just for fun

Friday, September 28, 2007

zoecat is insane

for months, her favorite thing to lick has been the dvd case for i robot. i think i told you once about how she licks plastic. she's happy to lick most anyold plastic, but somehow, i swear, she knows the difference and especially likes the i robot case. until recently. now she's completely smitten with the apple cinnamon flavored garden harvest toasted chip bag. not the chips. the chip bag.

what a face she's making when i took the bag away...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

thirteen favorite smells

(week 29)

1. freshed baked cookies

2. when its about to rain

3. thai food. coconut and curry and stuff.

4. grilling out

5. clean. just how the apartment smells after a good cleaning, not like institutional/hospital clean smell

6. strawberries

7. bacon

8. pipe tobacco

9. piles of leaves in the fall

10. rosemary

11. minty fresh breath

12. just brewed coffee

13. andrew's cologne

view other thirteeners here

Monday, September 24, 2007

i've been on a soup kick lately

i think i'm just ready for it to feel like fall, which its not really going to do here, even though it is technically fall now. so i keep trying different soups in attempt to fake fall. and of course i'm going to pick somewhat fruity soups, since i love to cook dishes that include fruits. this recipe comes via care2. the website offers a ton of green living tips and recipes. some of which are martha stewarty (in that 'who really does that anyway' sort of way. sure i'd love to grow my own carrots but since i can't, i'm ok to buy them at the grocery) but some are down to earth and great.

squash, cider, and apple soup

2 tablespoons
unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
2 large apples (any kind), peeled, cored, and chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
¼ teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1 ½ cups fresh cider
2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Large pinch of ground cloves

melt the butter in a medium-size pot or large saucepan over moderate heat. stir in the onion, cover, and sweat for 10 minutes. add the squash, apples, stock, salt, and bay leaf to the pot. bring to a boil, reduce the heat to moderately low, cover, and simmer the soup until the squash and apples are very soft, about 20 minutes. remove from the heat. as the soup simmers, pour the cider into a medium-size skillet, bring to a boil, and reduce to 4 or 5 tablespoons. remove from the heat. remove the bay leaf from the soup, then spoon the solids into a food processor. process the mixture until smooth, then stir it back into the broth. add the reduced cider. reheat the soup, stirring in the brown sugar and spices. serve piping hot. enjoy!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

we are setting ourselves up for a bowl game disaster

i heart football season. all football.

i tolerate basketball, but not pro ball. i can watch the olympics, but only because, well, its the olympics and everyone likes the olympics. its more about torches and flags and underdogs than anything else. otherwise, not a sports fan. i do not enjoy baseball. i think nascar is ridiculous. i think golf and tennis are ok to play, but not fun for me to watch. so the months between march madness and the start of football are fairly dull. strangely though, i don't have a favorite team other than uk. you can't be raised in ky and not support the whole university of kentucky athletics department (though some fiends like university of louisville for some reason).

for the past month, we have only been able to check scores online for local ky football. i've been very pleased to check friday night high school and saturday college scores but we hadn't figured out a way to watch or listen to any games. until two days ago.

its like a lexus and olive tree moment. friedman's book, in very brief summation, states that there are two conflicting pulls on the world, the drive for prosperity (the lexus) and the need to maintain traditions and identity (the olive tree). often, people are able to maintain both pulls when they intersect at technology. friedman opens the book with a picture of an orthodox jew praying at jerualem's wailing wall. bearded and in traditional garb, he is deep prayer. in his hand, however, is a cell phone, which he had placed agains the wall so that a relative in france can also pray at the wall. naturally, all of friedman's examples are infinitely more poignant than my tale here, but i don't care. i moved out to vegas for my job (prosperity, the lexus) and friday night, via the internet, i got to listen to my high school football team (the olive tree), the trigg county wildcats, stomp on reidland, 42-0! who would have ever thought that the country bumpkins at WKDZ would be streaming live online. we are 5 and 0, neck and neck for first place in our division. its going to be a great season.

my saturdays will soon be filled with listening to uk football (also the wildcats). kentucky is known for basketball. we dominated ncaa throughout the 90s (and hopefully will again starting this year now that we have a new couch). we're the most winningest team. ever. but, um, our football team, well, we have one, more or less. and then last year, we managed to play in our first bowl game in about thirty years. miraculously, we won. then this year. we just keep winning. we beat eastern and kent state, managing to get ranked in the 30s (probably the highest we had ever been ranked). then we beat #9 louisville and got bumped up to #21. yesterday we beat arkansas. i am dying to know what are new rank is going to be.

