Funny stories... tales from the road... life with us.

Friday, January 30, 2009


I am so, so glad it's the weekend. This week has been so long that I keep losing track of what day it is.... No major plans for us this weekend, other than going to see Rob's cousin play basketball in D.C. We'll venture down this afternoon and cheer her on!


Please pray for my friend Shellie and her family. She's expecting a little boy and needs good wishes through the waves. Shellie, Rob and I are always thinking of you!


Are you watching American Idol this season? I can't decide what I think about the fourth judge. I feel like she's too "on" all of the time, like she knows the camera is picking up her every move (which, of course, it is). I'm waiting for a Paula vs. Cara catfight. You know it's coming.


I was finally sore from the yoga. Not sore the next day, but the second day it hit me. Back again Tuesday night for more punishment. I picked up a DVD at Target today so I can practice at home and get up to speed. Think I can talk Rob into trying it with me??


What are your Superbowl plans? We are whipping up homemade pizzas and watching the game at home. Oh, and I'm making "Good for You" double-chocolate pudding, a la Rachel Ray.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recipe Sharing: Berry Crisp

At Costco on Saturday, we got swept away in the beautiful fruit. Giant grapefruit... cartons of strawberries... a flat of blueberries... yum. It always looks so good! We came home with 2 lbs. of blueberries and 1 lb. of blackberries. And while we snack on them and I top my morning yogurt or oatmeal with both, we still have a lot to eat and the clock is ticking!

Tonight we were feeling like a dessert, so Rob found a great berry crisp recipe -- complete with a 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Sounds delicious, but not waistline friendly.

I did some Internet searching of my own and pieced together the following from a few different recipes. Enjoy!

Berry Crisp
Yield: 4-6 servings


2-3 cups berries (I used half blackberries and half blueberries)
2 tbsp. orange juice
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. whole wheat flour
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. honey
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmug or all spice


Spray small baking dish with PAM. Wash berries. Toss with juices and vanilla. Set aside. In second bowl, gently mix together all other ingredients. Put berries in bottom of baking dish, and top with mixture. Bake 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sit. Stay.

Last night I took my first yoga class. I barely survived.

Seriously. I had no idea what I was in for, and it was rough! There was one other "newbie" in the class besides me, but everyone else seemed like these yoga experts. I kept up, but it was tough.

One of my setbacks is that I have no idea what any of the terms mean, or any of the poses. So when the leader would say, "move into the lotus pose," I had to look up at the gal in front of me (I strategically chose an end spot in the last row so I could keep an eye out) to see what she was doing. Then, I'd copy it.

I left there exhausted, but really relaxed too. Definitely going back next week, but I'm going to study up on these terms before I do:

  • Bandha - a posture in which organs and muscles are contracted to create energy lock in a specific area.
  • Sukhasana - a meditative (cross-legged) pose
  • Ardha padmasana - half-lotus pose
  • Utkatasana - squating position
  • Find lots more terms here....
Oh, yeah. And I'll know not to wear a long sleeve tee shirt again. It was H-O-T in there!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Don't Suppose It'll Still Be Open Next Time....

Last night I met my girlfriend Nicole for dinner. We usually meet up at Tysons Corner Center, which is about halfway for both of us and chock full of restaurants. We decided to try a new so-called schmancy Mexican restaurant there.

Granted, we were on the early side, since we met after work at around 6 p.m. But the restaurant was eerily quiet when we arrived. The hostess asked if we wanted inside or "patio" seating (really just the portion of the restaurant that reaches out into the mall), and we chose inside.

You know the area of every restaurant where the waitstaff gathers to chat and wait for customers? And you know how there's always that one unlucky table right next to it?

Yep, that's where we were seated.

I should mention here that we were the only table seated in the entire restaurant.

I rolled my eyes at Nicole as the waitstaff (kind-of) scattered, and our waitress asked for our drinks. We inquired about any happy hour specials, and were informed that those are for patio patrons only.

