Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hot stuff

Not a lot going on around here. It's been pretty quiet as we get ready for our week-long family vacation. I can't help but feel it's the calm before the storm...with 14 McFarlane's in one place at one time, it can only be called a storm. Or maybe a fray. OOOO...or chaos. Regardless, it will be fun! Before we know it, it will be fall and I will in the thick of busy travel season again.

But in the mean time, here's some hot stuff to think about.

Hot Air:
Summer is officially upon us and the weather in Denver is finally summer-like. And for the extended forecast, it's looking like the low to mid 90's and plentiful Colorado sunshine! Which is great. Except for those long runs on Saturday mornings as I continue with the Summer of Run and prepare for my second half-marathon of the season. I need to figure out a way to take more water with me. My water bottle holds enough for 5-6 miles on a hot morning, this weekend I run 8. Or at least that's the plan.

Hot Oven:
Well, ours isn't. The motherboard died. So, if I want to use the oven or stove top burners, I have to endure incessant a chronic smoke alarm. I love to cook, but there's got to be a better way. So, until we can get a new computer thingy for our oven/stove control panel, it will remain unplugged. Since we are having friends for dinner on Saturday, I am accepting a personal challenge of grilling EVERYTHING! So far, we are having pork chops, grilled garlic bread, grilled romaine salad with Caesar vinaigrette and for desert, grilled Colorado peaches with vanilla bean ice cream. I'll let you know how it goes.

Hot Dogs:
No, not the edible variety, I am talking about K9's in the summer. One of them is shedding and the other needs sunscreen on her belly. The shedding is grossing me out. We will have him groomed next week to get all of his undercoat pulled out, but it will only last until the next weather change when it will start all over again. As for the beagle and her love of a good hot sunbeam, well, let's just say that I don't have to worry about carpet or wood floor discoloration from too much sunlight. If there's a sunbeam in the house, she finds it and warms her belly until the sunbeam is gone for the day. With all the black hair on her body that actually gets hot to the touch, I am not sure how she stands it!

Stay cool!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

" This is the best invention since sliced bread"

To quote my husband directly! For those of you who read my guest blog post on Design Thoughts (owned by one of my oldest and dearest friends, Kim Salter), you know that Chris is turning a corner with regard to health.

He had his annual physical last week and at that time also received the results of his lab work. The a1c test (measures average blood sugar levels over a months time) came back slightly high. Couple that with his high cholesterol and tendency to carry his weight around his mid-section and he is, as the doctor called it, "almost pre-diabetic" and at an elevated risk for heart disease. His doctor recommended that he back off the refined carbs, sugars, white potatoes and empty calories and try to eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. All Chris heard was, "eat fewer carbs."

I will give it to him though, he is asking me questions like "is this one of those carbs that takes a long time to digest and won't spike my blood sugar?" Just asking is HUGE progress. We are overcoming his overwhelming need to have chips with his lunch by having homemade coleslaw (recipe to follow) that he can put in a ramekin. He won't measure anything so at least I know that the ramekin only holds 1/2 a cup...3/4 if you really pack it in.

Tuesday night we were having burgers for dinner and Chris was telling me how good they were, but when he is really craving a burger, it's not just the burger he's the act of eating with his hands (this is where we differ a little. I HATE getting condiments on my hands...they smell for hours!).

With that, I went to the refrigerator and opened the baggie of washed iceberg lettuce I had on hand, gently tore off a whole leaf and handed it to him. He looked at me like I was asking to tweeze his eyebrows or something. Sheesh. When I helped him wrap up his burger, the still thought I was crazy. Then he took a bite...the look on his face said it all! His happiness was written all over his face (and apron, and napkin, and hands)!

With a mouth full of a makeshift burger he exclaimed "Holy cow! That's the best invention since...well, sliced bread!" I am pretty sure I saw the lettuce wrapped burger offered as a low-carb burger on some menu somewhere so I can't take all the credit. But he thought I was a genius at that moment and who am I to disappoint him!

Side note: Butter lettuce would work better in that the leaves are more shaped and tend to stay in tact better than iceberg does...but who keeps butter lettuce in the refrigerator?

So, next time you are looking to ditch the bun but enjoy a burger, re-purpose your lettuce!

