Random thoughts on a Saturday

More random thoughts, aka another Not Foodie Friday…on Saturday. I was working on this post yesterday, but I fell asleep before it was done. At 10:30 PM which is unheard of for a Friday night! Regarding the “Not Foodie Friday” part, I still don’t have any new recipes to share, but that’s going to change soon. Dan is on his annual desert camping trip this weekend (which explains why I could go to bed so early last night) so I can make cookies to my heart’s content! But more about that later. Now, on to the random thoughts.

***Speaking of Dan going camping, the morning he left, his first words to me when he woke up were, “Where are my earplugs?” No greeting for his wife, but instead he asked about the earplugs I promised to provide for his trip. I thought it was cute. My brain usually can’t concentrate on anything that specific before I get out of bed!

***When I read that Nick Stahl was missing I had to watch “Terminator 3.” I love that movie. I don’t know why it got such a bad rap. OK, maybe it wasn’t as good as the first two installments in the franchise, but I still loved it.

***I’ve fallen off the no caffeine wagon. Starting Thursday at the Angel game when I had a Diet Pepsi with my disappointing ballpark meal I’ve ingested quite a lot of caffeine. I guess I’ll give myself a pass for the weekend and get back to my routine on Monday.

***I couldn’t bear to watch the Laker game last night. I knew that with them down 2-0 to the Thunder I would just get stressed out and I didn’t like the idea of feeling that way while Dan is out of town. So how do you think I felt when I read that the Lakers won last night? Elated! I still think I’ll skip watching tonight’s game. At least the whole series (and hence the whole season) won’t be over before Dan gets home!

***Just because I’m wearing flip flops today doesn’t mean it’s summer. It just means that I was too lazy to put on socks and shoes this morning. I’m not ready for summer yet!

***Trader Joes is killing me! My co-workers keep bringing in goodies like chocolate covered sunflower seeds and chocolate covered pomegranate seeds. How have I never had either of these delicious snacks before? Probably because I don’t shop at Trader Joes too often. And I guess that’s a good thing because these things are so bad for me! The last thing I need is something else to crave.

***Newsies on Broadway. How did I not know about this? I can only hope that it comes to LA at some point in the future. Most musicals do, however I’m still waiting for Book of Mormon to open at the Pantages Theater.

***My IM pet peeve: If you have something to say to me, just say it. Don’t send me a “Good morning” IM and then wait for me to respond before you reveal the intended purpose of the conversation. I’m a very busy person and I have more important things to do at work than exchange pleasantries via IM.

***So far I’ve spent just about all of today doing whatever I want. It’s time to break down and do some chores before the day is over and I feel like I’ve completely wasted half of my weekend. Time to put aside my laziness in the name of productivity!

(Very Belated) Not Foodie Friday

I’ve been compiling this list of random thoughts since Friday, but I’ve been too busy to get it ready for publishing until now. This means that I’ve missed a couple of days of posts. Oops! At this point I’ve decided that I don’t want to continue updating my webpage every day unless I have something meaningful to say. Posting just for the heck of it isn’t worth anyone’s time. This list started off as a substitute for a recipe on Foodie Friday because I haven’t cooked anything worth sharing in a while, but now it’s just a bunch of things I’ve been thinking about over the last three days. Enjoy!

***The Lakers stink right now. I was sure they were going to win the first round of the playoffs against the Nuggets after they went up 3 to 1. I was so wrong. They lost Game 5 despite an inspiring fourth quarter rally (mostly by Kobe), and then they lost Game 6 in spectacular fashion. It was embarrassing. I’ve got all of my fingers and toes crossed that they can triumph tonight in game 7. I don’t want their season to be over yet! (Update on 5/13: The Lakers made it into second round with a win in Game 7 on Saturday! Yay! Too bad playing the Thunder is a death sentence for them.)