Huh. Would have been nice to have been told that when we were seated. And, our table was literally two-feet off the patio. I could have reached out and touched it.

Nonetheless, we stuck with our H2O and ordered dinner. Cheese enchiladas for Nicole; chicken tacos for me. We planned to share. The food arrived (should mention here that the chips and salsa -- when we actually got it -- was good), and we split it up. Verdict? Enchiladas - thumbs up. Tacos - better off at Baja Fresh.

Oh - and in the 1.5 hours we were there, we were still the only table seated in the restaurant. One or two tables out on the patio and about 10 people at the bar completed the crowd. This, compared to two other packed bars and restaurants just steps away.

We opted to skip dessert and got two cupcakes at Cakelove instead. Definitely the best choice.

So, if you are at Tysons and want Mexican food, I'd recommend you reconsider or try your luck in the food court. I have a feeling that the place mentioned above (hesitate to say their name, but it's not hard to figure out on the Tysons Web site) won't be there much longer.

Monday, January 26, 2009

No Green Thumbs Here

A few years ago, a dear friend moved away from Virginia. Along with the many treasures I scored from his stash of stuff that he wasn't planning to pack and take was a lovely ficus tree. Rob and I managed to squeeze this lush, healthy tree in the CRV and get it here... and it's never been the same since.

I tried. Really, I tried. I put in next to the window and watered it (occasionally...) and even talked to it. But it withered and dried and started to look really sad. The leaves began to fall off and new ones never grew. Oh, and kitty would stand on the chair next to it and pull at the branches. I'm sure that helped.

Today I made the tough decision to get rid of the tree. On one hand, I'm a little sad that my friend trusted me with his tree and I let it wither. On the other hand, I'm happy not to pick up dead leaves or holler at A.J. to stop pulling at it. Plus, we are getting new blinds on the windows it sat near, and it'll be nice not to get the (mostly dead) branches tangled up in them.

If you want a sad ficus tree, it'll be sitting out in front of our garage on garbage day. It's all yours.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sick Kitty

Poor A.J. is sickly. She had her regular vet appointment on Friday, and this is the second time she's had a reaction to the shots. Last year and this year, she got extra Benadryl and steroid shots to prevent reaction. Last year it worked; this year it didn't.

Saturday she was s-o-r-e and wouldn't eat or really move. We kept an eye on her, and I finally called the vet. He told us to give her one-half of a children's Benadryl (yeah, like we have that on hand) twice a day. We popped to the store and picked some up (grape flavor!), and that's where the fun began.

Have you ever tried to give a cat a pill???

Spunky A.J. wasn't having any of it! I held her and Rob tried to shove it in her mouth; then we switched and I tried. No luck. Finally we managed to get in most of it. Last night we tried again, and I really thought it had worked! She seriously took a big gulp, then hopped down and acted normal. A few minutes later I found it laying on the floor - she tricked me!

Rob's idea was to mash it up with a little water and just smear it on her face, and she'd lick it off. We tried it and it worked, although she really hated it and didn't seem too happy. At least she ate it! We did it again this morning, and she seems to be almost back to normal... still a little slow moving, but since she was up on the counter trying to get in the coffee pot this morning, I'm assuming she's a-okay.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Start

Like many of my fellow Americans, I've been delighted with today's inauguration and movement toward tomorrow. No, I don't believe "change" will come overnight, and to be honest, I'd certainly hate to be in Obama's shoes (for more reasons than just one), as expectations are amazingly high and nearly impossible.

Nonetheless, I believe today is a new start on many levels. It's a new energy and excitements in our political system. It's a new pride in a leader with eloquence and passion. It's a new opportunity for our country to re-establish our position in the global economy.

Although I don't agree with all of his politics, I have to believe that George Bush did what he thought was best for our nation. It's a tough job.

Today, I'll celebrate the Obama family. Tonight, I'll pray for them.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Close to D.C.

