Friday, September 17, 2010


I'm making a dog cape for my dear friend April's dog, Rex.  Here are the materials:

We have some royal purple felt, some cheetah print, and some pumpkin-colored crushed velvet, naturally.  It's going to be awesome.  No pics until Rex's birthday.  Can you stand the anticipation???

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Napa Bound!

Just booked my flight to Napa!  I'm heading to Napa in mid-October with 15 of my college girlfriends.  It's going to be in-SANE.  I can't wait.

Oh, and we're staying at one of these places.  Sweet. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Special Someone's 38th Birthday!

My darling husband (who, ahem!, hasn't blogged in FOREVER--yes I am calling you out on that, Mr!) just celebrated his 38th yesterday.  Actually, because his birthday falls on a Monday and that's kinda lame, we celebrated over the weekend and will continue to when his mom comes into town next weekend.

Just to chronicle what an awesome wife I am, I got him the following:

No, I did not get him 4 chicken legs.  It's a 5 quart saute pan that he's been lusting after, oh, for like EVER.

Chris used it to make chicken and we had a side of farmers' market lima beans (I think that's what those were) and leftover Jerusalem artichokes.  By the way, did you know Jerusalem artichokes are neither from Jerusalem nor are they related to artichokes?  There.  Now you know and you can look smart in front of all your friends. 

I asked my lovely friend Lauren what she would do with two quarts of Jerusalem artichokes and she pointed me in the direction of this recipe.  Should you ever come across Jerusalem artichokes, I highly recommend this.

Then on Sunday I felt like making something different and we decided on crab and corn empanadas with roasted poblano sauce that I had seen on Healthy Delicious.  OMG, YUM.  And super easy.

I paired it with watermelon salsa, some leftover black beans and fried plantains:

Okay, so maybe using the 5 quart saute pan for the plantains was a bit overkill, but a certain someone was super excited about his birthday present.

And finally, last night after work I threw together this super easy peanut butter pie.  I figure when you're going for something like peanut butter pie, it's probably best to consult Paula Deen. 

So the picture's not exactly great looking, but it is delicious.  Oddly enough, the cream cheese totally makes it.  It lends a creaminess, richness and enough tang to keep it from being too sweet.

Anyway, happy birthday Chris! 

And, because I'm obsessed with my cat, here's a ridiculously cute picture of her little frog legs as she was camped out on top of her scratching thing and staring at the wall:

I'm sure she wishes you a happy birthday, too.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Labor Day Conundrum

The past week or so has been a bit rough, emotionally. 

We'd had a cat showing up outside periodically for the past few weeks: she was incredibly skinny and her ears were badly mosquito-bitten, but she seemed otherwise pretty healthy and very friendly.  She had a collar on when she first started hanging around here, so we called the number a few times to see if she was missing and the number was disconnected.  When the cat showed up a bit later without a collar, we were almost certain she had been abandoned, so we continued to leave food and water out for her and she continued to hang around periodically. 

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend and the cat showed up with an incredibly screwed up left eye.  Like, it was bad.  The third eye was covering her entire eye and it was incredibly red and very infected.  Not good. 

Figuring that this was a stray who wouldn't get medical attention otherwise, I grabbed her, wrangled her into our carrier and rushed her to the vet, which was luckily open on a Sunday.  They determined her third eyelid had been sliced somehow (a fight, an accident, or she scratched it) and she was at risk of losing her eye.  After some quick discussion, Chris and I determined we'd care for her upstairs (and away from Grizabella) and adopt her if need be (or adopt her out to someone else), so we footed the bill, got antibiotic eye drops, had a bunch of tests run and got her vaccinated. 

We kept her upstairs for the rest of the week and I put her eyedrops in religiously, which, let me tell you, is no walk in the park.  No cat is going to gladly tolerate someone putting something in her eye, let alone a stranger, in a strange house, in an eye that is badly injured.  Oh yeah, and it was EIGHT TIMES A DAY.  Fun!

Anyway, the cat made a quick recovery and her eye was looking MUCH better by Wednesday.  Then, Thursday night we got a phone call from the cat's owner!  Who knew?!?!  I verified that this was indeed the owner and we agreed to meet at the vet for the follow-up visit on Friday afternoon.  That's where things got weird.

She gladly reimbursed us for the cost of the vet bills and was generally very appreciative, but she was definitely flaky.  Like, who goes to pick up a cat from the vet and forgets to bring a cat carrier???  Anyway, after the visit, she asked me if we'd like to keep the cat.  Shit.

Enter much deliberation.  Pro:  The cat was sweet and we'd be more responsible owners than the current owner.  Con:  Personality-wise, it looked doubtful that she'd get along with Grizabella and she was significantly older than we had previously thought (13), making her harder to adopt out to someone more trustworthy. 

Ultimately, we realized that although we'd be better owners than her current owner, she is not a stray and she has an owner that does care about her.  She's not being abused, she's being fed, and she's safe.  We ended up deciding to let her stay with her current owner.  Less stress for her and less stress for Grizabella.  If we see her around, we'll certainly look after her and feed her and give her lots of affection, but ultimately, I think it's best for her to stay where she is.  It was not exactly an easy decision to reach however and many tears were shed in this whole process.  Saturday, quite frankly, sucked.

