Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking Forward to 2010

I am really looking forward to 2010. It's going to a big year for me and for my sweet Mircea. I'm proud that all the "lessons" that I've learned and the experiences that I've had over the last few years have made me the person that I am today. I'm excited to get married, I don't have any anxiety over the marriage as I feel I'm finally bringing my whole self to a relationship and trusting the love that I am being given. It's a nice feeling, that's for sure. I think this year will bring a lot of changes in my life (and Mircea's) including our marriage and the prospect of having a family (though that won't happen in 2010-I at least pray it won't, but shortly into 2011 would be fine!)

Even though 2009 had some sadness to it, it was a pretty darned good year. And if you read my Christmas letter, it sure seemed like I traveled a lot while leaving Mircea at home with the kitties. Not this year! Mircea will be returning to school to pursue a Mechanical Engineering degree. He's already studying and getting all prepped and I hope that he finds the studies reasonable and he's not killing himself trying to work full time and go to school. I'm proud of him trying, that's for sure.

I think 2010 for me really will have room for a lot of personal fulfillment, and I hope that I will follow through. I'd like to finally learn to knit (stop laughing Patty!) and if I can get my knee fixed I'd like to really start running again. Maybe I can finally learn Romanian too, but I'm not going to count on that. I'd like to lose another 20-30 lbs this year. I managed to lose 20 this year, so I'm happy with that. I guess it proves that some small changes can make a difference but I'd like to put a better effort to it next year. I want to lose weight and get healthy so I can basically get pregnant and gain weight all over again. :-) Not exactly, but I'd like to be my healthiest before getting pregnant so I've got a fighting chance of staying healthy once I'm pregnant and after I have a baby or two.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Book Challenge!

I'm trying to explore more hobbies for myself and there's no better time to do so than when Mircea starts school in a few weeks. My life doesn't revolve around him on a daily basis by any means, but most evening after our days' events we do end up parking our butts on the couch and hanging out. Alas, that butt-parking will cease and while I've signed up for some exercise classes I also started working on a reading list, which I've already been dutifully crossing books off of. Today I read my friend Sarah's blog and she'd posted this Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge. I think I'm going with the Rory, as I do have a fair amount of free time on my hands and I'm currently averaging about 2 books a week and Mircea's not even in school yet!

Here's my list: My criteria was that I hadn't already read the book-even as a child-which is why my children's book list is short!

Classics:

Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice
Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights
Charles Dickens Great Expectations
H.D. Thoreau Walden (I didn't read it the first time!)
Leo Tolstoy War and Peace

Childrens/Young Adult

L. Frank Baum The Wizard of Oz
Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Kate D. Wiggin Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Modern Classics (I have more of these to make up for childrens)

F. S. Fitzgerald Tender is the Night
Franz Kafka Metamorphosis
M. Mitchell Gone With the Wind
George Orwell Nineteen Eighty-four
JD Salinger The Catcher in the Rye
John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath
Kurt Vonnegut Slaugherhouse Five


Non-Fiction

A. Bourdain Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (even though he was a total asshole on his No Reservations: Romania)
Ann Collett Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals
William Gibson The Miracle Worker
Jack Kerouac On the Road
Michael Moore Farenheit 9/11

Other

J. Eugenides The Virgin Suicides
Henry Farrell What Happend to Baby Jane?
Frank McCourt Angela's Ashes
William Styron Sophie's Choice
J. Susann Valley of the Dolls

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wedding Tizzy

I could make up a 101 excuses for not blogging (or write a book of the same title and make millions) but in reality it's three-fold; 1. Facebook is faster and more succint, 2. my life is slightly boring, and 3. all i could talk about is wedding planning and even I don't like that...

...but I'll talk about it anyway. I really thought Mircea and I were making it easy on ourselves by having a destination wedding and a casual reception when we return home. It's not easy. It's never easy. There's all kinds of stress about trying to bring your own photographer to a Sandals resort (but I'm doing it anyway), trying to figure out if having a pulled-pork BBQ is fancy enough and your friends won't think you're a cheap skate, and sending out Save-the-Dates, Bridal Shower invites (Rodica wasn't sure what to do), reception invitations and wedding announcements. It's crazy, but I thought that I wouldn't invite people to the reception from miles away b/c I didn't want them to feel obligated to come, and yet I didn't want to uninclude them so I'm doing seperate announcements. The joy of this is overwhelming since it took me two months to decide on invites that I still haven't ordered because I'm a chicken. I did however, do two fun things. I finally talked Mircea into going to the stores and registering for gifts and we spent a couple hours talking about the kinds of things that we liked, the way we saw our stuff long-term and it was just fun. Even if we don't receive those items, it was just a fun day. The second fun thing I did was order favors for the reception. I'd been against favors mostly because they have the tendancy to be just crap, but I decided on a semi-useful favor, at least for our group of friends. I'm going to do personalized shot glasses, fill the bottom with a little bit of finely crushed pretzel (to look like sand) put a few m&ms on top and a little drink umbrella in it. I saw the idea on the internet and thought it was adorable. Plus, since our friends all like to play quarters and FOUR of my shot glasses have been broken to date, I figure I've just found some easily disposed of shot glasses to use instead of my awesome Purdue ones that have been destroyed.

I'll try to post more. But is anyone even reading?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Post

It's 3 am on the day after Thanksgiving, now referred to as Black Friday. I can't sleep. I went to bed at 10 and woke up at 11:45. I'm going to meet my friend at Target but let's be honest, I don't need anything and I'm only going because I couldn't think of a way out. Originally her husband wasn't going with her, so I was going to run interference for her while she ran to claim her Dyson Animal. Now, instead I'm getting myself all riled up about a TomTom I'd like to buy (though I'd rather someone else just magically give it to me for Christmas or a wedding gift) and some cheap digital picture frames, so alas, I cannot sleep. I've tried reading, I had some carbs (that was less for sleeping and more for the pit in my belly) I've cuddled with Yukon under the Christmas tree-I'm unable to sleep. I've been considering just going to Target now and waiting in line, but really, what am I trying to buy?

So in the spirit of being thankful for things that I have but do not own, I'm making a list of things I'm thankful for.

  • a wonderful fiance who will soon be my husband and is my forever love. We're far from perfect, but we complement each other so well that I can't imagine my life without him in it.
  • a renewed relationship with my Dad and step-mother. We don't bicker, we enjoy each other company and basically we have the familial relationship that has been lacking for the last 8 years. It's wonderful, and I credit all of us for having an open mind and respecting new beginnings.
  • a good career. I know that many others out there in the U.S. do not have the luxury of having a steady paycheck and job security. I am very thankful that Mircea and I are both in stable jobs and both of our families have the same blessing.
  • great friends. I really do have the best friends. They understand how indecisive I am, they know I'm so crazy, and they still love me. They also know I'm bad with punctuation, but come on, cut me some slack, it's 3 am and I got 90 minutes of sleep in the past 24 hours.

It was a short list. Mostly because I'm getting even more tired. But the list is very long because I have so much to be thankful for and really look forward to the future!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Know, I Know

I have a million pictures to share (which I think most of you saw on Facebook) but I do have stories about some of the photos and places we've seen but I've just been too lazy. Actually, I guess I've been the opposite of lazy because I haven't had a ton of time to sit down organize my thoughts about some of the events from our trip. Soon. I'm going to be down to like 2 readers if I don't start updating.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Although it feels so good to be back in the States, I miss Romania like crazy. Mircea and I had a great visit and we’re already seriously planning how we can return permanently. More about that in a future post-it’s more of the 5 – 10 year plan, though I’m sure our future children will be upset to find out that we could have lived in the land of fast food and consumerism, but they’ll learn to appreciate the fresh vegetables and free education.

I’m still working on organizing all the photos, writing my blog posts, etc., but I wanted to take a moment to tell the whole story about the last few days of our trip (totally out of order I realize).

