Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Cake

Right now, Bones is in the hospital, awaiting an ultrasound of his liver, to figure out why he was sick and acting strangely yesterday. I am anything but relaxed. However, I've been meaning to write this post for ages, so I'm going to do it anyway.


Terri's Jewish Apple Cake Recipe

A long time ago, when I was in the later years of elementary school, my mom bought a home and school produced cook book from one of my younger cousins. You know the kind, with recipes contributed by kids' moms, spiral bound, and with some student art on the cover. At some point, my mom started making this recipe for Jewish Apple Cake. It was (and is) really good.

Sixteen years ago today, CPM and I had our first date (heh, did not realize that until just this minute). You know how in the first blush of a relationship, you go over all the reasons that you are "meant" to be with this person? I claim this cake as one of them. The recipe, you see, was CPM's mom's contribution to the elementary school cook book. (He and my cousin had attended the same elementary school.)

I can sort of recall the moment that I realized this...I was standing in my mom's kitchen, and somehow the topic of the cake came up. I pulled out the cookbook, looked at his mother's name next to the recipe, and it smacked me in the face, that my family had been eating and enjoying this cake of his mom's for years before I ever met CPM. If that isn't destiny talking, I'm not sure what it was.

I make the cake every year at Christmas. While CPM and I don't actually observe the holiday, preferring instead to eat Thai food and watch bad TV or a movie, some things are sacred, like the annual cookie baking. This cake is one of those things. It's easy to bake, and is quite amazing tasting. Make it. You won't be sorry.

I keep the recipe on the same piece of spiral notebook paper that I copied it onto. The paper is stained, and crinkled, from being used so many times.

3/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP cinammon
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour
4 TSP baking powder
1 TSP salt
1 cup orange juice
1 cup oil
4 large applies, peeled, cored and sliced thinly

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 3/4 cup sugar with 1 TBSP cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Grease and flour a tube cake pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream eggs and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the apples, and mix well. The batter will be very thick.

Add 1/2 of the batter to the prepared cake pan. Add apples and 2/3 of the sugar mixture, gently smooshing apples into the cake batter. Add the remaining batter, covering the apples evenly. Sprinkle the batter with the remaining sugar. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove cake from oven, cool on wire rack.

Getting this thing out of the pan can be a challenge. I normally loosen it with a cake spatula, put a plate on top of the cake (it will have risen over the top of the cake pan), flip the cake out of the pan, then put a plate on the bottom of the cake, and flip it back over. You will get cinnamon sugar all over yourself and the floor, but this is the only way to get it out.

Eat and enjoy. (Sorry for the crap photos, I've been using my iPhone for everything lately. My poor DSLR sits lonely in a basket in the foyer of the house. I think I need an EyeFi card for it.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Good Stuff

In no particular order...

The post "work holiday party", free-drink happy hour...I haven't attended a post holiday party happy hour in ten years. It was time. I walked ten blocks through the city back to my car carrying my heels. Thankfully, it was not as cold on this day as it has been in years past.

Live animal nativities. Even though I am not religious at all, put a baby animal in my path, and I'm happy.

This salmon recipe from Martha Stewart Whole Living. I've made it twice. It's dead easy and delicious.

Raspberry Lemon Thumbprint Cookies (made with Kerrygold salted butter, because I am a baking rebel).

My new, go to chocolate chip cookie recipe. I only waited five hours for the first batch, but the rest of the dough is currently "curing" in my refrigerator. Based on my sample tastes, these are incredible. Also, I got myself some Silpats! Finally!

Not so good stuff...getting peed on by your favorite girl puppy, while laying on the couch with your feet safely tucked beneath her bottom, because she recently received a steroid shot and sleepy time is now also temporarily known as "pee on mommy while sleeping time." I still bought her the squeaky holiday hedgehog, which she eviscerated in ten minutes.

Monday, December 12, 2011


At the vet...Bones says, "Get me out of here."

The following list is in no particular order and the photo above has nothing to do with anything. Bones is just awesome.

-My holiday shopping is done. I cannot wait for the day when all of my various nieces and nephews are old enough to be okay receiving a gift card or cash. I'm half way there. I firmly believe that the ones who still believe in Santa deserve to open up some annoying toy from me. Hence, Amazon, Target and "the mall" have all received hefty infusions of cash from me. Bleh. Thankfully, the mall was eerily empty on both of my visits. As usual, there is not one decoration chez moi. I will however, probably be baking cookies this weekend. I still maintain some vestiges of holiday cheer, even if they are not present in the other half.

-Four weekends, four seasons of Breaking Bad down. Am I late to the party? A little. The spouse and I prefer to watch television this way, obsessively staying up too late to cram in just one more episode. It is everything that Dexter used to be...engaging, thought provoking, frustrating, maddening. Good television.

-My new favorite supermarket is the Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting. I may just be purposely scheduling my shopping trips to lunchtime so that I can eat the pizza from their brick oven. It is awesome! They have beer! And a taco truck! They will make you a burger and fries!

-Ate at Distrito, discovered that there is a reason Jose Garces is an Iron Chef. Great food, fun atmosphere, and a crane game where CPM and I almost won a Mexican wrestling mask. Still, I think I prefer Cantina Feliz, for locational convenience and familiarity.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I was thankful for my stretchy waist yoga pants.

For the seventh consecutive year, the spouse and I spent Thanksgiving with some of my favorite people. I think that it all started because we were all vegetarians who felt left out of our family's traditional celebrations, who just couldn't stomach another year of eating the gross frozen corn and fielding the "what does a vegetarian eat/don't you miss meat" questions. There is also the whole "avoiding the family drama" element that is a wonderful side effect of this tradition. Thus, Thanksgiving has become one of my most highly anticipated holidays.

Recently, the spouse and I have moved into the realm of eating fish. The spouse has gone a step further, and introduced sustainably sourced meat and poultry to his diet. Thus, Jaime decided to add an actual turkey breast to the menu. This does not upset me. I have never been a big fan of the "protein" part of Thanksgiving, so I didn't miss having the Quorn roast substitute (which recently has decided to disagree with me my digestive system, blah). I was always fond of the big plate o'sides, albeit freshly made sides.

Sometimes, in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I get discouraged...I don't want to make pie crust from scratch, I don't want to chop apples, blah blah blah. But then I do it, and it's easy, and I'm eating tasty food that was made with love.

My contributions to this year's menu:
Green Bean Casserole (I subbed Trader Joe's Fried Onions, and loved it.)

Smoky Brussel Sprout Gratin from the December 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living

Bourbon Cranberry Sauce (Ridiculously easy, ridiculously delicious.)

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower (Roast the garlic, it's better this way. Also, I probably didn't need to make this, as we had too much food.)

Pumpkin pie (unknown internet recipe). I always use the pie crust recipe from my Cuisinart food processor.

Apple pie. Once again, my own crust recipe.

