May Madness (aka Randomness)

Some very odd thoughts / updates for the end of May.

We visited the old hometown last night to transfer our gym membership. Turns out, we totally didn’t need to do that. But, as a bonus, we learned that we can use our membership at any of the Snap Fitness locations throughout the world, any time. Who knew?

Then we stopped over at Von Hanson’s and ordered up some meat. A whole huge hunk of it (the Cattleman’s Choice), which we will pick up on Saturday. They’ll have it all set aside for us and frozen, so now all I have to do is wipe down the deep freeze and get it ready. And then we’ll have quality meat again! Yay!

Afterwards, we walked down the parking lot to Cellars, perhaps our favorite Eagan liquor store. On several occasions we’ve bought as much of my favorite wine as they have in stock, and we get the case discount on it, even if it’s not a full case (the most we’ve gotten before is 7, I think). Well, last night, they had 13 on the shelf! So, we went home with a whole case of Hogue Late Harvest Riesling, and now I have two whole shelves in my wine cellar of it. We also got some other stuff.

Back at home, it was too windy to really do anything outdoors (and much too cold!), so instead we unpacked all of our books. Completely and totally not important unpacking, but it always feels good to get some of those boxes out of the way. Plus, now if we had an emergency guest, the bedroom in the basement is… less full of crap.

Add in some Dr. Mario, and that was my whole night.

Today, however, the weather is absolutely beautiful, so I’m thinking that the night demands yard work. Plus, our new yard waste receptacle is being delivered today, so I can at least get rid of the piles of branches and leaves and dead stuff that are spewn across our backyard.

Lastly, after having just eaten some really bad potstickers from LeeAnn Chin (they’re not usually this bad), I’ve decided that learning how to make them must happen soon. From what I’ve gleaned off the internet, it seems that potstickers are best made in large batches, so I’m thinking that it would be best to have a little party at my house where everybody helps out, and then everybody gets to take some home. They freeze well, ya know. I’ll have to think further about this, but it sounds like fun, right? Much better than having 200 potstickers in my freezer.

Also

  1. Rain makes people rude.  Especially at bus stops.  I was pretty much prepared to smack the next person who decided that they were more important than me in some way and thus I should be inconvenienced by their existence.
  2. This weekend, we purchased nearly a case of the wine I like.  9 bottles, to be exact.  They gave us the case discount anyways.  Now I won’t be without for quite some time.  No, I am not a lush.

I must be hungry or something…

Because here’s what I’ve found so far while surfing on the internet:

From the Star Tribune:

SHRIMP DEVILED EGGS

Serves 4.

  • 1/4lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 or 3 tbsp. chopped good olives
  • 1 tbsp. minced onion
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley leaves, more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add shrimp and cook until pink, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon. Let cool a bit, then chop.

Add eggs to pot, adding water, if necessary, to cover. Bring water just to a boil, then shut off heat. Cover pot and let eggs rest for 9 minutes, 10 minutes if eggs are large. Plunge eggs into a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel.

Halve eggs lengthwise and remove yolks. Mash yolks of 3 eggs in a medium bowl. Add chopped shrimp, olives, minced onion, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, salt and pepper and mayo and mix well.

Mound this mixture into egg whites. Crumble remaining yolk on top and garnish with parsley. Serve, or cover with plastic and refrigerate for up to a day; bring back to room temperature before serving.

STRAWBERRIES AND HOT FUDGE SUNDAE CAKE

Serves 6.

Note: The cake can be prepared ahead and served cooled or reheated in a low oven. Substitute frozen yogurt for the ice cream if you’re watching your waistline.

  • No-stick cooking spray
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 c. granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2c. unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4c. milk
  • 1/2c. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • Vanilla or coffee ice cream
  • 4 to 5 c. stemmed and sliced strawberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. In mixer bowl, combine flour,2/3cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and baking powder. Add milk, butter and vanilla; beat until smooth and well-blended. Spread in pan; set aside.

In small saucepan, combine remaining1/3cup sugar, remaining 6 tablespoons cocoa powder, the brown sugar and the water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Gently spoon over cake batter. Bake 35 minutes or until springy to the touch. To serve, spoon warm cake and sauce into individual bowls with scoops of ice cream and strawberries.

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED STRAWBERRIES

Makes about 1 dozen.

From “Fine Cooking Annual” (Taunton).

  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into almond-size pieces
  • 2 tsp. neutral vegetable oil, such as grapeseed or canola
  • 1 pint medium, ripe strawberries preferably with stems, rinsed and dried

Melt chocolate with oil in a small, deep heatproof bowl set in a skillet holding about 1 inch of barely simmering water, whisking occasionally until smooth. Remove bowl from heat.

