Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekend update

This weekend was pretty uneventful, but got better as the time went on. Friday night we watched some football upstairs with the neighbors while drinking Coronas and eating brownies. That was a good way to start the weekend for sure!

Saturday it rained and rained and rained. I got up and made blueberry muffins for breakfast (Geoff had picked the berries last week at the camp he works at). Then I proceeded to do nothing but read and play online until late afternoon. Geoff had to go to the post office so we did that and stopped for sandwiches at a place called...Geoff's. They had tons of unique sandwich options. Geoff got some sort of pastrami and bacon combination and I had chicken salad with cranberry sauce, cheese and veggies. They need to put their sandwiches on italian rolls however, because it was almost impossible to eat. Everything kept falling off of the bread and it wasn't as good as I'd hoped. Of course, I had been in the mood for a burger so that wasn't really their fault.

Later I had a chocolate craving so I made brownies, but they didn't come out so great. I realized after that I had used unsweetened chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate...oops. They were still ok, but definitely not sweet enough. That night we went back upstairs to watch baseball and drink more beer.

Sunday Geoff's friend, Jeremy, Jeremy's wife, Steph and their 16-month old daughter, Claire came down from Massachusetts for a visit. We chatted a little and watched the baby play with her toys and our dog. Then for lunch we grilled up a steak and some burgers, made up a batch of Tangy Cauliflower, and sliced up a cucumber from the garden. Everything was deeelicious!

After lunch we walked up the road to Rhode Island College. They have a playground there and we figured a good walk and some playtime for Claire was in order. It was fun watching her on the slides, but I wasn't expecting the weather to be so hot and was pretty uncomfortable in my jeans and t-shirt.

Jeremy and the family left upon our return to the apartment, and Geoff and I took the time to relax with a glass of wine. We recently got hooked on the show Californiacation on the Netflix player so we watched a couple of episodes. We felt pretty antsy and bored though as this was our second weekend with not many plans, so we headed over to a park on the East Side to watch the sunset. The air was nice and cool by then, and we took Bandit with us. We sat on a bench overlooking the city and enjoyed the cool air and the pretty view. Once the sun was out of sight we wandered around with Bandit for a bit before heading home again. It was a great way to end the weekend.

The next few weekends should be fun, and I'm definitely looking forward to them. Geoff's mom is coming this Friday-Sunday, the following weekend is our anniversary so hopefully we'll go out some, and the weekend after that we are heading to Maine for a wedding.

What did you all do this weekend?

Munchie Mondays - Southwestern Chili Pasta

Happy Monday everyone! About two weeks ago I found this recipe for Southwestern Chili Pasta on Delish.com and knew I had to try it. Geoff and I love southwestern food, chili, and pasta...so perfect! (I have a picture that I'll add later)

Ingredients:
1 package (16-ounce) wagonwheel or ziti pasta
2 teaspoon(s) vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 pound(s) lean ground beef
2 tablespoon(s) chili powder
1 teaspoon(s) unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
Salt
1 can (14- to 14 1/2-ounce) stewed tomatoes
1 can (15- to 19-ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup water
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
Sour cream (optional)


Instructions:
1.Boil water, add pasta and cook as directed.
2.Meanwhile, in nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and red pepper, and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Transfer onion mixture to small bowl.
3.In same skillet, cook ground beef over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes or until browned, breaking up beef with side of spoon. Discard any fat from skillet. Stir chili powder, cocoa, cumin, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into beef in skillet; cook 1 minute.
4.Return onion mixture to skillet; stir in stewed tomatoes, beans, and water. Heat mixture to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon.
5.Drain pasta and return to saucepot. Add chili mixture to pasta in saucepot; stir until combined. Serve pasta with cheddar and sour cream if you like.


This was so yummy! I used diced tomatoes instead of stewed as that's what I always have on hand, and I also used garbanzo beans instead of black beans because that's what I had. I also left out the sour cream because blech...we are not big fans. It came out great, though next time I'll do both garbanzo AND black beans. I also had to used penne instead of wagon-wheel pasta which was disappointing...I think the wagon wheels would have been more fun!