The spread.
The Spread

My (first) plate (yes, I ate two whole plates of food).
100% Homemade

I ate so much food this time that I had to change into yoga pants when I got home, and then take the dogs for a long walk in an attempt to burn some calories. I think it took me two whole days to fully digest everything. Thanksgiving Success!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

No Chili Peppers?

I made this chili for dinner last night. I will now publicly declare that I love this chili so much that I will marry it. Of course, I never follow a recipe exactly, so here's what I changed:

1. Instead of using fresh serrano peppers, I chopped a can of chili peppers in adobo sauce. This added a lot of spice, but we like our food spicy. Thanks, Whole Foods, for this. I'm not sure I understand how a store can sell every odd vegetable out there, but not have one type of chile pepper available for purchase in the produce section, not even the lowly jalapeno. (Yes, I asked. They had none.) However, I will continue to use the canned peppers, because I loved the flavor of the chili with them.

2. Instead of fresh tomatoes, I used one can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, and one can of diced tomatoes. Tomatoes are out of season here, and I refuse to purchase the crappy ones that can be used as tennis balls. (I will however buy Kumatos. I love those things. They are an oddly tasty engineered version of the tomato.)

3. I omitted the tomato sauce and the additional water/broth, as I did not want my chili to become soup.

I served it with nonfat Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) and some grated cheddar. On my side of the table, I crunched up some tortilla chips on top and made myself a "frito pie." This one is a keeper.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cooking Some Stuff

I finally got around to making this Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. I have had it bookmarked for a while, and then added it to my Pinterest desserts board when I started cleaning out the million food bookmarks that I had emailed to myself over the years. (Side note: Pinterest = Awesome). My only modification was to skip the nuts. I hate nuts in baked goods. I simply added extra cranberries. Thus was born my favorite quick bread, ever. Ever. This shit is good.

The spouse has been doing this minimal carbs thing for several months now. I've been doing my best to accommodate his diet, and he's been really successful (lost +50 lbs thus far). At first, it was difficult, as I would frequently resort to pasta for dinner on a weeknight because it was so quick and easy. Now, I just resort to soups and salads. (When I want pasta, I make him spaghetti squash, and I measure out and prepare my portion of pasta. This is an easy compromise.) Occasionally, I go a little crazy, as I did yesterday, and make a full meal. I made crab cakes for the first time. I'm not linking to the recipe that I used, because I'm not satisfied that they were as awesome as they could have been. They were simply tasty, but I didn't want extra. I made mashed cauliflower (skipped the scallions because I hate them, and next time I will roast the garlic before adding it--raw was a little too much bite). I also caramelized some red onions and threw them on some baby arugula with goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. That was really good. Onions plus lettuce plus cheese plus vinegar equals delicious.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Lately, I've spent lots of commuting time lost in memories of my childhood. I recently discovered a new route to work, which eliminates lots of waiting in traffic, and takes me past two houses that I lived in while growing up.

My childhood memories are mostly of the not good variety. My parents divorced early, and lots of my memories involve moving around to new houses/new schools, various dramatic and emotional parental/custody disputes, stress about money/clothes/food, etc. Look, I wasn't burned with cigarettes or starved in a basement as a punishment, so I had it pretty good when compared to some of the crap that you hear about today. But it wasn't the best way to grow up, and I'm certain that my childhood has majorly influenced my decision to not ever have kids.

There are absolutely good memories. Some just smacked me out of the blue this morning, for no apparent reason. Growing up, my mom would late me stay up late, long past my bedtime on a school night for two reasons: to watch either The Sound of Music or The Wizard of Oz when they came on network TV. This was before the time of VCRs, and before cable, so this was really special. To this day, I love those movies. I can also remember the Christmas that I was seven, living in the one house that I drive past, the last year that I believed in Santa, waking up in the middle of the night, sneaking down the steps, and seeing our tree lit up, with piles of presents beneath it, and just getting this awesome, magical feeling that Santa had REALLY come! The memory of that feeling can still give me goose pimples.

Sometimes, I have to remind myself that my childhood was not all bad. Lots of times, I really wished that I could be sent to a boarding school, which I now understand was my way of wishing to not be involved in all of the drama, to escape, to pretend to be someone else. (This was long before my adolescent "rebellious" phase, when I think every kid just wants to get the hell out of their parents' home, and be able to live their own life. When I left for college, I never moved back.)

I am happy with the person that I have become. I know that the struggles of my childhood made me who I am. Sometimes, though, I wonder who I might have been, if I had the "perfect" life...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011



I got braces when I was 14, at the start of ninth grade. I was very excited about this, because I thought it meant that I was a "real" teenager. (I also got glasses the same year, and purposely picked out frames that were like Andrea's on 90210...true story. Obviously, I spent too much time reading Sweet Valley High and watching television as a pre-teen.)

So, braces. I wore these braces for almost the entire four years of high school. Thanks to my lovely overbite (which never got corrected, thank you very much Mr. Asshole Orthodontist), my front tooth, already missing a small chip on the backside due to an unfortunate altercation with a chair at the age of 12, bit down on the braces on my bottom teeth and an unsightly chip appeared in its bottom edge.

By my senior year, I had had enough of these braces. I was already at least a year past the "you'll only need them for two years" point. I begged my mom to get them off of me. She relented, and had to sign a waiver at the orthodontist in order for them to be removed. I'm sure she promised not to sue the asshole doctor (once again, thanks for nothing, jerk, my teeth looked the same when the braces came off). As he removed my braces, and tsked, he filed down the chipped tooth "to even it out", and ever since, that tooth has appeared snaggly. I hate it. It's my number one detested facial flaw (next to my forehead chicken pox scars that you probably barely notice, but that look like moon craters to me, since I had to live through the embarrassing agony of having them since I was 10).

So, if you take my picture from beneath me (as in the above shot, taken by the 5 year old nephew), or from certain angles, you can see the resulting snaggly tooth. And it horrifies me. I actually have lots of nightmares about my teeth, falling out, me pulling them out, etc. I need to get over this.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yard Work and Stuff

Today, there are 17 bags of leaves waiting to be picked up by my township from my curb. On Saturday, I had to borrow my oldest nephew to help me rake the leafy detritus into baggable piles, or else I would still be working on it. We worked for six hours, stopping only to cram lunch into our craws. The best part is that my maple tree is only half done its annual shed.

On Sunday, I spent a rare, lovely afternoon with CPM in Chestnut Hill at the Fall Arts Festival. Sometimes, the weather around here cooperates, and we experience something new that makes us remember that occasionally life isn't so bad on the east coast (notice I said "sometimes"). We saw lots of cute puppies (new obsession, Italian Mastiffs, gentle giants, who seem to hate cats) and performed our favorite activity...people watching. We ended the day at Farmicia, dining with a good friend (I tasted a piece of boneless lamb chop. I'm sorry, but it was the greatest thing I have ever eaten.), and talked about learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. (I could never hit someone, even just pretending/sparring, so it was just fantasy talk.)

