Saturday, February 26, 2011

Palm Trees Make Me Happy

I'm in Orlando.

Well, actually I'm in Kissimmee.

And staring at a palm tree outside the back door.

It's beautiful weather.

I'm wearing shorts.

And I've got a pina colada in my hand.

At 8:30am.

Ok, no I don't. That's a lie.

I have a cup of coffee sitting next to me.

With bailey's.

That's a lie as well.

Anyway, I love palm trees.

I even based much of my college decision on that fact.

The only two schools I looked at were Palm Beach Atlantic University and Azusa Pacific University.

Both had palm trees on campus.

I went with CA.

I think my life would've been completely absolutely different right now had I gone to Palm Beach Atlantic.

Well, maybe not.

I would just have different friends (except for 2).

I love palm trees.

And I miss my dog.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Have You Met?

You know, I don't think I've ever put a picture of Quincy up here before.

Which is really weird.

Because my life pretty much revolves around him.

So, ladies and gents, without further ado,

Here he is...



























Miss--er--Mister America.

The diva himself.

Quincy Adams "Shenanigans" Oyster.

The love of my life.

It's amazing what he puts up with.


This picture was taken this morning.

10 minutes before I realized that his rabies vaccine was not up-to-date.

Which was 10 minutes before I got to the kennel.

Where I tried to argue with the guy about how he doesn't have rabies, he never leaves the couch. So unless a rabid raccoon is living in my couch, he doesn't have rabies.

Also man used reasoning that we don't know that his vaccine was a 3 year. To which I said, well, he's boarded here 4 times before and nothing about the rabies has changed since the first time I brought him here.

That didn't work.

Then he wouldn't let me just walk over to the vet office, get the vaccine and bring him back.

"It must be 4 days"

Then I said, "so I guess I'm taking him to Florida..." in a really pissy way.

Then he looked around, leaned in and whispered about another kennel that is also a vet that will vaccinate and board the same day.

I called them.

They are closed until 2.

Then I remembered the vet/kennel near my Kroger.

And decided to take my chances and drove there.

They took him.

Unfortunately I have to pay for the rabies vaccine (which I wouldn't have had to do at Banfield because Quincy is on a special wellness plan there), but it had to be done. Also, I've decided I kinda like this vet/kennel I took him to...but I have to wait till October to leave Banfield and switch to the regular and much better pet insurance that my brother and Zach have for their dog (at the same cost).

Now I have to work a few hours, go to another office lunch, and try to get the picture of the kennel lady walking Quincy to the back where just as they get to the door, Quincy turned back and gave me the most pitiful, sad look I've ever seen him give. It was worse than when he completely snubbed me in August when I went to visit him while vacationing in TN (dogs weren't allowed in the cabin, so I boarded him 5 minutes away).

My brother can testify to the snub I received in TN too.

He was there. He saw it.

And laughed.

While I fought back tears and thoughts of what a horrible mother I was.

The sad pitiful look I got today was worse.

I'm eating a cinnie scone from Starbucks to cover my guilt.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

An FK's Dream Come True

FK = Fat Kid. It's a state of mind, not necessarily a physical descriptor.

So, what is the FK's Dream Come True?

The Cookie Locator.

But not just any cookie--Girl Scout Cookies.

No longer does it have to be a game of chance.

No longer does one have to be terribly disappointed when Girl Scout cookie season comes and goes and you have nothing to show for it.

I present you, the Girl Scout Cookie Locator (by Little Brownie Bakers).


The home page dreams are made of.

















When you click on the location, it gives you the address and time frames. Now, at my Kroger, tomorrow, there is going to be a duel. Well, at least dueling scout troups selling at the same time. Sad I will miss it. If you think soccer moms are bad...











This has to be one of the best inventions of all time.

I only eat one kind of Girl Scout cookie--the Thin Mints.

And, people have told me, "just go get the grasshoppers from the grocery store, they're the same thing."

NO THEY AREN'T!! Thin Mints are better than grasshoppers. So much better.

And specialer.

In conclusion, please feel free to utilize the cookie locator at will. And as much as you want. **

Click here to go to the Cookie Locator. HERE!!!!







******THIS IS NOT A JOKE******

**Please note, eating too many Girl Scout Cookies will make you an uber-legit FK.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Music Review: Adele "21"



This is Adele's sophomore album. Her first album was "19"--the titles correspond to her age when she recorded them. It finally dropped in the US (she's a British artist) this week.

