Friday, February 16, 2018

everyone's a comedian

On Valentine's Day, this photo popped up in my memories app.

It seems healthy eating is something we do in February because tonight our wild and crazy snack was a piece of ancient 12 grain bread (the grain varieties are what's ancient, I just bought the bread this week), toasted, with a few sprays of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.

Or, as Matt calls it, Believe It, It's Not Butter.

And in full disclosure I topped mine with a quarter block of I Can't Believe It's Not Cream Cheese.

Last week I told Matt, who is the car maintenance manager, that I was out of windshield wiper fluid.  I didn't mention it again, but the other day I tried to wash my windshield and plenty of washer fluid came right out.  When Matt got home from work I said, "Don't worry about filling up my wiper fluid. It must have just been frozen last week and has thawed with the warmer weather, because I used it today and it turns out I have plenty!"

And he said, "That's because I filled it."

Tonight, as we made our toast, I narrated the whole play by play experience like an Olympic commentator and by the end I was CRACKING UP.  Matt was laughing too, and just as I was thinking this may be the funniest thing I've ever done, he said "I am mostly just laughing at how hard you make yourself laugh."

It's true.  I am my own biggest fan.  You know that quote "feed me and tell me I'm pretty?"  Change that to "manage my car maintenance and tell me I'm funny" and I call that a HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY.

I'm not the only one around here who likes to land a good joke.  Matt recently requested that when he makes a joke, I rate it on a scale of one to ten.  
I'm a tough critic, but we settle for nothing less than top notch comedy at our house.

And plenty of washer fluid.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

february books

Well it's time for the monthly book linkup with Steph and Jana, and I'm excited to see what everyone has been reading because I need some inspiration.  I haven't read much yet in 2018, but it was freezing cold and rainy on Saturday and I read an entire book.  I picked up The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at the thrift store the other weekend for a quarter, and I'd say I got my money's worth.  The narrator is a fifteen year old boy with autism, and reading the book from his perspective was really interesting. He discovers a murdered dog in his neighborhood, and begins a quest to find out who did it, but ends up uncovering a lot more.

This month I also read Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis.  Rachel is one of my favorite people to follow on Facebook and Instagram, and I've read her fiction series and have her cookbook, so I was excited to read her first non-fiction book.


I'll be honest, I find a lot of books like this to be major eye rollers.  But I really enjoyed this one.  Rachel shares a lot about her family's experience with foster care and adoption, which I found interesting because I work in that field.  She didn't have an easy childhood and graduated high school early so she could move on her own to LA, where she worked her way up in an event planning company until she could start her own, and now she owns a multi-million dollar media company.  I appreciated her advice, and her motivation and determination is contagious.

That's it for me this month.  I just started Laura Bush's book Spoken from the Heart, and I have War Brides on my nightstand to start.  Any great recommendations?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

i'll be making ALL the fig jam in about eight years

For the last few years, Matt has been talking about getting a fig tree to add to the "orchard" portion of our backyard, which consists of a plum tree and a peach tree.  We think.  We haven't actually gotten any fruit from either tree yet.

Anyway, he has been researching online for a while, and finally bit the bullet and placed an order last week.  It cost $50.00, which seemed a little pricey to me but he selected the two gallon tub and predicated that it would already be about four or five feet high, so we could plant it this spring and have figs by fall.

Matt anticipated the delivery all week, and today, it arrived.

Please prepare yourself for the new addition to the orchard.

I laugh every time I look at it.  I'm calling it the fig twig.

On the plus side, we won't have to worry about pruning it for a while.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

budweiser is giving the entire city free beer

Well, I'm sure everyone has been on the edge of your seat waiting for an update on last post's trifecta: the ceiling, the tent, and the water meter.

The ceiling is finished.

Our neighbor Diane dragged the tent fifteen feet back into her yard where it still remains to this day so Matt did not have the opportunity to trash pick it, much to his disappointment and my delight.  Diane must have put something inside the tent to weight it, down because while it's blown and flipped around, it hasn't moved from it's anchored spot.  

I remain unclear as to why one would randomly set up a tent in late January.

As for the water meter, let me just share this word of warning.  If your water meter is hypothetically broken, and even though you call the water company right away, they can't come out for months, let me caution you against uncharacteristically liberal water usage during that time.  Because the repairman might hypothetically come out and tell you that while the meter gauge was broken, it still records usage digitally and it's time to pay the piper.  

Or, pay Aqua Water Utility company, as the case may be.

