Mega Goodbye

July 29, 2011 at 11:38 am (Uncategorized) (, )

Chicago is losing one of its finest this weekend.

You may remember me blogging about all of the big moves taking place among my friends and yup, it’s still happening.  A few friends have already made their transitions and I’ll be saying goodbye  see you later to a great buddy of mine later tonight.  He’s a fellow blogger and deserves a shout out here.  This is a guy who can cut a rug in Boystown just as easily as attend a fancy museum special event.  He’s been a friend of mine for roughly two years now and he’s had my back for that whole time.  We’ve laughed, we’ve cried and we’ve enjoyed quite a few quality brews (he helped me fall in love with Stella, for instance).  We’ve taken road trips, danced the night away and generally kept one another in good company for a couple dozen months and he helped me grow the balls ovaries to quit my last job.   While I’m pretty pumped that his move has led me to acquire many of his old DVD’s (multiple seasons of The Simpsons, Robin Hood Men in Tights, Airplane and Ace Ventura Pet Detective among them), those little discs won’t exactly fill the void he’s leaving behind.  At least not all the way.  And while I wish him nothing but the best and I really do think this move is what he needs right now, I’ll be sad to say see you later.  But I will be seeing him later because whether he believes me or not, I’ll be crashing his new pad in Seattle before he knows it and demanding a road trip into Vancouver.  I might even bring beer!

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Warning: Cat Lady Post Ahead

July 28, 2011 at 11:53 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This is reason #59396803 why I love my cat:

She looked like this, only on my bed and more freaked out

Last night there was a pretty massive thunderstorm that rolled through right around bedtime.  Lightning and thunder abounded and the light show was really pretty spectacular.  Be that as it may, I still nearly fell off my couch when the thunder got surprisingly loud.  That’s when I decided it was time to go to bed.

So there I was, huddled under my covers and trying to ignore the storm long enough to fall asleep.  Then I felt the little thud on my bed that told me Catsby had hopped aboard and sure enough, she was nose to nose with me in no time flat.  I looked at her.  She looked at me.  Then she looked at my comforter and back at me.  Twice.  I took the hint and lifted up my sheets and before I knew it, she was hunkered down and cuddling by my feet.  There she stayed until the worst of the storm was over, after which she promptly stood up and began meowing because she apparently forgot where she was and became scared and confused.  I let her out and once again, all was right in the world.

I guess treating her diabetes has been worth it because I’m awfully fond of that furball.  Especially when she’s protecting me from big bad thunderstorms.

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More Food!

July 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I love breakfast food.  Seriously love it.  Like, I would eat breakfast for every meal of the day if I could and sometimes I actually do.  The weekends are a great time for me because the wonderful invention of brunch is so prevalent and I certainly know how to make the most of it.  While I always enjoy going out to eat for my breakfast urges (such as recently going to The Chicago Diner and stuffing myself with vegetarian biscuits and gravy….SO GOOD), I’m also fond of cooking in my new and spacious kitchen.  Sunday was one of the days where I felt like cooking so I whipped up the delight below:

Rachel Ray has nothing on me

Yes, I’m aware this looks amazing.  I’m also pleased that the photo turned out a bit better than the last meal I posted.  I know I’m no whiz with the foodie pics – I actually have a friend who I think still reads this blog and she’s a serious food blogger.  Her meals always look fantastic and her pictures are professional quality so I like to imagine her cringing every time I post one of these from my phone.  No matter, you still get the idea.

One of the best gifts I’ve ever received is my Belgian waffle maker.  I have used this thing so many times I’m surprised it still works and I plan on using it until it eventually surrenders to waffle batter and old age.  You can see that the waffles feature heavily in this meal and while I was making them I also cooked some vegetarian sausage links in the oven.  I’ve been told by many meat-eaters that the veggie sausage links are actually tastier than real ones but I’ll leave you to test that out for yourself.  I also whipped up some scrambled eggs that included roasted red and yellow peppers, spinach and a myriad of spices.  Also lots and lots of cheese (both goat and cheddar, since those are what I had on hand).  And I didn’t stop there!  I had fresh bananas and strawberries to compliment the orange juice (thought my Hoosier readers would appreciate that glass) and help me pretend this was a healthy meal.  But when I dumped them on the waffles and added chocolate and regular syrup, the jig was up.  Oh well, it was totally worth it.  Also, you may notice the peanut butter in the pic.  This is because my dad trained me long ago to put it on my waffles and I haven’t looked back since.  Don’t automatically shrink back in disgust either; I’ve turned more than a few people onto this in my day.  Once again, I suggest you taste it for yourself.

