Foodie Friday!

September 27, 2013 at 11:02 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Over the weekend, Scott and I had a friend of ours over for dinner (read: to help us finish some vegetables we had sitting around).  I made corn on the cob, green beans with red and yellow peppers, veggie burgers and mashed potatoes cauliflower.  It all turned out really well, especially the cauliflowers which I had never cooked that way before.  Here’s what I did:

Mmm vegetables

Mmm vegetables

The corn was easy enough and was just placed, husks and all, into the oven for about 35 minutes.  Veggie burgers were cooked on the stove top while the buns toasted in the oven and then we dressed them however we saw fit.  Mine included avocado, tomato, and a Chipotle may sauce that tied it all together.  The green beans were steamed with the peppers (which were originally frozen) and then mixed with some butter and garlic salt.  As for the mashed cauliflower, I steamed a whole head of it and then used a hand food processor to mash it all up.  I added 2 tablespoons of milk, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and red pepper flakes along with some butter and that was it!  It didn’t taste exactly liked potatoes but I didn’t really expect it to.  It was a healthy, tasty alternative and I was surprised at how easy and delicious it was.  My only complaint was that the head of cauliflower didn’t produce much of a serving size once all was said and done.  What’s featured in the pic is about the size of what all three of us had and we could’ve all had more.  Regardless, I was glad it worked and will be incorporating it into future meals!  Especially since Scott doesn’t really like cauliflower but he really enjoyed it prepared like this.

I really like making meals but it seems I run out of time during the week.  What did I have last night for dinner? Some veggie chicken nuggets and bean dip with way too many tortilla chips.  Oh well, that was good too!

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Stacked

September 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I spent some time in a nearby bookstore over the weekend and left not knowing exactly how I felt about it.  I love bookstores and perusing old and new volumes of books and I could lose myself for hours scanning shelves and stacks.  There are some good places for this nearby but the one I walked through this weekend was almost too full of books.  I know, I know, I didn’t think such a thing was possible either.  And maybe I’m just getting old or something but all I could think about was the shelves tipping over and smothering me in paper.  There would be worse ways to die but I didn’t really want to get smooshed, regardless.  My new-found paranoia could also stem from living with an electrician, because I was also concerned about the potential fire hazard of a giant room literally filled to the ceiling with books.

Heaven or hell?

Heaven or hell?

This photo doesn’t really do the place justice but there were so many shelves that I couldn’t take another step back to get a better picture.  Basically, books as far as the eye can see.  There were a handful of labels placed throughout but not enough to help because apparently digging around is half the fun.  Unless you’re looking for one specific book as I was, in which case it was slightly annoying.

I’m still torn on my feelings about this place.  I’m intrigued by what I could find so I know I’ll be back but I may just sport a hard-hat while I’m there!

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September Book Club Review

September 23, 2013 at 11:40 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Summer caught up with us and we had to reschedule August’s book club to this month, so our meeting was held last Thursday.  We chose to read Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein, which was a book that we all pretty much hated.  It was chosen as a light, summer-y chick lit read but it was so banal and annoying that we enjoyed complaining about it more than anything else.  The book centers around a bunch of NYC socialites and their “problems”, which include things like having to stay in the country for their summer vacation and which surgeon does the best lipo.

Ugh

It was set right after 9/11 so there were some elements of fear in there but mostly these people lived an existence so far-fetched that it was hard to imagine anything real actually affecting them.  The characters were vapid and one-dimensional, though there was one character that was a little more grounded than the others.  I guess she was who we were all supposed to relate to but even her life was beyond my comprehension.  There was all sorts of name brand name dropping, not to mention fancy places that I guess you have to be more rich than me to appreciate.  For a while I assumed all of the restaurants and brands were made up but about halfway through the book I realized they were real and I was too far removed from that lifestyle to understand the references.  The ending was also especially awful, since it took a really morbid turn and people started dying left and right.  Was it a social commentary on the wastefulness of extravagant lifestyles or did the writer simply get lazy and so put off by her own characters that she couldn’t help but kill them ?  I think the latter.

So the book sucked but luckily we had good conversation, good company and good food and drink to keep us entertained.

We met at Revolution Brewery which was a little further south than we usually meet.  I had planned my timing perfectly and would have walked in right as the meeting started but the train I was waiting on decided to run almost a half hour late.  By the time I showed up I was hungry and thirsty, and this was the right restaurant to take care of me.  The beers at this brewery were really good and I stuck with the Coup D’Etat all night long.  I ordered the vegetarian Tempeh Ruben sandwich which had a side of mashed garlic potatoes and came topped with some sort of amazing mayo and veggie sauerkraut.  I won’t pretend to know everything that the sandwich was made of but I can tell you it was delicious.  As in, I could’ve eaten two without so much as a blink.  Thankfully for my wallet and my waistline, I didn’t manage to do that.  However, there’s always next time!

 

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Tough Stuff

September 20, 2013 at 2:01 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

So, my little sister is kind of a badass.

For real.

