Monday, August 30, 2010

New signs

Last night I got started on the new signs for the coffee room to distinguish our two coffee pots for the discerning coffee drinkers at work. After the first layer of glue and sealant dried, I got busy this evening decorating the signs. I'm happy with the final result, I've just got to wait for the hanging twine to dry that I glued to the backside.
The background paper has been modge-podged to a thin piece of wood I got at Michaels so it's got some strength. While I was getting crafty with myself, Chris was taking care of our kabobs for dinner. Some seasoned shrimp, pineapple, red onion, and mushrooms.
Other than the fact that the onions needed more time on the grill to be edible, they were tasty-la-roos. I love bbq season!

So, let me tell you a little story about yesterday. Yesterday was my singing day at church and while up on stage getting ready to sing a song one of my co-singers, Al, started leaning into me and then passed out against me. I tried to catch him, but he his dead weight was too much and we both fell to the floor. I gave myself a nice rug burn on my knee, but today my thighs are so ridiculously sore and stiff. I must have been trying to support him with sheer leg strength. I took some Aleve this morning which took the pain away, but my left leg is still really stiff and I'm walking with a limp today. Next time I'll know to just step aside.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chocolate Coffee Cookies

If I'm going to bake sweet treats, it's going to be on Sunday that way I can take the leftovers to work the next day. Today's recipe was for chocolate coffee cookies I got from the Pillsbury website.
A few for us, a ton for work. Espresso makes everything so much better.

Dinner tonight of Hawaiian chicken was not that memorable, but last night's was fantastic.
Caramelized salmon (brown sugar, orange peel and pepper) with a tropical salsa (mango, cherries, mint, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes). Loved it!

Not much going on around the ol' Hartman household today besides a little church time. Later in the afternoon we took a family trip over to Michael's. I needed to get some materials to make some signs for the coffee machines at work. A co-worker had asked me to make a 'regular' and 'half-caff' sign for the coffee pots because he was sure that people were confusing the two. So three weeks later I finally got off my duff and got some supplies. Putting them into a finished product could be another three week production though. Speed and completion of projects is not my specialty. Especially when I'm sitting on my ass watching the Emmy's for seven hours.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rainy day weekend

Well isn't hasn't rained yet, but it sure looks like it wants to. This week went from 109 degrees down to mid 60s today. There was chance of an afternoon sprinkle, but it hasn't materialized yet. We got up "early" this morning (7:30 ish), got beautiful and went out to breakfast at our favorite place downtown, the Golden Waffle.
Some breakfast, coffee and morning paper are an excellent way to start a Saturday. After breakfast we ran over to Kohl's for some odds and ends and to use the two, $10 off of $20 coupons I had. A year and a half later, Chris finally ran out of k-cups for his Keurig coffee maker and Kohl's has the best selection of flavors at the best prices.

This afternoon I went to a Silpada party (silver jewelry) up in p-town at a co-worker's house. It was originally scheduled to be a pool party too, but something about chilly temps and impending sprinkles put a damper on those plans. Instead we stayed inside chatting, eating and trying on beautiful necklaces. Still a lot of fun. And now the countdown begins until my newest set of jewels shows up in my mailbox.

I have salmon steaks marinating in the fridge right now for some supper time grilling, but I'm not sure I'm going to make it since I'm about to crash into a nap any second. Apparently 7:30 am was a tad too early to be getting up this morning....zzzzzzz.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My new friend, the dentist