You may recall a post I did a little while back in which I posted a video of Adele singing "Someone Like You" from her new album. It's a beautiful song. Relisten here.

In "21" Adele "sings of loss and vulnerability in an assertive voice that burns with fury as she gains momentum." (itunes description)

My favorites are 'I'll Be Waiting', 'Someone Like You', 'One and Only', and 'Rolling in the Deep'. But they're all great.

This album is perfect for many things. Turn it on (this is the perfect album to buy on vinyl and play on the record player) and just kick back and relax--be it in the bathtub, on the couch, or on the floor. It's also a great album to listen to on a road trip in the warmer weather with the windows rolled down. An old classic convertible would be preferable, but I'll have to make do with the Blue Pearl which is a Ford Fusion. It's also good to put on the ipod/iphone and listen to it while taking a long wandering walk through the woods or along the riverbank.

You can either order the vinyl, or go buy the entire album on itunes for $9.99. Worth every penny.

Oh MY Oh MY...

2 1/2 days of work before I hop in The Blue Pearl and head down to Disney World for the weekend. (It's only a 6 1/2 hour drive)

The Blue Pearl is my car.

I love Johnny Depp, and by association, Pirates.

But because my car is navy blue, I could not name it the Black Pearl.

So I named it the Blue Pearl.

Anyway, it's off to Disney I go.

To run 13.1 miles through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

Dressed as a Princess.

Wearing a crown.


By the way, there was a slight mishap in my sewing of the pink and gold running skirt.

I cheated and just covered one of my normal running skirts with pink and gold fabric.

Unfortunately I'm not one for prep work.

And thus, did not use any pins, patterns, or thought.

I cut the fabric in the shape of the running skirt as it laid flat on the table.

And then sewed it together and sewed it onto the running skirt.

Not taking into account two very important things:
1. 35% Spandex in the running skirt fabric, and,
2. The elastic band.

I sewed the pink fabric to the elastic band...which made it immovable. I got them on, but the problem lay in the spandex portion of the skirt part. The pink fabric was decidedly not the least bit spandexy. And I could not move my legs enough to do more than granny-walk.

Luckily, I'd bought twice as much fabric as I needed (like I said, I hate prep and make up for the mistakes I know I'll make because I don't do prep work by buying twice as much fabric).

And I fixed the skirt. It works wonderfully. Albeit a tad bit too long, but whatever, it's a Princess (Sleeping Beauty) running costume that I'll only wear for 2 hours (of running).

But I think I'm more excited to see my mom than I am to run.

And not just because seeing my mom doesn't involve any pain.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oh Oh Oh, It's Magic


Pappadeaux

It's Magic...ally Delicious!

(Side Note--I discovered that just because it is red and looks lobsterish, does not mean it is a lobster. I'm a Nor'Easter--I do lobster. I had no idea one could or would eat crawfish.)

The ladies of the Atlanta office (which is the whole office except for one) went to Pappadeaux for lunch.

It's a cajun/New Orleans restaurant chain.

It's delicious.

Magically so.

I LOVE Gumbo and haven't had it in forever because it is a giant pain in the patootie to make.

And I had a cup of gumbo.

Twas spicy.

And delicious.

Magically so.

Half a catfish Po'Boy came with the cup of gumbo.

It was tasty.

But not magically delicious.

I wish I'd gotten a big bowl of the gumbo instead.


Yummy gumbo--okra, shrimp, catfish in a lovely cajun rue.

Even though it's kinda toasty outside.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Military = Better Husband Chances

‎"A single woman serving in the U.S. military is more than 200 percent more likely to get married than single civilian women are."

Well, crap.

Is it too late to go the JAG route?

Probably, huh?

Snap.

I have considered the JAG route before. I always loved that show on CBS, "JAG" -- simple, no fuss title.

That show would make anyone want to be a JAG officer.

I mean, Harman Rabb. Commander Harman Rabb.


Need I say more?

I actually met him once.

When I ran the LA Marathon. He was running too. He had on a fancy camel pack so he could stay hydrated.

I stopped at the water stations and dumped the dixie cup of water over my head.

It was the hottest marathon day on record. I turned purple from lack of sunscreen.

Dumping water on me at every mile probably didn't help keep me unsunburned.

Anyway, I met Rabb (aka David James Elliot) and he's really nice.

And, just as hot in person.

And we touched.

It was magical.

Um, so anyways...

JAG. I considered it.