***Our DVD is completely full of shows that we haven’t been watching since the NBA playoffs started. There’s always at least one game to watch when we get home from work so that’s how we’ve been spending our evenings. Dan and I watched one episode of “Top Gear” on Thursday night, but that’s it. Our DVR is running out of space! (Update on 5/13: We made a dent in the DVR today by watching another episode of “Top Gear,” two episodes of “Whale Wars: Viking Shores,” the season finale of “Once Upon a Time,” and tonight’s episode of “Sherlock.” Awesome!)

***My mental list of jeans is very outdated. This morning I was sure all of my jeans that fit me right now (and can be worn with flats) were dirty, but I found a suitable pair at the bottom of the pile that I had completely forgotten about. I seriously don’t know how long I’ve owned them or how long they’ve been sitting there unworn, but I’m not complaining!

***My lasagna is without a doubt the best in the whole world (no dissenting opinions, please!), but it is seriously labor intensive. Now I remember why I only make it a couple of times a year – besides the fact that it’s incredibly unhealthy. It took me two hours to assemble after I got home from work on Friday, and that’s minus the 45 minutes of baking and 15 minutes of cooling before it’s ready to eat! You can’t beat the results, though. Yum.

***When you’re washing all of your bedding, make sure that you get every load of laundry done with at least an hour of margin before bedtime. Either that or have a suitable backup set of sheets available. When Dan and I got home from dinner with friends on Saturday night at almost midnight I realized that I had put stain remover on our sheets, but hadn’t thrown them in the washer yet. Oops. So I pulled out our extra set only to discover that the elastic in the fitted sheet had died. Sheesh. They worked well enough for us to sleep on for one night, but I need to keep on top of the laundry next time I’m washing sheets or we’ll end up sleeping in the guest room!

***If I want to get my chores done in the evenings I need to make sure that I don’t sit down when I get home. My butt shouldn’t hit the couch cushions until everything is done – like today. When I walked in the door I made myself go straight to the kitchen to take care of the garbage, the dishwasher, and the dirty dishes. Then I started a load of laundry and folded a bunch of clean towels. Only then could I crash in front of the TV and start working on this list. Luckily I didn’t have to cook dinner tonight (thank goodness of leftover lasagna) or else I my feet would have been screaming by the time Dan got home!

***I’ve been watching a couple of Charlie Brown specials that I recorded back in November – “A Boy Names Charlie Brown” and “Snoopy Come Home.” The commercials, songs, and show previews during ABC Family’s “Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas” are making me wish I could fast forward the calendar about six months. All in good time, I know. There are way too many great moments between now and the holidays that I definitely don’t want to skip!

Sunday at home

When I woke up this morning I realized that I didn’t update my webpage yesterday. That’s twice in one week – how embarrassing! Although I made no promises to post every day in 2012, I still would like to be more diligent for my own sake. So what have I been doing since Friday, you ask? Well, I checked out of my hotel yesterday morning, drove to Dulles, and flew back to Los Angeles. According to my car’s outside thermometer it was only 48 deg on my way to the airport so not only was I really glad to be leaving DC, but I was also really glad that I packed my fleece jacket! My flight to Los Angeles was uneventful and my wonderful husband met me at the door when I got home. On Friday when I told Dan I’d take him to dinner anywhere he wanted, when I got home he took my words literally and made reservations at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Beverly Hills. It had been more than a year since we’d been there and we had a fantastic dinner last night. Unfortunately I ate way too much and was falling asleep on the way home. A great combination. I was so exhausted that I barely remember going to bed last night after we got home from dinner. I think I passed out by 10 PM because my body was still on East Coast time. I slept great in my own bed (I do not miss the lumpy Hampton Inn mattress) and woke up around 8 AM. Dan was still sleeping so I read A Game of Thrones (I’m trying to get through as much as possible before we start watching the season 1 DVDs I ordered) for about two hours before he was ready to get up. Most of today was filled with leisurely activities – watching basketball (the first round of the NBA playoffs) and doing the usual weekend chores. Dan and I ordered pizza for lunch so that we could eat while gleefully watching the Lakers beat the Nuggets in Game 1. Let’s hope they can keep the winning streak going. Dan went to work for a few hours this afternoon, but when he got home we watched last week’s episode of “Once Upon a Time” as well as this week’s installment. While I really enjoy the show, I don’t know if it has a future. It’s getting really cheesy. And that brings us to now. I’m yawning a lot as I finish up this post because I haven’t re-acclimated to the Pacific timezone yet. I’m taking tomorrow off from work to recuperate from my business trip so I’m planning to take full advantage of my free time. So even though it’s only 10 PM, I think I’m going to go to bed soon so that I will be well rested tomorrow. Good night!