So you may have noticed that there is additional plate of food in the background.  That belongs to my…wow this weird to say, let alone write…boyfriend.  That’s right, after nearly two years of relative single-dom, I’m officially off the market once again.  I’ll give you a minute to grieve that loss.  But yeah, I’m seeing a pretty great guy and so far he’s been doing a good job of treating me like the supremely awesome woman that I am.  And he’s a vegetarian so he gets to fully appreciate all of the tasty meals I feature here!  If he’s lucky.  Which, by dating me, he clearly is.

Anyway hope this gives you some cookery ideas – and if you ever make brunch and I’m around, please feel free to give me an invite.  I always have time for breakfast food!

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Nightmares

July 26, 2011 at 11:14 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Yesterday morning, I woke up briefly around 5am and then went back to sleep for a glorious hour and a half.  At least it should have been glorious.  Somehow in that short amount of time I managed to have a dream that sent me into a panic and actually made me look forward to going into the office on a Monday morning.

In the dream, I was attending a new class orientation in some old castle-like building.  This likely stems from the fact that next month I’ll be registering for my last 10 weeks of Museum Studies courses at Northwestern, thus completing my certificate.

Run!

The castle was probably thrown in just because I like castles.  So there I am, sitting in orientation, when I glance at the clock and see it’s 8:05.  That’s when I promptly began to freak out, as in my dream I was supposed to be at work at 8am.  But not the job that I have now – oh no, in this dream I was still working at my last job.  The job that required me to get 3 levels of corporate written approval before leaving work 5 minutes early (seriously).  The job that guilt tripped me into risking life and limb to get back to Chicago during a snowstorm.  The job that caused me extreme panic and anxiety almost every morning as I had exactly one commuter train to catch to the suburbs, which if I missed, resulted in reprimands and write-ups galore.  That job.

So in my dream I began to freak out and I got that awful mass of tension in my stomach that sat heavier than a bowling ball coated in asphalt.  I was so worried about having to call my boss and explain to her why I was already five minutes late that I ran out of the classroom and through the castle halls to the nearest pay phone (since obviously castles lack cell reception and come equipped will pay phones).

Then I woke up.

I cannot tell you how relived I was when I remembered that that job is but a thing of my past and I no longer have to worry about it.  My current workplace wouldn’t care if I was running late so long as my work was still completed by the end of the day.  Ah, sweet relief, and the wonderful sensation of knowing that I don’t have to live with that kind of pressure anymore.

What does this all mean, besides the fact that I love castles and much prefer my new gig?  Well, chances are that my seeing the girl who replaced me put up a Facebook post about how her work day made her want to cry contributed to this dream as well.  Summer is the busiest part of the season over there at that learning center and yet here I am, carrying along at my desk like I did back in February.  Score one for me and two for castles, just because they’re so darn cool.

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A Moment of Silence

July 25, 2011 at 10:05 am (Uncategorized) ()

For the pain and horror that the peace-loving people of Norway have had to endure over the last few days.

Strong and healing energy is being sent their way.

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Now Sit Right Back and You’ll Hear a Tale…

July 22, 2011 at 10:07 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

…a tale of a fateful trip…

On a small uninhabited island that’s but a small dot on the Pacific, 15 marooned people joined hands to form a giant “SOS” on the beach.  

Insert obligatory coconuts joke here

Washed up in a deserted paradise, all the castaways could do was to hope that someone would spot them.  It sounds like an episode of “Survivor” but the 15 people — six children and nine adults — are from Chuuk, a group of islands in the Federated States of Micronesia. And this was no television drama.

Missing since Tuesday, after their small boat hit a coral reef and overturned, the castaways were finally spotted and are awaiting rescue by the U.S. Coast Guard, said spokesman Ensign Richard Russell.  He said they would be rescued after daylight Saturday.  The 15 people — between the ages of 4 and 59 — were heading from Chuuk to Ruo Island for an outing for the children. Their skiff’s hull was damaged when they hit the coral reef, Russell said.  They dragged the hull to the beach and waited. Their only link to the outside world was a solar-powered radio.  A long-range Navy search plane flew over the area after the Coast Guard received a report of the missing skiff from another vessel in the area.

“Once on scene, the aircraft reported back that a damaged vessel was overturned on the beach and several crude shelters had been erected on the beach,” a Coast Guard statement said.  “Three other boats could be seen on the island and people on the shore began waving at the plane as it soared overhead.”  It was like finding a needle in a haystack, Russell said. A 28-foot boat lost in the world’s largest ocean.  The Chuuk State Department of Transportation reported the boat missing to the Coast Guard Tuesday morning when it was overdue at Ruo Island.  The national government of the Micronesian federation, the Chuuk state government and the Guam sector of the Coast Guard coordinated a joint search to find the boat.