On the Thursday before we left I started feeling a little intestinal dissonance. We had some pizza at a local restaurant and I basically went home and went to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night to a fire storm in my bowels, and after a night of massive vomiting and diarrhea I woke Mircea up and explained that we needed to go to the hospital as I was in serious pain. At about 6 am we had his uncle take us to the hospital where I was seen by the broken-English-speaking Doctor within 10 minutes of arriving and had an IV hooked up within 15. Mircea wasn’t allowed to be in the ER, so I had to utilize my limited Romanian to communicate with the nursing staff. I kept quietly murmuring “Sunt Frica”, which is “I’m scared” and they comforted me and I finally fell asleep from the drugs. When I woke up I proceeded to watch the parade of gawkers that “had to see the American” and laughed that I was probably the first American they had ever seen-sweating through my Purdue t-shirt and hair that looked to be in dreads as it had been a couple days since I’d bathed. I was transferred to the communicable diseases hospital (yeah, that scared me) and Mircea informed the Doctor that I couldn’t stay the 2 days they wanted me to stay and that they had to, and I quote, “get her well enough to get on a plane and get home without setting off any alarm bells” and the Doctor gave me enough drugs to stop me up for a week. (You know how I know that-I’m still living the dream!) I basically spend the rest of the day in bed, trying not to soil myself (FAIL) and drifting in and out of hallucinogenic sleep. It was wild. Mircea was gone most of the afternoon for events that he couldn’t miss and I spent the day under the watchful eye of his adorable but non-English speaking Grandmother. We found our own way to communicate and had a nice time together. At about 5 pm I began hearing the comforting sounds of Heavy Metal bursting through the window as I was lucky enough to have almost front bed seats to a Heavy Metal festival in the square outside. Oh joy! They played until about 10 pm and we’d planned on leaving at 2 am for the airport so my sleep was nothing short of fitful (in between all the bathroom trips-I think I was going on about 2 hours of sleep)

Mircea’s dad picks us up at 2, we somehow get to the airport (I swear I drifted in and out of consciousness several times from the pain) and we wait to get on our plane. During this wait I realized that I couldn’t stand up without throwing up, which really drove home that sense of “wow, this is going to be a nightmare flight” that I’d been feeling. We get on the bus that is going to take us to the plane and I sat in the corner seat and basically began heaving onto the bus…not puke bag, no nothing. Just quiet heaves in the corner hoping that none of the other passengers would report my communicable diseases or freak out. I threw up THE ENTIRE way from Romania to Hungary; mostly just dry heaving into a bag on Mircea’s lap. We got to Budapest and waited in a long security line where ironically another man was getting seen my paramedics as he’d complained about not feeling well right in front of me. We made it up to the lounge and thankfully, slept off and on for about 4 hours and the vomiting subsided for me.

The nine hour flight was uneventful, other than the A-hole Hungarian guy behind me who kept kicking my seat and I finally had to ask him to stop and he freaked out because I had woken him up (so he could remove his boot from my ass) and began swearing in Hungarian. Too bad Mircea was asleep or we could have had an International incident. We’re about 20 minutes from landing when the pilot says that there is bad weather and we’ll be a little late. I’d been talking to the woman across the aisle, asking about Customs, etc., and she’d made the comment to Mircea “get her a Valium; she’s too worked up about this”. Well about an hour into the circling, this woman became insane “Why can’t they land this plane? I’m going to miss my other f-ing flight. Delta doesn’t care, etc.” It was beautiful. Who needs a Valium now, spaz? We finally land but spend another HOUR on the tarmac waiting to get off the plane. You’re not supposed to get up but finally I burst from my seat and explain to the stewardess that my kidneys might actually burst (they might have) and I rushed to the bathroom. Thank God because when we finally got off the plane we had about 30 minutes to go through Customs, recheck our bags, go through Security and get to the entire other side of the airport. I swear to you it was a mile. I SWEAR. AND I RAN THE ENTIRE THING. Seriously. 16 hours before, I’d been puking in the corner of a bus, but I ran my freaking heart out to get on this plane, which we made with about 10 minutes to spare (it was worth it). We finally get to Dulles after a couple of other delays and see Mike and Rodica (Mircea’s stepdad and Mom for those keeping score). We get our bags, load up the car, and start telling them our adventure…when I say “do you smell that-oh, the temp is high!” on the car and we pull over on the side of the road. Five miles from the airport we are broken down. Mircea and I almost break down ourselves, but manage to not throw ourselves into traffic or explode in tears or anger (or pooh).

We all decide that we’ll call AAA, have the car towed locally and get a cab to take us back to the airport when where we’ll get a rental car. Easy, right? Logical? Legal? Yes. The tow truck driver comes first, loads up the Jaguar, and says “I’ll take you all to the airport”. Well that’s nice. For two miles I figure all 5 of us can jam into the truck cab. We’re not in the car 20 seconds when Mike says “How much to take us all the way to Southern Maryland?” Mircea and I sort of laugh like “really, really?” and the guy is like “no, no, too far” and we breathe a sigh of relief. But somehow Mike convinces him to take us the TWO HOURS down to Southern Maryland and we’re like “Mike, we can’t sit this way for this long” so the genius tow truck driver says “why don’t you two go sit in the car?” Fast forward through our swears and complaints and you’ll see my ass being hoisted up into the Jaguar and the driver saying “keep your heads down so we don’t get caught”. The first 20 minutes of the drive were terrifying and Mircea and I cursed Mike quite a bit, I almost peed in the car (“Go right on the leather Kate, he deserves it!”) but I finally fell asleep when Mircea and I took the extra boxer briefs we’d packed (for me) “just in case” and put them over our heads to shield our eyes from the blinding lights of the tow truck. We woke up when we got home about 2 hours later and laughed to ourselves as the truck driver tore up their front yard trying to get out (yeah, we were getting spiteful) and got in our truck and got home, swerving twice to avoid hitting deer.

The Gods were against us returning to our beds, but when we got home (33 hours after we got up in Romania) and we were greeted by the happy purrs of Fern and Lily (who spent the entire night with me, kissing and loving and as I found out later, saying goodbye) we knew we were home, it was all worth it, and we somehow lived to tell about it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Good-Bye My Lily Love


Yesterday Mircea and I had the unpleasant task of making the decision to put Lily down. When we got back from the trip, Lily greeted us happily, and she and I spent that whole night with cuddles, loving and kisses. The next morning she was downstairs and she didn't move from her spot all day, and I encouraged her to drink water, but she only sat there, occasionally crying out and then getting sick. After we picked Yukon up from the vet yesterday, we returned with Lily to have her examined. Dr. Edwards (our beloved vet at Solomon's Vet-we'll pay the premium price for her) told me we had to get Lily in the oxygen tank immediatly and we did some x-rays to find that my little girl had a mass on her lung and that her trachea was curved. Our options were very limited, and didn't give us a good chance to do anything but stress her further. We made the choice to set Lily free from her struggles and held and comforted her as Dr. Edwards did her selfless task.

Lily was a special girl, and anyone who hugged that little calico body knew she was a cut above. I was one of the late-bloomers on that love for her...until this last October when she comforted me through my recovery, she was always "my mother's cat" first and mine second. But she was my best little friend. I cried into her fur when my mom died, I cried into her fur when my dad remarried, through breakups, falling in love, losing loved ones, etc. Lily Bear was my silky girl who always had enough love in her heart no matter how she was feeling. From the days of the skinny stray that deposited kittens under our porch and filled the void for my mother when I left for college, to the little baby who held out the two weeks while Mircea and I were gone so that she could give us a proper goodbye, Lily was the perfect cat. Sure, she thought the shortest distance between two places was across a set of testicles, and she taught little Fernie to scoot her booty on the floor after going No. 2, but she was a doll. No one will ever take her place in my heart.

I'm comforted in knowing that she is with my Mom now, her first Mommy, and that they are both together again, cat in lap, happy human illiciting that Harley-Davidson purr.

I miss you Lily. I thank you for all you gave me - you were far more than "just a cat".

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm Grasping at Straws for Post Ideas

Well, sort of. I was looking through my old posts and realized that I posted this and it included me indicating that Jonathan Rhys Meyers was "somewhat handsome" and that I preferred Wentworth Miller. While I wouldn't kick Mr. Miller out of bed, I was crazy. I've come to my senses, don't worry. I absolutely love JRM. So hot (want to touch the heiny) and I fell in love with him in August Rush. I was going to review the movie, but then I looked for pictures of this hottie and decided that I would instead provide a post of hot guys, other than my beloved Brad Pitt Mircea. Mind you, these are in no particular order because really, is that fair to anyone?

yes, yes I will marry you I've already mentioned how I feel about him. Let me say, seeing him running towards Central Park in the movie August Rush almost made me die. DIE I tell you. And I know Robyn agreed with me on that one. The entire movie was spent in a transition between crying and lust. It was awkward for all involved.

look at those eyes I loved him in Stop Loss. I think I saw him in something else too, but it barely matters. He's just plain hot and can rock a wife beater like no other. Those eyes, those eyes.

I've tried so hard to push this tool out of my life, but I just can't. He's just so freaking good looking that it kills me. Such a tool though...so he wins the award for "hottest toolbag".

He actually puts me over my Romanian quota, but I love Adrian Mutu. He may have had a coke problem, and likes cheating on his wife, but darnit, I still love him. He's not my husband.