Ask me how I know.

Those long showers and extra loads of laundry cost a pretty penny, and if we can't make the mortgage payment next month I might have to ask Diane if we can sleep in her tent.

Also, it's a big week around here because the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl, for the first time EVER.  I shared two weeks ago how the police department greased the light poles downtown with Crisco to prevent climbing.  People still managed to climb them, so this week they broke out the good stuff.

Hydraulic fluid.

They even had shirts made.

And then the Eagles won and the city went crazy.  Actually, the majority of the celebrations weren't destructive, but a few bad apples can spoil the bunch, or knock down some light poles, despite the hydraulic fluid.

The victory parade is on Thursday and they are expecting THREE MILLION people downtown.

Matt and I were talking about Justin Timberlake's halftime show, and Matt said, "I don't get it, is Justin Timberlake even relevant anymore?"

I know.  God bless him.  I didn't marry him for his pop culture knowledge. 

However, in full disclosure, I should admit that I thought "dilly, dilly," the Budweiser catchphrase that has gone completely viral, was a term that President Trump invented.

A la "covfefe."

I had no idea it was from Budweiser.

And then the "Philly, Philly" trick play was key in the game, and Nick Foles became the first quarterback in a Super Bowl to throw AND catch a touchdown pass.

(If you play that video you can hear the quarterback and coach talk about calling the play).

I should also admit that I am not an NFL fan and I did not even watch an Eagles game until the division championship two weeks ago so BANDWAGON, PARTY OF ONE.  

But I was able to scrounge up some Eagles green nail polish for this week and read 5492 articles online about the Eagles.  

And for them to have such a season with a coach that just two years ago was called the worst coaching hire in the NFL, to lose the starting quarterback in week 14 and then to make it to the Super Bowl, only to beat the PATRIOTS with our BACKUP QUARTERBACK, it's a story you can't help but love. 

I drove to work yesterday and all of the billboards on the highway said YO PHILLY, WE DID IT, and it made me so happy.

The host of the radio show I listen to on the drive home said he hopes that this is the year every single Philly sports team wins their championship.

I think that's a pretty big jump but go ahead and wish for the moon, Philadelphia sports fans.

Dilly, dilly.

Or Philly, Philly.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

things are getting intents around here

There is currently a man in the laundry room looking at our water meter, two men in the kitchen working on our kitchen ceiling, and a camping tent in the middle of the backyard that does not belong to us.

We are having our water meter looked at because our water bill has been a whopping zero dollars for the last few months.  We, and by we I mean Matt, called the water company as soon as that first bill arrived back in November, but the earliest they could schedule an appointment for us was today so we have been enjoying free water for the better part of three months.  I took my last extra long shower this morning, and did one last load of free laundry.

The men are working on the kitchen ceiling because sometimes you've gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, and know when to run call a professional drywall contractor.

Our ceiling was a mess due to styrofoam faux wood beams spending 60 years adhered to the ceiling with construction adhesive, and while Matt and I can paint, install a floor, install cabinets, and Youtube our way through some plumbing projects, we cannot repair sheet rock on an eleven foot ceiling.

As for the tent in the backyard, I have no explanation.  I woke up and it was there.  I texted a pic to Matt and he said it probably just blew in overnight.  I told him I hope it blows back out because there is no way I am going outside in the frigid temps to wrestle someone else's tent.  He said, "I hope not!  I might keep it."

It is still trash picking if the trash blows into your backyard?

I follow a Facebook group for one of my favorite podcasts, Sorta Awesome.  Someone posted this in the group the other day and I cracked up, but I couldn't think of any examples from my own life.

And then I went into the kitchen to make dinner, which included Italian sausage, and proceeded to take the sausage links out of the fridge, remove the casing, mash it up, and then cook it.

I didn't need the whole package, so I looked up more recipes for sausage, and so many called for ground sausage.  I DID NOT KNOW YOU COULD BUY GROUND SAUSAGE.  Since we've been married, we have meals including Italian sausage on a fairly frequent basis and for four years I've been uncasing sausage links and mashing it up with a potato masher like some kind of culinary amateur.

Now that we have this fancy new kitchen, I feel like I need to step up my cooking game.

Someone who cooks sausage like I did belongs in a tent in the backyard.  

At least the hose water is free out there.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

i need a bigger driveway so i have room to park my bandwagon

For as long as I can remember, my dad has one response when someone mentions the Philadelphia Eagles and it's become a joke in our family.  He says, "Hey, the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl!"  It doesn't matter if they had a big win or lost seven games in a row, my dad always says, "Eagles are going to the Super Bowl!"  

