Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Triskaidekaphobia

This week's word is one of the useless but fun to know. It was brought into my life by the wonderfulness of Friends, during one episode where Joey is auditioning for a part as a game show host for a super confusing game and Chandler and Ross help him practice for the part.

Envision: both Chandler and Ross are really into the game at this point, and Ross is hopping on one foot for the "hopping bonus" of the inane game.

"What do you suffer from if you have this phobia? do you say that?" Joey struggles with the word as Ross hops frantically. Ross waves hands in a "come on!" gesture. Chandler dashes over to Joey to help him out.

"Triskaidekaphobia." Chandler says.

"Fear of Triscuits!!" Ross blurts victoriously and stops hopping.

"No!" Joey exclaims. "A fear of the number 13."

"Fear of Triscuits??" Chandler asks Ross incredulously.

"It's possible...they have really sharp edges." Ross squeals defensively.

triskaidekaphobia. noun. [tris-kahy-dek-uh-foh-bee-uh] fear or phobia concerning the number 13.

Any useless words in your life that you enjoy?


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stupidity at its Finest

This is delayed, but I had to mention it.

I haven't really run a whole lot since my races. Like make 3 or four times total. No more than five miles at a stretch.

Can you blame me? I did 26.2 miles at race pace in a span of two weeks! In two 13.1 mile chunks! Not to mention the training runs I managed in those two weeks.


So last Sunday, I got off work at 5 p.m. and it was such a beautiful evening and it stays light here in Bend until nearly 10 p.m., so I thought to myself, "I think I'd like to go for a run this evening."

Here comes the idiocy.

"Maybe I'll go eight or nine miles. Just because it's so nice out."

I'm not quite sure where my brain was.

But by the time I hit mile 4, I was cussing, crying, and trying to remember why I thought running 9 miles, after not running at all for two weeks was a good idea. I am a smart runner! I know better!

And of course, it was mile 4, and by the time I thought to turn around it was mile 4.5 and I was halfway along my loop so there was nothing to be done but finish the run.

Note to self: when stupidity strikes, do your best to ignore it, or know that you have only yourself to blame.

My knees still hate me and it's a week later.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Suzy Homemaker

I have already extolled the virtues of homemade freezer lasagna — and if I haven't quick recap: use Everyday Food's Vegetable Lasagna recipe and if your significant other demands meat, cook up some ground beef to layer in there. And I replace fontina cheese with mozzarella and parmesan combined. And then you split the recipe into two smaller pans (if there's just two or three of you) and cover them in foil and throw them in the freezer. When you want to have them for dinner, pull them out of the freezer in the morning before you go to school or work and they'll be fully thawed by evening and you can cook them right up!

The other virtue I want to talk about is frozen pot-pie filling. I discovered this trick completely by accident when making chicken pot pie one night. I had accidentally made too much filling, so I put the remainder in the freezer, knowing we wouldn't eat it before it went bad. I pulled it out a week or two later, whipped up some quick pie dough, and voila! Hours of cooking relegated to ten minutes!

And it's a great crowd pleaser, because somehow, like spaghetti, chicken pot pie tastes better a little bit aged.

So the next time I made pot pie, I tripled my filling.

Because I'm marrying a boy scout and he's taught me always to be prepared...

...for hungry men.

Between me and Betty (Crocker, if you must know) we whip up a tasty pot pie. I adjusted the recipe to fit my desires and it is shown below, but the original has to be credited to Betty Crocker. I apologize in advance for the rough estimates, but this is one of those things that's hard to screw up. If your sauce is runny, add more flour and milk, if it is bland, add more salt and pepper. Remember also, that this is a double to triple recipe, so you will have extra! That's the point!

Chicken Pot Pie
for dough, use the recipe for basic pie dough
4 or 5 yellow or red potatoes (the smaller ones) cut into chunks 1" or less
3 or 4 carrots, chopped
2 heads of broccoli
any other "coarse" veggies you may want (peas, cauliflower, mushrooms, zucchini, string beans, etc.) in double handfuls
1/3 c butter (if I'm being good, I don't add doesn't make or break the deliciousness)
1/3 c flour
1 onion chopped
3 c chicken broth (I use most of one of the boxes)
2/3 to 3/4 c milk
3 to 4 c cooked chicken (if I'm lazy, I'll buy one of those pre-cooked chickens at Safeway or Costco and just use that)

In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and onion is soft. Stir in broth, milk and vegetables. Vegetables should be covered by broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring attentively (Betty says constant, I never do...but do pay attention, as it will burn). Once boiling, turn down to simmer and simmer until veggies are almost tender (al dente). Throw in chicken and cook with chicken until veggies are tender (not too tender, because they'll go to mush, but they don't get much more cooked when you bake, so very close).

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Make double crust pie dough, roll out and use a pie pan just like you're making a pie (so 2 pieces, bottom and top). Divide chicken mixture into thirds (or in half, depending upon how much you ended up with) and pour one third into pie plate over the bottom pastry. Roll out remaining dough and place over filling. Crimp edges and make sure to create air vents in the top with a fork or knife. Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Wait for remaining filling to cool and then freeze in freezer-safe containers. When you want a quick meal, defrost and whip up some dough or dumplings to feed hungry boys!


Friday, July 20, 2012

The Free Couch

The day Tyler proposed, we were driving home from Smith Rock (where he proposed) and a block from home, we pass this old, disgusting, grody couch on the side of the road with a "free" sign on it.

"Look! It's mission style! Look how pretty that woodwork is!" Tyler exclaims.

"Look! It's disgusting!" I countered.

"Can I pick it up?" Tyler asked.

