Saturday, March 31, 2007
Today we went to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Belle Meade (suburb of Nashville). For those of you who know me fairly well, you know that this is my idea of utopia. I took over 400 pictures and we only spent 3 hours there because Steph had a salon appointment at 2pm. I could have wandered around all day. I think we should become members so we can go all the time.
I especially loved the native plants gardens. I love wildflowers, especially woodland ones. There is just something so wonderful about meandering through the woods and seeing a small flower sticking up out of the dead leaves around it. Rows of brightly colored tulips are pretty in their own right, but there is something about the simple beauty of wildflowers that just gets me.
This is a picture of Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis). Columbine is Steph's favorite flower. We planted some in our front beds this year and had a ton at the old house.
Friday, March 30, 2007
I am having a terrible morning. Nothing has gone according to plans. I didn't sleep well (I think that's what's making my brain so fuzzy), and we woke up late this morning. I forgot to buy more dog food last night, so there wasn't enough food left to feed Beignet and Katie this morning. The comcast internet connection has been acting up all morning, thus messing up my bill paying. I can't tell which transactions have gone through and which ones have not because the connection keeps dying. Argh. The bagel I wanted to eat was moldy, so I had to throw it away. I want to change the time for our flight to Baltimore on Monday, but United is being a loser. I can't find the bedroom phone anywhere. I think Beignet ate it. I asked her, but she just ignored me and went back to sleep. Look at that face though; doesn't it look suspicious? (I am so obsessed with taking pictures of the dogs...it's like a parent taking pictures of their kid at every turn)
Anyway, none of these issues are life-altering, but I just hate it when a morning starts out badly because it usually means that the entire day is going to be off.
Steph gets off work at 4:15 today because she has a class instead of a shift. Yay! More Boo Time. However, not a lot of Boo Time though because we're taking Becky to Ruth's Chris tonight for her birthday. Steph bugs me to take her there all the time, so I'm killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. She really likes a chicken entree they have. Who orders chicken at a steakhouse? What a waste. Also, I think RC's is kind of boring, but whatever. It's fine, but it doesn't thrill me.
Off to search for the phone again...
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Yesterday there were torrential downpours all day; it was terrible. I made the stupid decision to wear sandals and my feet were so cold and wet. But, on the plus side, the rain made the trees in our backyard look super green. It was like crazy acid green; it was beautiful.
Our lawn is looking so lush. People in our neighborhood are really insane about their lawns. I feel a lot of pressure to keep our lawn looking perfect, so I've been out there a lot over seeding and putting down fertilizer. Now if only the cute lawn guy would come and mow it.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Andrew, you are the cutest person ever. Steph and I adore you (and Chad too, of course!). Your letter (pictured here) was so sweet. I especially loved the part where you assured us that you would change the sheets on the bed when we come to visit you in May. Don't worry: I can assure you that your standards of cleanliness suit me just fine.
I miss living down the street from you guys too. I have such fond memories of coming to your apartment and just hanging out, reading magazines, and eating chicken risotto. And who can forget the time when we had to outrun the apocalypse?
I will send you an e-mail in the next few days to go over the details for our trip to Philly to visit you in May.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Here is a photo of some of the seeds I will be planting in our vegetable garden this year. Zucchini, rainbow chard, mache, baby lettuce, red lettuce, baby carrots, jewel-toned beets, green beans, watermelon, and baby pumpkins. All this in addition to the tomatoes and bell peppers I have already started indoors. This year I am going to go much lighter on the zucchini; last year I only had four plants, but they just produce so much, so this year I'm cutting it down to two plants.
What happened to Spring? Temperatures have been in the mid-80s all week. It sucks because it seriously cuts down the number of hours in the day I'm able to go out and work in the yard.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Behold, one and all, the glory that is my seedlings. These are baby annuals, cosmos and zinnias, that I started. I also started heirloom tomatoes, roma tomatoes, and fragrant sweet peas indoors. They take a bit longer to sprout though.
Here is a Emerson quotation that I always find to be particularly meaningful at this time of year: "All our progress is an unfolding, like a vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge, as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason".