Enjoy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

I'm at a loss as to what to write about today. To be honest I'm overtired and feel like crying, and I guess I don't feel like writing all about why. Instead, I'll do a Friday Fill-In, because better something than nothing, right?

He was a funny man and a big part of our family. I can't believe it's be so many years...

Changing leaves and football are what I look forward to most this time of year.

My best friend and I are having troubles.

I feel so sad lately to be honest with you.

Appearances can be deceiving (everything else I thought of was just another way of saying this...sorry for the cliche)

The last person I gave a hug to was Geoff.

And as for the weekend, tonight I'm going to go grocery shopping and to a bbq, tomorrow my plans include going to the Heritage Festival if the rains aren't too bad and Sunday, I want to make a delicous breakfast and enjoy some sun.

You should play too!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How I ended up on the side of the road in my bathing suit for 9 hours or How Lake Champlain stole from me Part IV-The Finale

I was relatively sure that we would be spending the night sleeping on the ground by the car.

One thing I realized I forgot to mention before is that our dog, Bandit was home in Maine being watched by Geoff's mom. She was supposed to drop him off back at our apartment in the early afternoon since we planned on being home by late afternoon. So our little dog was stuck in our apartment and I had no way of contacting anyone to say "We're stranded! He needs food! Water! A walk!!!" I was worried sick. At this point it was about 9pm.

Just as I had given up all hope of ever being rescued, a big truck pulled up...with Geoff and the locksmith inside! I jumped up excitedly, filled with relief. Geoff got out of the truck, followed by a middle-aged man who looked a little on the crazy side. But he also looked like he had the tools to help us, so I pushed that thought out of my mind.

"So...you guys dropped your keys in the lake, huh?"

"Yeah," I laughed embarrassed.

Geoff said, "The girl at the gate said they're closing the park at 10pm, but if for some reason we're not out by then she showed me two houses on the street that have a key to let us out."

"Ok...hopefully it doesn't come to that!"

The first thing Locksmith did? Unlock the doors!! I immediately grabbed my cell phone and had Geoff call his mom to tell her what was going on and to go rescue Bandit. When Locksmith went back into his truck for a moment I grabbed the necessary equipment from my purse and ran into the woods to take care of the period situation. When I came back, Locksmith and Geoff were having a conversation about how on earth he was going to make us another key.

"You SURE you don't have any spares on you?"

"We're sure."

He began sticking different tools into our ignition trying to get information for key-making I guess, while Geoff and I raided our cooler and began making roast beef sandwiches. We. Were. Starving. We offered Locksmith a sandwich, but he declined. As we ate, he talked to himself, complaining about how he didn't think he was going to be able to make a key. Our car apparently, is made differently than most. We have a Chevrolet Cavalier...who knew?

As he was struggling with the tools he kept repeating a code that the tools were telling him our key must be. "But that's impossible," he said. "That pattern just doesn't make sense for a key code. I'm going to need a picture of the key."

"A picture...of the key?" Geoff asked.

"Yeah. If I can get a picture, I can try to mold a new key using it."

"Um...we have a spare at our apartment back in Maine. We'll make some calls."

The first person we thought to call was Geoff's mom since she was going to our apartment to rescue Bandit anyway. Luckily, she had a friend with her, because trying to explain to Diane how to take a picture with her phone and send it to us? It would probably be faster to hitch hike to Maine and do it ourselves.

Poor Di. She sent us three pictures and after each one Locksmith said, "Tell her to get a closer shot with more light. I don't need the whole key, just the part with the ridges." Finally she sent one that he thought should work. We thanked Di for helping us and told her she could take Bandit and leave our apartment now. She was free.

After several minutes of using more machines/computers/the picture Locksmith said, "This still doesn't make sense. The picture is kind of blurry but this looks like the same code as I thought it was before and that just can't be." The feeling that we were in fact, never getting out of this place returned.

Locksmith needed a new picture. Geoff called his friend, Mike, one of the only one's not at the camp party that we were not going to make it to, and asked him for a favor. "Can you go to our apartment and take a picture of our car key and send it to us?"