Then I unconsidered it when I found out you still have to do all the military stuff like bootcamp. Well, first I dropped to Air Force because that seemed like the easiest bootcamp. Then I full-on unconsidered JAG.

However, at 25 and single, and finding out I'll have 200% more chance of marriage if I'm in the military, I've reconsidered it.

Then I remembered about the bootcamp.

And I have unconsidered it yet again.

I'll content myself with this:


You should see him with shorts and a running tank.

It's magical.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Crying During Movies.

I'm guilty.

I haven't always been this way though.

Well...I don't remember how I was in high school.

Freshman year of college I would cry at the drop of a hat in a movie. Probably because I was hungry.

Actually, it's not just any movie. I'll cry in certain movies every time no matter how many times I've seen it.

1. Hope Floats: First time I saw this was definitely not a time in my life I should've seen it and I balled. And my exboyfriend (who still hung around with all the rest of us then) laughed because he was an ignorant tool. And then my friends gave him a beat-down (read: they yelled). Because they knew why I was bawling and he had no clue. He also laughed at me when I was crying because my dog (Lassie) died. I should've dumped him then. No idea why I didn't. And I still cry. Every time. Will never stop. Actually, 'cry' isn't a strong enough word. I bawl. Every time.

2. Steel Magnolias: I made it to the death scene before crying on the 3rd time watching it (which was tonight). But I also laugh..."he wouldn't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt." Classic. But the movie makes me cry. Every time.

3. The Last Song: I really hate to admit this one since it's a Miley Cyrus movie, but I'll chock it up to being a Nicholas Sparks movie. The first time I watched it, I had absolutely no idea that it was actually a sad movie. I thought it was a coming-of-age romance. Halfway through I started crying and I'm pretty sure I never stopped until it was over. I've only watched it once so I don't know if I'll cry again, but I don't doubt I will.

4. The Notebook: Nicholas Sparks must get high off making millions of women cry. Such a good movie...and a major tearjerker. Every time.

5. Old Yeller: You aren't human if you don't cry.

6. Titanic: hahahahahahah JUST KIDDING! I laugh in titanic "I'll never let go"

7. Bambi: EVERY. TIME. ...actually, I fast-forward the part where Momma Bambi gets killed.

8. Love Story: If you haven't, you must watch. And have tissues in your lap. A box.

9. Beaches: So sad. So so sad.

10. Schindler's List: Lots of tears. And also nausea.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yummy Is An Understatement.

So I found a recipe by "The Pioneer Woman" that is AMAZING. She just posted it today and I just got the e-mail as I was shutting down my computer to go home. I hightailed it to the grocery store to get the ingredients.

This recipe would not be mumsies approved.

At all.

It's Spinach & Mushroom Quesadilla.

It involves spinach, mushrooms, monterey jack cheese (or Fontina), and goat cheese.

I'm pretty sure mumsies quit reading at 'spinach'.

Here are the ingredients (makes 2 large quesadillas, 4 lady-servings):

5 oz. baby spinach
a pint of sliced white mushrooms
6 oz. of fresh, french-style goat cheese
8 oz. of monterey jack cheese (or fontina) - grated
3 tablespoons of butter
cooking sherry
tortillas (large, I prefer Mission)
PAM spray

First, put 2 T of butter in a skillet and melt it, then add the mushrooms (remember, mushrooms shrink, so make sure you have enough). Add salt and pepper. Then add some sherry. I just kinda eyeballed the sherry...a couple hefty splashes.


Then put the sauteed mushrooms on a plate and set aside. Add 1 T of butter to the same skillet you used for the mushrooms and add a hefty splash of sherry. Then toss in the baby spinach and some salt and pepper. It will take you 2-3 groups to cook all the spinach (like mushrooms, spinach massively shrinks when cooked).


(Mumsies, if you're still reading, brace yourself for the next picture)

Move the spinach to a plate (I put it on the same plate with the mushrooms):



Now, take 1 tortilla and cover it with grated monterey jack cheese (leaving a centimeter of space at the edge). Then add the spinach, then the mushrooms, then dot with goat cheese before adding a smaller layer of monterey jack on top.
Heat the griddle at about 375. Spray the griddle/pan/george foreman with PAM (be liberal) and put the yummy-goodness topped tortilla on the sprayed part of the griddle.


Let it cook for a couple minutes and then add the 2nd tortilla to the top. Let it continue cooking for a few minutes. Then spray the top tortilla liberally with PAM (you could use butter, but pam is way easier). Now, here's the tricky part if you are using a griddle or a pan: flip the quesadilla. I used a metal pancake-type spatula underneath and used a wooden spatula to hold the top while flipping it (avoid losing the stuffing as much as possible). If you are using a George Foreman, just close the lid. Let it cook for about 3.5 minutes and you'll be good to go.