He says it sarcastically because over the last two decades they've had a few decent years but are typically very lousy and extremely overrated, and also, we prefer college football.

Until this year.

After their win against the Falcons, my dad texted us all his famous saying.
And last week the Philadelphia police chief ordered city workers to spend Sunday morning smearing Crisco on metal light poles in the city in advance of the NFC championship.  

Which we won.

By a landslide.

The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl.

I posted a picture of one of the Crisco Cops on Instagram and so many people asked why they needed Crisco on the light poles.  I guess Philadelphia is a unique city in terms of how the fans celebrate, because climbing light poles is a form of celebration.

Speaking of Philadelphia quirks, the Pope came to Philadelphia last year, and his visit was shortly after Hitch Bot, the worldwide hitch hiking robot, met his demise in the city of Brotherly Love.

A local radio station created something called Pope Bot, to show that Philadelphians could be nice, and Pope Bot traveled around the Philadelphia and South Jersey area for several weeks before the arrival of the Pope.      

In honor of the Eagles going to the Super Bowl, the radio station created a Bird Bot.  The Bird Bot has spent this week hitch hiking around the area and will hopefully make it to Minnesota for the big game.  It's been so funny to keep up with on social media.

I hope someone takes a picture of him climbing a light pole before he leaves for Minnesota.

Now, I'm off to paint my nails green.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

spring fever in january

On Tuesday I drove a hundred miles through the mountains in a terrible snowstorm to get to a work conference.  That's a story for another day but it involved me behind the wheel of a giant pickup truck from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and literal white knuckles.

But then yesterday, it was almost SIXTY degrees here.  Obviously there was only one option for the afternoon and that was to go for a long walk outside. 

Hurry up, spring!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

it's been a rough weekend for my self-esteem

Well, I am here to report back on a recipe that I mentioned I was planning to make for dinner on Thursday night.  It was a paleo recipe that boasted that the sauce tasted JUST like Alfredo sauce, but was significantly healthier since it was made with just chicken broth, coconut milk, and cashews.

Do you know what the sauce tasted like?

Chicken broth, coconut milk, and cashews.

Basically, it tasted like sadness.

I HATE to waste food, but I had to throw it away.  It was inedible.  The sauce was supposed to go over chicken and broccoli, so I just dumped a bunch of soy sauce in the pan and called it good.

The following afternoon I had a belated holiday lunch with several coworkers.  There was an emergency at work so I was a little bit late to the restaurant, and when I got there the only spot left was at the end of the table.  The group had already ordered some appetizers and I saw a platter of nachos, and a tray with some crackers and bacon on it that looked delicious.  Since the table was long and crowded I passed my plate down and just asked that they put a few things on it and send it back.

When my plate returned to me, I saw that I'd made a terrible error in judgment.  What looked like a piece of bacon from my seat at the end of table was actually a piece of RAW TUNA.

I am not a person who hides her facial expressions well (this is something I am trying to work on in 2018) and someone commented that I looked surprised.  I told them I expected bacon and asked that they go about their business and not stare at me while I tasted the tuna, because I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to chew it, and just had to swallow it down with a big gulp of water.

I was right.

When I got home on Friday night we got an alert that my credit card had been hacked.  Matt called the bank (should out to USAA and their amazing fraud detection) and we found out that while three charges had been declined, two charges went through, at a Citgo gas station and Chuck E. Cheese in Georgia.  I hope they got some good microwave pizza and a plate of nachos with that sweet orange cheese.

Yesterday Matt and I spent ALL DAY LONG working in the kitchen.

We finished hanging up all of the cabinets, and by 6:00 we were exhausted and could not wait to get our of there.  So, we went to Senor Salsa for dinner.  Nothing says cheers to success like a plate of Enchiladas Supreme and some cheese dip cooked by someone else.

Seriously.  The menu actually said cheese dip.  Senor Salsa is nothing if not authentic.  While we were there we tried to calculate how many hours we've spent on the kitchen so far.  We had a calculator out before the appetizer arrived so basically we know how to party on a Saturday night.

Matt was in charge of dinner tonight.  He made the most amazing pork chops I think I've ever had, and it's not easy to impress me with a pork chop.  While he cooked I downloaded the app I've seen everyone on social media lately, called Google Arts and Culture.  There is a feature that allows you to see if there is a painting in an art museum somewhere that looks like you.

