Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Many Days of Christmas...

Well, after four Christmas celebrations spanning 4 homes, three states and travel by air and by car we've done it. We survived. Never mind the Christmas tree that was by our curb by 1pm on December 26th... never mind our Christmas decorations (that I love) are all lined up ready to be put back in their boxes in the basement... never mind the 5 bottles of wine/prosecco (average) I personally drank this Christmas season (not including the beers).... never mind the 5 (or so) pounds I added onto my butt and gut... never mind the dollars spent... never mind the TIME spent... this was a really wonderful Christmas.

And while it was absolutely wonderful, I am so happy it's over. I have to admit, this splitting Christmas between families is exhausting. AND both of our parents are still married to each other, I can't imagine what it would be like celebrating with any more family! Wow. Exhausting. And of course, last night, as we lay in bed, thoroughly drained, tossing and turning, we both wondered why the heck we couldn't fall asleep? (that's frustrating).

So onto resolutions... I make them, my husband doesn't. And I keep them in my planner and review them throughout the year and at the end of the year go through to see how many resolutions I kept. Shamefully I already threw away my resolutions for 08. But I didn't do so well which explains why I threw them out.

When I get a good list for this year, I may or may not share. But one of my resolutions will be to stop swearing. I have been noticing when people do and don't swear and their swearing really makes me flinch. Especially when people enunciate their swears. It's not unf*ckingbelievable. It's unF*CKINGbelievable. It's a bad bad habit that I am embarrassed of and need to eliminate certain words from my vocabulary. Like the F word. And the S word. And probably the B word. Not sure about the A word. At times that can be endearing. But not when accompanied by -hole. Hmmm... I'll work on that list.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!


So Christmas began yesterday
with a celebration with my brother, sister-in-law and the munchkins. I missed the comment from the little Bug who was looking out the window saying she thought she saw a red nose in the sky. How adorable! Presents were opened, little munchkins were thrilled, excited, tired and then sleeping. And my brother was close behind them. I can understand though. The Christmas build-up every year seems longer and longer. I'm not surprised if Christmas parties occur in late November anymore. It's just madness. But as I sit here at work, brimming with excitement for christmas number 2 of 4 to be celebrated this afternoon with my dear husband I wonder why I didn't take this day off? Who the hell can work on Christmas eve? Who SHOULD work on Christmas eve? But can I sit here and totally screw off until 11:30 or so when I can comfortably leave earlier than our normal early departure? I gave my assistant some work to do this morning and she, with her Christmas Carols playing loudly, yelled (yes, shouted) at me to stop giving her work, don't I know it's Christmas eve? I know she was joking... sort of. Seriously, who the hell can work on Christmas eve? Who SHOULD work on Christmas eve? Tonight Santa comes. And holy moley, that is SO fun. There are presents under the tree (mostly mine b/c my sweetie doesnt' wrap until the last day) and they are ready to be opened. I am ready to open them. I even let sweetie open a present this morning...

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I RAN TODAY!


Yes, yes, I ran today. While it wasn't painless, for a long period or high speed, I still did it. I still ran today. And man, I am thrilled. I look forward to painfree periods of running in my future, but it was nice to feel good enough to do it. (I still shake my head wondering how I didn't break something with this 'sprained ankle' pain lasting so long). But I am happy and feel good.


Today we are expecting the first snowstorm of the season. It's exciting and nice, but today is also my company Christmas party... And frankly, I am tired of my Christmas plans being changed, cancelled or postponed this year and damn it, I'm getting to that Christmas party. And no, I'm not rescheduling my Christmas plans on Sunday because of other potential inclimate weather. I am not cancelling, changing or postponing any more christmas stuff. This is not going to be the 'cancelled/postponed Christmas'. While not what was originally planned, I am very happy, excited and looking forward to our NEW (and improved) Christmas plans this year. And come hell or high water, we are not missing any of it. So Mother Nature, PLEASE play nice. Travel is in our plans and your cooperation would be appreciated.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

To all my ladies out there...

I am a cryer. There is no doubt about it. I tear up at Hallmark commercials, award show acceptance speeches, stories about grandparents, at the end of a sporting event when one team is jubilant about their win, stories of abundant love, thinking about people who are not alive and all the people who miss them, the end of 'My First Home'... the list can really go on for pages. One of my friends introduces me their 'emotional' friend (JENN). I especially love the stories of abundant love.


I just watched a video clip from Stefania's blog and b/c I'm such a technological moron, I have no idea how to add it to my blog. But go check out the video on her blog (I have figured out the hyperlink). It made me cry (even thought it kept interrupting... I think you need to let it load before you play it). Thanks Stefania, I didn't get my weekly BOO-HOO b/c there was no Extreme Home makeover last Sunday.


I have an amazing little life here. And with all the 'tough' stuff going on in the world and the economy, illnesses and injuries, I sometimes need a reminder to help me appreciate the really great women in my life. I have an amazingly strong core of beautiful, love-filled, open hearted, wonderful women in my life. My Mom and mother-in-law. My sisters-in-law and Gram, the extended family- aunts and cousins and my friends scattered throughout the whole country. I am a very lucky woman. I met this amazing group of women here who have become my 'nearby' family. And because of all of these women, I am the luckiest girl on earth, really. I am so fortunate to have all of these beautiful women in my life, the video just reminded me, we can get through anything, especially with the help of each other.

So to all my ladies out there- I love you!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Babies Galore and Saturday Night Live

Friday night we had the pleasure of babysitting our little friend Luke. He was a happy little boy when his mom and dad dropped him off, laughing and smiling. They went off to a Christmas party left me with some diapers and bottles (enough for a few days worth) and some gear. Little one started fussing and looked awfully sleepy. Dear husband came home and played with him, tried to calm him down, and we wondered if we should feed him. So we gave him a bottle, he sucked a little and then wasn't interested. We figured he was really tired and we somehow lulled him off to sleep. (I felt awfully bad 'starting' the bottle knowing that milk would need to be used again in 4 hours or it would go to waste). Little one slept for about an hour, started to fuss so I picked him up, he snuggled and passed right back out for another hour or so. His mom and dad came to get him. We gave them the Luke-update and they were shocked at how much he slept and that he didn't want to eat. (we were terrified we might have thrown off their schedule for eating and sleeping and hoped they weren't going to be up all night). 'Since he was up should we give him the rest of the bottle?' I asked. Luke's Mom thought that was a great idea and went to get the bottle, took the nipple part off to remove the CAP... yes, there was a cap on there, a barrier preventing the milk from getting in the nipple part. Oh, did we know about this cap? NOPE. Poor little Luke. I was thrilled we didn't waste the milk, but oh my goodness. I was relieved to get the update the next day that the little sleepyhead slept well and so did Mom and Dad.

Saturday we headed to NYC to see Diana, Scott and little Isabelle. It was SO fun to see them, spend such good time with them and play a little bit with Isabelle. She is so happy and smiley and fun to play with. She was also really fun to watch eat! So cute. So we had dinner with them and then headed out for Hungarian dessert and then Saturday Night Live. We are not huge fans of SNL but Jenn suggested we put our name in for tickets and we got them with Hugh Laurie and Kanye West as the hosts we decided to go. It was really cool to see how the show was created and how it was organized: the stages, cameras and the people on the set. It also happened to be Amy Poehler's last show which was really neat to see. What I was most surprised at is how much the actors laugh at the skits when they are not on camera. It was cool, if anyone has the chance to go, I recommend it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree! How lovely are your branches!

Our Christmas tree's branches are lovely. Gosh, I LOVE this time of year. Saturday we got our tree, wreath and branches/rope thing that hangs on the mantle. The tree is perfect... well, ok, it's a little crooked. It looks like it's leaning but I think it's just a crooked stem (oh please don't fall over, christmas tree...) It is decorated with colored lights that make me think of little candies. A few years ago my parents gave me some of my childhood ornaments (you know, the ones with my name on them or the ones I made, complete with photos of when I cute -and awkward). So I don't have a 'designer' tree this year, as my husband calls it. (my first tree as a grownup had only ball ornaments, it looked lovely but was deemed a 'designer' tree b/c of the uniform ornaments).

Its funny, as a grown up, I made certain decisions about Christmas-time. As a kid, I HATED taking out the tangled, sometimes rusty hangie hooks to hang the ornaments. So I decided, as a grownup, I will not keep those damn hangie hook things year after year. I will make the sacrifice and purchase a new pack for 99 cents every year. Having new hangie hook things makes hanging ornaments a lot more enjoyable- of course, that is when you have enough hangie things for your ornaments. This year we ran out of hangie hook things... I guess there was a reason my parents always held onto those stupid hangie hook things. Those parents, they are so smart!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Feeling of Nostalgia

Well, this week, hubby and slacker-ass (me) decide we are actually going to do that thing we used to do- go to the gym. I've devised some weird schedule which will allow for me to actually make it through the week being active each day. One of my new activities is to swim.

So I head out, this week, to find a bathing suit. FYI- finding a cheap bathing suit in December in New England is a silly idea. Be prepared to pay serious coin. I had some goggles buried in a drawer and was not sure if I would buy a swim cap. So I head to the Sporting Goods store, find a suit, try it on and this feeling washes over me. I swam competitively for 13 years growing up. I basically grew up in the pool and in bathing suits. Summer in our back yard, winter/spring in the high school pool, saturdays for 8 hours at swim meets. It felt so familiar to squeeze that suit over your hips (the first time you put a new suit on it doesn't fit right. You need to get in the suit and then get wet. It kind-of molds to your body). I find the right size and head out to find a bathing cap.