Slide that sucker onto a plate, cut into 4, and enjoy nirvana.


Seriously, the BEST thing I've ever made in my entire life.


The original recipe created by 'The Pioneer Woman', can be found here:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/02/spinach-and-mushroom-quesadillas-with-fontina-and-goat-cheese/

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GPOYW: Happy Birthday Jules!


On my last night out with everyone (well, mostly everyone) before I moved to GA.

Today is Julianne's 20th Birthday, so Happy Birthday!!

I like having friends younger than me.

It makes me feel younger.

Until I look in a mirror and see the wrinkle on my forehead.

I swear there is one. If I raise my eyebrows, it appears.

But that's not important today.

What's important is Jules' birthday.

Happy Birthday again!

Now come visit me in Georgia with that birthday money. Kthxbye.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Possessed Elevators

So, there are 3 sets of elevators in my office building. I've actually used all 6 (2 elevators in each set) and it's only the elevators in my wing of the building that are possessed.



I'm totally serious. They are. First of all, I don't even have to hit the button for the elevator to open. It opens just as I'm walking to it.

Secondly, it hates the 3rd floor. Which happens to be my floor. It speeds up as it nears the 3rd floor and goes right on past, SLAMMING into the 4th floor. But it won't open on the 4th floor. So I quickly hit the 3 button again and then it slams down to the second floor, doesn't open and then continues slowly down to the 1st floor where I get to rinse and repeat.

I half expect to see these guys when the door opens on the 1st floor:


So then, after seeing those guys, the elevator slams me into the 4th floor again except this time it then goes up to 5. Which is when I start thinking, this is going to be me in 1.1 seconds:

(The one of the left who looks legit frightened, not the two who are kinda laughing and screaming)

But it's not. I don't go plummeting full speed to my death. I hit the 4 button and the 3 button at 5 and it takes me nicely down to 4 at which point I decide to get out of the possessed death trap and take the stairs down to 3.


...I should probably admit that the elevator usually only does this when there is one other person on the elevator and they've gotten off at 2. I inwardly groan when I get on the elevator and see that the other person has pushed 2 because it would be rude to immediately leap out of the elevator at that point but I know I'm going to go on a terror-filled ride. If only I could just learn to push 4 instead of 3 when someone on the elevator pushes 2. Or I could take the stairs...but while I can run and run and run, 2 flights of stairs up to the 3rd floor completely takes the wind out of me. Probably because I forget to breathe when I climb stairs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Now that the obligatory salutation is out of the way...

Valentine's Day is probably my least favorite day of the year. And for the record, it has nothing to do with having or not having a 'Valentine'. Even when I had a 'Valentine' it still stunk. Nothing says Valentine's Day like a crappy cake from Stater Bros...woohoo.

But mainly I don't like it because it's just another commercialized holiday. If you love someone, you shouldn't need to have a day designated to remind you to actually show that person how much you love them--you should be doing it EVERYDAY.

When I'm married, Valentine's Day is not going to be celebrated in my house (other than doing the necessary stuff for the kids).

Oh, and please make sure that my future fiance knows the worst possible day he could propose to me is Valentine's Day. If I was proposed to on Valentine's Day, I may just ask him to try again the next day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Oy Vey

You know it's been a long week when you start having visions of telecom installer men pole dancing.

Wait, what? Yeah...

Received an 83 page contract this morning to review by COB (fancy business tycoon way of saying "close of business"--I am anything but business tycoon so I use the language to make it sound like I am one). And you know, it's Friday. So that made me happy.

I got to page 68 and read (and I'm paraphrasing here): "must ensure each has attended pole climbing training & has demonstrated ability to determine if pole is safe for climbing..."

This is where I lost it and realized it was indeed time for another Diet Dr. Pepper (which I'm in love with. I have an unhealthy relationship with Diet Dr. Pepper...so much so that when I discovered that Chik-fil-a had an option for Diet Dr. Pepper, I cheered. Outwardly. The voice inside the box even laughed at me).

I've seen these telecom installer men...and aside from the one guy who looks like a rugged, hotter version of Mark McGrath, it is NOT pleasant to involuntarily start picturing them pole dancing. I'm aware it was pole climbing, but all I saw in my head was pole dancing. Men in their work clothes, orange vests, and hardhats swingin 'round a stripper pole. At least they were fully clothed. It would have been horrifying if they were not fully clothed. In fact, because they were fully clothed, it was slightly funny and made me giggle.

