chattanooga, part 1 - where there is actual fun involved

I'm sitting here in the business center of the hotel checking my email and listening to two camera guys talk about lights... its like the nerd mating dance... I'm hiding my face behind the computer because I can't help but laugh. So dorky, so cute*.

Anyway, on day 2 here in Tennessee and things are going fine. Not that I expect things to go badly yet... there really isn't anything going on yet. But the flight was good, easy, on-time... and last night I had dinner with LehighMary. Brenna is sick with a stomach virus, so she couldn't join us, and unfortunately that means no zoo trip today. Oh well, I'm just hoping the little one feels better. Mary looks great... so cute with her adorable belly, and I swear everytime I see her now she looks more and more like ChattaMegan. I was disappointed when I got back to my room last night and realized I had forgotten to take any pictures at dinner... but we had a nice time.

Today has been lazy so far, although I will actually have to do things soon. I slept in, ate a relaxing breakfast with our awesome AV guy, and here I am. Next on the agenda is meeting with our contact here at the Choo Choo, then meeting our onsite conference guy and setting up the registration table for early arrivals. Hopefully after that I can cut out for a little with our AV guy and do some touristy stuff. Tomorrow the real fun begins!

Well, time to get this show on the road... but that was the short update. Ciao!

* Camera guy 1 just walked over to me and said, "I bet people don't notice you here and you get to listen to lots of interesting things." I had to laugh...


I have lived through 111/158 things... I will live through this too!

GAH!! If its not one thing, its a million others. Was finally feeling better about the weekend after reviewing webcast details, etc with coworker yesterday and talking AV with the awesome guy who does it for 99% of our events... then this morning: our keynote speaker cancels! And Brenna is sick (so I may not get to see LehighBaby & fam)! That's in addition to the two people cancelling who were supposed to go with me. And Jan not being around (bless her heart, I don't hold that against her!!). Ugh, ugh, ugh.
Seriously, this is getting ridiculous.

I just can't wait for this damn weekend to be over!

This will probably be the last chance I get to write too, until I get back. Tomorrow my flight leaves at 10ish... and while I might check my email once or twice during the four days I'm there, I remember their "business center" being about the size of a closet. Plus, who wants to spend their Chattanooga time indoors? Especially when it's going to be in the 50s and 60s while I'm there. Plus, two of those days I'll be in conference all day.

Anyway, I have to go... still a ton ton ton to do. Wish me luck, I mean that... I really need it this time.

To leave you on a nicer note... a meme!
Half of these things don't mean anything... and its not like my number is saying anything about the way I've lived (I mean, "played ping pong" seriously?). BUT its a fun little meme, so why not.

[1] I have eaten more than 5 meals a day.
[ ] I have been on some sort of varsity team.
[ ] I have run more than 2 miles without stopping.
[ ] I have been to Canada.

[2] I have been to Europe.
[3] I have watched cartoons for hours.
[4] I have tripped UP the stairs.
[5] I have fallen down an entire flight of stairs.
[6] I have been snowboarding/skiing.

[7] I have played ping pong.
[8] I swam in the ocean.
[ ] I have been on a whale watch.
[9]I have seen fireworks.

[10] I have seen a shooting star.
[11] I have seen a meteor shower.
[ ] I have almost drowned.

[12] I have listened to one cd over & over & over again.
[13] I have had stitches.
[14] I have been on the honor roll.
[ ] I have had frostbite.
[ ] I have licked a frozen pole and got stuck there
[15] I have stayed up til 2 doing homework/projects.
[16] I currently have a job.
[17] I have been ice skating.
[18] I have been rollerblading.
[19] I have fallen flat on my face.

[20] I have tripped over my own feet.
[ ] I have been in a fist fight.
[21] I have played videogames for more than 3 hours straight.
[22] I have watched the power rangers.

[ ] I do attend Church regularly.
[23] I have played truth or dare.
[24] I have already had my 16th birthday.
[25] I have already had my 21st birthday.
[ ] I've lost weight since one year ago.

[26] I've called someone stupid. And meant it.
[27] I've been in a verbal argument.
[28] I've cried in school.

[ ] I've played basketball on a team.
[ ] I've played baseball on a team.
[ ] I've played football on a team.
[ ] i've played soccer on a team.
[ ] I've done cheerleading on a team.
[29] I've played field hockey on a team.
[ ] I've played volleyball on a team.
[ ] I've played tennis on a team.
[ ] I've been on a track team.

[30] I've been swimming more than 20 times in my life.
[ ] I've bungee jumped.

[31] I've climbed a rock wall.
[32] I've lost more than $20.
[33] I've called myself an idiot.
[34] I've called someone else an idiot.
[35] I've cried myself to sleep.
[36] I've had (or have) pets.

[ ] I've owned a spice girls cd.
[ ] I've owned a britney spears cd.
[ ] I've owned an N*Sync cd.
[ ] I've owned a backstreet boys cd.

[37] I've mooned someone.
[38] I've sworn at someone in authority.
[39] I've been in the newspaper.
[40] I've been on TV.

