30 October 2007

The cotton club.

Brad and I had a lovely anniversary celebration yesterday. Brad is the best and most thoughtful gift giver (second anniversary theme is cotton!)! Smooches to the hubby! Then Rachel & Don met up with us at our church for our Rachel-inspired anniversary photo shoot. Most amusing is that after some recent renovations, there is now a public coffee shop in the basement. Weird.

Next we had a lovely dinner at Vinology. It was great, but dead, so make sure you check it out and show it some support. I'd hate for it to close.

Nicky update: He's online! Keep your fingers crossed for him!

Off to write letters for planned parenthood!

29 October 2007

He's my lobster.

Happy Second Anniversary to My Awesome Hubby!
It's been nine years, baby, and I've loved every second of it.

28 October 2007


We started our weekend off with a lovely early bday celebration for Miss Rachel. Yummy food and fun times, as always! Here's to a wonderful bday week, my dear!

And now for a quick, sleepy recap of this weekend's Halloween celebrations. Saturday we hit up the Bang! with Birgit, meeting up with cutie Kate, my old assistant from SRCD; Bob Ross extraordinare Jason; and some of Birgit's pals from college. As always, it was a great time, and no one got too upset about me bleeding all over them. Highlights: Chris Hanson, giant Amazon fembot dude, and Alison as Amy Winehouse. Classic. Today was Jason, Krissy, and Bava's party, and luckily my costume (post-death Church from Pet Sematary! ha ha) improved with age -- I just went to bed in my makeup/headwound/hair get-up, waking up ready to do it all over again! Lots of good food, great company, and plenty of chalk to graffiti the driveway with. Oh, and Bava is number one ninja!

Oh, and Nicky gave Heidi kennel cough. It's horrible. Luckily he's cute, so we still love him.

Time for a nap.

27 October 2007

Massive head wound harry.

Oh my. Ha ha ha. Brad and I are cracking me up. I love Halloween. Off to the Bang!

24 October 2007

I take them for the extra competitive edge.

So it happened. I finally broke down and ate my homegrown basil. I was so proud of myself for growing it all by myself that I couldn't bring myself to eat it. And I think I waited too long , and the leaves started to yellow. :( AND I ended up using it in a cheese sauce, and I could barely taste it.... So sad. My oregano is still going strong, though -- I just need to repot it soon.

I've also been kind of a disaster this week. I got myself a wicked burn Sunday night -- I burnt my arm on the inside of the oven and got my first burn blister. Monday night it popped and wow did that hurt like hell. I think Anthony Bourdain would be proud, though. Ha! I also busted out in a crazy rash Sunday night that persisted, despite my many med efforts and slathering myself in (expired) calomine lotion. Lotion applied, I looked like a leper with my skin peeling off -- you know, the lovely chalk-tinted body. Hot. Today I went to the doctor and discovered I had an allergic reaction to a sweater I tried on in Target and now have heat rash. Doc put me on the 'roids, so I'm waiting for the rage to bust out.

LADIES: STAY AWAY FROM THIS SWEATER! (in all shades and stripes; I tried on the green striped one.)

Nicky Update: A very lovely couple came to visit Nicky today, and they are coming back Friday with their 8-year-old pooch Willy. They are very involved with animals and animal activism ("we don't burn buildings down or anything, though!") and "treat their dogs like children." They are definitely interested and think they'll adopt him, depending on how Willy handles it. Keep your fingers crossed!!! Meanwhile, Nicky has still been just the sweetest, and him and Heidi are soooo cute. I've definitely gotten more than my fair share of hugs, smooches, and cuddles.

Finally... My new obsession. Anthony Bourdain. I didn't really know much about him, but I picked up Kitchen Confidential on a whim. I read it, and loved it. Midway through the book, I had a dream about him, where we were hanging out on this field trip thing, and I think he had a crush on me (giggle giggle, we held hands). It was one of those dreams where you wake up the next day and would SWEAR you spent the day with someone. So now that him and I were such good friends, I put some of his other books on hold on the libary. The first to come in was Les Halles Cookbook, and let me just interject here that I am officially NOT looking forward to French food (ha!) -- although I'd be willing to try frog legs and snails if they aren't slathered in garlic. Anyway, I'm not into any of the recipes, but he's so amusing to read that all the notes are still worth reading. And I knew it was meant to be when I read the opening lines:

"I'm a list fanatic. Write it down on a list, I believe, and there is far less chance that you will ever find yourself beginning a sentence with the pathetic excuse, 'Sorry... I forgot to....'" Ahhhh. Soulmates.

