couple of things to help him with that. What is it with me and charity case dogs?

Anyways the other night John and I were out back measuring off the garden bed when we looked over at some scratchings that Rufus left in the dirt. John looks at me and says, "Doesn't that look like a pentagram?" I take a closer look and sure enough, the damn dog drew a pentagram in the dirt outside. Evil, I tell you! Evil!

I tweeted about this and proof was requested so here's a crappy cell phone pic for you:

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I've heard many things since this incident. Like maybe Rufus is just creative and has a future in puppy art. I've been told by several that my house needs to be blessed and many prayers need to be said. A lot of people (like us) think it's funny. If Rufus ever lets you get close to him (he's still terrified of others) don't get fooled by that cute little face,

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we're pretty sure the devil resides in him and John swears that he's in his colon.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Conversations with John

*Leaving the house to go to a Super Bowl party*

Me: Crap! I forgot to print out the directions! I'll be right back! *uses John's computer since it's on, prints off directions and gets into car*
Me: You totally left porn up on your computer!
John: *laughs* You're talking about the girl that was flashing her boobs? (it was one of those emails that have the little moving pictures in them)
Me: Yeah.
John: *laughing* Guess who sent that to me.
Me: Your sister?
John: *laughing* YOUR DAD!
Me: What!? What!? My dad sent you that!? I'm going to call him right now and ask him why he's sending porn to my husband.
John: NO! Don't!
Me: Why not?
John: Because then it'll stop.
Me: Gross babe. Just gross.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Update on the TOE!

Yes, the TOE! or the OMT, whichever you prefer.

Last week I was sick with a sore throat from hell, but my stupid toe was also throbbing. It sucked. I called the hottie foot Dr. and spoke to his nurse who told me to put the boot back on and moved up my appointment. I didn't put the boot back on, but was glad to have my appointment moved up.

The Dr. told me he wanted me to get a MRI just to make sure that there wasn't something else going on, and to see if maybe he should do a cortisone injection in another spot. I had the MRI yesterday. Have you ever had one? They're really loud. My mom hates them and cannot begin to comprehend how I am able to sleep through one. I could sleep through ANYTHING! Although, I think I woke myself up snoring at one point. Yikes. Anyway, so MRI was yesterday and Dr. called me back today about my results. He said he didn't see anything aside from a lot of really bad inflammation. So he wants me to at least finish the prescription he gave me and maybe move on to jsut plain old ibuprofen next. In two weeks I'll go in for another cortisone shot. I've also been sentenced to tennis shoes only which isn't too big of a deal aside from how Klassy they make me look at work. Everyone thinks I'm being super healthy and have just come back from a walk and I'm just going to let them go right ahead and believe that all they want!

He did ask about any other joint pain when I kind of complained that it sucked that we don't have a cause. Granted, it's nice to have a diagnosis that isn't on the verge of obscure, but I'd like to know the cause so I don't have to deal with this again. I do have problems with my SI joint which has been acting up lately as well as my wrist pain and my mystery knee pain. I just thought the knee was from the boot and lack of working out, the SI joint is also from lack of working out and the wrist is from the knitting. Plus they all hurt on and off so it wasn't a big deal. Well now I have to go and have a blood test for arthritis. Yeah. At freaking 27 and 3/4 years old I could have something like rheumatoid arthritis. I really hope someone's going to buy me a walker for my birthday because I'm officially on the old lady train!

Garden Plans

I started my seeds about a week ago using a Burpee seed starter kit. I chose this one over others because the soil pots actually expand and you just pick them up and throw them in the ground. Much easier than trying to fish them out of containers.

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I believe the sprouts are tomato plants. I of course did not label them so I'm just going off what I think they are. Will label in the future.

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I also hope the rest of the try starts to grow soon. It'll suck to have to start over, but we'll see!

This corner of the yard is where I wanted to put my bed. The original location didn't work out because it doesn't get sun until almost the afternoon. This location is also closer to the patio, but when John and I went out to measure it he declared it to be too steep to try to make flat.