"What???"

Geoff explained the situation and Mike heroicly took a perfect picture of the key on his first try after arriving at our apartment. We thanked him and waited for Locksmith to do his business.

"Wow, I just can't figure this out. This code just doesn't make sense! I'll try it anyway though and we'll see if it works."

He made the key. He sat in the driver's seat. He put the key in the ignition and turned it. We all held our breath. The car started.

Geoff and I let out a loud "WHHOOOO!!!" Oh my god I cannot explain to you the joy of hearing that engine. Of course, we could have been spared this whole hour and a half with the locksmith if he had tried this code THE FIRST TIME he thought of it instead of exclaiming over how it didn't make sense.

Locksmith then made us five spare keys and told us to give some to family members and at least put one IN the car so worst case we would just need our doors unlocked (duh). He also printed off a copy of the key code so that if for some reason we dropped all five keys in the lake, any locksmith could quickly make us a new key using this code. We paid him with a credit card as we had promised AAA girl we would do, and began to drive away.

Then we got to the locked gate. "Oh yeah," Geoff said. He got out of the car, hopped the fence, and went to find a neighbor to unlock it for us and Locksmith. Twenty minutes passed and I began to worry. He finally came back with an old woman in her nightgown. Apparently at the first house he tried no one answered. Luckily this woman was still awake, and answered the door for a tired-looking stranger in only a bathing suit and t-shirt!

We drove home mostly in silence from Burlington, VT to Portland, ME. When we finally arrived after 2am we were both exhausted and relieved to be home. It had been a long, tiresome day, we'd missed out on fun with our friends and we missed our poor Bandit. We definitely slept well that night, and now we have a crazy story to share!

People. NEVER GO SWIMMING WITH YOUR KEYS!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How I ended up on the side of the road in my bathing suit for 9 hours or How Lake Champlain stole from me Part III

For those keeping track, our time on the phone with AAA was hour ONE OF NINE.

I handed the cell phone back to the kindly staff girl and apologized for how long I had used her phone. Geoff and I then sat on a log on the side of the road by the entrance to the park and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Most of this waiting was done in complete silence. Geoff never once said "How could you DROP THE KEYS IN THE LAKE??? YOU'VE RUINED OUR DAY!!" I'm pretty sure he could tell I felt bad enough all ready.

"I hope we make it to Brad's camp tonight" I said. We were supposed to drive back to Maine that night and party with his friends at one of their camps on Sebago Lake. It's always one of the top three get-togethers of the summer.

"Me too. We'll just get there late...no problem."

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, I had Geoff ask the staffer that had just relieved cell phone girl for the time. It had been 2 hours since we got off the phone with AAA.

"Should we call them back?" I asked him. He asked the girl if there was a phone anywhere at the park. There was...by the beach. The beach it took us forever to walk up from. Geoff left to go make the call while I stayed by the road to wait for the truck.

I have to say I felt pretty ridiculous sitting on a log, in my bathing suit, watching people come and go from the park. But I had more pressing matters on my mind.

Almost an hour later, Geoff came back. "They found a locksmith but he's not sure he wants to drive over here on a Sunday. We might have to stay at a hotel or something tonight and he'll come in the morning."

I wanted to cry. "Ok...what about the AAA truck coming to unlock the car?"

"They said they'll be here as soon as they can."

"We've been waiting almost three hours!!!"

"I know, babe."

Silence. We waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Another hour had passed. It started to rain. Only a small shower, but still. I looked at Geoff and almost burst into tears, but laughter came out instead. I couldn't believe it. After another couple of minutes Geoff walked back down to call AAA.

I watched more people come and go, feeling ridiculous. One guy who had arrived just after Geoff left and was leaving before he came back approached and asked if I was ok.

"I'm just waiting for AAA, thanks."

"You sure? Do you need a ride or a phone?"

"Thanks, but my boyfriend is on the phone now."

I was appreciative that someone thought to ask if I was all right. Geoff finally came back. "Grab your towel, we're going to the car."

"What's going on?"

