Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pretty Toes

Today was forecasted to be 103 degrees so we figured it would be a good idea to get our errands out of the way first thing this morning. After breakfast I headed over to Kohl's to look around with my $10 off coupon. I found two pairs of bermuda shorts and a cute summer dress. Then I stopped off over at Target. I've been carrying around a coupon for a free can of Maxwell House coffee (up to $5.01), but that stuff's harder to find then you would think. But Target didn't dissappoint and I grabbed a can plus I picked out a bottle of nail polish. I was starting to feel like the last girl at work who didn't have painted toe nails. Now I'm sporting some sassy red toe nails.
Before I came back home though, I swung by the Almond Orchard because I'd heard an ad on the radio yesterday about a artisans craft faire being put on by String Bead. Never one to pass a craft show, I got there about a half an hour after they started. It was a lot of tents put up in the concrete courtyard by the water fountain. They were mainly jewelry artists, which was fine by me. Beautiful stuff, some a little pricey, but nothing really my style that I would wear.

While I was off shopping and painting my toe nails, Chris was in the garage cleaning up the race car after all the off roading he did during the last race. Then he pulled out the Hodaka motorcycle and did a little fine tuning to it to get it started for a little spin down the street.
Once it got too warm to play outside we came in and turned on the boob tube. We've had Elizabeth, with Cate Blanchet, recorded for awhile so we watched that. Afterwards it was dinner time so I made the Rachael Ray chorizo and pepper meal again from the other day since I still had half the package of the chorizo to use up. I used instant mashed potatoes this time flavored with garlic salt and southwest seasoning and it was still as delicious. That was two hours ago and both of our eyes are still burning from the red onion I cut up. Good times!

Last night we sat down with our Chicago guidebook and made a list of all the museums and attractions we wanted to go to. Then we got on their websites to look what days they were free, if any, and decided based on those days which part of the week we were going to go. We've decided to go Saturday August 28th through Friday, September 4th. That'll give us five full days there which we've already made a full itinerary for.
We've planned to go to the observation deck of the Sears Tower and to do an architectural river tour on a boat. There's also a planetarium, aquarium, botanical conservatory, Chicago Institute of Art, museum of natural history, and the museum of science of industry. We're both really excited.

We have a horrible bet going on this evening. We both guessed what we thought the temperature was going to be at 9:00 pm and whoever is the closest doesn't have to mop the floors tonight. Sean and Tracie (from Oregon) are stopping by tomorrow morning on their way home from a wedding down south so we spent a little time this afternoon cleaning up the joint and sweeping and mopping are the last order of the evening. I guessed 92 degrees and Chris said 90 degrees. It's 8:00 pm now and still 93.7 degrees. We'll see who wins.......

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bible Study Eats

Tonight was b.s. at Lulu's house. She lives on the other half of Ceres, but it was too hot tonight to walk. I love Lulu's night because she always makes some kind of homemade magical dessert with her baking school talents. Tonight she did not disappoint. First off though was our main meal of homemade eggplant parmesan, salad (with homemade dressing), green beans and french bread.
Then the lights dimmed and the angels announced the arrival of the most delicious fruit pie any of us had ever had.
Homemade apricot pie. From apricots off her own tree. In all fairness it was actually her husband, Bill, who made the pie, but Lulu is capable of the same deliciousness. It was absolutely to die for and all of us proclaimed it the best pie we'd ever eaten.

Chris meanwhile stayed at home and ate tuna pasta roni.

Last night I made the new Rachael Ray recipe I mentioned earlier. Soy chorizo and shrimp mixed with seared red onions, red bell peppers and a Mexican Anaheim pepper over homemade mashed potatoes. It was actually really tasty with just enough leftovers for Chris to take for lunch the next day. Having tasted the homemade mashed potatoes I realize now that I could just use instant potatoes next time without sacrificing any flavor, yet saving on much effort.

