Sunday, September 26, 2010

‘Tis the Season

Yes, it is fall.  My absolute favorite time of year.  I love the weather changing.  I love pulling out all the comfy sweatshirts and pajama pants.  I love being able to have a cup of hot tea in the mornings without breaking out into a sweat. 

And I LOVE baking.  All summer long my oven has sat empty save for the occasional take-n-bake pizza.  My canisters have sat unopened to the point I have clumpy sugar.  My beloved Williams-Sonoma baking pans have been neglected.

Here in Omaha it is way too miserable in the summer to even think about a fresh batch of muffins.  Having grown up in the high desert, I am unused to any humidity let alone those days that feel more like we live in a swamp on the Gulf Coast rather than in the land-locked Midwest.  It takes all I have just to deal with the weather without slaving over a hot oven.  And frankly, who wants to eat anything piping hot when the weather is at its worst.

But now that the weather is beautiful and the leaves are changing, I get the urge to whip up a batch of pumpkin muffins or banana bread.  And there is so much yummy fruit in season, how could I resist homemade peach cobbler or pear crisp.

I tried a new pumpkin cake recipe today that, with a little bit of tweaking, will be absolutely divine as mini cupcakes for my annual Christmas party.

For that is what I love most about fall.  Planning for holiday festivities.  Whether it’s a children’s Halloween party, a family Thanksgiving dinner, or our annual Christmas party, I love to plan a party.  And I have decided that I need some new recipes for the parties I will host or attend this year.

There are always those recipes that just make the holiday.  It just isn’t Christmas without some version of red velvet.  The last couple of years I have made red velvet sandwich cookies.  A little bit time consuming, but much easier than making a three-tiered cake.  And generally I make my Black Forrest Profiteroles (a fancy way to say ham and cheese puffs).

But as I planned the menu for our Christmas party last year, I realized that almost everything I made had cheese.  I have met a couple of people who do not like cheese.  Myself?  I can’t imagine not eating cheese, but those people are out there and I happen to know at least 2 of them. 

So, as I plan for this year’s party I am trying out new recipes.  So not only do I get the joy of party planning, I get to do so much extra baking this year!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Challenge Has Begun

When Bob got home from work on Wednesday night, he said he had a challenge for us.  To lose weight.


The Challenge:  Lose 10% of our body weight by Christmas.

The Reward: $500 each.


$500 to spend on anything we want and the other can’t say a word about it.

Think of the possibilities.  A Burberry or Kate Spade bag?  Frye boots?  A weekend at the spa?  And Bob can’t say a word about it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gettin’ Up On My Soap Box

I’m not usually someone who gets too involved in politics or political discussion.  However, recent events just really get under my skin.

I’m going to start with a disclaimer:  I am not defending the actions of BP and I think they should be held fully accountable for clean up.  Nor did I watch President Obama’s address this evening.

That being said, horrible things happen every day.  Floods, earthquakes, disease epidemics.  They are all horrible things and I wouldn’t wish them to happen to anyone.  But they are a part of life and in order to live on this planet it is something we must deal with.

And in order to maintain the lifestyles we lead today, we must also deal with disasters such as oil spills.

I don’t watch/listen to the talking heads very often.  But lately, the news is so one sided, that I am particularly not listening.  I’ve seen interviews with environmental groups who would have the resources/volunteers to aid in cleanup efforts standing on the beach twiddling their thumbs.  I’ve seen the very people who created this mess sitting in front of Congress rather than developing a strategic plan for stopping the leak.  I’ve seen government agencies make broad, generalized statements about the disaster, when they have no practical experience with something of this magnitude.

And President Obama has made 4 trips down to the gulf.  And what good does that do?  People who should be working to fix the problem then get to take time out of their day to show the President around and stand around for a photo op.

This is not the time for congressional hearings and photo ops.  This is the time when people need to be working around the clock to find a working solution to the problem.  All resources should be focused on fixing the problem.  Not blaming one company for their prior safety violations, or another company for their outdated emergency response plan, or a government agency for not monitoring the companies.  This is not the time for scientists for argue about the actual flow rate of leaking oil.  There will be years and years for that. 

What’s done is done.  This is a horrible tragedy.  But playing the blame game is not going to fix anything.  Now is the time to find a solution and start to deal with the aftermath.  This is not something that one person, or one company, or one agency will be able to solve.  Everyone will have to work together at some point.  Why shouldn’t we start now?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Goodbye Chuck

Yesterday, I received some bad news. I have plantar faciitis. I know, horrible...

Now, I know this isn't the end of the world and I should be thankful for being in good health otherwise. But, this is going to require some changes in my life that I am not happy about.

Plantar faciitis is a condition where the connective tissue on the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed, and painful. I've been dealing with heel pain for about 2 months now. While at the doctor for a cold yesterday, I asked her about my foot. She pushed on one spot and I almost screamed in pain.

She said "Yep, you have plantar faciitis. You need to make sure you don't go barefoot."

What do you mean "don't go barefoot?"

I HATE shoes. I mean really hate them. As in I would go barefoot all the time if it were allowed.

I make concessions and conform to social standards. But just barely. I wear Birkenstocks or flip-flops most of the summer. I wear Chuck Taylors with business attire. I do own real "grown-up" shoes. And some of them are even stylish. But, Stacy and Clinton would throw away most of my shoes.

