Monday, May 31, 2010

the missing chunk

...and finally I'm going to tell you why I declared the entire month of May to be Heart Month.

On May 9th 2000 my dad passed away.  He had heart disease and it went undetected because he was otherwise quite healthy.  I was a senior in high school, getting ready to graduate and go off to college.  I went to an in-state school, about an hour from home, because dad promised he'd take me out to lunch when he was in town for work.  I don't ever regret going (to University of Colorado, by the way), even though I never got to have lunch with dad.

I remember that day really clearly.  I had a graduation event at the Denver Natural History Museum.  The top graduates were invited to the museum for a special ceremony, including a short filming of us "throwing our caps".  There were three people from my school, including myself.  My mom was meeting dad and me at the museum since she was coming straight from work.  She was running late and I had to run off with the other graduates.  I told dad I loved him before I went. Ironically that's the last thing I said to him. 

We did our photography session outside, and then filed back into the Museum for the rest of the ceremony.  There was some delay in seating us, and we overheard that someone's grandfather had collapsed.  I stood with my friend and her dad while I searched the room for my family.  Her dad said to her, "see? aren't you glad your dad takes care of himself?"  Seconds later, my name was called over the loudspeaker.  My eyes bulged in disbelief.  I immediately turned away from my friend and her dad and walked like a zombie until I found my mom.  She was crying and shaking. I'd never seen anything like it.  She said "daddy's sick." Hardly.  Sick implies time...duration....hope.  The trip to the hospital was a blur.  Some lady from the museum volunteered to drive us there and she tried to comfort me along the way.

Once we got to the hospital, they led us to the room with soft chairs and tissue boxes.  We sat and waited.  I don't know how long.  At some point the doctor walked in and gave us his best "...we did the best we could, but unfortunately..." speach.  I stopped breathing and fell to my knees before I cried.  The next few minutes were filled with hustle and bustle and phone calls.  A really nice old nurse sat with me and rubbed my back.  It helped...sorta.  I remember nothing else.  In fact the only thing I could think about for days...or maybe weeks...was what I remembered happening before we left the house.

Rewind to earlier that day.  Dad and I were hanging out at home waiting until we had to leave for the Museum.  He went to lay down for a bit; he had a bit of heartburn, he thought; heartburn was quite typical for dad.  Whenever my parents were sick, I always wanted to take care of them. I brought dad a glass of water and a piece of toast.  As I was preparing his get-well snack, I glanced at the bottle of Bayer...a little longer than normal.  You always hear that if someone takes Bayer, it could save them from a heart attack.  I had no reason, at the time, to think he needed Bayer.  The thought quickly passed and I brought dad his snack; he didn't need Bayer for heartburn.  But what if I thought for half a second more and actually brought him that Bayer?  Would he still be here?

Anyways, after ten years, I consider my life to be mostly normal.  But there will always be this giant chunk missing from my heart (metaphorically, of course).  Dad never saw me graduate high school, or college, or grad school, or get my first job, or threaten my first boyfriend.  I can't make funny faces at him across the dinner table anymore, or sneak out of the dining room early to snuggle on the couch and watch TV.  I didn't have a dad to help me move my heavy stuff into my dorm, or teach me how to use my computer.  I won't have a dad to walk me down the aisle whenever I get married.  I hate museums now.  All of them.  I'll go in and look around if I have to, but it doesn't take long until I feel pressure from everywhere and want to start sprinting towards the exit. 

So in honor of dad, I pay extra attention to my heart, especially during the month of May...

Love you, daddy!

(Dad served in the military for awhile when he was younger.  They put a flag over his casket at his funeral.  Ive kept his flag and some pictures of him on my bookshelf for the past 10 years.)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

i heart...

...rain far-away family mini family (the boy and the dog) far-away friends
...brazilian cheese bread
...the mountains pillow
...learning french
...baking chocolate chip cookies
...tasting menus
...running downhill
...saturday morning spin class
...cupcakes showers
...flip flops
...hazelnut gelato, nutella ice cream, red velvet ice cream
...snow season true luv skis
...fat tire
...santa barbara dog beach
...stray tennis balls on the side of the road balls in my living room
...long weekends
...purple sometimes and usually pink
...when YOU leave me a comment about what YOU heart...

Friday, May 28, 2010

eat your heart out

For the past few years, I've been somewhat obsessed with "heart healthy" foods (especially dark chocolate and red wine, but that's for another time).  I was thrilled when we came up with this delicious, heart-healthy meal that's perfect for welcoming summertime.