so don't get me wrong, i clearly love to win. but the problem is, if we have a spectacular winning season, then we'll get into a nicer bowl game and there get stomped on by a real team. we need to get into a low enough bowl game that we can do the stomping. cause really, who remembers these things?? who remembers what bowl it was, whether it was the taco bell bowl or the cingular bowl? who remembers who we played against? no one does. but saying we won a bowl two years in a row, people remember that.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

grand adventure

today we went to california and it ended up being a much longer adventure that we'd planned. we headed out around 10am and only now just getting back...

our first stop: baker, ca. alien capital of the world. (its the area 51 exit). in baker, you can find several minutes of fun: a greek restaurant, many souvenir shops, and the 'alien beef jerky shop.'

then it was on to barstow, ca. the town nearest ft erwin. there we tracked down several thrift stores and army surplus stores. there was also supposed to be a comic shop but it was closed. and best of all, we turned in all our recyclables for cash. seven pounds of cans, eight pounds of plastic, 65 pounds of glass (we love diet snapple teas...i know what you are thinking but we honestly did not have 65 pounds of beer bottles...) equals $26.10

finally we headed over to ft erwin, ca. i thought it would be nice to be on a proper army post again; trips to nellis air force base are a bit lacking (except for having the only cap't d's fast food on this half of the country). and andrew has been wanting to shop at an army clothing sales for a good long while. he just can't find the right army stuff at the clothing sales on nellis. the trip onto post started off well; they actually checked our id's at the gate and made us get a visitors pass (security at nellis is a joke. really. tsa at the airport is more on top of things than the air force.) we got onto post and headed to the PX but unfortunately, it was being remodeled. we did also find clothing sales but they didn't have much national guard stuff either. so now we know. now andrew doesn't have to sit around and wonder and wish the drive wasn't so long and want to go to ft erwin to buy army stuff. and now i know what ft erwin is like since he spends the majority of his one-weekend-a-month-thing there. apparently the terrain there is spot on northern iraq.

sadly, the best part of the day happened at rainbow road super walmart, after we got back into town. we finally found the last license plate from our vacation's license plate game. you probably don't remember since that was the first of august and its not end of september, but we were missing rhode island (found on campus a day or so after returning), vermont (found last weekend at the san gennarro italian festival), and now finally west virgina, found last night. i wouldn't let andrew start over until we found all fifty so he's been just desperate to find WV. a few weekends ago, we even drove up and down every row at the BX on nellis. i think we might have spotted all 49 other states in that parking lot, leading us to doubt WV patriotic ferver. he's already started over and we are both mildly interested in knowing how long it will take to find all fifty just in this city (not to imply that we are a multicultural melting pot of a city, more like a noncultural pothole of a city, but that is a different rant for a different day).

so that was our adventure and now we are tired.

in other news, mary and drew were married today! congratulations!! absolutely best of luck on the longest adventure of your lives!

Friday, September 21, 2007

people who talk out loud during the show should be shot

so the KA show wasn't as fun as i'd hoped. i think the sets, costumes, music, athletic ability was simply superior in O. but O was a water show, so maybe that's just hard to top.

i was also a bit moody because i didn't get dinner before the show and because the people behind me talked to each other at full volumn throughout most of the show. it was rather dark, so the most i can say is that it was a family/friends of about seven asians. i don't know if it was better or worse being mind numbing constant jibberish behind me or if it had been english. i think possibly better. if i could have understood them, then more of my mind would have been trying to listen to them rather than the show.

so after the show we toyed with the idea of going to the mgm grand buffet. until we got there and it was going to be $115 for the four of us. i think andrew didn't hear the woman, because he was about to pay it. i had to jump up and snatch the credit card back. i mean really, $30 a person, for a buffet? unless i get to take home a whole crate of champagne and crablegs, its just not worth it. we got some fast food and were quite happy.

now i'm just hoping for the most quiet of weekends.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

we went to the san gennaro italian fest this weekend. it wasn't quite as grand as i'd hoped. we had a coupon so it was only 2 for $10 to get in. and for that $10, i received...er, i was allowed into...um, nothing. there were rides that cost $3-5 per person to ride. there was food i could buy, all exceptionally over priced. more than theme park prices over priced. there were booths of people trying to sell me things, most of it were things i would not buy at a festival. things like king sized mattresses and water skidoos. aside from payment options, how would i get that home? and really, how would i get that to my car parked a half mile away? the food was tasty, so was the italian ice. and since i don't have kids, i didn't spend as much as my coworkers, so i guess i had an ok time, a better time than they did at any rate.

