Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Martha's Marinated Chicken Kebabs & Corn Salad

So you guys, last night I made yet another recipe from Martha's Everyday Food: marinated chicken kebabs and corn salad.

And my husband was not a big fan. If you're not a fan of dill or Greek flavors, this might not be the recipe for you.

But I loved it. So here ya are.

So first of all, here's what it looks like in the magazine.

I'm putting that up for comparison's sake. I always enjoy comparing my finished product with the magazine's.

You'll notice this recipe is in the "Cooking for One" section. I often double these recipes up if I want to make it for myself and my husband.

So first you have to mix Greek yogurt with some lemon juice, dill, and salt & pepper.

 I love this handy-dandy citrus juicer. Keeps the seeds out. 

Still life with dill.

This is essentially tzatziki sauce, minus a couple ingredients.

Then, you get your chicken and you cut it into skewer-size pieces. 

 Washed breasts. Huh huh. Breasts. 

So you guys. I didn't realize until just now that I was supposed to make only half a chicken breast for each person, and I made two chicken breasts. I was durn hungry, and I suggest that if you are going to be durn hungry, too, you should make yourself a whole breast and not just half.

 Presto change-o!

 Throw yer meat in yer bowl of sauce.

 Mix it up. 

Now's when you have to let your meat marinade. For at least an hour. You can do it overnight, if you're an overachiever. 

If you don't have metal skewers (I don't) you'll be using wooden skewers, which you have to soak in water for about 10 minutes so they don't catch on fire when you're cooking.

 Look at them skewers of beauty.

 Now, because I don't have metal skewers, I decided to grill these puppies, although the recipe calls for broiling. I'm a maverick like that. I'm going rogue.

So I fired up the grill, and since we have a gas grill I set it to "high."

So meaty.

While my meat was cooking (which only took 10 minutes), I made the salad. Basically, I grabbed two handfuls of arugula, chopped the corn off two ears of corn, threw in some olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper and voila.

 Now. Wait for it..... wait for it .....

Loved it. I really did. Hubs, not so much. But I think it's a great, fast, yummy summer dish. I'll put the recipe below. Enjoy!

Marinated Chicken Kebabs & Corn Salad
Recipe Serves 1 so double up or quadruple up, depending on how many mouths you're feeding. 

1/4 cup low fat or nonfat plain Greek yogurt
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
coarse salt & ground pepper
1 boneless skinless chicken breast half (6 to 8 ounces), cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. (WARNING! Half a chicken breast might not be enough food for you!)
1 cup baby arugula
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (from 1 ear corn)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil. 

1) In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and dill; season with salt & pepper. Add chicken and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour (or up to overnight).

2) Heat broiler, with rack in top position (if you'd rather grill, just heat your grill to high, throw your skewers on for 10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking). Thread marinated chicken onto 2 metal skewers and place on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil chicken, turning occasionally, until cooked through and dark brown in spots, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss together arugula, corn, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve salad alongside kebabs with lemon wedges. 

425 calories per serving, 15.9 g fat (3.5 g sat fat); 48.4 g protein, 23.5 g carb; 2.6 g fiber. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In A Gadda Davida

I took some photos in the garden this afternoon, because I'm totally impressed with my ability to keep some plants alive in the face of sweltering heat. So far. The front yard is a different story. A graveyard of marigolds, I'm afraid.

 My first attempt at tomatoes. So far, so good. 

 Yellow rose. The old lady who lived here before us had a bunch of rose bushes.

 Pink rose. The old lady died, by the way.

 She also had this. I don't know what it is. Honeysuckle?

Hydrangea. Love, love.

And lilies. Which surprised me, because they weren't there last year. Of course, I didn't water last year.

There's a new sheriff in town

Did you know that they card you now if you are buying compressed air dusters?

You must be of legal age to blow dead skin cells out of your keyboard.

Just kidding. Of course they card now because the kids are inhaling it, like a drug. Which is lame. Like, you couldn't find something lamer to snort up your nose, like Tilex or bleach?

Anyway, now they put a "bittering agent" in these compressed air cans to discourage the snorting of ... whatever the hell is in those cans.

We know this because my husband bought three cans of compressed air last night. And then we snorted the hell out of them.

Kidding! Last night we ate dinner and slipped into a coma while watching Ali from The Bachelorette blink mind-numbingly slowly.