She had surgery this week (nothing major, don’t you worry) and she had to spend two nights in the hospital.  Everything went well and she’s home now but dealing with a restricted diet and a couple of weeks off of work.  The only time I’ve ever spent in the hospital was when I was in second grade and had my tonsils taken out.  I was a huge baby for the entire ordeal.  Of course, that might have been because I was in the second grade but I honestly don’t think I’d handle things much better nowadays.  I had to go get an IV of fluids in college because I was really dehydrated one busy, hot summer and it was traumatic.  Same goes for when I walked into a pine tree (sober) and got a pine needle (which I’m allergic to) in my eye.  Whenever I’m sick or injured I revert back to childhood and just want my mommy.  Mom was there for my sister’s surgery but even if she hadn’t been, I think my sister would have handled things just fine.  She’s pretty strong and her ability to just get through whatever is thrown at her kind of amazes me.  She also actually works in a hospital, which is kind of crazy to me as well.  To think that she voluntarily enters one every day for hours on end…my mind can’t wrap around it.  I will avoid them like the plague (unless I somehow actually wind up with the plague) but that’s where she spends the majority of her time.  Come to think of it, she may also be a little crazy on top of being a badass.

I wish I could’ve been there for the whole procedure but I don’t have tons of vacation time, plus my sister assured me more than once that it wasn’t that big of a deal and everything would be fine.  Obviously, she was right but that still doesn’t mean that my thoughts haven’t been with her and I haven’t been worried the last few days.  I’m really glad she’s finally out of the hospital (though I’m sure not as glad as she is) and I’ll be heading home one weekend next month to visit.

Basically, I just wanted to say I think my sister is awesome and I’m glad she’s alright.  Even though she has the ability to drive me crazy and make me punch walls in the bathrooms of airports (yup, that’s happened), I’m still pretty fond of her and like having her around!

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Suspended!

September 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

If you checked this blog yesterday, you may have seen a notice stating that it had been suspended because I violated the Terms of Agreement with WordPress.  You were probably no more confused by this than I was, because the notice appeared when I tried to publish my post yesterday.  I included a YouTube video in the post and that was the first time I’ve ever done that so I thought maybe the video had something to do with it.  I immediately got really nervous because I don’t like getting in trouble, not even with a free blog that not too many people even read.  Besides, I’ve never been suspended from anything in my life!  Unless you count all those times in high school and college (just kidding, Mom).  So I emailed the WordPress people asking what I did wrong and how I could fix it, then sat around waiting for them to lay down the law.

Whoops!

Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long.  I received an email this morning stating “Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls. We have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice.”  So – yay!  I didn’t do anything wrong and I still get to write!

Relief all around.  I’ll try to be good from now on, WordPress, I promise!

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Smoked Out

September 18, 2013 at 11:43 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Do you know what an e-cigarette is?  I didn’t, until recently.  It’s a little electronic device that basically allows smokers to get their nicotine fix in environments where actual smoking wouldn’t be allowed.  The user emits a vapor of sorts that looks like smoke and the e-cigarettes have all kinds of flavors and scents.  They’re supposedly helpful to people who are trying to quit although they’re so new that there isn’t tons of research as to the long-term effects.

They are also extremely popular around our office.

The two dude-like bros I now share an office with both use these.  It kind of puts me in an awkward situation because they’re not banned and the boss knows they smoke them.  Others in the office smoke them too but those people don’t share a small office with a nonsmoker.  In order to keep the peace I typically keep my mouth shut but one day this week I had to finally say something.  The scent or flavor or whatever from their e-cigarettes was honestly making me nauseous and since the guys also insist on keeping our door shut, there wasn’t exactly much ventilation going on.  They were nice about it when I spoke up and we aired the room out for a bit but they were both puffing away within 30 minutes.

I just don’t see how this isn’t bad for you…

Okay, if you’re trying to quit smoking and use them to help wean you off it could be beneficial but when you sit in here and blow smoke all day every day, there has to be some sort of lasting effect.  I could complain to my boss but he would just tell me I could move back out to the cubicles and I’d rather deal with the smoke than do that.  Not that I absolutely love sharing this office all the time but it’s sort of the principal of the thing.  Plus, I still get a pretty cool view and I’m sitting in the chair and at the desk which used to belong to the founder of the firm, so there’s that.

Anyway one of the dude bros came in today complaining about how his throat was sore from all the smoking and he’s going to take a break.  Praise be!  Maybe it’ll rub off on the other one soon and I can once again work in a non-chemically treated, smokeless environment.

As a side note, both guys have been singing along to

that video all day.  At least it’s never boring around here…

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So Campy

September 16, 2013 at 10:54 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Over the weekend, I went camping for the first time years.  My mom recently gave Scott and me a nice big cooler on wheels and we bought a tent earlier in the summer so since the basics were covered, we were good to finally go.  Scott  found a state park on the beach about an hour north of the city and we planned on meeting some friends of ours out there.  We arrived fairly early Saturday morning and pitched our brand-spanking-new tent, then sat around snacking until our friends showed up.  The plan was for them to stay the night as well but my girlfriend announced she was pregnant as soon as they arrived and said they wouldn’t be staying all night.  How could we be mad about that?  Truth be told I’ve had some idea that she might be “in the family way” for a while now but I knew that she would tell us when she was ready.  So of course we had a lot to celebrate and we were able to gush with excitement all afternoon!