My parents hardly ever discussed finances with us and I have no idea how expensive swimming was, it was just something we always did. But I do remember driving to some scary part of a nearby city for this remote discount store for speedos b/c they were so darn expensive and if you're swimming in a suit (and as you get older, 2 or 3 each day) they wear out quickly, get rips and become see-through and sag at the butt, so you need a few to get you through the year. And the plastic bathing caps- those rip and tear, you can easily go through 1 a month. So now, buying my new speedo (for $50!) and thinking about a bathing cap, I head over to check them out. While they are really cool-looking: faded colors from dark to light, they are also $12. Holy crap, for a head condom? So I decide not to get a cap and grab my suit and go home.

I get home, put the suit on and throw some clothes on and that feeling came back again. Thinking about what I need to pack for my way home. Oh man, how many times growing up did I forget to pack undies for the way home and have to go home commando? We don't have a designated 'swimming' towel so I grabbed a bath towel. I have some Ultra Swim (shampoo to help keep the chlorine out of your hair), a comb, a winter hat (so your hair doesn't freeze).

So I hit the library first, while I'm there, ask for directions to the high school pool, get a little map drawn and head over. I'm very nervous and picture myself wandering around an empty high school trying to find the pool, but it's the very first door! I open the door and that feeling comes over me. The warm, moist air, the smell. The sound/echos. Oh wow. So I walk around the corner and find a really nice pool! It's warm in there, reasonably clean- not spotless and not packed with people. only one other swimmer (and 5 lifeguards). I pay my dues, head into the high school locker room, change, grab my goggles and head out.

Standing at the edge of the pool, toes over the edge, I am really comfortable. I am thrilled to finally come swimming. I dive into the pool, goggles in hand, and OUCH!!! I must have pushed off with my ankle. Damn it. I breastroke to the other end, legs together, throw some goggles on and start swimming. It felt wonderful. I felt great. It felt like two things finding their way together: me and swimming. I know HOW to swim, but my body doesn't really fit into a suit the way it should, my arms were burning, my ears had water in them, gurgling around and a few times I swallowed a bunch of water- all in a days swim... I start going a bit more, try some flip turns, the throbbing in the ankle going away and suddenly, I'm OFF! I am swimming, I feel great, I know I have a pretty stroke and that makes me feel great. I love the feeling of stretching out as far as you can. I never was a big kicker so not using my legs was fine. I felt wonderful.

I can't wait until next week!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Makes up for being a slacker-ass

Ok Ok, I admit it. Since I busted the ankle, I've been a slacker ass. My foot hurt terribly the first few weeks and I didn't do any outdoors work for fear of twisting the ankle any further. I've laid around doing a whole lot of nothing and selfishly enjoyed every single minute of it. But I really don't love doing nothing. And truly, I've done nothing for the past month. It's boring, but well, the busted ankle, threat of strep throat (it is a miracle my big-as-golfball-tonsils didn't catch it) and the cooler weather have all contributed to it. I thought this long weekend was going to result in another slacker-ass weekend. It all started like this...

Wednesday I got out of work early. I called around to a few of the gals for a drink but schedules didn't work out. I got my hair done, went home, changed into pjs and drank wine and pretended it was Friday (watched previously DVR'd tv shows while my husband fell asleep on the couch). Thursday we woke up, got dressed and headed to the in-laws for a yummy thanksgiving dinner. Ham was served which made me a happy little clam. We had appetizers, 'dinner', dessert, then a second dinner consisting of English muffin pizzas and pumpernickle and swiss cheese sandwiches and (of course) second dessert.

Friday- breakfast out with the in-laws and a rainy ride home. After that we laid around, read our books, watched tv, still in pjs (no shower) and then I decided... hey, I think I'll paint the window sills today. So I primered the windowsills.

This is where it gets weird. I woke up on Saturday thinking it was Sunday and realized I hadn't really done a darned thing this weekend. So, after dragging myself out of bed, I made sauce and breakfast at the same time. While hubby was making meatballs I put up the christmas lights outside. Then I painted the windowsills and we made homemade pasta. After the pasta was made, I made the Christmas Eve lasagna (and an extra b/c we had extra everything). We decided the windowsills looked so good we could remove all the doors on the first level, remove the hardware and hinges, primer and paint them, replace the hardware and hinges with some updated ones and rehang them. This included a trip to Home Depot (for anyone who is newly married- is it me, or does this damn trip ALWAYS result in an argument?)

Sunday: made the trip to Home Depot and another miracle! We did not get into a fight. I felt it coming on but then it passed. Oh, thank goodness because we have a lot of work ahead of us. We decided Saturday night that we could paint a coat of primer and paint each night during the week, so the job didn't have to get rushed through this weekend nor wait until next weekend. But, when we got all the stuff at home depot, and I've been a slacker-ass, I primered all those damn doors. TWICE! And shoot, they look so good, even withOUT the paint on them. A billion times better than that crappy dark wood we previously had. I held back on doing the painting today bc i was getting tired, hungry and crabby. While I was painting, hubby was replacing all the hinges on the doorframes. I was feeling a little rushed and didn't want to rush through this job and make it look sloppy. I had some lunches to cook for the week (which I had to cook twice because the first time I didn't cook the chicken all the way through). I made some more protein nuggets (with pumpkin).

Off to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and hopefully that's it. After all I feel like we've accomplished this weekend, it sure makes up for being a slacker-ass for the past month!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Glimpses of the weekend...

  • Beers at Vaughn's with Jenn and Stefania. Stefania is a new friend, we have tons in common and it was truly wonderful to meet her. I hope I run into her again sometime.
  • Fancy dinner in front of the TV with my husband
  • Husband fell asleep before 10. Watch What Not to Wear and Say Yes to the Dress
  • early wake-up call on Saturday. Several attempts to do minor fix-it things in the house. New dryer delivered and installed. laundry.
  • Jenna and Luke arrive, make beer bread, eat Stromboli and beer bread
  • Shop at mall with Jenn. Buy more presents for me than for Christmas. Feel selfishly fulfilled.
  • Hot date with husband. Bosc Wine bar in Avon. YUMMY.
  • To bed by 10pm
  • Wake at 10 o'clock! (what a lazy bum). Husband cooked breakfast and made coffee. I stayed in PJs and read my book. Showered, grocery shopped, donated a frozen turkey, made hamburger sliders and sweet potato fries.
  • Early to bed.
  • FINISHED MY BOOK The Yellow Raft in Blue Water and I'm onto Silver Bells our book club book. This seems to be an easy read. Next up is The Glass Castle. I am looking forward to that one!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I am a lucky lady...




Hey honey, do you want to split the last pumpkin cupcake?








Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happiness

Jenn forwarded me a 'tag' (gosh, I so don't understand some of this new-technology stuff) called Happiness. The rules are:

(1) List six things that make you happy
(2) Pass on to 6 more bloggers
(3) Link back to the person who linked you
(4) Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know.

Strangely, this task felt impossible. I thought about doing this for several days and finally last night and this morning attempted to find 6 things that make me happy. And I take this seriously. Not 6 things that make me proud or content, that's easy. Not six things I'm thankful for, that's easy too, especially all that is going on around us lately. Not six things people expect you to write. But truly, honestly, six things that make me HAPPY. I could, upon the first time thinking of it, only come up with one:

1- puppies. At first I considered it to be a wagging tail, but then needed to specify it was a dog, then thought about how adorable puppies' tails wag and realized it wasn't the tail but the puppy itself that makes me happy. When I see a puppy, no matter what my mood it, my face lights up, I feel a little drunk and generally my hands come together in front of my chest and I run toward them. Yes, puppies make me happy.

So I lay in bed thinking about other things. I even polled the audience. Hubby rattled off things that make him happy, and I truly believe they do- the house, the yard. The yard makes me happy too, because it makes him so unbelievably happy but it can't make the list. BUT, I think I found my number two:

2- doing things to make others happy. Or witnessing other people do things to make others happy. There is such a truly beautiful sense of giving that makes me feel happy. Whether it be gift buying or cooking for people, whatever, it is the act of making others happy that makes me happy. Two birds with one stone kinda thing.

This quickly led me to number three. Which is similar to puppies:

3- old people, preferably old men. There is something so truly adorable about old people. Their wrinkles and slow movements, the way their wrinkly eyes sparkle when they smile and the laughter that can make me feel safe and warm. They have this wisdom about them after years of living that makes them spectacular. I'm not talking about our parents age, I'm talking OLD people. To me our parents are middle-age. I'm talking minimum 70 years old, white haired, cute, little, long ear-lobed old people. And little old men who unabashedly flirty with young women. People who can openly cry at the sight of a little baby. People who can appreciate taking moments out but have the devilish spirit of a 6 year old. It might be weird, but old people make me happy.

This is where I kind of got stuck. I kept trying to think about what things give me the same response that seeing puppies do. That's when it struck me:

4- Friends. Seeing old friends or friends I haven't seen in a while. Maybe this means that I take my friends I see all the time for granted. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing my friends regularly. That makes me feel content. But seeing dear friends who I don't get to see often invokes the same response puppies do: hands together at the chest, big smile interrupted by little giggles followed with holding back tears of joy. Some people value their self worth based on money they make or materials things they own or a title/position they carry. I value my self worth from the richness of my friendships. I take friendships very seriously and cherish them deeply. Seeing friends makes me happy.

