Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Runner by Thomas Perry and Almost There by Nuala O'Faolain

I had just started reading the memoir Almost There.  Then our library had a used book sale with two-for-one paperbacks.  I was ECSTATIC to find Runner, the most recent of the Jane Whitefield series by Perry.  The main character is a strong, smart woman who helps people disappear.  I love this series, so couldn't resist starting it right away.  I'm pacing myself to extend the pleasure, so I'm switching between the two books.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dinner for one...

broiled salmon, oven-grilled brussel sprouts, Tagliolini al Limone

I probably have mentioned before that Carey doesn't like salmon.  It is one of my favorites, so since I was on my own tonight, I indulged myself.  And while at the store, I picked up some fresh brussel sprouts (he doesn't like those either).  I saw the recipe for the Taglioni al Limone on Pinterest the other day, and thought it would go well with the fish.

Now I'm stuffed...but content.  And happy there are leftovers.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jewelry organizer...

Well, I've done it again...I forgot to take the before photo.

I found a cupcake stand at Goodwill the other day. I've been wanting one for awhile, so that was an easy dollar to spend...even if it was a horrid gold color.   Here it is painted a nice Heirloom White (by Rustoleum).

I measured the diameter of each cupcake 'ring,' and set out with my car keys and trusty tape measure to hunt for bowls.  I found just what I wanted. 

They have a lip at the base just a hair smaller in diameter than the cupcake rings so they sit secure in each one, and are shallow enough to fit between the tiers.

They are the perfect size to hold my chunkiest necklaces.

One bowl is for the stuff I wear every day. 

And the rims are perfect to hook earrings over...studs rest in the bottom.

And when the need arises, the bowls can be removed so it can be used as a cupcake stand again.  I love objects that perform multiple purposes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Woefully behind on Saturday snail mail...

I've not been very good about keeping up with my round two of the '52 Letters in 52 Weeks' challenge this year.  I think I've only mailed four so far...still catch up-able, but I was really shooting for one a week.

The card above doesn't even qualify, since it had no letter inside...just a signature.  But I did make it and hand deliver it yesterday to my friend who is still in the hospital after back surgery. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What I'm reading Wednesday...

photo credit:

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley.

I'm working my way through all of Ms. Kearsley's books.  Love the time travel aspect of them. 

I'm off this week, so I have lots of time to read, but I'm trying to limit myself on the reading and actually get some long procrastinated chores done too.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Breakfast for dinner...

Home alone on a dreary rainy evening.  Don't want to venture out.  Don't want to cook a proper meal just for one.

Cozy comfort food found in breakfast...for dinner.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Still reading Breakfast With Buddha by Roland Merullo.  Hard to read and knit at the same time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine Legend...

photo credit:

It was a cold and frosty night.  As midnight came and went, I retired to a guest room in the home of a stranger.  I was attending the wedding of my best friend's daughter.  It was being held at the ranch of her future in-laws, and the out-of-town guests were given lovely rooms in either the beautiful main house, or one of the guest houses.  Each room was generously gifted with a box of Godiva chocolates much like the one with a big red a thank you for attending and a reminder of the romance of the occasion.

I had recently committed to a healthy eating plan, and I tried very hard to ignore this beautiful gold box.  But I was wide awake, and feeling a little nervous, and missing my friend, and aching for her girls who I knew were missing her too.  And the box was whispering my name.  So I decided to have just one piece of chocolate.

I carefully slid the red silk ribbon off of the box, wanting to be able to replace it to slow the slide down the slippery slope to a second piece, or even a third.  I lifted the top off of the box.  There inside, atop the delicate lining paper, was a small red envelope.  I'm imagining that it is a promotional offer of some kind, but I'm trying to prolong the gorgeous moment of mouth-watering expectation, so I open the envelope and remove a card.

It says, "Congratulations.  You are a first prize winner in the 2004 Godiva Valentine's Day giveaway...a five-day vacation for two at a Westin Hotel in the European city of your choice."

I look at it for a long time.  I read the small print.  I put the card back in the box, and I replace the ribbon exactly as it was.  And then I put the box in my suitcase and zip it closed.

I wake early the next morning.  I go downstairs.  The bride is up and in the kitchen looking out the window.  It had snowed overnight, and she sings Nice Day For A White Wedding in her best Billy Idol voice.  I smile.

The wedding is beautiful.  I cry.  I drink champagne.  I talk to grandparents and aunt and friends.  And I say nothing.  I imagine saying something.  Wonder how to word it.  But I am sure that if I do, someone who is more accustomed to opening expensive chocolates will smile benignly, and think that the poor little rube is fooled by a publicity ploy...a mass printed check made out to 'your name here' if you will.  And I don't want to ruin the memory of the beautiful day with an embarrassing gaffe.

At the end of the day, I drive the sweet little sister of the bride (whose red hair always brings to mind the day I gazed at it first through the hospital nursery window on the day she was born) back to her college dorm near my home.  And still I say nothing, because by this time I know that it cannot possibly be real.

When I finally walk in my own house, I greet my husband.  Give him a few highlights of the wedding.  And seclude myself in my office.  I go to the Godiva website and look for information on a giveaway. 