Oh he's so hot like fire. Burn baby burn. I've never seen more than 10 minutes of Burn Notice, and I only saw that much because I was capitvated by Jefferey Donovan. When we hit the commerical break, I was gone-but my love for him remains. He was very good in Changeling as well.

Winning the award for "hottest regular old guy" is John Krasinski. I feel like he's got to be a perfect guy. So it's hard to know if I like Jim or John better, but I say "I'd give either a chance". On a sad note, he has recently announced an engagment. I guess he heard about Mircea proposing and gave up all hope. It's probably best.

Still love you Brad. I even stuck by you with the Jennifer Aniston divorce when I felt that you were a terrible man for falling for Angelina's sexy pout. I forgive you. And I fell in love with you all over again in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. You're on of those guys that I can't help but love-and I'll love you when you're old and gray. You'll be my Paul Newman. Larry Mullen Jr., drummer from U2 wins the award for "Man (other than my Dad and Papa) that I've loved the longest. But I'll tell you, I loved him way differently than the aforementioned men in my life. I don't care that Larry is pushing 90 (ok, 50) he's still the love of my life and I'm so happy that I found this picture because this my favorite frame in the entire Electrical Storm video, which is my favorite U2 song of all time. Mostly because of Larry.

The puffy kitty, teddy bear hot guy award goes to Yukon Glink-Reed-Ighian. He's the most beautiful boy I ever seen in my life, looks AMAZING in a Santa Hat, even looks cute in a Steelers bandana, and it adorable all times of his life, but mostly while sleeping. This little guy almost stole my heart.


I said I wouldn't rank the "hottie guy" list, but Mircea comes in number one. He's got that Romanian charm, perfect teeth, scrubby enough to feel like he's a bad boy, and cleans up well enough that you know your mom loves him as much as you do. So yeah, I lust for all the guys on the list, but luckily, the hottest guy I've ever met (notice the modifier there) loves me too, so I guess I'm pretty lucky.

**On a side note. While looking for pictures for this post I managed to see the following: A picture of Channing Tatum in undies with what is best described as a terrifying package; tons of lists from other bloggers about their hotties and who their husbands will let them sleep with; a lot of homosexual men that share the same love of these hotties; a great interview in Men's Health with John Krasinski. This was fun.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vegan-Vegetarian-Carnivore?

I think I made a comment on one of my posts awhile back that I was eating meat in preparation for the trip to Romania. I made this decision with very mixed feelings, namely that I would probably enjoy the convenience of eating meat and just go back to it, but knew that I had to as the Romanian countryside isn't filled with convenience foods or people that are willing to tweak recipes for the ugly American (me, by the way).

It's been a little over a month since I started eating meat, and only in the last week have I really pumped it up so that I have eaten meat actually more than veggies-and I'm feeling it. Not to be gross, but bowels work so much better without meat. Lily and I are going through the same thing, only I can manage it a little better than a sweet calico.

I'll tell you what works for me-bacon. And by "works for me" I really mean "scares the shit out of me because I try to find every excuse to get bacon into a meal and let's just say I haven't lost any weight since I started eating meat". I'm posting some recipes that have meat in them, but mostly I can really take or leave meat.

Having said that, I'm in a rough spot. Considering I have probably eaten a total of 10 meals that have meat in them over the course of 40 days, I'm not sure that 'giving it up' again is really what I want to do. Since we have a friend that has a small farm, he's really helped us out by giving or selling us organic, free range, grain fed meat, and frankly, I've never had a problem with that kind of meat. Yes, I still feel that it isn't right to slaughter animals for meat, having said that, this is the world that we live in and me not eating meat isn't going to stop the market from existing. So instead of avoiding it altogether, I may choose to support it as needed (or desired really) but when doing so make the best choices, supporting the local agriculture of Southern Maryland.

So sound off, what do you guys think? I know that most of your are omnivores and support meat consumption, and I'm interested in your take on the whole thing.

The post is almost over I promise. One last thing. I don't want to eat meat. I am just so sick and tired of everyone saying things like "oh, we'll make something special for you" or "oh we didn't think you could go out to lunch with us b/c you don't eat anything at the restaurant". I don't know, it was harder being vegan and I'll tell you, being a vegetarian is like a cheese-filled dream.

This topic is far from over for me. I've got a lot of soul searching to do on this.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Recipe Thursday: Rebecca's Salmon Salad

Rebecca's Salmon Salad Recipe

Ingredients

Salmon fillets, without the skin :)
Something to put on the salmon, I like this vegan garlic paste or olive tapenade or something similar
Organic salad mix
Pine nuts
Tomato
Feta cheese
Avocado
Pitted Kalamata olives
Lots of pepper (I love pepper)
Girard's Greek Feta Vinegarette
I also someties include some red onion

Directions
Just broil the salmon on high for 15 minutes or so. Mix all of the salad ingredients together while the salmon is cooking. Then cut the cooked salmon into pieces and add it to the salad. Be sure to eat it with some great-tasting white wine; Chardonnay, Voigner, Riesling, or something similar. Enjoy!


Rebecca is a champ with this salad. She and I made it while I was up in DC visiting her and it was amazing. I used a different, reduced fat salad dressing and it wasn't as good as what she made, but I felt a little less guilty. (Mine was a Greek feta vinegarette from Kraft) Mircea really enjoyed this salad too and I think we'll make it a household staple.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

P90X: Not Just for Beefcakes

At the end of May, I started doing Tony Horton's P90x workout video series. I'd heard about it a lot, and figured "there is no way I can do this", but I figured wrong. I could do it, and I enjoyed the hell out of it, for about a month, when some issues with medication and knee pain forced me to stop. Laziness persuaded me to not pick back up, but Mircea and I have been doing a random P90x workout here and there the past several weeks and have agreed that when we return from our trip we will complete the entire p90x program together. I really hope we do follow through because it is a lot of fun.

A little bit about the series is that there are several different workouts, to name a few, there's a core class, cardio, kenpo karate, a grueling 90 minute yoga, a fantastic stretch, great chest and arms workouts, as well as a legs workout that pretty much killed my knee. The abs workout is great too, but it's only 20 minutes and it's completed after a 60 minute workout so it can be a real killer. As Tony says "Ab Ripper X; I hate it, but I love it", and I echo those sentiments exactly.

I urge anyone who is even slightly interested in P90x to go out and spend the money because it is totally, totally worth it. I do a lot of modifications for things that mostly my knee doesn't let me do, and yeah, sometimes I use 5 lb weights while they are using 30+ but the point is to do it, not shy away from it or become a muscle man or woman.

I started the workout with a woman that I work with, who is about 45 years old and not in very good shape. Neither of us could even do a push up when we started (I can do knee pushups, but that isn't saying much) and in the first 30 days (the only days I stuck with it) I could do 5 regular pushups-something I couldn't even do when I was in high school. Linda, however, as she's completed the full 90 day workout, is able to to do one armed push-ups, and plyo-pushups (where you clap when you come up). She's a freaking powerhouse, and it's funny because she pretty much looks the same. She was laughing that she's far from the super-ripped people they show on the infomercials, but she feels fantastic and is so proud of herself for all she's done. She's going to complete it again and maybe she'll get ripped this time-but either way-she's got a great accomplishment under her belt.


The other funny thing is that when I started this I was getting up at 5 to do the workouts, and I'd get done about the time Mircea came downstairs in the morning and fed the cats. He'd give me so much shit for grunting, etc as I completed my workout, or for lying in a pool of my own sweat sobbing. I kept saying "ok, bigshot, you try it". Well, recently he did try it, one of the easier workouts (Cardio) and he about died. It was hilarious. HILARIOUS!!! The next day we did the tricep and arms workout and he stopped halfway through with a soaking wet shirt (mind you, he was using 8 lb weights). During a set of pushups (i was back on my knees) he basically collapsed and I said "You haven't said it yet", and he turned to me and said "yeah, yeah, I was wrong. I'm sorry I gave you so much crap for this"...cracked me up.


It's definitely a challenge but I dare anyone to try it. If "knees McGee" can last 30 days (and I should have lasted longer) and middle aged Momma can do it, anyone can give it a try. Modification is key, and I often did other exercises when there were knee-centric workouts, and there are options instead of pullups when you're just starting out. Go ahead-try it!