Here is where I caution you not to utilize this particular feature if you're in an unstable place emotionally.  Because I took a photo of myself, and here was my first result.

It's called Portrait of A. MAN.

I happen to have a dermatologist appointment on Tuesday, so I've spent the remainder of this evening researching what lotions and potions I can ask her to prescribe to me to restore a youthful, feminine beauty.

I'm looking at you, Retinol.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

my creativity is stuck in 2017

I wrote 90% of a post over the weekend and when I opened it tonight to finish it up, I could not believe what I'd written.  Let's just say the high point was that I wrote about how I noticed that I usually walk around my kitchen island in a counterclockwise direction.

Is there any paint you could watch dry? Because that would be more interesting than my post was.  Instead of subjecting anyone to that level of boredom, I am borrowing this idea from Michelle.


reading: I just started Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.

watching: Hart of Dixie.  We are approximately seven years late to the Netflix game and just signed up for it last week.  I am obsessed with Hart of Dixie.  If Bluebell was a real town I would pack up and move there tomorrow.

laughing at: Memes.  

listening to: Old Dominion.  I can't get enough.  My mom, sister and I are going to a concert this summer to see Old Dominion, Kenny Chesney, and Thomas Rhett, and I can't wait. 

annoyed by: We have three chickens living in a poultry palace in our backyard, eating an organic diet, and even kept warm by some contraption Matt got for them called a Cozy Coop.  I understand that is ridiculous.   Anyway, today I had to go to the grocery store and BUY EGGS.  We have some high maintenance freeloaders on our hands. 

relieved that:  When I had time off over the holidays, I did a lot of cleaning and organizing and decluttering.  It blows my mind that just two years ago we lived in an 800 square foot apartment, and now we have a house almost three times that size, and it's full.  Where does everything come from?  I have a whole load of things for Green Drop to pick up next week.  I still have to go through the things in our upstairs spare room, which is a total disgrace.  I am off on Monday and was going to do it then, but then my mom invited me to go with her to see my niece and nephew, so obviously decluttering will have to happen another day.

loving:  Our kitchen is a long way from finished, but it's usable again and I'm so glad.  We did pretty well making do with the toaster oven and crock pot and meals with minimal ingredients, but I truly missed cooking real dinners and not having to go upstairs to use the microwave or dig through 14 boxes on the dining room floor to find the pasta sauce.  I smile every time I walk in there and it's not even done yet.   

cooking: Tonight I made this Greek sheet pan chicken and it was so easy and we both loved it.  I also made tzatziki sauce to go with it.  On Thursday I'm making this paleo chicken alfredo recipe and am anxious to see how it goes.  We are not eating paleo, but I will probably have it with spaghetti squash and make some rice for Matt. 

exhausted by: I stayed up way too late last night watching the college football National Championship.  I was rooting for Georgia and was bummed when they lost in overtime.  Even more bummed that Alamaba won.  Go home, Alabama.  Also, I personally don't think it should have been two SEC teams.  I could say more but I'll save it for when the NCAA calls me for my completely unprofessional opinion.

confused by: Stranger Things.  We started the other night and I don't think it's my cup of tea.  I went back to Hart of Dixie after two episodes but Matt is loving it.  This was my sister's response when she heard we were watching it.

praying for: An early spring!

Monday, January 1, 2018

one day into the new year and i've already cried about bread

At the beginning of 2017 I decided one of my goals for the year was to bake some bread from scratch.  For 364 days that didn't happen, and then last night at 11:45 I threw together some dough, left it on the temporary plywood counter to rise, and kissed 2017 goodbye.

This morning Matt and I talked about our goals and plans for this year, and then his brother Dave came over to help him do some work in the kitchen while I sat downstairs and enjoyed the Rose Parade and bowl games like God and the NCAA intended.

When I would hear things from upstairs in the kitchen like "I don't think that burning smell is anything to worry about," and "I'm almost positive this beam isn't weight bearing" I just turned up the volume on the TV because ignorance is bliss.

I did pop upstairs to make myself some Ramen noodles for lunch because I LOVE Ramen noodles and I'm not even one bit sorry about it.  My sophisticated culinary palate is unmatched.  When the water started boiling I dumped the noodles in and went about my business, not realizing that I also dumped in the seasoning packet which was boiling and melting away.

I tried to cover up my mistake but Matt and Dave saw it before I could dispose of the evidence.  Matt shook his head while Dave thought it was the most hysterical thing he's ever seen.