Line a small rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Tilt the bowl to pool the chocolate on one side. Dip each strawberry into chocolate to cover about two-thirds of the berry, until the chocolate reaches the strawberry’s shoulders. Turn the berry to coat it evenly, lift it out of the chocolate and gently shake off any excess. Carefully lay it on the waxed paper. If the dipping chocolate begins to cool and thicken, return the bowl to the water bath to heat it briefly.

Let berries stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, then refrigerate until chocolate is set, 20 to 30 minutes. Carefully remove berries from the paper. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 8 hours before serving.

MARYLAND CRAB CAKES

Serves 8.

A base of small crabmeat with larger pieces folded in saves money invisibly. For a splurge, use only the grades of crab called backfin and lump.

  • 1 lb. small-size fresh crabmeat, such as special or claw
  • 1 lb. larger-size fresh crabmeat, such as jumbo lump or backfin
  • 1/2c. light mayonnaise
  • 1/2c. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4c. fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), plus wedges for serving
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 c. fine saltine crumbs (from about 30 crackers)
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted
  • Tartar sauce, for serving

Heat broiler, with rack 4 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside. Keeping each pound of crabmeat separate, turn out onto paper towels. Pick through to remove any shells or cartilage.

In a large bowl, stir together mayonnaise, parsley, lemon juice, egg, mustard, Old Bay,1/4teaspoon coarse salt and1/4teaspoon pepper.

Add crumbs and small-size crabmeat to mayonnaise mixture. Stir well to combine. Gently fold in larger-size crabmeat just until combined. Dividing evenly, form mixture into 8 cakes. (To make ahead: Arrange cakes in a parchment-lined container so they do not touch. Separate layers with additional parchment. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.)

Place cakes on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with melted butter. Broil until golden brown and warmed throughout, 12 to 15 minutes (move to lower shelf if tops brown too quickly). Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

CRABMEAT AND PASTA SALAD

Serves 6.

  • 4 oz. farfalline (mini bow-tie) pasta, uncooked
  • 1/2c. cubed fresh tomato
  • 1/2c. chopped red, orange and yellow bell peppers
  • 1/2c. diced zucchini
  • 1/2c. diced yellow squash
  • 1/2c. freshly shredded Parmesan
  • 1/4c. freshly shredded basil
  • 3/4c. zesty Italian dressing
  • 1 (4 oz.) can crabmeat, drained

Cook pasta according to package directions, and cool. Mix tomato with pasta. Add peppers, zucchini, squash, Parmesan and basil. Pour dressing over mixture, and toss gently. Add crabmeat and toss gently.

From The New York Times:

101 Summer Express: Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less

Here are the ones I liked:

  1. Make six-minute eggs: simmer gently, run under cold water until cool, then peel. Serve over steamed asparagus.
  2. Heat a quarter-inch of olive oil in a skillet. Dredge flounder or sole fillets in flour and fry until crisp, about two minutes a side. Serve on sliced bread with tartar sauce.
  3. Slice or chop salami, corned beef or kielbasa and warm in a little oil; stir in eggs and scramble. Serve with mustard and rye bread.
  4. Taco salad: Toss together greens, chopped tomato, chopped red onion, sliced avocado, a small can of black beans and kernels from a couple of ears of corn. Toss with crumbled tortilla chips and grated cheese. Dress with olive oil, lime and chopped cilantro leaves.
  5. Grill or sauté Italian sausage and serve over store-bought hummus, with lemon wedges.
  6. Southeast Asia steak salad: Pan- or oven-grill skirt or flank steak. Slice and serve on a pile of greens with a sauce of one tablespoon each of nam pla and lime juice, black pepper, a teaspoon each of sugar and garlic, crushed red chili flakes and Thai basil.
  7. Brush portobello caps with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper and broil until tender. Briefly sweat chopped onions, then scramble eggs with them. Put eggs in mushrooms.
  8. Combine crab meat with mayo, Dijon mustard, chives and tarragon. Serve in a sandwich, with potato chips.
  9. A winning sandwich: bresaola or prosciutto, arugula, Parmesan, marinated artichoke hearts, tomato.

Here’s the article in its entirety [link removed].

Also courtesy of our very own Star Tribune, Squirrel Recipes [link removed], I kid you not. And yesterday’s article on Rose Wines [link removed]. Coming up next, a roundup of all the articles I’ve read online in the last few weeks, saved, and have meant to blog about but haven’t yet.