As embarrassing as it to type this, I finally went to the dentist today after a 16 year hiatis. Nothing was wrong with my teeth, I just figured it was time to go in. Plus I'd been eyeballing what looked like a crack down one of my front teeth. Chris, who has three dentists (because he's that awesome), sees a family dentist down the street from our old place, Dr. Huseth - or as we refer to him at home, "Gentle Hands", so that's who I went and saw. Long story short, yes he does have gentle hands and I had one cavity. My first cavity ever. To my defense, it was in a spot I couldn't have got to. One of my lower wisdom teeth grew in at an angle right into the side of my last molar and it's at the impact point between the two teeth that the cavity formed. Sooooo, I go back in about two weeks and get a super deep cleaning (2 1/2 hours worth!) and then follow up a month later with a nice polishing. After that I need to go get my wisdom teeth pulled (Face, you need to come fish the noodles out of my soup!), then go back to Gentle Hands to have a filling put in my last molar. Since I don't have any other fillings I'm going with a tooth colored one so that nobody knows my dark, dirty tooth secret. I'm glad it's only one cavity, and short of having my wisdom teeth pulled sooner, I couldn't have prevented it so it's almost like I still have no cavities, right?

Earlier in the week I took my damn dirty wisdom teeth out to dinner with my bible study girls at a new restaurant in town. When it's time to pick a new book we always meet at the Christian book store, pick a new book and then head off for a night on the town. This time we went to Gooney Bird which is in the old Albatross restaurant off of upper Esplanade, past Eaton. I'd checked out their menu ahead of time online and knew exactly what I wanted when we got there; the garden salad with baked salmon on it.
It really should have been called the anti-garden salad though since it was lettuce, candied walnuts, dried cranberries and feta cheese. You know, all things that don't grow in a garden. But it was really, really tasty. I didn't even need to use the raspberry vinaigrette that came with it. For dessert we all shared a piece of their island pie which had a chocolate crust, ice cream filling, a chocolaty, caramel syrup and five pounds of whipped cream.
I would definitely go back again. Maybe even bring the Mr. next time.

Work's been busy this week. My boss, the Planning Director had the week off so I was the only planner on staff and had to cover accordingly. That included doing the landscape inspection for the new Rite Aid in p-town. For you friends and family that have since fled the area, at the corner of Clark and Elliott (across from AM/PM where Barney's was), they bulldozed all the existing crap-o-licious buildings and built a big new fancy Rite Aid for the Rite Aid up at K-Mart to move in to. Anyway, new commercial projects require landscaping so I went out and met with the landscaper and the project manager to assess the finish product.
Because of the economy they were actually able to get much larger plants for the same prices as the smaller seedlings so it already looks really good there even though they're new plantings. Or at least I thought so.

Only one new recipe this week. Chicken breasts cooked in Italian dressing and then simmered with celery, carrots, sun dried tomatoes, and cannellini beans.
We both really like it which is fortunate since we're eating the leftovers tomorrow night. Tonight is steak and potatoes.

You know why I love my co-workers? Because they keep giving me hand-me-downs. Usually it's clothes, but today it was a cute pair of heels.
I traded them for what I was wearing first thing this morning and spent my day feeling super tall, maybe even 5'2"!! Hellooooo down there! Dear free shoes, you're awesome.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Turning out the tamales

My mom, Chris and I took a tamale making class up in p-town this morning given by my co-worker and friend, Sherry. Class started at 10:00 am which came much sooner than I was ready for, but Sherry was ready with margaritas, chips and salsa. It's never to early for a wake up drink, right?
Class outlines were available to review which promised a day full of adventure and food. Lots of food. Since tamales take a lot of time to steam once assembled, we got started right away with preparing the masa dough and fillings.
Six students cranking out dozens and dozens of homemade tamales can make quite an impressive tower of deliciousness.
Sherry had already made a couple of batches of tamales the day before for us to eat for lunch while ours steamed for the hour and a half necessary. There was also baked black beans, Mexican rice and a green side salad.
After lunch we got busy preparing to make churros for dessert.
A dough, very similar to cream puff dough, is piped into a deep fryer from a pastry bag until it's a nice golden brown and then dropped into a bag full of cinnamon and sugar.
What does one serve with churros? Homemade cinnamon ice cream of course!
Four hours later and the Canadian was tuckered out and ready to go home.
One of the perks of the class is that you each get to bring home a dozen of the finished, steamed tamales we made that afternoon. And since there was two of us we got two dozen.
Everybody had a great time, though I don't think I would invite the Canadian to another class as he had ants in his pants by the end and wanted to leave. But since he did help make the tamales, I suppose I'll share the leftovers with him. Especially since those two dozen aren't going to eat themselves!

