Thursday, July 29, 2010

Surprise By Mail

Yesterday, I was surprised to see the Fed Ex truck stop at our house. As the Fed Ex man was walking up to our door, I was trying to figure out what the package might be. Husband and I aren’t celebrating a birthday anytime soon, and I wasn’t expecting a package from work either.
It turned out to be a very thoughtful “just because” gift from a friend I haven’t talked to in so long. We were friends in college, but we don’t live near each other and we’ve kept in touch through sporadic e-mails over the years. I was the last one to send a couple e-mails, but I never got a reply.
I worried a little whether maybe I had said or done something wrong. But, I started to accept that maybe we were just growing apart. I’m definitely a loyal friend, but I would never want to force a friendship that isn’t there.
The gift was a pretty journal, which was very thoughtful, since I love to write. But the best gift of all was knowing that although many friendships fade away, there are still some that endure.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wedding Dress Donation

The search for my wedding dress was not unlike the search for the groom: it took longer than I imagined; I found a few potential ones, only to figure out that they weren’t right for me; there were many tears, and finally, when I least expected it, I found one that was better than I imagined. My mom and mother-in-law were there to witness most of my dress searching. (Husband was even there for a short time, as he’d play chauffeur and then would end up napping in the car while we tried on the dresses. He also got mistaken for my brother by one of the dress shop owners, which was both funny and awkward.) In the end, we all agreed that the dress I found was perfect for me. It was beautiful and simple, and in terms of price, it was a deal. Originally, I put it on hold because I thought I wanted to think about it. But minutes later, as we were driving out of the parking lot, I said dramatically, “Stop the car! I want to buy the dress!” And I ran into the store and bought it that same day. After the wedding, I knew I wanted to donate it. It was such a pretty dress that I couldn’t accept the idea of it sitting in a closet for years, never to be worn again. Surprisingly, the search to donate it has been more challenging than I thought. First, I almost donated it to an international organization that I contacted, but I never heard from them. There were a couple of other organizations that wanted it, but then their dress sales were canceled. More recently, we thought a needy girl that lived near my grandma would want it, but it turns out she already had a dress. But finally, this past week, I found an organization that is happy to have it. I’m thrilled that another girl will get to wear it on her special day, and all the proceeds will help a very worthy organization. I’m happy to donate the dress because I’m keeping the real prize from my wedding: the groom.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rest in Peace, Basil Plant

I had such high hopes for my basil plant. It was doing so well for a while. I’d snip a few leaves for an Italian dish, and it would continue to grow tall.
But lately, I noticed it was a little on the smaller side. And more recently, it’s barely been a nub of a plant that has slowly turned black.
“I think it’s going to make a comeback,” I told Husband.
“Face it,” he said, “that thing is dead.”
So I guess it’s time I call it. Time of death, 8:32 AM, 7/24/10.
Sadly, even though it lived just 3 short months, it still makes it into the longevity category of my previous plants.
4/19/10 – 7/24/10
Rest in Peace, Sweet Italian Herb. Our Italian dishes will not be the same without you.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Funny Thoughts on Flying

I found this video on flying from comedian, Brian Regan, and I thought it was hilarious. Husband thought it was hilarious, too, so apparently it's pilot-approved. Enjoy! Happy Friday!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Even in 2D it was still good

We had a great time at the wedding this weekend, and Husband decided to take a few extra days off from work this week just because. (In my opinion, “just because” is a perfect reason for a few extra days of relaxation.) In fact, I announced this morning that I’m enjoying being at home just as much as on the mini-vacation. Husband took this as a victory, as he will openly admit to his homebody status and I think he is in the process of trying to convert me. We went to see Toy Story 3 today.

We got a laugh because as we were entering the theater, I noticed a sign that said, “This theater offers movies in 2D.”

For a split second I thought, “Wow, 2D!” Then I realized, “Wait a minute…”

I told Husband about the sign and he thought it was hilarious. Maybe that statement was easier to fit on a sign than, “There’s no way you’re going to see any movie here in 3D, so don’t even think about it, you poor saps.”

However, even in “2D,” we loved the movie. I know that some sequels can be a disappointment, but this was just as fresh and funny as the original movies. I’m glad we saw it.

Let the vacation continue.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Happily, this week has turned into the week of reunions. The first one will be when we go to the airport to welcome home Husband’s co-worker from his deployment. Husband e-mailed me yesterday, asking if I wanted to go. I responded with, “YES!” There are few things in life I’d be happier to do than to welcome home a military member who has served and sacrificed for our country. Usually I go a little overboard when I welcome home my military friends, and I bring balloons, signs, and noisemakers. But, in an effort not to embarrass Husband and his friend, I will restrain myself and just bring a balloon or two. I’m also hoping to get a couple of good pictures of him with his family. The next reunion will be this weekend when we go to a wedding for Husband’s friend from college, who is also in the military. It will be great to see our friends. And we might even get the chance to see some family in the area. I can’t wait. Oh, happy week!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cashing In

