Thursday, March 27, 2008

3/26 New Recipe

Wasabi and Panko-Crusted Pork with Gingered Soy Sauce
Cooking Light March 2006

M and I really liked this dish. I served it with brown rice and steamed peas and carrots. M definitely wants to have this again. It has a lot of flavor but is very yummy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Love/Hate Relationship

scarlet mcaw

Birds are can be such beautiful creatures, and there is nothing like walking outside in the morning (or anytime of day really) and hearing a bird singing. While they are beautiful, I have always read and heard that birds are truly dirty creatures that carry all kinds of disease.

The hate part of my relationship with birds began when I was in late elementary school or early middle school. If this has ever happened to you, you know how incredibly disgusting it can be. When I was a kid, we used to go camping in Fun Valley, CO. It was this really neat place that was somewhat closed off unless you had a parking permit to get into the camp. Because it was closed off, we kids could run around all day and our parents could enjoy time without us. There was a stream or river going through the camp where you could fish or go tubing. They had miniature golf, horseback riding, and other things to do as well. It was a really fun place to go on vacation. One year, I was walking across a bridge with my mom and dad when I felt something hit my head. I told my mom that I thought a bird had pooped on my head. She told me that I must be wrong and that it was most likely a raindrop. So I asked her to look at my head. Right where my hair was parted from my bangs, I had bird poop on my head. Thankfully, there were showers at this camp so I was able to wash my hair.

Even though it had happened before, I was still surprised by this next event. The year after I graduated from college, I went home for Mother’s Day. My mom and I were out on a Friday afternoon running errands. We had just finished looking around at Michael’s, when we were getting into her minivan. After I had opened my door and was getting into the car, I again thought I bird had pooped on me. This time it landed IN my ear! I showed my mom who thankfully had baby wipes in her car. I must say however, that using a baby wipe to get bird poop out of one’s ear does not make the ear nearly clean enough. This has been the most disgusting of the bird poop incidents thus far.

And yet again...After M and I were married, I went to church one Sunday without him. I can’t remember why. It was a nice spring or summer day. As I was walking from my car to the sanctuary, bird poop landed between my foot and my sandal. I could not get to the women’s restroom quick enough. Thankfully, it did not land in any crevasses like in situation #2.

I hope in this case the third time is the charm. I feel like I have certainly had my fair share, don’t you agree? Maybe after writing this, I should walk around with the protection of an umbrella or something.

3/24 New Recipe

I tried the following recipe from my March 2006 issue of Cooking Light. I have several years' worth of this magazine with so many recipes I haven't tried. I am trying to go back to the issues from previous years to see what I missed that sounds good. There were a lot of issues that I barely glanced at while studying for the CPA exam so I am sure to find some recipes I would like to try.

Skillet Chicken Breast Aglio e Olio

I could not find hot cherry peppers while shopping for this recipe so I purchased mild cherry peppers. I added many more than 4 to the dish. I think next time I would add even more so there would be more flavor. The chicken was moist which rarely happens when I cook chicken so I was pleased about that. We ate this with brown rice. I forgot to fix a veggie to along with our dinner. Oops!

Monday, March 24, 2008

7 months old

Max is 7 months old today. He is still growing and is probably between 75 and 80 pounds. He doesn't look nearly as big as what I thought a 75 to 80 pound dog would look like. We're not sure if he'll get much bigger or not. I guess we'll find out soon enough. He's not really doing anything new. He has been crate trained. He's gotten so big that he can't comfortably stand up in his crate. So M decided last week while I was in Utah to put him in the laundry room during the day. He's been in there several days rather than in his crate, and I think he enjoys the extra room. M would like to leave him in a bigger room, but right now he still chews everything so I'm afraid he would ruin things during the day. I know at some point he'll get over that, but he's very much still a puppy.

We took him for his afternoon walk after work today. It didn't take very long for him to get worn out chasing his Flying Squirrel. That thing is a great toy! I think he must still be recouperating from playing with the 6 dogs yesterday.

Happy 7th month Max!

He is risen!

And I am eternally grateful that He is risen indeed!