[Editor’s Note: When I got into work today, Boss told me that it is just her and me here today on phones. Hence the excessive blogging and boredom, because I can’t leave my desk except for very specific breaks, and the phone isn’t ringing, and I don’t really have much to do.]

Moving in progress (a pictoral update)

This is the classy way to drink wine, no? I didn’t have very many options….
Look at that huge spot in the front room! You should be very proud of me.
For some perspective, here’s the large-ish space as viewed from my bedroom.
Now, you may not think this looks like progress, but check out the earlier version of this pile.
Here’s my stack of stuff that’s packed and ready to move. I can tell you’re excited.

So exciting

OK, maybe not to you, but it is to me.

You see, quite a while ago (check the medical tag for the history of it all), I started taking Wellbutrin. I switched because I was having some… inconvenient side effects from generic Prozac, and because I could get Wellbutrin from Canada for free through a program at work. This worked gloriously for… 18 months, maybe longer. Then last fall, the website stopped carrying Wellbutrin. In fact, it stopped carrying a lot of things (which didn’t really matter to me except that there were no alternatives to try to switch to). Then, it went down completely.

Well, we just got an email from HR that said the site is back up and they’re hoping it will be working fine from now on, and they included a list of the drugs offered and via which health plans (we have 3 here – the joys of being union). And it’s back! I’m so very excited. I have a doctor’s appointment in two weeks for my physical and to re-up my prescriptions, so you can be certain that I will be switching back. Plus, I’ll have a refill of generic to utilize in case things get held up at the border or the site goes down again.

Really, I’m quite happy about this. It’s not a huge difference between the generic and the name brand, but it’s noticeable to me at least.

In other news, I sent out a slew of emails this morning and afternoon to attempt to alleviate some of my stress. And you know what, it worked! I’ve gotten a few replies already and am feeling better. The ginormous list of what needs to be done, packed, etc, did not really help. It did help a little when I put each of those things on the calendar and I saw that if I did a little each day I would, in fact, probably have time to do it all. But I’m skeptical. We’ll see. I am, however, still attempting to remain calm, or at least have a calm, low-key freak-out if need be. Still avoiding all Bridezilla-type moments. I will attempt to not abuse wine in order to get this to happen.

Also, I tried Quiznos again today. It had been several years, since the other two times I’d eaten there I was very… unsatisfied. But I thought I’d give them another shot, attempting to keep an open mind, especially since they’re right across the street at work and open later than most places (it’s hard to find a good sammich at 3). They had a commercial for a roast beef dip (essentially), which I love, so I thought I’d try. And I was… disappointed. It wasn’t inedible (like before), but… eh. I may go back to try something else – we’ll see. The au jus that came with the sub was… thick. Oddly thick. Au jus is supposed to be… messy and runny and, well, juice like. This was much closer to barbecue sauce consistency. Unsettling.

So on tonight’s to do list are: take down wine rack (easier to do now that the wine glasses are gone, and there’s only one bottle of wine left); pack up kitchen linens; pack up any remaining camping supplies, and; call Dad and mother-in-law. I should call the contacts I have about the urban teaching field experience too. Last night I threw out two completely full, double-bagged because they were so heavy, garbage bags of things from the kitchen, including the fridge, pantry, and freezer. The freezer’s not finished, but I figured that was enough for now. I don’t know when the garbage gets picked up here, and if it gets too hot and it’s not picked up until next week, that could be gross. So that will have to get finished later. What remains in my kitchen? Surprisingly, my food cabinets are still mostly full, because there are quite a few boxed meals etc that can easily be moved. The pantry is nearly empty, except for a few spices I knew were at least less than 2 years old, an unopened package of flour, and some bags of chocolate chips. The fridge contains a half-gallon of milk that expires today, a bag of baby carrots, some cheese, and some aloe for sunburns I won’t be getting this year. So what am I eating tonight? I’ve got some cash from the wine glasses. Perhaps some Thai (or Vietnamese? what kind of Asian is that place by my house?) from down the street. Perhaps just some mac n cheese.

Hold on… I have pictures that I took last night.  I’ll post those in a sec.

I think it’s time

It’s time to take the advice of a Jones’ Soda top that I’ve been saving for years. It’s here in my cubicle, taped to the wall, holding up a fortune cookie paper that says, “Feel free to ask for assistance. Friends are willing to help.” Jones’ says, “People will listen to you and could be willing to help.” Gee, you’d think I knew I had a problem with that or something.