Later in the afternoon I popped back into the kitchen to put the bread in the oven, but first the directions said to pull it out of the bowl and onto a well floured surface.  I dumped probably at least a cup of flour on the counter and proceeded to spread it into a nice thick layer, when Matt glanced over and exclaimed "WHOA what are you doing?"

It turns out my flour application was a little liberal, and when Dave turned around to see the state of the counter he laughed so hard I didn't think he was going to be able to catch his breath.  I promised him that I am a halfway decent cook, and to please not judge my cooking abilities on my Ramen noodle mishap and flour overestimation alone.

An hour later I pulled the bread out of the oven and despite all of their earlier laughter, the crowd legitimately went wild.  I am not kidding, the boys LOVED it.  We spread some butter on it and all stood at the counter devouring our slices.

Matt's brother left a while later and Matt was brave enough to man the grill in the 6 degree temps while I stayed inside and got the side dishes ready, except I couldn't find the bread.  When Matt came back in and I asked him where it was, he said, "Dave loved it so much that I sent the rest home with him."

And that's when some emotional, carbohydrate loving reflex kicked in and I STARTED TO CRY.

Matt immediately said "I'm only kidding! I would never give it away! It's in the oven to stay warm!" but it was too late. 

He'd seen me cry actual tears over a loaf of bread.

It was a low point.

But I bet there will be more tears tomorrow at lunchtime when it's back to reality and I'm eating a salad instead of warm bread and butter.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

my microwave might not work but my anemometer sure does

Well, another Christmas has come and gone and I hope yours was merry.  We've had various Christmas celebrations over the last week or so, and concluded with Christmas dinner at my mom and dad's house.  It was just the five of us. The girls wore ugly sweaters and fuzzy socks, my mom set a beautiful table, my dad grilled filet, and it ranks high up there as my favorite Christmas dinner.

I know everyone says don't bring up politics with your family at the holidays, but they should add farm animals to that list because the most heated discussion we had was when my dad and Matt got into a debate about whether Perdue chicken breasts come from hens or roosters.

I know.  It always comes back to chickens with us.

I took this whole week off of work, and I planned to dedicate today to cleaning and organizing the entire house. I was pretty sick two weeks ago, this past week we were busy with holiday stuff, and let's just say things had gone off the rails big time.  My mom had to stop by Saturday afternoon  while we were out to pick up a Christmas gift, and I felt ashamed at the state of our house.  My sister was with her and she texted me "Mom says your house doesn't look bad at all" and while I appreciated the kindness, I can spot a lie when I see one.

It looked like a frat house.

This morning, I slept in and then went downstairs to get a cup of coffee to fuel up for my marathon day of cleaning.  Matt made the coffee before he left at 6:30, so it was a little chilly, and I stuck it in the microwave for fifteen seconds.

Except when I hit start, nothing happened.

I almost lost my mind.  We bought the microwave last year, but just installed it in mid-September.  I called the Samsung help line and the (rude) woman on the other end told me that the error code indicated that the control panel was dead.

It wasn't the fanciest microwave on the market, but it also wasn't cheapest and it matched our stove perfectly and we factored in the measurements when we bought out BRAND NEW custom cabinets and I was just so mad.  

And then I remembered my dad's Christmas dinner toast, when he said that we are all very blessed, with a great family and comfortable lives and nice houses, but that we should never lose sight of the things that really matter in life.

You know what doesn't really matter in life?

My microwave.

So I sucked it up and cleaned the house like a madwoman and I felt so. much. better.

And then my phone beeped with texts and I had to laugh when I looked at it.  As a little backstory, Matt LOVES the weather and the statistics and data that comes along with it.  It is a borderline hobby for him.  He is constantly tracking weather patterns and and watching the radar, major storms are his jam, and he has a nightly ritual of reading the ten day forecast to me so I know how to dress and drive for the upcoming week. 

For Christmas I bought him a fancy weather station, and it comes with an anemometer (I totally googled that) to measure the wind speed, which Matt mounted atop the chicken coop (I'm so sorry neighbors) and a feature that allows you to remotely monitor the weather at your house on an app.

It turns out, it was a slow day at work for him and he was keeping a close eye on the wind speed here at the homestead.

For the record, I did not get the eggs.

Although I will probably have them for breakfast tomorrow, since I can cook them on the stove and not in the microwave like my usual oatmeal.

At least the coffee maker works.