Tomorrow I shall unveil for you all my plans for the vegetable garden. I'm getting quite adventurous this year, so expect to receive many zucchini breads, canned beets, and lord only knows what else; I always plant too much.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
One year ago today my Dad died. This is a picture of the tie he wore to our wedding. I asked Linda if I could have it before she gave away all of his clothes. I wanted to remember how happy he was that day. He smiled all day long and was so wonderful. He loved Steph so much. She called him "Dad" and when he had to go to Hopkins to get scans, he would always see if she was available to have lunch with him. Before he died, he said he knew I would be OK because he knew that Steph would look after me. He also said that I would make a great mother. I think those are the two things he told me while he was in hospice that meant the most to me.
The dogwood trees are blooming in Nashville. It reminds me of the dogwood tree by his grave. It is probably still too early for that tree to bloom in Baltimore.
I don't know how I feel today. I feel the way I do every day when I think of my Dad...a sort of emptiness. I don't let myself think about those few weeks when he was in hospice; it's too painful. I remember how I felt though at this time last year. I felt as though life could not possibly go on. You get so wrapped up in your grief that you think the world is going to stop, but it doesn't. It keeps on going and sooner or later you hop back in because you have to.
So...a serious post for today.
When I wake up in the morning, my hair is all over the place. It is always sticking up and looks terrible. Steph and Nicole think it looks cute, but I hate it. I decided to take a picture of my head the other morning in order to capture the crazy cowlicky mess that is my bedhead.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Some of the kids built a fort in our woods behind the yard. When we sit out on the deck, we can listen to them gossip. It's HILARIOUS. Today we heard one of the girls say, "Connor, someone told me you like me. Is that true?". And Connor said "Eww, no way". We cracked up hysterically. I think our laughing sort of embarassed them. Ah, children are funny.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
1) Degree deodorant. I've used this since I was a teenager. I am allergic to every other kind of deodorant for some reason.
2) Tom's Of Maine Apricot toothpaste. This is the only TOM toothpaste that I like. The rest taste icky to me. I am hooked on this one though and I like that it doesn't contain fluoride.
3) Giovanni Golden Wheat Shampoo. It is difficult for me to find shampoo that doesn't dry out my hair or make it disgustingly greasy. This one works well for me.
4) Giovanni Smooth As Silk Conditioner. I like this mostly because it smells good...kind of like dryer sheets.
5) Avalon Organic Hydrating Cleansing Milk. Good because it doesn't contain soap, is gentle on your face, and also protects against the sun.
I gave this book to Steph two years ago for Christmas. She is just NOW about to finish it. I used to keep New Yorker articles around that I thought would interest her, but she never got around to reading them. It's not that she doesn't like reading, just that she is too consumed with her work to have time to read. Last night we stayed up reading until midnight though. I am about to finish "Suite Francaise". It's ok, but nothing spectacular.
This is a picture of an Alcohol Prep Pad. Steph uses them at work all the time and hoards them in her scrub pockets. Of course, she forgets to leave them at work, so they get strewn all over the house instead. It's one of those little things she does that really irk me. I see one on the kitchen counter and just freak out a little inside. Over time though, I've started to find this annoying little habit to be somewhat cute. I think that when you find someone's little idiosynchricies to be endearing, you know you have a good thing going on there.
OK, so I sort of forgot about St. Patrick's Day until my waitress at Noshville reminded me about it on Saturday, but I did buy a purple shamrock at Home Depot. I love the flowers on shamrocks. My only complaint about these plants is that they don't seem to have a very long lifespan. I've only had them last for about a year. And don't say that I killed them! I'll have you know that I am an excellent gardener. Harumph!
Delicious paella salad. Oh man, so good. We barely had any leftovers and everyone loved it. I love making this dish; it is so tasty and easy to make. Recipe follows...