A note on Tony Horton: I couldn't love this guy more. To "know" him on your tv is to love him and he just has a great attitude and even at 5 in the morning I was thinking positively the whole way through the workout. He's far from just another "beefcake". Check out his personal blog. Great guy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Recipe Thursday: Pesto-Chicken Burgers

Open Face Pesto Chicken Burgers

Ingredients
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
4 Tbsp. basil pesto
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 slices ciabatta or rustic italian bread
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
2 cups fresh basil leaves, arugula, or spring garden mix salad
8 small tomato slices
ground black pepper


Directions
1. In a bowl combine chicken, half the pesto, the Parmesan cheese, garlic and salt. Shape in four oval (bread) shaped patties.
2. Horizontally halve cibatta. Brush cut sides of ciabatta with olive oil; set aside.
3. Preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium.Place patties on grill rack over heat and cook approx 10-13 minutes covered until chicken is no longer pink. Turn over once halfway through and cover with mozzarella cheese to melt. Place bread on grill rack and grill 2-3 minutes to toast.
4. Arrange basil or greens on toasted bread. Top with chicken patties, tomato slices, and remaining pesto. Sprinkle coarsely with ground pepper.
These burgers were fantastic. I was craving them days after we had them-and this coming from someone who is eating all meat but bacon grudgingly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bubble Tea Lovin' : Chicago Part Deux

The trip to Chicago was fantastic, other than the fact that poor Patty was sick. That turned out to be in my favor though as she picked me up for Midway and we spent the afternoon playing Sing Star, which by the way is almost worth buying a Playstation for. Let’s just say I rocked out several times to Foo Fighters Best of You until I thought my vocal chords might bleed. I also tried to entertain myself and Patty with country music renditions of all the rock songs, and pretty much choked myself with laughter when I turned all the “Isn’t me, Isn’t you”s from STP’s Vasoline into “Ain’t it me, ain’t it you” that I finally had to stop.

We went out to grab dinner and pick up a movie at Blockbuster. I saw a Jimmy Johns and I had to run over there and get a sub. Man, I miss that place so much. (I've just found out that there is one in College Park and one in Alexandria-I see a short road trip in my future) I could have eaten there every meal while I was in town and been perfectly happy. Patty also introduced me to Bubble Tea that night, and until today, I’ve had a Bubble Tea every day since I learned about them. So addictive, but I’ve decided I’m making them at my house since the local place here makes them worse than I think Fernie could make them given opposable thumbs. We watched some good movies over the weekend, including Penelope, Knowing, Push and Pineapple Express, the last one making me laugh my ass off though I’m not really a “pot movie” kinda girl, it certainly wasn’t glorified so I was ok with it.

On Saturday we went up to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I lived my first year out of college. We went to what used to be our favorite restaurant for beer cheese soup, but they must have changed the recipe because it was abysmal so I have to bid adieu to the Chancery. It’s right next to the newly expanded outlet mall, so we got lots of good shopping in and I bought two beautiful dresses at the Black House/White Market outlet store for a total of $60 (with sticker price being about $360). Very very happy. We rounded out the day with mani/pedis and enjoyed a fantabulous dinner at a Kenosha sushi place. Best sushi I’ve had outside of Florida or California. Sooooo good-a surprise hit in Kenosha! After we stopped at home for another Bubble Tea (just me this time) we watched some movies and fell asleep.

Sunday was great too because we were super lazy waiting for Nikki to join us and then we took her for a bubble tea and then head over to Kuma’s Corner, a heavy metal burger joint that Nikki was interested in visiting. It was super loud so we waited for an outside table and the food was spectacular. We all ate our weight in waffle fries smothered in cheese and pulled bbq pork and then tried our best to eat our huge burgers on pretzel rolls. Incredible. I definitely want to go there again and I think Mircea would love it. They have veggie burgers too, which is fantastic when I regain my veggie sanity.

It was such a great weekend with great friends, great food and funny moments. I always enjoy my time with Patty and it was so nice to see Nikki after all this time that I know we’ll make an effort to keep in touch a lot better from now on. Until the next time we get on our boots girls…

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Baby Baby Baby, Light My Way: Chicago Part One


I’ll have to divide my Chicago trip into two posts, one being about U2, the other aptly named for all the foods we ate while I was in town. I packed a lot of calories and deliciousness into a very short time but you’ll have to come back for that.

The concert was…amazing. It’s funny, I had been looking forward to it and yet by the actual day I felt like I could take or leave it, which is ridiculous. I was just enjoying my time with Patty and Nikki and didn’t need “the boys” to interfere. Nikki couldn’t have been pulled away by wild horses, so we went.

We got gouged $45 to park at Soldier Field, which is insanity. INSANITY. It was very close though and we walked right over to the stadium and started looking for a place to buy shirts. Nikki found a place and Patty and I walked over to check out Snow Patrol, which was very very good. We were on the main level center stage and when Nikki came back she was like “why don’t we try to stay here”. And “stay here” we did. We basically stood behind the $250 seats for the concerts and got an unobstructed (except for a 6 foot tall guy right in front of me) view of the concert. It was awesome.

The concert was great. They played all kinds of different songs from many of their albums including The Unforgettable Fire (the song has the same title) and even played Ultraviolet, a song that Nikki and I had performed at one of my birthday parties (I vaguely recall Chantelle being in our group but annoyed b/c she didn’t know the song and Nikki and I were bossy) and performed for Patty at the concert. It was just great. Great I tell you! I think all of us agreed that our favorite was the remix of “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” that had the guys as bobbleheads on the big screen. It was just so much fun and it was so worth the flight, the days missed of work, etc.our bobbleheads

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Recipe Thursday: King Ranch Chicken

King Ranch Chicken

Ingredients
1 whole chicken (boiled and deboned)
1 diced large onion
3 diced cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can rotel
9 corn tortillas (cut in 1/2 or 1/4s)
1 1/2 cups mild cheddar cheese

Directions
1. Boil and Debone Chicken. Reserve 1 cup broth.
2. In a skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil, add both cans of soup, rotel and broth. Keep on low heat.
Preheat oven to 350.
3. In a lasagna pan, layer tortilla, chicken, sauce, cheese and repeat.Cook in preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until cheese is brown.


I used reduced fat cheese and soups for this recipe and it was still delicious. Soooooo good!! I got this recipe from Robyn's mom, Jeanne Birrane. This is really good served the next day too as it allows the flavors to all mesh together.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

My Spidey Senses Said "Run!"

I was sitting at my desk on Sunday morning trying to catch up on some blog posts for the time we're in Romania (because when I get back it will be all Romania, all the time for awhile) and looked out our front window to see a big honking spider. I went out to take pictures of the thing, and I'll tell you the entire time I was taking the pictures I was thinking "what if this is a trap set by a WAAAY bigger spider?" and I kept looking over my shoulder as though an extra-wombo spider was waiting to pounce.

At least this wasn't as scary as my last spider experience. Ugh, I shudder just thinking about it.


The boy was irritated with me and wanted to come outside. He probably just wanted a big spider meal. Double-ewww!

(yeah, I know this post was boring, but come on, what else do I have going on in my life?)

Monday, September 07, 2009

My Poor Lily-Monster (sort of a pathetic rant)

It's funny how life works out-Lily was never my favorite cat. She was my Mom's cat, her best friend, her favorite "daughter". When my mom died I couldn't bear to part with Lily so I brought her to live with me and Courtney at Purdue and she and Fernie instantly became enemies. They only band together in the dislike of others, and while they do give each other baths, it always ends in a fight. But after being bedridden with my knee surgery, Lily was by my side every second of the day, keeping me company and actually licking my tears of frustration. She and I are wildly in love these days, and I guess that's good because it seems like we're getting closer to the time in our lives where we have to say goodbye. She's really not doing well at all. She has something called "loose knees" so the back part of her walks sort of independantly of the front of her (like a bus with the accordian middle). Lately she's been struggling with the restroom, and it appears she's terribly constipated, so we've been treating that the best we can. I just feel for her so much and I'm not sure what to do. I don't believe in keeping cats alive just so they can be my friends, but it sucks because her mind is there but her little body is failing her. I'm getting especially nervous because we're about to leave her for 16 days. She'll be here at the house with a friend stopping in every couple of days, but I'm just worried that 1.) she'll think her mommy abandoned her and 2.) she'll be sick and die alone...and Fernie will freak out. I'm not crazy enough to think that I would comfort Lily if she was sick and dying, but at the same time, I don't want her to be scared or alone if she's in pain. As I sat with poor Olive several months back, I think she actually did get some peace knowing that someone was comforting her. I'm just worried. Please pray for my little sweetie. I either want her to feel better and live forever, or somehow communicate to me what she wants me to do.