We got the compressed air so we could set up our new Ssscat products, which are designed to scare our cats away from places they're not supposed to go, such as the kitchen counter, by blowing short puffs of air at them when a motion sensor is triggered. So far, Ssscat has blown me in the face about fifteen times, and the cats about three times.

We would have used the compressed air that the company sent to us, except that the cans were completely distorted and wouldn't stand upright. So we took matters into our own hands.

What I really want to do is videotape the cats getting Ssscatted, but so far I've been unsuccessful. I have high hopes, though. Until then, please enjoy this one. The end, with the slow motion, is awesome.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thinking cool thoughts

I'm not really feeling it this muggy Monday. I'm out of coffee and hair conditioner and I just drove about 10 miles out of my way to go through a drive-through Starbucks since I hadn't showered yet.

I order "skinny" drinks and the baristas always fuck with me.

So you wanted whole milk, right? 

Why must you mentally torture me before I've even had any coffee?? You could be speaking Martian right now. I would agree to anything right now. Just give me my goddamn coffee.

I've just been un-bookmarked by all the Christians.

Yesterday my husband and I paid $20 to sit in a cool, dark room.

Oh, and there was a terrible movie playing in the room. Half way through Grown Ups, my husband turns to me and says, "I'll never get this time back." And that was funnier than anything in that entire movie. I wish I were exaggerating.

I specifically remember Regis and his wife interviewing Adam Sandler and telling him they'd just seen his movie and that they'd LOVED it.

Why, Regis? Why did you steer me wrong? How can I ever trust you again?

Rotten Tomatoes gives Grown Ups a 9% rating. Which means bad.

Did you ever see Cabin Boy? It came out in 1993. I saw it with my friend, Christie. We may have even walked out on that one, it was so bad. And it gets a 45% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Which is better than the rating for Grown Ups.

So I'm just saying.

The heat might be making me a little surly. There's one good thing about having an office job, and that is the kick-ass air conditioning.

But there are 4,000 better things about not having an office job.

Toodle-oo, all. Til tomorrow, when it's cooler.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Everything imploded in my absence

I'd like to take 100% credit for the apparent shit storm that is happening at my previous place of employment, but I can probably take only about 14%.

Although I've been gone for 4 months, this week I got a couple of phone calls and emails from former co-workers that were ... panicked? Yes, panicked is the word. 

Some of these people deserve what's happening to them, and some don't. All of them, however, should get their heads out of their asses and quit their jobs. That is my new answer to anyone who is remotely unhappy. Quit your job!

Are you unhappy?

Quit your job!

Oh, you're a stay-at-home mother? Is your liquor cabinet fully stocked?

Actually, what all of those people probably need is therapy. I need therapy.

So anyway, today I am meeting a friend for lunch so I can get the dirt on what's happening at the office. I love her, but every time I meet up with her and she explains the new insanity that's happening in an office of 50 women (Fifty women? What could go wrong?!) my blood pressure goes up. It becomes a little difficult to swallow, a little difficult to breathe.

So, not to change the subject, but I'm going to change the subject now.

Last night I dreamed that Katie Stevens from American Idol told me it's obvious I need to lose weight.

Which was upsetting. And strange.

I don't think Katie would ever actually say anything like that.


Happy Friday, you guys.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Phoning it in

I am completely blocked today, therefore all I can offer is this list. I know. Two lists in one week. This is getting a little embarrassing.

1. I started a diet today.

2. I will never eat eggs Benedict or swordfish in a restaurant ever again.

3. Because have you read "Kitchen Confidential"?


5. I bought nine bottles of wine yesterday.

6. And now I'm on a diet.

7. Which means I can't drink wine. Sort of.

8. People I follow on Twitter keep posting links to other blog posts about how to be a successful blogger.

9. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that I am never going to be a "successful" blogger.

10. If, by successful, you mean profitable.

11. I wanted to leave a nasty comment on one of the blog posts. Because the writer was sort of wrong.

12. But I didn't. Because I'm a wuss.

13. And the other 137 comments were like, "OMG You are so brilliant." Gag me.

14. When, Lord? When may I have my own Kitchenaid mixer?

15. Never mind. I am on a diet.

16. I am attending a wedding in a little over a week. It will probably be the bombest wedding ever.

17. Bombest means best.

18. I was invited to go camping this week, and I didn't go. Because I hate camping.

19. I think I'm going to eat half an apple now.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hello, Vuvuzela

So look, you guys.