also, i was finally accepted into the local community college. i was actually getting worried about that. its too late for this semester, but i'm still planning on taking some spanish classes in the spring.

not too much other news. we have friends coming in tomorrow night. they'll be in town until friday morning, going to rent a car and drive to LA for a few days and then back to Vegas next tuesday, fly home wednesday. we are planning to see a cirque show at MGM this thursday. i'm the only one of the group that has already seen one; a few years ago i went to O at the bellagio and now we are seeing KA. we just discovered that with a military ID, we can buy up to four tickets half off, so i'm extra excited.

last but not least, its been getting below 80 at night here the past few days! can you imagine? temps below 80?? we've rehabed the patio in celebration. we bought new plants. swept the debris away from all the previously purchased, now dead plants. and most importantly, bought indoor/outdoor faux grass carpeting. yes, i put fake grass on my balcony patio. we've got shades that block the outside, grass on the floor, and all sorts of brightly colored flowering plants; its my new oasis. i'm planning to put up some little lights and maybe supplement the real plants with some fake ones so that its even more gardeny, without the let down of occationally killing them all. i built a table in the spring. it was meant to be a trial table in preparation of building a real one. well, i haven't built the real one yet but i'm on such i kick, i might just do that too!


i'm so terribly bored at work and i keep having to ask for more projects. sometimes i wish i could be one of those slackers who is happy to be bored...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

best ever oatmeal cookies

i read a blog called 52 cupcakes. looking at the pictures just makes me so happy inside.

a few months ago, the writer made cupcakes using this cookie recipe. she made brownies in a cupcake pan (yeah! the whole brownie was all edges! nearly everyone's favorite). then gave a good dollop of icing. stacked a cookie on top, and then another dollop of icing. i've made these a couple of times since then, usually for special occasions at work, and they are always just the biggest hit. the cookies are also very very good all by themselves. the cookie recipe came from the washington post but the cupcake idea is from 52cupcakes.

salted oatmeal cookies

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
Sea salt, for sprinkling

using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for a few minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sugars, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon, beating until the mixture is well blended. reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs and vanilla extract, mixing until well incorporated. reduce the speed to low and add the flour and oats, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary and mixing just until they are incorporated. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least an hour before baking.

preheat the oven to 375 degrees. form the dough into golf ball-size balls and place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. sprinkle sea salt generously on top of each ball of dough, as you would sugar. bake 1 sheet at a time for 15 minutes or until the cookies are puffed and beginning to turn golden, being careful not to over bake. (the cookies should have a tender interior.) transfer the cookies, still on the parchment paper, to a wire rack to cool completely. makes 18 cookies

[this pic came from the cupcake queen's site, they aren't ones that i've made. mine don't seem to last long enough for me to remember to snap their pictures. i make shy cupcakes.]

Friday, September 14, 2007


one of my coworkers saw this new article on the local morning new show. she just assumed it was a local story but then when trying to find out about it to show us the picture, she discovered it wasn't local at all and that is when we discovered simplydumb.com. their slogan: all the news that's embarrassing to print!

this is the article from a couple of days ago. and i can't imagine why she just assumed this happened in my fair and wholesome town...

This sounds like a very uncomfortable situation. Can you imagine getting mugged, then the mugger demanding to “suck your feet?” ICK! Check out the picture of this crook. He looks as creepy as he sounds!

A Minneapolis man has been charged with robbery after police say he robbed a woman of her keys and cell phone then took off her shoes and licked her toes. The complaint said that the 24-year-old woman was frightened so she complied.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

thirteen reasons andrew and i are so compatible

(week #28)

1. we are both taller than everyone else

2. we both like cookies

3. we both love dvds

4. we both believe that if alka seltzer, tums, or nyquil won't fix it, it probably cannot be fixed