I'd do anything for this kitty to keep her out of pain. Man, I already miss her and she's not even gone yet. I don't know what my life will be like without my "girls" as little Fernie is getting so old too. The joy of geriatric pets-but at least I've had this time with them.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Greek Quinoa and Avocado Salad Recipe

Greek Quinoa and Avocado Salad Recipe

I haven't taken a picture of this recipe, mostly because I've had the spoon in it ever since I finished preparing it. This recipe was "banging" as Mircea would say. Last time I work with quinoa (keen-wa) I had some trouble with it-it seemed a little crunchy. It shouldn't be. This time I let it cook longer and it's delicious. All of the ingredients in this make it great, and at the suggestion of another BHG.com commenter I added pine nuts and they really made a great addition. Other than the feta, this is vegan, and I think it can be enjoyed without the feta as well, though it does add a nice tangy twist to it.

I know everyone gets mad at me when I just post a ton of recipes, but I am going to be sharing a couple in the next couple of weeks-in fact, I should probably be sharing them on Stephany's Realistic Eats blog, which years ago she made me a member of and I've only posted one recipe. This lives up to her realistic eats standards though!

Friday, August 21, 2009

I Had a Post All Planned...

But I don't feel like posting on that topic. In fact, I really have nothing to post on. I've been enjoying everyone else's blogs, with their back to school pics (so cute), their yummy recipes, and just hearing how everyone is making the best of what is left of the summer.

As for me, making the best involves going to Mircea's parents hous to swim in their pool on my off Fridays, so I can just chill and read a book. Hanging out with my friends as much as possible, and visiting Rebecca up in DC as much as I can to make use of our short time together, is another way I spend my time. I just feel so...gasp, comfortable in everything in my life except for my physique, but that was the post I didn't feel like posting today, so that will be another time.

I also think I might soon be called Little Suzie Homemaker. I'm really enjoying trying out some new recipes lately and I'm actually getting an eye for how I'd like to decorate my home, which for once doesn't involve asking my friend Robyn if "this is ok" or "if it's alright if I do this". She has great taste, but I'm finally gaining some confidence.

So short post, but I'm sure I'll provide a movie review for The Time Traveler's Wife, when I return from seeing it this weekend.

Off to the pool!

Monday, August 17, 2009

What's Up, Doc?

I realize that in the past several months I have been a terrible blogger, which is kind of funny considering the months of drivel that I’ve turned out in the past and that I actually have some cool things that are going on. But are they blog worthy? So instead of full blog posts on the following items, I’ll just throw out a little blurb.

The Other House: Mircea and I met with the Realtor yesterday to talk about listing Mircea’s old house for sale. Yeah, that didn’t go well. The comps in the area were about $40k less than he’d paid for it, so needless to say, we’ll be renting the house out until the market improves a little bit. We’ve had a couple of bites, but we haven’t been marketing heavily as we’d planned to sell. The house does look fantastic now and I need to update the website I put together for it. It turns out that I’m terrible at taking pictures of houses though…it’s hard!

The Dog: You know that dog that only lasted a week at our house? Well I just checked on her at the Humane Society and she has been adopted! It only took the entire summer and her description kept changing to add things like “needs 6 foot fence” and “extremely energetic”. She was a sweet girl and I’m so happy for her!!

My Whine Wine: My wine rack, which is really my microwave stand, is near our back door. And apparently the sun that shines onto it in the evening has destroyed my wine. Luckily I didn’t have much in there, but I did have a couple of favorites that I was saving for my friend Rebecca’s visit. It was awful when we tried it and ended up just drinking some cheap wine I had in the fridge with our ridiculously expensive cheese. So now I’m going to get that set up somewhere else in the house and not destroy my wine. I guess I have really expensive cooking wine now. Mmmm!

Vacation: Only one more month until we go to Romania! I’m so excited, terrified, and even more excited. It should be a great trip and hopefully will be somewhat relaxing. I’m so nervous that all I’ll have with me is my crappy camera, but hopefully it can eek out some decent pictures. I can’t wait to share all of my adventures!

Money Talk: I finally got my raise. It was a debacle but it’s finally here in my paycheck not doing nearly as much as I would have liked it to. But now I can move to other jobs without having weird promotion rules and it’s just for the better. Who doesn’t like a little extra cash (to pay for all that stuff you couldn’t really afford when you didn’t have the extra cash) ?

The Notebook: Seriously, how have I not seen this movie until now? What a great movie. I’d watch it again right now if I could. Great great great great great movie. Does anyone have any comment on the book? Is it worth reading?

Reading List: I’ve been trying to read like crazy this summer. I’ve completed several books, but mostly I just keep adding to the list. I’m currently reading The Other Boelyn girl, and I’ve read some other great books as well. When I can get a decent list together I’ll share them with a recommendation to the folks in the hizzous. Is that how you spell that?

Procreation: I swear that everyone has had a baby this summer. Or found out that their having a baby. Or has practiced making babies all summer. Its been fun going to baby showers (and hosting one!) and fun laughing at all the games and seeing the happy mothers, but man, I’m ready. We’re not going to have a baby for awhile (if we’re blessed with one at all) but I am just ready now. I know that I won’t get to live my free-wheeling rock and roll lifestyle once we have a baby, and I’m totally ok with that. Mircea is ok with it, but he’s not like super excited about it. I’m not sure Mircea is super excited about anything but football, so I’m not offended.

Th-th-th-th-that’s all folks!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Wedding Website is Up!


As much as I wanted to get our own domain I decided to just host the wedding website on a blog and make it easy on myself. Easy it was!


Come see all the fun (ok, it's still a work in progress)


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My New Friends

My friend Katie and I have been talking for months about how we want to get bettas from Petco and have them at our desks at work. Well, we finally did it yesterday and although I had a great plan for a vase with a plant growing out of the top, I fell in love with two fish at the store and I was stuck with the divider option. Yes, that's right, instead of giving one beloved fish a great home, I decided to give two fish a studio apartment adjacent to their worst enemy. Let the fun begin!

I couldn't help myself either. When I picked them up I told Katie "I am naming them Picard (Jean-Luc) and Riker (Will) from Star Trek: Next Generation" (you wanna fight about it?). And so the names stuck, even though there were other great duos to choose.
Riker & Picard

Aren't they cute in their crappy house?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Bacon, You Dirty Slut

I felt sort of risque using slut in the title, but decided, that I'm 29 years old and I can type what I want. Oh yeah, and if you don't like it...I'm sorry. :-) See, I can't really be risque without the guilt.

Back to bacon. I've made the decision to eat meat-but only for Romania. I did a lot of research and the places in Romania we are going to are FAR from veggie friendly. And who really wants to be the annoying American saying "i don't eat that"? Well, being the annoying american who asks their fiance to say "she doesn't eat that, yeah, I know, aren't all americans so damned picky?" So alas, I prep my belly. And yes, I said a prayer to all the animals, apologized and said that it's ok if you eat other humans to get back at me. Mean humans.

So basically I've had a Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich (awesome) and some bacon (really awesome). I am trying to keep a positive attitude about this because I really don't want to eat meat and have every intention of stopping the carnivorous frenzy when I return from the good land (not Milwaukee-come on, 10 points to anyone who gets the reference). I'm trying to eat one meaty meal a week and so far I've really just been eating the bacon. I can hear myself getting fatter on that, but it's the only meat I even like at this point. So we'll see.

Yeah I know, boring post, but just as some don't like to talk about their flair, I don't like to talk about my meat.

On a side note, I'm babysitting Mircea's mom's feral kitten. He's a wildman but I think they'll tame him if I can convince them to stop letting him use their hands as toys. A little tough love never hurt a kitten (and by tough I mean ignoring him or using a spray bottle, not actually tough). Cute kitty and I'll post pictures of him later.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

To my adoring fans, I've missed you

Ok, so I'm not doing a very good job updating lately. I thought I'd be all smart and put some recipes up here to automatically update while I was busy or whatnot. Oops-didn't post at all so I look some recipe hound (which I actually am!)

As most of you know there's a lot of exciting news right now, and I'll be honest, I'm having trouble enjoying it. I know that it is stupid that I think a ton of people are out there in the world just judging me like "oh, I wonder if she'll get married this time" or "she'll screw it up again, don't worry", and I've sort of robbed myself of the joy of being engaged to the man I love. I know I'm supposed to focus on the positive, but I just feel so...strange about the whole thing. I wonder if it's what people feel like when they are getting married for the second time around. Sort of that "oh, people won't appreciate this or see it as special". I don't know, I'm blathering, but I guess the only way to prove that this is right, is well, for it to be right and it to all go that way that Mircea and I want it to go (which by the way, is something along the lines of happily ever after)

My parents are coming to visit this weekend and this will be the first "clash of the titans" as I like to call, which is obviously the first meeting of both our sets of parents. It should be an interesting time because I really can't think of 4 different people (even the folks married to each other) and putting them all into one little petri dish (my dining room) should be interesting. My big plan is that if they hate each other, I'll just start drinking heavily and they can bond together to discuss what a lush I am. I guess I get something good out of that, right? Oh yeah, a hangover.