"Absolutely not, its grody." I said firmly.

We make it home. I go upstairs and putter around. About half an hour later, Tyler clatters up the stairs.

"Honey, I can't stop thinking about that couch." He began.

"Okay..." I say, not really paying attention.

"Can we please go get it? We can re-cover it like we did that bench!"

My protests of how much that bench ran us to re-cover fell on deaf ears. I capitulated. How could I not? He had just put a really sparkly ring on my finger, and I knew it would make him happy. We went and got the couch and brought it home to our garage.

He spent the rest of the afternoon ripping it apart.

I truly wish that I had a "before" picture, because it was truly awful.

This "free" couch has been an on-going joke since it's cost considerably more than free to recover it. And amidst much anger, frustration, and back pain, I made cushion covers for our new cushions for it on Tuesday and Wednesday, finishing up the lengthy process of our "free" couch.

Luckily, our fabric was forgiving and my mistakes (other than the cutting ones...that I had to go buy more fabric for) don't show.

It turned out pretty good though. Tyler did a beautiful job.

I really wish I had a before picture, because no way did I envision that disgusting thing being this nice.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Busy of Late

We have been supremely busy of late, as my friend Chelsea exclaimed last night (though we hadn't seen her in six months or so, so she was a little behind in the times). Lots going on though:

...preparing to move August first,

...getting ready for the puppy and reading up on What to Expect When You're Expecting [A Puppy]

...preparing for the wedding and immersing myself in those particular plans.

And the last few weeks haven't been quiet either, I had my race at the end of June and that was back to back with our friend's wedding (all week the following week I had people telling me how tired I not cool, worst comment ever. Up there with "you look old!"), then I worked a seven day stretch as my days off changed, and then it was fourth of July. The day before the fourth we did a tour of one of the possible locations for our festivities and then spent the night (complimentary!) there, which was a fun little staycation, and then the fourth we didn't do a whole lot to celebrate because I had a bunch of stuff I had to get done. We're lame that way.

And then my parents came to visit last week which was a blast, so much to do and so little time. Now they're up in Canada and I'm left to get stuff done.

Remind me to tell you about Tyler's free couch.

And I apologize in advance as my posting will become sparse here at the end of this month as I'm getting organized to move and going up to Seattle for my lovely lovely little's wedding! SO excited about that.

Ciao for now,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Big Word Wednesday: Chic

So so so so sorry to everyone who has been sad about me being lax about posting these! We've been very busy of late, and I'll have to fill you in on all of that in another post.

This week's word comes from the hardship of having an extensive vocabulary, but not being 100% confident in the pronunciation. As we all know, some words just don't look anything like they're pronounced. I struggled with facade for years!

I picked chic because whenever I read it, I say "chick" in my head, and then shake my head and try to pronounce it correctly. Often I'll get stuck on it for a little while just trying to imprint it into my brain.

Good thing when I say it out loud I pronounce it correctly.

Besides, it's just a fun word in general.

chic. adjective. [sheek]. attractive and fashionable, stylish.
noun. style and elegance, especially in dress. stylishness, modishness. casual and understated style, as in dress or decor, that expresses a specified trendy lifestyle or activity.
  • Paris clothes have such chic.
  • The chic of the firstnighters.
  • Black-rimmed glasses bring some geek chic to your outfit.
So my friends, go out and pronounce with courage!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Minor Rant

We're moving.

Did you not know that?

Well we are.

At the end of the month.

Which is lovely, and we're very excited, but all the memories of why I loathe moving are coming flooding back as I am calling all of our utilities and service providers this morning to transfer our service at the end of the month.

Ironically, it's not just the packing part that makes me hate moving.

In comparison, packing is easy, breezy, and wonderful.

Most of the representatives I spoke to were lovely, understanding, and helpful.

And then I called my internet provider.

"Did you know, miss, that if you bundle services today you could save money?"

Stupidly, my ears prick.

"All right, tell me about that."

"Well, if we add a home phone service today, your internet bill would only be $19.95 a month, saving you $30 per month."

Idiot that I am, I egged her on.

"Okay, that sounds lovely, how much is that home phone going to run me?"

"Well the home phone service is only $34.95 a month plus taxes, and that includes yadda yadda yadda and blippity blop."

Good thing I'm a quick one with math.

"So, in exchange for 'saving money' I will now be paying more per month by adding a service that I don't need as we're a two-person-three-cell-phone family?"

Luckily, she had the sense not to respond to that.

I know that sometimes you have to "spend money to save money," which is an oxymoron all on its own, but it is supremely ironic to me that cable and internet companies are always trying to "save you money" by adding services that you don't need. Any time I ask about lowering a bill, they always say, "Well, we could...if you bundle some other services into your package."

I get that they are a business, and businesses need to sell in order to stay in business, but I am constantly and completely flabbergasted by the irony of adding home phone and tv that we don't need, use, or want in order to save pennies on the one thing we do need, use, and want.

At least when I'm "saving people money" at work, I'm actually using integrity and actually saving people money.

And I never learn either, I'll always be the idiot who wants to know more about saving money.

At least the girl was nice about it.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Who's in Charge Here?

The cat, obviously.

She rules our lives.

She meows imperiously in the mornings for her shade on her window to be opened so she can monitor the backyard.

She meows insistently in the middle of the night to wake us up so we will snuggle and pet her furry little self.

She meows piteously to remind us that she is always starving and most certainly needs to be fed.

She meows frustratedly when we close any door to her — be it a closet we're not even in or the bathroom when we want five minutes peace.

She meows warningly to let us know she's there so that we will not accidentally step on her while she winds between our feet.

The cat is in charge.