Dinner party

Last night was a couple's dinner party up in p-town at my friend Kari's house. There was Chris and I, Kari and her husband Steve, co-workers (and spouses) Paul and Sheila, and Dina (co-worker) and Don. We haven't been to a big kids dinner party in a long time and we had a blast. Kari and Steve provided the main dish (rotisserie turkey) while the rest of us brought sides, appetizers and dessert. I made a Mediterranean orzo salad with orzo (of course), sun dried tomatoes, olives, marinated artichoke hearts, diced red onion, fresh spinach and feta cheese all covered with a Greek vinaigrette.
The shindig started at 6:00 pm and while we waited for the turkey to roast we hung out on the back porch enjoying some drinks and appetizers.
When it was finally served, dinner was delicious. Turkey, my orzo salad, marinated veggies, and bread.
With all the chatting and eating we didn't start cleaning up until 10:00 pm. Way past our curfew.
It was a late night for us, but a lot of fun. After a somewhat restless night, we're getting ready this morning to head back up to p-town for our tamale class. Hope I can stay awake!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Air conditioning drama

Soooo....last night Chris and I met up with some work friends after work at La Hacienda for drinks and nachos. When we got home Chris noted that the house felt warm so he checked the a/c control panel and sure enough it said the house was 84 degrees instead of the 80 it's set at. He put his hand up to one of registers and only felt warm air blowing out. Great, a busted a/c unit in the middle of August. He spent the next hour or so checking wiring and electrical panels, but no luck. So first thing this morning we called an HVAC company to come by and check it out. It's only supposed to be in the mid 80s this weekend, but next week is heading back into the 100+ territory so we really needed to get this thing fix pronto. Around noon the service guy showed up and is actually out back with Chris fixing what turned out to be a bad fuse and some sort of connection wires. A little easier to swallow than a whole new HVAC unit.
While we were waiting for the service man to show up this morning, we spent a little time in the front yard doing some well needed yard maintenance. Chris tackled trimming back the plum tree in the front yard;
And I got the distinct honor of de-weeding the roses.
I only fell on my ass once when I was giving a weed (the size of a bean stock) the old heave-ho and wasn't ready for it to give so suddenly.

After my traumatizing foray into yard work, I cleaned up and headed over to the downtown farmer's market. I had a hankering for sweet, orange cherry tomatoes. Somebody had brought some to our work potluck on Thursday and I've been craving more ever since.
Dear cherry tomatoes, you are my new best friends. Note to self though, never again go to the farmer's market so late on the first weekend the college kids are back in town. It was like a freaking cattle call. Horrific. Yeah, I'm talking to you - slow moving, skanky college kids and hippies.

Our neighbor, who just lost her house to auction, is having a yard sale today and everybody and their brother is parked on the street, half-way around street corners, in OUR driveway (promptly told to move by old man Hartman), in front of the mail boxes, and sometimes right in the middle of the street. All for what appears to be some half-melted candles, random serving platters, an ugly painting, and other household "treasures".

Oh! The a/c service guy and is done and we are once again living the high life with a/c. Woo hoo! And only $150 to put new parts in and give a thorough run down of the system to Chris. By far the best money we've spent so far this weekend!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Potluck party

In a wild fit of randomness we had declared today a finger food potluck day at work. I *heart* potluck days because we have some pretty good cooks in the office and today was no exception.
I gorged myself on zucchini bread, cherry tomatoes and homemade shrimp spring rolls. I brought bacon cheese cups (mini pie shells filled with a bacon cheese mixture) that I woke up at 5:00 am to put together. That's how dedicated I am to the food cause.