My co-worker Curtis is out today and tomorrow so I'm having to cover the building counter. Not my favorite, but it keeps me busy. And on my feet all day. When I got in the car to drive home my feet started aching from having stood all day in heels. I should wear nurses clogs tomorrow. Hopefully tomorrow will be as quite at work as today was. Now that I've been off the counter for a couple of years I have no patience for customers and their dumb questions anymore. I hope my fake smile doesn't get stuck on my face from making it all day!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Racing

We had taken the 'rents out on Saturday because we were going to be at Thunderhill on Sunday for a race day. It was Chris' first race with the new, larger engine. The engine performed well, it was the rest of the car that wasn't ready for it's go-go gadget power which caused him to go airborne sideways.
We only stayed through the first of two races, but we got a lot of track time in relatively problem free.

Today I took the day off of work and went with Chris up to Almanor to work on a job site. We stopped in Chester and had breakfast and then went up and did his work. Here's the view from the site.

After we finished working, we drove to a National Park camping site where they had walking trails.
Chris was climbing all over the fallen logs and ended up with cuts to his hands and legs. See, nature is dangerous! We should stay inside where it's safe!

Alright, it's dinner time. I'm off to try a new Rachael Ray recipe (shrimp and soy chorizo over mashed potatoes). Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Recipe Results

Well, I made Jessica's chicken noodle pasta last night and while I did end up slicing my thumb on the mandolin slicer, it came out fabulous. At least in my opinion. Chris wished it had a little liquid to it, but what does he know? I thought it was totally yummy and I'm going to make him choke down the leftovers tomorrow night for dinner.

After dinner last night we went over to Barnes and Noble for a little magazine reading and a little reconnaissance work on Chicago for our fall vacation. We bought the same travel book for Chicago that we bought for Washington D.C. We really like the format it's in and it comes with a map.
Chris took this photo on his iPhone. I'm not quite sure why it has a red tint to it.

This morning I made scones from a co-worker's recipe (Curtis' wife, Kathy). Mine didn't come out quite a beautiful as hers, but they still tasted good. I would guess that she probably used the real butter the recipe called for, not margarine, but that's all I had and wasn't going to spend $3 on real butter I'd never eat.
They've got dried cranberries and orange zest in them. Very tasty, but very messy to make. I don't bake from scratch often (or ever) and didn't realize what a mess it is to pull out every dried good known to man and roll out dough and powder this and powder that. Blah! But for those freaks (like Jessica to whom I emailed this recipe) who attempt things like this on a daily basis, it's probably no big deal.

Chris and I took the 'rents out to lunch today at Johnnie's to celebrate Mum's birthday (tomorrow) and Father's Day. They really liked it and for the four of us it only cost $34. What a deal for such a nice restaurant. We went back to their place afterwards and did gifts. Chris got Mr. A. some tool stuff and I got Mum a dragonfly windchime (she has a dragonfly theme at their place) and a flier showing the Paradise bakery class I signed her and I up for in July. We're going to make homemade sourdough breads and pizzas. The owner of the bakery is a friend of mine and we got into her only open class for the rest of the year. Mum was very excited because we get to use an outdoor oven and she's always wanted to do that. Somehow at the end of the gift giving I ended up with a bouquet of flowers and Chris got a clock for the garage.
Tonight for dinner I made a recipe out of my new-to-me Rachael Ray cookbook. It was chicken sausage meatballs over gnocchi with tomato sauce. Ground turkey was on sale though, so I used it instead of ground chicken, but it still came out really tasty. The sauce is crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce mixed with sauteed onions and red pepper flakes. It added just enough spice.
It was perfect for tonight, with enough leftover to heat back up for Tuesday night dinner.

Now I'm ready for a nap, but the Canadian is in the garage packing for tomorrow's race and I will once again be beckoned to come push the car in the trailer in just a little while. Tomorrow's race is just out in Willows at Thunderhill so we don't have to roll out of here until about 7:00 a.m. I'll entertain myself during the drive with a warmed scone and some coffee.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Produce Progress

While I was doing a garbage run, I spied on our little budding garden. I'm so proud of it's progress.

The crookneck squash has totally gone gangbusters. The first round started off good, but then they separated off the vine and died. Really strange, but a whole other group followed shortly afterwards and they seem to be doing better.
And look at the little eggplant! It's a japanese eggplant so it's just going to get longer, not really fatter.
There's a couple of baby lemon cucumbers getting started.
The cherry tomatoes are even ready to start picking.
These tomatoes however, apparently did not get the memo that they're supposed to be cherry tomatoes and not beefsteaks.
The paddy pan's though have decided to be little party pooping punks. All they're interested in doing is growing a little bit and then shriveling up. Seriously, WTF?
I'm ready to vote them off the island.