Coleslaw recipe:
1/2 c. Canola mayo (healthier fat than regular mayo...)
1/2 c. light sour cream (we actually use full fat organic. we just like it better!)
1 bag pre-shredded, pre-washed cabbage (or 1 head of do-it-yourself cabbage, good luck with that)
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
2 limes
scallions for garnish (or 1 bunch of green onions, finely chopped)
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine mayo, sour cream, zest of 2 limes, and juice of 1 lime in a small bowl and mix well.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, cilantro and optional green onions (reserve scallions for garnish). Toss to combine
  3. Pour wet ingredients over cabbage and toss to combine (tongs work well for this)
  4. Cover and refrigerate. Eat when you want to!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I should have left the house earlier

In case you haven't heard this story, it's WAY to funny to not blog. Here's the scoop:

It was last week...Thursday, June 9, 2011. I had been in Dallas (well, Plano, TX actually) for a full week already and was scheduled to visit a client in Stuttgart, Arkansas.

My flight to Little Rock was to depart at 6:55 am. I stayed with my in-laws who live only 15 minutes from Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW).

The night before (Wednesday night) my mother-in-law and I discussed what time I would be getting up and leaving for the airport so that she would know why the dogs were barking in the wee morning hours. My plan was to get up at 4:30, hit the showers, and be out the door no later than 5:30 am.

At 3:45 I wake up, look at the clock and think "sweet! another hour of sleep" and fall back to sleep. Then I hear a tap on the door.

Carolyn: "Jenna, are you up"
Me: "Yeah, is everything OK."
Carolyn: "I don't know, are you up."
Me: "YES, are you OK?"
Carolyn: "Yeah, are you getting up"
Me: "Well, I am now, but it's only 4:50. I don't need to be up for another 45 minutes. Do you need something?"
Carolyn: "Oh, no, sorry, I thought you wanted to leave by 5:30"
Me: "HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!! Thank you! I am up now!"

Yep, I had 40 minutes to be client presentation worthy and out the door. Thank goodness I can be ready quickly when I have to.

5:30 am, I was out the door and on my way to return the rental car.

Returned the rental car by 5:50 and stood there waiting for the shuttle to the B terminal for 10 minutes. At 6:00 the manager told me to ride the bus to the A terminal and the driver would stop at B for me.

I confirmed with the driver he would stop at B.

Driver stopped at the A terminal, two people got off the bus, one got on. So, it was just me and one other guy.

Me: "Do you want me to get off here and take the sky link or will you stop at B"
Driver: "No, stay on the bus, I am going to B next."
Me: "Awesome, thank you!"

I watch the driver navigate the labyrinth that is DFW and am content that he's headed toward B. I look down to tweet some irrelevant fact and realize I've been on the bus too long. We are now headed back to the rental car facility.

Me: "Are we stopping at B?"
Driver: "Yeah, I forgot. I'll drop this guy off and take you back."
Me: "Um, that's not going to work for me. My flight leaves in 35 minutes."
Other Passenger: "Yeah, I have a meeting in Dallas at 8. I don't have time to go back to the terminal."
Me: "your car and meeting will be there if you are 10 minutes late. My plane will not be there if I am 10 minutes late."
Other Passenger: "Well, you should have left the house earlier."
Me: not out loud, but in my mind: "a$$hole"

We drop the guy at the facility and speed back to the B terminal. Security line is really long.

Me: "My flight leaves in 20 minutes. Is there any way that I could jump to the front of the line?"
TSA: "No. You should have left the house earlier."
Me: "yeah, that seems to be the consensus."

Finally through security 10 minutes before departure (and 12 gates away) I hear "Little Rock passenger Rowland, your flight is ready for departure and the door will be closing in 1 minute."

I run. In heels. Look like an idiot but JUST make the flight. People are staring at me. I am that guy, and yes, I know, I should have left the house earlier. I sit down. Buckle up and am ready to go. Breathe...

Pilot: "well, the ground crew forgot to load the gate check bags so we will be a few minutes late getting out of here but will be able to make it up in the air."
Me: "of course we will be late. I am sweating in a suit and my feet hurt. I could have walked."

Land in Little Rock, on time but I am starving! Haven't had anything to eat or drink. Walk across the hall to get a bagel with strawberry cream cheese (I couldn't resist!), a diet coke and HUGE bottle of water. Grab a stack of napkins for just in case.

Pick up rental car, confirm map. Let car get cooled down a little. Eat half the bagel and am ready to go.

Jump on highway, make first exit onto 2-lane highway for rest of route. Decide to finish bagel. Strawberry cream cheese is gooey from the heat. Drips out of dumb bagel, slides down my pinkie and onto the leg of my pants.

Me: "Awesome."
Me again: "I should have left the house earlier"

Reach for just-in-case-napkins. Left them on counter at bagel place.
Me: "Figures."