Weekend accomplishments

Here’s what Dan and I did this weekend:

1) Picked up lunch at Taco Bell at Saturday. Surprising, I know, since I haven’t eaten there in years, but hear me out. I’ve been dying to try their new Doritos Locos Tacos (who can resist a taco with a shell made out of Nacho Cheese Doritos?) and I wasn’t disappointed. I was surprised how much I loved the tacos and Dan was too. Now I’m just wondering when I can get more!
2) Watched “Captain America” and “Thor.” But I wrote about that on Saturday. And for the record, I do think “Iron Man 2” was a better movie than “Captain America,” mostly because I love the rapport between Tony and Pepper. (And I may or may not have a little crush on Robert Downey, Jr.)
3) Recycled a bunch of old electronics. Over a month ago I loaded up my car with Dan’s old desktop computer, my laptop from 2000, two VCRs, our ancient TiVo, four Palm Pilots, my old cell phone, my my Zip drive from college. I’ve been driving around with all of that stuff in my car ever since. Until Saturday when Dan went to Best Buy with me and we dropped it all off. Goodbye old junk!
4) Bought two plants to fix up our hedge. Our front yard is bordered by a row of about five foot high plants, but two of the ones in the middle are dead and the whole thing looks a little sad. So yesterday Dan and I went to a nearby nursery and picked out two live replacements. It’ll be nice to have the hedge all fixed up. I’ll post some before and after photos when all is said and done.
5) Picked up lunch at Havana Mania. Lechon Cubano with extra fried plantains for both Dan and me. Delicious!
6) Made green velvet brownie bites for St. Patrick’s Day. I used my favorite red velvet brownie recipe but replaced the red food coloring with green. Then I made a batch of cream cheese frosting this morning to top them off when I get to work. They’re very festive and I’m sure my co-workers will love them.
7) Watched the Gators win. Florida beat Norfolk State handily yesterday to earn a place in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Last year they couldn’t quite make it to the Final Four so we’ll see what happens this year. Their chances aren’t great, but I’ll still try to watch their next game on Thursday. Go Gators!
8) Watched the Lakers lose. It was only their third loss at home this season so it was pretty depressing – especially since they had a comfortable lead at one point. Never underestimate the Lakers’ ability to blow a lead after they’ve established it. Maybe they’ll do better tomorrow, but since it’s an away game I don’t have high hopes. Their record on the road is the worst in the NBA. Oh well – Go Lakers!

Weekend

Dan and I have had a fairly productive weekend. We slept in yesterday morning and then went to The Counter for lunch. I was really craving a burger and fries so that hit the spot, but the Parmesan fries there are dangerous because they’re so delicious. I could easily eat a whole plate by myself. After lunch Dan took me to the Manhattan Village mall to exchange something he bought me for Christmas. I waited long enough, didn’t I? He gave me a hoodie which I really liked, but it was one size too big. Unfortunately it’s too late in the year to get the hoodie in a smaller size so I exchanged it for a white sundress that I can wear to our dance lessons at Arthur Murray. It will be very useful if we manage to get back to Hawaii anytime soon too! Our last stop before going home was at the car wash to give Dan’s BMW a bath. Actually, we let the professionals take care of that while we waited. The car wash has a very amusing selection of greeting cards which is always fun to peruse and a large koi pond outside. Always entertaining. When we got home (in Dan’s clean car) I started the process of preparing for Dan’s brother Bryon’s visit this week. The first order of business was washing two sets of sheets and two loads of towels and then stocking both upstairs bathrooms. Then I started removing all of the clutter from the guest bedroom that’s been accumulating since I started cleaning out the game room (aka, the junk room) a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been sorting all of our stuff from that room into piles – items to keep, items to donate to Goodwill, and electronics to recycle (this is the biggest pile so far). What a mess. After a couple of hours I called it quits for the day so Dan and I sat down to watch the TV episodes that accumulated on our DVR while he was in Illinois. “Top Chef,” “Project Runway,” and “The Office.” I should probably write a whole separate post about “The Office,” but I think I can sum it up by saying that last week’s episode made it obvious that no one outside Tallahassee knows anything about my hometown at all. And if you watched it you’ll know what I’m talking about.