Yesterday, I had my sister's youngest children for the day. We visited Linvilla Orchards with friends, intending to get some pumpkins and pick some apples. Note to self...do not visit Linvilla Orchards ever again on a school holiday. You know that scene in Toy Story 3, where the younger kids are set loose on the toys in the day care, and all hell breaks loose? It was like that, except with overflowing trash cans, smelly animal pens, and the dregs of Delaware County, PA, crowding every inch of free space. We wanted to pick apples, but the apples were all picked out by 3:00 (just checked the website, and the orchard is giving itself a week to recover from the crowds). The ride home was tense...the youngest kid passed out, and the older kid accused me of always giving in to the five year old (I refused to hike back down to the hayride area when our apple picking plans feel through, shuddering at the thought of dealing with the crowds, and I also nixed face painting because the line was too long). I had to remind her that she was once five years old too, and people usually cave in to the younger kids, whose coping mechanisms often involve lots of public shrieking. Also, the youngest is prone to migraines, and he said that he had a headache, so I was sympathetic. I had one too.

We did however, get pumpkins.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


My day yesterday, in list format:

-Drove past a guy without a nose on my morning commute. Instead of a nose, he had a band aid where his nose should have been. Creepy.

-As part of my job, I photograph all new hires in my building on their first day. One of them wasn't wearing underpants yesterday. How do I know? Because when I escorted her back to the lobby, her bare ass was hanging out of her pants. Classy.

All that got me through the remaining portion of my day was the thought of the lovely meal I was planning to prepare...spaghetti squash and pesto, broccoli rabe and roasted red peppers, veggie sausage. It's a pretty time consuming preparation process for a work night, so of course I needed every minute available to me upon my return from work...thus it is no surprise that the following occurred:

-I stepped in dog poop in my yard during afternoon playtime with the dogs. While I normally follow Bones around with a bag, due to his tendency to poop on the run, his father is not so fastidious. Thus, there are sometimes little surprises in portions of the yard. (I actually keep track...did Bones poop twice in my presence today? No? Then I need to do a yard recon and find the second poop. That's fun.)

-When I took my shoe into the house to clean it in the basement sink, I saw that Rocky, the cat, had once again decided to hang his ass OUTSIDE of his litter box and shit on the basement floor. His litter box is kept in pristine condition, cleaned daily, and had just been completely redone with fresh litter the day prior. I guess he didn't want to mess up the fresh litter.

Hence, I was drinking a pumpkin beer while I cooked. All was well.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Surprise. It's fall. But, it's not the good fall, where the weather is crisp, the sun is shining, and you momentarily delight in breaking out the hooded sweatshirts and cozy pants. No, it's the crap fall, where the temperature cuts you down to the bone and it's damp and raining, and everything smells like wet dog in your house. I did nothing this weekend. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Except for (pet and human) food shopping. Upon my return from the food stores, I immediately put my pajamas back on and went back to bed. Yup, it was that kind of weekend.

Honestly, I argued with myself yesterday over whether I should even bother to clean the bathroom. (The bathroom won, it got cleaned.) I did however do this thing I've been meaning to do for a while. I picked up the knitting again.

Why, yes, they are DPNs!

I'm teaching myself to knit socks. I'm using this book and various Youtube videos.

So far, it's working. Here is the cuff.

I can see some careless mistakes, but overall, I think I like to knit little things like socks. I don't have to park myself in one spot for ages before I see progress.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ugh. Me. Impatient.

I've been trying to knit again. I started a sweater pattern. Then I remembered why I stopped knitting. And I also learned a whole new reason.

First, I am incapable of sitting still for long periods of time at home (unless I am watching television or a movie or a movie on the television). I am also not allowed to sit still for long periods of time at home (because my dog is an insane herding beast who interprets my almost stillness as "time to go annoy mom and make her interact with me and my tennis ball" time). And finally, my new reason, today I learned that I fucking hate circular knitting needles.

I will still try to knit some god damn socks, and maybe a new scarf or some shit that I can do on straight needles. But I swear, I am not interested in patterns that require circular needles. Lesson learned. They make me want to stab myself in the face with the pointy end.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Social Networking

I recently realized that I belong to or use a great number of social networks...

Facebook. Twitter. Flickr. Pinterest. Instagram. Ravelry (just joined, trying to take up knitting again).

I used to have my Twitter linked to my Facebook, so that all my FB buds could see my random musings on Twitter. (Actually, I only posted to FB from Twitter.) Recently, I unlinked them. I decided that FB is to be a reflection of my more friendly side, while Twitter is to be a reflection of my naughty side. As I said in my first post-severance tweet, I gave myself a split personality. The truth is, I felt constrained by the "friendship" of several younger relatives on FB...I tended to edit the cuss words and such from some of my more clever tweets, or to hold back altogether. No more. Twitter shall be unedited. I'll need to start a swear jar. I have an unfortunate habit of dropping f-bombs or making inappropriate remarks on the regular in real life. While it may be unladylike, it's just my authentic ribald self.

For the record, my new favorite social networking places are Instagram and Pinterest. Maybe it is because they are fresh and new...I'm not really sure. I do know that if you stick a clever photo with some witty text, I'm hooked.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Someone pushed the cranky button inside my brain yesterday. There was no particular reason to be cranky, I just found myself in a really foul mood, which seemed to worsen as the day progressed.

On my usual post dinner dog walk, I saw this.

I was instantly less cranky.

Today, I'm wearing a scarf out of necessity. This does make me cranky. I am not ready for cold weather.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Perfectionism. My Curse.

I have officially survived hosting our first round of house guests in the new, tinier homestead. Not only that, but we crammed more people into the sleeping areas than we ever fit into the old, larger abode. I am now ready to open a bed and breakfast. I got this.

Since we moved into the new place, we had always intended to have some sort of celebratory barbecue, something to mark the fact that we survived our renovation with our sanity relatively intact. Of course, my perfectionism prevented me from planning this event. There were always little things that I wanted to have done before I exposed our home to guests. The yard looks like a desert in some places and like an overgrown weed jungle in others. It isn't the perfectly manicured landscape that I have dreamed it to be. The driveway concrete is a nightmare. The trim work around the clerestory windows is not done. The fireplace is still empty. Blah blah blah and on and on and on. It took me some time to realize that no one except me actually cares about these things. People will eat food and drink beer anywhere. The only shortfall of the house is that we don't have the fancy butt spray toilet seat on the guest toilet yet. We need to get another one of those, pronto.

Thus, when we opened the home for friends to spend the weekend (at one point 11 people were sleeping in my 850 square foot house), it seemed the perfect opportunity to throw a practice party. Of course, my perfectionism also extends to parties, and I went insane on the food prep and alcohol selections. Burgers and dogs on my grill? No way. I made seitan and veggie skewers (my own recipe), shrimp and pineapple skewers, flank steak, spicy baked beans, vegan blueberry cobbler, guacamole (also my own recipe), and german potato salad. I bought a lot of soda and tons of fancy beer (yeah, no Coors lite for us, just a selection of locally brewed craft beers). Someone brought cupcakes from Crumbs (butter cream perfection). While it was a lot of work, since I have that gene that makes me happy when I am feeding and entertaining people, it was well worth it.