We had a lovely Easter weekend. Saturday we stayed home and relaxed. I got some things done around the house, but I also read an entire book. While we were eating breakfast, we noticed it was snowing a bit. At first, it was nice…it was fluffy, snowing very lightly, and not sticking to anything. It reminded me of cotton floating around from cottonwood trees back in Texas. By the end of the day though, we had snow covering the ground though. I was disappointed that we were going to have a white Easter. Even though it was a white Easter, we had a wonderful time of worship and studying the Word at church. Our pastor moved here from Florida about 7 months ago. He said he shouldn’t have been surprised by the white Easter…he’s experienced his first white Halloween, white Thanksgiving, white Christmas, white New Year’s, white Valentine’s Day, white St. Patrick’s Day, and white Palm Sunday. Wow! Even though we haven’t had a bunch of snow this winter, I guess we’ve had snow a bunch of days. By the time church was out, all the snow had melted and the sun was coming out. We went home to change and then left for M’s aunt and uncle’s house which is a little over an hour away. When we left home, it was 34 degrees outside. By the time we got to their house, it was 50 degrees. We spent the afternoon and evening with M’s aunt L and uncle J, cousin M and her daughter M…as well as 7 dogs. The dogs outnumbered the people. Max had a terrific time running around with all the dogs. He was exhausted when we got in the car to come back home. I think he slept the whole way, slept all night, and wasn’t ready to get up this morning. It’s nice that he was able to play and get so much exercise.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Utah before the sickness

Until I got sick, the Utah trip had been kind of fun (enjoyable, but I still would have rather been home). I went with a girl from work who was the first accountant actually hired for this region. In the beginning it was just the 2 of us on the team. Now only 3 years later, our team has around 13 people on it. Because I work at a satellite location, I don’t spend much time with the team so it is nice to be around and work with other people at times. We didn’t get nearly enough sleep while on the trip (which may have contributed to my getting sick). Sunday afternoon we flew into Salt Lake City and, after checking into our hotel (which was not creepy like the last one), drove immediately to the store in Park City. This is a ski town and you can see the ski jump from the 2002 Olympics when you drive into town. It's a very pretty location. We helped out at that store, ate dinner, and I didn’t get to bed until around midnight. Once we pulled into the hotel parking lot, my teammate noticed that she didn’t need to turn the car lights off. We’re not sure, but we think we may have driven from Park City back to our hotel in Salt Lake City (probably close to 25 miles) without the lights on…around 11:30! This is entirely possible because we were both so tired. I was so delirious that I just started laughing with tears running down my cheeks. Even the next day while recounting this to M, I still was laughing so hard I was crying. After working at 2 stores each, we met up for dinner Monday night and then went back to the hotel to work. I had another late night.

Then Tuesday, the sickness began. A couple of weeks ago when I was in Utah before, two other folks from my team were there as well. One girl had 6 laptops and a projector with her to aid in training the folks at the stores there. While she was there, all 6 laptops and the projector were stolen. The guy who was there stayed an extra day to go snow boarding. He ended up breaking his wrist. Here’s to good ole’ Utah.

So sick

I had to go to Utah again for work Sunday through Tuesday. This is not usually a big deal, but this was during my close week. I have a week 1 (which is my close week – generally busy), week 2, week 3, and week 4. Then we start all over again. This schedule gives us 13 periods to close rather than 12 months. It stinks! Almost every holiday falls during week 1. Anyway, I was going to be gone to Utah to help two stores with their first close. On top of that, once I got home I needed to close the 5 stores I normally close as well as 2 more that I picked up this period. Add to that the 2 stores in Utah I was helping, and I had a total of 7 stores to close and 2 to help with the beginning of their close. It was all overwhelming, but I was taking it in stride…until Tuesday morning. Around 9 am, I decided that I must have the flu. I’m not positive that’s what it was, but it sure felt like it (in addition to getting sick, I was also cold, shaky, sweaty, achy, just all around yucky). There’s nothing like being sick away from home. I was miserable. I got sick (and I think you know what I mean when I say “I got sick”) 4 times in Utah – 2 times at one store I was working at, once at the gas station on my way to the airport, and once at the airport. I was almost crying each time because I felt so bad and didn't know if I should just get a hotel room for one more night or go home. Three times I made it to the bathroom – which wasn’t fun because it was a public bathroom where little girls were asking their mothers what was going on in the other stall – and can’t those public bathrooms be gross anyway? Unfortunately, at the airport where I was catching an earlier flight home, I didn’t make it to a bathroom so I got sick in the trash can next to the jet way. If I hadn’t been feeling so miserable, I would have been embarrassed. I was terrified that I would get sick on the airplane so I prayed the entire flight that I would not. I was so thankful that I didn’t have to go into that tiny bathroom to get sick while in the air. I am sure the other passengers were thankful as well…at least they would be if they saw me before boarding the plane (which I am convinced many did). I am also thankful for the passenger who switched seats with me so I could be on the aisle seat of the last row right next to the bathroom. He got seat 5E in return…sorry for the middle seat pal. Once home, I had to drive an hour and a half home from the airport. I got home around 7:45 pm Tuesday and slept until 11 am Wednesday. I got up for bits of time Wednesday but pretty much slept all day. So that left Thursday and Friday to close my 7 stores. Yippie. Let me just say that I did not give 110% this time around…unless you give me some kind of credit for going out of town and being sick. I am SO glad it is Friday and I can continue to rest this weekend as well as get away from work.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Titus 2

