Sunday, March 28, 2010

What's New

There's really not much interesting going on in Wayward land, y'all. Let's see, so the last time I wrote I was cooking corned beef for St. Patrick's Day. I did not end up making Ruben sandwiches with the leftovers. Instead I made a corned beef hash-like yummy thing. I love corned beef hash. Fresh or canned—I really don't care.

I made it a bit differently than I've had at restaurants. I diced up leftover boiled potatoes and carrots with the chopped beef, and added some corn and whatever other veggies were on hand and served it over shredded cabbage. Compared to the Ruben plan, I liked that I got seriously more vegetables this way, less meat per serving, and it made the meat stretch that much further. Corned beef is definitely not a lean meat, but I'm totally waiting for the stores to put their St. Patrick's Day overstock on sale.

In other news, I've almost finished my taxes. I had to dig up an invoice for the last of my freelance work for my former boss. But I've done that and now I owe. Well, I knew I would owe even before I did that, and now I plan to wait until after the first of the month to pay so at least I can get the pennies in interest that post at the end of the month before the money leaves my account. Frugal's the word you're looking for people.

And to prove I'm willing to part with my well-hoarded -earned money, check out these latest acquisitions:

Rocket Dog Memories-Thai Silk in Ballet Pink

Dr. Scholl's Habit in Pewter

I had a $20 off coupon for DSW, so that helped. And I've seriously been needing new flats, so Win-Win! I'm totally looking forward to wearing the pink ones. I know I'm going to have issues with the silver ones at least until the heel area breaks in. I'll need to replenish the stash of bandages at my desk.

Also new in our world, the criminally abused plants on our patio are blooming. The patio is on the second floor with no way to get trimmings down to the trash without hauling them back through the house, so I just do not take care of these plants like I should. (Throwing the trimmings down into the common area is a no-no, and it's very difficult to gather them back up. I tried.) So, whatever comes up each year is a blessing:

Our scraggly lavender.

A small clump of Lobelia I haven't managed to kill yet

A very persistent pink Geranium

Obviously, this is way too healthy to be one of mine,
but it is visible from the patio.

And guess what else is joining us this spring? We put juice out in the hummingbird feeder today and noticed a completely unexpected guest—we have a hummingbird nesting in the tree over the patio! She's still building her nest, but she'll be laying her eggs soon.

I like that I got the building material in her beak here.

We've had hummingbirds build nests in the courtyard at work before and they laid 3 eggs per clutch then. Unfortunately, our nest is too high for us to see into, so we won't really know when she's laid her eggs. And I really don't want to disturb her by busting out a ladder, but hopefully we'll see their little heads peeking over the nest after they hatch.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Riding with My Top Down

Aside from the creepy guy talking to me at the jewelry counter in my dream just before the alarm went off this morning, it's been a pretty good day so far. I drank my Silk Light Chocolate Soy Milk with breakfast—this is one of my newest favorite things. I don't like the taste of regular milk, not to mention that my body just doesn't cope well with milk, but this I can handle. And it has the same calcium content as regular milk. And it's only 90 calories. And it's chocolate. Tell me that's not a great way to start your day!

I got several hugs from Scoob and the furry people this morning, took my vitamins (trying to get back in the habit), and got the corned beef brisket going on the stove before I left the house. I made the mistake of smelling the spice packet before I added it to the pot and set of an incredible round of sneezing. Oh, but the house was smelling wonderful by the time I left. I'm seriously looking forward to dinner tonight with some boiled potatoes and carrots and some fresh cabbage. A regular Irish feast y'all. Without the beer, though. I may have to swing by the grocery for some sauerkraut and rye bread so I can make ruben sandwiches later in the week.

I had my sunroof open for the drive into the office today. It was about 65° out this morning and sunny gorgeous, though the 70 mph added a bit of wind chill. But it felt so good. Never mind that I had to try to retame my hair once I reached the office. It was a small price to pay.

Replace the pimped-out ride with my dusty Forester, lose the bling and the grillz, and picture me in all my Caucasian suburban glory instead of the ganstas. Yeah, that's right.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chicken and Parsley Couscous

I liked this when I made it for dinner last night, but discovered I liked it even more for lunch the next day.

Chicken and Parsley Couscous—you know you want some
Side note: Pictures from the iPhone aren't half bad, are they?

Chicken and Parsley Couscous

    1 cups couscous, cooked by package directions
    1 cup diced bell pepper (yellow is what I had in the fridge)
    2 portobelinni mushrooms, chopped
    1 cooked chicken breast, chopped
    2 Tbsps minced, fresh parsley
    1 Tbsp lemon zest
    1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    juice from ½ a lemon
    salt and pepper to taste
    ½ cup loose leaf spinach per plate/bowl
    1 Tbsp crumbled feta per plate/bowl

  1. in a bowl, mix the couscous, bell pepper, chicken, parsley, and lemon zest. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix again.
  2. Spoon over a bed of spinach leaves and top with feta.