I didn't care about soccer before, and I don't care about it now, even though I'm completely aware that I'm supposed to be pretending that I care and updating my twitter and facebook statuses with "GOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!" or similarly obnoxious phrases.

For this, I apologize.

The closest I ever came to paying even the remotest bit of attention to soccer was when my boyfriend during my freshman year of high school played soccer and he would ignore the shit out of me after he lost a game, and that is how I figured out that men are dumb.

Just kidding!

But they kind of are.

That guy became a cop.

Much later in life, I read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and I think that book right there contains just about everything that either sex needs to know about the other.

After he loses his game, he needs to go sit in his man-cave. When he comes out, he will be fine. He does not want to discuss his feelings. End of story.

I also do not watch hockey, although I will certainly watch it if someone invites me to sit in their luxury box and plies me with alcohol for a few hours. I realize that the fact that the USA made it to the final game of the Olympics means that I am supposed to now enjoy hockey, but the simple fact is that I could not care any less. This probably means I am a traitor to my country.

Also -- and this may upset you -- but ALSO! I hate baseball. I really, really hate it. You're probably thinking I am exaggerating, but I have to tell you: I really detest it.

It is the most boring sport on the face of the planet. If given the opportunity to watch baseball live, even if I am plied with beers for a few hours, I honestly would prefer to go to the gynecologist. At least papsmears are quick and afterward I can go eat a donut or something.

Baseball on television is interminable. Baseball live is annoying. I can't just ignore it and chow on a hot dog because I might get beamed in the head by a foul ball.

When I interned in Florida, I was allowed to attend as many spring training games as I wanted. And I know there are people who spend lots of money and plan entire vacations around spring training. I went to one game and almost died of boredom. I did not go to any more after that. 

Now, predictably, here are the "sports" I enjoy watching: Swimming, ice skating, skiing, track, football (but only when the SJSU Spartans or the SF 49ers are playing. Otherwise, snoozefest), and swamp buggy racing. 

In case you wondered.

And that is all.

P.S. I also hate basketball.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My wonky moral compass

**Warning: If you have never seen Breaking Bad and you intend watch it at a later date, you may want to skip this entry.**

I told my husband that if he had terminal cancer and I found out he had been making meth in order to pay for treatment and also to ensure that I was not left penniless after he was gone, that I would not mind.

This was during an episode of Breaking Bad, when Skyler finally figures out Walt has been making meth, but the difference between me and Skyler is that Skyler was pissed off. She filed for divorce.

I am not sure if me not minding that my terminally ill husband is making meth makes me a bad person. My husband's response was: You have no moral compass.

Just because I also have a bank-robbing fantasy. That I would never actually go through with. But it's a fantasy nonetheless. I don't know why. I was not raised by criminals. Maybe it was all the crime novels.

My husband, on the other hand, won't even park in restricted parking for five minutes. He tells me that some day I'm going to get towed and then, THEN!, who'll be laughing? He will.

When he told me -- perhaps jokingly -- that I have no moral compass, I worried for a millisecond that I might be a sociopath. Or a psychopath. I am not sure what the difference is between sociopaths and psychopaths, but I read this novel once called Devil in the White City. It's a true story about a serial killer who killed tons of people during the Chicago World's Fair in the late 1800s. That guy was a psychopath. He was a pathological liar and was unable to empathize with other humans. He did very disturbing things with the bodies of the people he killed.

So, I'm looking at my husband and the hairs on his arm that are turning blond from the sun, the hairs that I like to pet like they're a little animal, and my heart melts a little for him, and I decide that because of my love for him, I am not a psychopath.

I weep while reading mommy blogs. I am not a psychopath.

I just like to live dangerously. In my head.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A weekend list

The weekend, listed, because I love lists. In no particular order.

1) Sonoma Cutrer chardonnay & tortilla pizzas.

2) hangover.

3) vuvuzela application on iPhone.

4) Breaking Bad.

5) Drooling over Eichler homes.

6) Where is the oatmeal?

7) The shower is spotless for the first time in ... a long time.

8) Father's Day Mexican food coma.

