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I grew up in New England.  Connecticut, specifically.  You know, the land of lots of snow.  But I never heard of snow cream until I moved to NC for college.  I was intrigued.  Many of my NC native friends said they looked forward to snow storms so they could make this mysterious concoction.  It was always such a treat because NC doesn’t really get all that much snow (unless you’re in the mountains, obviously).  And when they do get snow, it’s rare that they get enough to cover the grass.

The gist I got from CR, was that you put some fresh, clean snow in a bowl and mixed it with some stuff and it turned out to be an ice cream-like treat.

I never actually tried it though.  Until today.

We got a pretty big storm (for here, at least) today.  Almost 8″ at our house and the freezing rain is now moving in that will inevitably turn all the roads to a sheet of ice.  I sat on the couch and attempted to work from home, easily distracted by watching the puppies play outside, making chicken soup, following the hype on the news, etc.

I went out to play with the puppies for a little bit and the snow was so pretty and fluffy.  And then it dawned on me – I should try making snow cream!

I googled the winter weather treat and found a few different recipes, but they were all pretty similar.  I grabbed a bowl, a cup of sugar, a cup of milk, my spoonula from Crate & Barrel, and some vanilla extract.

To the yard Iwent, where there was some untouched, clean snow (stay away from the yellow stuff!) and I put about 10 handfuls into my bowl (the recipe said 8 cups, but other recipes said to just put snow in a bowl, so I guestimated).  I poured in the sugar, then the vanilla (the recipe said 2 tablespoons, but I didn’t have that much – I don’t know how much I put in though – maybe 1 tablespoon?) and stirred it a couple times.  Then I added in the milk and continued to stir until it was all combined.

You have to do it quickly because the snow melts quickly.  And a few places said to just bring the bowl and ingredients outside with you, which I did.

I thought that it would be liquidy, but it really wasn’t.  The more you mixed though, it did get thinner.  I popped it in the freezer to refreeze, but before I did so, I tried a spoonful.  And OH. MY. GOD.  It was SOOOO good!  Sweet and creamy.  I can’t really describe it other than amazing!

I can’t believe that I went almost 28 years without this!  After it was in the freezer for awhile, I tried it again.  It just gets better and better.  One article said you could add ingredients (choco chips, cookie dough, oreos, etc.) to mix in, or even hot chocolate mix to make chocolate snow cream.  I did the latter and that was freakin amazing, too!

I wish I had more vanilla so I could make more because who knows how long it will be before we get another snowfall like this.

My amazing winter treat:

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2011 Goal #1 is to lose weight and become more fit.  And really, to try an maintain it for more than a year.  I did not begin on January 1 though – I felt like that would be asking for failure.  The pressure, you know.  Instead, I spent the day sleeping until 1pm (went to bed on the floor at our friend’s house at 3am, got up at 6 with L so he could go to work and I could go let the dogs out, went back to bed at 7:30 and slept till 1), which I hadn’t done in, well, I can’t even remember.  I vegged on the couch recovering from the night before – more due to exhaustion than a hangover.  (I remembered to take my multi-vitamin before bed which is the hangover cure.  Seriously wish I knew about that in college.)  Rather than joining the rest of the south in eating greens and black eye peas for good luck in the new year, I ate my most favorite meal one last time to get it out of my system – mac & cheese with hot dogs mixed in.  Yup, I’m a 6 year old at heart.
 
Yesterday was not the beginning of the goal either.  L and I spent the day running some errands and window shopping and eating our last bad-for-you meals together.  We did come up with a menu for dinners this week and went grocery shopping to get everything we needed (Goal #6 – cook more meals at home).  While we were out, I also picked up two newspapers so I could start clipping my coupons (Goal #5).
 
Our house is for sale (yay! now someone please buy it. soon. for what we’re asking. at least close to it.) and we were lucky enough to have two showings in the past week.  But we had to do a major clean up in a short amount of time before the last one and we were both scrambling.  We knew we had to get the house back in show order this weekend to avoid that in the future.  So once we got home from our day-long outing, that’s what we did.  Cleaned out the fridge and cabinets while putting away groceries and then cleaned the rest of the house, put away laundry, etc.  It is spic and span now. 
 
In the process, we took the time to weigh ourselves for our official starting weight.  Normally we would do this in the morning and not at the end of the day after a big meal.  But by doing it then, we felt like it gave us a head start bc obviously there would be some change between last night and this morning already.  No, it’s not cheating.  And, oh holy hell, I almost died when I saw that number on the scale.  I even stepped off and stepped back on to make sure.  You know how I told you I’ve seen numbers I’ve never seen before?  Yeah, take that and add about 7lbs!  What the hell have I been doing?!  Once that was done, we took some before pictures.  I was going to post them even though I knew they would be bad and embarrasing, but then I saw them and decided there was no way in hell I was doing that.  Did I mention we did them in bathing suits?  Yeah, about that.  Not pretty.  Maybe when I met my goal and I feel better about myself, I’ll post them in conjunction with the after pictures.  Maybe.
 