Oh god, I can't remember the last two... I had them, laying in bed, just 20 minutes ago... I'll have to take a break but shamefully this task did not come easily to me. Oh, well this wasn't on the list but something that just popped into my head is, I suppose, an addendum to number 2- surprises. I love surprises. Either creating a surprise for others or being surprised myself. The conspiring of a surprise is so fun and sneaky and similar to happiness item #2, but I also LOVE being surprised myself. Little packages in the mail, even unexpected phone calls.

Taking a pause to try to remember the last 2 items. 10:10 AM.

10:48 AM:

Oh, I've remembered one more:

5- laying in bed in-between snoozes with my honey. Since we tend to get up early we don't often have this snuggle time but in-between snoozes I love spooning. That is such special time together and nothing making us jump out of bed (no puppies, babies or gym-going) allows me to snuggle in and feel so happy. Those are the moments when I think about my life and all that in encompassed in it and feel so happy and lucky to have all I have.

Oh yes, gosh my memory is terrible. And number 6

6- Nature's Wonders- I could just say the window of our bedroom but that would be weird. But all the things that nature does to create beauty- surprising rainbows and crystal clear blue water, brilliant flowers and vegetables, amazing sunsets. The surprises that nature brings always brightens my thoughts- even the little yellow leaf that drifted by the window (just now, as I type this) makes me happy. I mentioned our bedroom window because of the beautiful yellow hue that we see when we look out it. It's been a joy to wake up to this week, so brilliantly yellow. And oftentimes, no matter where I live, in the Autumn, there is a very large and incredibly busy spider that makes a web in my window (on the outside). It's amazing to me how delicate and detailed the webs Charlotte (that's what I name her every year) builds. It's a wonder to me how she does it and some days I've spent longer watching her than I do taking a shower.

So, that's 6 things that make me happy. WOW, it was a surprisingly difficult feat, but having accomplished it, perhaps I realize I should focus or seek out the things that make me happy rather on dwelling on the things that bring me down.
I know the rules are to forward on to other people who blog, but really, the only person I know well enough to ask to do this is Jenn, who already did it. So, truly I did this for happiness reason #2- to make her happy. It made me happy too. Thank you Jenn!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hour I First Believed

Last night I went to the book reading and signing of Wally Lamb's new book The Hour I First Believed This was the first author discussion I've ever attended and was pretty excited about going. He was a professor at UCONN when I was there and many of his books are based either at UCONN or in Norwich, where he grew up and where I lived for a short period of time. It's fun to read his books because he references specific locations but twists the words a bit. For example, in I Know This Much Is True he references a place in his book named Cow Barn Hill. If you went to UCONN, you know that Horse Barn Hill is where you'd go to play a serious game of hide-and-go-seek or flashlight tag. It was where everyone went armed with a tray from the cafeteria after the first big snowstorm to sled (or tray) ride. And it was where you could escape for a little clarity. Many of my friends would go 'talk to the cows' or my favorite- feed the horses, when you needed some time alone. So it is always a little more special to me to read Wally Lamb's books knowing I share this with him.

He began by talking about his family and his upbringing. He brought himself up to just after I Know This Much Is True became successful (uh, hello, Oprah bookclub). Then he talked a bit about the struggles he had creating a new story. It's been about 9 years since he's published a new novel. He talked about his conference in New Orleans in 1999 where he stepped inside the church on Jackson square and lit a candle hoping for a new story. It sounded like he was really struggling. Then he talked about some terrible tragedies that plague our nation: Columbine High School massacre and September 11th.

These are two topics that I struggle with personally. During his speaking I caught a lump in my throat when he brought these up. He talks about these because one of the characters in this novel is, fictionally, one of the teachers at Columbine High during the massacre. All Wally Lamb's novels are dark where the main characters struggle with some mental illness/issues. It seems that this main character is the same, struggling with childhood bullying and power issues.

He read a condensed version of chapter 4 last night. It was interesting to hear not only HOW he read, but also the story itself. It was a chapter which was repulsive and funny, where the main character, 8 years old, was in school and being bullied by the janitor, who was flicking his 'little package' and convinced this little boy that he's a 'dirty boy'.

There is no doubt this book will be as deep and strong as the other Wally Lamb novel. Due to the topics, I'm not sure how ready I am to jump into this emotion-laced novel. I might just wait to hear the overall reviews. Or I might just avoid it, something a typical Wally Lamb character would do.

Here's Wally Lamb doing a little speech similar to the one from last night.

Monday, November 10, 2008

weekend update

I finished Like Water for Chocolate and I really really enjoyed it. I hear it's a movie so I might try to see it, though, it was wonderfully magical and I don't know how a movie like this book could be done without looking silly. Next up: A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris (Courtney suggested it to me)

This was a good weekend for us, we visited with some family and celebrated birthdays all around and I cooked a TON of food. I bought some turnips and sweet potatoes on a whim at a farmers market last week. I've never cooked turnips but they looked so great and yummy. So I made a stir fry with turnips, sweet potatoes and shrimp for lunch. yum! I made a Cumin Rubbed Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes and Turnips. I tried for a potato and turnip gratin but that didn't work very well- too watery and not enough cheese. I also made some blueberry muffins and pumpkin cupcakes for the birthday celebration. Dear hubby made a western scramble (ham, onions, peppers) and fruit salad for the birthday celebration.

It's getting to be holiday season, I can tell (not by the tickle in the back of my throat) but by the recent requests for Christmas lists and chatter about Christmas budgets. I was shocked to see candy canes in the grocery store because it doesn't yet feel like Thanksgiving is coming up soon either. To me it feels like August, still. I know that's weird. Maybe September. What happened? When did autumn happen? We had such a mild 'autumn' it's hardly been chilly. But the leaf blowers heard throughout the neighborhood signify the changing of a season. And the lack of neighborhood chatting we do b/c we're not in the yard and it's dark so early. Though, this is a fun time of year. I love this time of year. Not yet stressful, almost the calm before the storm!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

just some updates

Foot: Getting much better. Went to the gym today and yesterday. Did ok but took it easy. Still more bruising showing up (amazing, really).

What we had for dinner last night: Pork Tenderloin with mexican dry rub, homemade refried beans and broccoli.

What I'm reading: on the second to last page of Same kind of Different as Me. Getting ready to start: Like Water for Chocolate. And Bookclub tomorrow. WHOO HOO!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another Shopping Success story

We were offered a free 60 day membership to BJs in the mail and decided to give it a try. It's one of those things we wonder if we'd actually benefit from a membership to one of those warehouse clubs. And for reasons I can't describe, I do NOT want any part of Sam's club as much as I try to avoid Walmart. So BJs gave us a trial and based on our theory of 'buy only what you need for the week' mentality, I wondered how my sweetie would handle this trip. For only two people, going to a place like this equals 'buy toilet paper for the year'. I seriously thought my husband would have a harder time with this trip than I would. So we get our pretend membership card and as we get out of line, sweetie-with-the-cart beelines for the medicine aisle. Since the foot-thing I've eaten a good amount of our advil supply. So we definitely needed advil. We got some. Also use a good amount of lotion, deodorant, razor blades, hairspray and powerbars. We got them. We also got a good amount of day-quil/ni-quil, in case of sudden freak illness (like last year). This toiletry stuff is expensive! so the discounts were really remarkable. The lotion price was amazing! But we probably won't need to buy lotion until this time next year. We have enough trail mix mixins to last us months! 5 lbs or raisins goes a long way when mixing with cranberries, almonds, peanuts and, of course, m&ms. And after all our shopping, and a ridiculous amount of money spent, I don't feel nearly as excited as I did after my Ann Taylor Loft visit... maybe b/c most of the stuff bought is not for me... Yes, there is some for me, but I sit here, stunned and wondering, what happened to the 'buy what we need' guy? The guy who helped me appreciate the 'at the end of the week the fridge and cupboards are empty' guy. The guy who has always impressed me at his impeccable ability to truly buy food only for the week and by Saturday there is NO more food in the house. (I even got to a point a few weeks ago to buy 4 cans of soup in case of a sudden illness or freak storm we wouldn't starve to death). I don't know what happened to him, but it makes me feel a little better about the Ann Taylor Loft visit.

Foot Update: considerable progress with the range of motion and pain free steps/motions. I feel so much better I'm going to attempt an easy visit to the gym/bike. I hate the bike, but I need to do something.

