Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I am Pretty Sure Chris is Not a Serial Killer

When it comes to tv relationships I fall hard and fast.  I have sacrificed a lot to my love for shows like LOST and Arrested Development.  The same cannot be said about romantic relationships.  It took Chris and I at least six months of "talking" or dating" or whatever before we would use the terms "boyfriend" and "girlfriend".  But tv, now that is a different story. 

I was really bored on Sunday and I was mildly hungover from too many mojitos at Paladar and there was nothing on television.  I had already been dragged out of bed at 8am to spend $24 to see infomercial booths at the world's worst home and garden show in Euclid.  Seriously if you are considering going, DON'T.  DO. NOT.  I cannot stress this enough.  There was however this great Peruvian musical ensemble playing that was by far the highlight of the show.  So if you decide to ignore my advice, follow the sounds of the bamboo flute and if you can watch that performance with a straight face you are a better person than I.   

Anyways, I shouldn't say there was nothing to watch on television because I did watch this great SyFy movie called Ice Spiders.  At first I thought it was going to be a discovery channel type thing about spiders in the arctic.  And then I checked the info and found out it was actually a movie about a lab in Utah where giant mutated spiders have escaped and are now terrorizing an Olympic ski team training at a nearby ski resort starring that one dude from Melrose Place and someone named Vanessa Willaims that is not who you think it is. Those spiders were big and nasty and were tearing everybody up.  There was a snow mobile chase, god-awful dialogue and lots of blood.  I watched about an hour of it cuz it was just too campy to change the channel and if you stumble across it, I would say it is worth a bit of your time (UNlike that Home and Garden Show - RIP OFF).  Come to think of it, I am curious how the movie ends.  I'm sure somehow the Olympic skiers figured out how to take those spiders down, but not before their coach lost his bottom half to a giant spider.   Words don't do justice: 

Fighting a spider with a ski pole

Starring "Vanessa Williams"

One of the spiders reeling in his prey

That was a long way to say that on Sunday I started watching Dexter Season 1 on netflix on-line and I have watched the first seven episodes in the last two days.  That is a lot of time watching tv about serial killers.  Like seriously way too much time thinking about murder scenes and blood spatter.  And every time Chris lures me into the kitchen to see what he has accomplished, I get a little nervous cuz the room is covered in plastic like one of Dexter's murder scenes.  I took Olive in with me to protect me in case Chris made any sudden moves.  But, I am pretty sure he is not actually a serial killer.  He doesn't display too many Dexter-isms and he doesn't work in a lab where they mutate spiders.  So that's good news!  Glad I've ruled that out after three years. 

If anyone in this house is trying to kill me, it is definitely Olive.  She follows me around everywhere like a total stalker.  She hides around corners and when I walk by she takes a flying leap attack at my leg.   And last night she stared me down, and as stealthily as she could, while maintaining complete eye contact, very slowly crept towards me and then pounced.  I was laughing hysterically, but was also a little creeped out. I'm definitely being hunted by someone.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Anything but the Kitchen Sink

A very famous kitchen at the Smithsonian

Good advice!

If you have a kitchen sink, give it a kiss.  Here is mine, but not for long.

Chris and I are moving steadily along in the kitchen, can't cha tell??  We actually have a new one, but we'll get to that a little later on.  

Chris began tearing into the soffits the first weekend of the year.  This uncovered a few obstacles.  To begin with, there are hidden pipes in places we were hoping to expose.  And secondly, the demo left a terrible film of dust covering the entire first floor of the house.  We are new to this and didn't realize that we should have sealed off the room with plastic zip-up doors and covered the hard wood floor with paper before making such a mess.  And somehow I didn't realize just how unusable this kitchen was going to be during the project.  

To drive this home further, we received our first winter gas bill - $400.  N.C. (Not. Cool.)  I get a lot of, "so, you gonna replace the windows?"  And while we may down the road, I don't think our 92 year old windows are the culprit.  Sure they could be better, but the real trouble stems from our lack of insulation.  I am going to get some quotes on having insulation blown into the walls, but while we have the kitchen torn up, we may as well insulate the kitchen's two exterior walls.  And guess where the kitchen sink is.  Yep, on an exterior wall.  So say goodbye to that sink.

You don't get too far in a kitchen without a sink and I cannot fathom life without a kitchen for the next few months.  We bought a new gas range on Black Friday, but the current electric range is still in fine working order.  So why not have an extra oven in the basement?  Where there is a sink.  Are you thinking what I'm thinking?   

.... and thus our new basement kitchen was born.

