Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We Are Now Coffee Drinkers

I think Lee and I have officially reached the point of being coffee drinkers. It seems insignificant, yet I feel like this deserves its own post.

I have always loved flavored cappuccinos/lattes (Is it time for peppermint white mochas at Starbucks yet?!), but coffee took some time, even with all the cream and sugar I add. I started drinking coffee at my first post-college job because it was free and 8 a.m. is way too early to have to be at work. Eventually it grew on me, but I left there and moved to a tea-drinking office. Then my next job required a monthly donation to join the "coffee club", but I was too cheap and lazy to join. Now I've been in a free coffee office for almost a year and my dependency has grown. The weekends are increasingly difficult since they lack coffee.

Lee has never liked coffee. Even if you put steamed milk and chocolate syrup in it. Lee survives on Mountain Dew, averaging three a day. I've suggested that this is an unhealthy amount of Mountain Dew to consume, perhaps he should try coffee, but he would refuse.

Then last week I got a call from Lee. It was during the work day. You should know that during office hours Lee generally only calls for real, pressing reasons, but last week:

Me: Hi honey, what's up?
Lee: I think I'm going to start drinking coffee.
Me: Really? Why?
Lee: I had some this morning and I am WIRED! I have gotten so much done! My hands are shaking!
Me: That's great! I'm happy for you!
Lee: We should get a coffee pot. We can make coffee at home.
Me: We do have some bank reward points we could cash in...
Lee: I don't want a crappy coffee pot. Make sure it's a good coffee pot.
Me: Well, we could get a Target gift card and go get anyone we want.
Lee: It should have one of those timers so they'll be coffee ready when I wake up....

So this weekend we got our coffee pot. We are now official "coffee drinkers".

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My New "Sport"

Awhile ago, I posted this rambling about how I felt very boring and old, yet was repeatedly carded for R-rated movies. Despite being very happy with my life, I felt like I should be doing more of something that makes for a better story than, "Well I watched You've Got Mail again" come Monday morning. (Although that does sound like a pretty sweet weekend.)

I have decided that the real problem is my lack of doing things. I accomplish what needs to get done, but I want to do more than that. Expense is partly to blame, but I also get lazy and tired and just stay home. So I'm resolving to do more fun things, more activities, more somethings.

What are these "things" of which I speak? There are several. Some are big; some are small. At some point I might make some sort of goal list. But I took an important step this weekend in one of my big goals, or I guess my dad did, by bringing me my old bike.

my bike?
I don't even know if this is the kind of the bike I should be riding. I've had it for at least a decade and have probably ridden it twice. Considering we're heading into non-ideal bike weather, who knows when I'll start biking (Santa's going to bring me a helmet!), but I have a bike.

Bike riding isn't really the ultimate goal though. Yes, it will be a great way to stay in shape and a fun activity for Lee and I to do together (Believe it or not, Lee does not enjoy You've Got Mail weekends.). The ultimate goal is to bike across England. For reals. There's a website and everything. I really want to do this.

I have no idea when we'll go. I have no idea when in the foreseeable future we'll be able to afford to fly to England (or sleep or eat). Not to mention we'll be having kids in the next couple years. But, I have a bike. I might need to get a different one, but there is a bike in my apartment. I've taken the first step.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crafty Progress

The knitting is starting to come together I think! The baby blanket is starting to look more like a blanket than scarf...maybe?
a future baby blanket

I also made some more progress on another secret project. I think it's a secret. I can't remember what I've said about it before. Hmm...I should finish it this week and it will cease being a secret soon.
a crafty project in process
a crafty project

My goal is that if I work really hard and finish secret project and make lots of progress on the baby blanket this week, then I should have tons of time in November for Christmas gift making. The hopefully-not-too-lofty goal is to finish gift crafting in November and dedicate December to holiday baking and other general merry-making.

(Caitlin, no this secret thing is not your mysterious birthday present, which I hope to finish in early November.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Mixed Feelings for Fall

The leaves and my serotonin levels are falling

Fall would be a perfectly fine season if it didn't signal the coming of winter. I hate winter. I really really hate winter. It's barely tolerable for the holiday season but then I'm done with it. When I wake up on December 26, I want sweater-weather until summer. As in just a sweater, not a sweater under my gigantic parka with scarves, hats and gloves and the occasional pair of thermal underwears. I hate winter. And fall only serves to remind me that it's almost winter...again. And today is a miserably rainy fall day.


Thursday, October 22, 2009


I've been trying to take more pictures lately AND suck less at taking them. It hasn't been easy. I've even been toying with getting one of those fancy DSLR cameras, but decided to try to make the most of my current camera before spending $600 on a new one with more buttons and modes that I can shake a stick at. Here are some decent photos I've taken lately.

While visiting the fancy new Target, I saw this empty liquor bottle in the parking lot. I like how the angle turned out, that angle being me trying to sneak a picture quickly without looking like the freak taking pictures of empty liquor bottles in the Target parking lot.

This is the inside of the hotel where that party was where I won the football. Go Cats. In other Katie Trivia, this was where Lee and I spent our wedding night before heading to Mexico.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Going Natural

Lately I've been on this natural/organic kick. I've tried this before because it seemed like the cool thing to do, but now I feel it is the right thing to do. And it hasn't turned out be as expensive as I thought it would it be (Although I still buy normal cheese, milk and some meats because that's just really expensive.).

There were several things that kind of happened at once to start this. Several of my friends had recently expressed their concern about where our food comes from and the things that go in it. Do you really need high fructose corn syrup in bread? No you don't. And my office had started going in together with a local CSA to get some fresh, local fruits and veggies. (This was also a great opportunity for us to learn what on earth chard is.) Then I saw the video bleow, which is awesome even if you don't like Star Wars.