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Our whole backyard is sloping a bit because the house backs up to a utility easement. Wherever we put the garden we're going to have to have a dog path - they like to chase and bark at the kids that run around back there.

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The flatest part is that mud pit in the middle of the yard. There used to be a very sad Mimosa tree there and I think we've finally killed it. It's actually where we put the bounce house for John's birthday. This is the spot that John suggested. I'm worried that it'll be right smack in the middle of our back yard and that the dogs may be more likely to run through it. They are mostly perimeter poopers and players and don't spend a lot of time running through the middle of the yard though. I'd like to not have a giant mud pit in the middle of the yard and if we put the garden there we don't have to make yet another attempt at growing grass there. We really don't use this part of the yard at all though. Our yard is L shaped. This part is behind the house and the deck where we spend most of our back yard time runs along the side of the house.


What do you think? Is putting it right smack in the middle of the yard a bad idea? The bed will be 4x8. When we measured it out it's not very big at all and doesn't take up much space. We'll also have paving stones that lead out there.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Organization

One of John's New Year's goals was to build some shelves out in the garage. Our garage had some prebuilt shelves when we moved in, but they weren't the greatest quality. Most of our stuff is stored in the big Rubbermaid bins so they stack easily, but it just looked messy.

Two weekends ago I was at Home Depot and they had a whole display area set up with different shelving units. There was one that I particularly liked, it was $68 which I thought was a pretty good deal, and so I made a mental note to tell John about it when I got home. Of course, I totally forgot until the next week when I went back and the display was broken down and all the shelving units used were now half off. That's right. We got the $68 shelves for just $35! You can't build shelves for that price! I took a picture, texted it to John, who loved them, said "let's buy 'em, but how are we going to get them home?"

Yes, we live in Texas. No we don't drive trucks nor do we have any friends that drive trucks. However Home Depot has a truck that you can rent for an hour and a half for just $20. Cheaper than you can rent one for anywhere else and if you just need to haul a little bit of stuff, totally worth it in my mind! While I was standing in line to rent the truck, the people in front of me rented the one and only truck. The other location near us also had their one and only truck rented out so we were kinda stuck. I had plans that evening so I left John to it and after a few trips where he had to kidnap a friend's husband, he didn't have his current insurance and the store was about to close, he eventually got the truck rented and the shelves loaded. I feel bad that he had to do it all by himself (thanks babe), but then I came home to this beautiful organized garage.

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Isn't it lovely?

Here is the "Sports Stuff" Shelf

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Now we just need to update this mess

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We also organized under our kitchen sink recently. We had to take everything out in order to replace our ugly old faucet with this beauty.

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This was a project I had wanted to tackle for awhile and even believe that I had bought some containers to do this once upon a time. Where are those containers now? No idea! None! I swear that I bought them though! I did have 3 wire mesh baskets that I used to use at my desk sitting around in the garage. Voila! Perfect for organizing the 80 million bottles under the sink!

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The little trash can is what I use for my compost scraps.

We also organized our tupperware cabinet, but it's pretty boring so I won't make you fall asleep looking at those pictures. Organizing the tupperware cabinet is quite a feat though. I'm pleased to say that we've also kept it up for about a month.

What do you do around your house to stay organized? We have NO closet or storage space in our house so we've had to get creative and hide a lot of stuff under the bed in the guest room.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ten on Tuesday


1. Fill in the blank. Sometimes I wish my life was more ______.
Less busy. I am trying to cut back on some of the things I do (says the girl that signed up for a 6 week knitting class). The past two years have been kind of insane so I'm hoping to have a little more me time and some me and John time and maybe a little me and the house time. We'll see.


2. How do you cure the hiccups?
I breathe in as much as I possibly can. Hold it for 10 seconds and then blow it all at. It works most of the time.

3. What are three of your favorite indulgences?
Chic Lit/Flicks
Shopping
Wine

4. Where is the most exotic place you would like to travel to? The most mundane?
Fiji or Tahiti or any place that would allow me to stay in the grass type hut over really clear blue waters.