Pull to side of road in middle-of-nowhere-Arkansas and lick the cream cheese off my pants. Use water to dilute spot and say a prayer that it's not noticeable by the time I get to the bank.

Get to the bank with time to spare. Client is a friend of mine I have known since 2002 School of Bank Marketing.

Client: "Jenna, are you OK? Your eyes are HUGE." hand signals to her assistant
Me: "You are never going to believe the morning I've had"
Assistant walks in with a box of tissues and bottle of water.
Client: "It's ok, you are safe here. Do you want to talk about it?"
Assistant hands me the tissues, I burst out laughing! Not a sad story. No tissues necessary. I tell the story until we are all in hysterics and laughing until our eyes water and we all need a tissue. And the spot on my pants was not noticeable until I pointed it out to them.

On a totally unrelated note, a very dear friend of mine has asked me to be a guest blogger on her Design Thoughts blog. Kim is an amazing interior designer, new(ish) mom, and wonderful wife. If you take a peek at my guest post, peruse the rest of her site! Great design and decor ideas!

Monday, June 6, 2011

But wait, there's more!!

I have blogged a few times about my love/hate relationship with Facebook. Today's story is a love story. One of my oldest, dearest friends, Kim had posted something about ants taking over her kitchen. Another friend of ours, Michelle, posted something about Tansy on a cotton ball keeping them out of the house. This was the second or third response Michelle had had to a friend of ours that was a natural remedy.

Last week, my cousin Allison and I had sequential posts and were getting lost in the memory of Grandma Melanie. And just when I thought I knew all the ways you could use panty hose that didn't involve legs of any kind, my friend Michelle posted one of the most incredible natural remedy blog posts I have read in a while. And it included yet another use for pantyhose! Check it out here!

Thanks, 'Shell for the shout-out. And for the additional use of pantyhose :-)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Confessions of a Wannabe

As per my morning routine, I scanned my friends' and family blogs and found that today, my cousin Allison wrote a blog titled, "Pantyhose...thrifty tips from Grandma Melanie" and I nearly spit coffee all over my computer when I read the title. The flood of memories and photographs in my mind were overwhelming. I laughed so hard I am fairly certain I woke the neighbors.

To follow suit, I am here to confess some things that have promoted my husband to ask "did Grandma Melanie teach you that?" On some occasions, he even pays me the highest compliment of saying "you are just like your Grandma Melanie," although at the moment he doesn't mean it as such--later in her life she did some things that nobody really wanted her using a makeshift scooter to wheel through the crawl space. But I sure hope I am just like her. She was pretty remarkable. So, today I will list the confessions of a wannabe Grandma Melanie.

  1. I reuse baggies for dry foods until there are holes in them too big to hold what I want to put in them next.
  2. I drink coffee out of the same mug every morning
  3. I made Good Cookies this week (that's a post for another day!)
  4. I actually said on Monday, "my legs hurt, my allergies are killing me and I am weak. But I have my own teeth!" Really, Jenna? You had to throw out the "teeth" reference? Unless you heard Grandma say that, you wouldn't get it. But in my defense, I had just finished the BolderBoulder 10k with 56,000 people, uphill and hungry.
  5. I tied my ski boots together for the season with pantyhose
  6. Like Allison, I actually contemplated cutting the elastic off some underwear because I needed a giant rubber band. I resisted that one.
  7. I started whistling for no apparent reason. And I liked it.
  8. I have been shopping for wind chimes. I used to hate wind chimes
  9. I have been smiling and waving a lot lately. Not sure what prompted that, but it's an OK thing.
  10. Chris caught me climbing on the counter tops to get something heavy down that I couldn't reach. When he offered to get it for me, I just glared at him like he was an idiot for asking and went about my business. That evoked a laugh out of both of us.
  11. I cut a hole in a old beach towel to make a smock.
Now, while that's not a comprehensive list, some of the things I am doing are because it's just a darn good, thrifty idea that Grandma Melanie gave me. The others are things that I don't even think about. Trying to always find the good, smiling and waving, whistling, and fierce independence are things that I think I must have just picked up along the way. When I do them I am not thinking "oh, Grandma used to do this..." They just sort of happen. And it's not a bad thing at all. And for all of the Grandma Melanie I am noticing in me, I see even more of it in Allison. Alli, if you read this, if I find underwear elastics anywhere in your house ever, I will put perfume in your laundry detergent. For all the marvelous things we picked up from Grandma Melanie, that's the only one that may fall in to "too tacky to be thrifty" category. However, if you want to stash turtles or peanut butter crackers in every drawer in the house, I will support that. Love you!!