He shook his head in disgust. "I called again and after 5 minutes on the phone the agent said, 'Oh! You need someone to come unlock the car??? We thought you just needed a locksmith! We'll send someone right away!!!""

I stared at him in disbelief. "Are you f------ kidding me? What the hell is wrong with them?"

He shrugged. "They'll be here any minute and the locksmith said he'll be here in about 2 hours. They want us to wait with the car instead of by the side of the road." The car was halfway between the entrance and the beach. We walked. Then we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then, I kid you not, I started. My. Period.

I got very teary. Luckily I had a towel and it wasn't too bad.

We continued to wait.

"Oh for F---'s sake!" Geoff grumbled before heading back down to the phone.

I waited alone.

He returned awhile later kicking rocks and fuming.

"What??"

"I asked where the hell they were and they said 'oh our truck got to the park entrance but no one was there waiting for it so it left about 10 minutes ago.'"

I burst into tears. "I thought they wanted us to wait by the car?!?!"

"They did. They're morons. Anyway, you stay by the car. The locksmith should be here soon. I'm going to the gate to wait."

"Oh..ok." I sniffled.

Geoff stormed off.

I waited.

And waited.

I hadn't peed in hours. I finall hid behind the car and squatted. It would have been nice to have a GoGirl then! At this point it was dark outside, and I sat on the grass and leaned against my car, head in my hands. I was relatively sure that we would be spending the night sleeping on the ground by the car.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Munchie Mondays - Tangy Cauliflower

Hey all! I'm interrupting the story of how I ended up on the side of the road in my bathing suit for 9 hours, to introduce a new segment to my blog. Welcome to Munchie Mondays! I will try to post a new recipe that I have tried recently every Monday. I have a few that I have tried recently and a few lined up so hopefully I can keep this going.

Last week while searching for a recipe for cauliflower that didn't involve just dumping melted cheese on it, I came across this recipe for Tangy Cauliflower on About.com.

Ingredients:
1 medium cauliflower, broken into flowerets
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper (I used more-1/2 a pepper)
2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper (I used more-1/2 a pepper)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:
1. Steam cauliflower or cook in a small amount of boiling salted water for about 8 to 10 minutes
2. Meanwhile In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, melted butter, red and green peppers, sugar, and salt. Cook over low heat for 5 to 7 minutes
3. Drain cauliflower and put in serving dish. Pour pepper mixture over hot cauliflower. Cauliflower recipe serves 4 to 6 (Geoff and I ate it all)


(Crappy picture because took with cell phone - too hungry to go grab camera!)

I really enjoyed this recipe. It was extremely quick and easy, and tasted great, although the peppers do pick up a lot more of the flavor than the cauliflower does. I'm thinking of adding black pepper or more vinegar next time for a stronger taste.

Enjoy!

And feel free to join me by posting Munchie Monday posts on your blogs!

Friday, August 21, 2009

How I ended up on the side of the road in my bathing suit for 9 hours or How Lake Champlain stole from me Part II

The keys were gone.

At this point I was near tears, but I had not yet fully realized the reality of this situation. Our laughs and smiles gone we continued to swim toward the beach in silence. When we finally arrived we stumbled across the rocks and looked at each other. "What are we going to do?" I whined asked calmly.

"We'll walk up to the front gate and see if they have a phone we can use to call AAA."

So in our wet bathing suits, carrying our wet towels, we started trudging up the hill to the gate which was about a mile away. By the time we got there we were hot and more sad than before. There was one girl about my age working in the tiny stall. Slowly I approached her and said "Hi. Um...is there a phone we can use?"

"No, we don't have a phone here, sorry."

"Oh." Pretty sure I got a little teary-eyed here.

"Is everything ok?"

"Well...um...we...we dropped our keys in the lake."

Silence.

"You...dropped your keys in the lake?"

"Yes," I sniffled. "And our phones, clothes, food, wallets, etc. are locked in the car."

"Oh my gosh! You can use my cell phone if you want!"

"Really? Thank you so much!" I felt a little better now. Soon everything would be resolved.

I used her phone and called AAA. This is where all the fun begins.