Salmon and tilapia ceviche in endive leaves lined with smashed avocado.  Can you say Omega 3?  Loads of it.  This is super easy to make, too!  And requires NO cooking!  You make true ceviche by marinating tiny pieces of fish in tons of lemon and lime juice, and the citrus cooks the fish for you overnight in the refrigerator.  I have to say, salmon tastes much much better when it's cooked this way; it doesn't get dry like it does in the oven or stovetop.  Creamy avocado is the perfect accompaniment to the citrusy fish, and crispy endive cups are a perfectly healthy substitute (and much tastier, in my opinion) for chips.

We had our ceviche with bowls of cool homemade gazpacho soup, which is typically made with tomato, cucumber, and green pepper. Ours also had watermelon in it.  Vegetables are great for your heart too, I'm sure of it. Tomatoes have lycopene...I'm sure that means something.

Doesn't this look delicious? I could eat it every week.  And my heart would love me for it!

Comment or email me if you want the recipe...I know you do!

What's your favorite heart healthy meal?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

the visitor

We have a visitor.  He greeted me by pooping on the floor, peeing on the couch, and knocking over the dog food and the trash can.

In case you were wondering, labbies and beagles do not make the best of friends. 

It's clear who's top dog here, though.  With the slightest nudge, my sweet wuss of a lab stepped aside while the little guy stole his water.  At least we don't have to worry about them fighting over who's the alpha dog.  My pup will gladly roll over to anyone and anything.

And walking these two is a nightmare.  Beagle takes off in whatever direction he wants, lab follows.  Lab cannot be more than 5 inches from beagle's butt.  I figured out that in order to ensure forward motion, beagle had to walk in the front, with lab directly behind beagle's butt.

My lab pup is dyyying to play and continues to chase after and lunge at poor visiting beagle, who really just wants to be left alone.  The barking and whining will not stop.  I really can't wait till these two get used to eachother...otherwise it's going to be a long weekend.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

be still, my heart

Check out my new heart rate monitor!! 

(Jen, if you're reading this, I looked all over for the green one so as not to copy you in every aspect of my life, but they are no longer making the green one and this model was significantly cheaper than any other model on Amazon.  And it's pink.  Thanks for understanding.)

I was SO excited when my heart rate monitor showed up on my doorstep!  I've had grand plans for this sucker - aerobic base training.


Aerobic base training is basically where you train your heart to get efficient at pumping blood and oxygen throughout your body by moving at a snail's pace.  Ok, not really, but it is essential to keep your heart rate relatively low to effectively train your heart.  It is also boring. Very very boring.  BUT the idea here is that aerobic training is the most effective for fat burn AND helps prevent burnout, which I am so incredibly prone to (not fat burn...fat...and burnout).'s to my new heart rate monitor and aerobic base training!

I've used it three times now to run around my neighborhood.  Mind you, I'm not in the best shape of my life and haven't really been running much lately, and spinning doesn't necessarily train you to be more efficient at running, SO these first few trips were interesting.  I honestly don't know if my heart was confused or if my monitor was confused, but something went horribly wrong on my second run - my heart rate dropped to like 63 mid-run....yeah right!...and I noticed some ridiculous lag in the time it took to report that I was, indeed, huffing and puffing.  I have to say, I was quite disappointed in my heart toy; I'm a scientist, I want my tools to be reliable - timely and accurate.  I later realized that my sportsbra was tucked into the chest strap and that may have been a likely the cause of my issues - wardrobe malfunction - it'll get you every time.  We'll see how my next few 'round-the-neighborhood adventures go.

Do you have any heart rate training tips to share?

heart month

I hereby declare May to be heart month.  I made this decision upon the exciting arrival of my new heart rate monitor, and the super heart-healthy meal we made ourselves.  I suppose I could have made it heart week, as both of those events took place last week, BUT there's one important event that I've missed that's incredibly important in declaring the entire month of May to be heart month.

More to come!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

wake up call

The dog woke me up this morning at 6am.  SIX!  On Saturday!

I've noticed this pattern recently with the pooch's choice for wake up time.  It seems that on the weekends, when I would otherwise be able to sleep in, my dear sweet pup wants to wake up early.  And play.  And let me tell you, he is relentless.  Ok, I get it, he's an early riser, and that's fine.  I'm a morning person too.  But the weird part is that he likes to sleep in during the week.  So when I have to crawl out of bed on Monday morning to go to work, I wake up to a crappy alarm and have to un-cuddle myself from the dog, who inevitably has his head (or more) resting on some part of me.  It's painful!  Could you resist this face?

(Ok, so maybe this is a bad example since this shot was taken as he was caught destroying my down comforter, but STILL, you get the point)

In never really made sense to me why he had to get up super early on the weekends but not during the week when I could really use that early morning nudge to wake up.

But then I got to thinking - maybe he's right.  Maybe he's been right all along!