We didn’t go to bed until at least 12:30.  No good.  Which made getting up this morning difficult.  But I prepared what I hope is a halfway healthy lunch (or at least not as bad for me as what it could be) and headed to work after 11 days off.  Tonight, I’ll go home and get a run in too.  If I wasn’t motivated to succeed at this goal before, I sure am now after seeing those pictures!

Man, everytime I try to get back on the blogging track, it just doesn’t happen.  But, for anyone who is out there still reading this, here are my celebrations of late.

February 14 – the third Valentine’s Day that I have spent with L.  And it couldn’t have been more perfect.  I spent 24 years being bitter on Valentine’s Day because I never had anyone to celebrate with.  When CR  told me one year that I shouldn’t be bitter because all my friends loved me, I had to gently remind her that I would be sitting in our dorm room by myself that night while she and all other said friends were out with their boyfriends.  But not anymore.  I’ll pause so you can go vomit.  I don’t care.  It was so, so perfect.  But it was nothing crazy.  We’ve gone out for V-day the last couple years, but we decided to stay in this year. 

The morning started off when L came home from work with a dozen roses in hand and two cards – one funny and one sweet.  And his gift?  A new bottle of my favorite perfume, Chanel Chance.  He was quick to tell me, it wasn’t because he thought I smelled though. haha, silly boy.  I gifted him with some Bose in-ear headphones for his ipod (get these brand new off ebay for half the price they are in Best Buy.  I’m just saying.) and a “Deck of  Love.”

I originally saw the Deck of Love mentioned on a crafty blog that linked here.  What a cute, meaningful and inexpensive idea.  I set off to create my own deck of 52 reasons why I love L.  He seemed to really like it, and ignored the card that was stained with blood.  Note to self, when cutting through Xyroned paper with your good scissors, sticky stuff will get on them.  Do NOT attempt to rub the sticky stuff off bare-fingered.  You will slice your thumb open.  It will hurt a lot.  And it will bleed a lot. 😦

Then we went to church.  Yup, you read that correctly.  We went to church.  We’re still trying to figure out who is going to actually marry us.  We tried a Lutheran church in town that a few of our friends attend.  It was very nice, and much more similar to what I’m used to than what I would have thought.  L said it was very different to him, and there were a few things he would have to get used to, but he wasn’t opposed to it.  We admitted that we were both very nervous before we went in, but left very comfortable.  This coming Sunday, we’re trying a Methodist church. 

We headed out to grab a quick lunch and hoped to see Valentine’s Day, but all the showings were sold out.  Instead, we went back home and napped for an hour (unusual for me, but I was exhausted for some reason) and then headed out to a training program for the Cooper River Bridge Run 10k we are doing in Charleston next month.  I kicked ass, again. 🙂  Never would have thought so based on how I started the program (finishing at the end of my group).  But I was so proud of myself.  We did 3.5 miles and I’m in the 12 minute walk/run group (run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute). We went home, showered and L made me dinner – baked ziti because that’s the first meal he made for me when I came over when we first started dating.

Then we sat on the couch and watched the Olympics.  Nothing glamorous, but oh so perfect.


Beautiful roses 🙂


How glamorous.  No makeup. Wet hair. And Pjs.  But it was a great V-day!

February 15 – Our three year anniversary.  On one hand, I can’t believe it has been three years already.  On the other hand, it feels like so much more than that.  We spent the day together running errands and killing time while I waited for UPS to deliver his present (since for some reason it took over a week to ship!).  L ran out for his own errand at one point and came home with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and three envelopes.  By this time, his present had come and I had wrapped it.  I got a very cute card and tickets to Jersey Boys!  I have been wanting to see this for SUCH a long time!  I can’t wait.  And he definitely learned after last year’s handed-me-the-lap-top-to-show-me-what-my-present-was.  In envelope number 1, there was a series of pieces of paper “can’t take my eyes off of you”, “Downtown Charlotte”, “Turnpikes”, “Broadway”, “Garden State”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”.  By the time I got to “turnpikes”, I knew what it was.  The second envelope held the tickets.  So very perfect and I can’t wait to go!!  He seemed pretty happy with the ipod Nano I got him too!  Ok, so I may have broken our $50 spending limit, but I did get it on overstock.com for a fantastic price.  I bought him the nike+ for running for Christmas and didn’t realize it didn’t work with the ipod classic (they should really put that on the box somewhere).  He’s been wanting the nano and almost bought it the week before, but I managed to make him wait. 🙂

We both had to attend a board meeting for the VFD that night and thought about going to dinner afterwards around 8, but then we decided on a different restaurant and postponed our date until Tuesday.


Pretty Pink Flowers.

February 16 – L was working at the VFD during the day and I went up to run on the treadmill before we went to dinner.  My goal was to run 4 miles because that’s what our training program will be this week.  I started off running a mile with no incline.  Then I increased the incline to 4 percent (that’s what the bridge is) and tried to run that as far as I could.  The bridge is 4 percent for almost a mile and a half – whoo!  I knew I had to run at the incline for at least a half mile, because that’s what I did last time.  My goal was to go .6 miles, but once I got there, I knew I could go more and did .75 miles at the incline.  I was hurting, but it felt good to know I went so far.  I went back to a 0 incline and finished running the second mile.  Then I kept going.  I tried to run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute.  Sometimes I did more runing than that, but I never did more than one minute of walking at a time.  I got to 4 miles and felt good so I kept going.  Before I knew it, I was at 5 miles.  The farthest I’ve ever been.  I wanted to go to 5.5.  And then I thought, if I can do 5.5 , then I can get to 6.2.  And I did.  6.2 miles!  That’s exactly what the 10k is.  I was so freaking proud of myself.  Granted it wasn’t ALL running, but it was MOSTLY running.  L had come in just as I was finishing and he couldn’t believe.  The best part?  If I didn’t need to go home and shower for dinner, I could have kept going.