9) Would you like another Pepsi, boss?

10) Nascar.

11) Kokopeli.

12) Talk of someone to squeeze in the winter months.

13) Geoff's new neighborhood gives me the warm fuzzies.

14) HGTV.

15) Dreams of glass backsplashes and brushed nickel hardware.

16) Ryan is going to Yellowstone.

17) Dad's birthday but he doesn't have cell reception.

18) I want to stay in a cabin in Yosemite.

19) Sandra Cantu.

20) There is a tomato on my tomato plant.

21) The beautiful woman in the bike shop.

22) Shit my Dad Says - the book. It's a big hit.

23) Ashley's dad.

24) My toenails are painted purple.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lie in the sun

If you're familiar with the AP Stylebook, you will be familiar with the lay/lie rule, but don't ask me what it is.

I don't know when someone is lying on a bed or laying on a bed. Shall I lay or lie on the bed?

My old journalism professor, Mack, could explain the rule to you very well, and if you are like me, you would then understand it for 30 seconds, but thereafter would have to refer to your AP Stylebook to figure out whether the cats are laying or lying on the bed.

One time, when I was younger, I won an AP Stylebook contest, proving that, at that moment in time, I knew the AP Stylebook rules better than the other 19 college students from California who'd bothered to show up for that particular competition at that year's Intercollegiate Press Association conference.

And then I barfed. Because I was hung over.

I haven't worked in newspapers for five years, so I threw my AP Stylebooks out. This is me basically saying I will not be working in newspapers ever again, unless someone chooses to allow me to write a weekly column about my cats.

And with that, I present more cuteness that will make you want to tear your own eyeballs out, it is just that damn cute. Enjoy. And happy Friday.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pondering my pooch some more

Here is what I know about weight loss programs: I love them and I hate them.

I love to track my progress because look! Progress!

I hate to track my progress because hello, I just ate a pound of peanut butter M&Ms and if I add that to my calorie count for the day, the program will demand that I drink lemon water for a week and flagellate myself. That sounded really dirty.

Also, diet programs always fail really hard. Like, big ball of flames hard. Like, it might take three years, but when it fails, you are not going to know what hit you. Hard. 

Yesterday, my husband sent me this article from WebMD that says it's perfectly safe and do-able to lose lots of weight quickly, as long as you're doing it correctly. And it tells you how to do it correctly. It says this is how the people on The Biggest Loser lose weight so quickly (aside from the 7 hours of cardio every day). And ever since I read that, I became a little obsessed with the idea of it.

Sure, I'd have to eat egg whites and asparagus for two months and cardio my ass off, but then? I'd be thin and gorgeous and all of my problems would magically disappear, right?

Geneen would not approve of this.

But Geneen? I am feeling a little hopeless and impatient.

Today my husband asked me to make a breakfast burrito for him, and do you think I could make him a breakfast burrito without making myself one, too? Of course not.

My breakfast burritos contain eggs, bacon, cheese and salsa.

Then I joined a site my sister is a big fan of, called sparkpeople. It helps you track your calories and fitness, for free. And it told me I had just eaten 513 calories. Which is kind of a lot for breakfast, I'd say.

One would think that after all this time, all this introspection, all this reading, I might have it figured out. And if I had time -- a year, maybe -- I'd lose weight Geneen's way. I'd eat what I wanted when I was hungry, and stop when I wasn't. I would treat myself kindly.

But seeing as how I am preparing to attempt to procreate and I don't want to weigh five quadrillion pounds if I do, indeed, get preggers, something's got to give NOW.

And also, a rapid weight loss program would be good research for my book. Which is about a fat girl.

So anyway.

I think I'm going to do it.

And Geneen? Don't say peep.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And she's a member of AARP

At Denny's in Sherman Oaks on Sunday night, my mother ordered a breakfast item off of the senior menu and the waitress asked, "Ma'am?" with her head cocked to the side to indicate that she does not believe my mother is old enough to order off the senior menu, which is for patrons aged 55 and older. My mother turned 56 last month.

And Mom, who'd ordered a piece of French toast that comes with an egg and some bacon, assures the waitress that she is, indeed, a senior by Denny's definition.

And the waitress says, "Congratulations on your beauty."

I shit you not.

Half the world has a crush on my mom.