Unfortunately I did a little giggle-snort just as a coworker walked past my office door.



Telecom Installer Man pole climbing. I mean dancing. Wait, no, climbing ... ack!

Vacuum: 2/10/11 to 2/10/11...A short life.



I JUST got this vacuum because my other vacuum (less than a year old) died a smoky, smelly death (I blame the dog hair). It had great reviews and as I was vacuuming the living room I thought, this is doing an amazing job. It's bagless so you can see what it's pulling up and my dog sheds WAY too much. Then I continue on and hit the dog's room (aka sunroom) but accidentally catch his blanket which ends with me trying to pull the blanket and the vacuum in opposite directions at the same time (I don't know why I didn't think to just turn off the vacuum). After that I noticed the vacuum wasn't as loud as it was before and while it was sucking things up, it wasn't leaving the pretty lines on the carpet that vacuums leave and it was harder to push. So basically, I killed my new vacuum on it's maiden voyage. I am not buying another one though so I'm going to have to open it up and maybe see if the giant rubber band looking thing slipped off it's place or something. If I can't see anything wrong then I'll take it back and exchange it for a new one.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Next New Kitchen Toy...eventually.

So something I've wanted for a loooooooong time is a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I forget this until I read one of Jess' or Kim's recipe posts. I do have a handheld mixer that is pretty sturdy and works well (I made my infamous guitar cake with it, seen below), but it doesn't feel right to use the hand mixer for everything. Problem is, I don't want just any stand mixer. I want a Kitchen Aid KSM150PS Stand Mixer, 5 Qt. Artisan series. And I want it in either Pistachio or Majestic Yellow.




I've heard the saying "beggars can't be choosers"...Well I say they can. At least I can be. I don't want a hand-me-down, I want my own new standmixer. Since I've moved into my apartment in GA, I've slowly been getting rid of the hand-me-downs (everything was, and I'm grateful for them for when they were given to me). I could swap everything out for new, but I also don't want cheap stuff that's just going to break within a year. My first kitchen purchase in GA was my Paula Deen pots. I LOVE THEM. They are stainless steel with copper bottoms and I'm anal about them. They get handwashed and I get mad when the copper gets burnt. I've learned some kitchen tips though for getting the copper looking pretty again. I love my plates too. The main set is squarish and white with old "scratched" edging painted on. In Jersey my kitchen was Tiffany blue and orange, but down here I've grown a bit out of having everything Tiffany blue and my kitchen is bright fruity colors--mainly red and yellow with some tiffany blue and green and orange. It looks better than it sounds. I will admit that the coffeemaker I had to buy to replace the hand-me-down (that was leaking everywhere) is uber-cheap but that's just because I only have it for guests. I make my coffee using the pour-over method. A lot of things have been gifted for birthday and Christmas. My wine glasses came from Jeof & Zach for my birthday. I may live alone but it was still embarrassing to drink wine out of a coffee mug (granted, I could've bought them myself, but I was lazy and cheap). My newest toy is a griddle that my stepdad got me for Christmas. It's the most amazing thing to not have to make pancakes and quesadillas in an omelet-sized pan that I can barely get a spatula in to flip things.

The kitchen aid standmixer will be my next kitchen toy. Probably with birthday money. If not, then it will have to wait until after I get my new iphone in June (or whenever apple releases the new iphone5).

Oh, here's the guitar cake I made for one of my fake sons' 16th Bday:


FYI, I have 2 fake sons--Billy and Richard. They are the teenage sons of my boss (and mentor) from when I worked at the preschool & the cousins of one of my bestests Raven. Richard still calls me Momma Jax--and I'm sure that when I get married he'll come through the receiving line saying 'Congrats momma jax!"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Attacks on the Rise

MSNBC had a story today about how shark attacks are up 25% globally. That's because sharks are evil and deserve to die. All of them...and don't give me that "some kinds are harmless" crap. They all eat people if given the chance.

Upon reading the article (slightly hyperventilating at the pictures), I discovered that there were FIVE shark attacks in the Red Sea in 2010. I was not aware there were sharks in the Red Sea. I always have wanted to go and float on the water. I now cannot ever go floating on the Red Sea because if I do a shark will come up from below and eat me. UPDATE: I have since discovered that the Red Sea and the Dead Sea are not the same. I have always wanted to float on the Dead Sea, not the Red Sea. But I still will not be going in the Red Sea.