I think I liked this better as leftovers for lunch because I microwaved the spinach leaves with the couscous when I warmed it up so they were wilted and mixed throughout. And the lemony flavor seems much stronger today. Yum! (Also, found it much easier to eat from a bowl.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tidy Is as Tidy Does

So if yesterday was fun day then today is chore day. In the ongoing effort to tidy up the house and discard things we don't want to take with us when we move, both of us are tackling a couple of our problem areas today. Scoob is back in the garage shredding papers. (I still have no idea where all the papers came from or were stored, but he's dealing with it.)

So far I've tackled my ever-growing stack of magazines. It seems I always dog-ear pages for things I like for decorating or organizational tips and recipes I'd like to try. Unfortunately, once I read the magazine I set it aside and completely forget about it. So I've reviewed about a year's worth of magazines—turns out I'm really not interested in about ⅓ of the things I'd marked. Then I cut out the pages for the things I am still interested in and file them by personal care, clothes, household, recipes, and organization.

The recipes folder is way too full people. I'm going to have to start trying some of these recipes so I can separate the keepers from the what-the-hell-was-I-thinking ones.

I did come across this tip for getting rid of old electronics and gadgets—list them at Gazelle. You tell them what you want to get rid off (an old digital camera, for example) and it's condition, Gazelle shows you the current retail value and makes an offer. If you accept their offer, Gazelle sends you a post paid box and you ship it to them. Once they receive and inspect the device, you get your check. You can also choose to donate your check. Sounds simple enough to me. I can think of a few gadgets around the house that we could get rid of, and if we can actually get some cash out of it I think Scoob will be more willing to part with some things.

More than a couple of the blogs I read have started talking about plans for a vegetable garden and I thought this tip from a magazine might be helpful—try hanging non-breakable red Christmas ornaments on tomato plants early in the season to fool the birds. When they find the hard ornaments instead of juicy fruits they'll supposedly abandon their efforts by the time the real fruits are ripe. Does it really work? Who knows, but it sounds plausible.

Bring on the Lamb

Can I just say I am sick of this March comes in like a lion stuff and am soooo ready for the lamb. So when today dawned sunny and clear with warm temperatures projected for the afternoon, Scoob and I hopped the first BART train out of town and headed to San Francisco. Okay, okay, so I wasn't up at dawn, but other than that, that's exactly how this day started.

We went to the Ferry Building and in addition to the regular Saturday arts and crafts market, we discovered that the farmers' market has started again. (yea!) Which meant lots of colorful photos for me!

Is there anything that says "spring is here" better than pussywillows?

A yellow poppy.

These tomatoes smelled so good.
It was like we'd skipped spring and gone straight to summer.
No photo trickery here—they were really that red!
Kinda makes those tomatoes at Safeway look pretty pathetic.

We laughed when we spotted these mandarin oranges because
I really could have used them for last night's dinner.
Instead, I used tangelos.


One lonely red cabbage.

Red tulips. There was this cute little kid taking pictures of me
while I was focused on the tulips.

There were lots of great dried fruits (I loved the persimmons and now wish I had bought some) and tons of free samples. In fact, Scoob kept walking back and forth in front of this one stand that was handing out samples of almond brittle with dark chocolate. It was embarrassing, though in his defense, it was really good. So I bought him a small 4 oz. bag of it so we could get on with our day, otherwise I think he would have kept it up until they either closed up shop for the day or he ate everything they had.

And then there were these guys…

And the pièce de résistance—the Jugtown Pirates.

Scoob knows how much I love bluegrass, and even though anything remotely "twangy" is like nails on a blackboard to him, he stopped so I could listen. The Jugtown Pirates sing in 3-part harmony and the mandolin player can really pick and the bass player had this great slap-style thing going on and they were all just so into it. You could really tell they love what they're doing and well, they all just rocked! In fact, I plunked down $5 of Scoob's money right then and there to buy their CD and haven't been able to stop listening to it since we got home. (Oh, and I friended them on Facebook. Yeah, I'm a geek.)

So, for your listening pleasure, this is the most recent and best sound-quality video I could find of them online. The acoustics at the Montgomery BART station aren't half bad. I especially like how they respond to the BART authority around 3:40 when she tells them to quiet down.

You be the trumpet and I'll be the kazoo

We were going to have lunch at Mastrelli's Deli in the Ferry Building only to discover they'd closed that location and were back at their original Molinari & Sons location in North Beach. It was such a nice day we decided to make the walk. Molinari's is an old-world Italian delicatessen that has been curing meats in San Francisco since 1896.

We grabbed a sandwich and headed over to the park at Washington Square and ate a delicious lunch in the shade in front of the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. Scoob and I relaxed and watched a couple out playing catch with their young son, while a boyfriend tried (unsuccessfully) to teach his girlfriend how to throw a football. And it seemed like everyone had a dog that needed walking in the sunshine today.