Sometimes when I meet someone who knows my mother, they get this gaga-googoo look on their face and say something like, "Your mother is just wonderful," and often they tell me I look just like her, which I only half believe. I look like my mother the way Daniel Baldwin looks like Alec Baldwin -- there's obviously a resemblance but we know what's really going on.

Have you seen The Juror? Ho baby. If loving you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

Happy Hump Day, Interwebs.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Graduate

For several years, my dad has been hauling around textbooks and a laptop pretty much everywhere he goes. Few vacations or holidays escaped the studying and test-taking he had to do if he was to earn a degree before age 60.

He'd often say: "I just have to take this midterm and then we can ..." take a hike, eat breakfast, go swimming, take a drive, etc.

As I became accustomed to his constant studying, an actual graduation date never occurred to me. Perhaps I thought he would study and take midterms for the rest of his life. But, as it turns out, colleges bestow degrees upon students who fulfill all of the requirements, and one day a few months ago, Dad surprised me when he happily announced he would be graduating.

And so he did on Sunday, magna cum laude. He walked in cap and gown and tassle and ropes and sash with his classmates.

I did not exactly ask his permission to post his photo, so I am posting this slightly blurry photo of him and his classmates, without explaining which graduate he is.

Dad's degree is in theology, and he is a pastor in a Christian church (I am a bit of a black sheep, but I'm not the only one).

It's pretty wonderful to complete such a feat, to never have given up. When they called his name, I felt so proud. As he accepted his degree and walked back to his chair, his smile was so wide and genuine, I finally fully understood the breadth of what it means to him.

So to the man who always advised never to half-ass a project: Congratulations on fully assing this project, Dad. We're happy for you, and looking forward to study-free days.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

All right. So this is the irritating mockingbird that's been hanging around the backyard. I have a bit too much time on my hands this weekend, plus I'm anticipating a blog-less Monday as I'll be traveling. Adieu.

Friday, June 11, 2010

And now, live in concert....

The third floor pharmacy at the Kaiser Hospital I went to for my annual va-jay-jay inspection this morning is plastered with pictures of a very happy man. This guy looks like he ate a plate of ribs and then farted, he's so happy. He's leaning back in his chair with his arms folded up behind his head, like, aaaah. Aren't these summer mornings just wonderful? 

And underneath his photo are bold black, capital letters, that together, spell out the following: YOU MAY BE ASKED FOR A SECOND FORM OF ID.

I just about lost my shit when I saw that. I was cackling -- cackling I tell you -- while standing in line at the pharmacy. Even now, thinking about those signs, I am laughing out loud. LOLing like crazy up in here.

I am wondering if these signs are actually funny or if it's just the astounding sleep deprivation that's making me giddy.

I couldn't sleep last night. Just couldn't. I don't know why. Well. My darling husband is not in town, and I am worried about rapists breaking into my house and cutting off my appendages and stuff.

My dear husband text messaged me at 2 a.m.

Sooo tired, he says.

I did not reply. That was my way of saying: I was KIND OF sleeping before you texted me that you were tired at two in the morning. I guess Vegas is just too much fun.

Today on the second floor at the Kaiser Hospital, a very angry looking woman named Rupinder drew my blood. She looked extremely tired and maybe even hung over and definitely did not look happy. I did not want Rupinder coming near me with needles. But I didn't say anything. And then I started thinking she was an angry phlebotomist, and this made me giggle a little, and I thought The Angry Phlebotomists would be a good name for a band.

It is Friday. Good thing no one reads on Fridays.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Predicted Hangover

So my husband is embarking on a four day, three night trip to Las Vegas with about 10 other guys for our friend Catprick's bachelor party.

My mother says "No comment" when I tell her this. That's what she says when she really has an earful of advice for you but she's being polite and not telling you that your husband should not be going to Las Vegas for three nights for a bachelor party.

My bachelorette party was in Las Vegas. But the thing about girls is .... well I don't know what it is about girls, but they are less inclined to go party in Vegas with their girlfriends than the men are, so there were only a few of us. I hear of very few bachelorette parties in Vegas, but it seems that every single one of my husband's friends has a bachelor party in Vegas or the poor man's Vegas -- Reno.

Your typical Vegas bachelor party trip will last two nights, and what I know about what happens on these trips is that I don't want to know what happens. I trust my husband implicitly, but that being said:


Oh, Catprick. If it weren't almost completely because of your ridiculously motivating speech in January that basically changed my life, I might be angry.