I know my fear seems irrational and slightly cray-cray to some. I've actually gotten better. I will go in the water up to a certain depth and can see my feet because the water is crystal clear. And I can handle stuffed sharks and cartoon sharks. Well, actually I still have issues with the sharks from Finding Nemo...but I don't totally freak out anymore. I remember in college my friends made me go see A Shark's Tale (the cartoon movie) and I sat with my knees up to my chin and my eyes were shut for most of it. There was the time my friends thought it'd be hilarious to stick a plastic shark in my toilet once too. Then when I worked for the preschool, little Justin came up to me (not knowing his adult teacher was petrified of sharks) and unzipped his hoodie while yelling "rawrrrr" to show me his mean shark tshirt. They say if you're a teacher, you shouldn't show fear...well I failed...and they all caught on.

I've had the fear for as long as I can remember. The very last time I was ever in the ocean (voluntarily) was in middle school on a youth retreat to Assateaque Island (you know, where all the horses roam free). Kristina (who was afraid of whales) and I were out in the water treading when all of a sudden something grabbed our legs from underneath and we screamed bloody murder. It wasn't a whale or a shark, just her dad but I never went in the ocean again. (You can tell your dad that too lol) Well, I never voluntarily went in the ocean again. Freshman year of college, Brian, Adam, Kyle and Chris chased me full-speed down Huntington beach before catching me and carrying me kicking and screaming into the water (now there really can be a LOT of sharks in the OC, just fyi) and as I was flying through the air I was screaming (bloody murder again) and then I freaked out and flailed as fast as I could to get out of the water. While I trust Brian and Adam with my life (they've definitely earned it, believe me), that trust ends if we are on the beach.

That's all.

Book Review: Roses

So, pretty much as soon as I finished The Historian (which my dog ate the cover off of the next day), I started reading another book that touts itself as being a Gone With the Wind type of story. Gone With the Wind is one of my favorite books and movies (the movie and book have many differences, by the way) and I usually scoff when a book claims to be the next Gone With the Wind. At least this one does not take place during the Civil War or in Georgia. And, well, it's no Gone With the Wind, but it is a good, hard-to-put-down story which is evidenced by the fact that I read the 500+ page book in a weekend.



Roses by Leila Meacham is a "multigenerational family saga, set in East Texas circa 1914–1985, three families of enormous wealth and power come to reside. The Tolivers are cotton tycoons, the Warwicks are lumber barons, and the DuMonts are retail magnates. The mutual respect formed between these elite families set up a social structure that will have long lasting repercussions through the generations for all their progeny. At the heart of "Roses" is Mary Toliver, a heroine we follow for 80 plus years. Stubborn and single-minded, Mary is a terrific and maddening character--epitomizing the strong-willed matriarch necessary for just such a tale. Her male counterpoint is Percy Warwick, a perfect foil and the love of Mary's life. Of course, these two are made for each other--and of course, they can never truly realize happiness in each other's arms. Their grand romance is played through the decades with enormous vigor, and their dance together is filled with small moments of joy but mostly great tragedy." (from Amazon)

It really is similar to Gone With the Wind, and I recommend it, but it's still not Margaret Mitchell's original, one-of-a-kind masterpiece. It is an easy read even with the jumps between generations and stories from different points of view. And I really love the use of red, white, and pink roses and you'll have to read the book to find out what I'm talking about. And while it kind of looks like a romance novel, I swear it's not.

Pear Chutney and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Ok, I don't care if you are turning your nose up at the goat cheese part. It's good, you just have to give it the right chance. And this is the right chance. I LOVE this dish--usually an appetizer unless you are me and then it can also be a meal.


Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Serves: 8 (women)

Ingredients
1 loaf(s) (long, 8 to 9 ounces) French bread (or you can buy plain bagel or bread crisp things)
4 large (about 2 pounds) ripe pears, such as Bosc or Anjou
1/3 cup(s) packed brown sugar
1/3 cup(s) dark raisins, chopped
1/3 cup(s) cider vinegar
2 teaspoon(s) peeled, grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon(s) Chinese five-spice powder
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1 log(s) (10 ounces) mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet, softened
Flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Slice bread diagonally into 32 scant 1/2-inch-thick slices; reserve ends for making bread crumbs another day. Place bread slices on 2 cookie sheets. Toast bread 10 minutes or until crusty and dry, turning slices over once. Transfer bread to wire racks to cool. (or use bagel/bread crisps like I do)
Meanwhile, prepare pear chutney: Peel and core pears; cut into 1/2-inch pieces. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, cook pears, sugar, raisins, vinegar, ginger, five-spice powder, and salt over medium heat 25 to 30 minutes or until all of liquid evaporates and sugar caramelizes, stirring frequently during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Mixture will become very thick and turn dark brown. Cool chutney to room temperature.
Just before serving, assemble bruschetta: Spread 1 rounded teaspoon goat cheese evenly on each toasted bread slice. Top each with 1 scant tablespoon pear chutney and a parsley leaf