Many of you know that Rob and I live about 15 miles outside of Washington, D.C. We're far enough out to not be experiencing some of the crazy of this week, but close enough to feel the "buzz" and excitement in the air.

A couple friends have asked if we are headed downtown (that's what people here call D.C. - "downtown") for the festivities. As much as I'd love to be there, we think it's just too nutty to go. The metro from our area will be PACKED, and the four bridges that cross the Potomac from Virginia to D.C. are all closed to traffic, so it's better for us to stay home watch from the comfort of our living room.

Except, that is, that neither of us have off on Tuesday. So really we'll be watching it online from our offices.

I went to Bush's first inauguration in January 2001. What a different world. Obviously that was before 9/11, so while there was security, it was minimal. My then-roomie Tessa and I took an easy ride on the metro, had a great view of the swearing in and enjoyed the day. The only thing we worried about was the cold.

Tonight we are braving it as deep as Arlington to meet some college girlfriends for dinner. They've traveled from the south to join in the excitement, and I'm eager to hear their tales of the big concert last night and their plans for Tuesday.

So, to the crowds arriving, I wish you warm temperatures and an experience to remember. To the Obamas, I wish you peace, faith and good decisions for the benefit of our country.

And to we residents of the D.C.-metro area, I wish you easy traffic, non-clogged metros and patience with your fellow Americans who are here to celebrate.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Recipe Sharing (kind of): Chocolate Waffles

Last night, we ate dinner at a local diner (so good). They have chocolate waffles on the menu, and while we both thought they sounded good, we opted for different things (gyro for Rob; chicken souvlaki for me).

Anywho, I couldn't stop thinking about those waffles! This morning I got up and googled "chocolate waffles", and Alton Brown's recipe was at the top of the list. Looked easy enough, so I made them for breakfast.

In a word? Ridiculous.

I'm pretty sure copyright protection would be against me reprinting the recipe, so I'm sending you here to get it.

Oh, and we didn't have buttermilk (does anybody have buttermilk?), so I did the substitution of 1% milk, plus 1 tbsp. lemon juice for every one cup (total was 2 cups of 1% and 2 tbsp. lemon juice, stirred together). And we just used syrup and no butter, although I did put a little peanut butter on one. Mmmmm!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Scary! Worst Foods Revealed

Uh oh. Just read the 20 Worst Foods 2009 list on Yahoo, from Men's Health magazine. I haven't had most of these (although they've been tempting on the menu), but a few I have... and now I'm sorry. Here are some highlights:

Worst "Healthy" Sandwich: Blimpie Veggie Supreme
1,106 calories; 56 g fat (33 g saturated fat); 2,831 mg sodium; 96 g carbohydrates

Worst Dessert: Romano’s Macaroni Grill Dessert Ravioli
1,630 calories; 74 g fat 33 g saturated fat; 1,150 mg sodium; 223 g carbohydrates

Worst Salad: T.G.I. Fridays Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad
1,360 calories; Fat: unknown (restaurant doesn't offer any more info!)

Worst Pasta: Romano’s Macaroni Grill Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce
2,430 calories; 128 g fat; 207 g carbs; 5,290 mg sodium

Worst Sandwich: Quizno’s Tuna Melt (large)
2,090 calories; 175 g fat (31 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fats); 2,190 mg sodium

Check out the rest of the list to depress yourself, and find some recommendations for alternatives with "Eat This, Not That!"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Recipe Sharing: Sweet Potato Wedges (or Fries)

We love sweet potatoes, and I kind of modeled this recipe after a similar one we do with red potatoes. It's an easy side dish that goes well with almost anything. Plus, it's scalable to make as much or as little as needed.

Sweet Potato Wedges
(or Fries, depending on how you cut up the sweet potatoes)

Two large sweet potatoes (increase the number of potatoes, depending on how many you are serving. These two serve us one dinner, plus some leftover)
Olive oil (I use 1 tbsp. for two potatoes, so increase as needed)
Seasonings to taste (I use salt, pepper, red pepper, paprika)

Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut into small wedges or fries. Toss in olive oil and seasonings. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Flip, and bake 20 additional minutes.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's Been Awhile..

