Monday, January 31, 2011
Hadley was the 1 invited to the event, but she decided that she and I would have more fun there than she and her husband, so she invited me to go in his place. Everyone was instructed to bring a wrapped unwanted holiday gift to re-gift at the party, which appealed to my quirky side. The White Elephant re-gift exchange was hilarious! We had cocktails and finger foods and lots of chatting and networking. Many of the guests were self-employed, business owners, and realtors. I met several very nice folks with whom I hope to stay in touch. It was the best networking event I've ever attended!
Sun morning I went back to real estate school and Spouse went to the grocery store. That evening we met up with Steven & Thad and our friend Liz for dinner at Saketumi. Liz used to live here, but moved to NY last year. She stopped in Sun evening on her way to a training class in southeastern VA. It was great to see her again, get caught up on her life, and share a meal with her and our friends.
Friday, January 28, 2011
My friend Mike sent me this: My 1st thought was about the ugly chair.
As a follow-up to this post, I took my receipt and the lid from the exploded Pyrex bowl to the customer service counter and asked to get another to replace it. The returns lady asked me where the broken glass was. I looked at her for a few seconds, blinked my eyelashes in disbelief, and replied "in the trashcan". She said she couldn't allow the exchange without the broken glass. I said "It exploded into thousands of shards. I swept them up and threw them away." She said she'd have to call a manager, which she did. I explained to the manager that the glass exploded into thousands of shards, and that I wasn't asking for a refund; just a replacement. The manager immediately said "That's fine" and smiled. I was relieved to NOT have to fight with her.
My friend and frequent contributor Jared sent me the following funnies:
Thursday, January 27, 2011
I explained that real estate school is going well and that most of what we've covered so far has been review for me. We talked about mutual friends in the industry, as well as her husband's connection to it. Our rolls arrived and we nibbled between sentences.
I asked about her husband and son and she asked about Spouse. We really had a great time despite the fact that we really don't know each other that well. Its weird but we're kind of like siblings who've been away from each for many years. Despite not spending a lot of time together, there is this underlying similarity that allows us to easily relate to each other. I don't really understand it, but I like it.
Hadley was a sweetheart and picked up the modest bill and we made plans to go to a networking event together in a few days.
As we walked out of the restaurant it was snowing.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I would love to share the entire 2-page letter with you, but since Blogger won't allow me to paste the text (from any source) into a post, you're not going to get to. I'm too lazy to retype the letter, so I'll just share with you the 3 bolded items I requested of the builder:
- Immediately discontinue using private property (mine and my neighbor's) without permission
- Immediately discontinue blocking our street with construction vehicles, personal vehicles driven by construction workers, and vehicles driven by subcontractors
- Immediately commence using the 'regular' street to access the construction site instead of using our 'irregular' and inappropriate street
I'm not fooling myself into thinking I can 'make' them do what I request, but since the City received a copy of the letter I'm hoping the City will contact the construction company as well.
I'm not trying to be a jerk. I just don't want my property used without my permission or damaged, and I don't want to be blocked from leaving or entering my driveway or receiving mail, deliveries, or emergency services if the need should arise. The construction company has a more appropriate means of accessing the construction site that would eliminate all of my concerns so I trying to get them to take advantage of that.
Some people complain about things without DOING anything to fix them. Not me.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
After the casting episode came the 1st episode of the new season. It began like the previous 2 season openers with the cast members entering the work room 1 by 1 and getting to know each other. Once all 12 had arrived, Ru showed up and explained there was a surprise awaiting them. The Pit Crew guys wheeled out a large box and out popped Shangela, the 1st drag queen eliminated from season 2. She explains later in the episode that she auditioned again, just like all the others, and was happy to have a 2nd chance. Ru also explains that not only do they have a larger number of queens competing this year, but that the size of the cash prize for the winner is also larger this year: $75,000. Additionally, the episodes are 90-minutes long this season.
The girls have a Christmas-themed photoshoot with legendary photographer and uber-hottie Mike Ruiz (right), then Ru takes the queens to a thrift store and explains that they are to create a holiday outfit ("Christmas Couture") using clothing and items from the thrift store and Christmas decorations they'll find back in the work room.