Yes, I’m quite aware that I have difficulties asking for help. I think it comes from multiple places: being perfectionistic (note: I didn’t say perfect), wanting to be self-sufficient, being an oldest child, not wanting to inconvenience anyone, and perhaps a tad of not feeling worthy (hey, it’s my blog, and my self-therapy, and if I can’t admit that here, where can I?).

Hence the various reminders to myself that, when feeling overwhelmed, there are people out there willing to help me fix that.

Of course, when it’s midnight and I’ve had wine, I tend to forget those reminders.

However, I remembered this morning on the bus. Last night I decided I needed to call Alison, my trusty sister and matron of honor, who also happens to not be working this summer, and see what she can help me with. And I need to call my [future] mother-in-law to ask her to help me with flowers (I’ve been meaning to do that for… several months now). Prince Charming himself is already doing quite a few things both for the wedding and helping me move, so I think he’s exempt from further requests. And Mom is busy making the dress and a few other tasks, as well as taking care of her family while they’re in town, so I think she’s busy enough. That leaves a very few key people who should be warned that I may be calling them to ask for help, assuming I can figure out something to ask for help with (aka something I’m willing to give up control of), even though I haven’t necessarily been the greatest friend of late or particularly deserving of said help. I think they’re pretty understanding about that.

Won’t it be nice in two months when I can have my life back? OK, not exactly “my life back” so much as “trade in for a new life” with hopefully the free time and energy to devote to others that I used to have. Is that too much to ask? It’s not the wedding. It’s not the moving. It’s… doing it all at the same time. This is what I’ve decided.

I’m off to make more lists. If I weren’t so good at that, I’d definitely ask for her help there, because she’s an expert.

Trying very hard

Now, perhaps it was a bad decision to have two glasses of wine (to celebrate the kitchen clearing-out I did, and the selling of the wine glasses – more on the latter tomorrow) and then try to write out lists of all the things I need to do to move and to get married in the next six-plus weeks. Actually, it was probably a very bad decision. Add to that the fact that it is midnight and it’s not plausible to call anyone on the phone right now…. Had the wine not mellowed me out slightly, I think I’d be having a Bridezilla moment right now. You see, the lists of things to do are huge. And the time is so short. And I’m freaking out a bit about that right now. I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to get myself moved out of here in 6 weeks. I’m not sure how we’re going to get everything that needs to get done for the wedding completed in the next six weeks. I’m especially not sure how we’re going to get both of those things accomplished. Hence the freaking out. Laid-back freaking out, of course, because I’m super tired and all wined-up. I’m going to temporarily block all thoughts about the upcoming semester for which I am also not prepared.

Sigh. I know it will all be OK, and this post should be filled under “why Kelly should not blog after midnight.” But right now I’d like a hug. This is where living with Prince Charming would come in handy. Six weeks. 51 days, to be exact. I would be impatient were I not all wined-up.

Unrelated: Liz had a nice post on her blog that invited “your mom” jokes in the comments. You should add yours. Really.

Five on Friday

  1. Given a choice, and imagining that money and time were no object, would you rather cook dinner, eat out or order in? Order in – the best of both worlds. Someone else does all the cooking, but I still get to eat in bed while watching TV.
  2. What is the most elaborate meal you’ve ever prepared yourself or purchased at a restaurant? Two Thanksgivings ago, I shunned all celebrations and had a day all to myself. I made Cornish hen with wild rice and spinach stuffing, and … a whole bunch of other stuff. And I drank an entire bottle of wine over the course of the day and never felt its effects. That was a good holiday.
  3. What food do you find yourself making and/or eating way too much? Chef Boyardee Ravioli. Because I’m not 8 years old anymore. But it’s sooooo good.
  4. What was your most disastrous cooking/eating out experience? Oh, I have had way too many disastrous cooking experiences in my life. I am 1) not very good at reading recipes and tend to forget ingredients, do steps in the wrong order, or otherwise mess up, and 2) always wanting to “slightly” change the recipe and experiment. As you can imagine, this does not always turn out well. There’s a story from my childhood (OK, I was a teenager – once Alison and I hit a certain age, we had to come up with one dinner idea per week for the family menu, and also cook dinner once per week) where I made muffins, but forgot to put in the leavening ingredient, and I made little hockey pucks. That’s just the first one that comes to my mind.
  5. Would you rather cook for someone else or have them cook for you? I think both are fun. It’s nice when someone else wants to do something nice for you, but it’s also nice to be able to make someone else happy with your efforts.

Grown-Up

I was over at Such a Pretty Face this morning (which I think someone who reads here reads) and liked this post so much that I’ve stolen it and made it my own. Don’t worry, I’ve given credit where credit is due. And all the italics thoughts are mine, not hers. For that, you’ll just have to hop on over to her blog.