What we ate: tonight we tried some Halibut steaks, pan fried in oil, garlic and shallots and white wine, topped with some leftover home-made pesto, wild rice and broccoli. We were impressed with the steak-i-ness of the frozen halibut (not from BJs) and would definitely try again (perhaps with the 8 tuna steaks for 10.99 from BJs?)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A New Love... Ann Taylor Loft

So, I went to Evergreen Walk last night. I hobbled around looking for a birthday present for my sis-in-law's birthday and hobbled into Ann Taylor Loft. I was in there with my mom a few weeks ago and liked the stuff there but didn't try anything on b/c I am a bad shopper often going in the dressing room 2-3 times with more armfuls of stuff only to come out with 2 things that fit or that I want to buy. So I went in with one armful, tried on some pants, shirts, sweaters etc. The stuff mostly was on sale but when I try things on and am 'iffy' about it I say in my head- if this costs more than 25, I won't buy it. Or I like this for $30 or less. So I pick a few things, surprised at how much I love this new store (first time I ever went into the store was a few weeks ago with mom) and ask the sales lady about the pants I picked (they were called 'Ann') and she gives me a quick lesson on how to shop in the store. While I'm checking out she says 'yeah, we're having this great sale all the things you bought are an extra 40% off and if you open an Ann Taylor loft card you get an extra 20% off'. So I hobble quickly back to my dressing room to reevaluate all the things I didn't get b/c they were a little too expensive (something $34.99 now falls under my 'under $30' pricing with the discount!). OH NO all my clothes are gone! (man, I was JUST in there). So I rush back to the desk and say 'I was just in there and want to get more stuff b/c of the extra 40% off, can you help me find my stuff?' So they direct me to the things I tried on and I grab a few more things and check out. Total savings were OVER $100. Yes! And I got an Ann Taylor Loft card. I feel like Laura, I want to go back this weekend for more stuff (is that bad?). Who am I?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Halloweenie!

Happy Halloweenie! Hubby and I carved our first pumpkin, which we decided we would take turns doing different facial carvings which ended up in some tricked out jack o lantern but who cares, I was just thrilled to get a pumpkin. With the busted foot I couldn't go grocery shopping (it was my turn to cook/shop) but when sweetie came home from the store, he said he had a surprise for me! I wasn't very excitable b/c I was wallowing in my pain and self pity but I have to admit, the pumpkin made me SO happy. So I start carving with the triangle eye, and then the lunatic I live with did the hexagonal other eye. Then he did a stella-doro breakfast treat shaped nose and I did the mouth. We laughed and giggled. We toasted the seeds with salt and pepper and they were delicious. I am a lucky girl.

Foot update: the foot is still sore but improving. I might try driving tomorrow. The swelling and pain is subsiding but my toes look like I dipped them in blue dye and the dark bruises on each side make it look a lot worse than it feels. Pictures are inappropriate for the blog since they are incredibly gross (but they do exist b/c it is slightly unbelievable)

What we had for dinner: Sauteed Turkey Cutlets with Orange Cranberry Pan Sauce, wild rice and carrots. It was DELICIOUS!
From Cooking Light:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 (2-ounce) turkey cutlets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Melt butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat.
While butter melts, sprinkle cutlets with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge cutlets in flour; shake off excess flour.
Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until butter turns golden brown. Add cutlets to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove cutlets from pan; keep warm. Add juice, mustard, and cranberries to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 5 minutes). Serve sauce over cutlets.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

UCONN Football Security Detail


I'm pretty sure I didn't break anything by HOLY goodness does it HURT. The pictures don't really do it justice but it's nasty and swollen. My honey has been great taking care of me, but I'm pretty sure I've taken my max of advil for the day so I'm going to bed.

At the UCONN game today a fight between two idiots erupted in our section. As they got closer (walking down the steps) more and more people were getting involved. It got bigger and uglier and was getting closer to us. There were no security people around and no one seemed to be getting security so I took off down the steps and rolled my ankle- pretty bad. I got to the bottom of the steps, couldn't find security and couldn't walk. I asked someone to help and he pointed out a semi-important security lady (she had a headset and a WHITE coat, not the neon yellow the others wear) coming toward me so I told them about the fight. The woman (prob not going to break up the fight....) ran up the stairs calling for the police. Meanwhile I wobbled up the steps back to my husband who might have been wondering where I disappeared to. Several people saw me fall and asked if I was ok (what do you say? 'Oh, thanks for asking but no, I'm not really sure if I'm ok. we'll find out tomorrow'?). I guess the fight ended with one idiot pushing the other one so he fell down the stairs (head-first). He didn't hit his head, according to eye witnesses, but landed on his body, then just got up and left. We left after that too. I hobbled to a place I could wait so sweetie-pie could go wander the fields of the stadium parking and try to find the car. I think it's just a bad sprain, but what do I know? It hurts, it's swollen and it's turning a lovely hue of purple as I type this. Oh man, what a bummer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jenn Taylor CD Release Party and a Humbling Moment

It's one of the most amazing feelings to see your friends succeed. We all share in the smaller little accomplishments in our every day lives, but when there is an opportunity to share part of someone else's really proud moment, it is quite amazing.

Last night we went to Jennifer Taylor's CD release party at Toads Place in New Haven (www.jennifertaylormusic.com) Jenn is my oldest (longest) friend. We've known each other since middle school. Our friendship has gone for months at at time without any contact but whenever we get back together, it's like old times again. She has always been incredibly talented musically and it has been fun to watch her grow from Thursday night gigs at Tailgators in Derby to her full time job of 4-6 gigs a week throughout New England. I've seen her perform in Manhattan, on the Cape, and throughout Connecticut at various bars and restaurants. She has grown as a woman and as a musician. She has truly found herself and everytime I see her she seems happier. Even through some really difficult times, she's found humor and lightheartedness, so much more often than I ever could.

So last night, as her crew is setting up the stage and her family and friends gathered at Toads Place, I felt this amazing giddiness. I was so incredibly excited for her. This is her 3rd CD but the first big CD release party I've been invited to. I mean, this is TOADS PLACE. That's a big deal! After catching up with her parents (who came up from NJ) and her sisters and brother, the lady who's kids Jenn and I babysat for (and that dang doll that would NOT stop crying until we rested the couch on it) and bunches of Jenn's friends I've met throughout our friendship and gig-going, we stood waiting for Jenn to come on stage. I was giddy. I'm not kidding. I was grinning ear to ear and giggling to myself. I was SO excited.

She comes on stage, cool as a cucumber, of course. The crowd is cheering as she grabs her guitar and the band starts playing and she starts singing. WOW. Her music feels different. It feels fun and serious at the same time. The lyrics (my favorite part of music) are like a story of her recent life. And she has had a killer year. One song is called In this Past Year (I think) which is really a great song. She called it a country song but had a Jenn flair to it. It mentions some things that make me realize it's time for me to get an update from her... like the fist fight (Jennifer, what happened?) and waking up in the guardrail? (oh my god, I didn't know that's how it happened!?!) All her music felt JUST like her personality. It felt fun, upbeat, and lively- even though there is some seriously heavy stuff in the lyrics.

So I stood there, grinning ear to ear, looking around at all the people who love her, listening to Jenn pour her heart out in her music and I felt an incredibly deep and profound sense of pride. And DAMN she sounded so good! I am so proud of my friend.

So, this morning when I opened the CD to play in my car on the way into work, she brought me to dumbfounded tears when I was reading the lyrics (my favorite part) and saw the dedications. Jenn, thank you. You are a true friend and I am humbled to be noted on your CD. I am so thankful call you my friend. I am thankful to share in your successes and I am so happy to see you pull yourself out of the hardest year ever, to find success in your career, your life and to have found true love. You made it. You are on top, baby. And I am so proud.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I got nothin'

Seriously, I have nothing to say. I've been silent for two full weeks and there's nothing to report, no rants or raves, no nothing. So- hiya, I haven't completely abandoned my post (ha ha ha, get it?) but I just have nothing to say. Life is good.

Jenn Taylor's CD release party at Toad's place tonight (Thursday) at 8pm
UCONN Football Saturday
Dinner with friends Sunday

Life is good, but I have nothing to report...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

FINALLY Tom Brady had his surgery!

I don't know why I've been completely obsessed with Tom Brady's broken ACL and his need for surgery. But I have a few guesses:

1- Perhaps it is because I live in New England and for the last 5(?) years of my life Tom Brady has been my boyfriend
2- Perhaps because I've had the surgery myself and want to share something special with my boyfriend
3- Perhaps I know how quick the 'recovery' is but how long it takes to actually trust your new knee (as I would suspect the greatest football player in the league would need to relearn to do)
4- Perhaps it's because since Tommy hurt his knee, there haven't been any pictures, articles, comments or pictures (did I say that?) of him anywhere in the media

But seriously, what took him so long?!?

And the same with his buddy/pal Coach Weis!?! I have a few ideas why Coach Weis hasn't gotten the surgery yet actually. I suspect it either has to do with his already-screwed-up legs from his botched stomach stapling surgery but perhaps it could also be that unless you intend to be active in your regular life, you can live with a busted ACL. Since Coach Weis's weekends probably (I am speculating here) don't consist of pick-up basketball games or a volleyball game at a neighborhood picnic, he can live without the surgery. However, for a quarterback, playing in a game where men the size of my car are trained to clobber my poor sweet beautiful Tom as hard as they possibly can- yes, he definitely needed that surgery.

As you can imagine, I am relieved to hear Tommy had the surgery. I just wish I could be there to comfort him and care for him. As my husband puts it when I mentioned Tom Brady being my boyfriend: He'll just knock you up and leave you for a supermodel. My response was: That's ok, I'm married.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Office Fridge

It's funny, when you think about the office fridge. Most offices have them, and generally they hold the milk for coffee and perhaps some waters. In our office, we have a full sized side-by-side fridge AND a free soda machine. There are (correction: should be) no sodas in the fridge. I wonder exactly what this fridge should hold.