I joined a Titus 2 team. It is a mentoring program for women in the church. I thought it would be good for me for many reasons…1) I could get to know more women within the church, 2) I could learn from older women in the church, and 3) I could be in the word with other women. I have 4 people on my team – the mentor (L) and 3 other ladies (T, B, and K). We had a tea on Saturday to meet our teams. Out of the entire church, there were only 11 women at this tea. I was shocked! We attend a pretty big church so it made me a little sad that only 11 people were interested in this opportunity. If my experience is good, I will have to recommend it to others for next year. Anyway, we will be meeting once per month (unless the group decides to meet more often) for a meal, Bible study, and prayer. I am excited about my group. This is what I know so far. I am the only one without children (L has two grown children and grandkids, T has two children under 2, B has four children 6 and under, and K has 8 children – 4 are biological and 4 are adopted). I would love to spend a day at K’s house to see how she does it all. I think that sounds exciting...hectic, but exciting. Only two of us work outside the home.

We will be meeting the second week of April for the first time. I am really looking forward to it. I'll try to update you on how it is going.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

St Patrick's Day Party

We had people from M's work over last night for a St. Patrick's Day party. Only 4 couples and their kiddos showed up, but we had a great time. The guys played foosball and poker while the ladies just visited. It was really nice to get to know some of the ladies better. I thought I made lots of food, but we made it through most of it (and thankfully there aren't many leftovers).
*pepper poppers
*cream cheese with blueberry jalapeno preserves
*Asian noodle salad
*apple turnovers
*pigs in a blanket
*veggies with ranch (carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, and radishes)
*punch - 7 Up with lime sherbet
*3 kinds of Irish cheese
*potato skins

After having a couple of days in the 50s and 60s last week, it snowed Friday and Saturday. I took this picture before I went to work on Friday. It was mostly melted by the time our party started on Saturday. Then it started snowing again during our party. I'm ready for Spring (although I guess this is Spring in Colorado)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mother-in-law Update

I received this email early last week but keep forgetting to share it with you. Below is an update on my Mother-in-law's health. Thank you for praying and please continue to do so.

"Just a short note to let you know what is going on. In the past week, we have had a significant development that gives us much hope. My numbers for platelet and Hemaglobin have been rising which is a very good sign. This could be the first sign that the chemo is begining to shrink the tumors in the bones. While it is still early, there really is no other explanation. I see my oncologist on Thursday, and I am sure she is going to be very excited. I am feeling very well. I have good energy. Keep praying that the chemo is doing the trick and that soon I will be able to skip some of the transfusions. I bet this week Wed I am able to skip the first one as my numbers before transfusion this week on Monday were nearly as high as the limit set for the transfusions. I will keep you posted and keep praying for good results."

She was able to skip a blood transfusion last week. She has been receiving a blood transfusion every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday basically since Christmas so this is a big deal. I haven't heard anything since this update.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chuckit Flying Squirrel

This toy is genius (as is the Kong). I bought this toy a couple of weeks ago but quickly forgot about it because the weather outside was not very nice. Yesterday I remembered it so we took it on our walk. For once I also thought to take my camera. It was a BEAUTIFUL day - 60 degrees and sunny. Since Max still likes to chew so much, this toy is only going to be taken outside so he can chase it. Yesterday we took him out for a shorter amount of time than normal, and he was completely pooped afterward. I am lovin' this!