Tonight I'm trying Jessica's chicken noodle pasta dish. I bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded all the meat earlier. Now I'm getting ready to start julienning the veggies. Thankfully my mandolin slicer has a julienne slicing blade on it or I'd quite possibly come out of this whole cooking adventure with only 8 fingers. This had better be good Jessica!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fruit Frenzy

On our evening constitutional, about five block down the street from our house we ran in to a little girl selling bags of apricots in her front yard. They have a super mega apricot tree that hangs over onto the sidewalk and we may have been known to use our super laser vision to cut a few down on late, dark, evening walks. Anyway, the bags were only a $1 each so we told her we'd be back in 10 minutes, turned around and went back home where we scrounged up $2. We scored two loaded backs of apricots for $2!!! Of course then we had to carry them for the rest of the mile walk, but it was worth it. We got home and dumped them into the strainer, estimating that we probably had about 2 pounds worth. We meant to weigh them while they were in the paper bags, but forgot and then we each ate some, so forget about it!
And I feel so much more honest for having ripped her off for $2 rather than having stole them outright. It's the little things, right?

Now if only somebody was selling fresh cherries for $1 per loaded paper lunch bag!

Mystery Theater Dinner

My mystery theater dinner at church last night was so much fun. When you showed up you got a program and were sent off to find a seat. I sat a table with two ladies and a little girl. I didn't know any of them, but they were very nice. Each of the tables were set up for dinner and had a tray of appetizers to start with.
The play was about a traveling murder theater group who performed at restaurants. The main character was a diva who nobody liked and everyone told her she'd better watch out or she'd be sorry.
There were four acts and in between each act we were fed an additional part of the meal. After the first act we got salad and bread. After the second act we got our entrees. We also got written clues during each break, too.
After the third break they passed out solution worksheets where we each had to guess who did it, how they did it, and why they they did it. There was also some tie breaker questions. Then we turned them back in before the fourth act which is when we found out 'who dun it'.
I ignored the obvious choice and got it wrong, but it was still a lot of fun.

We just got back from walking over to Burger Hut for lunch. I've got about an hour and half before I head over to Salvation Army to help serve dinner. We're bbq-ing chicken today. Our church hosts the second Sunday of the month. At least it's not a million degrees today.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Toys

Look what somebody in our household just got yesterday. And no, it's not me.
The dirty fingerprints probably are, though. Chris' work is making all the employees switch their work phones over to their own personal service and are being reimbursed $60 a month. So we added a line to my service, added the data package for iphones and he picked out the new phone. Unreal, I am so jealous. It's the coolest thing I've ever played with. I want one, too. Badly. Like right now.

Today we went and hung out downtown for a little bit. I wanted something from Zucchini and Vine, so while were down there we stopped at Jon & Bon's and got some tart peachy-berry frozen yogurt. Yum. As we were leaving I spotted Ethan. I went over and said hi. He's still at Sierra Nevada and still looks the same as he did, just a little older. I haven't seen him in probably about 6 years. CraZy.

We also stopped by the big used bookstore downtown, across from 7-11, kind of on the backside of Colliers Hardware. I found two cookbooks that, for half price, were worth getting.

I have a mystery theater dinner I'm going to tonight at church. It's for the ladies. They serve a three course meal while they do their mystery theater gig. Sounds like fun. I'm leaving the Canadian here with a can of sauerkraut and a pound of kielbasa. He'll be just fine.

Friday, June 12, 2009

America's New Top Model

Woo hoo, it's Friday already! It was a fairly busy week for me. Tuesday night was Bunko. Thankfully it was in town (back behind my old Scottwood Rd house) so I didn't have to drive 20 minutes up into the boonies. I killed a little time after work by grabbing a chicken breast sandwich from Subway and relaxing at the duck pond. I read the newspaper and did my bible study homework. I actually had to go get my coat from the car because it was so cool and windy. No complaints about having to wear a jacket in June.
I didn't win anything at bunko, but that's okay because each of the prizes were sets of glasses(?). Someone tried to foist theirs off on me but I was having none of it!