When our division was smaller and filled mostly with men, our fridge held very few items b/c most of the guys went out and bought lunch. There was the occasional takeout container but mostly was filled with, I know this is sexist, the girls' yogurts and salads. As an employee of a small office, I enjoyed the open fridge space greatly. I would often bring my lunch to work on Monday for the whole week. I kept a drawer as 'mine' and was very good at emptying it each Friday.

As our division grew, more and more people began using the fridge. There's the weight-lifting crew who ate 3-4 chicken breasts and raw potatoes (I swear) daily, along with a 4-pack of protein shakes. Then we grew into whole other floor... with no fridge (two floors of people, one fridge). And the fridge got more and more crowded. This is when I began using an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack, kept next to my desk. This was also when those nasty emails starting coming, sent to the whole office stating things like 'the fridge is a privilege and should not be abused' and 'please remember to tag your food with your initials' or 'do not eat other people's lunches' and my favorite 'whoever put the soda in the freezer and forgot it, it exploded. Don't put soda in the freezer'.

Then began the RULES of the kitchen. There were 10 0f them. Some were things like:
*your mother doesn't live here, clean up after yourself
*do not put dirty dishes in the dishwasher if there are clean ones still in there
*don't leave your oatmeal bowls in the sink soaking. Any found in the sink at the end of the day will be thrown away.

I have since moved to another floor with a less filled-to-capacity fridge and am loving it. While we don't often get milk for coffee consistently so it goes bad before we realize we have it BUT we are not fighting for space. What I don't understand hasn't been said, yelled or posted, my personal pet peeve, is

DON'T PUT COOLERS IN THE REFRIGERATOR.

Seriously people, coolers are IN-SU-LAT-ED, which means, it will prevent transfer heat (or cold)! So what this means is, take your big honking cooler out of the freaking refrigerator or take your food OUT of your insulated device and put it in the fridge. If your cooler works, which is should because it's big and taking up more than your allotted space in the fridge, it is not utilizing the cooling effect of the fridge ONLY TAKING UP SPACE!

Currently, on our floor, there is a polite little sign posted saying at 4pm there will be a clean out and everything perishable with no initials on it will be thrown away. I would have done this earlier this week, however I'll be out of the office next week and realized it's not worth my effort, yes, I'm a jerk. But I suspect the following will be thrown out:

Half eaten sheet cake, presumably for someones birthday
Half eaten pie
cottage cheese/fruit container that has been in the fridge for about 2 weeks now
several plastic shopping bags with one or two items in it
a 24 pack of string cheese that has been in there for about 2 months and not opened
4 gallons of milk that expire soon, but no one drinks them until they've gone bad and their cereal breakfast is ruined.

Once that gets cleaned up, we'll be back to our euphoric open-spaced fridge and I'll be happy, but that person who keeps putting their insulated cooler IN the fridge, you are an idiot and don't deserve to use the fridge space.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day of Gardening

Anytime I hear people talk about yardwork I have to wonder what their 'yardwork' actually is. We were blessed to move into a beautiful home with a seriously gorgeous- and huge- garden. Last year we piddled around doing our best (and failing) not to kill any of it (some people say you can't kill hostas, but if you don't water them, they die). This isn't some 'go out and pull up dandelions' kind of garden. Our weeds have thorns, build tunnels through the garden popping up in various places and sucking the life out of any pretty plantlife around it. To pull up these vines (that always seems to hang out with invisible poison ivy- you can't see it, but you catch it) you need to pull at the root and watch as the root crawls along the garden around something else, popping up in two or three different sprouts that attack several plants at once. When I wondered last year why our hydrangeas looked brown and gross in one area, not like the other area where they are gorgeous, big white mopheads, I found my way through all the pretty wildflowers and found these awful vines. Ugh.

So this summer, we decided we would stay on top of the garden by doing various things:

1. setting up an irrigation system (laying soaker hoses).

2. pruning the roses regularly (who knew you were supposed to cut them when they were still alive?!)

3. set aside one day a month to tackle the vine/weeds.


So we set up the irrigation system and alas, the hostas did not die! How amazing. They look so much better than last year. Huh, plants like water...

I pruned the roses fairly regularly. This was an easy job on a day after work that wasn't too warm. We have about 12 rose bushes, 2 are teeny weeny ones that don't do too much but the other 10 are these gorgeous variations of roses that all need deadheading (that means cutting the dead flowers off so new ones will grow). While the roses looked great this year (see picture), many ended up growing rather lopsided and we didn't have that nasty beetle infestation that we had last year -imagine a science fiction movie. Sidenote: in an effort to not use pesticides last year on the roses I researched a non-chemical solution to the beetles. One was to pluck each one off separately, but did I mention the science fiction issue? Another was to put some honey, cornstarch and a banana or something like that in a gallon jug. But the wind blew really hard and knocked that disgusting solution over so it leaked into the soil. And finally I found a solution which was to 'harvest about 1/2 cup beetles. Blend in an old blender with some water until liquefied and spray onto the roses affected'. How incredibly gross! I just avoided that side of the yard until they went away and kissed any idea of a vase full of roses goodbye.

And this year we did stay on top of the weeds and vines. By the way, did you know that mint is a weed? In fact, it's a violent weed. Kind of like those thorny weeds, it builds tunnels in your garden and pops up everywhere. While it smells lovely to mow it, like a gum factory, and even better to make mojitos or some sort of fun summertime drink with a sprig of mint in it, please take my words of caution... do not plant it without the plastic bucket it comes in. Let me rephrase- if you buy mint to plant in your garden and it comes in a plastic container, dig a whole, drop the entire plastic container in the hole and fill the dirt around the plastic thing.

Ok, so back to our day of gardening. We decide we will dig up some plants that we have and don't particularly like to do the Square Foot Gardening. We read this book and by doing this easy system, you can have a lovely amount of vegetables growing in a small area. So we dug up some oregano, about 3 - 4 pounds of it. Smelled like pizza but it's too much to use, even for our Italian neighbors. Maybe I could sell it on the black market, but eh. We dug up a rose bush to move it closer to the other roses and out of the way of our soon-to-be veggie garden. We dug up a huge lavender plant which turned out to be about 4 all smushed together and moved that to other areas of the garden and finally moved this big mammoth of a bush to a place we (hopefully) eliminated all the mint that we let grow wild. WOW. what a ton of work. This is just prep work for the springtime too. Oh my goodness.

So after only 3 hours in the garden, we are filthy, aching backs and our hands ache, but wow, it's so nice to see this big blank area in our yard.

Our gardening to do list for next year:

*split and throw away about half of our black eyed susans (they grow so wide and we have plenty)

*build the veggie garden

*pray to the garden gods that we got all the mint roots and it stops popping up all over our yard.

*edge the garden so we know where the yard stops and the garden begins

*don't kill anything else

*pray the stuff we dug up and moved will grow

I wonder what other people's 'yardwork' is. I love our yard, but when people garden as a hobby, I wonder exactly what that means too? Are people just phrasing it a different way? Rather than being a slave to their garden, the 'enjoy' it? To be honest, I love some of the gardening. But days like this are not enjoyable, they are hard stinking work. I am so happy it was only 3 hours today.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Golden Parachute? Infinitely Wrong

I just read an article about 12 defunct companies who are, in a large part, the cause for our financial instability and the 'golden parachutes' these CEOs are being rewarded for their severance of leading their companies into bankruptcy or being bailed out by the government. For the 12 companies, their CEO's were given, in total, $519M dollars severence. Surprisingly the former CEO of AIG decline the severance package which was worth $22M, perhaps for a better deal? Or b/c he's the only one who has a soul.

The financial sector is in complete and utter turmoil and we are rewarding these screw-ups with a big fat check. They never have to work again, and probably couldn't find a job where anyone would hire them. Imagine the interview process:

Q: Please tell us about a time you were able to resolve a large problem in a way where everyone seemed to benefit
A: Well, when running fill in the blank company we ran into some financial problems but through my ties with the government, despite it being an election year, I was able to raise a whopping $85B. And I was the cause of a donation of $700B from the government for my failed friends too!

Golden parachutes are complete and utter BS and should not be given or awarded. What sort of message is that sending? Hey CEOs, it's ok to screw up but be sure if you do to screw up big, but be sure to set yourself up with a killer severance package regardless of what happens to the company? That is very very wrong.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Weekend in Michigan City (and Notre Dame)


We made our annual pilgrimage to South Bend for a Notre Dame football game. My record is 3 and 1. They lost last year, but this year they won! And it was a really great game to be at.

We arrived Friday at Midway around 9:30 am, central time. The time zones are all screwed up there b/c the county that South Bend is in doesn't believe in daylight savings time (or something like that) so depending on what time of year we go it's either equal to central or eastern time. This year it was equal to eastern time which really makes the flight times complicated. And to further complicate things, our hotel, in Michigan City, was in a different time zone than ND, the same as the airport. So all weekend I had no idea what time it was, thank goodness my sweetie is very good at that.