So I went home and showered and a while later we headed downtown to Chima.  It’s a Brazillian steakhouse that we’ve heard amazing things about.  Basically, there’s a very generous salad bar and then you have this little coin at your place setting.  If you want meat, you turn it to the orange side.  If you need a break, you turn it to the black side.  There are all these meat men (they had some Brazillian name, but I dont remember what it was) moving around the restaurant with large spicks with different meats on them.  And it was so freakin good.  Filet mignon, sirloin, rib eye, salmon, swordfish, leg of lamb, chicken, bacon wrapped chicken, beef ribs, the list goes on.  I only ate breakfast to prepare for this.  And we left barely able to move we were so full.

It’s quite expensive, about $44 a person, but completely worht it and we definitely got our money’s worth.  Plus, we signed up online to be a ‘preferred diner’ and got a coupon for $25 off, so that helped a lot.  I highly recommend this place if you’re ever in Charlotte, Ft. Lauderdale, Philly or Tyson’s Corner Virginia.


L should be our wedding photographer. How perfect is this shot?  One take and super fast becuase it was FREEZING outside.

Such a wonderful week of celebrations.  And everything was so perfect.  The celebrating isn’t quite over yet – my birthday is Saturday!  I think L is very excited for our official anniversary to be in September after we’re married.  He’s got three celebrations within 5 days of each other now!

I have a very bad habit of procrastinating.  At everything.  I feel like maybe it’s because I work better under pressure.  Or because I need the pressure to make myself get it done instead of say looking at a blank screen with a blinking cursor – because really? That realease doesn’t need to go out till the end of next week, so why write it now?

Anyway, since 1/3 of the females in my office are pregnant (serisoulsy), we are have a triple baby shower tonight after work.  We’re all a bit spread out, so we decided after work would be better than a Saturday afternoon.  And we apparently have busy weekends.

Myself and two other co-workers are planning it.  It will be at one of their houses.  Only about 15 people coming, so it’s a nice crowd, but not overwhelming.  We’re doing heavy hors d’ouvres and desserts.  Each of the three of us throwing it are making one of each and a couple of guests have offered to bring stuff.

I chose a delish appetizer and dessert.  Baked cream cheese and Rocky Road Candy.  Ever have either one?  Try it.  Especially the cream cheese.  Recipes following the post.

I can’t make the app till right before the shower.  I was going to do the dessert Tuesday or Wednesday night – just to get it done.  But did I?  No, I did not.  Because I never went to the grocery store until lunch time yesterday.  No biggie.  It literally takes less than 5 minutes to make.  However, if I had made it ahead of time, I would have realized that perhaps I added too much peanut butter and now I can’t get the damn stuff out of the pan without disfiguring it.  Oh well.  As long as it tastes good, right?

Anyway, rather than getting corsages for the guests of honor like one of the other hostesses wanted to do (a little old fashion for our taste), I volunteered to make “mom-to-be” sashes.  Similar to the “Buy me a shot, because I’m tying the knot” sash I made for CR’s bachelorette party a few years back.  I had paint, glitter and the ribbon already at home.

Again, I meant to do this Tuesday or Wednesday to get it out of the way.  But when I never got to it Wednesday, I meant to at least look and make sure I had enough ribbon.  Then I forgot.

My tasks were delayed last night when L and I sat down to talk about some things and then headed out to dinner because it was getting late and we hadn’t even thawed any chicken to cook yet.  By the time we got back, it was almost 8:45.

I quickly made the candy and got out my crafting box.  I cut one length of ribbon.  Then I went to cut the second – and there was only 7″ left.  Damnit.  I didn’t know what I was going to do because Michael’s and AC Moore were already closed or would be by the time I got there.  L suggested Walmart.  Sigh, ok, let’s go, I thought.  I really had no desire, it’s a good 20  minutes away and I had wanted to go to bed early anyway.

Luckily we got there and they had exactly what I was looking for.  We finally got home around 10 and I started to sketch them out.  But I couldn’t find my skinny paint brushes.  Where the hell were they?  I tried to use a q-tip in a pinch, but that, obviously, did not work.  I went looking for the paint brushes again and finally found them on the shelf in the garage.

They worked 100x better than the q-tip, but still did not come out as fabulous as I hoped.  Plus they’re really long bc I could just not picture how big the pregnant bellies were.  They’re still pretty, just not fabulous.  I would have added some more pizazz or something to hide the safety pin that holds them together, but it was 11:30 now and I was exhausted.

Really, I should not wait until the last minute.  Because when I was done?  I still had to wrap their presents.