Campsite Sweet Campsite

Campsite Sweet Campsite

We had plenty of food and drinks (I tend to overpack and this trip was no exception) and after lunch we walked along the beach for a while.  There were a few trails we explored and the campground had quite a few people but not so much that it felt crowded.  The facilities were pretty nice and it was just so peaceful to be out in the woods.  Our friends left after a true campsite dinner of hot dogs (veggie for Scott and me), beans and s’mores and Scott and I stayed up late just enjoying the quiet and the fire.  It didn’t get too cold during the night but it did start raining about 5am and that just didn’t stop.  We had planned on hanging out for a while in the morning but the rain put a damper on things (literally) so we packed up and headed out as soon as we could.  After stopping for a greasy breakfast in a local diner, we were home and taking a nap by noon!

It’s so nice to know that this kind of reprieve from the city is so close and I can safely say that my urge to camp has come back with a vengeance.  The last time I was camping was during Bonnaroo (a huge three-day music fest in the middle of a field in TN, sort of like Woodstock).  That was fun but it was much different from having a place with an actual fire pit and real bathrooms, so I think I’ll stick with this type of camping from here on out.  There’s another local place that Scott really wants to take me to so we’ll try for one more outing in a few weeks, before the weather gets really cold.  The peace and quiet in the woods was exactly what I needed to recharge before another workweek in the city!

 

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Business Lunches are Weird

September 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

So one of our clients came to the office this week to discuss some things with the boss.  He spent a good deal of time in my office as well, talking about everything from how exactly I do my job to the former Playboy bunny he used to be married too.  Yeah.  I thought he was finished with the meetings and left town yesterday but he walked back in today and invited the two sales guys for my program, myself and our IT consultant out to lunch.

Where was my martini?

To be honest, I didn’t really want to spend part of my afternoon rehashing things we’d already discussed this week buuuut…free lunch.  So I went.

I don’t do lunches like this often and I think I would have enjoyed it more if I’d had a cocktail or two.  Most of the discussion was shop talk and most of the talking was done by the guy who was treating us.  He was actually trying to pitch us some new ideas and services and while that’s not a bad thing, none of us are the ones who get to make the big decisions.  That all comes from the boss man himself, who was not present.  So there was basically a lot of nodding and smiling and “mmm-hmm”ing.  It was definitely an extended lunch (especially since most of the time I work through it and just eat at my desk) but I didn’t have to feel guilty since half the team I work with was with me and it was all work-related.

But it was still weird.

I know people have these sort of lunches and meetings all the time but it’s not really for me.  Even though I am technically a businesswoman (I do manage a national marketing campaign for the nation’s largest bankruptcy firm), I still feel like the little girl who wore a milk jug on her head when she dressed up like a recycling bin on Halloween.  Oh well, at least the food was good and I got a chance to get out of the office.  Now if I could just figure out a way to get free lunch every day without having to sit through sales pitches I’d be all set!

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All in a Day’s Work

September 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This was the scene outside my office window yesterday:

Not for the faint of heart.

Not for the faint of heart.

In case you can’t exactly tell, there are four men standing on the roof.  On the 50th floor.  The two to the left were wearing body harnesses while, from what I could tell, the other two just stood there.  To be fair I think the guy in the suit was building security.  Anyway, the one guy you probably can’t see that well is actually laying down and holding a video camera over the side of the building.  My palms broke out into a cold sweat just watching these dudes.

They were obviously taking footage for something and I’m pretty sure it was for the new Transformers movie that’s been filming in and around the city over the last few weeks.  I’ve never watched any of those movies but if there’s a scene from halfway up our building I kind of want to see it, especially if I was standing 50 feet away from the cameraman at the time it was shot.  I stood at the window and watched these guys for a while and at one point a huge military looking helicopter flew by so I sort of figured that was the shot they wanted.  They actually all came back later in the day (though with a different security person in a suit) and took some more footage…perhaps for different angles in waning daylight?  Who knows.  Since no one told me a thing, I’m free to let my imagination run wild!  Which means I imagined what would happen if the guy wearing the harness jumped off the roof and tried to bungee to the street.  It probably would have been pretty freaky for the people below us when he smacked into their office windows, that’s for sure.

I seriously doubt I could have stood out there myself.  My office might drive me crazy sometimes but this chair is nice and safe so my happy ass will gladly sit around and watch the madness going on outside.

 

 

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Twelve Years

September 11, 2013 at 9:28 am (Uncategorized) ()

In memory.

That’s a photo of all the people killed on 9/11/2001.

It does not include the fatalities of first responders who later became sick.

It does not include the civilian men, women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan who died as a result of the “War on Terror”.

It does not include the members of the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

It does not include the people in the countries who have had their lives changed forever.

It does not include you or me, but we were both changed as well.  Our entire country changed.  It will never change back.

It is not possible to forget.  Because on this day especially, we remember.

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