We head to South Bend for breakfast at Nick's Patio (there was no patio) and a really lazy day walking around campus on one of the most beautiful days of the year. There wasn't a cloud in the sky(and it was pouring cats and dogs in New England- hee hee hee). We saw the Gold Dome, the Basilica (where the players go to mass every Saturday before the game), the Grotto, the bookstore and a whole lot of beautiful sky. We even sat on a bench before the pep rally where this old guy (like in his 80s) was scalping his tickets. He talked to everyone 'who do you think will win the game?' or 'got tickets for the game tomorrow?' One guy bit and asked about the tickets. The old fellow said he only had one, but it was on the 50 yard line about 11 rows up. The guy looked really amazed and thrilled. Then the old guy said it's $100. Sidenote: the ticket process is really competitive and complicated weighing in how much money you donated and some other stuff i have no idea about but once the tickets are gotten it's quite unethical to sell them for more than face value. It's sort of a gentleman's handshake type thing. People who do sell them for more than face value tend to have their names dragged through the mud- people are relentless about this. Ok, so back to the old guy. So the young guy leaps up and says- no way, you don't sell tickets for more than face value and walks away. The old guy sort-of shrugs and says something about some annual fee he has to pay for season tickets and wants to make up the cost, but the guy is gone. About 30 minutes later he comes back and the old fellow gives him the ticket for $65 and then jumps on his bike and rides off. Quite a funny scene.

It's amazing to be at a ND football game. It's nothing like any UCONN game. There are decades of tradition and respect built into every game. My absolute favorite part of the ND tradition is when you walk into this amazing and mammoth stadium, the ticket takers make a strong point to look into your eyes and say 'Welcome to Notre Dame Stadium'. To every person! It's so cool! The band has about 36 hours of straight activities beginning before the pep rally on Friday night, to the drums section playing at midnight in front of the building with the gold dome. On Saturday fans line up on the sidewalk to cheer on the players from their walk from mass/service to the stadium, all dressed in suits. The dorms have bbqs selling burgers, dogs and brauts to raise money for dorm stuff. Green with body paint people running around. The band has these 'guards' that clear the way for them through crowds. It's a bunch of guys who wear kilts and do a sort of march in front of the band. So the band does a march through campus and into the stadium and people line the streets to cheer them on and clap to the ND fight song. You enter the stadium, and are personally welcomed, which is so cool! It's really old-school with no jumbotron and bleachers throughout except for the high roller seats. All students are given tickets to every home game and all sit in different sections depending on their seniority. They never sit through the whole game, have certain participation in the game (during kick offs they do a cheer, at 3rd down on defense everyone takes their keys out and jingles them (for a key play). I don't think there is music that is piped through loudspeakers, only the band and they can fire up just about anyone. Some songs they play have the entire student section doing things along with it. It is so incredibly cool! AND, oh, my second favorite part- they often have an air force flyover during the national anthem. I just love that. It is truly something to go to a ND game. An ultimate experience to be part of something so big. There is so much respect at a ND game- for the players, for the students, for the band (who ever would have guessed?) for the tradition. I think that's the most amazing thing- the respect for tradition.

GO IRISH!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

5 years at work and Christmas Time


Wow, I knew my 5 year anniversary at work would be some sort of celebration, but had no idea it'd be full of balloons and a cake at my desk and a gold watch! (JUST KIDDING). There were no balloons or cake and no celebrations or anything like that but I did get to choose a gift- I picked a carry on luggage piece (which I was going to shop for tomorrow, consequently!) So nice. Thank you Company! With the tough times we are going through I'm surprised for any gift, though my company has always taken really good care of their employees. So nice!



AND, yesterday I bought my first Christmas present. It's for Sus, my sister-in-law. I'm excited because I've grown so tired of looking at lists and buying exactly what's on the list. And this is so fun b/c I think she'll like it and she didn't even ask for it! Whoo hoo! But on that same topic, it's nice to get someone something they actually want or will use. I go back and forth with the gift lists- it's helpful to give to people who may not be around me too often, so they may not know my style or size or what I wish I had, but might not 'ask' for it on a list. But I think what I need to do in order to maintain this no-list stuff is to do more shopping.


SO, here's a call for all those who LOVE shopping, please invite me along any time so I can browse and buy some surprise christmas gifts!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Drunken Chicken and Little Munchkins

So I've decided to blog and not do facebook (Sorry Jenn!). I want to put stuff out there hoping to get some family members to check regularly. Since you don't need to join to see the blog, I'm keeping this!

So Dave and I decided to buy some Organic, Free-Range, Locally Grown chickens (from Old Maid Farm in Glastonbury). Neither of us ever cooked a whole chicken so we were concerned about using an expensive one for our first time. I cooked an Big Y oven roaster chicken a few weeks ago in the oven and I have to admit, I didn't really like it. (surprisingly because I really enjoyed the beer can chicken Cathy made a few weeks ago for us). But mine was really blah, bland and I was terrified of poisoning Dave and I with Salmonilla due to undercooking. But we have these 3 chickens in our freezer and we absolutely are going to eat them (too darn expensive to not eat them). After my first attempt I confessed to Dave that I didn't really like it so he could cook however he wants. He decided to do a beer can chicken. This was a lot of fun to prop the chicken up on the device and we salted and peppered, stuffed with herbs from our garden and added the beer to the device. The Charlie the Chicken and Sam Adams, the beer got nice and friendly.


In the end, the chicken didn't fit on the new grill, so we had to cook in the oven (with the beer in the stand. The chicken cavity was too narrow to push the chicken further. We have lots of funny chicken/beer pictures. But this is my favorite. hee hee hee


We also spent the morning with the munchkins at the park Saturday! What a treat. They are cute as pie and it is really fun to play in the park with them. Especially b/c I fit on the slides so I can slide down after them. Here are some great picts!

Little guy was tired this day. But it was the first time we saw him while he started walking so it was fun to watch him walk and explore:

Always a monkey, it's amazing how tall he is and how good he is at climbing and sliding! So cute:



She was having so much fun giggling and running around. She LOVES the swings! And I love her shoes!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Taking a Poll

Blogging or Facebook- which is better?

I have been thinking about joining facebook. I am not sure what I will do while on it, but the 'con' is I can't access it from work. And I just don't see myself checking in very often at home. But I can't help but wonder if that would increase my contact with far-away friends and learn what they're up to on a more regular basis.

Funny when you talk to someone and it's been a long time since the last time you chatted. I find myself having nothing to say - 'so what's been up?' 'oh, nothing much' But if I talked to people regularly, I'm sure I'd have WAY more stuff to talk about...

How about that the house in our neighborhood caught on fire last night! Ok, well there were no flames coming from windows or anything, but 5 firetrucks, about 30 firefighters, 2 hydrants tapped and the ladder truck was used. The firefighter on the ladder broke open a top floor window and smoke came pouring out. then they put a big red fan (why is all fire fighter stuff red?) and the smoke poured out. No one was hurt, lots of neighbors standing around looking (at 10:30 pm I met a new neighbor!) and lots of sirens, lights and hoses. Very very exciting. But I have to admit, if a friend called from long distance, and they asked 'what's up' that story probably wouldn't be what I mention. weird.

So does anyone read my blog? Would facebook be a better option? I just don't know. But if anyone has an opinion about that, please send a note. I'm curious.

Tally ho!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blow Me Hanna...

said the guy's garbage bag/shirt at the Jimmy Buffett concert yesterday. My first anniversary present was tickets to this concert and it was Dave's first Jimmy concert ever. We were very excited but the days leading up to this concert confirmed everyone's worries. Yes, we would experience Hanna, the hurricane, during the Saturday night concert time.

Now, for all you parrotheads out there who love Jimmy Buffett as much as I do realize the irony of this. Jimmy Buffett, a hurricane, concert, etc. Heck, he even has a song named "Tryin to Reason with the Hurricane Season". I thought to myself, 'this is my Notre Dame football game. If it's raining, we are still going' and Dave never voiced any concern or disgruntlment about the weather and this monumental event. Friday night, Dave gets an email from Stubhub alerting him the concert time has been moved from 8pm to 3pm.

On Saturday morning, at 11:15 Dave and I are out the door. We have a change of clothes, some rain gear and a 6 pack of beer. We didn't plan to tailgate for hours b/c of the worrisome weather. Enduring a concert in the rain is very different from tailgating in the rain. So we arrive around 1. Walk around, armed with our tall-boy Miller Lite (we tailgate in STYLE) and Dave experiences a very subdued Parrothead crowd. Sure, there were RVs that looked like pirate ships and women flashing for jello shots. Shrimp on the BBQ and lobsters boiling in pots heated on a char-grill. It was a honed-down version of a Buffett concert, but still the grass skirts, hawaiian shirts, beads, coconut bras and one, very exposed, very hairy... fairy. He had on some red roushing materials, something thonglike- I saw his butt crack, and looked like a nutcase and a fairy. Lovely.

So as the time gets closer to get to the concert, Dave and I head in, armed with a waterproof blanket, rain jacket and a Landshark Lager flag we picked up on the way in. We find a great spot in the lawn, close to the bottom, front and center. We sit leisurely, sipping more beer waiting for the concert to start. It begins with some guys on stilts dancing to 'Feeling HOT HOT HOT' (which it was. It was hot and humid. Sticky hot and humid- but no rain... yet.)

Jimmy Buffett comes out next, he's in a T shirt, shorts and no shoes. He sings a few songs I never heard (must be newer) then starts to sing an old song. As the skies open and and Hanna lets loose her fury. And what did the parrotheads do? Dance, laugh, sing and embrace the hurricane. Jimmy made a few comments about the weather out in the lawn (much of the seating was covered, but not the lawn). So he sings and sings. And we wet Parrotheads dance and laugh and sing. I look down at our waterproof blanket and there is a slowly growing river of water running over it, so I ball it up and shove to the side. The rain comes down harder, the beer flows better, the music continues. Then the rain stops. The music and dancing do not. MAN, it was fun. Then the rain begins, harder this time. People are slipping and falling into the mud (or sliding down it like a dirty slip N slide), Jimmy Buffett is singing and enjoying himself, and I did too. Man, I had a great time. It was so fun, rain included. It was so perfect, at a Jimmy Buffett concert, to be stuck in a hurricane and the concert still went on. In my opinion, the concert ended rather quickly- he came out for only one encore even though I was yelling for him to sing more, it was a great concert, as always. And I think Dave had fun too! I love that boy!