The good thing was the vet said we had done a remarkable job taking care of her and that we'd managed to save her eye.  She was definitely at risk of losing it and I feel good knowing that we stopped that from happening. 

Here are some pictures of her below. 

As you can see, this kitty was all angles; completely different from our all-round cat:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Recently Read

Thanks to my nook, I'm still on my reading binge.  I seriously LOVE this device--I can check out and download ebooks from my library without getting up.  Amazing.

Anyhow, I recently finished two books:

A few years ago I read Eat, Pray, Love and really enjoyed it.  I was hoping that Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed:  A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage would grab me the same way, but it fell slightly short.  I really enjoyed a large part of it, mainly the parts where she discusses the history of marriage and different cultures' views towards marriage, but that only accounted for the first half of the book.  I only wish during this part of the book that she had cited her references a bit more--I know that sounds picky, but it began to feel like all of these "studies" that she references were just really conveniently in line with her way of thinking. 

The second half of the book was mostly her thoughts on her upcoming marriage and the marriages of people she knows (her parents, primarily).  This is where she lost me.  She and her partner (whom she met in Eat, Pray, Love) must get married if he is to ever get back into the U.S. and she (I hate to say it) whines as if this is a horrible punishment.  I understand she went through a terrible, terrible divorce and all, but seriously, this is not the worst thing in the world to have to marry the person that you love.  I also thought her opinions of her parents' marriage was a bit...harsh.  I can't imagine that much of that went over well with her mom.  I think some things are meant to stay private and airing the details of your parents marriage when you're a best-selling author is just not terribly wise.  Long story short, I just had a hard time relating to this part of the book.

All in all, I found it fairly enjoyable.  It's not a waste of time if you were to read it, but on the other hand, I don't think you'd miss out by skipping this one either.

Anyway, yesterday I finished this book:

I thoroughly enjoyed it and had a hard time putting it down.  Some parts of the plot are a bit difficult to believe, but if you can get past that part, I thought it was very enjoyable.  Also, there is a fair amount of S-E-X, and for some reason I almost always find sex scenes in books to be awkward and this was no exception.  I'm not going to write a plot synopsis, because that's easy enough to find online, but the characters were well-developed and it was a fun read.

Anyway, next on my lineup is the Steig Larsson Millenium series, the Hunger Games series and then Jon Krakauer's latest, Where Men Win Glory:  The Odyssey of Pat Tillman.  I've loved Jon Krakauer's other books and I'm excited to read his latest.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Red Desk Makeover: Part Dos.

Okay, so remember the red desk that I made over a few weeks ago?
To refresh your memory, it looked like this when I bought it:

Then I painted it and it looked like this:

Complete with Dead Plant:

Minus Dead Plant plus Fabulous Lamp:

Still needs a little bit of work, but the lamp is much more functional for guests than the clock, so it's progressing in the right direction.  Anyway, yesterday the drawers looked like this:

Wah-wahhh.  Sad.  When I was in San Diego I visited the Paper Source and got some pretty paper to line the drawers of the desk and now:

OMG it's a herd of elephants! 

Ha!  Just kidding.  You can relax.  I just Mod-Podge'd all the drawers with pretty paper.

And if you open all the drawers at once, it looks like this:

Better, right?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Farmers' Market Bounty + Homemade Ketchup!

Last weekend we went to the farmers' market for the first time this summer.  I hang my head in shame.  I don't know how this entire summer has passed and we hadn't gone to the farmers' market.  Embarrassing.  Especially since we have the STATE'S farmers' market.  It's HUGE.  And really great.  We're extraordinarily lucky to have such a great place near us and it's awful that we haven't gone until last weekend. 

I think we made up for it though:

Okay.  So, what do we have here?  Okra,

some peppers, 

1/2 bushel of peaches,

a pint of blueberries; zucchini,

some tomatoes; onions,

black eyed peas,

hanger steak, kermit eggplant (never heard of them before!) and smoked pork chops.

Grizabella stared in awe:

We ended up making homemade ketchup using a Jamie Oliver recipe from his "Jamie at Home" cookbook.  I heart him.

It took several hours and was totally worth it.  As expected, it was totally different than store-bought ketchup (not that I have anything against store-bought ketchup--I totally love the stuff); it had dimension and flavors that you don't normally find in ketchup, like fennel, garlic and ginger.  YUM.

Our Sunday night meal consisted of grilled hanger steak, roasted okra, and sweet potato fries (we had them in the freezer).  Ordinarily we scoff at those who put condiments on steak, but in this case homemade ketchup was a worthy accompaniment.  We also had a bottle of 2004 Chateau Gloria St. Julien.  All in all, a wonderful meal.

(Yes, that is Chris's "Go Meat" t-shirt.  Klassy.)

Grizabella liked the meal too:

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