An agent answered and listened to my story. He seemed sympathetic, but when I gave him our location he said "WHAT??? I'm in California! How did you get this branch?"

Taken off guard I muttered "I...I have no idea! The person's cell phone I'm using must be a CA number."

"I'll transfer you to your local branch and they'll help you with everything ok?"

"Thanks!"

Then I was on hold for about 5 minutes. Finally a girl who sounded about 16 answered the phone. I briefed her on the situation and told her we needed someone to come unlock our car and a locksmith who could make us a new key. All seemed well and fine...then she asked for the address.

I turned to the staffer who's cell phone I was STILL using. "What's the address here?"

"Well, there isn't really an address. It's just Red Rocks Park. We're off of (something) road."

I repeated this information to the agent...who was in Maine by the way. We were in Vermont remember.

"Um...oh...um...I need an actual address to give to the driver."

"I don't have an address to give you. Anyone in Vermont will know where this park is...just tell them we're at the entrance to the park."

"Ok...um...I need an address."

Sigh. I gave her directions to the park from the main road in Burlington. This apparently was still not enough. After more back and forth she said "Let me put you on hold while I talk to my supervisor."

SIGH!!! "Ok."

Another 10 minutes go by. I am STILL on this poor girl's cell phone. I keep repeating how sorry I am and I'm not sure why it's taking them so long, etc. The AAA Agent finally returns.

"Hi. Ok, and how will you be paying the locksmith?"

"We'll use a credit card."

"Ok, what's the credit card number?"

Silence.

"My wallet is in the car. Which is locked. I can call with the information once one of your trucks comes to unlock the car though."

"Oh...um...hmmm. Well I'm supposed to get the payment information ahead of time."

"Ok...I don't really know what to tell you. My wallet is locked in my car."

"Uhhh...ok. Let me put you on hold while I go talk to my supervisor."

"Can I just talk to your..." Too late. I'm on hold. And...the battery on the cell is starting to die. I had been EXTREMELY polite to the girl, though I wanted to cry and scream in frustration. 15 minutes later, she returns.

"Hi. Ok. Umm...I still need an address for the truck though."

"I...I...Are you..." I handed the phone to Geoff as I was shaking too much with frustration to finish the conversation and I didn't want to yell at the poor girl.

After another 15 MINUTES on the phone (this cell battery was miraculously awesome btw) Geoff finally hung up. "She's sending a truck to unlock the car and it will be here in about an hour. They have to try to find a locksmith that we can get towed to or that will drive here on a Sunday."

"Ok."

For those keeping track, our time on the phone with AAA was hour ONE OF NINE.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How I ended up on the side of the road in my bathing suit for 9 hours or How Lake Champlain stole from me Part I

Every summer Geoff and I go to Vermont for the Vermont Brewer's Festival. Last year started out great as always, but ended on a very sad note.

On our last day in Burlington, Sunday, we decided to go to Red Rocks Park for a swim in Lake Champlain. While there is a beach there, farther along in the park are these huge cliffs you can jump off of into the water.

Stole this pic from the internet


I won't lie...I'm too much of a baby to jump from one of the high ones. Geoff will usually climb down to a lower rock with me and we'll leave our keys, clothes, etc on the rock while we swim. On this particular day we had no clothes...just our bathing suits, towels, and keys. The part where we were swimming was VERY deep. It was such a lovely day that I suggested, "Let's grab our keys and towels and swim all the way over to the beach!" This was a very long swim, but Geoff was game. He hung the key ring so it dangled from his sunglasses and we swam with the towels, not caring if they got soaked.


About halfway into the swim I said, "Give me your sunglasses. I'll hold them so you can swim under water for a bit." Geoff happily obliged, and handed me his sunglasses. As he went under I had a MAJOR BLONDE MOMENT and put the sunglasses on my head so that the keys FELL OFF and into the water. "Plop!" I was in such disbelief that I didn't react at all for a few seconds. Then I went into full panic mode and starting grabbing for the keys with one hand while still clinging to the towel with the other. WHY OH WHY DIDN'T I LET GO OF THAT STUPID TOWEL??? I never claimed to be at all useful in a panic situation. I tried to grab the keys until it was too late. They had sunk out of sight. All of this happened in under a minute. Geoff popped up from underwater looking refreshed and happy. Until he looked at me and my sad, sorry face. "What??" he asked.