[ ] I've been to Hawaii.
[41] I've eaten sushi.
[ ] I've been on the other side of a waterfall.
[42] I've watched all of the Lord of the Rings movies.
[43] I've watched all of the Harry Potter movies.

[44] I've watched all of the Rocky movies.
[45] I've watched the 3 stooges.
[46] I've watched "Newly weds" Nick & Jessica.
[47] I've watched Looney Tunes.
[ ] I've been stuffed into a locker.

[48] I've been called a geek.
[49] I've studied hard for a test and got a bad grade.
[50] I've not studied at all for a test and aced it.

[ ] I've hugged my mom within the past 24 hrs.
[ ] I've hugged my dad within the past 24 hours.
[51] I've met a celebrity/music artist.
[52] I've written poetry.
[ ] I've been arrested.

[53] I've been attracted to someone much older than me.
[54] I've been tickled till I've cried.
[55] I've tickled someone else until they cried.
[56] I've had/have siblings.
[57] I've been to a rock concert.

[58]I've listened to classical music and enjoyed it.
[59] I've been in a play.
[60] I've been picked last in gym class.
[61] I've been picked first in gym class.
[62] I've been picked in that middle-range in gym class.

[63] I've cried in front of my friends.
[64] I've read a book longer than 1,000 pages.
[ ] I've played Halo 2.
[65] I've freaked out over a sports game.
[ ] I've been to Alaska.

[66] I've been to China.
[ ] I've been to Spain.
[ ] I've been to Japan.
[67] I've had a fight with someone on AIM.
[68] I've had a fight with someone face-to-face.
[69] I've had serious converstations on any IM.

[70] I've forgiven someone who has done something wrong to me.
[71] I've been forgiven.
[72] I've screamed at a scary movie.
[73] I've cried at a chick flick.

[74] I've watched a lot of action movies.
[75] I've screamed at the top of my lungs.
[ ] I've been to a rap concert.

[ ] I've been to a hip hop concert.
[76] I've lived in more than 2 houses.
[77] I've driven on the highway
[78] I've driven more than 40 miles in a day
[79] I've been in a car accident

[80] I've done drugs.
[81] I've been homesick.
[82] I've thrown up
[83] I've puked all over someone.
[84] I've been horseback riding

[85] I've filled out more than 10 of these stupid surveys.
[86] I've spoken my mind in public.
[87] I've proved someone wrong
[88] I've been proved wrong by someone.
[ ] I've broken a leg.

[ ] I've broken an arm.
[89] I've fallen off a swing.
[90] I've swung on a swing for more than 30 mins straight.
[91] I've watched Winnie the Pooh movies.
[ ] I've forgotten my backpack when I've gone to school.

[ ] I've lost my backpack.
[ ] I've come close to dying.
[ ] I've seen someone die.
[92] I've known someone who has died.
[93] i've wanted to be an actor/actress at some point.

[ ] I've done modeling.
[94] I've forgotten to brush my teeth some mornings.
[95] I've taken something/someone for granted.
[96] I've realized how good my life is.
[97] I've counted my blessings.

[98] I've made fun of a classmate.
[99] I've been on a date.
[100] I've been asked out by someone and I said no.
[101] I've asked someone on a date and been turned down.

[102] i've slapped someone in the face.
[ ] I've been skateboarding.
[103] i've been backstabbed by someone I thought was a friend.
[104] i've lied to someone to their face.
[105] i've told a little white lie.

[106] i've taken a day off from school just so I don't go insane.
[107] I've fainted
[ ]I've had an argument with someone about whether dance is a sport or not.
[108] I've pushed someone into a pool.
[109] I've been pushed into a pool
[110] I have read a lot of books.
[111] I have been so embarrassed I wanted to disappear.

Now count how many things you checked and repost this, subject being, "I have lived through (number)/158 things"




Ahh, insanely busy day! Not only last minute Chattanooga stuff (which just keeps coming!), but also a big mailing. So, away I go... but not without sharing a picture, as promised:

Chris and I with Madison Square Garden in the backgroun. A little blurry, but a cute picture nonetheless!

Okay, off I go... wish me luck!


aggrivating ps.

What's wrong with this world... shot over a snowball?! Seriously?
This just pisses me off to no end, and makes me so sad for the state of things. This is also why I hardly ever watch the news.

A Letter To My Body

BlogHer is doing a neat campaign geared towards positive body image... and they are kicking this off with A Letter to My Body. I thought it would be fun and very positive to participate. So here goes:

Dear Body,

I realized this morning that its been a while since I really looked at you in a mirror... I mean, really at you, and not just in your direction for the purpose of double checking some clothes. It's been a while since I've looked at you as a whole and not just a little part of you, a new tattoo for example. So I did this morning. I couldn't take too long, I had to get out the door to another day after all... but I looked. And you know what? You're not so bad!