For years, I had been slowly collecting frequent flier miles. Anytime I was traveling for the military, went to visit family, or took a vacation, I made sure to get the frequent flier miles.
Finally, last year, I decided I was going to finally use them. I confirmed the balance and figured it was good for at least one round-trip ticket. I called the airline, happily, to finally get my “free” ticket. And I would have gotten it, had the miles not expired the month before. My balance went from tens of thousands to zero.
I pleaded with the customer service rep. “But I’ve been saving them for years!” “The account showed that they didn’t expire until next year!” “But please!”
I did have the option to reinstate my miles – for $200. On principle alone, it seemed ludicrous to pay for something that had been mine in the first place. Not to mention, practically speaking, that I’d rather put that money towards a ticket with no black-out dates, etc.
The miles were gone, and I gotten nothing out of them except for the valuable lesson to use the miles! There’s no reason to hoard them when they’ll probably just expire. So now I’m spending those miles with reckless abandon.
With my airline miles, I’ve elected to get a number of magazines, and I even got some for my parents. Because, why not? I’ve got miles to spend! These magazines are now visiting my mailbox at no charge.
[These wouldn’t necessarily be my top magazine picks, but I figured they suited me better than some of the other choices, like say Cigar Aficionado or Western Horseman.] And though they’re not “frequent flier miles” (but I forget and call them that anyway), I’m finally using my hotel award points that I’ve collected on all of my business trips over the last year.
I wasn’t sure how many points I had, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was enough to cover three free nights! (I’m trying not to think about how many nights I was away from home to earn enough points for 3 free nights…)
Husband and I are going to use them next weekend when we go to a friend’s wedding. Can I just brag for a second that we’re getting what would have cost us over $300 for free?
Oh, and the hotel has a free breakfast.
Ok, I’m stopping now.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Like selling candy to a baby

Yesterday afternoon, there was a knock at my door. Standing outside were two young girls with a grocery bag full of candy that they were selling. They must have done their homework, since I’m not only a sucker for kids selling anything, but also for candy.
They weren’t selling the candy for a school or other fundraiser. They were just a couple of little entrepreneurs making the rounds.
The candy was 25 cents, they said, and they showed me a bunch of small sandwich bags with candy inside. I told them that I’d take two small bags of candy: tootsie rolls and taffy.
Except they reached into the sandwich bags and pulled out a single piece of candy. The price was per piece, not bag. “That’ll be 50 cents,” they told me.
I gave them $1, since I didn’t have any change. I said, “You can keep the change,” but I guess it was a little belated since they had already said their quick “Thanks!” and turned to walk away.
So basically, I paid $1 for this:
And, when you consider that we passed out tootsie rolls and other candy for Halloween to the neighborhood kids, I just very well might have paid twice for the same piece of candy. But then again, when you consider that I just made a kid’s day, $1 seems like a very small price to pay.

Monday, July 5, 2010

4-Day Weekend

Lucky for Husband and me, we happen to have the day off today as well, making this a glorious 4-day weekend. And I thought 3-day weekends were great, but 4-day weekends are even better. (I can’t imagine what retirement is like when every week is a 7-day weekend!)
Here are the highlights, so far:
- Driving: We made a quick road trip this weekend. The trip made me understand why people say that “the fun is in the journey and not the destination.” That may be also true because we weren’t visiting someplace like Hawaii, where the fun is the destination. But even still, it was nice for us to get away and have some uninterrupted time together. We shared a lot of laughs along the way. - Watching: I watched the movie My Life in Ruins with the actress from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I knew it probably wasn’t going to be as funny as My Big Fat Greek Wedding (and I was right), but it was still a light, fun movie. I did fall asleep during the last part of it, but that’s only because I seem to have narcolepsy whenever I watch a movie. Eventually, I did watch the ending, which was cute.
- Reading: I just got my copy of “A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg in the mail. I’ve wanted to read it for a long time, and I finally ordered it last week. I usually don’t recommend a book until I’ve finished it, but so far, I’m quite smitten with it. The book has lots of short stories about her life and the recipes associated with each story. It’s one of the few books that has made me hungry while reading it.
Happy Cinco de Julio! (I guess that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but hope you have a happy day regardless.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Surprise Cookbooks

Last week Husband came home with a surprise for me. He brought me a stack of cookbooks he bought at a local bargain book sale. I think this combined everything I love in one surprise: books, cooking, and bargains. The surprise happened after I’d had a somewhat rough day of work, so it was the perfect pick-me-up.
This weekend was the first chance I’ve had to look through the books. I’ve already flagged lots of delicious recipes for chicken, soups, and some desserts. But one book, hands down, had the most…interesting recipes.
Surprisingly, it came from a book that has “sugar” in the title, which made me assume that it was mostly a dessert book. Let me post some of the recipes so you can see how wrong I was. Here’s a recipe for pan-fried (ahem) lamb brains.
Or, maybe if I wanted to try something healthier, here’s a baked version.
There were a few other interesting recipes. I made up a new rule after seeing them: If a recipe contains words (liver, tongue) that belong in an anatomy book, then it’s safe to say that I’m probably not willing to try it.
Maybe I’m just not cultured, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.