Guess what I watched two-thirds of the other day but then gave up because how long can a movie about a showgirl last?  

Showgirls, starring Saved by the Bell's Elizabeth Berkley. Did you know she goes full monty in that? I bet my husband and all of his buddies have seen it.

Does anyone know how Showgirls ends?

Showgirls sure made me feel good about my husband going to Vegas for four days. And now I'm going to go eat ice cream.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Getting a little blergh up in here

I am decidedly pissy today.

But that's neither here nor there.

Today, looking for last-minute plane tickets to Burbank, I discovered that

1) I could fly to Morroco for less money and

2) the cheapest tickets go from San Jose to Sacramento to Phoenix to Burbank and

3) I hate flying anyway so why the f*ck I would want to take off and land three times is beyond me and

4) I could drive there faster anyway and

5) like hell if I want to drive to Burbank because

6) have I explained how much driving I've been doing in the last couple months and

7) I am screwed.

Today I was chasing Simon through the house with a squirt bottle. I was really going full throttle because I was pissed at him and so I was like an assassin out for blood with that thing. And in a cruel twist of fate I slipped in the water that I, myself, had squirted, and landed hard on my right thigh and wrist and before I'd even determined whether or not I'd broken my wrist (I hadn't), I decided I was blogging about that shit.

It knocked the wind out of me. I am old.

When I was five years old, I was performing a similarly impressive sprint through my parents' friends' house and slipped and cracked my head on the corner of a wall, knocking myself out. Because the doctor who stitched me up had probably not washed his hands (he was later arrested for trading sexual favors for drugs), the stitch site got infected, my eyes swelled shut, and I now have a scar in an upper corner of my considerable forehead.

My dad told me once that I could have the scar removed with a laser. There are lots of things I'd like to remove with lasers.

Today a man named Nick knocked on my door and I am not wearing makeup. I do not look impressive, but the good thing is I do not care to impress Nick. He is with Rhino Pest Control and wants to know if I want his Pest Control Technician to spray for bugs around my house.

I do.

Nick seems surprised.

There is this bird. A mockingbird, I think. All day long, and all night long it chirps loudly directly outside my bedroom window. My husband thinks it is more than one bird but I think he is wrong and it's just this one, cracked out bird. I want to kill it. I want to kill the mockingbird.

I am not saying Nick offered to kill the mockingbird. He didn't. Maybe if we kill the mockingbird's food supply, the mockingbird will go torture someone else who likes to sleep when it gets dark.

When I was working as a property manager, I had one property that, for some reason, a family of turkey vultures roosted at every winter. They were amazingly clean. We never found nasty turkey vulture poops. The tenants loved the birds. They are huge and ugly. They have six foot wingspans and red heads. My boss wanted to kill them.

They're a protected species.

This post is so stream of consciousness today.

I am hungry.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Of cats and, well... Yeah, just cats.

Normally we don't let Simon and Murray (our cats) into our bedroom, because they're still in the kitten phase of destroying everything they can get their paws on, and I was also pretty sure they'd keep me up at night. Over the weekend I decided to let them in, though, and give sleeping with the kitties the old college try.

That lasted two nights.

I woke up at 3 a.m. on Saturday with Murray's cold nose pressed into my lips. "Hello. Are you awake?" he seemed to be saying.

So no more bedtime with kitties. 

But I've decided to leave the bedroom open to the cats during the day, because they absolutely love it in there. Simon loves hiding under the bed all day and Murray loves being on top of it.

Murray enjoying an afternoon nap.

Hi Murray. Are you awake?

"I've never been this tired in my whole, short life," he says.

"You're still here?"


Are you joshin' me?

I intend to continue using your bed. Please leave.

Ack! We've been breached! Security! Security!

Sauteed Shrimp with Arugula & Tomatoes

Last night my husband was meeting a friend for dinner, so after I dragged my sweaty butt home from yoga, I decided to make a super fast recipe of Martha's because I'm always ravenously hungry after yoga.

*sidenote* While I was cooking this dish, I ate some cherries, which are coming into season right now. They're delicious and addictive, and unfortunately I seem to have eaten a few too many yesterday because I forgot about the copious gas cherries always give me. Why, God? Why can't I enjoy cherries gas-free?