Port A maybe? It'd be nice to get away to the coast for a weekend.

5. Does having your time planned out stress you or relax you?
Relax. As someone that is so perpetually busy I need to have everything planned. It's also nice to see when I can have a few hours (or sometimes an entire weekend) to myself.

6. What are your favourite fabrics to wear?
Cotton? I dunno, I like anything comfy.

7. Do you sleep through the night?
Usually. Rufus has started waking me up at about 5 every morning when he jumps on the bed. He's gotten better about going right back to sleep, but having a 20 pound Jack Russell jump on your full bladder during the night would wake anyone up.

8. When you were younger, what did you think you would be doing at this age? How close is that to what you are doing?
I used to want to be a vet, but I don't do blood. I also thought I'd live someplace not in the US. Obviously I'm nowhere close to doing that.

9. What has surprised you most about growing up?
That all the things they teach you in school don't really prepare you for real life. Being a grown up sucks sometimes. No one told you how hard things would be.

10. Are you good at keeping secrets?
For the most part. I usually have to tell John though. I guess I'm a, "I'll keep the secret, but know I'm probably going to tell at least one other person."

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Conversations with John

As we were waiting for our check after dinner out tonight.

John: So you know that other server over there? The one that's kind of pretty?
Me: Oh, the one with the big boobs?
John: *looks at me, questioningly*
Me: You know you weren't even looking at her face.
John: She has a face?
Me: *Laughs*
John: Yeah, so I saw her and was like, she's kind of cute and has big boobs and then I thought, and I wasn't sure if you'd like this or not, "I wonder what kind of underwear she's wearing. What? We're not in the nest? I thought we were all in the nest!"
Me: (Totally catches above movie phrase, but doesn't let on) You were really wondering type of underwear she was wearing!? I don't know how I feel about that.
John: No! No! Like from the movie. You remember?
Me: *smiles* "Is it a thong? Maybe it's something I've never even heard of."

Those quotes aren't spot on, but close enough. Can anyone name that movie? Our other favorite quote from it, "actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we're going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I don't know, I don't know if we'll have enough time."

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Garden

I'm VERY excited about my garden this year. Even though it was only a month or so ago that I was complaining that the stupid garden wouldn't die. Can you believe that John and I just finished up the last of the tomatoes this week? Craziness!

So this year I decided to do a TON of research on veggies that do well in the heat. Last year my biggest struggle was keeping the stupid plants alive during the opressive heat. Because it was so hot NOTHING was producing so it was really hard to be motivated about it.

I'm also building a small raised bed (4x4, maybe 4x8) in the backyard. We're going to have to fence it in to keep the dogs out and John's going to put in some paving stones so when it's muddy I can still get back there. Plus we're going to put it right smack in the dog path - dog owners you know this - the route your dogs take every day that causes no grass to grow and turns into a giant mud pit when even the tiniest bit of moisture is in the air. Hopefully the paving stones will help with muddy paws. I'm still going to do some things in containers, but will probably put them out by the raised bed. I have Square Foot Gardening on hold at the library. If I get it in the next week or so I may give this a try.

Another thing I'm trying this year is companion planting. There are plants that are beneficial to one another if grouped together. A big thing that I want to try this year is adding nasturtium around the squash plants since it deters vine borers. Every time I planted new squash plants they were attacked so I really want to see if this will help ward them off. Marigolds are also supposed to be beneficial, but they do attract spider mites which killed my cucumber plants. So I might do marigolds on one side of the bed with nasturtium on the other. You can also eat both the leaves and flowers of nasturtium and make some great salads. I may also throw in a couple of sunflowers since the bed will be right next to the fence. Lavendar is also a great deterrant (fleas, which we currently spray the yard for) and I may try them in contrainers around the yard and see what that does rather than spraying. Sunflowers, lavendar, and marigolds all keep alway whiteflies (which went after my tomato plants, but never caused damage) and aphids which got my pepper plants in the end.