I bought some nice bathing suits for St. Lucia. Bathing suits that I won't be wearing unless I get some (a lot) of weight off. I've not been religious with P90x as my knee has been giving me a rough time, but I started physical therapy again (remind me to tell you that little gem) and I'm feeling some improvements. Trying to eat better for sure...which will bring me to my next post...

(how's that for a cliffhanger since I've been such a terrible poster?)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Recipe Thursday: Hot Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Hot Spinach-Artichoke Dip
From Paula Deen on Food Network

Ingredients

10 oz package frozen chopped spinach
2 13 3/4 oz canned artichoke hearts
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Head spinach to thaw and squeeze dry. Drain artichoke hearts and coursely chop in food processor.
3. Combine all ingredients except jack cheese in large bowl. Stir well. Scrape into casserole dish and sprinkle jack cheese on top.
4. Bake 30 minutes. Serve warm with bagel chips or crackers.

I took this to a party a couple of weeks ago and people really liked it. I thought it was pretty decent too. I will definitely make it again.



Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sorry for the Recipes

I had a day a couple weeks ago that I had a ton of time on my hands so I was typing in a bunch of recipes that would auto-post. Unfortunately, I didn't put anything else on the blog during this time, so it's just a bunch of Good Eats that this crappy blog has been spewing out at you. Oops!

As my Facebook friends know, Mircea asked me to marry him on July 3rd. It was a sweet proposal, a huge surprise, and I couldn't be happier to be marrying the man of my dreams. I do worry that everyone in the world is like "are you actually going to get married or freak out like a crazy biotch?" and I'll answer you that "yes, I'm going to get married and I'm putting a lot of effort into not freaking out". I'm not going to have someone else's wedding, which I was essentially going to do a couple years back. Mircea and I are doing what we want and including our friends and family when we return. Our current plan is to get married around the March timeframe at the Sandals resort in St. Lucia. We haven't booked anything, but that's what we're thinking. We're pretty excited and this is MUCH more our style. Dad wasn't too happy about the lack of church wedding at first, but I think he understands that the level of pressure I felt for something like that makes a crazy out of a Katey Pooh. Our intent is to throw a shindig when we get home, a casual sort of reception where we can share our happiness with friends and family. So that's that.

Our old house is almost done, which is great. Can't wait for it to be completely finished and hopefully we'll be able to sell it shortly. I have to laugh, our original planned completion date was DECEMBER 2008. Well, August 1, 2009 will have to suffice! Pray that we sell it quickly and for a decent price.

I hope everyone is having a great summer. We've got something big every weekend (except for two) between now and our Romania trip in mid-September, so it's an eventful summer-which is great. Usually we just park in front of the tv all weekend so this is a much enjoyed change.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Recipe Thursday: Dump Cake

Dump Cake
My Grandma Reed

This cake would be nice to take to a 4th of July picnic, or pretty much anytime. This was one of my favorites as a kid, only I called it "garbage cake" and it sort of stuck with our family.

Ingredients
1 lg can cherries
1 lg can crushed pineapple
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks butter (I actually cringed when I typed this. Challenge: Reduce this fat!)
1 cup pecans

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Blend cherries and pineapple in baking dish.
3. Sprinkle with cake mix.
4. Slice butter over mixture and add nuts.
5. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

This was really simply, and maybe a little "poor people food", but it was so good and I loved this as a kid. I loved it AND I hated cherries when I was young, so it must be awesome. Probably all that butter.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Recipe Thursday: Banana Sour Cream Cake

Banana Sour Cream Cake
Kraft Foods.com and Jenny Lorentzon

I'll post a picture after my birthday, as my plan is to make this as my birthday cake. Either that, or beg Jenny to make it since she asked what she could do for my birthday party. ;-)

Ingredients

1 pkg yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil (I used applesauce)
8 oz pkg cream cheese; softened (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup softened butter
16 oz pkg powdered sugar, about 4 cups
1 cup chopped walnut pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Beat cake mix, eggs, banana, sour cream and oil (applesauce) with mixer on low speed. Then beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 13x9 pan (I used two 9" round pans). Bake 35 minutes. Cool completely.
3. Beat cream cheese and butter w/mixer on medium until blended. Gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition.
3. Remove cake from pan. Cut in half crossways (this is if you use the big pan, why would you do this?) Spread top w/frosting, top with other cake, frost top and sides. Press nuts into sides.
4. Refridgerate leftovers if you somehow haven't pigged out and eaten the whole thing.

Seriously folks, this cake is freakin' incredible, and I know bananas, and this is banana-riffic!
I also think this would work really well as cupcakes with nuts on top. Yummy yum yummy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So Many Things...

Usually my life seems boring, even to me. But lately, Mircea and I have been keeping busy with friends, time on the boat, the kitties, and a little Star Trek. We're also planning our first party, which is hilarious. I'm a nervous nelly over the whole thing (or as my friend Ben says "panicky jane") and I'm panicking about the layout of the food, drink, house, games, etc. I just want to get the flow right. "where does the keg go?" "where does the ping (beer) pong table go?" "is everyone going to want to hang out in our unfinished basement?" I've finally got the menu figured out, and I've selected some fantastic jello shot recipes. Does this party sound really immature? Well, that's the point. It's a "Return to College" Party to celebrate my 29th birthday this Saturday. I thought it would be kind of fun to do all the goofy stuff we did in college (or didn't b/c we were too busy studying or dating non-drinking guys who judged every sip of alcohol you ever took) so Mircea and I are donning Togas and having our friends over for a night of immature fun. A menu that includes a Ramen noodle salad, pizza rolls, and Doritos just can't go wrong right?

On a disappointing note, I'm still waiting to get test results back on Little Fernie. My baby has been losing weight lately and I sort of thought she was just thinning out in her old age. She's 10 this year, but as she is my baby, I expected her to live...forever. Lily is also sick, with her little back legs letting her down and not affording her much mobility. Yukon is suprisingly doing really well right now, and we have a daily argument over his plan of the day. He wants to spend the day in the garage, making a mess and peeing on Daddy's tools. We want him in our upstairs bathroom, on linoleum, peeing in his litter box and sleeping in his little blue bed. Every morning he gets carried up the stairs, swishing his tail and whining. It's actually quite adorable, and his little grumbles are so darned cute too. Why is torturing him fun? Really, I don't feel bad b/c as soon as we get up the stairs he sees his little feather toy and gets so happy so he just has a bad memory.

Ok, crappy update, but I'll let you know how the party goes!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Recipe Thursday: Mashed Cheese Potatoes

Mashed Cheese Potatoes

Ingredients

4-5 large potatoes
1-2 green onions, chopped (whites and some greens)
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Butter, salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 300

1. Peel and cook potatoes
2. Drain and add the 3 cheese (cream, parmesan, cheddar) and mash
3. Add butter salt and pepper to taste
4. Add green onion
5. Place potato mixture in a greased casserole dish and sprinkle with paprika
6. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, covered

This was my favorite way to eat mashed potatoes as a kid. My friend's mom made these and my family fell in love. I usually make these at Easter.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Recipe Thursday: Horseradish Spiked Red Potato Salad

Horseradish Spiked Red Potato Salad
Gluten Free Goddess

Ingredients

2-2 1/2 lbs small red potatoes
sea salt
1/4 C fruit tasting olive oil
4-6 T apple cider or rice vinegar
1 small red onion, finely diced,
2 T prepared horseradish
2 T fresh chopped parsley
1-2 t dill
1 t caraway seeds

Ingredients

1. Boil skin on cubed potatoes until fork tender. Drain wel.
2. Pour in large bowl. While pototoes are still warm, add the ingredients and toss to coat. Serve warm.

This was really really good. I've made it a couple of times and I think I added a lot more horseradish. Yummy Yummy!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tiny Little Update

I've been so busy at work this week that I want to scream. I'm that level of busy where you actually aren't getting anything done because you're just trying to chip away at little things and then something else gets placed on your desk. To top it off, everyone else in management is on leave, and since I'm third in line, well, I just went to the front of the class, so I'm attending all the b.s. meetings etc, while I try to catch up from a week out in training and plan for two additional weeks in training to get my logistics certification. Oh joy of joys. I totally phoned in my pre-work assignment for that and I feel a little guilty, but between every other deadline at the office something had to suffer and it certainly wasn't going to be my every day responsibility to the Fleet. So pllllfttt stupid training class.

