Friday, November 28, 2008

Look who's ready for Christmas

I spent the better part of today getting the Christmas tree and decorations out. I've been hoarding presents in my craft closet for a couple of months now and wanted desperately to put them under a tree. At least I did until I sat down to wrap them all. Wrapping sucks. Curses to anyone who's gift wasn't a neat square or rectangle shape.
I'm so festive.

Chris spent today out in the garage with Mr. A. Something to do with the new race car engine. That's about as technical as I understand. Or care.

We're getting ready to have yet another round of leftovers for dinner. Then we're going to try to go to Barnes & Noble. I don't think it'll be that busy there. It's not like they do some kind of crazy Black Friday sale. Nobody likes books that much.

Tomorrow we're making plans to go to the first showing of Bond in the morning. Then Chris will meet back up with Mr. A. again to do some more engine magic. Woo hoo. Exciting, I know. We still have one more Netflix movie to watch. Doomsday, I think. We watched Smart People last night (Dennis Quade and Sarah Jessica Parker) and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead the night before. I wanted to see Wall-E, but it won't be available before our free trial ends. Bah!

Alright, time to go nuke some ham and taters!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day Success

Stress free Thanksgivings are wonderful. Since we only had to make half the dishes there was no scrambling to fit everything in the oven at once or have all four burners going at the same time. We started cooking at 2:30 (for a 3:30 eat time). We did ham, turkey breast, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and rolls. Mum brought sourdough and artichoke stuffing, brandy soaked cranberry relish and pumpkin pie with real whipped cream.

Chris was in charge of the meats, while I took care of the sides.

Everything came out delicious. Of course both of us were drinking heavily so we probably would have thought gummy bears covered in gravy was delicious.
Enjoying our new table from the rents.

Mmmm....lots of warm gooey food. So good. After dinner we rolled ourselves over to the couch and watched some football and a taped episode of Frontline (liberal news stories on PBS). Then Mum cut us up some monster pieces of pie with her homemade whipped cream (my offer of cool whip was denied) to go with some fresh hot coffee. Then we kicked them out. Our hospitality only goes so far.

Once this ball of lead food empties out of my stomach we're going on a walk. Really we need to do about 10 of our walks to even begin to counteract all the damage we did today. I wouldn't want to hurt anybody's feeling though by not having at least two servings of their dish, right?

T minus 6 hours

Let the turkey day extravaganza begin! Or at least my portion; Chris is still sleeping. It's almost 9:30 am and we still need to clean house before the 'rents come over this afternoon. It's not too bad, just need to vacuum, sweep and clean my bathroom. Before anything happens though, I need food and coffee.
We're having breakfast burritos today. Turkey bacon, eggs beaters and ff cheese. Mmm....

Oh! The coffee pot just beeped that it's done. Must...go...get.....a mug....of...brain...fuel...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Before and After

The backyard this morning before work:
The backyard as of 3:30 this afternoon:

This morning you couldn't even tell where the patio ended and the grass began. Trees suck.

That's all I can write because my right wrist is absolutely killing me now. These hands were not meant for raking. That's why I got married!

New Recipes

Last night I tried another new recipe from a new cookbook. It was crab burritos. I liked them, but Chris expected big chunky pieces of crab instead of pulverized crab out of a can.

The crab was mixed with sour cream, cream cheese and spices. Then layered with black beans and steamed broccoli. After it bakes you top it with warm green enchilada sauce and mozzarella cheese. Mmm mmm...

I'm watching Traveling Pants 2 right now. I only had to work today until noon and then I have until Monday off for the holiday.

Gotta go - big traveling pant drama going on!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas Preview

Sunday evening we took Mum with us to the downtown Christmas preview. We decided to have dinner downtown, too, while we were there. We grabbed Mum at 5:00 (the festivities were scheduled 4-8 pm) and headed downtown. I could not believe how crowded it was. We drove around, and around, and around. Finally we scored a spot in the B of A parking lot next to the parking structure. It was perfect because I had chosen Broadway Heights for dinner. It's upstairs in the Phoenix building (the brick building with the ice cream store and greek eatery downstairs) which is right next to the parking structure. We got there at about 5:15 and had around a 5 minute wait to be seated. That's when the fun began. Even though it was cold outside, it was sauna like upstairs in the building which only serves to make Chris cranky and uncomfortable. Follow that with an hour and 15 minute wait for our food and everybody's having a good time! Mine was delicious (I had the salmon with artichoke heart special), but their pizzas were only so-so. But nothing worth waiting over an hour for. I was a fool for thinking we could eat downtown on preview night. Bad Susan.

By the time we got out from dinner we only had just over an hour to puruse the stores. The streets felt less crowded than last year, but inside the stores were absolute mayhem. Zucchini and Vine? Forget about it! Made in Chico? Not a chance!

Here's Mum and I checking out the goods at one of the stores.