I mean...don't you walk in to work on Monday mornig exclaiming that your weekend just wasn't long enough?  Well maybe if you'd gotten your butt out of bed before noon, as my pooch would say, you'd have had more time on the weekends to have fun!  Weekends are free time (for the most part) to do whatever you want!  Why, oh, why would we want to sleep the weekend away just so we can kill ourselves at work the next week?   And why am I in such a rush to get to work and sit at a desk all day long?  So I can get out earlier?  And do what?  It's still a 9-hour work day, and no matter how you slice it, I still don't have enough time for any real adventure at the end of the day.  So why not get up early and get the most out of my weekends? 

I'm pretty sure that's just what my brilliant dog has been trying to tell me this whole time.  Thanks for the wake up call, pup!  Oh, and you want to go for a walk too?  OK...since we have time!

Happy Saturday!  I hope you make the most of it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Can we please talk about the kind of day I had today?

Yeah, that kind.

I was innocently walking my dog around the neighborhood and felt a snap on my shoulder.  Thinking it was my bra strap, I put my hand on my shoulder to check on it.  Handful of crap, I realized that a bird had pooped on my shoulder.  ON MY SHOULDER!  That bird is so freaking lucky that crap didn't land on my head!

Monday, May 17, 2010

if only...

If only every Monday started like this...

...went something like this...

...and ended like this:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

i'll snicker your doodle


So...the boy started this thing where he takes a word or a couple of words that come up in conversation, and he fits them into the phrase, "I'll (blank) your (blank)", to make it sound really funny or inappropriate. For example,

"I'd like a snickerdoodle."
"I'll snicker your doodle."

See?  It's actually quite hilarious.  He uses this at nearly every opportunity, some are funnier than others.  I've picked it up too, but my contributions are always both perfectly timed, and magnitudes funnier than the typical i'll blank your blank.  Snickerdoodle was my masterpiece and I'm quite proud.

Why did this come up, you ask?  Well I'm getting to that, since that was the point of this post anyway, not blanking your blank.

I offered to bake cookies for my work friend for her last day of work (sad!), and she requested snickerdoodles.  I'd never actually heard of anyone requesting a snickerdoodle cookie, I thought people just stumbed upon them and ate them.  "Do you know how to make those?" she asked. I know how to make a cookie?  Do I know how to follow a recipe?  Yes.  Do I have incredible superhuman cookie talent?  Yes.  I think I can handle a snickerdoodle.  And, by the way, I'll snicker YOUR doodle!

My mom made snickerdoodles for us all the time when we were growing up.  I have her recipe but I decided not to use it because it's a Colorado recipe.  Everyone knows that you have to alter a recipe for high altitude when you live in Colorado.  Growing up, I mastered the technique of altering a recipe to bake at high altitude.  And then I moved to California.  The problem is, I'm not backwards compatible with high altitude recipes.  In other words, I can't take Mom's Colorado snickerdoodle recipe and bake stellar snickerdoodles in California.  Thank goodness for Google.

As I figured, there's really only one snickerdoodle recipe (as opposed to chocolate chip cookies, which people do some crazy things to), with really only one slight variation:  full cup of butter vs 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening.  I didn't have shortening, so I went with the all butter version, which wouldn't have been my first choice, but incredible cookie makers have to roll with the punches.  Here's the recipe in case you'd like to copy me.  I recommend it:

Snickerdoodle Recipe

Here's why:

Gorgeous!  Actually...the one in the front isn't gorgeous at all and I question my photographic talent here, but LOOK at the beauty right behind it.  Have you ever seen a prettier snickerdoodle?   I doubt it.

And YES, stop doubting me, they taste just as good as they look.  Better, actually.  It's very important to test them at the appropriate time, though.  Which brings me to my next announcement: 

(drum roll, please)

I am going to start a cookie baking series right here on my blog so I can preach to you about the important of such concepts as test cookies and cookie scoops and melted vs. softened butter vs shortening, etc etc.  Exciting, right?

If you have any cookie topics you'd like me to blog about or questions you'd like me to answer, please feel free to post a comment or email me!

the royal treament

And finally I get a chance to sit down and tell you about the dinner.  It's been over a week and the shock has almost worn off, but it's still worth telling the story and showing off my incredible iphone photography skills.  Get ready...

So...last Friday, the boy took me to dinner at the restaurant where he works on the weekends as an apprentice (in preparation for culinary school).  Every weekend he comes home with a weird story about shelling fava beans, or peeling cipollini onions, or burning his arms on some huge tray (if you're lucky, one day he'll share his blog with you and you can read all the gory details).  In any case, I was really excited to see where all his blood, sweat, and tears end up.

It was a little bit funny at first because he parked in the employee parking lot and acted totally cool. The valet guy apparently didn't recognize him and started giving him a hard time. 