Friday, August 22, 2008

SAVE THE DATE: October 23rd 2008

Jennifer Taylor's Release Party at Toad's Place in New Haven!

Jenn has been working hard at preparing and releasing her 3rd CD. It's been a few years since her last release and I am very much looking forward to it!

Please save the date, it's a Thursday but seriously, you have to go! It'll be awesome!

Check out her website to find out when and where she's playing next. Go to: www.jennifertaylormusic.com then click Shows.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Running Group

I ran with a running group last night. Cathy does it more regularly (preparing for the half marathon) and I tagged along for an evening run in West Hartford. The loop was created by the owners of Fleet Feet, a kick-butt store in West Hartford Center. It was a pleasant run, only a few times did I want to take a break but didn't. (well, except for when I fell down- that was a brief break, but my feet were happy with time I was off them).

Cathy also recommended a website which take a bit of getting used to, but really neat. It's called www.mapmyrun.com you have to register (it's free) and you can map out runs you want to do or have done. It saves them and tracks the mileage which is cool. But you can also search for runs in your town or area.

Looking forward to the next run but wow, that website makes me excited about running more.

Thanks Cathy, for revving up my passion again!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer Harvest


Yesterday I had the pleasure of picking up Shawn and Jill's Community Supported Agriculture food from Old Maid Farm. It's an organic farm in Glastonbury that has chickens (see posting from few weeks ago) along with flowers, veggies, etc. Included in this pickup were
3.5 lbs tomatoes
2.5 lbs squash
2 snow eggplant
1 bucket arugula
1 bucket some other type lettuce
6 leaves of collard greens
6 leave kale
6 leave some other kale
4 jalapenos
4 green peppers
2 carrots
2 hot yellow peppers
1 bushel purple beans
(and a few other things, but I can't remember)
It is really fun too. The food is remarkable bright colored. The carrots are so bright and orange, the peppers are so dark and heavy! YUM. Their skins are shiny and beautiful and they smell scrumptious! I am in LOVE with this farm. And, Farmer George thinks the chickens might be 'done' this weekend. Very exciting.
Jenn and I talk about doing this next year buta fter this pickup I feel strongly about two things:
1- I definitely want to do it next year
2- we definitely need to split it, that's a lot of food!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Great Summer Weekend

What a great weekend! Friday Dave and I had dinner in Old Wethersfield. Unfortunately it was stormy so we didn't sit outside but we did venture on to find a place called The Bean and Grape which sounds PERFECT and is! Coffee during the day, wine at night. Hello! Have we met?? Anyway, I can't wait to try it out.

Bookclub tonight- at Jenna's house. She's doing really well. Book was called Black and White which was really an interesting read. Quite easy but loaded with emotional heavy stuff. Interesting to see what bookclub thought, but more interesting to see if we actually talk about the book. I hope so.

I'm hoping to run with Cathy on Wednesday night. There's a running group starting in West Hartford Center that runs about 3-4 miles ever wednesday. I hope it works well for me b/c sounds really cool!

This weekend Jenn and Ryan are having a Fish Fry and then I'm off to Scituate for a little R&R sans Dave. Bummer he can't make it but I'm looking forward to being up there.

Ciao!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Kinda nothin...

I don't have that much to update anything. This weekend was lazy. We babysat little Luke was fun- Jenn, Dave and I teamed up to do it. A dirty diaper and some food made little Luke happy as a snuggle bug. We had dinner at Cathy's last night- she made beer can chicken on the grill and it was absolutely delicious. What a lovely summer night.

So it's one week countdown to Dave's birthday which is very fun. We have plans to have dinner at Sauce in Glastonbury (how do I make the link on my blog to that website, that'd be cool). we are very excited about ordering rice balls- apparently they are little pockets of yumminess. Really excited about it.

Oh, and I made yummy lunch for this week. I made sauteed onions, peppers and grilled some steak for salad (with chick peas and tomatoes and feta). It was so delicious. I can't wait to eat again tomorrow. But heading to Jenna's tonight for falafels.

This week: looking forward to dinner with Dave, Jenn and Ryan at Black Eyed Sallys. Hartford is doing that pre-fix meals for $20.08. Last year we went to Carbones which was absolutely excellent. Looking forward to seeing Ryan- it's been a few weeks!

See, nothing really all that exciting. I'm sure next/this upcoming (I always mess that up) weekend will be great. we're also thinking about going to Newport or Block Island for the day too on Saturday. FUN

Oh, bunch of nonsense, but felt pressured to write something. I'm still loving the pictures of the chickens though.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Self Guided Tour, Fresh Pasta and a Rainy Game of UNO

What a great weekend. Saturday Jenn and I took a self-guided farm tour in Glastonbury. I'm really interested in finding some local produce and perhaps meat but want to check out the living conditions of the animals first. Our first stop was at Old Maids Farm in Glastonbury. The honor-system market was a bit disappointing but after some crazy lady started screaming to the farm-workers that they had customers (and Jenn and I lowered our heads in mortification) someone came over and eventually the farmer came over. I asked him about the eggs, the chickens and the produce. He gave me some quick info and pointed us to the chickens. So we headed over to the chickens who were, quite possibly some of the happiest and yummiest looking chickens ever. This is truly free ranging:



So we're looking and taking pictures and telling them that they'll soon be my dinner when the farmer comes around in this HUGE tractor and waves me over and tells me to climb up so I can see the turkeys. The turkeys live in this big giant pen where they eat seeds and bugs and grain (that's grown on the farm, shipped up to a turkey feed manufacturer and processed and then brought back). They run around and chase each other and as the farmer demonstrated, if you gobble at them, they will gobble back.

We then hit some standard G'bury farms: Roses, Dondero, Robbs (where we bought eggs), Belltown. Old Maids is the only certified organic, the rest were just yummy and wonderful. Lots of berry pickers!

Saturday night we had Jenna, Brian and Luke over for a feast (made by Dave)- homemade pasta, meat sauce and some non meat for Jenna. It was delicous and a great visit with the Serigneses. Really wonderful. Thanks Dave!

And Sunday, after the most amazing thunder and lightening storm I have ever experienced at 4:30 in the morning, Dave and I headed to Bev and Chris's place on the lake. It was a really great visit with them, though rainy. We had an intense and full-of-trash-talking game of UNO. Chris beat me out by 5 points from being the winner. And Dave and Bev competed for the highest score. Very fun. We're hoping to get a visit in with them (and the sunshine) sometime this summer.

What a great weekend. Man, this summer has been so incredibly relaxing. I'm just loving it!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Monthaversary (observed)

OOH! YAY. This is so exciting. Our monthaversary plans have to be observed today b/c yesterday Dave and I both had stuff to do. We had plans to sit outside and enjoy the summertime weather, but it's nasty out there today- humid, hurricane-like weather at times, raindrops the size of my head (ok, ok, that's a little bit of an exaggeration) so instead he suggested Barcelona or Max Fish! My, quite a step up from Eli Cannons, our original/outdoors plans. I'm thrilled!

I need to go home and change into something a bit nicer after work but whoo hoo! So very exciting. Ooh yay!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lake, Lake, Lake

What an amazing weekend we had! Wow. We are still truly enjoying the kitchen and celebrated our Houseaversary. But don't let me get ahead of myself

Friday we took off from work. We had a big lovely breakfast (cooked in our fab new kitchen) of left over pork tenderloin, onions and scrambled eggs, coffee (equal parts Starbucks French Roast and O'o Hawaiian Farm Organic Blend), cinnamon chip scones and toast con marmelada. Yum! Then we packed up a little picnic and headed to Crystal Lake in Ellington. This is a really lovely clear lake. There is a small beach the public can use for a small fee. There are trees that make shade on the beach and is just a lovely spot. We spent the day there, then on the way home, stopped to spend a ridiculous amount of money on lobsters for dinner. The guy had a heck of a time getting the the lobbies into the take-home bag but soon we were heading to our house with lobsters in tow. We also grabbed some snackie foods and dessert and enjoyed ourselves a little feast on the back, complete with prosecco. YUM. What a wonderful way to spend our houseaversary (one week late).

Saturday we woke up, did a few things and realized we enjoyed Crystal Lake so much on Friday that we decided to go again. We sat in the shade of the tree this time, to beat the heat, which was about 95 with about 95% humidity. WOW it was HOT this weekend. It was a lovely day spent at the lake again, lots of reading and some plans to make a vegetable garden next spring which is incredibly fun to me!

Sunday Jenn and I met for a giant breakfast and then headed to Bev and Chris's place on Pauchaug Lake. What a lovely lake. We laughed at Izzie's fear of swimming and enjoyed a well cooked lunch (thanks Chris). We took a lovely and relaxing boat trip with Chris's parents and then headed home.