5. we both like to try new things

6. we both have very nice families

7. we both like plants

8. we both enjoy reading

9. we both like to learn about new things

10. we both want to pray before dinner

11. we both like to holdhands all the time

12. we both enjoy games and puzzles

13. we both like cupcakes

view other thirteeners here

i don't think i've ever done so much christmas shopping this early in the year. its not like i normally wait until december 23rd, but this is a little strange. mostly, i just decided to keep an eye out for things that i thought people might like. and since i'm casually thinking about it, i have found a lot of good presents. i'm not purposefully hunting for christmas presents, just purposefully thinking and looking. except for andrew. as it happens, his birthday is also in december. and he's hard to buy for. on account of how he doesn't ever point to things and say, ohh ohh, i want that for christmas. and he has a habit of already having bought all the things he wants.

i've never been quite this off base, and he's never mangled one of my gifts, but still, i often feel like this:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

today i had a great dentist visit! i think this is the first time since i left for college that i've managed to get both visits into one year. i normally average about one visit every year and a half which results in a lot of plaque and cavities and stern looks from the dentist. but not today! today i got smiles and a new toothbrush.

Monday, September 10, 2007

good bye brown strappy sandals...RIP

i decided to part with my favorite pair of brown strappy sandals. mostly because of how awful they had become. filthy dirty. visually shabby. a smidge smelly. they've been my sidekick for a few years now and i am a bit sad to say good bye. in tribute, i'll tell you about the day i bought them.

it was on one of my first work trips to vegas. i found a mall and was on the hunt for brown strappy sandals. i think to go with a certain skirt that i probably never wore all that much. you know how it goes with shoe shopping. after visiting a dozen stores, i found just the thing i wanted, and they were on sale. i went back to the hotel and tried the outfit all together and pranced around my room to break in the sandals. i stayed up late and didn't want to take them off but eventually decided that i didn't like them enough to sleep on top of the covers instead of inside.

so the next morning, i'm in a rush and when i get to the elevator lobby, i see the doors closing. i yell hold the door, and i put it into high gear. and then unspeakable embarrassment occurred. as i was entering the elevator, my shoe became stuck in that little space between the floor and the elevator. and because i was wearing sandals, i flew out of them and the shoe remained behind. all of course, in a skirt.

i pick myself up and try to retrieve my shoe. but it was completely wedged. and the elevator doors kept trying to close. and i'm pulling and pulling. finally the shoe comes loose, but only to see me flying across the elevator for the second time. in a skirt. and, for extra special fun, that's when i remembered that because it was a casino hotel, there were only about fifty security cameras in the elevator. i occasionally wonder if there is a u tube video on this out there.

so that is how it all began and the dumpster is how it ended. they weren't even in good enough shape to give to goodwill. good bye brown strappy sandals...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

john's oyster bar

every casino has an oyster bar and i'm fairly sure that every oyster bar has a pan roast. i have not tried them all but i've tried enough to know that not all pan roasts were created equal. i haven't found one here in town that was particularly memorable. however, i work in reno several times a year and i always make a point to visit john's oyster bar inside of john ascuaga's nugget. and while i enjoy it a lot, i've also thought it needed a bit of something. its mostly just broth and shrimp. i always thought that if i lived in reno, i would get the pan roast to go, go home, and add potatoes or peas. that would make a fine feast. then i found the recipe on line. the actual one from the chef at the nugget. i ran right out and bought all the stuff. i added my peas and potatoes. and it was just as great as i thought it would be!

with one exception: i felt like there was too much celery seed. its also the only spice that doesn't mix or dissolve so it felt like it was extra too much because all the seeds sank to the bottom of the bowl. i think next time i make this, i'll try to smash the seeds in my mortal/pestle. i think i'll use less since i imagine the smashed seeds will be more potent than the whole.

the recipe makes only one serving so there is going to have to be some math if you want to make for more.

JOHN'S OYSTER BAR PAN ROAST (with my alterations)
1/4 teaspoon each: butter, salt, white pepper, celery seed, paprika, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce
dash tabasco
2 tablespoons white wine
1 tablespoon cocktail sauce
1/4 cup clam juice
6 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined, or crabmeat, or a bit of both
1/4 cup peas
1 potato, cut into bit sized pieces, boiled until tender
3/4 cup half-and-half
Pat butter

in large pan over medium heat, melt butter. add salt, white pepper, celery seed, paprika, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, tabasco, white wine, cocktail sauce and clam juice. add seafood and peas, stir and bring to a full boil. add half-and-half and potatoes and return contents of pan to boil. place pat of butter in bottom of deep bowl, pour in pan roast, sprinkle with paprika and serve. enjoy!