The Federated States of Micronesia is a democratic island group in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Indonesia. Independent since 1986, the vast archipelago of hundreds of tiny islands comprises a land mass of just 702 square miles, about the size of Singapore. It includes the Chuuk Islands, Yap Islands, Kosrae and Pohnpei.

Just an interesting new story for your Friday.  If you’re on a boat this weekend, be sure to bring a raft!

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Recipe from Little Old Me

July 21, 2011 at 11:19 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

I figured it was time for another recipe post, especially since I got yet ANOTHER mystery cooking magazine in the mail yesterday.  I still have no idea where they’re coming from or who signed me up for them and while I’ll admit that I haven’t actually made anything from any of them so far, I have decided to pick a dish from this latest issue, put on my apron and get cookin’.

Disclaimer: this post has nothing to do with actual, well thought out recipes.

Instead, I’m going to tell you about a dinner I made this weekend using basically whatever I had in my fridge (you may remember that this is my preferred method of cooking).  Here’s the final product:

Mmmm pizza...

I’ll go ahead and apologize for the craptastic photo here.  I’m not much on food pics to begin with and to be honest, by the time this was finished I was so hungry and excited to start eating that I just couldn’t take more than 2.5 seconds to focus on anything other than stuffing my face.

This isn’t anything super fancy but it was really tasty.  I found some flatbread at Target and basically just rubbed some olive oil on both sides before placing it on my pizza baking stone.  Then I took a big spoon and ladled out the sauce, which happened to be a basic garlic marinara that I had in the pantry.  The first of four cheeses came next and cheddar became a nice base.  Meanwhile, I had tossed a bunch of veggies into a pan with a little more olive oil and got that going.  This included spinach, zucchini and roasted red and yellow peppers.  I split the veggies in half and spread one portion on the flatbread while saving the other for later.  Then I added some goat cheese, baked jalapeno cheese and spices (oregano, basil, red pepper etc) before putting everything in the oven.  While that delicious concoction baked, I made a box of Trader Joe’s Macaroni and Cheese (a little healthier than the typical stuff) and threw in the rest of those veggies at the end.  After adding a bit of Parmesan cheese upon taking the pies out of the oven, I was ready to eat!

And there you have it.  From start to finish, this entire meal took me maybe 30 minutes (that includes baking time and time for me to pour myself a drink).  It was probably the best pizza I’ve ever made and the leftovers I had for lunch the next day were just as good.  If you’re carnivorous you can of course add some meat product as well but this was pretty satisfying, if I do say so myself.  Which I do.  If anything I hope it gives you an idea or two for an easy yet healthy and tasty dish that can be made on the fly.  Happy Eating!

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R.I.P. Calberta

July 20, 2011 at 8:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Calberta is the name of our family cat that lived for nearly 20 years.  She had long gray fur and was one of the most affectionate and loving cats I’ve ever been lucky enough to know.  My mom had to put her down yesterday and while I know we shouldn’t be upset since she lived such a long and healthy life, she’s obviously on my mind and I wanted to share a little about her today.

Oh crap not like that

Calberta was named after Calbert Cheaney, who was a basketball for Indiana University for 3 years in the early 90’s.  As die-hard IU fans, we named her Calbert back when we thought she was a boy and simply gussied the name up once we realized she was a lady.  I don’t know exactly how long it took us to figure this out but in my defense, I was young.  Calberta was the only kitten we kept from the litter that our cat Bernadette had.  I had chosen the name for Calberta’s mom, which was unfortunately not after Bernadette Peters but rather Saint Bernadette.  This was back in my uber-religious phase when everyone thought I was going to be a nun.  Ah, the delusions of youth.

Anyway, Calberta was the type of cat who would follow you around just to curl up in your lap when she got a chance.  She would also sleep on my face when I was growing up, causing my allergies to flare up and an irrational fear of falling asleep with her in my room.  I think she did this on purpose but it was hard to be mad at her because she was just so darn cute.  Of course, this was a dozen years or so or better.  As she aged, Calberta was still as loving as ever but she was a little more pitiful to behold.  We liked to say (and by we I mean I) that her meow-er was broken because when she mewed it was all crackly and hoarse, like a little old lady’s raspy voice.  She still got around pretty well though and up until a few weeks ago she was roaming the woods and backyard per usual.  My sister, mom and I used to joke that the poor thing would outlive us all but time eventually caught up with her as it does all of us.  She’s now laid to rest in a nice spot behind our house, where she can watch us from now on.

I just wish I could’ve been there with my mom for the ordeal.  My mom is the strongest woman I know but no one wants to have to watch a loved one pass away.  I’m extremely thankful she was able to spend that time with Calberta though, because that cat really did deserve it.  Now she’s playing with our dogs Gabe and Hershey, her mom Bernadette and our other cats Stinkybones (hey she looked like a skunk), M&M and B.C, my mice Oscar and Meyer and my bird Skye.  R.I.P. guys, and thanks for being the best pets you could be.