"I...the keys...I dropped them."


"Oh babe, you didn't."


"I'm sorry!"


He swam under water trying to reach for the bottom. It was no use. It was too deep. The keys were gone.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What has been keeping me up at night

For the past week or so I have been unable to fall asleep at a reasonable hour. This is actually pretty normal for me, I rarely get a good night's sleep. Lately, however, instead of the normal tossing and turning and glaring at Geoff as he snores away, I have been kept awake by The Kitchen God's Wife.

No, there is no spirit of any sort keeping me awake. It's a book! A wonderful book!




I remember how I had enjoyed Amy Tan's the Joy Luck Club back in high school, so I tried another of her novels and was not disappointed. Most of this book is about a 70-something year old mother telling her daughter all of the secrets of her past. She was born and raised in China and the story follows her life from childhood through her mid-twenties which includes WWII and the beginnings of Communism in her home country. Her personal struggles with her mother, family, and evil first husband match the turbulance of China during that time.

It starts out slow for the first couple of chapters, but then it becomes a page turner and I highly recommend this to all of you women out there! What about you, what's keeping you up at night?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vacationland

As you know, Geoff and I returned to Maine Thursday night for another long weekend. It was glorious, and I'm very angry with myself for not taking any pictures. I remembered to pack the camera...but it never left the suitcase:(

We stayed at Geoff's mom's (Diane) again and it was nice, but not as nice as it could have been. His uncle Mike is staying with her this month and he is a TALKER. Very conspiracy theory, always talking about how useless humanity and the government are, etc. Don't get me wrong. He engages you in very interesting conversations...but that's ALL he talks about and the conversations NEVER end. So if you're tired, or in a hurry, or just not in the mood...it's annoying. Also annoying was that he had the guest room and we had to sleep in the living room. That guy gets up EARLY and Diane gets up a lot in the night so there was very disrupted sleep. It was nice to have a place to stay though!

Every morning we lounged around the condo drinking coffee, making breakfast, and chatting with Di and Mike. Friday we headed down to Old Orchard Beach where my dad was staying in a hotel on the ocean. This was our first ocean/beach trip of the summer and it was wonderful! Laying on a blanket reading a book, listening to the waves, soaking up the sun, and eating onion rings from the snack shack...awesome. Strangely enough, the water, which is usually ICE COLD as in MAJOR PAIN UNTIL YOUR BODY GOES NUMB was pretty warm, like lake water! Geoff and I spent a good amount of time jumping waves and swimming. That evening Dad took us to the Clambake restaurant for seafood and beers. Geoff and I shared the Fisherman's Platter which is haddock, clams, shrimp, and scallops all fried. Yummy! That night we headed to a friend's house for beers and chit-chat...also nice.

Saturday was Tara's wedding. It was on the beach at Sebago Lake and it. Was. So. Hot. Both the ceremony and the reception were outside and it was about 90 degrees. Ugh. Still fun though and Geoff and I stopped at a lake on the way home for a swim. That felt soooo goood. Saturday night was more beers with friends.

Sunday we just hung out until it was time to hit the road, then stopped at a spot on the Saco River for more swimming. Bandit liked this...except that there were other dogs there and he kept barking at them. He's about 15 pounds and was yapping at pit bulls and labs. Not the brightest pooch sometimes. We call him Joe Pesci because he's small with a huge attitude. No fear (except of cats). He sees a big dog and is all "You talkin' to me??? What you think I'm funny??"

All in all it was a great weekend with friends, family, and more swimming than we've done all summer. I've been dreaming of laying on the beach at the ocean ever since...

Well isn't this nice...

I promise to write about my trip to Maine very soon. But for now I will post a link to a news story about already exisiting Maine and New Hampshire Social Security numbers being issued to Pacific Islanders. The best part is how the government knows there is a problem and hasn't done anything to fix it yet.