Now it doesn't have a fridge yet, but it has everything else and the fridge will be right up the stairs.  Not too bad, eh?

My diligent carpenter & electrician

Tonight we watched the movie Julie & Julia and it got me thinking about kitchens.  Neither of those women had sparkling, state of the art kitchens with miles of countertops to work on.  They had good tools and a love of food.  A kitchen does not a cook make, so I will be just fine cooking from this basement.  Similar to Julia Child, there are few things that bring me more joy than eating and consequently, there are few things that give me more purpose than cooking.

The movie also got me to thinking about culinary projects.  Julie Powell cooked her way through Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and wrote a blog that led to a book that was made into a movie with Meryl freackin' Streep in it, how cool is that?  When I think about what I am really passionate about and how I wish I could spend my time, I always come back to food, not accounting.  I just don't know how to get myself from point A to point B, where point B is a place where I can still pay my mortgage.  So I am putting it out to the universe - I am in search of a new culinary adventure or project. Suggestions welcome.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy 2010!

We are over a week into the new year so I think it is about time I admit that the holiday break is over and get back to the grind.  I think the vacation feeling is lingering because I didn't get to relax as much this year as in year's past.  Starting the new job in late October meant I only started with three days of vacation through the end of the year, which was a shift to my normal 2 week Christmas vacation.  It wasn't so bad, but the time I did take off was full of family events: my family, Chris's dad, Chris's mom, my dad's side of the family, and then a trip to eastern PA to see my mom's side of the family.   And we toted Olive along for all of this since she was only 3 days post claw removal operation and I had major guilt about it.   

The trip to PA was a 7 hour drive across the state to spend Christmas in Bethlehem (how appropriate, I know).  My aunt Jeannie and Uncle Don were the fabulous hosts to 17 people, 3 dogs, and one Olive - not an easy feat.  We had a great time that included a Christmas feast, white elephant exchange, and a birthday fiesta for my cousin Matt.  Thank you again Aunt Jeannie (my most loyal blog follower) for hosting all of us!! 

Beautiful chocolates Aunt Jeannie shared (like Lily's!!)

We were only 2 hours outside of NYC, so my family decided to make the trek into the city for a day.  We just happened to pick the coldest, windiest day of the year.  So when we exited the train station we immediately followed the crowd into Macy's to raid their hat and scarf sales.

Modeling winter wear in front of Macy's

Our only real agenda item for the day was to go into the NY Public Library.  My mother's grandfather was once the head librarian there and we found his name in the lobby under the benefactors.

Hint: look for my middle name

After that we spent most of the afternoon running around Midtown, including stops at the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, window shopping at Lord & Taylor, Bryant Park, Times Square, Grand Central Station, and two stops at the Macy's on 34th.  The city was really crowded the week between Christmas and New Years which made me really claustrophobic.  But overall it was a fun family excursion. 

The holidays are over and I am shifting my body from the feasting gluttony that is December to the shame-filled resolutions of a new year.  Well, I don't have resolutions, per se, but I do have some goals for 2010: 

Goal #1 Finish that damn kitchen.   

Goal #2  My eternal goal of losing weight and getting in shape.  I have two motivators to start the year:  1. I joined a weight loss challenge at work.  In the vein of the Biggest Loser, we have all thrown $20 into a pot and whoever has the highest percentage of weight loss come March 31 wins the money.  I am continuing to use fatsecret.com which I cannot say enough good things about.  It is free and awesome.   2.  I signed up for a sprint level triathlon at my alma mater Miami University on April 17.  It is a 400 meter swim in the rec center pool, followed by a 13 mile bike and a 5k run.  Totally manageable, but at the same time means I need to stick to my training schedule.  Week 1 has started strong, even though I was slightly side tracked by the massive amounts of snow we have been getting.  The snow itself I like, but the slow driving is really cramping my style. 

Two goals, totally attainable.  I'll keep you posted.   

And so we begin a new decade.  For myself, the last decade (what do we call it, the 00's, I still have no idea) held high school and college graduation, lots of moving my stuff from place to place, to Oxford, to Chardon, repeat; to Cleveland to new apartment, repeat; and now settled into a house all my own.  It was the decade when I became a grown up with a real job and I am starting this decade with an even newer job.  It was the decade I discovered a passion for cooking (I've always had a passion for eating) and travel and pushing myself  to try new things.  

I hope the next decade brings marriage and children for myself and many of my friends and all the excitement that surrounds those things.  I hope I can go back to school to find a career that I am more passionate about and where I have more outlets for my creativity.  But  most of all, I hope this decade (do we call this the 10's, the teen's?) is as happy and fulfilling as the last.