On Wednesday when I got into work I had a boquet of mini tulips on my desk from a co-worker. I had offered to help her financially with something personal and she was grateful for the offer.
That night was bible study at Denise's, but she thought it was at my house so when she figured it out she made last minute plans for us to go to Moongate for dinner and our study. It was good stuff. Afterwards Lulu had me follow her home (she lives on the other end of Ceres) because she forgot some cherries at home she was going to bring to share with the group. So we scored another basket of cherries and she sent home a nectarine/apricot hybrid fruit from the farmer's market for Chris. I didn't even get all the way in the door before he grabbed it out of my hand and started in on it.
Yes, he's wearing a headband. He got it at Big 5 last weekend. He says it's for working out in the garage, but I don't see a lot of working going on here. I see a man wearing boxers, watching TV, sporting a super cool farmer's tan, eating a apri-rine/necta-cot(?). Enjoy!

Thursday, the girls at work took Kari out to lunch at Sophia's Thai Cuisine (old Manny's chili bowl). It was so yummy. We ordered a bunch of stuff and shared and found some real winners. Besides the few who complained it was "too spicy" (whatever!), it was an enjoyable lunch.
Dear Thai food, I love you. Peanut sauce, I love you even more.

We watched Gran Torino last night. I didn't really have any desire to see it, but it turned out to be really good and made me have a little tear at the end.

After work today I went to Colleen and got my hair cut. It's nice and short in the back now, and angled down towards my chin. My sassy summer style. I'm saving my normal Friday afternoon grocery shopping for tonight, but I did make it to Target and Costco. I'd been holding on to the second rejected swimsuit in my trunk for two weeks, but I finally got it back to Costco and got my balboas back. Curses to you Costco and your dumb swimsuits and lack of dressing rooms!

Um, I watching Paula Deen "scrapbook". I look like the grandmaster wizard compared to her.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Poke Cake Part Deux

After my last crushing poke cake victory, I dreamed up a brilliant new twist on it. Lemon jello with a layer of lemon curd over the cake followed by the cool whip. I admit, I went a little crazy and bought lemon cake too, which was good but doesn't allow for the visual impact that white cake does. Note to self; white cake next time.
It was tasty and fabulous. Chris gobbled his up in about two seconds. I at least savored mine over four seconds. Good thing we liked it because we have a whole 9"x13" of it!

You know what would be good with that? Wyder's pear cider. Get some!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I was duped!

As I mentioned, I completely fell in love with ciders yesterday at the brewfest. My favorite was Wyder's Pear. It was heaven in a glass. Followed very closely by their raspberry flavor. So, tonight while I was at Raley's I checked out their beer isle and found a six-pack of Wyder's pear for $9.99! I'm not quite desperate enough to pay those prices so I passed, but I found some single big bottles further down the isle for only $3.29. Unfortunately they didn't have pear in the big bottles, only raspberry and peach. I grabbed the peach since I hadn't tried it yet and upon further inspection once I got home look what I found:
It's made by dirty Canadians! Oh sweet Jesus, I've been duped! Not wanting the Canadians terrorists to win, I drank it anyway, but it wasn't as good as the pear. Good, but not earth shattering. Go to the store and get some pear immediately! Except for Anni. She has to stick with apple juice.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Relay for Life

Somebody decided to stay home and sleep off his beer tonight instead of accompanying his wife to the Relay for Life, but that's all I'm going to say about it.