Oh well.  Hopefully it will be a fun evening.  I’ll see if I can snag some pictures of the girls wearing the sashes tonight and share them.

Happy Friday!

Baked Cream Cheese
1 block of cream cheese
1 tube of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Preheat oven according to directions on crescent rolls (probably 350 or so).  Let cream cheese sit out for a bit to warm up a little.  Unroll crescent rolls on a cookie sheet and pinch together the seams so they don’t pull apart.  Place block of cream cheese in center of crescent roll dough and pull edges of dough up and around cream cheese till it’s enveloped in there.  No particular way to fold it.

Bake for the lenght indicated on crescent roll tube.  You  might need to do it for about 5-10 minutes longer, but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.  Just until all the dough is cooked.  Place on plate or serving dish and serve with crackers.  It’s a good idea to cut into the dough so people know what’s inside of it.  And also have a cocktail knife out with it too.

Rocky Road Candy
1 bag of chocolate chips (12 oz)
1 cup of chunky peanut butter
3 cups of mini marshmallows (half of a 10.5 oz bag)
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Put chocolate chips and peanut butter in microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring after each  minute until contents are melted.  Fold in marshmallows and nuts.  Spread in a 13×9″ pan and chill until hardened.  Cut and serve.

I think I put too much peanut butter in mine this time so they’re not hardening as much which is why I’m having trouble getting them out of the pan.  Usually they should just pop right out.

Here’s a recap of my birthday weekend.  We had a great time (even though I am officially closer to 30 than to 20).  I’m slammed this week, so you get semi-bullet points again.

Friday

– Friday morning, my birthday, which I had off from work, I got up at 5:30 am to get ready for my third interview which was at 7:15.  We met at Bruegger’s Bagels and the whole thing lasted 25 minutes.  Ugh.  I got up that early for 25 minutes?  Anyway, it’s between me and one other person.  I think it went really well.  He hopes to let me know either way by tomorrow.  Still no word on salary.  Cross your fingers on both accounts.

-L and I lounged around for a few hours after I got home before we headed out for lunch at Price’s Chicken Coup.  I was so excited.  And you know what?  It was way better than anyone had ever said!  This was some damn good food.  And the best part?  It was cheap! 

store

You came out with a no-frills box for each meal.

february-20-21-2009-002

And when I lifted the top, angels sang as I feasted my eyes on… my feast.

chicken 

What you see there is 2 pieces of chicken, 2 huge hush puppies, some tater tot-type things, a roll and coleslaw.  L had the same thing except he chose to go with the fried perch (gag).  Those two wonderful boxes plus two drinks came to a whopping $13!  Now that’s a deal!  We couldn’t even finish it all.

I told him he should be happy that he’s dating a girl who is happy to go get fried chicken and eat it in the car in the parking lot (take out only and too cold to go to a park or something) on her birthday – and not some pretentious girl who would snub her nose at the idea.

We got home and I opened the package my mom had sent me – money to get my hair done and one of those nifty curling irons that is also a straightener. 

I didn’t get a present from L.  He told me that on Thursday after work he had to run an errand, but then he came home right after work.  When I asked him why he hadn’t gone wherever he said he had to go, he said he wanted to come home and be with me.  He was going to try and fix the problem with my gift.  Apparently, he ordered it like 2 weeks ago, but it hasn’t arrived.  When he called to check, it turns out he entered his credit card number incorrectly and it didn’t go through.

When I got home from my interview that morning, I asked, “I’m not trying to be selfish or greedy, but since you didn’t run that errand last night, does that mean I don’t get a birthday present?”

He started into this whole thing on how he was sorry and how he was sorry he hasn’t done anything right lately.  The only reason I asked was because I knew he wouldn’t say anything about it if I didn’t.

“Do I at least get a card?”

Yes, but he had to go to the fire station to get it.  He left it there yesterday when he was working.  He tells me this is true, but I wonder if when he went to the fire station to get it, he actually went to CVS.  Anyway, it wasn’t until right before we were going to dinner that he even went to go get the card.

He comes back and gives it to me and also tells me he went to the store to see if they had any balloons he could tie to my chair at the bar later that night.  And then asked if I wanted a cake.  I’m not going to tell someone I want a cake.  If you want to get me a cake, then do it, but don’t ask me if I want one.

I’m really not a greedy person at all, but it just kind of hurt my feelings.  I put in a lot of effort to anything that I do for him – whether it’s big or small – and I just felt like he did all of mine on a whim.  I’m not asking for big expensive presents, I’m just asking for some effort.  We have three days in a short period of time (Vday, our anniv and my birthday), so it was all at once.

I got the roses and a card on Vday – which was perfect.  But my present hasn’t come.  He said he ordered that 2 weeks ago too.  His next comment about it (which was on my bday) was that it was back ordered and he told me what it was.  For him I got a subscription to a magazine he wanted.  But I printed out a picture of the magazine and wrote that he was getting a year’s subscription and then glued it to a piece of card stock so it was wrapable. 

For our anniversary, he told me he’s taking me to Savannah.  Which I’m absolutely extactic about.  But, instead of printing something out (like he’s done before) or having something small related to it for me to open, he just pulled up the tourism web site on the laptop.  And although he says he has two weekends picked out that we could go – nothing is actually set.  No date.  No hotel.  No plans.