In a large pan, saute:
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. kielbasa (or chorizo)
1/2 lb. shrimp
1 T. of garlic
2 C. diced red bell pepper
1/2 lb. orzo
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into rounds and seeded
1 c. frozen peas (add to orzo right before draining the pasta)
heat 3 T. of white wine vinegar
3 T. of fresh lemon juice
add 1/4 t. of saffron threads, crumbled
allow saffron to steep for at least 10 minutes in warm liquid
whisk in 1/4 C. of mayo
1 t. of minced garlic
1 t. of powdered sugar
1/2 C. of extra virgin olive oil
add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
mix together contents of saute pan with the pasta and peas
toss and garnish with chopped scallions
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Last night I got it into my head that I wanted to have a few people over for dinner tonight and make some Paella Salad. To me, it's the perfect dinner for friends and great weather. You can make the salad early in the day and be all set. However, I could not find the recipe anywhere. The recipe originally came from my grandmother, who found it in one of her many cooking magazines (the woman has Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines dating back to the 60s). I called her to see if she had it, but she recently renovated her kitchen and was unable to locate the recipe.
I keep all my recipes from magazines and all handwritten family recipes in a file folder in my desk. This is a horrible method of organization. I can never find anything. There are hundreds of recipes in there and they are in no order whatsoever. For years now I've been saying that I'm going to type them up and put them on my computer.
Well, because I was so pissed off about the Paella Salad (my grandmother did eventually find the recipe and so the crisis was averted), I started the arduous task today of converting over these recipes into some sort of organized format.
Tomorrow I'll post a picture of the Paella Salad from tonight, along with the recipe.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Alex drove Steph's car down to Nashville last week. Why? Because she is the most awesome friend EVER! Steph was so excited to see "her baby". Not that she ever drives the car, but still, she was thrilled that it was no longer just sitting in my grandparents' driveway.
Here is a photo of the car in its new home, our garage.
Monday, March 12, 2007
This is a picture of a Thomasville Furniture truck parked in our cul-de-sac. What was it doing there, you may ask?
Well, some young lad came to our door and asked us if we needed any furniture? We said "no, thank you", and commented to each other that the whole situation was very odd. But then we saw our neighbor, Christy, outside checking out the goods in the truck. Steph told her that we thought the whole thing was shady, but Christy said it's actually quite normal for these parts and we just feel that way because we're from "up North". Apparently all sorts of people bring their trucks around neighborhoods and sell stuff like this-- landscapers, furniture retailers, etc.
Sometimes I think I live on a different planet.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Temperatures in Nashville this week hovered between 65-70 degrees, so Spring is in full force. The buds on the trees are starting to get fat and daffodils are everywhere. I love it! I only wish that we had daffodils at our house. I will be sure to plant a ton in the Fall.
We went to get some plants yesterday and started planning and executing our garden for our front beds. We're going to have to get some landscaping work done in the back; right now it's just boring old lawn. I'm not one of those people who requires half an acre of lush lawn to feel like my life is complete; I'd rather have a spectacular garden. I definitely want to have a small orchard of apple trees and vegetable and herb gardens. I'd also like to put some river birch trees along the side of the property. Those are my main requirements; the rest I shall leave in the hands of a landscape architect.
Anyway, here is a picture of some daffodils in the parking lot of the nursery. I took this in manual "tungsten" mode...whatever that is.
Off to dinner at Radius10 with my sweetie and Becky.
Friday, March 9, 2007
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Completed living room pictures. I LOVE the two chairs. You can't really see it very well in the picture, but they are upholstered in a chocolate fabric with pale blue polka dots. I'm not liking the rug in here. I think we'll move it upstairs to the bonus room and purchase a lighter colored one for downstairs. I have something in mind from West Elm. Hmm.
Our furniture FINALLY arrived from Su Casa. Unfortunately, we don't like two of the chairs we purchased for the living room, so we're going to have to go through the hassle of sending them back. Everything else looks great though. Here's a picutre of our kitchen table and chairs (table runner and candles courtesy of IKEA).
I picked up these cool "Crops of America" stamps from the Post Office. I also bought some great Jill Bliss stationary from Pangea over the weekend. Maybe these items will inspire me to write thank you notes to all the people that sent me birthday presents over a month ago!
Thursday, March 1, 2007
I am currently going through an iced coffee phase. When we make a pot of coffee, we each usually only have a cup or two. So I take the rest of the pot and make iced coffee out of it. It is so delicious with my organic, fat-free half & half. Mmm...I need to go back to decaf though...I went so long without any real amount of caffeine that now it really affects me.