"That's employee parking only."
"Yeah, I work here."
"I've never seen you before."
"OK, talk to the chefs."
(We walk in to the restaurant anyway).

The waitress also didn't recognize him initially, but then came back to the table a few minutes later, apologizing profusely for not recognizing him until she was notified that he worked there.  And it's a good thing...for a split second I started to question where he really spent his weekends!  It's also funny, because from that point on, I no longer doubted that he worked there, but doubted that he was really only a 'prep guy', because we were certainly given the royal treatment...and it was fantastic!

We asked if the chefs could just decide what to feed us, thinking we'd end up with an appetizer, a couple of entrees, and a dessert or two.  Well...chef's choice turned out to actually be a multi-course tasting menu (I love tasting menus, by the way, but that's for another post), and the chefs themselves brought most of our food out for us.  Yeah...special treatment.

In an effort to not bore you with every last detail, I'll just show you my awesome iphone pictures.  I unfortunately don't have pictures of everything because I was embarrassed that I was photographing food.


Wine.  2 Flights, 3 Whites, 3 Reds (Cab Sav, to be specific). 

Bread.  And butter. AND olive oil.  Who does that?

Really awesome orange polka dot water glass.  Where can I buy these?


There was some crudo (not pictured).

Peas and carrots.  But not just 'peas and carrots'...'chef peas and carrots', which means creamy carrot soup and English pea agnolotti.  It's unfortunate that I only have half of this photographed (and with a crappy iphone camera) because it's my new favorite food.  I've dreamt about it every night for the past week.

Scallops with risotto and seared ahi.  Yum and Yum.

And then there was meat.  Pork belly with bbq beans (not pictured) and foie gras with strawberries and rhubarb.

Whoops! Too slow.  Lack of foie:

Finally...Colorado lamb, also not pictured (I was too full at this point).

And by finally, I mean we were done with our main dishes.

Dessert involved a cheese plate, some weird chocolate cake and popcorn gelato concoction with way too much ganache, and a weirder lemon meringue tart-ish with spicy red pepper gelato.  Oh, sad dessert (except the awesome cheese plate)!

Don't ever forget the post-meal cappuccino!  Foamy-licious!

Pretty awesome, huh?  I thought so.  Especially when the bill came and we realized that they gave us a ridiculous discount because the boy works there.  I'm ok with VIP treatment any day!

Thanks for reading! (PS...I wrote a review of the restaurant in my other blog, so if you want more detail, you can read it there).

Friday, May 14, 2010


I have a confession:  I have another blog.  It's my older child, actually.  It's a foodie blog, very pointed.  Restaurant reviews.

It all started one day when we went out on the town for some burgers and cupcakes, but not just any burgers and cupcakes, Umami burgers and Sprinkles cupcakes. Very Los Angeles.  On the drive home, all we did was talk about the food we ate, in a rather critical way.  I immediately decided I'd start a restaurant critique blog, and I did.  My first post about Umami and Sprinkles was fun to write.  I sent it to my mom for editing before posting to the world, expecting an electronic version of the high-school essay red chicken scratch edits all over my report.  Instead she called and raved about how much she loved it and asked if she could send it around to everyone she knew.

And so my restaurant review blog was born.  I had planned for it to become big and popular and get advertisers lining up waiting to advertise on my blog.  My master plan, actually, was to turn it into a charity  project.  I started donating money to world hunger organizations every time we ate out.  That would be my thing.  I'd donate money, then go out to eat, then write about it.  Then you would want to read about it, so restaurants would want to advertise on it, and they'd give me more money, which I'd turn around and donate.  See?  Good intentions!

I'm actually very self-conscious about it though and don't really promote it like I'd need to to "make it big".  I think that stems from my last visit to Colorado.  I was visiting the family, and my mom had left a printed out version of my Umami & Sprinkles post out for my grandmother to read.  Grammy picked up the print-out and looked and the title and, not knowing that it was my blog, she said "This is just ridiculous. There are starving children all over the world."  Ouch.  Of course, this was after I had made it my goal to make a charity project out of it, so I couldn't feel too bad that.  But still, I've never gotten over the slight amount of embarrassment I have over the whole thing.

In any case, I started the blog you're currently reading to satisfy a desire to write about something else.  I'm not focused enough to just write about food all the damn time.  I consider this my ADD blog...I can write whatever I want whenever I want and it can be as random as I want.

Anyway, the reason I'm telling you this is because I've had a backlog of restaurant reviews to write (not that people read them...yet), and that's why I have yet to write the post I promised you about the night out to the boy's restaurant.  I now have a backlog of things I want to tell you here, on my younger (and favorite) blog child.  I envy those people that can have time to blog three times a day (and have interesting things to say about their breakfasts, lunches, and dinners).  I promise, I will catch you up, dear blog reader(s).  Please stand by.