22 October 2007

Aggressive my butt!

First, a quick update to my pumpkin pasta post a few weeks ago. I made it again last week, and it was soooo good, even better than the first time. I used a child-safe pumpkin knife to cut my pie pumpkin open, and it worked like a charm. Once in half, I was able to chop the pumpkin into smaller squares, where I could just chop the flesh off with my regular knife. I remembered to pile the spices in, and I used asiago cheese instead of parmesan. I also let it sit for five minutes before serving. I could eat this every day. Seriously.

Anyway, it's been a crazy few days, and another whirlwind weekend, with Meg visiting (yeah!), a wedding on Saturday (where the button popped off my new dress -- wardrobe malfunction anyone?), and Nicky came home with me on Sunday!

The HS wanted to foster him for two weeks because of food and rawhide aggression. I don't know if we have the magic touch or what, but he hasn't even hinted at any such thing. I'm sure the shelter is stressful, so maybe that's all it is. But he's been nothing but fantastic. And him and Heidi? Best pals. It's total chaos, with them running around in circles all day (click here for crazy dogs goin' nuts!), but it actually is kind of nice because I don't have to chase Heidi out of the towels or the garbage. We were worried about his first night -- we crated him in the spare bedroom -- but even that wasn't too bad. The dogs barked at each other on and off for 15 or 20 minutes, but then they finally gave in to their exhaustion and didn't make a peep until I woke them up at 7 for breakfast. (Yes, you read that right. I was up at 7 am. UGH!) Heidi's been a fantastic older sister, putting Nicky in his place but being the most gracious host. We're very proud of her. :)

Hi, I'm Nicky. Wanna play?

I will kick your ass!

I don't think so, mister. This is my crib!

I step on your head! I squish you!

I love you, Heidi. You are the wind beneath my wings, Nicky.

18 October 2007

Here comes Nicky!

Just a quick note to say that our paperwork went through, and we already have our first foster assignment! I took Heidi to the humane society at lunch and introduced her to Nicky (who I met last week), a black, flat-haired retriever. He's seven months old and needs some manners training, mainly sharing toys and eating like a gentleman. He'll be with us for two weeks, and hopefully we can do our part to get him ready to find a permanent home. It'll be a fuzzball fiasco over here, but I can't wait!

16 October 2007

I like lists.

I am a planner. As I get older, I'm becoming more lax in my planning, but for big stuff I still like to map it out. Especially when it comes to traveling. While I have mostly given up the trip planning duties to Brad, I'm still 100% in charge of my own packing, and I'm a devout packing list maker. The idea of traveling without something I need terrifies me. I just can't relax if I haven't packed by list and checked everything off by the time I leave. The annoying thing is rewriting the list every trip and second guessing my memory. So, my friends, I've finally gotten around to creating a permalist that can be printed and used for each trip. And because I like you, I'm sharing my list with you for your own personal use as well. (I have a pretty table created with lovely fonts and such, but apparently I am not allowed to upload PDFs on this site. Hmph. Should you want it, ask and I will email directly to you! Or else copy the text below and customize your own table.)

Column 1, Item; Column 2, Packed (check y or n); Column 3, Notes

Travel Essentials
Boarding pass
Event/transportation info
Flight and hotel info
Wallet/Credit cards

Contact case
Contact solution
Face cream
Face wash
Hand lotion
Nailpolish remover
Pill case(s)
Ponytail holders
Shaving cream

Casual purse/bag
Casual shoes
Dress shoes

Camera charger
Cell phone
Cell phone charger
Converter plugs
iPod charger

Reading book(s)
Travel books
Travel journal/notepad

If summer, add:
Bathing Suit
Flip flops

If winter, add:

If work trip, add:
Blackberry charger
Business cards
Laptop cords

On a different note, Brad and I had our visit with the Humane Society foster program representative tonight. I think we passed! :) Now we just have to wait a week for our paperwork to go through and then we'll be signed up on the group list to start picking doggies! I'm so glad we're able to do this and hopefully help make the life of some doggies a little bit better.

15 October 2007

My weiner is already roasted!