Oh yeah, I know I mentioned it, but I'm saying this again...I cooked effing steak on my grill. An actual bloody piece of meat. It got rave reviews. After it was marinated and cooked, of course. My sister and I were both completely grossed out as I sliced it open to find it to be perfectly medium rare AKA still bleeding. We both wondered if I had undercooked it (I actually used the timer on my iPhone because I have no idea how to cook steak). Then we recalled that my mom's steak always looked like this. Actually, my sister reminded me that my mom would eat it while it was still walking around, so we figured I was safe. And I was. No one died!
There is nothing better than a circle of friends in lawn chairs. All we were missing was the fire ring. Next time!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lessons Learned

I retrieved CPM from JFK airport on Friday afternoon, just in time for us to jointly experience the wonder of Hurricane Irene's attack on the Midatlantic. I learned some valuable survival lessons. In no particular order, they follow below.

Bananas are now on the pre apocalyptic food shopping list, meaning you won't find any on your last minute supermarket trip, along with eggs, milk and bread. Apparently, survival french toast has been upgraded to banana french toast.

When you make that preparatory food shopping trip, avoid purchasing perishable items. Two weeks without a spouse in the house meant that my cupboard was totally bare upon his return, since I didn't actually do any food shopping in his absence. Since I was at the store shopping for the storm anyway, I grabbed the normal collection of food stuffs, yogurts, cheeses and such. In our previous home in the city, this would have been a non issue, as we NEVER lost power. In the new suburban home, we were without power for 12 hours, and I mentally cursed myself at every opportunity for having so much food that might spoil on hand. Next time, I'll stick to simply buying peanut butter and fruit until AFTER all threat of a power loss is past, and then go back to get the dairy and frozen foods.

Your nifty tank-less hot water heater, which saves you soooooo much money every month on your utility bills, needs power to heat the water. I took an ice cold shower with a flashlight shining on me. It felt a lot like what I imagine prison to be like. (Normally, I would have just skipped the shower, but I actually had to leave the house to socialize with people at a baby shower, so it was sort of necessary.) We need to get a back up battery for this. (Or, we need to just bite the bullet and put in a generator.)

This soup is really good, especially when it is rainy. I made it rather spicy (accidentally bought a can of hot hatch chiles), used whole milk instead of heavy cream, and tempeh bacon instead of regular bacon. We're eating it for dinner again tonight. If the power hadn't come back, and the leftovers had spoiled, I would have been severely put out.

Your garage door opener won't open without power. Duh. We should have gotten the one with the battery back up. We also should not have lost the key to the manual garage door. Double duh.

When you wake up to find the power is out, there isn't much you can do except go out for breakfast. I had this delectable stuffed french toast from Green Eggs Cafe.

Yes, I had the materials on hand to make my own, thanks to the shopping, but I didn't want to open the fridge and compromise the temperature. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

And just for fun, here is a lovely shot of the normally sedate Pennypack Creek, engorged to the size of a raging torrent.

Like lemmings, on the way home from breakfast, we followed all of the other cars on the road and parked to gawk at the spectacle.

When the power returns, your neighbors will actually cheer.

True Blood has been really mediocre this season (not really a hurricane lesson, just wanted to get this out there), except for the lovely amount of Eric and Alcide naked butt shots.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake Musings

On my lunch hour yesterday, I decided to walk the length of the Ben Franklin Bridge. It's near enough to my building, but still makes for a semi-respectable lunch work out session. Ironically enough, I hate driving on bridges. My palms sweat, I have to be away from the edge in a center lane, and I always feel that when I reach the apex, my car is going to fly off into midair. As a passenger I'm fine. As a walker, I'm okay...I can admire the view, but if I get to close to the edge, the sweaty palms might kick in, depending on the distance to the ground/water.

As I walked, I listened to some music on my iPhone, admired the view, and at one moment, actually had a strange thought...what would happen if an earthquake struck while I was walking along the bridge. Would I be tossed off, to die a horrible death in the Delaware River? (I frequently have very morbid thoughts when I walk alone and am sunk in my own musings.) I wondered if the experience would be similar to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse. (I originally saw this video in high school physics class...it's a classic, though completely unrelated to earthquakes.)

I returned to work from my walk safely, albeit slightly sweaty. About 45 minutes later, while I was sitting at my desk, the building began to shake. The floor beneath me actually felt as if it was going to toss me off of my chair. My first thought...oh shit, the mechanical equipment that lives in the basement below me is exploding. I am going to die at my workstation. Great. Then I realized it was probably an earthquake. This struck me as slightly weird, given my earlier train of thought.

30 seconds of shaking later, I was still alive. I was however, slightly freaked out, and feeling like some sort of clairvoyant.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What to do when your spouse is away.

The husband, guitar player extraordinaire, has not toured very much in the last several years. In fact, I've gotten downright used to his regular presence at home lately. So much so, that I was really dreading this most recent two week absence, which is short in comparison to previous tours that I've survived. (The worst tour ever was one on which he spent five weeks away from home in December/January. There is nothing more depressing than being home alone in the dead of winter. I lost a lot of weight from not eating regularly, and walking the dogs constantly in cold weather to occupy myself. I can vouch for the weight loss effectiveness of "brown fat.")

So, what to do with myself?

I read. Thanks to George R.R. Martin, most of the reading was an 1100 page behemoth, his latest installment in the series A Song of Ice and Fire. I also squeezed in the follow up to The Magicians, The Magician King. Today I'm getting started on Y: The Last Man.

I watched some crap movies with the furry kids curled up with me. Burlesque. Country Strong. You know, movies that I wouldn't even dare to suggest to CPM because I know how ridiculous they are going to be. I enjoyed both.

I shopped. New glasses from Warby Parker were purchased. I was dead set on the green ones, but the brown ones kind of grew on me, so I got both. Their Home Try On program rules...I did two different sets of five frame options, and settled on these two. At $95 a piece, the combined cost is STILL less than what I paid for ONE pair of glasses on my last visit to the optician.



I bought some patio furniture at Lowe's. It's not expensive, but it does the job. I am particularly fond of the bright green umbrella. It makes me happy.

I also fixed some minor stuff that needed fixin' about the house, hung some pictures, that kind of crap. One thing is certain, it certainly is easier to keep the house clean when I'm only going around picking up after myself. (Having a spouse is a lot like having a toddler, sometimes.) Still, I cannot wait for him to get home. I would have made the worst military wife.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A little insight

This will either be the most boring post ever, or you will learn a lot about how my brain works. You will see that I am possibly insane.