(If you're interested...the older child...but read the archives, the first post was the best)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

a couple of nutshells

(Yesterday's post that never made it)

I'm feeling a bit frantic today. I don't know what happened to my calm, relaxing day, but it turned into a whirlwind of...I don't know...stuff. I've been zooming around like crazy and thought I'd go ahead and tell you all about it.
So here's my frantic a couple of nutshells:

I get to work and I'm not really feeling it, as usual, so I do my usual routine - check my email, tell some people what to do, answer their questions regarding why they need to do them (because I said so! now go!). Then I proceed to read a couple articles on heart rate training in preparation for the arrival of my new polar heart rate monitor from amazon (yay!). After I while I decide to get off my butt (figuratively...I've been on my butt the whole time) and do some work. I call Government Institution A to set up a telecon, dink around with a presentation I'm supposed to be working on and a nomination form I'm supposed to be filling out, and answer some more questions. Booooring.
Around 11am my boss comes around (and by 'come around' I really mean double-clicks on my name to send me and Instant Message) and tells me I need to make some slides for him to send to Important Director-Type Person for a presentation to Important Government Official from Government Institution B to explain why Government Institution B should cancel current program X and create new program Y which would be much better and we happen to be very good at executing Y-type programs.
Since I really don't know much detail about program X and don't really know what boss was thinking regarding program Y, I end up making an outline that looks like this:
1. What you currently have
2. What you could have
3. Why you're an idiot if you don't make this decision
4. Proof that we know how to do this (experience with Y-type programs)
5. What you're missing out on (the Y-type program we're currently working on)
6. What we can do for you to make you look less foolish

Fortunately this goes over well with boss, but unfortunately that means I have to, not only fancy-up the wording (it's generally not good form to refer to an Important Government Official as a foolish idiot to his face), but now I actually have make some of these slides. That's where the chaos begins:
I make some slides. Boss says, "make them pretty". I make them pretty. I leave work late. Stop for eggs (and 2 boxes of cereal...impulse buy).  Boy is out of town so I'll be home alone to take care of the world.

Get home, open door, remain silent while I inspect the apartment for disaster. Breathe a sigh of relief, then enthusiastically greet the dog. Then...

feed the dog change my clothes wash the dishes sautee the mushrooms prep the peppers warm up dinner eat dinner roast the peppers take out the butter walk the dog (meet black lab down the street discover that his owners are Colorado-grads decide that they are my new best friends in town) come home bring in trash bins take out the trash prep the brussels sprouts (I can't believe I'm eating brussels sprouts) cook the rice roast the brussels sprouts peel the peppers STOP EVERYTHING to play with dog because he cannot live another moment without some living room fetch with his newly acquired tennis ball put away dishes make cookie dough chill cookie dough wash the dishes bake test cookies play with dog dog is mad about being ignored earlier and will not play now so blog...

...and here I am now! Oh...I'm sorry, was that incredibly difficult to read because the phrases were stuck together without any indication of a pause? Oh good. Then my point has been made.

And now I must continue baking and do some quality control...

Thanks for listening!

Monday, May 10, 2010


That's right...happy Monday!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

the list of lists

Here's a confession:  I like making lists.  I like checking things off my list. I sometimes put things on lists that I don't expect to ever check off.

Here's a list of lists I have, either in my iphone notes or my google documents:

*restaurants to try
*places to go in Europe this year
*places to go in Europe in the future
*books to read (and purchase)
*my wish list
*songs to download
*movies to buy
*courses from last night's dinner
*wineries to visit
*workouts for the next two weeks
*donations made this year
*nailpolish colors (I'm slightly shocked that I even have this since I'm not much of a nailpolish girl, but yep it's there)
*things to do today/this weekend

Perhaps one day I'll share each of these lists, but today I think I'll just share my "things to do today" list.  It's rather interesting.

In no particular order:

*spin class - CHECK
*blog about dinner last night
*blog about dinner last tuesday
*puchase heart rate monitor on amazon
*blog about how much i love amazon
*book my return trip from Europe using united miles (or not...maybe I'll just stay there)
*call united to get mileage credit for my flight that im pretty sure i never got checked in on because of ashlee simpson's husband's shenanigans - CHECK (they were nice eventhough they had no record that I flew on that flight. They went ahead and gave me credit when I told them there's no way I could have flown home on my broomstick because it's currently in the shop for repairs)
*make a donation
*purchase a bucket of tennis balls
*remind boy to purchase dog food
* go see Ironman 2!!
*watch the netflix movie that's been here for a week
*read my book so I start checking off my book list

Ok, so this might be part of the reason I enjoy making lists:

What's on your list?