So anyway I'd bought a pound of frozen shrimp from Target, of all places, super cheap ya'll. Pre-peeled, deveined, no tails. That's the way to go, if you ask me. Sure, fresh shrimp are incrementally better, but deveining shrimp grosses me out. Thawing frozen shrimp is a cinch - just dump it in a big bowl of cold water for 10 minutes.

Part of the reason this recipe is so fast is because you barely have to chop up anything. You just have to mince some garlic.

I will say that on the medium-high heat that the recipe calls for, the grape tomatoes made the olive oil in the pan go completely nuts and I am still going to be cleaning that up later this morning. Probably if I had dried the tomatoes off after washing them, it wouldn't have been such an oil explosion.

Also, I want to add that normally I am not a huge fan of arugula, although I want to be. It's supposed to be chock full of all sorts of crap that's really good for you, but I just can't stand it in a salad. In this recipe, however, it tastes awesome. The bitterness of the arugula is balanced nicely by the sweetness of the shrimp. 

*sidenote* I was so ravenously hungry, that I completely forgot to take photos of the whole process. I only have pictures of the end result. Boo, me!! Next time I will do better.

So, here's what the end result looked like, with a side dish of quinoa (I'm trying to get more healthy fiber these days and if you believe the hype, quinoa is what God wants you to eat. It's good - like a slightly crunchy couscous).

It was really good, and after the shrimp thawed it took about 10 minutes to make. Here is the recipe, since it's not up on Martha's site yet.

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb large shrimp, peeled & deveined (ewwww...)
4 oz wild or baby arugula (4 cups)
coarse salt & ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until they blister, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring often, until almost opaque throughout, about 4 minutes. Add arugula, season with salt and peppeter and toss until wilted, 1 minute. Add lemon juice and toss to combine.

This recipe serves four, and is only 144 calories per serving (?!?!?!?!).

Monday, June 07, 2010

Doing. Or Inertia.

"It's been my experience that ninety-five percent of the people who walk the earth are simply inert, Johnny. One percent are saints, and one percent are assholes. The other three percent are the people who do what they say they can do."

- the character Roger Chatsworth in Stephen King's The Dead Zone

I'm not sure I agree with Roger's math, but I think he's basically right. And I don't claim to be in the three percent of doers. Lots of times I feel like I'm running on a treadmill (figuratively, as per my three chins) -- not really getting anywhere. Talking the big talk and not walking the big walk.

Last week I tried eating when I got hungry and stopping when I got full, and what I found out is that I am not hungry when I am supposed to be hungry (normal mealtimes), and I am not nearly as hungry as I think I am. After a few days, I forgot about eating when I was hungry and went back to overfeeding myself.

This week I was going to really buckle down and go no carb. And even before I went to the grocery store this morning to purchase my lackluster no-carb ingredients, I was depressed about the whole thing. All meat and no bread makes Jack a dull boy.

So I bought bread. Some kind of freak bread that's low on the glycemic index. The fact that I know what the glycemic index is makes me want to punch myself in the face.

I bought fruit and vegetables and meat. I bought tortillas. I bought diet-friendly ice cream bars and a bottle of wine. I am waving the white flag -- whether in defeat or surrender, I'm not quite sure right now. I'm going to try to eat my marginally healthy food when I am hungry, and stop when I am not.

I'm going to return to yoga even though I fricking hate yoga, because I love how yoga makes me feel. I'm going to go back to the track, return to my 5K goal.

I want to do, not just say.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Baseboard before and after

Yesterday I sat in the backyard for about 10 hours while my two little buddies nailed baseboard in throughout my whole house. We have been without baseboard for almost two years because we lack ambition and ... yeah that's about it. We're lazy.

Anyway here's what the hallway looked like before baseboard:

And here's what it looked like after.

I am pretty thrilled. I feel like a real girl, in a real house.

And today I moved the queen sized bed out of our living room and into the guest room. Look who's on a roll now!!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Great Carpentry Caper

I tell ya. Buying a house with your spouse (I'm a poet and didn't know it) and hiring various people to do work on it will either be the impetus that drives you to divorce or will forge your union into unbreakable steel.

The jury is out on my marriage.

Just kidding!