I had gotten him the braves tickets.  Which I wrapped up in individual packages, and a note about what hotel we’re staying at and that I had taken care of boarding the puppies.  And I made him a card.  Not a fancy card, but a card.

His, although it’s clear that he’s known I’ve always wanted to go there, just seemed like it was a last minute thought.  And even if it weren’t, there wasn’t all that much effort put into the thing.  Oh.  And I didn’t even get a card.

He knows that our anniversary is a big deal to me (not that what he gets me has to be big, but just the recognition of it), but it just didn’t seem that way.  I’m sorry that until I met him I never dated any one seriously.  And I’m sorry that maybe the anniv. seems boring or mundane to him because he dated the same person for more than 6 years, therefore having 6 anniversaries.  But it’s still a big deal to me.

So, all that coupled with no birthday gift, no card until I mentioned it and the fact that I thought he was always going to buy  me pink roses for my birthday and didn’t just made me sad.

He told me that he’s had so much on his plate lately that he is overwhelmed.  Between work, his partime job, this new captain’s position at his part time job and school – he was just overwhelmed.  Then he told me how he’s having to drop his math class because he didn’t do well enough on the quizzes.  But that he didn’t ask me for help because that meant he was a failure (even though I offered to help him one million times).

I felt bad.  I know how it feels to be overwhelmed.  But it didn’t help the fact that I felt forgotten or unimportant.  Especially after some of my best friends were blowing off my birthday.

He told me that Saturday he would pick the day for our trip, which he didn’t, but in all honesty, we didn’t really have time.  So I thought he would do it Sunday.  But he didn’t.  If I mention it or he reads this, I can guarantee that he’ll say he didn’t have time and he spent the whole weekend with me.  Which is true.  But there was also a lot of time spent reading fire blogs and looking at other fire depts’ web sites.  He could have taken a few minutes of that time to finish my present.

So, he tells me I have a present coming,  but I have no idea when I’ll actually get it.

But, we marched on.  He took me to the Melting Pot for dinner (my suggestion though) and it was delicious.  I normally only go for cheese and chocolate because a plate full of uncooked meat doesn’t appeal to me, but he talked me into it and it was much better than the only other time I’ve had the meat there.

dinner-us
I love how their tables are so private.  And we were in this tiny room that only had one other.  It was perfect!

food

dessert
For our chocolate. 

Between the cheese, main course and chocolate – we were stuffed.  But it was so incredibly yummy!  I wish it weren’t so expensive so we could go more often.

After, we headed to a bar to meet some friends.  I was pissed they were charging a cover at 8:30, but was happy when it was only $5 and it was because they had $1 beers!! Heck yeah.  Although really?  The bouncer could have let me in for free when I told him it was my birthday.  We had a good time, nothing too crazy, but fun nonetheless.

Saturday

– We hung out around the house and took the puppies to the dog park for awhile.  They really love that place.  Except one dog kept trying to hump Dixie non stop for like 20 minutes and the owner was a royal bitch when L pulled her dog off.  A couple times is fine – they’re dogs.  But as soon as you pulled this thing off, it went right back after her.  And the woman did nothing.

-We dropped them off then headed out to meet up with some of L’s friends from the volunteer station to go to a minor league hockey game.  We started off with dinner and drinks, followed by the game and then to a bar afterward.  It was actually really fun.  I had never been to any kind of hockey game before, but had a great time.

We took the light rail into town and I must admit, that although I turned 26 the day before, I did something Ihaven’t done since my younger college days.  I peed in the parking garage.  There was no way I was going to make it home and there were no bathrooms around.  A lot of people got off the train with us and the three level parking deck really had no corner or post that was out of the way.  After I literally almost peed in my pants, I took my chances on the middle level in a corner.  But it was a really small corner and my pee was quickly heading toward my feet.  So what did I do?  I put my feet up against the wall, with my back against the other side and peed.  Suspended in the air.  Haha.

Sunday

-Sunday was quite boring.  I was really tired from the night before and we just relaxed.  Took the dogs to the dog park again and later that night we rented Nights in Rodanthe.  See, even with his lack of efforts in the present arena, the boy really does love me.  It was good, but not quite as good as I was hoping.

And here we are.  Overall, it was a really great weekend and Ihad a good time.  I’m excited for this week to be over because we’re going to the beach friday night.  Too bad it will only be about 50 while we’re there, but I’m excited nonetheless.

*PS- I have  more pictures to add, but wordpress isn’t cooperating right now.

First off, love that song and that show.  Moving on though…

I’ve mentioned before that L and I have a tendency to eat out a lot, but that I’m trying to break him of that habit.  Well, we’ve been doing fairly well lately.  But both last night and the night before we chose to eat out.  To be fair, Tuesday we wanted to do something quick so we could decorate the tree, and then last night, he just really felt like pizza.

Anyway.  We live in a pretty small town.  There are only a handful of places to eat – and two of them are our absolute favorites, which means we frequent them quite regularly.  Which means, I suppose, we can be considered ‘regulars.’  Yikes.