I started the P90X system this week. Yes, it seems I'm always starting some sort of new exercise or challenge and rarely finishing it. I think the important thing to takeaway is that I keep starting. :-) P90x is definitely one of the most challenging things I have ever done and it often reminds me how out of shape I am, but there are a lot of modifications that I can make and as I grow stronger I can build into the more difficult work. The only downside to this thing is that you have to work for it. Har har. It's at least an hour a day, with the yoga class clocking in at 90 minutes. I was trying to do it when I got home, but I was just too darned hungry, tired, busy on the other house, [insert excuse here] to be motivated, so I started getting up at 5 to get it done. I will not, however, get up at 4:30 to get the yoga done so I am going to save that one for the evenings and just go to work early that day, which is what I did today and it was great to get there at 6 and get my work done.

Man my life is boring. The most exciting thing I've done all week is have banana flavored yogurt when I went to Bruster's ice cream for the first time today. I was proud of myself because everyone else got this really decadent stuff, but my heart belongs to bananas and my waistline needs the yogurt. I saved about 20 grams of fat according to the nutritional information and my thighs thank me.

Oh, I did get a haircut and I will not be sharing pictures because I HATE IT. HATE IT. It's just not working at all for me, but it has proven my point that I do actually have fairly curly hair and the thickness of my hair sort of weighs it down, making it look straight. Not now boys and girls. I have crazy curl everywhich way on my head (every way but adorable spirals) and yet the front of my hair is really straight...in one word TERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIBLE! I've got a time line...6 months: mullet, 1 year, back where I started. Next time, remind me that I went in there for a trim and only decided to go for a new style because I was paying so much.

Wow, tiny turned into jumbo, but oh well, I needed an outlet so I don't actually scream out loud.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Movie Review: Changeling

Rating: ***** (5 stars, baby!)

When I saw the previews for this movie I was intrigued. The basic premise of this movie is that a single mother (Angelina Jolie) goes to work, leaving her young son home alone, and returns to an empty home. She waits for weeks to hear any news about her missing child, and suddenly is contacted that her boy has been found. Of course she is elated, but she shows up at the train station only to be greeted by a young boy who is not her child. She vehemently denied that this was her son, but was told she had to take him as he had no where else to go. The LAPD basically coherced her into keeping the child, giving her a million reasons why she was crazy and that the boy was really hers. She continued to deny it and was placed in a sanitarium until she would agree that the child was hers. She wouldn't, and she stayed put until a pastor that she was aquainted with got her out of jail. I won't go into further details because I definitely recommend this movie and don't want to completely spoil it for those that are interested. The movie was based on a true story, and also stars sexy as hell Jeffrey Donovan from Burn Notice (which I've never seen, but would totally watch b/c he's so good looking). For more information on the true story, click here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Little Buddy

Little Fisherman Pilot
Lindsay's son Draigan is, well, the love of my life. I love that little boy so much, from holding him when he was 6 days old, to still insisting on good-bye kisses when he's 6. He'll be 7 this year, and that is just crazy to me. He is the reason I've always wanted boy children (until very recently) and he's also the reason I'm terrified of children as they are definitely different as they get older. The best part about At attentionDraigan is that he is a wonderful child, way better than many other kids I know...and yet, he still annoys the crud out of me which cracks me up. I'm totally in love with him, but also wish there was some sort of kennel you could pop kids in for a few minutes to let them settle down. (Sound familiar? Poor Peyton)

I just wanted to share some pictures of my little cutie pie as I miss him like crazy and although I'm lucky I get to see him as much as I do, I just want to kidnap him sometimes...but then give him back when I'm ready :-)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Recipe Thursday

Strawberry-Goat Cheese Bruschetta
from Better Homes & Gardens May 2009




Ingredients



1 8-oz baguette


1 Tbsp olive oil


1 4 oz log goat cheese (chevre)


1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries


1/2 cup arugula


olive oil


sea salt


freshly ground black pepper


snipped fresh herbs





Directions





1. Heat broiler. Halve baguette crosswise, then lengthwise. Place cut sides up on large baking sheet. Brush with the 1 TBSP oil. Bril, 3 to 4 inches from heat for 1 1/2- 2 minutes or until lightly toasted.





2. Slice and divide cheese among toasts. Top with sliced berries. Broil 2-3 minutes or until cheese and berries soften. Remove from broiler; top with arugula. Drizzle with additional oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper and herbs. Makes 4 servings.

Although I get this magazine, I wasn't too thrilled to try this recipe until my friend Robyn said it was great. I made it, sans arugula (since I STILL haven't found it in my podunk town) and thought it was pretty good. I'm not sure if I got a good goat cheese, so I will try this recipe again once I get the greenlight on which kind of goat cheese to go with. I used the Chevre spreadable brand. I recommend giving it a try if you are a fan of goat cheese and you have good control over your broiler, as the first thing I did was burn my baguette.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Movie Review: 27 Dresses

I know, I know, everyone else saw this movie well over a year ago. Good for you. The last horse finally crossed the finish line, and I'm going to tell you what I think of the movie. I am not going to discuss the premise of the movie because, most likely, you've already seen this. Several times.

In general, I do not care for romantic comedies because the part where there is this uncertainty on how things are going to work out and it seems like the "couple" might not get together really frustrates me. (Which is why I loved to hate the movie, Definitely, Maybe) This movie didn't drag this on too long, so I liked it a fair amount. I also sort of liked that although she totally freaked out on her sister and she forgave her as she probably realized how much better off she was. I also loved that the guy she was crushing on never turned out to be a jerk, which is what often happens and you want to hate the guy...this was not the case. So basically, for a chick flick, this wasn't bad, and I think a guy could possibly watch this movie and not throw up. Or throw a temper tantrum.

I also realize this is a terrible movie review. I'm not even giving it a star rating. I really phoned this in.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Fun!

Peace man!
The only fish caught-in tandem

Family PortraitLindsay and her family came down for the weekend to visit with us and enjoy the Pax River Air Show. We had a pretty darned good time, fishing and watching the Blue Angels perform and then returning to the house for a little cookout. It was nice to have their family there with us, and it was just another reminder that I really look forward to having a family with Mircea. On Sunday we actually went over to the Air Show to walk around, but I learned that 6 year olds have the attention span of a flea, so we only walked around for an hour and then headed off to lunch. Lunch, which happened to be Mexican, which happened to be my FOURTH time going to the Mexican joint this week. (And yet, I still lost weight on WW so I guess you can eat what you want, or what makes sense at the time). We rarely go out to eat, but I had all kinds of stuff this week with friends and Mexican was the easiest choice. And I never had the same thing twice and was happy every time!!

I'm Cute


COME BACK AND SEE US!!!!

















Saturday, May 16, 2009

I've Broken My Blog!

I've been trying to look at some other templates, even though what I really need to do is send my ideas and pictures to Sean and see if he'll work some magic for me. :-)

I sort of like the idea of this "Hello Sailor" girl, namely because I work for the Navy, but I don't "work it" for the Navy, you know? Plus, um, my gams don't look like that at all.

What do you think of the "Being Kate" title? I've been having a lot of trouble coming up with a new title. I liked the "Lusbian" idea, but frankly, I'm afraid it might be an offensive play on the word "Lesbian" and the last thing I'd want to do is offend someone for their lifestyle.

The idea of the title I'm trying to come up with is something like "somewhere between single and married with children" but that doesn't really say much. Or "at that phase in my life where not a whole hell of a lot is going on". I originally had the title "Perpetual Sarcasm" and I like that, but then I think people will think I'm just snarky and I'm really not all that sassy, I'm sort of boring.

Ideas please! I'll help you if you help me!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Try to Contain Yourselves: 500th Post

This is my 500th post (cue the marching band).   I had all kinds of great and special things planned, namely a move over to Wordpress because I like some of their options better. Alas, that has not happened because of the size of my blog, and I don’t understand why it is so difficult, but my guru is currently traveling so I can’t bug him (shout out to Sean!)


So instead of the fanfare that I had planned, I give you this.

A vow to have some better content.