23 signs that you’ve grown up for good

  1. Your houseplants are alive, and you can’t smoke any of them. I currently have 3 houseplants that I purchased a week and a half ago. They’re alive, but their future looks iffy. I have never been good with houseplants, or really any plants, indoors or out, in pots. In the ground has worked well for me though.
  2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question. Well, yes, but not for the reasons that it’s listed here, I’m guessing. If I believed that sex outside of marriage was OK, I’m pretty sure I could make a twin bed work. But what do I know.
  3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge. I’ve never really liked beer. I don’t think I’ve ever bought beer, actually. A Corona once, at a restaurant. Maybe one another time at a restaurant. I’ve had one or two at a party. So, yeah, there’s more food in my fridge. Although currently most of the food in there owned by me is expired, and almost all of the cheese is attempting to create life.
  4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed. Oh, yeah. When I graduated college, I quickly learned that I could no longer pull all-nighters, except in very rare cases which were more insomnia than anything. I haven’t done that in years. No, 6 am is not my wakeup time, because I am a lazy butt and not a morning person, but I would love to get there someday. I’ve been proud of myself this week for getting in to work before 9 every day that I didn’t have class. Woo-hoo! (Baby steps here, folks. Don’t set the bar too high, or I’ll definitely fail expectations.)
  5. You hear your favorite song in an elevator. I can’t remember the last time I was in an elevator that plays music. Do they still do that? The stairwell at college plays music in the morning, but it’s not my type. And I’m not really the easy-listening kind of girl, so… probably not.
  6. You watch the Weather Channel. No.
  7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of “hook up” and “break up.” My friends marry and have babies, lots of babies.
  8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14. I haven’t had 2 weeks vacation saved up since I started this job four years ago. But before that when I worked full-time at the church, I had that. Now I earn my on a paycheck-to-paycheck basis, and I currently have 22.5 vacation hours and 161.75 sick hours. That’s almost three vacation days, and a little over 20 sick days, for those of you who didn’t want to do that math.
  9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as dressed up. No, but they’re a preferred outfit of choice, since I can’t wear jeans to work, unlike all my friends.
  10. You’re the one calling the police because those %&@# kids next door won’t turn down the stereo. We had to do that two summers ago because our next door neighbor, who is older than we are, was blaring hard-core rap (complete with mandatory swearing every other word) after 10 pm.
  11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you. No, not really, but the last two Christmas Eve’s at my Grandma & Grandpa’s house, the adults have 1) sat me at the adult table instead of the kid’s table (I know, I know, such a shock at 27), and 2) told stories about alcohol, which was unnerving.
  12. You don’t know what time Taco Bell closes anymore. 2 pm. I watch too much TV.
  13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up. Well… since I don’t have a car (and finally paid off my old car last January), I also don’t have insurance. So I suppose you could say my rates went down. And I’m sure at some point I’ll need to get a car again, so then my payments would go up. Does that count?
  14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald’s leftovers. Ew. McDonalds? Gross, even for me. No, Matea gets Iams, on rare occasions she gets a packet of wet food, and even rarer I’ll give her a tiny slip of people food, which she will then not eat. She likes to sniff at it though. She doesn’t eat people food.
  15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt. Not so much my back as my neck, but that’s Prince Charming’s couch, which is a 2-seater, not a 3-seater, so you can see why that might be. And my couch, which is long enough for me, is covered in about three feet of crap from armrest to armrest, so… I probably get negative points for that.
  16. You take naps. I used to, before I worked 9-5. That really puts a cramp in my napping schedule. OK, on weekends I occasionally get to sneak one in, if I’m really tired, and Prince Charming goes for a jog or wants to clean his garage.
  17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one. The number of times I have been on this type of date is… none. Can that be right? Thinking back… even to high school… I’ve gone to a movie for a date (with ice cream afterwards), and I’ve gone to dinner for a date (with some activity afterwards, occasionally just watching TV at someone’s house), but never actually the dinner-and-a-movie combo. Prince Charming, is that right? Am I forgetting a time that we did this? Oooh, I hope not. I’d feel bad if I forgot.
  18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather than settle, your stomach. No, that would not upset my stomach, and in fact might settle it down, or at least appease the hunger gods long enough to let me sleep, if I were up at 3 am. But I can’t remember the last time I was awake at 3 am. I did have tacos for dinner on Wednesday night after I got home from church at about 9:30, and my tummy liked that very much. I only get stomach aches and nauseated when I don’t eat.
  19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests. Let’s see… I have never bought condoms or a pregnancy test, for the obvious reason stated in #2. I buy antacids at Target, but to keep in my purse for Prince Charming. I have a rather large stock of ibuprofin, Excedrin, and aspirin. The last time I was at Walgreens, I bought… food and Cosmo magazine. What does that say about me, other than I was hungry?
  20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer “pretty good sh*t.” I don’t think I’ve ever had $4 wine. $6 wine, yes, and it can be good on occasion, though the last cheap White Zinfandel I had was pretty bad.
  21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time. Definitely negative points here. I don’t eat breakfast, or if I do, it’s Starbucks, or occasionally a bagel and cream cheese at about 11. And when I have milk in my house, I’ve been known to have cereal for dinner, or a late-night snack.
  22. “I just can’t drink the way I used to” replaces “I’m never going to drink that much again.” I’ve never drank enough to say either of those phrases.
  23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work. The maker of this list obviously was not aware of the nature of my work.