Friday, May 7, 2010

happy friday

Here's some lovely flowers from my daily walk to brighten the day!

There's a house on at the end of my street that has these huge bushes of big white flowers and I love them this time of year!

I am super sleepy today. I was rudely awakened this morning at 5:45am by puppy whining...and for no apparent reason other than the need of some love and attention. It's funny, normally I'd appreciate the early wake-up call, as it would give me the opportunity to get my morning run out of the way. But since my hamstrings were still curled up in a little ball (the result of an intense barre class), I had decided to sleep in this lovely Friday morning. And on the days I actually do plan to go running, I wake up to an alarm and a pup fast asleep laying across my back or curled up right next to me with his head under my chin. Who's gonna wanna tear themselves away from that to go pound concrete?

In other news...I have a short day at work today (yay!) because I can transfer hours from Saturday when I sat on an airplane (in first class...two rows behind Ashley Simpson and her posse) returning from a business trip. It's been a long, boring week, so I'm happy to spend some time at home on the couch a good book.
Tonight we're heading to the restaurant where the boy is apprenticing. We're planning to do the whole "tell the chef to make us something special" thing. I'm pretty excited about it...especially the desserts that I keep hearing about. Sometimes it seems like "apprenticing" means tasting yummy desserts and steaks and things. But I have seen burn marks to prove otherwise, so maybe tasting is just a perk! Can't wait to tell you about it, though!

Also...I want to say a special thank you to Marisa for being my very first blog follower...THANK YOU!!! Thanks for being patient with a newborn blog and inexperienced blogger!!  :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

shoe massacre

Headline News: Shoe Massacre Shocks Wardrobe

A gruesome shoe massacre was discovered today around 5pm in a tiny apartment in Redondo Beach.  Three victims, one pair of flats and two pairs of heels, were discovered brutally murdered and haphazardly strewn across the apartment.  Three other victims, a pair of sneakers and two pairs of flats, were injured in the massacre; all injured victimes are expected to recover with treatment, though some may remain slightly disfigured or mildly scarred.

The primary suspect, a 1.5 year old male chocolate labrador, was found inside the apartment at the time the massacre was discovered, huddled up and cowering on the living room counch.  The suspect has been detained and is currently held in probation.  Officials are also pursuing a second suspect involved in this brutal act of shoe violence.  The suspected accomplice is believed to have enabled the crime by leaving both the closet door and the bedroom gate wide open for access to the victims.  The second suspect, whose name will not be released at this time, is currently at large in the city of San Diego, and will be further questioned upon his return.  Until that time, formal charges will not be issued in the case of the shoe massacre.  It is currently unknown what charges these two suspects will face, but it is likely that, given the severity of the crime, The Silent Treatment will be the least of their worries.

See below for further information about the fallen victims.  The photographs taken below are gruesome in nature and may not be appropriate for small children and shoe-lovers.

Victim #1:
White, Steve Madden sandal with heels, circa 2005

Victim #2:
Red Madden Girl Pumps with heels, bought on clearance, worn once

Victim #3:
Vanilla peep-toe flats with pom-poms on the toes, bought full price after two months of stalking in the store, worn for about one hour

The loss of these precious soles will be mourned for days to come.

isn't it ironic?

That Alanis Morrisette song from back in the day is stuck in my head lately. Why? Because on Monday, I paid $5 to join Water Club at work, and on Tuesday, water club ran out of water. Ironic? Typical?  Yes and yes. And to think...I was incredibly reluctant to joining water club in the first place. For nearly two months I debated whether or not I wanted to partake...really, not a big decision, I dramatize...but the second I made the decision, the water was POOF gone.

I'm a fish. I drink a lot of water during the day (unfortunately the tap water, even Brita'd, is not drinkable for me at work...noticeable side effects). So now I'm parched! I suppose tomorrow I'll have to lug around two Nalgenes in addition to my lunch bag, my purse, and my tea mug. Can we say bag lady?
Also ironic...there's two tennis balls in my living room! They've been there for days.
Why is this ironic?, you ask. OK, so I guess it's not, but I wanted to tell you anyways! I'll get to that in a minute. Let me just say this: I have seen the inside of many a tennis ball. Yep, that sweet little chocolate lab is really a destructive monster. Few tennis balls (and softballs, stuffed squeaky toys, etc) have lasted in his care for more than 24 hours. But these two tennis balls have survived for days now! Hallelujah!! The best part is, he's discovered the joy of playing living room fetch with two tennis balls...and so have we! We no longer have to pry the ball out of his mouth, we can just grab the other one and toss it across the room and watch him try to figure out what to do with the one currently occupying his mouth. And they bounce! And he bounces with them! Instant doggy energy zapper. And tennis balls can occasionally be found for free with frequent walks by the tennis courts. Thank you very much, hard hitters!