You'd think after eating goodies all day I'd be too full for dinner, but I had big plans for a new recipe for fish tacos with a mango salsa. The Canadian was my little sous chef, chopping up mango and jalapeno for the salsa. I baked the cod in the oven wrapped in parchment paper and covered in spices. It was absolutely delicious.
Corn tortillas, cabbage, fish, a little bit of shredded cheese and then mango salsa. Chomp, chomp, chomp! I'm baking off the rest of the cod tomorrow for leftovers.

I know I've been MIA for most of the week, but I've been really busy. Honest. Tuesday night was my first time attending a night Planning Commission meeting. I had a parcel map, rezone and General Plan amendment application I had to present to them for approval. My boss, the Planning Director, always goes so he introduced me to them and helped me with my presentation so I could get the hang of the formalities and procedures. It's not much different than the Planning Director public hearings I have to present at so I feel pretty confident about the next time I have to go. I've also been keeping busy with evil, evil union meetings. I would sell both of my sisters to settle and be done with this. I hate listening to my co-workers bitch and the town constantly guilting us with threats of layoffs. Blah!

We have big plans for this weekend. We're heading up to my friend Kari's house Saturday night for dinner with her and her husband and two other couples from work. Cool couples that will be fun to hang out with. Kari and Steve are bbq-ing and the rest of us are bringing sides. I called dibs on a Mediterranean orzo salad. Then on Sunday we're going back up to p-town for a tamale class with my mom at my co-worker Sherry's house. She usually teaches sourdough bread class (Mum (mother-in-law) and I went last year), but this year she's expanded her classes into cooking classes too. She's one of the best cooks I know, so how could I not sign us up? And the weather's going to be excellent this weekend (low 80s) so what more could I ask?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Come and get it!

Here birdie, birdie, birdies - come get your delicious grub!
The bird feeder is now up and full of treats for those little backyard invaders. They'd better show up and be grateful!

Our first trip out today was a combo trip to the brew shop so the Canadian could pick up another beer kit and I needed a quick stop at Albertson's for a couple of forgotten items. While there, Chris got lost in their beer isle checking out their new single bottle display.
Good to know there's an emergency backup to Ray's up in P-town.

We tag-teamed lunch today. Chris took over bbq duty, making us some tasty pork tenderloin to go with our brown rice, steamed veggies and mango and spinach salad.
We were still so full from lunch that two bites into dinner (meaty spaghetti) we both declared ourselves full and dumped the rest. Instead, I'm enjoying a cup of tea and watching Sahara for the eleventy-billionith time. In case you're not familiar with that number - it's big.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

For the birds

By some miracle I won the most games at bunko Tuesday night and got myself a pretty cool metal and glass bird feeder.
Chris is going to make a nice home for it off the back pergola (hint, hint) and then I can fill it with whatever it is birds eat these days. Peppercorns, nuts and bolts, basil, pistachios, and toenail clippings.

I took Friday off this week because our house desperately needs some attention. I hear it whimpering and begging for a vacuum, mop, pickup, and even new owners. I'll get my grocery shopping done first before it becomes ungodly hot out and then I'll go all gangsta' on this mess.

We blissfully have no plans for this weekend. I'm going to craft, practice my music for Sunday and spend ridiculous amounts of time on the computer. Chris will probably watch either National Treasure or The Bourne Identity on TV while reclining in a pair of chonies and drinking a beer...or two or three. I like to set the bar low so that as long as we get out of bed we've accomplished more than we set out to.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Cleaning house

I have a co-worker who is cleaning out her craft room and making me her hand-me-down beneficiary. Today I scored a whole bag full of brand new ink pads, stamps, and even a brayer which I surprisingly don't own even after years and years of rubber stamping.
She even said there's more to come. Yes please!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Trail master