From there we started to make our round about way back to the BART station, passing through Chinatown.

Where Scoob bought me this little bowl:

I've been wanting a pretty, small dish or something to put my rings and earrings in when I shower, wash up, do doody duty (cat boxes), and such. And now I have one. Yea! I like the pattern—vine-y and organic mother nature-y without being over-the-top feminine. (Kind of like the carpet pattern you were talking about JD.)

Then we wandered the Embarcadero Shopping Center. Massive, massive shopping center people. Did it mention it was massive? Just a bit of retail overload for someone who doesn't really get into shopping all that much. Though I did manage to thoroughly embarrass Scoob in Victoria Secret. That was fun. Heh.

We ended up eating dinner cafeteria-style at the shopping center, but let me tell you, even the mall food in San Francisco is outstanding! I had a yummy spinach salad from a salad bar while Scoob rustled up a half sandwich and potato salad somewhere else. Which reminds me, I need to see if I can find that restaurant's recipe for potato salad because Scoob said it was one of the best he'd ever had. Not quite as good as Mom's in my opinion, but still very yummy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eeny, Meey, Miny, Moe

Whew, thank heavens I can say whew again. I went to the dentist tonight after work to replace a filling. I was supposed to go yesterday, but I had called in sick to work and completely forgot about the appointment, so we rescheduled for today. I didn't really call in sick yesterday. It's more like I called in with a massive headache and complete lack of sleep because someone went for a bike ride on Sunday without taking his allergy medicine and couldn't breathe all night, which meant someone else couldn't sleep all night. Yeah. That's exactly what I called in with yesterday.

So anyhow, back to the dentist. I'd been in for a cleaning a few weeks ago and mentioned some pain and the dentist said he could see hairline cracks around one of my fillings and wanted to take the filling out to make sure I didn't need a crown. After a shot of Novocaine he started drilling. Then after peeling me from the ceiling he thought maybe I needed one more shot before he got to work. I thought so too. After all, this is the same woman who woke up during oral surgery and asked to see her wisdom teeth, or at least tried to ask around the fingers and various instruments crammed in her mouth as the surgeon kept yelling for someone to "Put her out again!"

And my dentist is so thoughtful y'all. He has this beautiful mirror on the wall at the receptionist's desk, I guess so you can check your hair and make up after you've been inverted in the chair before you leave. But dudes, all I saw was the lady with some crazy assed hair that she can't seem to do anything with, mascara circles from squinching her eyes closed so tightly, and half a mouth so numb it couldn't even begin to smile. It was like having botox on my upper lip and entire left cheek. Not that cheek. And dudes, I still had errands to run. There was no way I was going to be able to flirt my way out of a speeding ticket with that face, so I kept it under 65 all the way.

I called Scoob as I was leaving the dentist's office only to be told he couldn't understand me through my lisp. We did manage to communicate enough for me to figure out there was no plan for dinner so I headed to the bank, took out some cash only to get my receipt telling me I had overdrawn the account. Dang it! I've been chipping away at this old checking account for a while now with the intent to close it. But dang it!

Then I went to the library (woohoo) and tried successfully to convince them that I had already paid the late fees that were sitting on my account. No you didn't. Yes I did. No you didn't. Yes I did. No you didn't. Then why have you let me continue to check out books? Oh, I guess you did.

Then I was still stressing about the bank thing so I drove back to the bank and redeposited $20 to cover what I'd overdrawn. I so hope they still post the deposits before the withdrawals because I don't want to get an overdraft charge. Gah. I'm going to have to call them in the morning aren't I?

From there I headed to the pet store for cat food for Madame Barf-O-Matic and her sidekick Sir Talks-A-Lot. We're going to try a new food and see if Dozer will stop throwing up or at least not throw up as often. There's absolutely nothing wrong with her, I think she's just eating too fast. Scarf and barf.

From there I made a quick stop at Ranch-o 99-o for all the good hot chili sauce that we seem to be out of and then to our neighborhood Chinese restaurant for take out so we could watch Lost, because ohmygod it's Tuesday again.

This is the first time in forever that I've actually been watching the current season of a show along with the rest of the world and can actually participate in water cooler talk. Usually I have to cover my ears and la-la-la-la-la out of the kitchen. And for cryingoutloud, isn't American Idol over yet? I miss Glee!

Oh yes, the library. So I checked out The Book of Lost Things (John Connolly), The Dance of the Dissident Daughter (Sue Monk Kidd), The Girls from Ames (Jeffrey Zaslow), and And Another Thing (Eoin Colfer). I know I don't want to start off with Dissident Daughter because I saw how I never got around to reading the rest of the books I'd checked out when I was savoring Pomegranates. I'm a little hesitant about And Another Thing because it's been so long since I've read the Hitchhiker books. I'm afraid I won't be able to pick up the story line again. So eeny, meeny, miny, moe.