At first, all I could see were the bumps and bulges and creases that I didn't want there. But I distracted myself by dancing around a little... and then there you were! The real you... gentle curves, lady-like, a cross between an hourglass and a supple pear. You aren't perfect or flawless, but when I think about what I've put you through... well I take back what I said earlier, forget not so bad - you're beautiful.

I'm going to be challenging you in the near future. 60-mile walks that will probably give you blisters. Day to day obstacles involving fueling you with subpar rations. At some point, growing another life, nuturing it with your own, and then the rigers of labor. But I know that you are going to be up for the challenge... when I look at you, I see strong.

I know we haven't always been on the best of terms. You've gotten sick, been broken, and I've blamed you horribly for putting me through that. I've put you through worse with drugs, alcohol, purposely hurting you, and not taking as good care as you as I should have. But that is in the past and we are where we are today because of it.

I have to realize that if anyone doesn't see you as being as amazing as I see you... well they are just applying unobtainable and unrealistic societal standards to you. They don't see all that you have done and will do. They don't see the real you. Amazing, strong, beautiful. I'll try my damnest to see you that way from now on.


This is actually a great segway into my weekend. Yesterday Stella took me to see Spring Awakening. The music is amazing, the singing beautiful, and the story... oh the story! It's touching, funny, and completely real, something anyone can relate to at one point or another. It's about sexual awakening, teen lust, and finding your way into adulthood while learning to understand your body (see how that ties in now?) and what its doing to you. I loved this show.

The rest of the weekend was fabulous too (though tiring!). I took the train into Philly on Saturday morning, then hopped the bus to NYC where my Babs' boy, Chris, met me for some chow and convo. He's great and I loved having the chance to get to know him a little better. The one and only picture my camera was used for that weekend was one Stella took of Chris and I when he walked me back to Madison Square Garden to meet her (and do I have said picture to share? of course not! maybe tomorrow though).
After that Stella took me back to Brooklyn, showed me her place and her neighborhood... then we got dressed and headed out for dinner. Sushi, yum-o! Then it was out to two bars, Piano's Bar and Joshua Tree. Piano's was nothing special, but it was nice enough... and if we had been interested in someone playing in the music part, maybe it would have been better. Joshua Tree was great... a ton of fun, although too crowded for me at first. But fun 80s/90s music with videos playing on big screens around the room, and everyone singing along. We stayed there until 3:30 in the morning, didn't get back to Stella's until after 4... to bed around 5! I'm too old for that... I was so tired, my body wouldn't let me sleep. I was up every hour until 9 (and only half asleep between) at which point I was finally able to get to sleep for real... until our alarm went off at 12! I was definitely tired on Sunday... but the show woke me up.

Now its back to work, back to reality, and back to sweating about this weeeknd! Excited though too. Okay, back to it for me.


snow, shoes, and other frivilocities...

So, just a few days ago I was walking outside enjoying the unseasonable warmth... today I packed my flats (more on those below) and wore my boots because I knew my feet would be wet by the time I got into work thanks to the lovely winter weather we're having. When I woke up there were already inches of snow and the flurries were still coming. I actually considered a snow day, but with at least four people out of the office today, I figured I should probably be there. Now that I'm at work, the flurries have stopped, but this afternoon is supposed to bring freezing rain... and of course I forgot my umbrella. Yuck.

At least it is friday! Now lets hope this crappy weather doesn't mess with my weekend plans in new york!

So, to be completely frivilous (don't you love saying that word? I love it almost as much as saying gerkin...) for a moment, I really want to talk about shoes. Normally I'm not a big shoe girl... I like earrings, oh how do I like earrings... and bags too. But shoes, don't care so much. However since I've bought these shoes:

(in green herringbone, not brown), I've barely worn a different pair. I think I have found the perfect pair of casual flats. I know, big boast. I've talked to at least three people lately who've talked about how they just want to find a pair of flats with x, y, and z... and all I had to say was, check out these puppies. Oh yes... x, y, and z right there for you... with no q, because who wants that in a shoe. Pi-sha.

I totally love these shoes.

Anyway, that was random and frivolous (hehe), but why not. I'm here, freezing my buns off, wishing I were anywhere but work. Why not think about silly things for a bit? :-)
Well, anyway, at least I have a nice weekend to look forward to. Ciao!


goodnight moon

Last night was filled with unexpected nice things. First there was Trav emailing me to ask me if I wanted to go out to dinner (yes please!). We met at Bennigan's and had a really enjoyable dinner together. When I asked him what the special occation was... he told me he got a bonus! Very exciting. We determined we would use that, plus our tax return/refund to pay off my car. How nice it will be... not only will we have no car payments, but then we have X amount more every month which can go towards savings or towards paying down our home equity line. :-) Plus, all that was making him feel much more financially comfortable, which I'm very happy to hear.

Also while at dinner we saw on the TV they had playing in the background that there was a lunar eclipse set to occur with peak viewing time between 10:01 and 10:55pm. The next one isn't supposed to occur until 2010... so we definitely wanted to check it out.