Here are some pictures of our walk. I am having a hard time getting up in the morning now that it's dark again, but I am really enjoying the evenings when it is light for so much longer. This is great weather for afternoon and evening walks.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wing Nuts

I am sure you have seen a wing nut before. We made a run to Home Depot last Saturday to buy one...and thankfully bought several while we were there. Max has a water bowl in his crate that is anchored on by a wing nut. The bolt this wing nut is attached to is at least an inch and a half long. Oh no!! Somehow, Max got the wing nut off the bolt last week while I was out of town. And after yesterday he has now done this twice. How in the world did he get them separated? The bolt is not stripped so I think he would have had to unscrew the nut from the bolt. We have not been able to find those two wing nuts so we can only assume Max ate them. That can't be good, can it? Thankfully, the wing nuts are not too big so they shouldn't be painful to pass. We are trying to figure out how we can leave Max at home without leaving him in his crate. I don't know that this is a good idea since he's only 6 months old. Today I left him with his normal water bowl (the one that generally sits on the bathroom floor with his food bowl). We'll see if he knocked it over or left it alone today.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

What a mess!

This is the mess I came home to Thursday night. We let Max tear up his toys like this because we don't want him to tear up our stuff. I hope that is not teaching him anything bad. He is still a puppy who likes to chew. My friend sent an email while I was gone and told me the following. "I called the house last night and forgot that you were gone. I talked with M for a bit and he said Max was sitting on the couch, staring at the door, waiting for you for 30 minutes. When we were talking, he started to do it again. I thought that was so sweet, that he was missing his mommy." That brought a smile to my face. Max met a friend while I was out of town. M took him for a walk and came across another black lab about the same size as Max. He was 1 1/2 years old and his name was Will. He said they played together about 30 minutes or so and had a good time. Maybe we'll run into him another day.

Friday afternoon I took Max to the vet. We have noticed him limping just a bit and wanted to make sure everything is alright. Our neighbors who had a yellow lab a month or so older than Max had to put their dog down because he had hip dysplasia. When that happens, they can't do surgery until the dog is full grown which is at least one year old and sometimes older. Their puppy was whining everytime he walked around so he would have been in pain that whole time. Ever since then, I have been hoping that won't happen to Max. It is common in labs. Anyway, the vet doesn't think we have anything to worry about for now, but he recommended giving Max fish oil to help with his muscle and tissue development. He said sometimes the socket is more shallow than the bone. He also said this would be almost fully developed between 8 and 10 months so we just need to watch him to see if we see any other signs. It's hard to know because Max hardly ever yelps about anything...even if you step on him by accident. When we got home from the vet, I took Max for a walk. He has started running at you and will run into your legs if you don't move out of the way. This is not fun. So on the walk he started running toward me. I tried to move out of the way but was not fast enough. One minute I was standing up, the next I was lying flat on my back. I hit my head and my back. Falling is not fun as an's a long way to the ground even for someone only 5'4". I am glad no one was around because I am sure it looked funny. I expected to have a bruise the size of Texas on my bum, but I just have a tiny little bruise. It is definitely sore though. I need to work on my reaction time I guess.

Saturday we went bowling with some friends from M's work. It was their anniversary so we then took their 1 1/2 year old son home with us so they could go to dinner alone (they have 4 kids so this is a rarity). He was only with us for about 3 hours. She told me when she came to pick him up that we were his first babysitters outside of family. She had wanted to call us multiple times to see how he was doing. He is one of the happiest babies I've ever seen so we had a good time. Max did so well around him, too. He really wanted to eat the boy's peanut butter sandwich and crackers which were on a blanket on the floor, but he minded very well and left the boy and his food alone. If we ever have kiddos, I think Max will be a great dog around them.

Even though we mentioned the time change at least half a dozen times Saturday, I forgot to change our clocks back and we missed church this morning. It was a pretty lazy day, but it was nice. I think I needed the extra sleep because I slept until about 9:30. Losing an hour seems to make a huge difference. I guess at least that's out of the way until next year. This is a picture of Max from this morning. No matter how small the amount of space, he thinks he will fit. Isn't he a cutie (That cannot be said of me. How do I even do that with my chin?)?

Book/Author Reviews

Someone asked recently about a couple of the authors I've read.

Nicholas Sparks - You are probably aware of this author from the movie The Notebook. He wrote this book as well as some others. His books ALWAYS make me cry. I really enjoy his books, especially The Wedding. I would recommend you read that if you haven't already.

Harlan Coben - I would say this author's books are of the mystery genre. They remind me some of John Grisham's books. The main difference in my mind is that Harlan's books involve less legal verbage in the text. They are enjoyable to me.

Daniel Gottlieb - The book I just read by this author was a bit disappointing to me. It was letters from a grandfather to his grandson about life and love. The grandfather became a quadriplegic in his adulthood and his grandson has autism. It was a nice book, but the author's "religious viewpoint" bothered me.