Roughly speaking, I think I scored… 46% grown-up, loosely interpreting the questions and answers. Not bad for being 28.

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Bell :: Door
  2. Abuse :: Alcohol
  3. Relief :: Extended
  4. List :: To-Do
  5. Concern :: Worry
  6. Absolute :: Truth
  7. Cling :: Wrap
  8. Dump :: Truck
  9. Terminate :: Employment
  10. Wine :: Yum!!!

Today’s History Lesson: Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, when you go to school the second time around and you’re older, you’re actually smarter than you were the first time. Who knew?

Did anyone…

…smell the rain this morning? It smelled like childhood and camping and Saturday afternoons spent on the couch, and a little like locker room and wet dog. All in all, not the greatest smelling rain, but still quite… sensory. I enjoyed it, while walking to work this morning. Arguably, not the best morning to walk to work, but the bus didn’t pass me until the Xcel Center, so I didn’t lose much time.

Thankfully, last night I finally finished the bottle of White Merlot that has been kicking my butt for a week now. I thought that maybe I’d like White Merlot, or tolerate it, since I hate Merlot. But no, this is bad too. Oh well. Won’t know unless I try, right?

Miles walked since 6/1: 43.3
Peeve of the moment: Co-workers (what else?)
What I’m wondering: if we’ll actually be able to cook with a fire this weekend while camping… 🙂

My weekend

Might not actually warrant an entire post. Let me see if I can make it sound exciting (not that I’m complaining – Prince Charming and I manage to balance our busy and not-busy weekends well, and this one happened to be a not-busy one)….

The most important thing about this weekend was that it was hot. Luckily, he has air conditioning, so we didn’t completely die. We had brunch on Saturday with friends at Hell’s Kitchen, and it was practically that hot in there. Either they didn’t have air conditioning, or it was just too hot out and to many people inside for it to make much of a difference. We went to Home Depot to get the materials needed to make a spit. We… went to Target. Prince Charming worked on the spit, but not all of the materials were correct, so it didn’t get finished Saturday. We set up the tent and I started to seal the seams, but ran out of sealant. Um… we watched TV and ate dinner and tried some Robert Mondovi vino blanco (I forget their fancy name for it), which I didn’t like all that much.

Sunday we slept in, hurrah! And then after lunch got the rest of the stuff for the spit and that’s what Prince Charming worked on for the afternoon. I made biscuits, which didn’t turn out bad, but weren’t fabulous as well. Good for a first attempt, though. If anyone has a recipe they’d like to pass on, that’d be great. Prince Charming requests nothing too flaky or croissant-like. And we had a steak salad for dinner. And… watched more TV. And packed up the tent and made a menu for camping and shopping list and… you get the idea.

The important thing about Sunday was that Prince Charming finished the spit. Wanna see?

Spit
Turning mechanism

So theoretically there’ll be a slab of meat on that and it’ll sit over the fire pit and cook and we’ll have a yummy dinner Saturday night. If not, we’ll be eating Clif bars with our corn-on-the-cob. The legs are attached so that the height is adjustable, and the skewers can turn freely to allow for even cooking of the meat. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Speaking of which, we’re going camping Friday morning, so there’ll be a tiny bit of blog silence, but not much. I’ll be back at work on Tuesday. I can’t tell exactly from Cingular’s site, but I don’t think we’ll have any cell service, which is fantastic, just the way a vacation should be.

I’ve got a boring afternoon to get through, and then a few things to do to get ready to go camping. But basically this week should be slow. My goal is to not be tired or want to sleep in on Friday, so we can get on the road at a decent time. If I could sleep at work when I didn’t have anything to do, I could definitely get this accomplished.