So what am I growing this year? Well I did some research on different seed sites as well as through the Aggie Exentension program to see what grows well in the Texas heat. Here's what I've decided on:

Contender Bush Bean - I rather not have to string up beans so I went with the bush variety. These are also early producers so hopefully they will produce before they succumb to the heat.

Rio Grande Roma Tomatoes - these are determinate meaning they set all their fruit at once. I'll probably do two rounds of these and make tomato sauce one round and salsa the next.

Atkinson Tomato - these will be my big slicing tomatoes and are indeterminate.

Emerald Giant Bell Pepper - I chose this variety because while my pepper plants did well last year, I never got big bell peppers. Hopefully these will give me the size that I'm looking for.

Shishito Pepper Rare Seeds sent me this as a bonus with my order. I'm only doing one plant since I know nothing about it.

A note on the above seeds - they're all heirloom variety which means they aren't modified in any way to be disease resistant. It's not that I was looking for that particular attribute with the seeds, but these were the varieties that were recommended, the price was right on the seed packets and so that's what I ended up with.

Jalepeno - I'll probably just buy a small plant for this. It'll be great for when I make salsa.

Salad Bowl lettuce and Black Seeded Simpson - these will be in containers or around the tomato plants. I'm going to start them a week apart so that I can pick from one plant one week and the other the next. I'll probably do a fall planting as well.

Cucumber Bush Champion - I wanted a bush variety last year and couldn't find one. I'm starting this from seed so we'll see how it goes. At least I won't have crazy cucumber vines everywhere again. This is a slicing cucumber.

Butterstick Zucchini - this produces squash on a zucchini type plant. We'll see how it goes. It got some great reviews.

Zucchini - I'm growing this again (the green kind, not the yellow), but haven't been able to find seeds that I want. I may just try with the kind that I already have. These did better than my squash plants and were probably held back by the vine borers.

Onion - I have no idea what variety they are aside from white. We'll see how they do. Just thought this one would be fun.

I am thinking of strawberries. They have a little package in stores right now of ten plants. I've just read that they can take a few seasons to really produce and they need a lot of room. Maybe in our next house - you know the one that will have a big yard.

So there are the garden plans for the year! I really like the concept of square foot gardening and it would allow me to fit a lot more into a small space. We'll see how it works out!

What is love?

Love is getting frustrated with your knitting, tearing it all to bits only to realize that your teacher didn't show you how to actually START something, so you throw it all across the room and leave the house (you have a meeting) only to come home and your husband has learned how to start one for you.

Yes, John, being the sweetheart that he is, watched instructional knitting videos online while I was gone so he could teach me how to start a knitting project.

That's just one of the many reasons why I love this man.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Housekeeping

Because I suck at knitting and need to feel productive and fabulous I'm making some changes here on the old blog. (Yes, I'm one of those competitive people that has to be great at everything and I'm ok with that)

I updated my blog subscriptions over there on the side bar. Check out some of the cool people over there. If you're a lurker and would like to be listed, or even just to say HI leave a comment. Say what's up! I'm always looking for things to read while bored out of my mind at work. I know there's a bunch of you since my subscriber numbers and google analytics says so. I just don't know who you are. One of you lives in Argentina though. Please send me some wine. I'd love you forever and ever and we could become blog BFF's.....unless you're some creepy old man or a serial killer or something. I hope you all stay around for awhile!

I added a tab up top on Gardening. I contemplated starting a garden blog and Tweeted my friends about it and they all said NO (not sure if that's good or bad) but I should at least do a section like PW does. I'm not all tech savvy like her (or her website designers) so I just have to be good at tagging posts. All the garden posts will show up here in the regular feed, but if you're looking for something specific you can click the link up top. The garden is going to be ridiculous this year and I'm stoked about it. John's already sick of it and all I've started are some seedlings. Yes I was moaning that the stupid garden wouldn't die IN DECEMBER, but I have a feeling this year is going to be much better than last year.