I hate kitchen clutter. Raising dogs from puppy hood taught me some important kitchen organization lessons. First, keep the counters free and clear of anything that you value. Dogs, especially puppies, will grab anything that appears interesting and/or edible from counters. (In a bag on the counter, gone, on a plate on the counter, gone, on the stove, gone. No matter how small your puppy, they will figure out a way to get up there.) Second, put locks on the cabinets. All of them. (My dogs easily figured out cabinets, including metal cabinets that had a magnetic latch--I said bye bye to my entire Tupperware collection, all of my wraps and baggies, miscellaneous and numerous food items, and a gallon of extra virgin olive oil.) Third, put the trash behind a door that requires opposable thumbs to open. Failing that, put it behind a door with a strong baby lock. Failing that, burn your trash outside until the neighbors complain.

The focus of this post will be the clear counter. My kitchen does not feature a handy bucket of kitchen utensils within easy reach of the stove. (I lost one early in puppyhood to the chewing, and decided to never replace it.) Nope, the utensils are (neatly) stashed in a drawer. There are no containers of tea bags (edible), no flour jars (edible), no sugar (edible). On the counter you will see my giant cutting board, my toaster oven, my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, my blender, dish soap, and the dish drainer. (If the dogs were not elderly, the dish soap and drainer would be hiding under the sink.) Basically, I keep out the big heavy items that if attacked by a curious pet, would knock them unconscious and teach them a lesson in counter avoidance. On the stove (back burner, far from curious paws), until yesterday, you would have also seen my glass tea kettle. We drink a lot of tea.

This one.

I've been through four of these kettles since CPM and I began cohabitating (that would have been 15 years ago). The whistling top has a tendency to melt. They are sometimes hard to find. (I always bought two at a time.) Still, I far prefer them to the "regular" teapot. I like being able to see my water and to know that the inside is actually clean of crud.

Lately, I've developed an interest in the electric tea kettle. I read about them on some blogs. I had deep internal debates. Did I really want another thing that would hang out on the counter? I decided this past weekend to make an exploratory trip to Bed Bath & Beyond. I found one that I liked, at a price that I didn't like.

This one.

I left the store without it, realizing that I had a (free) perfectly (free) serviceable (free) tea kettle at home. (I did however, get some new toothbrushes, a wall holder for my hair dryer, and some flushable bathroom wipes...who can leave that store empty handed?)

Yesterday, I arrived home from work and performed my ritual toss-bag-on-bench-take-dogs-outside routine. I noticed a funny smell in the house, but didn't investigate. I spent my usual five minutes tossing the frisbee to Squirt until she decided she was ready to pee. In my "mommy" voice, I asked the dogs if they wanted to go in and eat. They rushed in, I followed, and again, I noticed the smell.

As I approached the kitchen, I noticed the dog bowls were on the floor, as if the dogs had eaten already. Hmm, I thought. That's strange, their dad isn't home from work at the moment. He does work from home though, so, I decided to give the spouse a call to verify that the dogs had eaten earlier. As I was waiting for him to answer, I noticed that the stove was on. Let me write that again. THE STOVE WAS ON. NO ONE WAS HOME. On the lit burner was the remains of a glass tea kettle. Next to the stove, on the counter, was a mug with a tea bag inside, patiently awaiting the infusion of just barely boiling water. Unfortunately, the wait would be long, since the water had long boiled off and had left a lovely chemical laden burn mark inside the kettle. The house, miraculously, was not burnt down.

Needless to say, later that night, CPM gave me money and I went and bought the electric tea pot, which now holds a place of honor on my counter.

The end.

Monday, August 8, 2011


There is a horse farm located one block away from my house.

After having dinner at Cantina Feliz, we drove past the farm as the sun was setting, and I remembered that I had a bag of organic carrots lingering in the produce bin of the refrigerator. The horses, as you can see above, were tantalizingly close to the fence nearest our street. And thus, CPM and I made some equine friends. We feared that someone from the barn would yell at us for corrupting the horses, but we escaped detection!

The white horse featured above is a girl. She has one blue eye. She is also very pushy, as she shoved all of the others out of the way and in an attempt to get all of the carrots for herself.

This guy was my bud. I was out of carrots by the time he approached us, but he let me rub his head for a good long while. Possibly, he thought my fingers were carrots. He was very lippy.

I have a feeling I'll be buying lots of carrots in the days to come.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Being Honest

I don't sew anymore.

I haven't sewn anything since my Halloween costume of 2010, and that was a last minute hack job, since we were deep into home renovations and moving plans.

All of my fabric has been in boxes in my basement since we moved into the house. The likelihood of it leaving those boxes for a viable project in my house is pretty slim. The likelihood of it leaving my house to be donated to someone who might actually use it is better.

There is just NO SPACE in the house for proper planning/cutting/sewing. (At a little over 800 square feet, there's actually no space for much of anything.) Eventually, we will finish the basement, and there could be space for sewing, but honestly, I've lost the urge to sew. I find that I far prefer buying a lovely, quality, item of clothing to sweating hours making something that I will definitely find a flaw in. The perfectionist in me demands finished seams and clothes that don't pucker. EVERYTHING that I've made for myself (with the exception of my Sencha Blouse and my bow tie bag) is gone, ravaged in closet downsizing missions, or tossed in a fit of distaste at the lack of garment perfection. Yes, I could work on achieving perfection, but patience is not a virtue that I possess in great quantities.

I don't actually miss the sewing. I sometimes wonder where I used to find the time to do it at all. After performing the normal post work rush of pet care/dinner prep/clean up/dog walking/miscellaneous house chores, it's usually time to collapse onto the couch and catch an hour of television before I fall asleep at 9 (or collapse into my chair and read for a bit--this depends on what night of the week we're talking about). The workday starts all over again for me at 5:30 a.m.

Weekends are a haze of house cleaning, laundry, food shopping, and other miscellaneous chores. If I'm lucky, feeling motivated, and the weather is cooperative I take a long bike ride or a long walk on one of the weekend days. Mostly, though, Sunday night arrives in a flash, I'm vacuuming madly, and I wonder again, when did I used to have time to sew? Do I even want to have time to sew? And if I'm honest with myself, the answer is no.

I like having the ability to sew, the knowledge that I can hem trousers, make curtains, or whip up a skirt. I enjoy reading crafty blogs and books. I just don't enjoy the act anymore. This doesn't make me sad. I have realized that I've mentally moved on. The item has been checked off of my "to do" list. I'm ready to learn some new things, or perhaps revisit old ones. (Maybe learn another language or craft. Maybe revisit the knitting, since it can be done in small spaces.)

I may sew again. I'll never get rid of the hardware, the machine, the scissors, the pins, the thread. I'll always be available to help those who can't hem their own pants.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I recently spent a few days "downashore" at my parents' house. A niece and nephew were up visiting from Florida, and my other niece and nephews were also there. Thus we spent the weekend doing summery things...jumping and floating in the pool, laying on the beach, jumping waves in the ocean (yes, I went in), playing mini golf, eating ice cream, going on water slides. Phew. I'm exhausted just typing that. It's weird being the "grown up" at the shore, now. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was the kid harassing the adults (or more likely, the kid curled up in a chair on my grandparents' patio with a book and ignoring the adults). For instance, I get to sit in a chair at the beach? Digging in the sand is optional? Or, I'm the one handing out money to nieces and nephews or paying for the batting cages? How about, I'm the responsible one on the big water slides? Even weirder, one of the boys, at age 12, is taller than me, and the girls are big enough to wear my clothes. I am thoroughly freaked out.