My birthday

I had a wonderful birthday weekend, even if I was a bit annoyed upon leaving work on Friday. Prince Charming and I ran around doing errands and buying groceries, which means I finally went to Target and got conditioner and light bulbs and a billion other silly little things. And we got wine. Which we then drank. And fell asleep at 10 pm, like an old married couple. Saturday morning I opened my gifts, which included a book on knitting that Mom got me (the one I thought she did), and the DVD I asked for from Alison and a bonus pair of earrings and necklace that are really pretty. Prince Charming got me, strangely enough, exactly what I thought (reference posts from last week). A wonderful Mayan hammock (that has to be exchanged because they sent the wrong color), and a pair of sandals that I’d completely forgotten I wanted (but still really did). We ended up going to the Birk store and getting them in a different size and color (because apparently my feet are even odder-sized than I thought; I had to get narrows). Here they are in all their cuteness:

New Birkenstocks

Then everyone came over for brunch and we had waffles (with a truckload of strawberries and whipped cream, no complaints) and watched Narnia. Prince Charming and I went to Stillwater for the afternoon, browsing all the little shops (which was only slightly disappointing because I usually love to go into the antique stores, but they were all set up with such a vast quantity of stuff everywhere that it was too overwhelming to think about shopping or even walking into them). We watched the lift bridge go up and down for the boats, found some cracked black pepper (that I’d been looking for), tried to buy more wine but were uninspired, and then walked up this huge flight of steps that still have me hurting. (But there was a pretty view overlooking the river at the top, and a house for sale that was surprisingly cheaper than we thought.) We left Stillwater just in time, because it started raining right as we drove out of town. It took a billion years to get to dinner – we were thwarted at every turn, trying to avoid construction and accidents. It was a good thing I wasn’t driving – there would have been some serious road rage. Mom called, and then while we were waiting for our food to arrive Dad called. Note to self: I was born at 5:56 pm. I always forget that Mom tries to call me around that time, so I had been feeling a bit neglected by my family until that point. The good news is that Dad has a new job. Since the beginning of June he’s been working for a landscaping company as management (which explains the larger-than-expected birthday check), and he only has to work M-F 7-4, which is so much better than when he worked at Menards (and now I don’t have to feel so bad about hating their commercials or occasionally shopping at Ace because they have better service). And Candy’s latest test results came back “stable,” which is all that can be hoped for. Back at Prince Charming’s, after going for a walk to shake off some of dinner (steak and potatoes sit a bit heavy and make me want to just veg on the couch) and playing some air hockey, we had my birthday favorite, angel food cake, with strawberries and chocolate syrup (Kahlua chocolate syrup, to be specific). Yum! Sunday afternoon, after a bunch more running around to exchange the DVD for widescreen (silly Alison), get a wireless card for my computer, and swim trunks and sandals for Prince Charming, we met up with Amanda at Liz’s for another birthday celebration. We exchanged gifts (camping stuff and a gift certificate to the yarn store for me, home improvement stuff for Liz), changed into our swimsuits, and hung out by the pool eating ice cream. I’m happy to say that I didn’t get sunburnt at all. After all that fun, we went out to eat in uptown, where we had some wonderful tasting food that gave me horrible heartburn for hours afterwards. Maybe 28 is the magic age where you can no longer truly enjoy food that you like.

Me, Amanda, and Liz

And then Prince Charming was nice enough to install the wireless card in my computer. I repaid him with recorded Star Trek episodes (because he wasn’t accepting “kisses” as a form of payment). Super-tired this morning because of the sun yesterday (not because of the margarita), but it’s getting better. And I’ve found some work to keep me busy for at least another half hour. This afternoon might be rough.

Currently listening to: “Thank GOD we broke up” playlist, because I wanted to hear Kelly Clarkson

Peeve of the moment: co-workers, what else?

What I’m wondering: if I freeze one ice cube at 0* F and another at -100* F, will I have one ice cube that’s warmer than the other, or will they both be the same temperature?

Coming up with titles all the time is really hard

Let’s get caught up, shall we? Tuesday night we went to a parade in Northeast. It was actually pretty cool for a local/neighborhood parade, and really long. I mean… unbelievably long. That would be my only complaint (other than kids running amok in the street and people crossing the street between floats). It may have been longer than the the Thanksgiving Parade I saw in Detroit with floats and Santa and the Rockettes and Frankie Muniz and… some teeny-bopper singer. Then we got some food… Liz and I got gyros (mine was from this sweet old man in a questionable trailer but he was so sweet I could totally get over that), and Amanda had cheese curds (“best ever,” according to her). Went back to Amanda’s and discovered her apartment in a state of disarray I didn’t know she was capable of. But that’s what happens when you’re packing to move, right?