So I wonder who else out there might have my same SS#?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

On the road again...

Though we just returned from Maine less than 72 hours ago, we are heading back there tonight. My friend from high school is getting married and we decided to make a 3-day weekend of our trip home to make the trip more worthwhile (because 3 hours is soooo hard).

We'll get to Portland between 10-11pm, so we'll probably stay in tonight. Tomorrow we'll probably swim and see some friends then my dad is taking us out for dinner and beers at the Clambake Restaurant...YESSSS!!!! Lobstah and steamahs!



We'll head back to Portland after dinner for more time with friends. Saturday is Tara's wedding and I get to see her marry the loser she's been dating since the end of high school. I won't even start on that guy (high school drop out, can't hold a job, lazy, etc....oops). That night it's MORE time with friends (hey there's lots of people to see back home!) and Sunday some relaxation, friends and a drive back home.

I'll try to remember to take pics during this trip so I can share them with all of you. Have a great weekend!

Time marches on...

When I was home in Maine last weekend, I got to see my youngest brother, Grady again. It's incredible how much he's changed in the past few years...or months even. I was 11 when he was born on the first day of 5th grade, so to me he's always been the baby. Cute little baby freckles and big blue eyes and one of the best things that's happened to our family. Here he is at Christmas less than 4 years ago:

And then on vacation the following summer:

Don't they look happy?

This is him a few months ago at his 8th grade graduation with my mother:

He's grown, A LOT. Filled out quite a bit. His hair is all shaggy, his freckles are disappearing, his eyes aren't as big and bright. His voice is deep and cracks sometimes still. When he answers the phone I mistake him for my 20-year old brother even though I know he's not living there. His cute little kid demeanor and innocence has been replaced by that of a sarcastic, crazy teenage boy. What happened?

Don't get me wrong, I still love the kid to pieces. He's still my little brother. But what happened to the little kid I knew? The baby I brought in for show and tell in 5th grade? (Yes, I did this...mom helped, don't worry). Time moves too fast.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back in RI

Hello readers! Did you miss me? I missed you too!

Geoff and I left for Maine Thursday night and returned to RI last night. All in all it was a good trip, though it wasn't all that I expected. Thursday night we hit traffic, because it's summer and of course we need to close 3 of 4 lanes on I-95 for construction. We finally reached Portland at about 11pm and arrived at Geoff's mom's condo where we stayed for most of the weekend. She works nights so we had the place to ourselves. This meant opening a bottle of wine and being drunk and silly and watching all of the late night shows that we are NEVER awake to see. Jimmy Fallon is on NBC now? Yeah...we're in our twenties and go to bed in the nines...so what?

After finally going to bed at 2am, we slept in on Friday. It was awesome! We did pancakes for breakfast then visited with Geoff's mom, Diane before heading to Gray where his aunt has a camp on Little Sebago Lake. We had planned on having fun in the sun and doing some swimming but it was cold and windy by the time we got there so there was none of that. Instead we had fun visiting, chatting, and eating with family.

Saturday we did not go hiking OR camping really as we could not agree on a place to go, were too lazy to get moving early, and I wasn't feeling too well. We did find a nice spot at Steep Falls on the Saco River to swim and drink some beers with no one else in sight but us and our dog. We then headed to Hollis to camp in Geoff's dad's backyard. We had to be there Sunday for his little brother's birthday party anyway...so why not? We arrived to find a strange car in the driveway and placed bets on how old/what the name of the probable new girlfriend would be. She was nice but I'm sure next time we visit there will be someone else to meet so I won't get too attached.

That night was fun. Geoff's dad is a good host and a great cook so we had margaritas, steamers, chicken, and steak aplenty. The next day was filled with the craziness of the birthday party, and while it was good to see grandparents, brothers, and nieces I was so ready to leave by the time we finally did. We hung out at Diane's Sunday night and Monday morning, then headed to my grandmother's for the afternoon. My mom had the day off so I got to see her, Grammie, and Grady and go swimming in the pool. I also enjoyed the delicious greasiness of Cole Farms hamburgers and onion rings before making the trek back to RI.