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All Pottered Out

July 19, 2011 at 11:36 am (Uncategorized) ()

So, I’m a Harry Potter fan.  I began reading the books early in high school and developed a love affair that is still strong to this day.  I don’t care if you think they’re childish or cause kids to turn into Satan-worshippers and if you don’t want to read my thoughts on the whole series…well, you can come back another day.  Because as I said, I’m a fan.  And it’s over, so I need to talk about it in order to move on.

And it's over...

I’m such a fan that when the final book came out in 2007, I bought it (in Africa) and read nearly the entire thing on the plane ride home.  I didn’t quite finish so I spent the 3 hour ride from the Indy airport to Chicago hunched over a flashlight, devouring the last words.  Luckily I wasn’t driving.  I’ve read the whole series at least twice and would like to get started again but must wait on my book-stealing sister to replenish a few copies she lent out and lost.  Hear that, sis?  I expect a package in the mail sometime this week.

As big of a fan as I am of the books, it’s surprising that I also enjoy the movies.  Most of the time movie versions do nothing but piss me off and cause me to yell at the screen but the adaptations of the HP series are pretty solid.  Sure there are things that are left out and discrepancies here and there but I’m still totally able to enjoy them for pure entertainment’s sake.  Which is why I was excited to watch the final part of the last movie this weekend.  I prepared by Netflix-ing the first part (which came out last summer and I was too cheap to see in theaters) and as I had an equally-Harry Potter loving friend from college in town this weekend, we caught up together.  Then on Saturday we had a girl’s night out with another friend of mine and took mounds of snacks into the theater by my place.  My college friend brilliantly decided we should get advanced tickets so we walked right on in and got the last grouping of three seats open, even though we were still 20 minutes early.  The place got PACKED.  And there wasn’t a kid in sight, which was truly kind of awesome.  Even more awesome was the fact that we all burst into applause and cheers at the exact same time throughout the whole film.  Certain characters would say a well-known line or someone would get what they deserved and we’d all go wild.  Which just proved to me how invested many people have become in this story of a wizarding world.

If you’re not a fan yourself, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about.  I don’t know about everyone but for me, the entire idea of a parallel world to ours that’s full of magic, spells, dragons and wands is just plain cool to think about.  At least, that’s what drew me in initially.  But these books weave stories of friendship, loyalty, love, family, discipline, hard work and courage together in an engrossing and yes, magical way.  There are also some pretty adult political and social themes throughout, which adds a new level to the text.  All in all, these are entertaining and moving books and now that I’ve seen the final movie I must accept the fact that everything has drawn to a close.  Even if J.K. Rowling writes some sort of follow-up down the line, it’ll never touch what the original 7 have created.  But I’m thankful that she let us into this world and I really would recommend this series to just about anyone, Bible-thumping witch-hunters not included.  I’d even happily offer you mine to read…we just have to wait on my sister.

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Rock Out

July 15, 2011 at 10:04 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

So I saw a concert last night (yes, on a school work night).  I haven’t been to a show in a while and I’d never been to Northerly Island, the little peninsula in downtown Chicago where this action was taking place.  We saw Sublime with Rose (who may not be Brad Nowell but sounds an awful lot like he did) and 311 (who’s lead singer is much more attractive than I was expecting, causing a bit of a distraction).  The group I was with had tickets in the bleachers and while this hindered our dance moves, it did not stop them entirely.  One $11 beer and a beautiful sunset over the city later and we were ready to rock.

Sweet Home Chicago

The show was pretty damn awesome.  Sublime pulled out many old favorites that I sang along to as well as some of their newer stuff that I’m not so familiar with.  They played for about an hour before calling it quits, which gave us enough time to grab snacks and beverages while trying to find some old friends.  People watching was optimal as there were many super wasted dudes and dudettes stumbling around, so that provided nice halftime entertainment.  Then the headliner, 311, came on stage.  They seriously rocked.  In fact, the lead singer changed his shirt probably 4 times because he was jumping around and sweating so much.  I’d never seen 311 live and they put on a really great set – the lights were especially cool and they absolutely knew how to work their crowd.  That show as apparently also being filmed for TV so the cameras caused the crowds to be especially rowdy, which was also quite entertaining.

We also couldn’t have asked for better weather.  I was more than comfortable in just jeans and a tank top and there was not a drop of rain in the sky.  The breeze from the lake was nice and the full moon that came out when the sun went down just added to the general awesomeness of the evening.

In conclusion, go see live music.  Especially in Chicago!

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