It's been a few days since I've blogged... not for lack of stuff to say, but for lack of oomph all around. We've just finished dinner (rack of lamb-my first time to fix!) and now I'm parked on the couch waiting for (another) football game to end so I can watch the Golden Globes.

This weekend was great. We headed to College Park yesterday to see the Terps win their first ACC game against Georgia Tech. A guy I know through work (he's a vendor) has invited us to the company's box a few times, so we enjoyed another game in luxury. It really is nice to sit in leather seats and visit the private bathroom!

Lots has happened this week... my best girlfriend has baby girl #2 (hooray!); a couple of long, lost friends from high school and college have found me on Facebook; my big press initiative at work went off well; and our work flex time program came to an abrupt end (boo).

Go Steelers!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Where Shall They Rest?

Newsweek online has an interesting interactive about the remains of the terrorists on 9/11. There are seven overviews about different people involved in the identification of the remains, or family members of Americans who perished and their thoughts on what should be done with them.

Throughout the slides, facts fill in the back story of the recovery efforts. One especially chilling to me is that more than 1,100 victims of the World Trade Center have yet to be identified -- none of their remains and no traces of DNA have been found. That blows my mind.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Vacation Over

I'm blue that we are heading back to work tomorrow. It's been a nice, long 12 days of staying up late, sleeping in and hanging out. Although I have to say that we haven't been too lazy -- we've been up and out every day.

We spent Friday in D.C., visiting the Air and Space Smithsonian and the newly renovated American History Smithsonian. That one was a zoo -- the line to see the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner was entirely too long and there were people everywhere. We saw a few exhibits and headed back out, since we can get there some other time when it's hopefully not as nutty.

Rob's GPS tracked us as walking seven miles! We searched for and found 17 geocaches, which is a new record. Good thing we walked so much, because we feasted on tapas at Jaleo. So good. Then we were off to see the show at the Kennedy Center. It was a collection of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs sung by Broadway stars. Great show, but interesting that we were among the youngest there. And we aren't that young. :)

Yesterday we stayed close to home, then headed to Alexandria for a great dinner at Austin Grill with friends. We'd planned to dine at Rustico, but a long wait and four hungry patrons led us elsewhere. Both the food and company were excellent.

All this time at home has given me time to clean out and organize. Our garbage man will be surprised by the load of stuff piled at the curb tomorrow. Now if only I can con Rob into helping me drag it out there...

I hope your holiday vacations have been as relaxing and fun as ours!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

What We've Been Up To...

It's been a pretty relaxing and busy week, all at the same time. We came home from Western Maryland on Monday and we are still unpacking! At least the laundry is finally finished. :)

Tuesday we headed to Lowe's and to Next Day Blinds to look at window treatments. So many choices... blinds with holes or no holes; 17 shades of white are available; wood, composite or faux wood... now we just need to make up our minds and place an order. We are doing the four living room windows/doors and the two kitchen windows.

During our time out Tuesday, we stopped in Target and I was delighted in the amount of Christmas stuff left! I got four silver metallic sparkly trees (I'd been eyeing them before the holiday and figured they'd be gone), plus several rolls of wrapping paper and a new wreath hanger. Rob bought about 10 lbs. of M&Ms -- and all at 75% off.

Last night we celebrated NYE with a nice dinner at Mon Ami Gabi , then headed home to put on our cozies and watch the ball drop. We figured out that this is our sixth new year's together! Where has the time gone?

Tomorrow, we are spending some time in D.C., seeking out some geocaches, visiting the renovated American History Smithsonian Museum, and topping off the day with dinner somewhere and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Weber performance at the Kennedy Center. The tickets were an Xmas present from Rob!

Now, I'm making beef stew and we are watching the Rose Bowl. Hope you are having a great week!