I didn't take this picture myself (my camera isn't quite good enough for that), but this is from last night's eclipse and looks just like what we saw out our window (beautiful!). Our bathroom window to be exact... because that has the best view of the moon this time of year.

Otherall it was a really nice night. The kind that has you falling asleep smiling.

Well, another busy day ahead of me... so off I go. Ciao!


little freak out

A little freak out... just a little one.

Couldn't sleep last night because I kept running over and over in my head the fact that I would be the one and only rep from my office at this conference in Chattanooga. First the first time, ever. I've never gone alone... and it's a bit scary. Yipes.
I mean, its not like I'll really be alone. There will be a few other guys there that help us with conferences all the time. And its not like I don't know exactly what I'm doing... I have done around a dozen or so of these before, including one at this same location. But its the first time that Miyano or my boss won't be there.

::deep breath::

I do feel better about it then I did last night. I sat down and wrote out a timeline for my travels, then printed myself a copy of the agenda and marked it up a bit with my "have to do" items. Just having it in print helped me feel better. I'm sure it will be fine.
Plus I really am happy to do anything to help Jan out. And rocking this conference without needing to bother her or her husband (my boss) is a way to do it. So do it I will.

All this change is a bit discombobulating though. We got a new intern today and I was the one to schedule her to start, but color me surprised when she showed up. Sometimes when big things happen around you its hard to remember that the rest of the whole is still going on the same as always. A bit of a scramble, but luckily we do have plenty for her to do! It will be great to have her help.

Okay, back to the grind.

ps. Hi William. :-)


yin and yang

Good and bad news today. The good is about the nice day I had yesterday, and I'll just recap that a lot more briefly then I would have.

I woke up late... 10:30, which was nice (I needed the sleep), except that the timing for the Terminex man was 11-1. Opps. Talk about a shot of adrenaline! I had my teeth brushed and was showered by 10:45, dressed and completely ready by 11. Of course the guy wasn't there by 11, but he did come at 11:30. I ate, then took out the trash, and that's when I realized it was gorgeous out! Sure there were huge black clouds, but it was sooo warm and around/behind those clouds there were bright blue sunny skies. So i went for a walk, very nice. Then I enjoyed some guilty pleasure, anthony bourdain. And not just any mr. bourdain show, but mr. bourdain in china. Yes, yes, yes. Love it. After that some dishes (because I always feel guilty if I don't do something on my day off). Then it was time to head to dinner with Megan... which was really nice. I was a little nervous because we hadn't seen each other in person since my wedding, but it was really nice.

Now the bad. Jan's father passed this morning. Its been a long process... even before the end days started, he'd fought off cancer for a year and a half. Its a small comfort that he isn't in pain anymore, towards the end he was quite uncomfortable, but only a small comfort. I can't imagine what Jan is going through at the moment, they were quite close, and it makes me so sad that I can't be there for her (florida). Whether you pray or not, please send your prayers/healing thoughts/positive juju her way. I'm sure she'll need it all.

Back to work, much to accomplish... and more to figure out as it seems my boss won't be traveling to Chattanooga with me as originally planned. To say I'm a little nervous would be an understatement.


grocery shopping: the episode where megan looks like a strung out crack whore, wee!

I just got done ordering myself some new glasses. I had an eye exam yesterday and got my new prescription. I found this great cheap site for glasses called Zenni Optical. I'll let you know what I think once I get the glasses, but for less then $70 I got two pairs of glasses and a pair of prescription sunglasses.

I got these (as shown):

These in a dark blue:

And these as sunglasses: In the blue color.

So Excited.
I really am psyched to get them! First off, I'm just thrilled by the idea of having glasses in the right prescription so I can stop getting headaches all the time (I've had three days of nausea-inducing headaches in the past week). But I'm also excited to try some thick framed glasses, which I've never been brave enough to do when they would cost me $70+ just for one pair. Of course, it will also be great to have some prescription sunglasses too... especially for our trip to Cabo. :-) I'm a very happy girl.

As for the eye appointment itself. Well it was fine, although it was interesting afterwards since I got those drops which dilate your pupils. It was a little creepy since there was really no colored part left showing in my eyes... just the whites and then these huge black pupils! I looked like I was on a bad trip! Kind of like this:
(Except, that is not my eye... because damn, are you crazy... light hurt like a bitch and if the flash went off, it probably would have blinded me...).
So anyway, I stopped at the grocery store on my way home to grab some bread and milk. Well it was really hard for me to focus on very small print... like what the milk expiration dates are printed in. I tried moving forward and backward, I tried squinting my eyes, I tried with my glasses on and off... nothing was working. Finally I just grabbed a jug and walked over to a woman with her child nearby. I got her attention with a polite "Ma'am" at which point she took one look at me and got a very uncomfortable expression on her face... the kind of expression that says she was a little concerned I was going to steal her baby to sell for crack. Fabulous. Luckily after a brief explanation of why my pupils were dilated (and noting that it was done by a certified medical professional), she happily read me the expiration date... at which point I hightailed my ass out of that store so fast I left a smoke trail behind. Good times.