I've also put a email address over there on the side in case anyone of you would want to contact me for some reason or another.

I'm going to take down John's Christmas Beard Project slide show (sorry honey). I just don't know what to put in it's place. Any ideas? Anything you all want to know about me, John or the dogs?

Ten on Tuesday

Chelsea's Ten on Tuesday questions come from Lauren over at Little Loves.

1. What is your favorite travel destination spot?
My bed. It's wonderful. It costs no money. Usually no one bothers me when I'm in my bed. Otherwise it'd be some place in Europe. I'd love to take John all over Europe because he's never been. He'd like to take me all over Ecuador since I've never been. One day we'll find the money to do both.

2. Cats vs. Dogs.
Dogs. All the way. Specifically mutts because you get the best of everything in a mutt. Oh and a rescue mutt is even better! Always rescue if you can!

3. Do you believe in fate?
Sometimes. I think some things are destined to happen because you set yourself on that path. You can always get off that path which brings in my sometimes response.

4. Do you believe in karma?
Yes, and she's a bitch.

5. Everyone has a unique laugh. Do you like yours?
I'm not sure if I've ever heard myself laugh. I hate the sound of my voice. I sound really girly and am always surprised that people can take me seriously.

6. Is love really all you need?
So say the Beatles.

7. What’s your take on the whole 2012 scare?
What 2012 scare?

8. If you won a million dollars and had to give it all away, who would you give it to? (Family and friends not included.)
A foundation set up in my name whose only beneficiary was myself? I kid. Ummm....probably something to do with animals. Maybe something local. Something where most of the money actually goes to the charity and not to administrative fees. I'd probably split it up a bit between a few things, but nothing comes to mind right away.

9. Do you believe in God/religion/the power of prayer?
From Nacho Libre: I believe in science. That's my response to John all the time at least. I think if it works for you and you feel better believing whatever you believe, go for it. At this time in my life, it's not really for me.

10. What New Year’s Resolution do you always make but never keep?
I don't usually make resolutions. I'm more of a goal person and usually achieve my goals.

Monday, February 01, 2010

My First Knitting Class

I signed up for a 6 week knitting class through one of our local school district's adult education programs. I just thought it sounded fun and it was something different to try out. I used to know how to crochet, but haven't done it since I was in 4th grade. So I bought my needles and headed out to class. There were two other girls my age and the rest were older. In fact they had a grandkid off to see who had the most - the three of us obviously lost.

Well I can say that I SUCK at knitting. I was THAT person in class. You remember in college when there was that token older student that always asked 80 million questions, but still just didn't get it? Yeah. That was me. Except I wasn't one of the old people.

I would do a few knits and then get all screwed up, lose some of them, get all turned around and have to ask for help. I'm not going to lie, at one point I wanted to cry from frustration. Plus my stupid wrist started hurting and the little old lady teaching the class pulled out her arthritis gloves to talk about them. It was a complete FAIL. I can't even make a freaking wash cloth.

We're moving on from wash cloths to fingerless gloves next week. Yeah, I can only imagine how awesome I'm going to be at those. I may just wrap the yarn around my hands and call it a night.

Memories

John and I bought shelving for the garage this weekend - more to come on that adventure later - but last night while he was making room in the garage he came across this sign:

IMG00247

and wow, I had no idea the picture was so bad! I took it on my phone last night and it wasn't until I downloaded it this morning that I realized how poor the quality was. I'm still going to share it with you though. It says: Faith, I love you!! -John

John made me this sign when we lived in our apartment. The weekend we moved in was Mother's Day weekend, it was the weekend that I graduated college, I had friends and family visiting and I had to work. It was an insane weekend. I had absolutely no time to unpack, to organize, to even sit down a think for a minute. One day I came home from work and John had unpacked all the boxes, organized, cleaned and had made this sign and hung it on the wall above our bed. I can't remember how long we had this sign up on the wall. It was probably years. I hadn't thought of this sign in forever and it was a sweet reminder of the past when John came across it last night.

Love you too babe!
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