Karen Kingsbury - A good friend recommended these books to me. I have never read much Christian fiction before and didn't know if I would like it or not. I loved this story. It continues in several more books that I can't wait to check out. I read this book in just a couple of days which hasn't happened much recently.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Much Better

My second night in Utah was not so bad. I definitely felt more comfortable in my room alone and slept much better. (By the way, I spoke to a girl I work with who stayed at the same hotel - I had no idea she was also there. She also thought the place was creepy. I'm not just paranoid afterall.) While in Utah, I finished two books and started a third. I also pampered myself by painting my toenails (which I hadn’t done since the Christmas party for M’s work). This used to be a biweekly event for me so it is nice to have pretty toenails again.

I experienced two new things at the airport security in both Denver and Salt Lake City. They now have three different signs for the security lines. One is for the expert traveler who travels often, one for the casual traveler who is aware of the TSA rules, and one is for families with children. I believe the purpose of these distinctions is to allow those who are quick to get through security to not have to wait on those that are not quick. I am not sure how effective this is, but it was interesting. The last time I flew was toward the end of January, and this was not in place at that time. When I left Salt Lake City yesterday, I had to walk into this booth and stand still for a while. It shot air all around me. It is to check for explosives. This machine was only at 2 of the 4 security lines. M said he had seen this before at the Denver airport, but I’ve never noticed it there.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I used to have no problem being alone. I lived alone from the time I was 21 until I was 26. I had no problem with it at all. Then I got married. Once you’re used to being with someone, it is really weird to be alone. I know this sounds corny, but for me it’s true. Every now and then I think about how fun it would be to have a day to myself to do whatever I wanted…take a nice bubble bath, paint my toenails, organize the closet, read magazines, work on craft stuff, etc. You get the point. This week I flew to Salt Lake City for work. I used to think it would be so fun to travel for work. Now I know better. There are parts of traveling for work that are enjoyable, but mostly I would rather just be home with M and Max. I traveled alone this time around (which is normal for my work). I am fine with eating in a restaurant on my own. I am fine with flying alone. However, I do not enjoy staying in a hotel alone…and that is an understatement. I get creeped out when I stay in a hotel alone. If I was staying somewhere fancy like the Ritz, this may not be the case. But I generally stay somewhere that is really cheap. This time around I am staying in a place where you have a little living area and a small kitchen. I have stayed at this hotel before, but this time I have a second floor to my room that has a loft area with another bed and bathroom. The place is ridiculously big for one person. And every time I go in there, I have to open all the doors and look behind everything to make sure I am alone. I am not sure if I have become paranoid or what. Maybe it’s all the mystery books I’ve been reading… It’s funny how I look forward to this kind of alone time but am not enjoying it much (even though I did finish a book last night and started another). Anyway, I am looking forward to when I get to go back home and be with M and Max. Maybe this is another example of not knowing how good I have it until "it" changes.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

March 2008

Here's my March calendar. It looks a little goofy, but I wanted to make sure I included St. Patrick's Day as well as made it springy since Easter is also in March.

Happy March!

3/3 New Recipe

I made Sweet and Sour Chicken with brown rice and roasted broccoli for dinner. The recipes below were pretty yummy. I especially liked the thickness of the sauce on the chicken. It was pretty easy to get the meal together quickly, which I appreciate a lot these days. I hope you will enjoy this as well. Click on the name of the recipes to find them online.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Cooking Light April 2007 p. 240

Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes and Toasted Garlic
Cooking Light March 2007 p. 238
Rather than cooking this in a skillet on the stove, I put mine on a cookie sheet under the broiler. I should have cooked it longer. We both like it when the broccoli is a little crunchy.

the Hanging Log

We went to our first couples retreat last weekend with a couple of communities (Sunday school classes) from our church. The location was beautiful, and it was so nice to get away from everyday life and talk about marriage. Our pastor spoke and we got to visit with several couples which was really nice...we got beyond the small talk. The meals were not superb, the matresses were hard (on the twin beds we slept on), and the shower was tiny. But we had a great time and had a lot of laughs. Saturday night, the staff at the place we were staying hung a log from the ceiling and put matresses underneath it. You could sit on the log with another person and have a pillow fight. M and I both did this although not with each other. It was hysterical! There was also a hill for tubing. M did this a couple of times while I took pictures. I should have gone down it myself.

Max stayed with our neighbors while we were gone. They spoiled him so I'm sure he had a good weekend. We were told he spent a total of 3 hours from Thursday night until we picked him up on Sunday afternoon in his crate.