Ready for the ironic part?  I wrote the above paragraph praising my dog for preserving the life of his precious second-hand tennis ball earlier today while I was at work (shhh, don't tell), only to come home and discover the biggest, most brutal shoe massacre known to this household (more details to follow...)

(Yes, I know that's a's an older picture and that softball has since been buried.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

clean house

Spent the entire day cleaning the house today.

Any guesses on how long it'll stay clean?  Here's some hints:

* I live with a boy
* ...that likes to cook fancy things
* our tiny kitchen
* I don't have a dishwasher
* I live with a dog
* ...that is actually still a puppy
* ...that sheds
* ...and likes to chew on things
* ...and drools

I'd make this into a contest and the winner, who guessed how long my house stayed clean, would get some fun prize...but I don't have readers yet. Darn, this would have been a good one!

business and pleasure

One of the best things about my job is that I sometimes get to take boondoggle business trips.  You know, where they schedule an end-of-week meeting in a location "suitable" for an extended weekend stay.  My first boondoggle: Park City in December...see what I mean?  I obviously had to fly in a day early to make sure I got to the meeting in time, and I clearly had to leave a day late just in case the meeting went long, right?  And of course everything went as planned, so what else was I to do in Park City but go skiing?  After all, why should I be punished for being diligent?

My latest business trip wasn't really what you'd consider a true boondoggle.  Southern Maryland...not a popular vacation spot.  But fortunately for me, one of my bestest friends from college lives about a mile from the meeting location, so of course I jumped for joy to head across the country for a meeting/friend visit in Lexington Park, Maryland.

There's not a lot to do in Lex Park.  DC, Baltimore, and Annapolis are all at least an hour away.  Nevertheless, even quiet time with a great friend (and, of course, her chocolate lab) is always welcomed. But with this friend, there's always some adventure, and I ended up having a wonderful weekend that mostly revolved around food, which is generally how I operate, and fortunately, my friend loves to eat too!

I flew in (on first class, thank you United free upgrade) on Tuesday night, drove 2 hours from the airport and found my way to my friend's house.  Hungry, we planned on turning right around and heading out for a beer and some food.  I started to change out of my comfy airplane clothes into normal person clothes and realized I'd forgotten to bring a bra (that wasn't the sports bra I was wearing).  Super.  Trip to Kohl's which doesn't carry my size but I had to improvise. Food and socializing (which I'm not good at but she lives for) finished off the late night.

Day One I hopped out of the shower and realized that I had also forgotten to bring my work pants. Seriously?  I think I just decided I was done packing and stopped halfway through.  I found myself scrambling through my friend's closet to see if she had any pants that fit me.  YES!  I considered myself SO lucky to have forgotten my pants on the one business trip when I was staying with a friend that is exactly the same height and has a similarly sized bottom as me.  Phew.  Close call.  I would never live that down if the boss found out.

My first full day of meetings was followed by an ahhhmazing dinner at the local Indian restaurant.  I was surprised this town even had an Indian restaurant, but upon being informed that they do indeed have Indian, I decided we must go there.  The cool thing was that we didn't even order off the menu.  The restaurant owner simply asked us what meat (or veggie in my case) we wanted, and how spicy, and he created a menu for four of us of four dishes that complemented eachother.  Most of the dishes were new to me, which isn't complicated because I can count maybe two times (out of  a gazillion) that I haven't ordered the exact same dish (butter chicken or similar...which did actually make its way onto our table and for that I was extremely thankful).  In any case, this might have been THE best Indian food experience I've ever had.  Maybe it was the great company, maybe it was the custom designed menu, maybe it was simply the yummy food.  Whatever the case may be, I cannot wait to go back to Bollywood Masala (great name, huh?).

Second day of meetings...Panera for lunch again.  Could they not pick something different? Fortunately they have a relatively decent veggie sandwich, that costs a whopping 660 calories.  Oh and don't even bother looking at the 440 calorie chocolate chip cookie.  I looked and now my pants don't fit (that's right, the one's I forgot to bring!)  Spinning class after work took care of that so I was more than ready for dinner!

I had been waiting for this dinner for like a year.  There's this little restaurant I'd been to before that is just so cute.  It's a casual sandwich and soup kinda place, and all the tables are surrounded by shelves and shelves of wine and beer.  It reminded me of being home in Colorado.  And they have the best crab corn chowder ever.  We struggled to decide what to eat and settled on an antipasto appetizer of fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers and tomatoes, basil, and ciabatta bread.  It was served on recyclable paper you see why I love it so much?  Also, a crab cake sandwich (got's Maryland) and a rock fish sandwich (again...Maryland), accompanied by a cup (for each of us!) of the token chowder.  And beer, of course.  Mine from Munich (since I'm going there in 8 months!)