This morning Dan and I were planning to watch the Laker game that started at 10 AM, but he wasn’t feeling well so he slept in. I recorded the game and we watched it when he woke up instead. The game was a real nail-biter. The Lakers built up a large lead early on, but they completely blew it and almost lost the game. In the end they pulled off a win against the Raptors, thank goodness. During the second half I made a batch of bacon chocolate chip cookies as my fifth attempt to find the best homemade recipe. I’ll write more about that later this week, but they weren’t as good as I was hoping. After the game was over I started my second round of weekend housekeeping. The guest bedroom is now 100% ready for Bryon’s visit with clean sheets and everything picked up off the floor. I also loaded up my car with a bunch of stuff to donate and electronics to recycle to take care of this week. I’m working an 11 AM to 8 PM shift this week so hopefully I’ll have a chance to run some errands in the morning before I go in to the office. I still have a lot of reorganizing to do before I’m happy with the final state of the guest rooms, but I’m satisfied with what I accomplished this weekend. To end the day Dan and I watched “Die Another Day” (a Bond film is always a good choice for weekend entertainment) and then I watched this week’s episode of “Downton Abbey” while writing this post. It’s most definitely my new favorite television show. Too bad season 2 will be over soon. I need to start getting ready for sleep soon, but at least I have a good book to look forward to when I crawl into bed. I’ll write about that more this week too. Good night!

YouTube weekend part 2

Today we have a video featuring the Lakers’ brightest star, Kobe Bryant. A few years ago Nike made a hilarious series of commercials called Most Valuable Puppets where puppet versions of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James shared a house. I loved those commercials – especially the one where Kobe couldn’t find his three championship rings. (He has five now, for the record.) Check them out on YouTube if you’re at all inclined. This is another Nike commercial, but it’s an advertisement for Kobe’s new shoes. It’s so funny. “You’re welcome.”

P.S. Go Lakers! They could really use a win tonight after two humiliating losses to the Heat and the Magic last week.

Just another Monday

I’ve had a busy day. I went to work, then to the gym, then to the library and pharmacy, then home to make dinner. I’m tired. Not that today hasn’t had its bright spots. I got to talk to someone at the gym I hadn’t seen in a while, the Lakers beat the Mavericks in spectacular fashion, and I made a really delicious new recipe tonight. I’ve been trying to find a good skillet chicken dish for a long time and I think it’s safe to say that this recipe for bourbon chicken (without the bourbon) is a winner. I’ll write a separate post about it next week, but suffice to say that there are no leftovers. Now if only the dishes would wash themselves, the clean clothes would fold themselves, and the garbage would take itself out I could go to bed. Wishful thinking. Good night!

How I spent my Christmas vacation (Part 3)

Part 3 of 3. I really should have titled this post “How I finished my 2011” but I went with the theme of continuity instead. Anyway, here’s how I spent the last three days of 2011. Happy New Year everyone!

