Sunday, January 30, 2011

The best weekends are those spent among friends

Last night we had our friends, Christie and Alan over for dinner. Christie and I grew up together and were friends throughout junior high and high school, although were never that close. She moved to Colorado after our junior year and I didn't see or hear from her until she found out that we had moved to Colorado in 2006. We met for lunch and had dinner once years ago. Then life happened.

After not seeing them for a few years, when Chris and I moved to the south side of Denver in August, we reached out to meet up with them. It turns out they only life about 2 miles from us. So, last night dinner started at 6:30 and ended around midnight. Lots of laughs, lots of food and probably a little too much wine. I twas a wonderful evening. And we are already planning our next evening of shenanigans.

Today I am meeting on of my best friends in Denver for pedicures and lunch. Lisa has 2 boys 2 and 6 months so isn't able to get out of the house with out them very often. We try to meet once a month for some girl time, and today is my lucky day! How great that it is on the heels of such a fun evening. It's like the cherry on top of a completely perfect sundae (or should I say, Sunday?)!

And speaking of cherries...we are meeting at the Cherry Cricket for an AWESOME burger. It's been a Denver establishment for years. And the quality of the bar food is pretty incredible.

So, cheers to a perfect weekend!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Like umm assembly lines are...

Let me start by saying that I have been volunteering for Junior Achievement since sometime in college. That means I have been doing this for more than 15 years. And primarily for second and third grades. I love the little buggers. And I have to admit that I learn something new from every class I teach. Mostly it's about imagination, honesty and love.

Today was the first time I can actually say that I heard the same wrong yet completely right response to a question that I heard a few years ago, and it still cracks me up. So, here's the context:

Today the students learn that "produce" can also mean "to make" and does not only refer to fruits and vegetables. They also learn the value of working as a team and the differences between 2 different production methods: Unit production and an assembly line.

After a quick review of the previous lesson, we jumped in to today's lesson with little introduction. I wanted to get a gauge of the room so my first question was "what does produce mean?" I got the standard, "you know, the healthy stuff at the grocery store" followed by typical "nuh uh, it's only apples and bananas" and the usual "the stuff you put in a salad." Now that that's out of their systems, we talk about making stuff and producing products. They get it. So, it's time to move on.

My next question was "what is an assembly line." This is awesome. EVERY hand in the room went up. I hold to the fact that in 15+ years, these really are some of the smartest 2nd graders I have come across (albeit a bit unruly with their substitute teacher today). And then Haven said the following, "um um like um, assembly lines are um like when we all line up in the um hallway to um go to the gym for um like something special." Best. Answer. EVER! And she's not wrong.

From there the lesson digressed. I lost control of the room. It's 65 degrees and sunny here today. Coupling that with a substitute teacher and a Friday means that you don't have a prayer of getting through to them today . Thankfully it's not until next week that we learn about government, taxes and voting!

So, there you have it. An assembly line is when we all line up in the hallway to go to the gym for something special. Or, it's how we make cars and stuff. You choose.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You learn something new every day

It's true. You really do. And today I hit the jackpot of wisdom nuggets. Here's what I learned...and in the order I learned them too!

  1. Getting ready for a new desk to be delivered is fun. Especially when the delivery and assembly only takes 10 minutes!
  2. Getting re-organized is easy when you only have 1 drawer.
  3. When a dog follows you around then starts making funny noises, she's gonna puke.
  4. 4:00 pm is not an opportune time to ask for help from a client
  5. 4:00 pm is a great time to go for a run! 2.5 miles today...I am happy with that!
  6. It is a great idea to move the old desk to it's new home...Chris' office AKA, the basement after running 2.5 miles
  7. My strength is significantly depleted after running 2.5 miles.
  8. Desks with corners can leave HUGE bruises on ankle bones.
  9. Chips/dents in the wall can be patched.
  10. The desk can be disassembled to move down the next flight of stairs.
  11. Tuesdays are great days for beer.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Desk to Match the Workload

I have officially spent the last of my Christmas money...I bought a bigger desk. The desk I am currently using is so small, that once I set up all the necessary components, I have to move my keyboard to write. It's a real bummer. And as I get busier, it's becoming more and more difficult to stay organized.

So, tomorrow my new desk will be delivered. I will have 4 inches of extra depth and 8 inches of length. That should equate to 32 square inches of BETTER ORGANIZATION!!

I will take snap a few photos after delivery. Oh, and it's a good thing I work from home...the delivery window is 10:15 am to 12:45 pm. I hate when they do that! But I guess that if I didn't work from home, this won't be a topic anyway.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Non-Resolution Date Night UPDATE

Ok, I am a slacker. But not really, just been neglecting the blog because of the INSANE amount of work on my plate. So, in a nutshell, dinner was fabulous! Four new recipes including two that I will definitely make again and one that I will alter to make better. Desert was OK, but by that point, we were over the dining room, retired the camera, had opened the second bottle of wine and were in comfy clothes. So, no pictures of desert. Sorry!

As for the reconnection, well, let's just say we need to work on those skills a little. It does not mean talking about how we'd alter recipes or wondering if his folks were having fun at the hockey game. At one point we were laughing pretty hysterically because we both work from home and make lunch together every day...we were thinking there was nothing left to say. But there always is...and we found it! It was wonderful to just be.

Here's how stuff looked: Oh, and Chris picked up the flowers for me! I have the best hubby in the world!The table set with the Three Onion Chowder and Parsleyed Oyster Crackers.
BTW, Chris set the table, hence the napkins on the wrong side! But at least he used real napkins and not paper towel.

The Three Onion Chowder was INCREDIBLE!! That will go in the rotation of weekend meals, and could probably be a meal in itself. I found the recipe here.
Yes, we read the Huffington Post. Not the point.