This was exactly the weekend Dave and I hoped for. We specifically wanted to relax this summer and enjoy the area around us. It was amazing. We did very little work and got tons of relaxation in. What a wonderful weekend- ahhhh... summer in New England. LOVE IT!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kitchen... (almost) done

Ok Ok, the kitchen, for the most part, is done! WHEW! The counters are in which was the nearly last step. They look AMAZING. I can't believe it's the same kitchen. I want to secretly wait until Wednesday/bookclub before I post, but I'm too proud of how amazing it looks. This is the before picture, again, in case you need to refer back and forth in wonder of if it's the same room. It is. I assure you. But looks so different. We're so happy. The finishing touches are to get the water working/sink/disposal/dishwasher, do some paint touch-ups and some final pieces of the backsplash and cabinets. Wow.

Ok, here's the after:


Crazy, huh? We are really happy with the outcome and can't wait to get the water flowing and back to normal Colleen-and-Dave way of life. Ooh la la.
Ok, enough of me drooling over these picts. Now COME TO OUR HOUSE SO I CAN COOK YOU DINNER!
:)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Full week back...

Wow, my first full week back at work and it felt so long (5 whole days! How does anyone do it?!). Our cabinets are rescheduled to be installed tomorrow so hopefully our contractor will remember to come and disconnect our current counters/sink. He'll come back on Monday to attach/install the remaining items and then WE'RE DONE (I hope). This has been an amazingly stressful process and I'm thrilled to be done.

Yesterday was our House-aversary which was cute, eating on plastic plates and we cheersed our plastic cups too. Amazing it has been a year. And with the kitchen, wow, it looks so different. (picts soon).

I finished Belong to Me by Marisa De Los Santos last night. It was interesting and a little rough. The preceeding story called Love Walked In was beautifully written, hopeful and bright, just a wonderful story about how love exist in ways you might not have imagined. It was so amazing and in all my readings, I haven't re-read any book except that one. It was just as beautiful the second time. But Belong to Me was harsh- there were some ugly characters, some meanness and perhaps a bit too cold. I didn't love the characters like I did in Love Walked In. While some were the same, in Belong to Me the people were dislikable at times and I didn't like that. I would WILDLY recommend Love Walked In. Not sure I'd recommend Belong to Me, but happy I read it, even though it disappointed me. Now I'm on to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

Meeting up with Diana and Scott and their little baby Isabelle tomorrow night in New Haven. They live in NYC and am so excited to get to spend some time with them. Maybe we'll bring our camera to take picts of little Izzy. Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Baby Bunnies!

So the bunny who wanted to make a nest in our front yard (you know, the one Dave was chasing OUT of our yard with a shovel) must have had babies recently. We saw a grownup bunny and a little tiny baby bunny (maybe 4 inches long) in our neighbors yard this morning. So cute and fuzzy. I'm so happy for the momma bunny and for Dave- but I'm sure this thought crossed his mind: Oh great, one more to contend with!

Kitchen is not done yet. We were supposed to have the counters installed today but there is a delay in the fabrication of the countertops. This is a huge bummer. We're also experiencing a plumbing issue which is scary and gross. We noticed a pretty steady leak in the basement that I'm sure was leaking all night long. And it seems like all our kitchen water/waste that went down the kitchen sink has ended up in our downstairs tub... our contractors working on it. :(

But the little baby bunny makes the day a beautiful one! Cute little bunny. Reminded me of one of my favorite books growing up where a grownup bunny goes to the doctor for a checkup and in the bottom corner of the book a little baby bunny (or was it perhaps a mouse) goes to the doctor too. So cute.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How Starbucks Saved My Life


I just finished this book and really enjoyed it. It's a great summertime read and was just absolutely perfect. The story was cute, sad at times but in the end, lovely. If you love starbucks, you should absolutely read this.
Happy 4th of July! Dave and I celebrated it by spending our day with Jenna and Brian, Max (their doggie) and Luke (their week-old son). He was enjoying the day and so did I. It was a really relaxing and wonderful day spent relaxing with friends. I am so impressed with Brian and Jenna and their knack at making things seem easy and natural. Luke seems like a sweet little baby and it makes me so excited to be around him.
We spent yesterday with my sister-in-law. That was fun too! Emmett, Kaye and Jameson were happy little munchkins playing at the park. Kaye really loves the swing and Dave is an excellent pusher. And Emmett is nearly as tall as I am. Can you believe it? He's not even 4 years old and he's probably as tall as a 5 or 6 year old. WOW, he's so big. Amazing.
Aside from that, Dave and I had a thrilling weekend of HouseHunters, Baseball, fireworks from our living room and getting back to cooking. While we don't have countertops and our sink is having serious drainage issues, we are back in business. It sure smelled stale in our house without the cooking odors. :) Looking forward to the final steps of our kitchen remodel. Counters are scheduled for installatioN (please be on time, please be on time) for Wednesday and the cleaners come Friday. And! It's our house-aversary on Thursday-1 year! Oh wow.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hawaii Recap

Aloha! Wow, our trip was great. We arrived via San Francisco/Liz's wedding on Sunday afternoon. We grabbed or tough-as-nails jeep wrangler and off we were to our truly amazing hotel. It was perfect, just what we needed- on the beach, with a pool, bar, restaurant, big bed, etc. We pit-stopped in Lahina to get some water and a few other things. Monday we laid on the beach to challenge the 'spf' of any and all sunscreen. We lost. The sun is really strong and despite the breeze and even, at times, the sunshiny rain, we got burned. Dave worse than I, mine you could just see where the sunscreen got rubbed off. Dave was cooked. That night we have dinner in Lahaina and saw an amazing sunset (a theme throughout the trip). Tuesday was our surfing lesson day. We both got up and despite our co-lesson-taker getting bit by a fish (i'm not kidding) we all got up and rode some waves. Awesome.

Wednesday we decided to go to place called the O'o Farm. There are a few restaurants where some guy with the last name McDonald is the owner and Exec Chef. And he decided that he wanted to grow his own produce on the island, rather than buy from the mainland. So he started a farm and calls it O'o Farm (his restaurants are Pacific'o and I'o). So we took a tour of the farm, had a scrumptous meal. They were most excited about and offered for us to stick our noses in to take a whiff of their composting capabilities. I was most impressed with the coffee trees and am excited to have bought (and you think starbucks is expensive coffee) a pound of O'o farmed coffee. :) On the way home, we swung by Mt. Haleakala (though not for sunrise). It was a wonderful day!

Thursday, though, is the funniest and craziest. We planned to do the Road to Hana that day, which was described to us a windy narrow road to a little town called Hana. So we wake up early to beat the tourists and leave our room at about 6:30. Pack up the car and a picnic of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Dave begins backing out of our parking spot- our VERY VERY tight parking spot that someone in a pontiac parked way to close to us. And our front bumper must have just grabbed their back bumper and POP POP POP CRUNCH as Dave backs out of our spot we tear off the other car's bumper. That was followed by 'F*CK!' as loud as possible. Oh man. (see below)

So we sort it all out, tell hotel management and get on our way to Hana, though driving very carefully and quite timidly. Those who've done the Road to Hana know that being timid on that road is a bad mix. The road to Hana was amazing. People say it's about the journey, not the destination. But they don't mention that taking your time to (and past) Hana is wonderful but getting home isn't all that leisurely and beautiful. Ok, for those who've never done it. There is a cliff on one side of the road and mountains on the other. The road has hairpin curves all through it and the road is barely wide enough for two cars to be on it. There are places where only one car fits you need to wait for oncoming traffic to pass through. It takes you from the shore to the rainforests, to black sand beaches and waterfalls. It was beautiful. Truly amazing. Scary as hell. At the end are the Seven Sacred Pools (which actually aren't sacred- probably b/c all these unholy people have been swimming in them, and there's more like 20 pools, but it sounds nice and is breathtaking. This is a view of the ocean, looking out from the Seven Pools


Friday we decide to head out for breakfast and on our way out (I backed out of the parking spot) I noticed we had a semi-flat tire. Unbelievable. I got the Engineering crew to help me change the tire and we found a goodyear tire (Lahaina Tire) to help us fix the one with a nail in it. The lovely man did it for us for no charge. So wonderful. So sweet. It was great. So we went to breakfast, headed back to our hotel. We hung by the pools and appreciated the cloud cover we had to make the sun a bit less scary. We did some snorkling at Black Rock (which happened to be right at our hotel). And ate at Pacific'o (Chef McDonald and his farm). the meal was wonderful- I think every single one of the waitstaff and managers came over to introduce themselves to us and asked what we liked most about the trip to the farm (it was in their computer system that we'd done the farm tour). The biologist who gave us the tour of the farm was working at the restaurant that day as a host or something and kept bringing us extra glasses of wine etc ('on the house') We felt like celebrities! Just for taking a tour of a farm! Very cool. And then Saturday, off to Oakland. Oh man, what a trip. It was just amazing. Just truly wonderful. The part that made Hawaii so beautiful were the people. During our car ordeal, people were very helpful, the waitstaff everywhere was so friendly. Our surfing instructor is Dave's idol. He had a pretty sweet life, I admit. It's a wonder why more people don't move to Maui. Really. While floating in the waves one day we brought up the topic of retiring there. We'd have to save a lot lot lot more money but would be pretty amazing!

Ok, so that's our Hawaii recap. Amazing. Wonderful. Stress reducing. Just wonderful. I wish we were still there.

Aloha!