And now, it looks like I will be throwing them away myself. I can no longer wear flip-flops. My beloved plaid Chuck Taylors? Not a chance.

I will now be spending the weekend searching for some sort of semi-cute shoe that has enough support to ease my aches and pains. And mourning the loss of my Chuck Taylors...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I NEED Some Sun!

Now, I think most of you know that I don't exactly have a tan. My freckles don't even connect when I get too much sun.

But, I need sunny days. In Northern Nevada, where I grew up, there are an average of 252 sunny days per year. The average for Omaha is 214. That is a difference of 38 days. Over an entire month.

Now, that is just average. And I know that right now, the Sierras have been getting a lot of bad weather also in the last month. But this weather in Omaha is driving me crazy.

This is the time of year when the days are supposed to start getting longer. Maybe not noticably, but still. Omaha has been cloudy and foggy for what seems like forever. It has been at least one full week since I have seen sunlight.

I've certainly noticed in myself that my mood has been affected. I have a very short fuse right now. And I have definitely noticed a difference in Madeline's mood.

I think it's time to break out the Jamaica photo album and dream of a tropical vacation that will not happen this year...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

You Talked for Three Hours?!?!

This afternoon, I met my dear friend Shannon at a restaurant to just get some girl talk. We ended up sitting there for over 3 hours.

The last three or four weeks, I've been fighting off a horrible sinus/ear infection. I've had to miss several events in that time because I've not felt well enough to attend. So, I've not really had any girl talk since before Christmas. I couldn't take it anymore so I decided no matter what I would meet Shannon today. We both grabbed a snack and a drink and sat down at a table to chit chat for awhile.

Now, I think out of all of my friends, Shannon and I have the most in common when it comes to subjects such as politics and parenting. When we get together, there's usually none of those silent periods. We like to talk.

We met at 2 pm this afternoon and didn't leave until about 5:15. Three hours.

When I got home, Bob was starting to get the steaks ready to grill. It's finally warm enough in Omaha that the grill will stay on. I don't think we've ever gone this long (about six weeks) without having some sort of food prepared on the grill. But, I digress. He asked me if I had stopped to get a few grocery items that I didn't pick up yesterday and I told him No, I hadn't.

"You were at Panera the whole time? For three hours? What were you doing."

Girl Talk.

This is apparently something guys just don't understand. I don't need to be doing something while I'm with my girlfriends to have a good time. Men seem to need something to stimulate the conversation. A football game on TV, poker cards in their hands. They don't just sit and talk.

Now, I can't tell you what we talked about. Sure, I remember a few things. I know we talked about rice krispie treats and that now I need to go shopping to pick up the stuff to make some. I know we talked about crafting, cooking, our kids, our husbands. But if you wanted to know exactly what occupied all three hours, I would be at a loss. It just doesn't seem like we were there for three hours.

But I can tell you that I feel contented right now. It is so comforting to know that I'm not the only mom in the world who doesn't want to take her kid to a restaurant that would take too long to get the food. It's nice to know that know that I'm not the only person in the world who struggles with weight loss. And it's nice to know that if I ever have a problem, I have someone who will listen to me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Who Throws a Shoe?

Honestly. That really hurt!

OK, if you don't get that reference, you need to watch more movies. And nobody threw any shoes around here. But, I do have a story that involves shoes and a Really?!? moment.

Over Thanksgiving, Bob and I traveled to Denver, dropped Madeline off with my parents, and headed to Vegas for three days. We flew back to Denver in time to have a lovely Thanksgiving dinner and a wonderful Black Friday. Then, we drove back to Omaha on Saturday.

Knowing that we would be going to see the new bridge over Lake Mead while in Vegas, we naturally took our camera. Now, I know you're probably thinking, why wouldn't they take pictures of Vegas.
  1. I grew up in Nevada and my husband lived there for 5 years. Casinos don't really hold that much fascination for us. When in Vegas, I don't consider myself a tourist.
  2. We're engineers. We went to Vegas to see the bridge (and eat at In-n-Out Burger).

So anyway, we got a couple of great pictures of the bridge that is almost complete.

Well, then we start packing to come home. I had a pocket in my suitcase that was reserved for various electronic appurtenances, including our camera. Since we didn't take any pictures of Thanksgiving dinner, the camera stayed in that pocket.

Until...Someone that I'm married to, who will remain nameless, decided to rearrange things.

Well, I didn't give it a second thought until this past weekend when getting ready to take Madeline to see Santa. I realized I hadn't seen the camera since our trip. I asked Bob if he had seen it. Nope. We started looking in places that it might have been put. We tore the house apart to no avail. Luckily, Bob had his work camera in his truck, so we left the house, still pondering the whereabouts of our camera.

After running around all morning, a thought suddenly popped into Bob's head. "I seem to remember putting the camera in a shoe."

What? Who does that? Honestly!

So, I checked the shoes. Sure enough, in my Keen sandals (that I have not been able to wear in Omaha since before Thanksgiving) was our camera.

Luckily, not too many pairs of shoes had been thrown on top of mine yet, so the camera was unharmed. And I'm left wondering how someone rationalizes putting a camera in a shoe.