Tuesday we went to this super cute, yet super casual place right in the middle of downtown.  It’s right across from the train tracks in one of the historic brick buildings.  I love the exposed brick walls on the inside and the uneven hard wood floors.  I also love their barbecue sandwiches and sweet tea.

We sat our selves per the usual and the high school aged waitress came over. 

“Two teas, right?”

Oh come on!  We haven’t been here in over a month.  How does she still remember?

L: “Oh God, this is bad.”
Me: “No kidding.  Obviously we come here too often.”

Anyway, she came back, took our orders and we enjoyed our meal.

Then came last night.  I got home from work and L mentioned that he really wanted pizza.  “But we ate out last night,” I said.  But I gave in.  Because we really had nothing in the house.

So we went to this independent pizza place right near the middle of town.  It is not cute in anyway, but their pizza and meatball subs are delicious.

Again, we walked in and sat down.  At the same table we normally sit at.

The waitress comes over, who is always very friendly and nice, and says:
“So, two teas… a meatball, what do you call it? grinder?… and you’ll have a 10″ with pepperoni and sausage, extra sauce on the side…?”

Oh for the love of God. 

We laughed and L asked if it was bad that she knew her entire order.  She reassured us that “no, it’s just because we love you guys.”

As we waited for our food, I think each of us must have said, “oh God, this is really bad.  This is two nights in a row.” etc. at least 20 times.  I told L we’re not going back until after Christmas.

Obviously, we need to eat at home even more.  Or find a couple new places (although those two are both sooo good and relatively inexpensive).

So, they don’t actually know our names, but they sure do know our orders.

The long awaited Thanksgiving holiday break has come and gone and now it’s back to work.  I headed up to CT Wednesday afternoon and the whole trip started off on a good foot. 

I left work a few minutes earlier than I needed to so I could stop and see L at work for a couple minutes before I left.  He and the rest of his colleagues were just sitting down at a chinese restaurant in their area, so I was just going to pop in.  When he came to meet me me outside, so did his Captain who told him to take me to the airport so I didn’t have to leave my car there.  His captain can be a real ass sometimes, but it was very nice of him to let L leave during a shift in the middle of the day… and it also saved me about $30 in parking fees.  L dropped me off and then returned to the station and left my car there for the remainder of the weekend.

The airport was only mildly crowded and things seemed to be going smoothly.  Then, 10 minutes before we were scheduled to board they said the incoming flight was late.  Ugh.  I thought this was the beginning of the end.  Sure, it starts out with a 20 minute delay which would spiral into hours.

But.  I was wrong.  The 20 minute delay only ended up being 10 minutes.  We go on the plane and were off without a hitch.  It was a small plane, only two seats on each side of the aisle.  And I got an exit row all to myself.  Score!

We stopped in Norfolk, VA, but were continuing on the same plane.  I didn’t even have to get off the plane for the 30 minute layover.

I landed in NYC 15 minutes early and my parents were there and off we were to CT.

Unfortunately, my dad was being annoying and difficult before I ever got in the car and my mom was being overbearing.  I pretty much only go home for holidays.  And she misses me.  But it’s just too much sometimes.

We got take out from one of my favorite local restaurants and I went to bed pretty early.

Every year for the last 10 years or so, my mom has done Thanksgiving dinner.  And before that, for as long as I could remember it was my grandma.  Well, this year.  This year was different.  My cousin and his wife (who I am not particularly fond of) were hosting dinner.  The thing that gets me is that they didn’t even ask my mom if she minded or even offer to do it.  The wife just matter of factly stated she was doing it.

We got there around 1:30 as requested and didn’t eat until 3.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Hands down.  But there was a problem.  As I began to eat, nothing was right.  It wasn’t just because they weren’t my mom’s recipes.  But nothing had any flavor.  And the stuffing.  Oh, the stuffing.  It was a gummy mess that was stuck together. 

It turns out that the entire meal was

Trans fat free.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Seriously.  This is Thanksgiving people.  It’s not supposed to be good for you.  I like butter.  And salt – because there was a lack of that too.

The pies for dessert were good, I’ll give her that.  But otherwise, it was a huge disappointment.  We didn’t head home till 8:30 that night – which was entirely too long if you ask me.

Thankfully, my mom had bought a small turkey and made a mini Thanksgiving dinner – complete with butter, fat and flavor – on Friday.

Her and I headed out for breakfast at a diner around 9am on Friday and then hit the mall and a few other stores.  I didn’t really have a whole lot left to  buy, nor did I have much money to spend.  We did get a few deals and my mom got some big items knocked off her list, so all in all, it was a productive day.  We went home and ate the delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

Then two of my Flavas and some other friends headed out to a mexican place for drinks to catch up.  Unfortunately, they started kareoke about 15 minutes after we got there and it was so incredibly loud that my throat hurt the next day from talking so loud in order to be heard.  It was a good time, but we could have done without the kareoke since it’s not often we are able to get together.

Saturday, my mom and I went to one more store and then left for the airport at 12:30.  After stopping to get a coffee for the road, my mom noticed that the battery light in her car came on.  Since the airport is more than an hour from our house, we decided it wasn’t a good idea to drive that far.  So we waited for my dad to come meet us and take us.  He is so. slow.  By the time he got there, we had cut into the cushion of time I allowed for traffic or lines.  And traffic we hit.