Much to my joy, Chris was able to piece together a motorcycle in time to participate in this weekend's trials event somewhere in the boones between Grass Valley and Truckee. It basically involves driving around "courses" in the woods going over rocks and other obstacles while trying not to put a foot down. This was like heaven to me given my deep seated love for dirt, motorcycles and exhaust fumes (dear Jesus, please don't smite me with lightening for typing a bold faced lie). But I was there to support the old man, so I trudged hill after hill to bring him water and get photos.
The best part of the day?
Sitting in the shade of the truck, enjoying the breeze and eating. The rest of the time I spent collecting inches and inches of that crappy, powdery dirt all over my person and in my shoes. I literally looked like Pig Pen when we left. Oh, did I mention 'port-a-potties'?? But, to the event's credit, they were the nicest bunch of riders ever. They were very friendly and helpful with all of our questions. Even the little 7 year olds that were kicking Chris' butt!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday frivolities

As a treat to myself for making it through the week without giving anybody 'the bird', I let myself sleep in an extra half an hour this morning and caught breakfast at my favorite early morning bakery;
I had a lemon poppy seed scone fresh from the oven. Chomp, chomp, chomp.

After work I went and visited Susan for a little bit. She'd come to see me the day before at work, but I was just heading to a meeting so I had to kick her to the curb. After my visit I was starving so I had some lunch at Wilson's old stomping grounds, Mountain Mikes, before heading over to the movie theater to use my free movie pass from giving blood on Wednesday. I went and saw Salt with Angelina Jolie. We'd talked about going to see it, but Chris also wanted to see Inception and The Expendables (coming out next Friday) so I was starting to doubt we'd be able to squeeze it in together so I ditched him and went by myself (I love you, honey!). All the hard core action and stunts reminding me of my own life. It was like watching a documentary.

Before leaving town I stopped at the Post Office to pick up some new stamps and found the most awesome, cutest, non-retarded stamps ever;
They're called 'Sunday Funnies' and have Beetle Bailey, Calvin & Hobbes, Archie (my favorite), Garfield and Dennis the Menace. These have got to be some of my all time favorite stamps. Get out and get some before they're all gone!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Final countdown

Phew, the week is almost over. It's been full of meetings, deadlines and staff reports. Today was one meeting after another including a regional transit meeting down in Chico, but at least on the way home I got to stop at Jamba Juice for a little late morning treat.
Look at how talented I am driving while drinking and photographing. But at least I'm not being irresponsible and talking on my cell phone, right?

I went shopping at CholoMaxx tonight and got most of my list taken care of so I can spend my Friday afternoon really enjoying myself by cleaning the house. Oh joy. Didn't I just do that? Oh yeah, I'm married to a tornado of devastation.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bribes for blood

Today was a blood drive in P-town at the Vet's hall. I had my co-worker go to lunch early so that I could leave earlier and be there when they opened at 12:30. I got there at 12:37 pm and was already 19th in line!? But I persevered and managed to get through the check in, passed my iron test (dropped like a rock), and checked all the silly boxes about not being a carrier for all toxic diseases in about an hour. Then it took me another 45 (freaking) minutes sitting in the donor recliner before one of the nurses came over and finally got me hooked up. The entire process took me two whole hours. Unbelievable. However, I did get cake. Two pieces in fact.
That helped ease my pain. As did the free movie pass to the local movie theater AND the free ice cream coupon from Baskin Robbins. Score!

Back at work I got an email from a co-worker that she had some more hand-me-down clothes for me. Last time she cleaned her closet I scored handfuls of dresses so I was very excited. I haven't gone through the bags yet, but I'm sure there's something useful out of the three full bags!
Yes, the shirt on the far left has a feathered collar. The old people at church are going to love it!

Tonight was bible study down the street at Lulu's. She made a delicious stuffed chicken from S&S Produce and homemade rice pudding. She makes the best food. Even with one of her wrists in a cast. When we were done we got a tour of this year's garden (her husband is a gardener extraordinaire). The star of the show was a big-ass three week old pumpkin.
They also had some Bidwell melons growing which are like super sized cantaloupes. They're from a seed stock that were planted by John & Annie Bidwell back in the late 1800s.
We can't even grow a couple of measly lemons, yet they're growing produce the size of small Volkswagens. Slightly unfair me thinks. Unless of course they're willing to share, then grow baby grow!