We weren't let down with our favorite part of Christmas preview. That's the live dancing in the storefronts. Our favorite are the young girls who do hip hop dancing to suggestive 80s music (like OPP, Baby got Back, etc). We love that stuff! And by 'love' I mean we're completely mortified that their parents/dance coaches allow them to dance to this stuff. I mean, really???
Go skanky dancers, go!

We didn't actually buy anthing, but I don't think that's the point on that night anyway. You just see what people have and go back later when it's not a super zoo. It was fun, but next year we're leaving wet noodle Chris home. He is not good at aimless wandering. Not good at all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Keepin' it Real

I wasn't sure I was going to make it through a whole week of work without any holidays or conferences, but I did it!! We didn't do anything during the week, I had bible study Thursday night, but that's about it.

Mum and I went and saw The Secret Life of Bees yesterday. We both had read the book and really enjoyed the movie. We only cried like five times, so that's not too bad, right?

Since I was busy watching movies yesterday I didn't get my grocery shopping done so Chris and I went to CholoMaxx this morning after breakfast. We also stopped at Cash & Carry for some more sugar free coffee syrups. Holy Cow! I had never bought syrups there before. There is an entire wall full of every flavor and brand you can think of. I've never seen so many sugar free flavors in my life. And the best part is that they're so cheap there.

When we got back Chris got stuck doing some yard work. The trees have been dropping leaves like crazy and we needed to get them raked up before the ground got all moldy and yucky underneath.

We signed up for another free trial of Netflix over the next two weeks so that's how we plan on spending our weekend. Yesterday we got Sisterhood of the traveling pants 2, Charlie Wilson's War and Baby Mama. Movie watching shall commence right after we finish our lunch.

Tomorrow is the downtown Christmas preview. We're going to grab Mum and drag her with us. Maybe go have some dinner downtown while we're there. Not that there's much to preview since I've already purchased 90% of my Christmas gifts. Ahhh, the prospects of a stress free holiday!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Slow News Week

Nothing much happened this last week. I had Tuesday off for Veteran's Day, Chris had to work. And we went to Barnes and Noble. That's about it. This weekend was a little more interesting. We woke up bright and early Saturday morning, went and grabbed Mum (Mr. A is in Oregon) and went to the farmers market. We got green beans and eggplants. At home I worked on some scrapbook pages, finished grocery shopping, and did laundry. We went back to Mum's for dinner. Chris bbq'd some eggplant and sausage we'd picked up earlier at S&S, Mum made some fingerling potatoes and some well cooked zucchini and squash. It was very good. And then for dessert she served up some ice cream with sliced strawberries and sugar cookies (flavored w/ maple syrup and cut in the shape of leaves).

Today we walked over the movie theater and saw Role Models. It was hilarious. I actually was crying at one point I was laughing so hard. Earlier this morning I went to Target because they had all sizes of flannel sheet sets on sale for $15.99. Now we're just chilling at home watching TV until dinner. Then we're going to watch Mum's netflix copy of Mis Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Mum offered it to us last night, but we managed to sneak out of there without it. She must have thought we "forgot" it because she came over and dropped it off while we were at the movies. Apparenlty we really need to watch it.

Here's my scrapbook pages I finished:

Let me just save Jessica [the narc] time; my birthday is page 40 of Page Maps and Chris' is page 44 of Page Maps. What you can't see well is that on Chris' page I stitched on the lighter polka dot background paper with my cheesy hand held stitcher I won at Bunko years ago.

Here's the cute sheets I bought at Target this morning:
They're red and cream snowflakes. Cute!!! [and cheap]

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Chris and I agreed to house sit for a co-worker of mine over the weekend. They have two dogs, a cat and a gold fish. They were leaving Saturday afternoon so we didn't have to make a grant entrance until that evening. Once I got done (ditched out, really) with my Sustainability Conference we stopped at Papa Murphy's and got a mega meat delight to take with us up the hill. Oh, we also stopped at Long's and tried one of the Red Box movie rental kiosks (got Iron Man).

The house we were staying at is on Valley View, down at the end (past Valley Ridge) with all the rich houses. It's a three story house (you enter on the 2nd story, all the bedrooms are on the 3rd, and a entertainment room and guest bed/bath are downstairs). Since the house is so big there are intercoms throughout the house that we of course had to play with.

All the animals we were babysitting were old and therefore mainly just lay around and sleep. My kind of pet! The black one on the left is Max and the white and gray one on the right is Scully.

From the back of their house you have a awesome view of the canyon between Chico and Paradise. It rained last night so first thing this morning you could see the layer of fog sitting over Chico. Last night (before the rain) you could see Chico all light up.

We're home for the afternoon, but I'm heading back up the hill right after dinner and staying the night there again. I just have to check in on them tomorrow during my lunch hour and then part of the family will be back.

It wouldn't be so bad if my co-worker drank coffee and therefore had more than tea at her house. Arg!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One of these leaves is not like the others...