Thanks to an early dismissal (how juvenile) from work, CPM and I took the opportunity to catch a 5 p.m. weekday showing of the last Harry Potter film. We rarely do the movies. CPM is so easily distracted by other people that going to the movies is something undertaken only when we KNOW there is a good chance I won't have to start a fist fight with the five irritating people behind us who keep talking to one another/answering their cellphones/listening to their ipod/letting their baby cry. We were lucky...5 p.m. on a Thursday is apparently a good time to see a film...it was just us and about 10 other people. The chatty chicks in front of us only needed one hiss/shush noise from me early in the credits, and they kept a lid on it for the remaining 2 hours. Late in the film, a lady behind us started texting, and the light from her phone became annoying, but it didn't rise to the level of me needing to threaten her life (trust me, I've done this). So, we enjoyed the film. What I did not enjoy was what happened overnight...I apparently dreamed that Nagini, the big snake, was in my bedroom, and was entering the blankets to kill me. I leapt out of bed and darted into my bathroom, flipping on the lights to scare the snake away. And then I realized there was no snake. It was still difficult to go back to sleep after that.


CPM recently did something so generous, big-hearted and kind for my sister, that I am still reeling. He is a big believer in "surprises," the kind that make your heart stop dead in your chest. So, this was a pretty big one, and while I don't want to discuss the details here, suffice it to say that it reaffirms what a great person he is, and how lucky I am to have him. Even if he is kind of a grouch from time to time.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Miscellany and Stuff...

Three day weekends really throw me out of wack. So much happens that I am unable to come up with a pithy blog title that adequately summarizes the days...ergo, miscellany. And stuff.

CPM and I attended a family wedding on Saturday. Of course, in typical CPM fashion, something has to cause us to be late or almost late (we skipped the mass altogether due to his work schedule). About 2 hours before the reception start time, CPM called me and ordered to me to fill a bowl with ice and water, fill a bowl of dog food, and put it all into our yard. He had picked up a stray pooch on his travels through the rougher neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

This guy.
Here is a pic if the pooch I found today.  Seriously he'... on Twitpic

He was scrawny, skeletally thin, almost unable to walk from thirst, infested with fleas, and suffering from a terrible case of what I think is flea dermatitis (rash, patches of hair missing, open sores). And he was one of the sweetest, most affectionate puppies that I have ever met. After he slurped down two bowls of water, we gave him a bath with the hose, rubbed off as many fleas as we could, and applied a dose of Frontline. (I've never seen fleas actually jump off of a creature like that before. There was an actual cloud around him after the Frontline application.) He wouldn't touch any food, which really worried me. Unfortunately, he obviously needed much more help than we could give him, and we couldn't risk exposing our puppies to whatever he had going on, so CPM took him to the animal shelter. He's going to keep track of him, to make sure that he doesn't end up on the "kill" list.

So, after our doggy good deed, we spent the late afternoon at one of the best wedding receptions that I have ever attended. The food was relatively awful (with the exception of dessert...two words...chocolate fountain), but the 12 piece band was incredible, and all 300 guests danced for almost the entire time. We saw lots of family that we haven't seen in a bit, and even went out AFTER the reception for more socialization. And that's when we had Tony's tomato pie. (Really, an upside down pizza.) Thin, crispy crust. Ample sauce (cheese underneath). Delicious. We went back on July 4th AFTER a BBQ just to partake in a second pie. I'm almost mad that I know where this place is now, because I am a pizza addict, and will have to ride my bike lots to earn the right to get more.

On Sunday, I did a whole lot of nothing. Literally. Slept late. Made banana bread. Slept some more. And then on a walk through the neighborhood with one of the dogs, a guy approached me and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed about my neighborhood. In my head, I wondered if this was the moment that would be highlighted in a film version of my life...the moment that the serial killer conned me into believing he was a nice guy on an anthropological mission. I also wondered, as I usually do when a stranger seems really "nice," if this was just another weirdo religious proselytizer, who would trap me into a long conversation about how I needed to be "saved." Always willing to live on the edge, I invited Adam to join me on my walk around the block, and further invited him into my home to interview me. (Spoiler alert...he was not a serial killer or right wing Christian after all. Bullet = dodged.) Since Adam is blogging his project over on his site, I encourage you to take a peak. It really is an interesting idea, and I plan to follow along on his adventure. (I hope I don't sound like too much of an idiot in my interview.)

Finally, on the 4th, we attended a BBQ at a friend's house. This friend is a cop, his wife is a cop, his dad is an ex cop, all of the other attendees were cops. Basically, I was at the safest house in the area yesterday. I drank some tasty beer. CPM ate a piece of chicken (on the bone, yuck). And then we went to Tony's for pizza. Again.

Weekend, fin.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve

Jaime and spent a lovely afternoon together on Saturday. We had a great lunch at Sprig and Vine, did some wine tasting and shopping at Peddlar's Village, and capped the day at Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve. Basically, we spent a day doing things that I would have not been caught dead doing "for fun" in my youth. Somehow these things have become fun. Go figure.

I've been trying lately to do things that make me happy, even little things, like reading a book outside on my patio in the evening, taking a solo bike ride through the park, or buying myself a pair of shoes (retail therapy totally counts). I've been trying to avoid negativity, misery, and meanness, although it hangs like a miasma over some that I know. You know, "always look on the bright side of life" and "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything."

I don't really have a point today. Gah. Be nice to one another and to yourself, maybe? Don't sweat the small stuff?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Nesting and rearranging

For a while now, I've had this unsettled feeling at home. You know, the sort of feeling where you wander from room to room, with an itch to do "something," but you don't know what that something is? Well, my something turned out to be a slight rearrangement of furniture in the living areas of the house, allowing for not one, but TWO trips to Ikea in a single day. I'm quite proud that on the first trip, I managed to wrangle an entire Expedit shelving unit into my car all by myself, got it home and into the house all by myself (not without falling up my back steps and tearing a brand new pair of shorts open from hip to thigh), and then assembled, placed and loaded the fucker, again, all by myself. (Spouse had banned further Ikea furniture from the house, but I overruled him, because all other options cost roughly four times what this cost.) So, I feel a little more settled. (Am I the only person who walks by new pieces of furniture a million times and admires my own handiwork?)