Friday was that overflow day...just in case the meeting went long, which it didn't.  Breakfast at a cute coffee shop, errands, leftovers from last night's dinner with some New Belgium Mothership Whit hand-carried from Georgia, and tailgating and a less-than-semi-pro baseball game (Maryland Blue Crabs).  To finish off the night, we watched the Sex and the City movie (for my first time and probably her 10th) and baked some cookies.

Saturday we had breakfast at the gas station.  That's right, breakfast at Wawa.  Turns out, they have the best coffee (and a huge selection...I got decaf hazelnut) and awesome sandwiches.  I'd had egg salad on a bagel the last time I was there and liked it so much I had to get one again...after all, I was somewhat on vacation!  Spent the day bumming around town, fetch club for the doggies, visit to Amish town for fresh cut flowers, and a second stop at the cute cafe for some scones to take home and some wine for gifting.  It was a sad drive to the airport after a really fun visit.

First class seats on the way home again (woohoo).  Flew through Chicago and had my first ever celebrity sighting!  Two rows in front of me on the airplane were Ashley Simpson and her hubby.  She's really thin.  That's all.

Great, great trip.  Can't wait to go back!

sous chef or dish washer?

Somebody loves helping in the kitchen:

Maybe this is why:

Is that wrong?

food for thought

Sunday morning brunch is the best, especially when it comes from Surfas Cafe.  Not only is the food delicious, it's also inspirational...

My breakfast sandwich came in a box that was adorned with a quote:

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well" ~Virginia Wolf

I love this quote.  Maybe because is somehow justifies my obsession with all things related to food.  Food is art, people!  It's art that you can see, feel, taste, smell.  How many paintings can you taste and smell?

Anyways...the message on my breakfast sandwich got me thinking about messages we get in food items. 

Fortune cookies, for example.  Are you more excited about the cookie or the fortune?  The fortune, duh!  I've actually seen people leave their cookie at the table after reading their fortune!  Ack!  Sometimes I keep my fortunes because I think they're interesting, or I somehow hope they come true.  Some try to tell mea little bit about myself, but those are just weird.  I once got a fortune that said "Something usual will happen next week at work."  That's right, something usual.  I thought I misread this because unusual would have made more sense here, but no.  I was looking forward to a usual week at work next week.  Great.  But even that got me work weeks are always a bit random and unusual, so was this telling me that the usual randomness would continue, or that my week would be really boring?  Hmmm...

Dove chocolate squares also come with little messages inside the chocolate wrapper.  In my humble opinion, these are kinda ridiculous.  I assume they're meant to be inspirational and bring joy to the reader.  Doesn't the chocolate bring enough joy?

My least favorite food messages?  Taco bell sauce packets.  Can anyone tell me what these even mean? 

What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods with messages?

pass the Nutella, please!

We have made three...that's right, THREE...batches of french baguettes this past week last week like a month ago.  At three loaves per batch, that's NINE baguettes...ridiculous, right?  I'm sure I'll say this a bazillion times over the life of this blog, but that's what I get for living with a guy that wants to be a chef.  The baguette craze certainly isn't the weirdest thing to have gone through the kitchen, but it might be the messiest and most time consuming (4-5 hours of mixing, kneading, rising, kneading, rolling, shaping, baking...geez).

Just LOOK at what comes out of the 500 degree oven every time we make these, though:

This is the first batch we made (also showing off the fancy new bread knife and bamboo cutting board that chef wannabe got for his birthday):

Ok, so we didn't have a fancy baguette pan at the time, so we had to rig up the oven with an upside-down cookie sheet and a cast-iron skillet.  Needless to say, we didn't get the proper baguette shape, but who cares? 

We cared.  And immediately ran out for a baguette pan.  Next two batches looked like this:

I don't know why, but it took us two batches before we realized we ought to have nutella for this.  I don't know where our heads were.  French bread + nutella = awesomeness.  Yep.

The bread obsession didn't end there.  Yeast in hand, we just had to make pizza as well.

Inspired by the brilliance of Mario Batali (and Nancy Silverton and Joe Bastianich) of Pizzeria Mozza, we topped our homemade pizza crust with a ricotta cheese sauce of sorts (weird, I know), bacon bits, shiitakes, roasted fennel and garlic, scallions, and goat cheese.  Toppings were ahh-mazing, crust was eh.  I'm a crust girl but this one didn't really do it for me.  Fail.  Not the first, and certainly won't be the last.  So goes the life of a wanna-be chef's girlfriend (dishwasher and cheerleader!)

Oh, and this is what The Dog thought of all of this:

That is, until he got our rejected pizza crust!