I really didn’t think I was going to make my flight.  But somehow, I did.  The airport was absolutely empty and I made it through security (with my container of gravy that was more than 3.4 oz) and to the gate with 10 minutes to spare.  The flights were good and before I knew it, L was picking me up. 

I was so happy to see him.  I missed him so much.  And I missed our puppies too.  We spend Sunday running errands and cuddling on the couch – and it was exactly where I wanted to be.  I used to hate leaving home after the holidays, but this time I couldn’t wait.

And now we’re back at work.  Only 3 more weeks till Christmas – and I have that whole week off.  Heck yeah!

I was never a fan of guacamole.  It was a weird color.  A weird consistency.  And it was made from avacados.  Gross.  I had friends that were obsessed with it.  If asked to bring a snack to a party – that’s what they brought.

Over the last couple years, I’ve tried it.  And liked it.  And now, althought I’m not a total craze about it, I love the stuff!!

Saturday, A and her husband invited some friends over after all us girls got back from our day in Sonoma.  A’s husband is a great cook and made your usual hamburgers, brats and chicken on the grill.  He also made a great macaroni salad and, you guessed it, GUACAMOLE! 

Oh my God.  I sat in front of that bowl for a good 40 minutes.  And ate chip after chip.  It was like mouthsex. Ha.

Then my cheeseburger was ready that I ate while watching Carolina get their butt kicked before promptly falling asleep on the couch while everyone was mid-party.

Too bad my new favorite treat isn’t so bathing suit friendly!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! 

Well, for anyone actually celebrating today.  If you celebrate that is.  I think the majority of people had their festivities this weekend.  One, because Friday and/or Saturday are much better days to celebrate and two, you know, because yesterday was the beginning of Holy Week.  Guess drinking green beer isn’t very holy, now is it?

L worked on Friday and I didn’t really do much.  Hung out and played with the puppies and did some laundry.  Awesome Friday night, I know.  It was nice to just relax though.

I was planning on getting up early on Saturday anyway, though.  L had asked me Friday afternoon if I wanted to go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Charlotte and then out for a drink or two with one of his friends.  And to ask if any of my friends wanted to go.  Sounded fun to me, so I rounded up the troops.

I’ve heard a lot about this friend of his.  Well, they’re not good friends, but they’re friends.  But I only just met him for the first time last week.  He seems like a nice guy.

So, the parade was starting at 10:30.  It’s right near L’s station, so there was no point for him to drive all the way home to get me, only to drive back to where he just was.  So I was going to meet him at 9:45 so he could change into some St. P’s day gear (read: a green tshirt) that I was bringing for him.  My friends were going to meet at his station and park there and his friend would bring us to another station closer to the parade/bar where we could park his car.  It would have been too crowded to park all of our cars at the closest station.

Timing worked out perfectly.  The parade was small, but fun.  The Charlotte FD Pipes & Drums played and were followed by some antique and current fire trucks.  It was all cool. 

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CFD Pipes & Drums

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Antique & Current Fire Trucks

Then we headed to an Irish bar for green beer!

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It was packed, as you may have guessed.  It’s a small place with a decent size outdoor patio, which they had covered anticipating the wicked rains we later got.  Well, the place was filled with firemen.  Apparently, this is their festivity hangout place.  It was cool though.  The pipes and drum guys came and played again.  And firemen love their Irish ancestry (sp?), so they love this holiday.  It was great.  I had a lot of fun.  They made an impromtu St. Pat’s Day toast and one to the two FFs that recently died.

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Only a fraction of the crowd

The rest of the girls had miscellaneous plans and we needed to go home and let the dogs out.  It took forever to get home, as the skies opened up and we had terrible, terrible rain.  I’m talking, turn the hazard lights on and go 35 mph on the highway because no one can see, while you listen to the emergency voice on the radio giving the tornado warning which pretty much covers where we live.  Luckily, it turned out to not be bad.  Some thunder and lightning, a lot of rain, but no tornados thank goodness.

We spent the rest of the day just hanging out, L took a nap.  He was tired from drinking and they had been up a lot the night before.  We went to dinner at Brixx for some tasty pizza and a Carolina Blonde – because I hadn’t had enough beer yet that day – actually, I didn’t really have that much.  It was just that it was early.  And quick.  And what the crap, we were only able to have 1 green beer because the bar ran out of dye by noon!

Anyway, Sunday we lounged around with the puppies.  Had lunch at Sonic so I could get a strawberry limeade that I’ve been craving.  Took the puppies for a walk.  Watched the Carolina vs. Clemson game (Go Carolina!!).  Then eventually went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner.  Came home and eventually went to bed.   And here we are.

L grew up basically eating out all the time, which is part of the reason why we do it.  I’m working on breaking him of the habit.  Although, I told him he’s on his own during the week because I need a couple months to do Weight Watchers and get back on track, so when it comes time for the weekend, we have no real food in the house.  Yikes.

Anyway, hope the luck of the Irish reaches all of you today.  Only two more days of work for me.  L and I are leaving Thursday morning to drive to CT for Easter.