It is so good. You must make. Men will eat it but let's face it, it's kind of a recipe best left for girls night, women's retreats or bible studies, and wedding or baby showers.

And, Go.

Monday, February 7, 2011

DMV

Upon realizing that my car has not actually been registered in any state since Feb 1 and realizing that if I were to get pulled over, my car would be impounded, I finally gave in and went to the DMV this morning. First of all, the DMV is only open Monday-Friday from 8-4 which is really annoying because I work 7:45-5 Monday-Friday. I've also heard that the GA DMV (the tax part of it) is a nightmare and worse than the driver's license part of it (which was bad enough), so I got there 15 minutes before they opened and was 4th in line. When I get to the first window, the lady tells me that they don't have a record of my insurance, so I say, "here's my proof of insurance", and then she said that proof of insurance (what it says on the top of my insurance card) doesn't actually count as proof of insurance unless it was effective within the last 30 days. So I had to call my insurance company and tell them to download my insurance info to the GA state system (even though I'm pretty sure the correct term the DMV should be using there is 'upload' not download)...an hour later, it still hadn't been uploaded, so I call again. 30 minutes later it was finally uploaded and then 20 minutes after that I was walking out the door with my license plate and registration.

Thinking ahead, I'd brought my screwdriver--the one that is flat instead of pointy--so I could switch my plate right there. You'd think it would be easy. I've done it many times before, but then as I was turning the screw and it wasn't unscrewing AT ALL, I remembered that the last 2 times I had to change the plates on this car, my stepdad had to do it the first time and my dad had to do it the second time. And, as I was remembering this, the screwdriver slipped and went into my finger. Yes, into. I now have a small hole in my finger. I'm currently a bit paranoid that I may have to go get a Tetanus shot because my tools are really old and I haven't the faintest idea when the last time I had a Tetanus shot was. I guess if I get lockjaw, I'll know I should've gotten a tetanus shot.

So anyway, the NJ license plate is still on the car and my GA license plate is propped up in the back window where it will stay until my father comes to town on Thursday. Or until I get pulled over and I can beg the popo to do it for me.

Friday, February 4, 2011

No Sparkly Vamps Here...

...And Thank Goodness!!

The past couple of weeks I've been reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I'd seen it in bookstores many times but the description on the back of the book never really stood out to me. Well, it finally did one day and so I bought the book. Imagine my shock when I began reading it and came to realize that it was a book about vampires. I groaned since I'm rather sick of all this Twilight crap and the massive amount of vampire-centric movies and tv shows, but I kept reading anyway. I'm glad I did. While it is a novel that involves vampires, it's actually incredibly well-written (yes that was a backhanded slap to the Twilight series). The author spent 10 years researching and writing it. The Historian is many genres in one--historical fiction, historical thriller, mystery/detective, and adventure, and all with a Victorian feel. The book blends the true history & folklore of Vlad the Impaler (aka Vlad III Drakulya) with his fictional equivalent as created by Bram Stoker--Dracula. In fact, the true history of Vlad is so intricately woven into the 'legend' of Dracula that at times I had to remind myself that I was reading a historical fiction novel. For me it was a page-turner. I really loved it. The stories within the novel (there are about 3 basic storylines) span decades and even centuries but the transitions are smooth and rather effortless. All the characters seem to come to life off the pages and this is only aided by the locales to which the characters travel to: Romania, Instanbul, Italy, France, England. It isn't a gory, horror novel at all, though it is a bit creepy from time to time and you may find yourself looking over your shoulder--but that is a testament to how well this book is written. The Historian has a little of everything--thrill, suspense, love (just a tiny bit), mystery, and history. I most definitely recommend it.