December 29th
In Tallahassee I was admiring a pair of my mom’s garnet earrings when she reminded me that I had a smaller pair of hers just sitting in my jewelry box at home. Garnet is her birthstone as well as mine so we have quite a few of them between us! I asked my mom’s permission to have the stones reset in white gold to match the rest of my jewelry so I could add them to the earring rotation (which at the moment only has three pairs). So last Thursday I drove over to the Robbins Brother’s where Dan and I bought our wedding rings to see if they could reset the earrings for me. Well, the high price of gold these days coupled with an overpriced jewelry store made the cost a little higher than I was expecting, but I went ahead with it it anyway. I figured these garnet earrings would be my birthday present to myself. I can’t wait to see how they look. I’ll post a picture when I pick them up on Wednesday. Since Dan was having a bunch of people over for Dungeons & Dragons the next day, cleaning up the house was our top priority. Luckily the kitchen was already in decent shape after my decluttering and reorganization efforts so after Dan mopped the floors and I wiped off the counter tops the downstairs area was pretty presentable. After cleaning the two guest bathrooms as well our house was cleaner than it had been since before the Halloween party! It was really nice to sit down to watch the Laker game that evening in a clean house. Luckily the Lakers won (pretty handily even) so it was a good game to watch.

December 30th
Dungeons & Dragons day. I stuck around the house until the guests arrived so I could say hello, but then I made myself scarce for about five hours. My first order of business was dropping off all of the items I’d cleaned out of my kitchen cabinets at Goodwill. I swear my car felt lighter afterwards. Then I drove over to the Redondo Beach post office to pick up a package for Dan that had been sitting there for several days. When I saw how full the parking lot was I realized that it was the last weekday of 2011 so everyone was there taking care of last minute business before New Year’s. Luckily I got a parking space and picked up Dan’s Christmas present from his brother without too much trouble. My next stop was Long Beach Town Center which has an Edward’s theater where I could use one of our free movie passes for an afternoon show. I’ve established a tradition of going to the movies when the crew gets together at our house for D&D and this year was no exception. After walking around for a while and realizing that the post-Christmas shopping was atrocious (which was good because I don’t have any money to spend anyway) I got myself a ticket for “The Descendants.” That was one depressing movie! Everyone was boo-hooing by the end (even the three people sitting next to me who came in 15 minutes late and made me move so they could have good seats). I liked the movie’s Hawaiian setting and music, but the subject matter was very discomforting. I’m glad I saw it, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who can’t stand sad stories. When I got home from the movies I ordered pizza for everyone from Domino’s and then stayed out of the way so they could finish their D&D session. During that time I finished watching season 2 of “The Big Bang Theory” and now I’m wondering how I can get my hands on season 3 for the least possible amount of money. I love that show!

December 31st
New Year’s Eve and I didn’t leave the house – not even to go to the grocery store! I’m either getting old or reclusive. Either way, Dan and I spent the day at home. Since we had plenty of leftovers from D&D, we heated up some pizza for lunch while watching the Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets. It was awesome. I also tried to make another batch of giant cookies like my fifty-second new recipe, but chocolate chip rather than peanut butter this time. Unfortunately these cookies didn’t turn out as well, which was completely my fault. I nearly melted the butter when I was “softening” it in the microwave so the batter was too runny when I put it in the oven. The cookies spread out way too much while they were baking and the edges got a little burned. They weren’t inedible – in fact the cookies were pretty tasty (Dan and I polished them off) – but I’ll have to try the recipe again to see if I can get better results. After the Laker game was over I started my next home improvement project – cleaning out and reorganizing the master and guest bedroom closets. Over the years they’ve become giant messes full of boxes, shoes, and other random stuff and it’s high time I got them sorted out. I started with the master closet and only got partway through before I quit for the day, but I made some decent progress so I was happy with the incremental improvement. In the evening I helped Dan play his “Batman: Arkham City” video game by searching for clues on the internet. I did this under one condition – that we would watch “Batman Begins” after he finished a portion of the game. It worked (and I got to see Christian Bale shirtless). Midnight rolled around during the movie and we celebrated with the traditional hugs and kisses.

And that’s how 2011 ended. It was a great year and Dan and I are looking forward to an even better 2012.