There are some aspects of my position at work that I don’t like.  When I started about a year and a half ago, I was hired as an account coordinator, but would be manning the reception desk.  I was cool with that.  I was told that my responsibilities would be more account-heavy, rather than admin-heavy.  Even better.  Well, we have  a super office manager.  If she were to leave, I’m pretty sure everything would be in shambles. 

She’s a bit of a character though.  Speed walking through the hall, most likely talking to herself so she doesn’t forget the 47 things she’s working on, etc.  I got a basic overview of how to do a conference call, work the copy machine/scanner, and other admin related tasks.  But I was really only told things.  She rarely showed me how to do any of it, which was very hard for me (I’m definitely a visiual/hands on learner). 

So, after I got the DL on everything in about 2 days that was it.  Whenever something came up that I didn’t remember how to do or was never told how to do it, I would ask her for help.  And then she would usually just do it herself because it would be quicker and she is constantly pressed for time.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love this woman.  She’s awesome and she was never bitchy about it.  It was always like, let me just do it, it will be quicker and I know you’re busy too.

But people would still come and ask me for help and I would always have to say, “I’m not sure, check with C, she can help you.”  And it was kind of embarrassing.

Well, after about 4 months, I was moved to the back of the office with the rest of the account team and they hired a new receptionist.  For some reason, C, taught her how to do a lot more stuff and let her do most of it.  Maybe it’s because this new person was hired to be a receptionist and I was hired to work on accounts (and basically just answer the phone).

All of this was a big change for me.  At my first job (the only one before this one), I was hired straight out of college and to an admin assistant position with the promise of growth to account work.  Which happened.  I learned a lot before I moved out of the receptionist area, both about how the company ran and how to do PR. 

It was great.  When someone had trouble with the copy machine.  I could help.  When they needed a conference call, I could set it up.  When they needed lunch ordered for a meeting, I took care of it.  If they asked where certain files were, I knew.

And now, I don’t.  I guess now I am more like the people who were asking me for help at my last company.  Which is cool.  Except here, people still ask me for help.

My good work buddy, K, just ran out of our president’s office and asked me to come help conference two clients in on their call.  I’ve never actually done this here and our phones aren’t as user friendly.  So we’re trying.  Our newest receptionist doesn’t know how to do it.  It’s taking a long time.  Buttons are being pushed that shouldn’t be.  And it’s embarrassing for all of us. 

Finally I ask one of them to go get D, who was the girl that came right after me.  She comes in to say that we can’t even conference on that phone, they had to go into a meeting room.

So, to conference in two people, it took 5 professionals.  5 people with degrees.  5 people who have obviously used a phone their entire lives.

Yikes.

On another note.  My first Valentine’s Day with L was great.  I left work at 4, per his request and we went here for dinner.  They didn’t take reservations and their call ahead seating phone line was constantly busy.  We got there at 5:30 and were told the wait was 90 – 100 minutes.  At 5:30!  Crazy.  I was perfectly OK with cooking at home, but he wanted to take me out.  Plus, I’ll never turn down a good steak.  We ended up waiting 105 minutes – but sat in the bar and had a few beers.  I was happy just to be with him.

When we got home, we exchanged gifts.  I got him a 3 book set on railways across North America (he loves trains and history).  It was on sale at Borders, so it was pretty cheap!  He got me something better though.

He got one of those large collage frames and filled it with pictures of he and I.  I loved it.  It was the perfect gift.  He’s always so concerned about how much it costs, even though I told him that it doesn’t matter (and I really mean that).  It was exactly what I wanted from him.  And he picked out all of my favorite pictures of us.  There isn’t one where I don’t like the way either one of us looks.  He’s amazing.  I kept telling him how much I loved it, and he’s like, well I think you’ll really like what I give you tomorrow (meaning today.  It’s our 1 year anniversary 🙂 ). 

Also.  Happy Friday!

Before I moved in with L in December, I lived close enough and went home for lunch during the day.  I can’t do that anymore, and at the  beginning it was kind of an adjusment.  I don’t want to eat out, because that gets expensive, but I also didn’t want to sit alone in the kitchen and eat.

I finally started bringing my lunches and soon my two work buddies, K and C, started bringing their lunch more often.  It’s nice to sit and chat and I feel more connected to people I work with now.

We have also made Friday Lunch a regular thing.  It used to be that every now and then C would try to get a bunch of people together to go out for lunch of Friday, but it was very sporadic.  Now that the three of us have gotten friendly, and the fact that the office continues to grow, we go just about every week.  Sometimes a bunch of people will go, sometimes only a few.

But I love the fact that when I get ready to leave the house on Friday morning, I don’t have to worry about grabbing something for lunch.

The email came at 10 o’clock this morning.  From K.  “So, it’s 10:00.  It’s OK to think about lunch now, right?  Are we on for today?”

And of course, C and I were.  Some of our other regulars are busy trying to finish a project by their 5pm deadline, so they won’t be joining.  But that’s OK, because I am so excited that we have chosen to eat here.  L is going to be jealous, because he loves this place. 

 I love these Friday lunches.  They’re relaxing, get us out of the office and fun.  A good end to the work week!