I spent the first part of the morning at the high school helping set up our food display for the beginning of the relay. I brought my zucchini bread and helped tape up signs and strings of lights for the evening. There was a group of about 4 ladies and we were gettin' it done!
My track time was from 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm tonight. I got there right at 8:00 pm and checked in with my group. Yvette was there who had brought her team visor with her earlier in the morning all decorated like we were supposed to do which inspired me to get mine up to par before I came back in the evening. Here's mine:
It has four glitter hearts with the names Betsy (a co-worker's wife with ovarian cancer), Kari (melanoma), Little Man, and Wanda (Rhonda from my b.s. group has breast cancer). And here's ours together:
Yes, we're dorky yet cute all at the same time. I ran in to Kari there since I was relieving her and her husband Steve on track and she informed me that Mom was over at the luminaria booth making bags for Little Man. So I huffed it around the track and found Mom working at the hospital booth selling ice cream. She finished her shift at 8:00 pm so she and her friend, Maria, walked the track with me for my hour. While we were out on track we found the luminaria I paid for and the one mom made.
As it got closer to 9:00 pm they started lighting the luminarias. We liked the ones that had the people's pictures on them and then we saw these cool ones that had a plastic front with a "stained glass" look that was really just marker.
At about a quarter after 9:00 pm they had everybody stop while some people spoke, then they did a moment of silence followed by a memorial lap around the track led by a bagpiper playing Amazing Grace.
It was very touching. By then it was pushing 10:00 pm and was time for me to start heading home. After the memorial lap I grabbed my stuff and came home. Home to a quite and dark house because apparently the drunkard is still sleeping off his party juice. But on the bright side, I got to spend an hour hanging out with my Mom to whom all this stuff matters as much as to me.

Chico Soroptimist Microbeer Fest

Upon advice from a friend who's been to this beer fest a time or two, we showed up an hour early at 1:00 pm to the Elk's lodge on Manzanita Ave (aka Bruce Rd) across from the fire station at upper Bidwell. For the hour we had to stand in line we were treated to a visual montage of boobs, bellies and more boobs. Chris was right when he noted that apparently the dress code was "fancy whore". Way too much cleavage and clothes that were two sizes too small. Hawt! And another little known fact is that when you're dressed like a "fancy whore" or a "super douche" (as my friend dubbed the college guys) you have an overwhelming need to use the f-bomb every other word. Not only do you look classy, but you sound classy, too. It was just a different crowd than we expected. We thought there'd be older people like our home brewing neighbor, Doug. Professional hippies, per se. But it was definitely heavy on the college students. Anyway, after waiting in line for an hour we got to go in, grab a full size glass off the table and head straight for the brewery booths. Some were inside and some where outside on the grass. We had a sample beer poured in our glasses and grabbed a plate of snacks (sandwich wedges from Great Harvest, hot wings from Johnnies, and sausage bites from Sierra Nevada) and went and sat on the back porch.
The way it worked was that you drank your sample and then picked any other of the 45 breweries for another sample. You could have as many as you wanted and same with the food. It was all covered by the $40 tickets. We grabbed a map of the booths and as we tried different samples we wrote down the name of the brew and rated it 1-5 because Lord knows we'd never remember what we had where and what it was called.
Chris' favorite was Hop Stoopid by Lagunitas which was a beer he'd just tried for the first time this week from Mom. He loved it and was excited to see it was one of the brews Lagunitas brought with them. After my first horrid Porter by Avery (a brewery our neighbor Doug was pouring for) I stuck to iced tea from Bidwell Perk and then I discovered the addictingly delicious world of ciders. Chris had brought back a Black Currant cider from Fox Barrel Cider which I thought was very tasty. Like a fruity wine cooler, but with the alcohol strength of wine. I immediately when in search of the two cider vendors and tried a pear one which I rated a perfect "5" and a raspberry which came in a close "4".

While there I also ran in to some friends from work. Amy and her friend Libby came and hung out with us for the last hour or so.
We stayed until closing at 6:00 pm. We both really enjoyed it and experienced more then we can wrap our little brains around. The highlights of the afternoon were:
  • The group of kids standing behind us in line outside telling each other how much weed they smoked before coming.
  • The "woman" who was peeing in the urinal next to Chris in the bathroom. Tall "lady" with a strapless dress and lots of makeup and big hair.
  • The gal who looked at Chris and told him that was the best looking sausage she'd ever seen (he was holding a hot dog from the bbq booth) to which he replied, 'thanks, I work out'.
  • The lesbians making out on the grass in front of our lawn chairs.
  • The stinky hippies "dancing" in front of the band stage. Dancing with the spirit of mother earth, or something.
  • The drunk guy who was running around his table yelling duck, duck, goose and tripped on my chair which sent him flying to the ground, but he didn't drop a ounce of beer!
  • The girl with a mohawk.
  • All that plaid!!
We really did enjoy it though and already have plans to go back next year. We'll need to shop for sharper outfits, but we're up to the challenge!