The rest of the day was fine. We headed to Pat's to have dinner with him and his sister. Then played Wii Sports until late into the night. And today? Well, today is a very quiet Sunday. We ate breakfast at Pat's (he makes great dippy eggs), watched some SciFi channel movies, then came home. Travis is napping at the moment... so I'm entertaining myself here. I'm also quite enjoying the fact that I don't have to go to work tomorrow. Yay for President's Day!

Right now though, off to find some grub and watch a movie. Have a great rest of the weekend!


valentine's day!

Happy Valentine's Day!!
Its nicer out today... so maybe my theory about Mother Nature hating this holiday, maybe it was a little off. It's still cold, but sunny and pleasant out. Which is nice since I have an appointment in an hour that I have to walk outside for.

As for the holiday, Trav and I went out last night to celebrate. We normally do this for two reasons... 1. No crowds, no need for reservations, just a relaxed, quiet dinner we can really enjoy... and 2. It means a quiet, romantic Valentine's night at home. So last night we hit up the Pearl (have you noticed that we love that place?!) and had a great sushi dinner. We ate a ton of great food, after which we headed home and immediately fell into content food comas. Great for snuggling.

Tonight... well we're are going to take it easy. Easy dinner, relaxing together... it will be really nice.

Enjoy the holiday, y'all. :-)


well the weather outside is frightful...

Baby, its cold outside!! Yesterday I left work (busy until the last second) and walked to the close train station taking baby steps the whole way, because not only was it raining down little bits of freezing rain, but the sidewalks were completely covered with it. Blah. Everything was covered in it. Including the cars (no fun!). But, another reason Travis is the sweetest guy in the world?! He was driving by my train station when my train arrived, and stopped to help me scrape my car. ::swoon:: I have the sweetest guy. A slow, careful drive home and we were snuggly locked in for the night.

I did some cooking... but forgot pictures (too hungry!). I'll share the recipe anyway, so easy.
  • First I started some water to boil for my mini-shell pasta (follow directions to cook, drain saving a ladleful of noodle water).
  • While the water and pasta was doing its thing, I cubed up a ham steak and threw that in a pan to brown a bit.
  • I added some pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
  • Toss in a healthy amount of frozen peas and stir until heated through.
  • I added a clove of garlic then (finely chopped), gave it a stir, let it cook for a minute or two then turned off the heat.
  • To the drained pasta I stirred in a container of ricotta cheese, then re-added the ladelful of pasta water.
  • Once that was incorporated, toss in the ham and pea mixture, and a cup or two of parmasean cheese.
  • Season liberally with salt & pepper, basil & chives. Manja!!
Very tasty... even Trav liked it.

Today is still nasty out, raining and cold... but at least it isn't icing again.
::knocks on wood now that I've said that::
We have two events at work (which I hate, why the hell schedule two events for the same day?!) so I have a lot of busyness ahead of me. Not to mention preparing for the conference fast approaching (two weeks and a day until I leave for Chattanooga). In fact, I have to run in just a minute to get the first meeting started. But hopefully today will fly and it won't get too crappy for my trip home. Plus, I have a dinner out tonight to look forward to (we normally eat out the day before Valentine's Day because who wants to deal with the crowds).



my beau is great

Happy early Valentine's Day from Trav. :-)

My guy is so sweet. He wanted me to enjoy my flowers all week, not just on Thursday and Friday... so yesterday I got a special delivery around mid-day.

Aren't they beautiful?
And they are actually even nicer now (since they had time to unfreeze!!). What a sweetie I have.

On a political tangent, I wanted to share two videos that I've seen recently... both are Obama, and both are pretty neat. The first is the "Yes We Can" video, beautiful and inspiring. The second is him giving four reasons why you should vote for him. I thought it was neat.
I'm not trying to change anyone's minds with these... but I just wanted to share, and encourage everyone (DC primaries today, PA's on Tuesday April 22nd) to vote and have their voice heard. The power of your voice is what makes the United States great.

I'm excited for change. I'm excited for a new face, new ideals, and hopefully a newly united nation. I was listening to the Beatles earlier... and for a minute I felt this overwhelming feeling of futility. Like the time for amazing change was past. Like we, as a people, had missed our opportunity.
But the fact is, now is the perfect time for change. "Now" is the beginning of a new era, a changing world, a new day.

I'm so hopeful.

Okay, enough of that... lots of work to get done. Have a fabulous day.


ice cream

Who doesn't love a soft, cold, delicious bowl of ice cream every once in a while? When its hot out and you don't really feel like eating anything that will fill you up, a little bowl of ice cream can be divine! It cools you down, and gives your belly just a little light something-something.

Of course, it was not at all hot out this weekend... not even close! In fact, it was so cold and blustery on Sunday that we didn't even leave the house! But what can I say, when you want some ice cream, you want some ice cream. So Saturday we did make some.