Below is a synopsis of The Historian:
In 1972, a 16-year-old American living in Amsterdam finds a mysterious book in her diplomat father's library. The book is ancient, blank except for a sinister woodcut of a dragon and the word "Drakulya," but it's the letters tucked inside, dated 1930 and addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," that really pique her curiosity. Her widowed father, Paul, reluctantly provides pieces of a chilling story; it seems this ominous little book has a way of forcing itself on its owners, with terrifying results. Paul's former adviser at university, Professor Rossi, became obsessed with researching Dracula and was convinced that he remained alive. When Rossi disappeared, Paul continued his quest with the help of another scholar, Helen, who had her own reasons for seeking the truth. As Paul relates these stories to his daughter, she secretly begins her own research. Kostova builds suspense by revealing the threads of her story as the narrator discovers them: what she's told, what she reads in old letters and, of course, what she discovers directly when the legendary threat of Dracula looms. Along with all the fascinating historical information, there's also a mounting casualty count, and the big showdown amps up the drama by pulling at the heartstrings at the same time it revels in the gruesome.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Travel Thursday: Central Coast, CA

So the plans for my birthday weekend are coming together. Well, it's not ON my birthday but it's one of the weekends bookending my birthday week. I've decided to make this Travel Thursday a glimpse into the plans. Location: Central Coast (CA), more specifically San Simeon and San Luis Obispo.

These crazies are joining me:

Ashley, Jess, Kim, and Laura.

We are staying at the hilariously amazing and slightly gaudy, totally epic Madonna Inn:






















These are some pictures of the possible rooms--all rooms have an individual theme. Themes include Jungle Rock Room, The Caveman Suite, The Old Mill Time room, and many many more. Like I said, EPIC.























































Visiting places like:

San Simeon where the insanity that is Hearst Castle resides, as well as a beautiful beach that sometimes is covered in seals, and the Sebastian General Store where the Hearst Ranch Winery tasting room is housed.


San Luis Obispo-- home of Bubblegum Alley (an alley with chewed bubblegum lining the walls--a few years ago it was free to stick your gum but now you have to pay $1--it's one heck of a nasty alley). Also home to a really good frozen yogurt place and a pretty creek. And home to Apple Farm where I am told I will not have to pick apples (thank goodness) and I just have to eat aebleskivers, which is fine by me since they look amazing.

There has also been a suggestion/plea for Solvang which looks to me to be a CA version of Frankenmuth, MI but Danish...and no giant Christmas store.

I can't tell you how excited I am. I haven't seen these crazies/friends since summer of 09...and I love CA more than any other place anywhere. I'm so excited that I'm not even really thinking about the fact that I'm turning 26. Holy crap I'm turning 26...closer to 30 than 20...it's ok though because I'll be having too much fun to think about it, and after all, I did start using anti-wrinkle products when I hit 24.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

British-made music

I've come to the conclusion in the past couple months that I tend to prefer little-known (in the US) British artists...maybe it's because they seem to be more indie and possibly more talented than American music (definitely far and above mainstream American music). I'm a big fan of Adele, Duffy, and the new artist Cher Lloyd, and I've just discovered Jack Savoretti.

Jack Savoretti doing a cover of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire...and I gotta say, I think it's better than the original.

GPOYW: Bronze Ronnie

With each set of grandparents at the Reagan Library...December 2004.


Spring is Coming!

Today is Groundhog Day (a movie I hate, by the way). Anyways, I found out this morning that in Atlanta we don't care about Punxsatawney Phil or Staten Island Chuck. Here we have General Beauregard Lee (a groundhog that has honorary degrees from GSU and UGA). Today the General did not see his shadow which I've finally come to understand (at 25 years old) means Spring comes early. I'm not sure any of it really means anything though because, I mean, if it is a cloudy, overcast morning, there's not going to be a shadow...And I live in Georgia where Spring comes early anyway. This past Sunday it was 70 degrees outside. This sunday it'll be 55. and starting Sunday it won't drop below 50 from there on out (YAY).

I shouldn't complain since the weather has actually been pretty nice this winter--at least compared to the incessant snowstorms in the Northeast--but I very much prefer warm weather. If I go to law school somewhere cold, I may die.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Must go to starbucks more often...

Today I went into the starbucks closest to the office and the barista taking my order turns out to be this cute aussie guy who didn't even flinch when I ordered my tall soy latte with just 1 pump of sugar-free vanilla. In that moment I decided 2 things: 1. I love the way the cute aussie guy says my name, and 2. I must go to this starbucks more often. Not everyday though because that may be a little obvious...and costly.

I adore aussie guys (and their accents). :)