I’m at a stage in my life where there isn’t really a damned thing going on. I’m not getting married, having a baby, dealing with children, moving, racing, going to school, etc. My blog title could be “Sans Milestones”. I’m just “Kate” and although my life is boring I enjoy sharing it with the 7 readers who have become an important part of my life in the last several years and 500 posts. You guys have been there for me through thick and thin (literally), through an exciting engagement followed by a terrible breakup, to the ups and downs of my relationship with Mircea. You’ve virtually hugged me when I was so frustrated with knee surgery, and you’ve supported me when I’ve given up on myself. I’ve learned so much about myself from this blog and I couldn’t have done it without you. And I learned so much about all of you and that is such a wonderful gift.

 A list of “truths” that I live by:
  •  Don’t trust people that drive conversion vans. If you need mini-blinds in your vehicle, you’re doing something weird in there. As well as driving erratically.
  •  The Magic 8 ball is an effective future telling device. And if it isn’t, just shake it and try again.
  • Pretty much every stress can be solved by a hot bath and a Tylenol PM. With a snuggly calico with an attachment disorder for a chaser.
  •  He who smelt it, dealt it.

   
Plans for the future

  •  I will be getting a new blog title. I’m working on it, we’ll see what happens. Hopefully it will have .wordpress behind it.
  • Movie and product reviews.  I am easily swayed by the "ad wizards" on television, and I will share my experiences with consumerism. 
  • A post about a day in the life. I was thinking about it this morning. It would be kind of fun to take a camera and document my day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Product Review: Banana Nut Cheerios aka Heaven Sent Cereal

If anyone knows anything about me, you know that I love banana and distrust people in conversion vans. I’m a huge fan of fresh bananas, but it’s all the other banana-y stuff that I love. The bread, margaritas, dehydrated or freeze dried bits, popsicles, ice cream- even cough syrup. I love it all. Which is why I about wet my pants when I saw the commercial* for...BANANA NUT CHEERIOS. Say what? That’s right people, the wizards at General Mills have created Banana Nut Cheerios and faster than you can say “binge eating” I was at the store purchasing these gems. And somehow I held out on not eating them until this morning. Here’s what I thought of both of the ways I enjoyed the O’s:

Dried, scooped into mouth like an animal: They were “meh” at this point. They were a little dry and without much oomph, so I was a little scared as I never ate cereal with milk until I was in college and this is a pretty good way to gauge the deliciousness.

In a bowl with a splash of soy milk: HOLY CRAP THESE WERE AMAZING. Seriously. I had taken it to work since I was running late (milk in its own container) and I sat down to my desk and my taste buds exploded with happiness. They reminded me of these awesome Shaklee bars my mom used to feed me when I was a kid (that I can’t find now and get a little teary whenever I think about how I took those for granted growing up) and they were simply divine. I chided myself for only allotting myself the ¾ cup serving size (2 points on WW) as I could have downed the whole box, milk dripping down my chin. They didn’t have any nut crunch to them, which surprised me, as I expected them to be a little like the Cheerios Crunch that I love so much. The nuttiness appeared to be baked in and the whole thing just had that lovely hint of cinnamon that made it taste like banana bread. I’m still riding the high from this morning. I think if you sliced bananas into the cereal your will literally fall out of your seat at the breakfast table. As a side note, Cheerios has coupons on their website so you can save a little dough too (I just signed up!)

I also noticed they have recipes that utilize these delicious little O’s. MMMMM!



**
The Cheerios commercial. (I've updated the link, it will work now so you can see the idiot commercial) It’s not a new commercial it’s a tag on the end of an old one. And do you know which gem they chose? That’s right, the “It’s on the box” commercial where “Steve” is a total toolbox and thinks his lady friend is trying to lose weight because she had Cheerios and he blames his stupidity on the box. It seems like he’s channeling Hugh Grant in this commercial (and maybe a little Paul McCartney) and it’s just terrible. Terrible. She says “what else does the box say (you condescending bastard)?” “It says ‘shut up Steve’” Too bad that wasn’t the first thing the box told him.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lost in Translation

I'm not 100% sure if I should be frightened that I had my blog visited by the Saudis...frankly, they are our allies in the grand scheme of things. I do have to laugh at what appears to be a "lost in translation" error when this individual was looking for a certain kind of website.


I should have known that my blog title would draw some attention. I'm still trying to come up with a new blog name...in honor of my 500th post. Yeah, that's right, as of this moment I've posted 498 ridiculous, time wasting items. But what a ride!



Sunday, April 19, 2009

Oh, I Forgot to Share

As if this week wasn't annoying enough, I finally got news from Human Resources on Tuesday. The news? I got screwed over. There are two pay systems that the Gov't is currently working with, NSPS and the old standard GS pay scale. I am on the GS payscale and the job that I was offered for my promotion was on the NSPS scale. The NSPS scale has a rule that you can't get more than a 5% raise...but HR told me that this wouldn't affect me as I was coming in from the GS pay scale. LIES! It did affect me and I would have only received a tiny raise if I took this other job. So I had to decline, which was annoying, especially after a month of wondering what would happen and being told that I would be getting a considerable raise. (Don't worry, I didn't spend the "money") So I'm pissed, and I will keep waiting and hoping that I can get a promotion within my own program, since the past few weeks have been filled with my program trying to keep me. So we'll see. And yes, I realize that I am very fortunate to even have a job, let alone complain about not getting more than a 5% raise opportunity. I realize that economy isn't going so great (the understatement of the century) but in my area and my career field, I seem to be the only one that is standing there going "why?" while everyone else is compensated for their hard work. Ok, enough bitching, but I had promised an update when I heard something.

Oh and the HR lady was a total waste of space. I ended up calling her supervisor who put a new hire on my case, and he was fantastic. He was learning, but he was very polite and courteous and thank goodness they are getting better people there.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Sweet Little Friend

I Need a Family!As most of you probably know from my Facebook page, Mircea and I brought a dog home last Saturday. She's a lab mix, and I'm sure some of the mix includes pit, but she had the best little personality. Her favorite thing to do was cover me in kisses, but right behind that was biting my arm and humping me, not quite as satisfying as the kisses. We had her for a day a half when her activity level frustrated the heck out of us. She would just run laps around the house, even after I'd take her on long walks in the neighborhood. It didn't help that it rained the majority of the time she was at our house. So on Sunday night I called the lady at the Humane Society and said that I needed to return Peyton (whom they had named Nutmeg) because she wasn't a good fit. Of course, she must have known she was in trouble because she spent the evening sleeping between us on the couch, resting peacefully. So I called the next day and said we'd try to finish out the week. By Tuesday night I was crying to Mircea to take her back because I couldn't handle the biting (mouthing) and humping. She had so much energy! And she wasn't housebroken, she was crate trained, but she believed that the dining room was a place for poopers and peepers. I called the local pet training place, AppleJack, and the cost for the obedience training was $750, which although insane, seemed reasonable for the service they were providing. I don't have a ton of disposable income right now as we just paid a contractor to finish up the other house, so that seemed like quite an expense. But we kept her and I enjoyed the end of the week with her quite a bit. She was really starting to calm down a bit, and stopped the biting and humping with the help of a spray bottle. On Friday morning I talked to Mircea and we decided that we needed to take her back because the cats were going crazy, we were going a little crazy, and we wondered if we decide to have a child in the future how we could manage the menagerie. So I drove her back to the kennel, and she was great in the car (as usual) and was so loving. She didn't get upset when we got back to the place, she just seemed like "oh, ok, this is my house" as she's been living there for 3 months.

I've been crying pretty much since I dropped her off. I hugged her and hugged her goodbye and sobbed my eyes out with her licking my kisses. I'm sitting her 24 hours later, still sobbing and Mircea telling me that it's for the best. I keep telling myself its for the best too, as she probably could have enjoyed life a little better with a fenced in yard, a 10 year old kid, and much more patient doggie parents. I feel like such a fool-I mean, it's been 5 days since I cried to take her back. I think the reality is that she is a great dog, but I think our situation with all the crazy cats doesn't help the situation. She's the kind of pup that deserves to be in bed with her family, farting under the covers and kicking our legs...not locked up in a crate.


I want to get back in the car right now and get her, but I'm afraid if I did it I would regret it, plus I want her to be able to find that fence and that kid. I know I'm acting like a 5 year old, but I got myself all backwards with this. I wanted this magically well trained dog to just appear, and I got so frustrated before even bonding with her. By the time I'd bonded with her, I was so frustrated and Mircea was at his wits ends, so we made this decision. I think I was wrong. I hope I was right and she got adopted today. That sweet little girl deserves a home.


So Peyton, I love you. My impatience got in the way of realizing what a sweet little dog you were, and my inexperience with dogs stopped me from understanding your behavior when I first brought you home. I'm sorry I got your little hopes up, you deserve better than the impatience that Mircea and I had for you. Good luck my beautiful buddy! You have no idea how much you affected me.