The Christmas before last, I got Trav an ice cream ball. We've had some fun with the thing and pull it out periodically to make some homemade ice cream. If you want to make your own, the food pornographer has a recipe here.
For us its easier... and harder, all at the same time. Easier because you just throw all the ingrediants in the ball (cream, sugar, vanilla extract... and in this case peppermint extract and chocolate chips... big yum)! Harder because then you actually have to kind of do some exercise... rolling the ball back and forth is easy at first... harder as your arms start to hurt and the stuff inside starts to harden. I didn't get any pictures, but it was damn good.

As for other weekend activities... well we headed to Ro & Pat's on Saturday night. First Trav helped Pat hang their screen door which had been ripped from its hinges on a particularly windy day last week. Then, dinner and two movies.
28 Weeks Later was not nearly as good as 28 Days Later, but it was still fast paced with good jump in your seat moments. I really liked Jeremy Renner as Doyle (and ended up seeing him again - SWAT was on tv on Sunday), and always like Robert Carlyle. The ending was also left wide open, which made it disappointing as far as endings go, but was the perfect set up if they wanted to do another sequal. I would watch the sequal, but definitely wouldn't go see it in the theatures.
The Brave One with Jodie Foster was okay... not bad, but I wouldn't go out of my way to see it again. It seemed like the were following the x, y, z format for a hit movie... violence (and plenty of it), sex (weirdly inserted scenes from her memory), and an internal struggle (actually both main characters had one in this case). I actually liked the ending though, so that saved it a bit for me.

The rest of the weekend was lazy. Sleeping in, some laundry, lots of snuggling and watching movies. It was too cold for outside activities (and even worse today... its currently in the teens and only calling for a high of 25*).

For now though, back to work. There's tons to do!


5, 4, 3, 2...

I just got done eating a big dish of leftover Carbonara for breakfast, and wasn't done until every last bit had been scraped from the bowl. Then after that I had to stare at the empty dish wistfully for a full 30 seconds, because oh g*d was that good and hot damn do I want more.
Every morning should start out so lovely.

Lunch yesterday was fabulous too... Apoc is a trip, kept me laughing the whole time. And of course, I love me some sushi in general... and Genji in particular. Salmon avocado rolls put me in a good mood. And yesterday they also put me in a food coma.

So its Friday... wonderful Friday. Fridays always seem to relax me, so even if there is lots to get done, I just don't feel as stressed or rushed. It helps that I feel really cute today in one of those new pairs of jeans, boots, and a sweater. I pulled my hair back into two buns and even dashed on a bit of lipstick (although it stands to be seen whether any of it lasted through the pasta).

This morning, while eating, I was reading through a few blogs and came to a realization: You know that you really want to be a parent, when entries like this and this don't scare you away... but make you wistful for what is to come. Still fine with waiting, but excited/wistful for when it will be our turn.
And inevitably, when your thoughts turn to such topics, you wonder what type of parent you will be. This kind is probably more then likely.

Anyway, enough of that.
It's been a while and I have a lot to look forward to, so how about a countdown?

2 weeks, 1 day until NYC and seeing Spring Awakening with Stella
3 weeks until Chattanooga, TN for work (seeing Mary, Casey, Brenna and possibly the ChattaFamily)
5 weeks, 3 days until St. Patty's day
6 weeks, 2 days until Easter
7 weeks until Las Vegas for one night, then Cabo with Ro & Pat!
9 weeks, 1 day until my next tattoo appt (for color)! Happy Valentine's Day to me.

36 weeks until the Breast Cancer 3-day... for which I am at 22% of my fundraising goal! Hot dog. :-)

Well, on that condiluted and tangential note... off to work, then weekend... ciao bambinos.


Cinnamon-Bacon Carbonara

First, yesterday. It was long, and tiring. I spent part of the day working with Jan to make sure that I could cover her financial duties while she is gone (she leaves again today). She is such a trooper though and got so damn much done in the three days she was here. If it is a project that Jan normally does, we are now either done with it or know exactly what we have to do to be done with it. Which is a huge relief. Also, I hate high heels... I don't understand how any woman can wear them everyday, and I regret wearing them ever. My feet still hurt today. Ugh.
BUT it was gorgeous out! Lovely, mild, high of around 65! Back to winter today, but yesterday was a nice break.

Now, on to the recipe! :-)
I originally found this recipe here, and it quickly became one of my favorites. I haven't made it too often because it isn't Trav's favorite (something about associating cinnamon with sweet that he can't get over; its not sweet in this dish, its spicy)... but damn do I love it. I normally ban Trav from the leftovers and have it for lunches for myself for the rest of the week.

This time I did actually cut down on the amount of cinnamon in it (did maybe 3/4 of the 1/4 teaspoon... just measured the right amount then tapped a bit back into the container), and Trav loved it. I'm not sure how I actually feel about this development. ;-) Honestly, I do love the original recipe better, but if I'm going to make the dish, I do want my husband to enjoy it too. And it was still damn good!!

Also, I like fettuccine better in this... but all we had was spaghetti so, spaghetti it was!