Squirt Approves of New Furniture

On the second trip, we got a chair for the living room. I had always felt a little barbaric in our living room...we had only a couch and a recliner. The layout was not "conversational." If you visited me, it was like coming to the movie theater...you could sit and look at my TV, which is an arguably awesome 52 inch HDTV, but that's not why you came over, right? You came to chat with me about how cool my pets are, or what an old codger my husband has become (ask me how many times he called the police to report noise violations recently)! Now we can do this face to face, you seated across the room from me. It is, sadly, very exciting. There were other accessories purchased, a drawer knife rack (no more knife block taking up space on my counters!), some pillow covers (matchy matchy!), some throw blankets (more matchy matchy!).

So, here are two Ikea related observations. I got there so early on Saturday, the store wasn't actually opened yet, and I had to kill time in their restaurant. They give out free coffee in the morning. And (here is the observation), it is tasty! In fact, it is so tasty that I will actually make a point to get a cup on future visits. Secondly, you know who I would like to meet? The guy who has the job of "undesigning" the furniture, so that it fits into flat boxes. Because this chair here...

...it was in a flat box. And that just blows my fucking mind.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Situation

Somehow or another, I found myself in a club in North Wildwood on Saturday night. Trust me, this is not my scene. However, this is a moment that will live forever in my memory, so why not share it with the internet?

Picture this. I am standing against a high top table along the fringes of the room, arms crossed, going on my third hour of waiting for a good song to be played by the DJ (preferably one without the same stupid techno beat that he's been playing over and over and over again), being the responsible designated driver, and having had nothing alcoholic to drink because it's possible that I will be called upon to drive us to another club soon. I'm entertaining myself by watching the drunk people around me perform elaborate courtship rituals which involve lots of fist pumping and dancing while holding their drinks. (I surmise that this is why white people are rumored to have no rhythm, that if they would just put the drinks down, they could let their inner rhythm demons loose.) I am amazed at the number of men who have definitely spent a lot more time fixing their hair tonight than I did. I see evidence of Jersey Shore style blowouts and ample usage of hair product. As the hours have passed, the crowd has gotten younger and drunker. I am convinced that there are at least some boys in possession of fake IDs, because they don't look old enough to shave.

So, me, leaning against table, arms crossed. A gentleman is passing by the table, in possession of the aforementioned blown out hairstyle, a popped collar polo shirt, and a fabulous tan (Gym Tan Laundry, perhaps?). He stops in front of me. He steps closer, reaches down, and uncrosses my arms from my chest. He leans in and says, "This is very negative body language that you have goin' on here. Open these arms up. See, better." Shocked that a stranger would dare put his hands on me, I can only stare. He leans in closer, plants a kiss on my cheek, whispers in my ear, "You're beautiful," and shimmies his way onto the dance floor. I am struck dumb, and turn in shock to my companions, who ask, "Did he just lay one on you?" "Yes. Yes, he did." And then I laugh, because it is just that ridiculous.

I even managed to dance to a few horrible techno songs after that. Apparently, a kiss from a stranger is as good as a few shots.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Major Weekend Accomplishment

In a crazy fit of parsimony, before the relocation to the burbs, I canceled all the good cable channels. While this saved us a little bit of money, we lost HBO and Showtime. When the cable came back in the burbs, I stuck to my cheapskate guns and got the bare minimum HD package (the 52 inch flat screen just looks terrible in regular definition), which included Starz for free.

Starz unfortunately does not offer the same caliber of original programming that is available to those of us with a discerning TV watching palate. (Camelot straight up sucks.) I became tired of watching the same 10 episodes of whatever show was on HGTV. I switched over to watching repeat episodes of Iron Chef America. Still, the upcoming seasons of Dexter, True Blood and Entourage have been calling my name, as has the new series, Game of Thrones. Thus, I succumbed to the siren song of the cable upgrade. Fortunately, the evil empire that is Comcast Xfinity was offering some decent 1 year promotional pricing that included a free DVR. Sign me up!

Thus, CPM and I spent quality time this weekend by watching the entire last season of Dexter. This is not an activity that should be undertaken by anyone with a heart condition. At several points during our two marathon viewing sessions, I found myself pacing around the living room, or sitting on the couch, heart racing, hands shaking in fear. Good lord, how has he not been caught yet?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some Pictures and Class

We spent 10 days or so on Oahu. This was our sixth trip to Hawaii. We love it there. Yes, yes, expensive, blah blah blah (it's actually not that expensive when you have no kids). Yes, yes, really far. But it's worth it. All pictures are here.

Beach Gazing
Hawaii 2011

Beach Dogs
Dogs on Beach

Rich People's Stuff
Pinhole Sailboats

A Coconut
Coconut Close Up

My Dream House


I woke up to the sound of clinking silverware...

I was in first class, flying to Chicago from Honolulu. My mind took a moment to register this fact. My mouth was really dry, but I was laying flat on my "bed." I was covered by a real blanket. I had eaten a delicious dinner (fresh salad, cheese ravioli in a mushroom cream sauce), dessert (a freshly made ice cream sundae), and then passed out after drinking (possibly) an entire bottle of white wine. Surreal.

How did this happen?

Ah, well this entire vacation to Hawaii was based on some really cheap round trip tickets snagged thanks to Air Fare Watchdog. Of course, when you add in the lodging expenses for 10 nights, car rental, dining, shopping, etc., you've actually spent a whole bunch of money at the end of the day. Still, the tickets were incredibly cheap. Thus, when you are checking in for your return flight at the self service kiosk, and the screen offers you the chance to upgrade to first class for what is really not a lot of money in the scheme of things, your spouse tells you to do it, and you do it. Because you have a 9 hour flight home ahead of you, a flight that is taking you away from paradise and back to your job and your real life, and it will be nice to spend that 9 hours not crammed into a tiny seat like a veal calf, but luxuriating in actual space, edible food, and flight attendants who will simply refill your wine glass as soon as you've sipped it below half way full, without being asked for more.

That's how that happens.

And I'm not sure that I can ever fly coach again.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monkey Bread and Mr. Peanut

I've never made monkey bread. Ever. I have never even tasted it, although CPM claims to have devoured some at Jaime's house at a party. I must have been parked near the chips and dip or the M&M bowl that she always puts out (another of her ideas that I have stolen for all time, because M&Ms in a big bowl are just awesome).

For some reason, monkey bread popped into my head as the perfect treat to have on hand for a visit from some dear friends on Easter Sunday. I used Smitten Kitchen's recipe. I did not make the cream cheese glaze. I also veganized the recipe by using almond milk and vegan butter. That means that this was healthy monkey bread, because, as all the world knows, being vegan means that everything you eat is good for you :)

Thus, on Sunday, I woke myself up at 7:30: the dough requires two separate rises, and our visitors were arriving at 11. CPM was a little annoyed that the stand mixer was chugging away at 7:45 a.m., but that's what happens when your bedroom is right next to your kitchen. It's one of those things you get used to in a rancher. The mixer kneaded, the dough rose, I rolled balls of dough in butter and sugar, the dough rose again, then I baked. And dear gods, why didn't I ever do this before? I made Brian and Joselle take the few leftovers with them, to save me from myself...I could easily have spent the day popping little balls of sugary dough into my mouth.