What else have I been doing? Um, work has been incredibly boring. I’ve been wavering between suffering over nothing to do, and suffering through Access projects. Both have been boring. I’m almost done spray-painting for a while… the next project will involve actually taking the drawers out of my dresser, and that’s a big commitment (though hopefully good motivation to get it done quickly). Nikki came over and gave me her deposit and application, and was nearly bouncing with joy as she left. She’s excited to move in, which is good, good, good.

That was Tuesday, and the same night Bryan came home (for the first time since early Friday, but it will become apparent why shortly) and told me that Monday at work he got notice of being laid off. (So he went “home” to his fiancee, which is probably what I’d do, or want to do, be comforted by someone I loved…. Unfortunately, last time I was nearly laid off it wasn’t nearly that traumatic to me, and when I was fired I was pretty much alone in the world and had to get by on phone consolation, by Dad nonetheless, since he was the only one who answered his phone, until I could drive back to Illinois for the much-needed love. Anyways….) Apparently it’s politically-based, or so he thinks, and basically his department was told to cut $XX from their budget, and since he’s only been working there two months, it’s him. He has four more months before he’s without a job though, so…. I feel bad, because he’s gone through so much change recently. From what I can gather, he moved in May only to have that situation fall through, so he moved into our place in June, and he started this job in… April or May, only to have that not go so well either. Makes ya long for steady ground, something unchanging.

Also makes me glad that, relatively speaking, my life has been on steady ground for quite some time. I’ve almost reached the two-year marker at my current house. I’ve been at my job for… three and a half years, in Minnesota for four and a half. I’ve been friends with Amanda and Liz for going on four years (come September-ish). Prince Charming and I have made it to 10 months. I know I had a post just recently about all the changes in my life, and so maybe this just seems contradictory to that. But looking over that list, I just want to say, “melodramatic, much?” Really, while some of those things were… emotionally harrowing at the time, it was only because… they were all that was going on. Kind of how much a papercut hurts, unless you have a broken bone, in which case you can barely feel the papercut (or I’m guessing, having never broken a bone, but I’ve complained a lot about papercuts).

Prince Charming is bringing over a picnic dinner and we’re going to go for a nice walk in the woods down by the river in Mendota. Some nice peace and quiet, some calm. I was really feeling the need for that earlier this week, and while I’m not feeling nearly so… frazzled as I was then, it’ll still be good and refreshing, and the closest thing to a vacation I might get until we go camping.

Prince Charming’s hosting brunch on Saturday, and Amanda and Liz are coming, and potentially some other friends. I’ll officially get older that day (though, really, we’re all older every moment that we’re alive). That afternoon our plans are to go to Stillwater – nothing concrete, other than I remember when Amanda and I drove through it looked like a fun place to window-shop for an afternoon. Antiques and… stuff you can use to clutter-up your living space (I think those are called knick-knacks). Dinner out, with the possibility of White Wine Kelly visiting…. Sunday, Liz and I are celebrating our birthdays together, as usual. There will be pool-sitting (I’ve heard rumors that the pool is heated, so there might even be swimming) and ice cream-eating and dinner (margaritas?) and gifts exchanged. Amanda and Prince Charming are celebrating with us, so it should be a fun time for all.

Speaking of, just two more days until my much-anticipated gift from Prince Charming. While I’d love anything he gave me (it’s the thought that counts, ya know), there has been much mystery surrounding this one, and hints, and friends questioned, and… you get the idea. I haven’t gotten today’s hint, but yesterday’s hint was:

It’s something that you and I talked about on our first date.

OK, that’s totally not helpful. Our first date was nearly 5 hours long, and we talked about any number of things. The only one I can remember is shoes, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t get me shoes (though, technically, I suppose that would fit most, if not all, of the clues). Also, he corrected Amanda’s earlier correction and now I’m just confused (he said, “[they] don’t know everything about what you’re getting.” So, that could eliminate my idea of what I thought it was from the pool, but I’m not sure. We’ll just have to wait until Saturday to find out, won’t we.

And with that, maybe I’ll get back to work. Or I’ll try…. there’s not much to do (that I want to do, that is).

Miles walked since 6/1: 18.2
Currently listening to: Phones (everyone else is at lunch)
Peeve of the moment: … currently not annoyed… never mind… co-workers singing Christmas songs in June.
What I’m wondering: why the St Paul Farmer’s Market can’t be as cool as the one in Minneapolis (totally jealous)