Cinnamon-Bacon Carbonara

8 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
6 large egg yolks
18 ounces fresh fettuccine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
While you do this saute the bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat until almost crisp, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the bacon and continue to saute until the bacon is crisp and golden, about 2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool (but leave it all in the pan).

2. Once cooled, whisk in the cream, cheese, and yolks to blend.

3. Meanwhile, add the fettuccine and cook until it is just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes (if fresh, longer if boxed pasta... I use boxed, it still tastes great). Drain.

4. Add the fettuccine to the sauce mixture and toss over medium-low heat until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, about 5 minutes (do not boil*). Season the pasta with a dash of salt and pepper to your liking.

*Note: it is important to keep your head at medium-low, if you see bubbling, turn it down... too high and your creamy sauce mixture because scrambled eggs.

I love this dish because it is creamy, hardy, and surprising. The first bite is really something special... the cinnamon is unexpected and adds a great spice to the dish. Give it a try, I think you will really love it. I do!

As for today... well work, of course... but also a nice lunch break with Apoc. Yay! Hopefully the day will fly.


asking for help

Late last week I sent out an email to family and friends asking for their help. I'm going to post that letter here and ask for your help too... please consider it.

Dear Friends and Family,

I have a personal request for you...
An estimated 178,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer occurred among women in the United States during 2007. An estimated 40,460 women will die from breast cancer this year. Chances are that you will be, or will know someone who is, affected by breast cancer. I know two women: my Mother-In-Law is a 8-year survivor; my Sister-In-Law's mother was not so lucky, she lost her battle with cancer a year and a half ago.

I wanted to do something to raise money and raise awareness; something big that would also maybe raise some eyebrows. I think 60-miles will take care of that!

This year, I'll be participating in a very special event called the Breast Cancer 3-Day. Please support me as I take an amazing journey in the fight against breast cancer! The Breast Cancer 3-Day is a 60-mile walk over the course of three days. Net proceeds benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure and National Philanthropic Trust, funding important breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment.

I've set my personal donation goal at $3,000. For that, I need your help. Would you please consider making a donation? Every little bit counts, large or small, so please check out my walker's page (link below) to make a donation today.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Best wishes to you all,

Megan's Walker's Page

The link to my page is in my sidebar also, and will stay there until I complete the walk. Thanks for your consideration.

Poop & Boogies had a great post today about "cleaning your windshield" and really seeing what/who is around you. It is a great example of why I'm walking. I've been floating along, and its time I did something to really make a different. I don't know if this is going to be my cause but it is a cause I am 100% on board with, and I'm thrilled that I can be a part of this great event.


To quote a fellow walker, "I walk so that one day, no one will have to walk."


and what a weekend it was...

First and foremost, Happy Birthday Ethan!!
My baby brother, the little boy that I remember holding and feeding and occasionally torturing (hey, what's a big sis to do)... turns 18 years old today! I can't believe it.

Isn't he a handsome guy. And now a legal adult... scary. ;-)
Personally, I don't feel like I should be old enough to remember things that happened 18 years ago... but I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. It was one of the most amazing things I'd ever seen/experienced. He was so small, so helpless. I can't believe how time has flown.

I love my little bro... he really is turning into a great guy.

In other birthday news, today is also my Grandmother's birthday (Love you Gram!), and last week I missed a few... Happy Birthday to my Grandpa! (last Monday) and Willy! (last Wednesday) and my cousin Brendan! (Sunday the 27th) and our friend Tucchi! (this past Sunday). While I'm at it I might as well also send out birthday wishes to our buddy Phil... who celebrates on Wednesday... Happy Birthday Phil!

So! Super Bowl weekend! Did y'all have fun? We did!
Trav and I headed to Ro & Pat's around one for tons of food (gumbo and pizza and cheese and wings and jalapeno poppers to name a few!) and some hanging out. We played video games and talked to kill time until the game started. Is it just me, or is it a pain in the ass how late they start the game?! I mean, we all have to work today... ugh.

But anyway, it was a good time... the game was one of the best, most low-scoring Super Bowls I've seen in a long time. It had you on your seat until, literally, the last second. That's the kind of game it should be. And while I don't particularly like Eli, and honestly before the game thought that he was a little too wet behind the ears to deserve a win like this... well after that last drive (broken tackle, great throws, etc), you can't doubt that he deserved the win!

Anywho, now its back to work like normal. Jan is back today, and will be here most of the week, but Thursday she'll return to Florida where her dad is being moved back to their condo. They want him to have his last days in the comfort of his own home. Prayers to her still please.

As for me, back to work!

ps. My hubby is the best... he surprised me with a box of lemonades to take to work. :-) What a good man.



Sunday, Sunday... so far the weekend has been lazy! Which is nice. But we did do some cooking, so I thought I would share a recipe and some pictures.

Friday night Trav called me to let me know he was stopping at the store on his way home, and wanted to know if I thought he should just pick up some chicken from the deli there. That sounded great, as I wasn't in the mood for the effort involved in cooking a protein... it was still rainy & crappy out, which just makes me tired. But, I decided to make Pasta & Yeasty Cheese to go with our chicken.