But for reals. The deal is we have this little guy, Sergio, putting in a few doors for us and installing baseboard. He is a carpenter, as you might have imagined, and he has another little guy helping him out. I call them little guys because I'm 5'9 and they're like 5'4.

 Murray enjoying the new front door, pre-install

Anyway yesterday Sergio and his little buddy put the wrong door in where they should have installed a fire door that we special ordered. And my husband came home and FLIPPED HIS SHIT.

Because, see, my husband is a bit of an anal control freak nutjob. Few people escape his wrath if they are within his blast radius when something like this happens. And when I say "something like this," I mean something where you are paying thousands of dollars to a little guy who should know what a fire door is and he installs the wrong door.

Now in theory, I should have caught this mistake yesterday, since I am home "supervising" Sergio and his little buddy. Because I am a construction manager. But the thing is, my husband and my father-in-law and my father-in-law's plumber buddy, Frank, seem to think Sergio is like the second coming of Christ, he is that good of a carpenter. So my modus operandi yesterday was to leave the magician to his work and not distract him. And that is how the wrong damn door got installed.

Pebbles, right? Not boulders? Like, worse things could happen. Sergio could have accidentally cut my hand off with his table saw. That would be bad.

As it happens, he installed the wrong door, which means he has to take it out and install the right door today. Thankfully, once my husband has a few hours to cool down, he's good. This morning, while he was explaining to Sergio that he'd installed the wrong door, you'd never have guessed that last night he had murder in his eyes.

They say that installing a new front door is the No. 1 thing you should do if you're trying to sell your house. It will get you the highest return on investment of any home-improvement project there is. Aren't I quite the smarty pants?! Also, how do you like that brass switch cover? That's some sassy shit, no?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The behemoth bookcase

My grandmother-in-law had this godawful bookcase from the 1970s that weighs about 5,000 pounds.

As we were cleaning out her home after she passed away a couple of years ago, we were trying to decide what to do with this ugly thing, and, having watched too many home improvement TV programs and having seen that real people - like my crafty college friend Monica - actually do sand and paint furniture so that it looks presentable, I said we should keep it.

And we did. It sat in the garage for a good long while, becoming a very nice home for black widow spiders.

On Saturday, the sun was shining, and since it was supposed to be a beautiful weekend, I got the ambitious idea to finally sand and paint that thing.

 Here is the behemoth on its side. There are four doors on it but the husband had removed two at this point. 

 Here is the behemoth upright, sans doors, pre-sanding/painting

Now, on HGTV it looks very easy. In fact, on HGTV it looks like it takes about 15 minutes. They certainly do not show some unfortunate soul hand-sanding little nooks and crannies for three hours.

 If I look a little worried here, I have good reason.

We sanded. And sanded. And sanded some more. Never having sanded a piece of varnished furniture, I had no idea how much sanding was enough or too much.

So we stopped when I finally got sick of sanding.

And then after we'd wiped the thing down with tack cloth, we painted it with primer.

If you're looking for a word to describe what you are seeing here, allow me to assist you. The word is "crap." My husband had to be cropped out of this photo since he refuses to allow his gorgeous face to be shown on this blog. But note that he is holding a yellow barf bucket from Kaiser Hospital, from his hospital stay for the appendectomy last year. He finally found a use for it -- holding paint. Also note the long shadows - it's about 6:30 or 7 p.m. in this picture.

Now. I had thought primer was like a magical blanket of paint that just turned everything pristine white as soon as you slapped it on. But this seemingly is not the case, as evidenced in the photo above. 

So yesterday we slapped another coat of primer on that beyatch.

If I may, again -- the words you are looking for are "still crap."

But hell if I was going to paint another coat of primer on that beast. It was time to throw some paint on there and see what happened. 

 Not half bad.

So after many, many hours, and a Slurpee, thank God, the bookcase looks halfway OK. It needs to be sanded (&!*%$#) and needs another coat of paint, in addition to which all of the shelves and doors need various coats of primer and paint, but once that's done, boy howdy, I'll have a white bookcase. 

Now all I need to do is choose new pulls. Here are the old ones. 

Which, they could be worse, I suppose. 

But I am sort of in love with several knobs from anthropologie, so we'll see what happens. 

I'm taking votes. And also, I'll definitely post a photo of the finished product once it's all set up and pretty-fied.