Saturday, the Collinsssss hosted their first annual Fall Harvest Picnic at Island Lake State Park. I whipped up some pumpkin bites (yum!), and we headed out to Brighton. We'd never been out there, but I must say we can't wait to go back and check more of the park out -- it was awesome! We basically had the park to ourselves, and Tracy and Fred set up shop at a pavillion near an open field and the woods (which held human poop for Brad to step on!). The company was great, the food was tasty, and the graffiti was amusing. And, of course, Fred provided the colorful quote of the day.
Nature interjection: Last week, Tracy helped me determine what sort of plant was out front, dropping red berries that Heidi loves to eat. Turns out it's a Japanese dogwood, and the berries are poisonous to dogs. Of course. Anyway, at the picnic, Tracy showed us a neato nature trick. To determine if a tree is a dogwood, you hold a leaf between your two hands and gently pull to separate. If it'd a dogwood, you'll see tiny silk strands between the pieces of the leaf.

My mom and Larry went on vacation (yeah for them!), so I'm checking in on Gerdie while they're gone. I love the drive out to Manchester. And the weather has been so beautiful, it again reiterates why I love fall so much. I've been itching to do some pumpkin picking and cider milling, but the timing just hasn't worked out yet. To tide myself over, I stopped at a roadside farm stand out on Scio Church and picked up some pumpkins and butternut squashes. I also got the funniest looking green squash that reminds me of a swan. I decided to take a stab at carving a few of them this afternoon and I've got this to say: I suck at carving pumpkins. It looks like a six-year old carved them. HA!
Heidi and I also took a trip over to the dog park today. There was this little brown and black dog there, and I heard her owner call her Olive. I immediately thought of Olive from the humane society a couple of months ago. I asked him about her, and it wasn't her, but she was from our humane society (her name when they got her was Monique! ha!). He raved about the facilities and went on about how happy they are with Olive. It's always great to hear happy success stories!

PS. We had a little visitor this evening!

10 October 2007

Little guy.

Today I took a lunchtime visit to see Larry and Jordan, and I discovered that their connection on a new computer with DSL is actually quicker than my home connection on my crapass laptop. HA! So this opens some fun possibilities -- I can go out and hang out with Jordan and work to squeeze in some more visits with my little nephew! He's growing up so fast, and is sweeter and sweeter every time I see him. Today he was sporting a big boy haircut and smiled the whole time I was there. There's nothing better than a little guy looking up at you with love, grabbing your hand to lead you somewhere. And a goodbye kiss? Sigh... :)

07 October 2007

Pumpkin, you are a worthy opponent.

Last week at Trader Joe's, I bought two small pie pumpkins, and I've been waiting for days to crack them open. I've obviously carved my share of pumpkins, but I guess I've never met a pumpkin pie pumpkin before because those little bastards were tough!! At one point Brad came in and gave me the "you're gonna kill yourself look" and promptly walked right out of the room.

First I attempted to just slice the pumpkin in half. HA! Not even a dent. So I thought I'd cut the top off like a jack o'lantern. This I managed, but it took about 15 minutes to get the lids off both pumpkins. I had to use a little paring knife, slowly stab it in, move it around a little, slowly pull it back out, repeat (about 100 times). Finally I got the tops off and started gutting them. I saved the seeds so I could make sugar and cinnamon baked seeds. So I get those ready and put them in the oven to bake while I try and get the flesh of the pumpkin loose from the pumpkin. First I try scraping it out. No dice. Then I try cutting it. No dice. There's a rumor you can peel a pumpkin, so I tried, but SCREW THAT! So anyway, I decide to throw the whole pumpkins in the oven to see if that'll soften the flesh. After about 10 minutes or so, the flesh is still just as hard, but the shell itself is a little easier to cut. I managed to break them into a few pieces, and then it was time to tackle the flesh again.

Either I'm an idiot, or there's just no good way to do this. I just attacked it with my paring knife, getting chunks here, peeling chunks off like old wallpaper, and slicing my finger in the meantime. In the end, I wound up with just about the right amount of pumpkin I needed for my dinner recipe. I finished this task vowing to NEVER buy a pumpkin again. Canned puree all the way.

Meanwhile, my pumpkin seeds finished. Note, I read the directions twice and checked them again when they came out.... Burned to all hell. How do you ruin pumpkin seeds?!?!