Sorry for the lack luster pictures, I'll get better at them I swear... but pasta & sauce, not the most interesting thing to shoot!

Macaroni & Yeasty "Cheese"

You will need:
1/2 cup Margarine
1/2 cup Flour
3 1/2 cups Boiling Water
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 cup Oil
1 cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes (grown on molasses) - these can be bought from most natural food stores
1 box Noodles - elbows or rotini work best.

Boil water and cook noodles as you begin the sauce, drain when noodles are done to taste.
Put margarine into a medium sauce pan and melt over medium heat. Once completely melted, mix flour in slowly until all is added and mixture is pasty. Slowly mix in boiling water to create roux. Keep on medium low heat and stir until mixture is smooth and starting to thicken. Add salt, soy sauce, and garlic powder... whisking to break up any lumps. Stir or whisk continuously to insure mixture doesn't thicken too quickly or form skin. Add oil, and once incorporated, add yeast flakes... again whisking to break down lumps. Stir for another minute or two until desired thickness (think melted frosting consistency, not soupy nor pasty).
Add sauce to pasta and stir to cover. Can be served hot or room temp.

Side notes: This is a completely vegan dish. It is a little high in salt... so if that is a concern you may cut down on the actual salt added. In my opinion, definitely loses something though if you add less then 1/2 teaspoon.

Recipe can be halved or doubled with no problems.
Left over sauce also be used as a spread on toast, yummy!

This dish might sound weird... but to me it is the ultimate comfort food (and I've completely won Travis over to it too). Its smooth, rich, garlicy and slightly nutty (from the flakes), and just so delicious. I end up eating it for almost every meal until the leftovers are gone!

And if you are worried about using up the container of yeast flakes, don't be... for one, you will end up using this recipe again and again. But also, they have such a great flavor you can use them in tons of ways: sprinkled on popcorn, add them to another sauce for a little kick, etc. Plus they are high in protein.

As for Saturday night... my beau decided to do the cooking (I think he was bored for so much laziness!). We love a nice steak, so whenever they go on sale we pick some up and toss them in the freezer. That way we basically always have a quick meal available.

The nice thing about a good steak is that you really only need salt & pepper, and it ends up amazing:

Trav used bacon fat in the pan to give the sear a bit of extra flavor... but otherwise we just salted & peppered both sides. It looks super bloody in the above picture, but it was done perfectly inside (I like mine just a bit above rare). Cous-cous with sun-dried tomatoes, a veggie mix on the side... perfect.

Today we are heading to Ro & Pat's for a Super Bowl party, so I'm sure I'll have more to share tomorrow.




Blogger's upgraded templates are a big bitch... yuck. And widgets? Widget's are a whole mess of no fun. I'll stick with plain html... so I don't know if any of you caught the million little changes I made, but I'm back to what works. Although I did add a few bits and pieces in the sidebar, etc.

Real post below. Bye!

that time of year...

Today is nasty, nasty, nasty... I have my heat jacked all the way up, but I'm still cold. I think it sucks so much not just because of the temp, but because it is cold and windy and the rain, oh sweet mother mary, the rain. Unrelenting, wind driven... you come inside just feeling damp all over. Ugh.

BUT today is still wonderful... you know why? Well, there is the fact that its friday, which is always great, of course. But more so, today is great because: Girl Scout cookies. It is girl scout cookie time, and Trav just emailed me to say that he got three boxes. Red, Green, and Purple... aka Tagalongs, Thin Mints, and Samoas. These are our favorites, though honestly, I love them all (I'm hoping someone in the office will buy some Lemonades to share).

Speaking of food... my newest obsession: Food Blogs! I think most of you could already guess that food is one of my biggest weaknesses. I. Love. Food. (Period)
Seriously... brings me such pleasure...
Anyway, I was already reading two semi-regularly (see Cooking Confidential in the side bar, and in her side bar the link to Anthony Bourdains blog... huba-huba), but neither is updated too often (and honestly Bourdains' is less food blog as travel & food blog, but details details). Well, I recently added You Tasty Little Things (I need to make her Lemonade cupcakes) to my daily reading list and then I was checking out some of the blogs nominated for Weblog Awards, and found The Food Pornographer. I think I am hooked! She photographs the food beautifully, it all looks amazing and her desciptions serve perfectly to further my hunger (it helps that we seem to have similar food-loves). Dying for sushi now, or some good garlic-ginger chicken, or some Indian. Not to mention, this fish shaped resealable soy sauce? Rock my world!

I should really start photographing the stuff I make. It would serve a great double purpose of helping me improve my picture-taking skills, plus it would be a nice addition (I think) to include some of my favorite recipes here with pictures. Mmm, now my mind is off and running, what to make tonight?!

ps. Playing with template changes today. Trying to update to the new templates with widgets, which I know NOTHING about. Not sure if it will stay... won't if I can't figure out how to get my banner/sidebar working the way I want them to work. Bear with me.