CPM has been referring to me as Mrs. Peanut for the past two weeks. It's his new nickname for me, he says because my head is shaped like a peanut, and I should be wearing a monocle. Let's hope this nickname doesn't stick, because I am not starting a new blogging career as Mrs. Peanut. But Mrs. Peanut has gotten the perfect thing for her upcoming vacation, a peanut sized folding bike from Citizen Bikes. Our dream has always been to take our bikes with us on vacation. While I've read a lot about other people doing this, this will be a first for us. (CPM is taking his Xootr Swift.) Let's hope it all works out, because I'd love to be cruising around Waikiki on my teeny tiny bike.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why am I afraid of something so small?

When I sat in my chair at my desk this morning, it squeaked. Hmmm, I thought, this chair needs a little WD40. I proceeded to spin around in my chair, to bounce up and down, roll it back and forth, to see how bad the squeaking problem was. Oddly, the squeaking was not corresponding to any of my movements. That's when I realized I was actually hearing the sound of a mouse on a glue trap.

I know that sound well, from my time living in the basement unit of an apartment building downtown. CPM and I had a private entrance that was in a narrow alley, across from a few dumpsters (said dumpsters were also a convenient public toilet for various homeless fellows...ah, college living). There were holes in the baseboard everywhere. We stuffed them with steel wool. Once, I swear something was trying to chew through that steel to get me, as I huddled in fear on the living room futon. Another time, CPM left for work in the morning, and I woke up thinking that the battery in the smoke detector must have died, due to the frequency of the squeaking. Once it registered that I was listening to a mouse, I got the hell out of dodge and left the guy stuck on the trap for CPM to deal with upon his return to the apartment. (Said apartment also featured cockroaches that were roughly the size of 747s. Yeah, I do not miss that place.)

I have a deadly irrational fear of mice. I don't know why. They freak me out. Rats are even worse. I can safely look at the pet mice and rats in Petsmart, but the real thing, in the wild, skeeves me completely.

So, this morning, I began to thoroughly investigate my workstation. Where had maintenance staff put the trap? I moved my waste bin aside, and almost fainted when I saw a stray paper towel behind it. I was lightheaded at this point. Finally, standing up, surveying the open office area, I saw the trap, fifteen feet from me. The little guy had drug his trap away from the wall, out into the open area. He was a real fighter. He was also gigantic. Unfortunately for him, the building maintenance has a clear mouse disposal policy. And I'm wishing we had a department cat.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Is this for real? and other shit.

Seriously. If you need to catch up with me: husband frequents a local pizza joint, chick at local pizza joint crafts a Missed Connection for him, friends notify husband, husband cutely confronts pizza slinger, we all laugh, all is well. And now, here she is, terminated from the pizza joint (probably for stalking old guys), and asking to KIT with my husband. Oh no she din't. Now the psycho in me is seriously contemplating a response. I won't though. My (male) co-workers have advised me to let the husband have the joy of an admirer, because there is so little happiness in life as it is. Okay, okay. Fine. But if she does it again, she's toast.


20 days and counting.
Typical shot of Diamond Head

What? I got a frantic text message one day notifying me of "insanely low" airfares to Oahu from Newark. Indeed, I got tickets for a little over 400 per person, round trip. That is unheard of--it's about fifty percent less than the current average cost to fly round trip to Oahu from the east coast. It was a sign. A sign that it was time once again to return to vacationing. Yes, we have thousands of dollars of work left to do on the new house (landscaping, roofing, driveway repaving, etc). And yes, my husband is self employed, thus not really earning much in the way of actual money. But you know what? Who gives a shit! I could die next month. I haven't had a break from work (except the move week) in over a year. This winter has been beyond awful. I need warmth. I need a beach. I need Mai Tai's.

So, the disappointing thing about the trip is that I've grown too fat for all of my shorts from last summer. There. I put it in writing. While my brain fantasizes about losing a few pounds in the next few weeks, I know this is not going to happen (okay, it might, if I stick to my current self imposed pre vacation diet exercise torment schedule). I will embrace my new almost pre-muffin top. Old lady bathing suits, here I come.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Impatiently Tapping My Foot

...in anticipation of the "real" spring weather. I know, I know, in two weeks, we (meaning you crazy people who dislike the heat) will all be bitching that we skipped spring and jumped right into the sticky humidity. Such is life on the east coast. Still, I'm eagerly awaiting 70 degree days and 50 degree nights, even if they only last for a day or two.

This weekend, it felt like CPM and I were on vacation. We did a lot of work around the house, but still managed to eat out more than we would normally on your "average" weekend. First, CPM took me to breakfast on Saturday morning. He owed me one. The weekend prior, he had passed a late night comment about "going to breakfast in the morning." Then we woke up and when I asked what we were doing, he told me to cook. Man, that really ticked me off! You know how you fall asleep anticipating your next meal? (What? Is that only me?) Well, to wake up and find out that I wasn't getting fancy coffee and treats was super irritating. Especially since Mr. Spouse happily snoozed away while I prepped the pancakes and tempeh bacon. Arg! So, to correct his mistake, on Saturday, he took me to Green Eggs Cafe in Northern Liberties. This was our second visit. (It has easily become one of our top five breakfast spots.) We always strategize our breakfast order...we both get a savory dish, and then we split a sweet as "dessert." This order: Veggie Benedict, Egg White Omelet with Mushrooms and Tomatoes, and Sticky Bun French Toast.

We did a whole bunch of stuff on Saturday (me: cleaning and food shopping, him, electrical work), then he took me to dinner. Trust me, this is only normal when we have house guests or are on vacation, I never expect two "out" meals in one day. Nevertheless, we found ourselves at Gunner's Run early on Saturday evening. Me: Vegan Sloppy Joes. Him: Panko Fried Cod. Verdict: Delicious. Secondary Verdict: Will be stealing pickle recipe. They are AMAZING.

On Sunday, I cooked breakfast. Just threw together some eggs benedict. You, know, eggs benedict is so quick and easy, I don't know why I don't make it every day. Actually, I really wanted to try out my new poachpods. I've tried the normal egg poaching methods, the whirlpool, the vinegar in the water, etc. My poached eggs still ended up looking like snot. These poachpod things are great! Just lube them up a touch, crack the eggs into the pods, float them in boiling water, cover, and five minutes later you have perfectly poached eggs.

We also have a new Sunday tradition. It's called "Pizza Sunday." Yes, we go out for pizza on Sunday night (or we have for the last five Sundays in a row, at least). We've been frequenting Pizzeria Stella. The pizza there is fantastic, if a little bit pricey. I'm not sure how long pizza Sunday will last...it's the one day of the week where I don't feel rushed to prep a meal, so I normally enjoy cooking. Pizza Sunday might just become Pizza Tuesday. Which would be a nice predecessor to Thai Wednesday. (What, you don't do Thai Wednesday?)