And there it is.  Grand Prize is a car...a BMW I believe.  And one hundred first prizes (or was it fifty?)...five-day vacation for two at a Westin Hotel in the European city of your choice. 

Holy. Crap.

It was real.  I took my sister.  We signed affidavits and releases.  We applied for passports.  We chose Dublin, Ireland as our of our ancestors. 

I still feel guilt over the fact that I probably should have gifted the trip to the bride and groom, but honestly I had already mentioned it to my sister before I thought of that and I think it would have broken her heart.

And there it is.  A Valentine legend that will not be topped in my lifetime.

Happy Valentine's Day to all.  And to all a goodnight.

(Oh, and I did get around to telling the bride. She couldn't have been sweeter or more excited for me to take the trip. It is a legend in the retelling of the wedding story for her and her husband too.)


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Clickety clack...

The knitting needles have been clicking out a staccato rhythm for the past week.

You've seen Chloe's hat already when I had her and Caitlyn try it on to make sure it fit. 

Caitlyn didn't want hers to be identical, so I went with a black stripe instead of green, and I changed from a bow to a crocheted flower with a black button center.

And when Diego found out I was knitting hats for the girls, he requested one in black and red.  His is made of wool that is a finer weight, and he's quite a bit older than the girls, so I opted to increase the stitch count quite a bit.  It's a little large, but he can wear it longer, right?  Oh, well, it will keep his ears warm.

When I delivered Diego's this afternoon, I took orders for color choices from Bobby and Chandler.  But they won't be getting theirs in time to take skiing this week.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Food, glorious food...

 tonight's dinner: grilled pork loin steak,
with baked sweet potato and green beans

This week has been filled with fabulous meals.  Exquisite, delectible, scrumptios meals...a lot of them in restaurants, and all with missed photo ops.  I am so bad about remembering to take a photo before tucking in.

At work we talk about being good and bringing our lunch, but we end up going out to lunch every day.  It's a way to get away from the office and break up the day, but it's very fiscally irresponsible.  A few weeks ago a new restaurant opened practically on our doorstep.  We've heard a lot of good reports on the food, but that it gets very crowded if you're not there early.  On Tuesday we managed to get away a little early and beat the rush.  We ordered a fried pickle appetizer (yum!), and I had fish tacos which were really delicious.

On Wednesday Carey and I went for an early Valentine's meal together at the best restaurant around.  We both had a really good creamed poblano soup. I had lamb chops with a pomegranite marinade, and they were served with an apple-and-mint chutney and mashed potatoes and green beans.  Carey had two quail stuffed with a jalapeno and sausage stuffing.  They were served atop a fried potato pancake and with green beans.  Then we really splurged calories on a white chocolate bread pudding and key lime pie.

Thursday I went to an anniversary celebration at two design stores with some friends.  Beautiful things to look at and great company.  Then we went out to dinner.  I chose an Asian salad with grilled salmon...oh my goodness, it was wonderful.

Tonight I put sweet potatoes in the oven, green beans on the stove, and pork loin steaks (marinated with teriyaki, brown sugar, and ginger) on the grill (photo above).  It got rave reviews from the hubs, which is always nice.  It's fun to go out, but I'm having fun experimenting with my Christmas present too.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Last week I looked and looked for a pattern for a particular style of hat, but could only find a pattern done on double pointed needles.  I gave them a try...I really did...but as usual I didn't give myself much time to finish the project, and I didn't think I would be able to finish while using a new technique.

That very evening I was checking in on my blog list.  When I popped in to visit Elizabeth , lo and behold she had posted the exact style of hat I was trying for and a link to her pattern knitted on just two needles!  I was flooded with a sense of relief!

I didn't have much time to knit last week, but I have now completed one, and today I took it over to try it on my models.  

A perfect fit on Caitlyn...

...and on Chloe too.

Now that I know that no adjustments are needed, I will be starting the next one.  It should work up even quicker.  I have a week and a half before they leave for their ski vacation.  These will be perfect to keep their heads and ears warm for their snow days.

Diego even requested one done in black and red...without the bow.  :)

Thanks, Elizabeth!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The best laid plans...

No matter how hard I try, I can never seem to put a meal on the table on time.

Yesterday I made my menu for the week, and made a massive grocery run (I was out of everything).  Done.

Earlier today I pre-cooked meat to make it quick to toss together recipe ingredients later, and I repackaged others for slow cooker recipes so that they will be quick to thaw.  Done.

Tonight's dinner was going to be a new recipe.  A microwave 'roasted' chicken.  Into the dish easy peasy.  Set the cook time for 40 minutes and walked away.  About ten minutes later I heard an odd silence from the kitchen.  Apparently my cheapo microwave gets overheated and shuts itself off.  At its rate of run time, my 40 minute chicken would have taken about two hours...I could have had it done quicker in the conventional oven.  I opted to drive my chicken over to Kasey's and use her microwave to finish cooking it.

On the bright side, the chicken did turn out tender and moist, and not at all what I would think a microwaved chicken would turn out like.  And we enjoyed it even if it was a little later than planned.

I boned what was left and have already added it to a casserole ready for another night.  But I'm not going to put any bets on getting that on the table on time either.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What I'm reading Wednesday...

Time for some lighter fare.

Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon.

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