I noticed in this episode that RuPaul used a good bit more street slang which thrilled me to no end! I love it when she gets a little 'ghetto' and ends a sentence with "Oh-kuy?" (rhymes with oh-guy).
Monday, January 24, 2011
So, since our weekend highlights were summed up in a single paragraph, I'll share with you a lovely award I received: "Stylish Blogger Award". Since I've devoted my life to being stylish, you can imagine perfectly giddy I was to receive this! The conditions upon which one accepts the "Stylish Blogger Award" are as follows:
- Thank and link back to the blogger that bestowed upon you this high honor
- Share 7 things about yourself readers may/may not know
- Grant the award to 5 others
I received this award from my personal friend and fellow blogger Ron who's blog is entitled Retired in Delaware. Thank you, Ron!! Now for the 7 things:
- When I was a child and teenager my hair was extremely blond. It was kind of strange because my 3 siblings and both my parents all have brown hair. I remember that when I became aware that I was the only 1 in the family with blond hair I asked my mother if I was adopted. She laughed and said 'No', but I think a lot of things would make more sense if I were adopted.
- Although I enjoy cocktails a great deal, I rarely drink at home. The only exception is when we have weekend guests and we have cocktails at home. But when its just the 2 of us here, I rarely drink at home. Spouse doesn't drink at all and I find it sort of sad to drink at home by myself. It sure is a lot cheaper to drink at home though!
- I feel very confident about my career change. I don't expect to be anything but successful. This is significant to me because there is usually a good bit of uncertainty and nervousness associated with changing careers. But I am so sure that this is the right direction for me I do not feel nervous. I just wish I could finish my courses more quickly and get started.
- I do not have an iTunes account or an iPod. I have an mp3 player I loaded with music from our CD collection and I listen to it mostly at the gym.
- When I was a kid I was given black olives and nearly gagged from the taste. I decided I hated olives of all sorts and didn't eat them for about 30 years. Then it became popular to see olive assortments at cocktail parties and I decided to try some of them. I discovered that I loved kalamata olives, green olives stuffed with garlic, and green olives stuffed with jalapenos. Now I always have a jar of kalamata olives in the fridge.
- I've been told by more than 1 person that I'm a good kisser.
- Sometimes I'm surprised at how well things work out when I take my own advice. If I get worried or upset about something I sometimes ask myself what would I tell someone else who was going through this. Then I follow my own advice and things usually work out well.
Now for the 5 truly stylish bloggers to whom I will bestow the "Stylish Blogger Award":
Friday, January 21, 2011
My pal Jared sent me this wacky photo.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sun morning I went back to real estate school, and again our instructor let us out early. Spouse & I were invited to dinner at Steven & Thad's and were asked to bring a salad. Fortunately Spouse got the salad stuff and made the salad while I was at school. Joe P and one of The Bobs were also there, and the 6 of us had a delicious dinner of roasted pork, baked apples, butternut squash, corn, salad, and brussel sprouts. Then we watched the red carpet show leading up to the Golden Globe awards, which I think of as the fake Oscars. The Golden Globes are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, as if we know what that means. But for us its just an excuse to get together for a meal and talk about what the celebrities are wearing. It was nice that "Glee" won Best TV Series/Comedy or Musical, Jane Lynch won Best Supporting Actress and Chris Colfer won Best Supporting Actor, both from "Glee". We had a fun time!
Then this morning we met up with our friends Mike & Clark and Maurice & David who were in town for the long weekend. We had a nice breakfast and caught up with the goings on in their lives. Then we picked up our friend Thatcher from the eye doctor. Since his pupils had been dilated he was advised not to drive. He agreed to join us for lunch and we met up with Steven & Thad and Joe P. After lunch we went to the theatre to see "The King's Speech", which everyone liked. Colin Firth did a great job for which he rightfully won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama. The rest of the afternoon/evening were rather uneventful. Spouse took a nap, we had dinner and watched TV.
Friday, January 14, 2011
My friend and frequent contributor Jared sent me this, which gave me a chuckle. Spouse has reached another Weight Watchers milestone: 75 lbs lost. Even after some splurging on our cruise and Thanksgiving in Nov, and multiple parties and Christmas and New Years Even in Dec, he's continuing to work the program and lose weight. He looks terrific and I'm very proud of him!