Thursday night we are heading up again for a three day weekend and Tara's wedding. She's one of my best friends from high school. That weekend will be more about friends than family as I think we got pretty family-d out this past week.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The way life should be

Today is my last day of work before a 4 day weekend. Geoff, Bandit and I are leaving for Maine tonight and we're not coming back until Monday...yay! I cannot tell you how excited I am.

Friday we will spend the day at his aunt's camp on Little Sebago. Friday night we will spend time with friends in Portland. Saturday we are boating out to Jewell Island and camping there for the night. Sunday we will be in Hollis for Geoff's little brother's birthday. His dad has a pool and makes these AMAZING margaritas and is a great cook so it will be fun. Sunday night we'll be back in Portland for more friend visits, and Monday we will hopefully see my mom and youngest brother before heading back to RI. I CANNOT WAIT!

Also, we have Monday off because RI is the only state that still celebrates Victory over Japan day. Yeah, this state is pretty crazy...but I'll take it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Biking: You're doing it wrong

So I went biking again yesterday...by myself! I decided that I'll go at least 4x a week for at least 30 minutes so I can have the endurance and cardio strength of at least a 60 year old semi-fat man instead of an 80 year old fat man.

There were lots of hills on this particular ride, so I figured my legs would be sore this morning. My legs feel fine. But my sides? Are killing me! I guess it's good that something feels sore...but I'm not sure that this is right...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mmmmm...tortellini and veggies

Tonight I made three-cheese tortellini with onions, green peppers, zucchini, summer squash, and cherry tomatoes all tossed in a garlic butter sauce.




It was awesome.



And there's still some left for tomorrow:)

UPDATE: As requested, here is how I made it...very simple!

Ingredients:
1 large package Bertolli 3-cheese tortellini
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 summer squash, chopped
1 large handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 stick butter


Instructions:

1. In a large saucepan, boil water for the pasta and cook as directed (I let it cook about 10 minutes after adding the pasta). Meanwhile, in a large pan (I used a deep wok) melt half the butter over medium heat.

2. Add onions and green peppers, saute 3 minutes.

3. Add zucchini and squash, saute 3 minutes.

4. Add garlic and rest of butter, saute 1 minute

5. Add tomatoes, saute 2 minutes

6. Strain pasta and add to wok. Mix all ingredients together well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Done! Very easy and very yummy. Also easy to make different variations according to your tastes. Enjoy!

Huffing and Puffing

Geoff and I went on a bike ride on Sunday. It was a great time.

Now, Geoff rides his bike to and from work almost every single day. We only have one car, and he works closer to home than I do. Also, I'm way to lazy. And I work in an office where I'm supposed to look professional and not all sweaty. Anyway, depending on the time of year he bikes 10-20 miles a day. Yeah, he's the man.

Until this past fall, I had not been on a bike since I was a kid. There are some AMAZING bike paths here in RI, and once we moved down here I got me an old used bike that Geoff fixed up and started to ride with him sometimes. I love it. But, I'm a baby. While we did some good rides this spring/early summer, I haven't been on it since June what with all the rain and humidity. I mean, biking in the rain is no good because ah! Puddles and stupid drivers and slipperyness! Even Geoff backs me up on that one. And humidity? Ew. Ready to die after two miles. Also, I hate running and most other forms of exercise so I am OUT OF SHAPE. Very.

So, Geoff and I biked downtown yesterday. It was a really nice ride. We went one way to get there and a different way back. I was great on the way there. We got a doughboy at the mall then headed home. Right off the bat was a HUGE, STEEP hill. I was all whatevs, I got this. I passed Geoff then almost to the top almost passed out from the effort, haha. I was all huffy and puffy for the next couple of minutes. I recovered just in time for the SECOND big hill, gah! From there it was mostly downhill until the end which we walked. Because it had gotten quite humid by then and I'm a baby. But we were both sweaty and tired.

Good times though. I've got to start taking my bike out more often so I can stay in shape! I'm like an 80 year old fat guy! Well, I don't LOOK like one, but I FEEL like one during a good workout. Yeah.