There is no way to take a picture of meat and have it look pretty, unless you are a professional, I suppose. The Steak Pinwheels were lackluster to say the least. I will hold on to that recipe and later it. The sun dried tomato and olive spread was really good, but maybe best served on the side rather than rolled up inside the meat. The potatoes, however, were absolutely divine! You have to like mushrooms, and it's a pretty rich dish, but holy catfish was it delicious! Here's the recipe. I wouldn't make a single change to it!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Non-Resolution #1

I have found that resolutions for a new year are, for the most part, a load of bunk. Few people actually stick to them, most make the same list year after year, and virtually nobody I know makes a resolution that looks beyond the next 12 months. That makes us all a bunch of quitters, and I don't like to quit stuff. So...

This year we decided to change things up a bit...up the ante, if you will. In stead of a "New Year's Resolution", we have decided to make a commitment to each other that we want to carry our for the rest of our lives. We find that we get so lost in the day-to-day stuff and looking to the next time I travel or when we will have company that we forget to enjoy all the moments in between. And to make matters worse, we try so hard to be financially conservative that the occasional "date night" is even skipped because we would rather allocate that money to something else. And who wants to drop that much coin to eat a meal that you could cook just as well! Although, I do love that somebody else will do the dishes!

Here is the commitment we have made to each other for the rest of our lives (I know, we should have put this in our wedding vows!):
Once a month, we will have a dressed-up, jazz music playing, new food trying, three-course meal, at home, in the dining room, on the fancy dishes, with a nice bottle of wine (read: more than $10), no hockey, no TV, no iPhones, just us and a little Miles Davis.
The only rules are stated in the commitment. So, January 15 will be our first of many many new date nights. Here's the menu:

Three Onion Chowder with Parsleyed Oyster Crackers

Main Course:
Steak Pinwheels with Basil Pesto, Sundried tomatoes and Black Olives
Potato Gratin with mushrooms and Gruyere

Apple Tort with Breadcrumb-Hazelnut crust

Yep, I know, WAY too much food. But it's date night and hence the cheat night. No comments are allowed on caloric intake, fat grams, carbs, or any other non-positive "you shouldn't do that" type feedback. All other comments are welcomed!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Random Thoughts While Shoveling

This morning as I was shoveling our driveway and sidewalk for the second time in 12 hours, I had time to conjure up some really random thoughts. And in the order that I thought them, here you go!

1. Had we not had that blizzard in 2006 with 40" of snow in 24 hrs I probably would have never learned the lesson of "shovel as it falls." Today would have sucked had I not moved the first 6" off the driveway last night. YAY ME!2. Shoveling is a great cross training workout. Rather than hitting the gym this morning, I alternated between left-handed and right-handed shoveling. I even did some lunges and squats as I moved the white stuff.

3. I'll betcha that guy a few doors down won't have the same sense of accomplishment I will. He's using a snow blower. That's like cheating on winter.
4. I sure hope Chris made a whole pot of coffee this morning. It's freezing out here! I may want more than my standard 2 cups!

5. Why didn't we look harder for a south-facing house so this stuff would melt off the driveway faster?

6. I should have asked for a now blower for Christmas.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Normal at Last...or so I Thought

Yesterday was a VERY long day for us. I slept terribly the night before, too worried that all 4 of us would sleep through our alarms and not be up in time to make our flight. At 4:45 am (which would have been 2:45 am in CO) I stopped fighting it and jumped in the shower. Got the the airport with enough time to grab a paper and a bottle of water and board our flight.

An on-time departure (for real this time, we were actually wheels up on time!) with a slightly early arrival, we had to sit on the tarmac for a bit. Frustrating, but we were in Whole Foods grabbing lunch and a few staples by 11:45 so you really can't complain about that. After lunch, I went to pick the dogs up (thanks for the gift Mom and Dad!!!) and came home to finish the work day.

Leaving the eastern time zone to work in the mountain time zone means that 2 hours after my body was telling me it was time for wine and the fifth meal of the day, I still had 4 hours of my work day left! Sigh. Back to normal, and that's a good thing!

Dinner was scrambled eggs and toast and I could barely stay awake long enough to get the dishes done. By 8:00 I was really fighting the exhaustion. I lasted until 9 and flopped into my own bed with a sigh of relief and didn't wake until the alarm went off at 7:00. It was the best sleep I had had in a week. I brushed my teeth and was so excited to start a day as normal. I put on my fake slippers and favorite work uniform (MPHS sweatpants from 1994 and a Michigan State sweatshirt that's 4 sizes too big!) and opened the door to the scent of fresh brewed coffee... and dog puke.

Apparently one of the dogs was so excited to be home they puked (or something) in my office. Ugh. At least it's not a Monday! So, I cleaned it up, washed my hands, put a cleaner uniform on and am at my desk ready to hit the ground running on this fine Thursday!

It was so great to see everyone (sorry we missed you Sue!), even if it was for only for a minute. Your families are beautiful. Mox clan, what a dynamic group of little ones...and all so beautiful. Hopefully we can coordinate a visit where we have time to actually visit...maybe not a holiday! And Allison, I am in absolute awe of your kids and how you and Matt are raising them. So beautiful and smart--but good luck with that kiki issue. She's a tough one! Next time we are back, we'd love to spend a more time with you maybe a dinner or lunch or something!

I have more to say but this is enough for today. Well, all that and, thank you to all of you for taking a little time out of your days/evenings to hang with me and Chris. We love you all!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beautiful Morning

Is there anything better than lightly falling snow and a cup of coffee first thing in the morning? It seems so quiet and peaceful. I hope the stillness and calm of the day are indicative of what 2011 will bring for my family. It seems that the last few years have been anything but still and calm for all of us. Regardless of what the new year brings, I resolve to find stillness and calm in days that are anything but.