Its been over a week since I dropped off Big Ella at the garage and I'd not heard anything from them so I called today. I took it in because the brake lights weren't working and I heard an odd whirring sound whenever I press the gas pedal. They said the lights were fixed (loose wiring again) and the whirring sound was the generator which has gone bad again. Fortunately the generator installed a year ago carried a 3-year warranty so I won't have to pay for it. They've ordered a new one and will let me know next week when Big Ella is ready to be picked up.Have you heard about the new sign they're trying to add to the zodiac? Apparently all the existing dates are being shortened and a new sign Ophiuchus is being added. Since my birthday is Dec 7 I am in the new sign. I thought this article offered a comical explanation.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I like to make chili in the crock pot instead of a pot on the stove. If you make it in a pot on the stove you have to be home while it simmers over a low heat for several hours. Making it in the crock pot allows you to forget about it and go about your business. We have this exact crock pot, which automatically switches over to a 'keep warm' setting after the prescribed amount of cooking ends.
I'm sure there are thousands of recipes for chili on the internet, but I'm going to share my recipe along with the 'surprise' ingredients and tell you why I use and do what I use and do.
I start by browning and crumbling 2 lbs of ground beef. Yes, you can use ground turkey if you want but I think it changes the flavor. I really prefer ground beef in chili so too keep it from being too greasy or fatty, I use either 85% lean or 93% lean ground beef. Once the ground beef is browned, crumbled and drained of the fat rendered, I put the cooked ground beef into the crock pot.
Next I use 2 envelopes of chili seasoning, 1 'regular' and 1 'hot'. You could go to the trouble of measuring out the individual spices contained in the envelopes, but why would you? The envelopes have done the measuring for you. If you're afraid of 'hot' seasoning you can use 2 envelopes of 'regular', but I think the combination is perfect.
Next pour in a 32 oz can of diced tomatos with the liquid. You can use tomato sauce if you don't like the chunks of tomato, but I think the chunks give the chili great texture once its cooked down. Add a 16 oz can of tomato sauce and a 4 oz can of tomato paste. The paste gives the chili a concentrated tomato flavor.
Next come the beans. I use a 16 oz can of kidney beans (light or dark red, your choice, drained) and a 16 oz can of black beans, drained. (Surprise ingredient #1: black beans.) The black beans give a nice variation in the bean size, since they are smaller than kidneys, and the color gives the chili and interesting appearance.
Next I add about 1 cup (give or take) of frozen corn. (Surprise ingredient #2: corn.) This is a way of adding yet another variation to the size of of the beans, and adding another color to the chili. Food should look just as good as it tastes.
Then I add a 4 oz can of chopped, peeled green chilis with the liquid. (Surprise ingredient #3: green chilis.) These are NOT jalepeno peppers, they are a much milder green chili. You probably won't be able to taste that there are green chilis in the final product, but they add a depth of flavor and authenticity so add them anyway.
Now, stir all ingredients in the crock pot. The mixture should be extremely thick, so stir in about 5 oz of water. If its still too thick to stir thoroughly, stir in a few more oz of water until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Finally, add 2 dashes of nutmeg (Surprise ingredient #4) and 2 dashes of cinnamon (Surprise ingredient #5) and stir. I know, I know, nutmeg and cinnamon are typically used in baking but trust me - you won't be able to taste them specifically in the final product but they will add a balance and depth of flavor you don't want to miss. Just ask Bob. On Facebook he asked for help with his chili, followed my suggestion of adding these 2 spices, and loved the result.
Place the lid on your crock pot, put it on the 'low' setting, and let it simmer for 6 hours or more. Don't keep opening the lid to stir. It isn't necessary, and keeping the lid closed keeps the heat in and allows the condensation to fall into the chili.
Since this takes so little time to make, its great to do this in the morning before work, let it cook all day while you're gone, and when you get home from work you have a nice, hot dinner waiting for you with hardly any pots/pans/dishes to wash. I've made this chili recipe on a Fri morning, gone to work, then come home and made a boxed cornbread mix and a simple green salad and served it to our company for dinner that same evening.
If you make my chili recipe please let me know how you liked it!