Can you tell which of these items are not one of the many leaves covering our back yard??

I mean seriously, this stuff just popped up over night. Think of all the money I'll save from having to buy mushrooms at the store!

Speaking of growing produce, check out our cherry tomatoes:
They're like the size of basketballs, but won't turn red. It's probably too cold now. It's getting into the high 30s at night. That'll teach us to plant our garden two weeks before the end of the season.

So, today and through Saturday, I am attending a conference at Chico State called "This Way to Sustainability". It's three full days of concurrent classes about different topics of sustainability. Today I learned about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) from a Chico group called GRUB (Growing Resourcefully, Uniting Bellies). They're pretty much a couple of hippies who grow crops on a two acre plot that regular people, like you and me, pay to be members of and get a share of the crops they harvest each week. Currently they serve 40 families from their 2 acres, but have recently come across some additional land and will be planting another 2 acres in the spring. You pay a monthly fee of $65 and get a bunch of veggies, fruits and herbs. Of course after listening to them, I was ready to whip out my pocketbook and sign up right then. Same with my next class which was a status report from the City of Chico Sustainability Task Force. Afterwards I was ready to write all these policies and implement new sustainable development standards. My last class today was about recycling. What is, what isn't, and why. I came roaring out of there ready to fire off an email to all my co-workers (who are already sick and tired of emails from the "Green Team") about easy recycling rules of thumb. In between the concurrent classes are keynote speakers for all the participants. The last one of the day was about the benefit of local businesses over a global market and large box stores. So don't be surprised when everyone gets local Chico products for Christmas. I'm never going to be allowed to go to one of these conferences again. Next thing you know, I'll be convincing Chris to sell the house and live in a commune, growing our own food and only showering yearly.

Please intervene before I go that far!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Group Effort

Tonight we made a dinner from the latest Rachael Ray magazine. It was the cod and shrimp stoup with salt-and-vinegar mashed potatoes. Chris made the stoup and I made the mash potatoes. Ours didn't quite turn out looking like the fancy photo, but it tasted good. Especially considering how many onion are in it. Two sliced onions is a lot.
I did cheat a little and used instant mashed potatoes. Seriously, who wants to cook and mash real potatoes? The instant are supposed to be mixed with 2 cups of boiling water so I just adjusted the liquid so that it was 1 3/4 cup boiling water and the 1/4 cup white wine vinegar the recipe called for. They were actually pretty good with the vinegar.

I wouldn't recommend this recipe for 3 1/2 year olds. Much too many onions and fish.

Tomorrow night we're having dinner with the 'rents and watching the elections. I'll be stopping by the old people's home down the street on my way to work in the morning and voting. The Canadian isn't registered here so he can only stare and cringe as I vote opposite on all the propositions than he would. That'll learn him! I'm voting 'no' on anything concerning maple syrup.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We're Home!

Well we managed to get through our vacation and make it back home in one piece. It looks like I left off right after our day time excursions on Friday (Halloween). So here's the rest of the story...

Friday night we went to Jake's Crawfish which is a seafood house owned by the same Jake's who's restaurant was in the downstairs of our hotel. We each got a bowl of clam chowder and a plate of calamari to share.
As it turns out though, only I ended up enjoying a couple bites since "somebody" got sick and we had to leave early. In fact this photo was taken while somebody was off not feeling well. Good times. Once we got back to the hotel and he was able to eat a little bit of snacks we went to our downstairs restaurant and had some chocolate lava cake dessert. Then we decided to go for a walk around downtown and check out all the freaks. Unfortunately we didn't have our camera with us, but there were some real "winners" out there. Our favorite was an Elvis impersonator set up on the street corner with a karaoke machine belting out the Elvis tunes. Standing, listening to him was a Roman guard and a Greek Goddess. We saw a bunch of English punk rockers but we weren't sure if they were "dressed up" or not. There were some jedi's, a couple Sarah Palins (complete with baby), Evel Knievel, a lot of street walkers (again, not sure if they were all costumes), a great dane with antlers, and spiderman. Not as many people as we would have expected, but enough to get some laughs out of it.

Saturday morning before we left, we tried once again to go to the Chinese Gardens. This time we made it! We were able to get in and get out right before the rain started again.
These guys were right outside of China town. Chris said, 'look - some camels!'. Right, camels....

It was a really cool place and I'm glad we made it before we left. We got out of Portland around 11:00 am and met up with Sean & Tracie (from the wedding) in Corvallis where we had lunch. We stayed last night in Medford with the 'rents and got them all packed up this morning and they followed us back down to Chico. Chris is over there now trying to figure out how to unload their 7,000 lb commercial grade copier from the trailer. Good times! I'm at home doing laundry up the ying yang and getting a shopping list together so that we don't have to subside on all the half priced halloween candy I bought at Harry & David's in Medford. Heaven forbid.