So anyway, now it's time to tackle dinner. I found this recipe for pumpkin sauce over pasta. I'm cooking along, cooking along, and for once my sauce is actually looking how I think it should. And, of course, I added some grated parmesean (if you want extra cheesy, use more, obviously -- it'll only taste better and better).

Finally the pasta is ready and it's time to mix it all together and eat it up. Mmmm. Looks heavenly!

First bite, it tasted good but a little bland. I went back in and tripled all the spices (which I hadn't measured the first time around either) and gave it a stir. When I went back for my second helping, I was totally sold. Super good. (PS, it could definitely be made without the cheese and cream for a vegan-friendly dish.) I've made a pumpkin pasta dish before -- it has more cream, more cheese, and sausage. It definitely makes for a more savory dish, but I really like the lightness of this pasta, and it really features the pumpkin. And I don't feel so bad about myself (the other one has a LOT of cream) afterwards. I used ridged rigatoni (one of my favorite pastas), and it was a perfect match for the textured sauce.

Final verdict: I can't image this pasta without the texture from the real pumpkin. I guess I'll buy another pumpkin after all.

Celebrate good times come on.

Just a quick note to show some love:

Congrats to Nick & Gina, our newliest newlyweds!!!
(Even though they bogarted our wedding song for their bridal party dance! We still love them, though, ha ha ha!)

Happy Anniversary to Rachel & Don and Jason & Krissy. We love you guys!

And finally -- Happy 29th, Tracy. Welcome to the club! Woot woot!

PS. Our Hollywood Video is closing and all the movies are for sale. I totally picked up American Werewolf in London, Wrong Turn, Rent, Nightbreed, Prince of Darkness, and Pretty in Pink. Score. Still pissed the Fog was already gone.

04 October 2007

oh my god oh my god oh my god

Sooooo.... Today I was working downstairs and I thought I'd watch my DVR'd Carpoolers while I was eating lunch. I finished up my Chinese food and the show, but the TV was already on so I thought I'd turn on my favorite Comcast channel, "adult alternative." I'm working along, la la la, when I hear David Gray. Not recognizing the song, I look and see it's new. New David Gray?! What's this all about. So I go to his website and see he's got a bunch of live stuff about to come out. Woo hoo! So I forward the link to Brad because he's a big fan, too. Five minutes later I get an email from Brad showing DG's tour schedule. By some amazing awesome miracle, he's playing in London... when we're in London!!! You bet your ass I bought us tickets. Happy Anniversary to us! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I was already so excited for our trip, but I'm so so excited about this, too. This'll be our fourth show, and I know it'll be awesome. He's just the best. Maybe I will write him an email and beg him to play our wedding song. :)

Oh, and this was was totally growing in an empty chocolate milk glass I forgot in my office. Ha ha.

03 October 2007

Itsy bitsy spider.

Brad and his dad are watching hockey (snore), and I haven't blathered on in a few days, so here I am. We had a PPYL (apparently pronounced "people") meeting tonight, too, and I always feel inspired after those.

I must say that people never cease to amaze me. While I am absolutely for thinking whatever you want to think, and understand people feel all different ways about things, I just can't wrap my brain around planned parenthood protestors. I get the gist of it, but when you protest planned parenthood, you're protesting so many things that are just ridiculous to be protesting. Why on earth would you protest low-income women receiving pre-natal exams? What's wrong with men receiving affordable vasectomies? Stopping the spread of teenage disease? Anyway, I certainly do not want to have this debate with anyone. You can agree or disagree. But those 40 Days of Life people that are sitting outside Planned Parenthood 24-7 for "40 days"? Come on! Don't you have something better to do? Oh, and I'm pleased to report: At least at the AA PP, they are miserably failing. They've had little to no support. Go home, people.

That being said, we have lots of good ideas for the future of our group, so stay tuned! And if you're looking for a party theme, let Rachel or I know. We can help you out! Oh, and keep your calendar open for January, when we host the second annual Get Down for Choice. $10 to hang out, dance, drink, and hang out with likeminded people supporting a good cause.

On a different note, our deck has been taken over by a garden globe spider. After being assured by Tracy that it wouldn't attack me, I decided to let it live (although Heidi scared the crap out of it and it flew up a tree, so it might not be around tomorrow).