In addition to health and environmental benefits, it is so much more fun to shop at healthy grocery stores. Don't get me wrong, I love a good trip to the Walmart, but I truly enjoy being in Whole Foods and Fresh Markets. Plus you can't beat their Sample Saturdays. No where else will the cashier flip through their mailer to find coupons for you. The employees always ask to help you find things or  share personal recommendations. It's amazing.

On Sunday I had bought a bag of honey crisp apples (AWESOME) from Fresh Market and had griped all the way home about the $8 I spent on them. (For four apples! Four huge apples, but still only four apples. I can get a whole sack of organic gala apples at Walmart for $3.96.) On Monday, I go to cut into the first one...and it's rotten. I even checked with a co-worker who is more produce knowledgeable and she told me to take it back. I called the store to make sure I could exchange it and they said it would not be a problem to bring it back.

"Not a problem" does even describe how amazing they were yesterday when I returned with my bad apple. They never even looked at my receipt. A cashier immediately came to my aid, walked me to their produce guide, everyone apologized (I mean, it happens, I understand.) and the produce guy walked me to the apples, helped me pick out a new one and gave me an extra. I'll pay $8 for apples if they come with that kind of service. And they really are the best apples ever.

honeycrisp apple

I must say though, before you start to think I've become some kind of health nut, there are some things that I don't care how many chemicals are in them and I never will:
  • Oreos
  • Ice cream
  • Velveeta cheese logs
  • Candy, candy, candy
  • Chef Boyardee
  • Velveeta Shells and Cheese (The best mac and cheese ever.) 
  • Eggo waffles (Although I do get the whole wheat kind.)
  • Little Debbie Christmas trees and Valentine hearts
  • Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • Pillsbury cookies
  • Chocolate
And there's probably several more...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things that Make my Mouth Sweat

I tried this new, easy pasta recipe the other night. Well, before that I should mention that I have never cooked anything spicy. I have tried some Rachel Ray recipes that were supposed to have a "kick" but really weren't anything to brag about in the flavor department. I often worry that my cooking is bland and wish I was a more flavorful cook. Something to work on.

So I tried this recipe for Fettuccine with Sweet Pepper-Cayenne Sauce. Didn't sound too spicy to me. Red peppers, barely spicy. Garlic, my bff. And cayenne, which I had never used before but couldn't be worse than some red pepper flakes, right? Throw in the sour cream and chicken broth and I expected another mildly-flavored pasta dish.

005 - Copy (5)

Umm...I was sweating. My mouth was on fire! I was downing Lee's milk (Actually, this is a regular occurrence. Lee always drinks milk and I always drink water. But once I see Lee's milk, I want some too and just steal his. We've been doing this for over a year. Why I don't get myself some milk to start with remains a mystery. Anyways...). I'm not a huge spicy person, but I can handle medium salsa so I was quite taken back by this dish.

I think I might cut back on the cayenne a little next time, but still quite tasty. Lots of flavor!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Two Dollars

I'm Catholic; Lee's Presbyterian. Sometimes to bridge the gap at dinner, I will say a freestyle grace.

I'm horrible at freestyle spoken prayer. (Not that anyone can be really bad at prayer because the important thing is that you pray, doesn't matter what you say.) I go off on tangents and say awkward things. For example, a few months ago while I was freestyling grace before dinner, I said, "Dear God, I just want to thank you for all the amazing and wonderful things you've blessed us with. [So far, so good...] I know a bitch a lot --"

What is wrong with me?! So in an attempt to apologize to God for all my complaining when I know how lucky and blessed I am, I said, "I know I bitch a lot." This is why I like to stick with "Bless us O Lord".

But in all honesty, and moving past my use of the b-word during prayer, I do complain way more than I should. I always want more when really, I have more than enough, more than most even.

When I think about areas to improve as a person and Christian, I think the biggest thing for me (and really what it all boils down to) is loving and giving generously. Sharing your love, time, fortune, gifts, chocolate chip cookies, extra tickets, hugs, anytime minutes generously with no holding back. Love love love. Give give give.

We were at Lee's church yesterday (I go to mass every week. Sometimes Lee comes too. Sometimes we go to his church. There's lots of church.) and the minister had a particularly challenging sermon seeing as he gave us all money. For real.

As we were reflecting on the story of the widow's mite and how when we give it's not from what belongs to us but from the abundance God has given us, he told us to pass out the envelopes that were at the ends of the pew. Inside was $2 to give to someone in need this week.


I'm really excited about my $2 and a chance to be a better giver. I haven't decided who's getting it yet. Louisville seems to be a hot spot for people collecting money at intersections, more so than anywhere I've lived. Or, my best friend just had her appendix taken out so she might need some flowers, cookies, or trashy magazines. (Okay, maybe trashy magazines aren't the best idea but they would be appreciated by the person in need!) Lots of options!

I was out one afternoon walking through the Highlands with some friends, one of whom was a friend of a friend I had never met before. We wandered by someone asking for money and friend-of-a-friend just gave the woman $5. As we moved on, someone made the comment wondering if the $5 was just going to the liquor store across the street, which was exactly what I was thinking. But then friend-of-a-friend said, "Well that's between her and God." Friend-of-a-friend is very wise.

Goal for my 26th year: Give more. Love more. Don't ask questions. Just give and love. Starting with this $2.

And maybe complain less too.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wine + Me + Silent Auction = My Football!

So last night, Lee and I went to this charity dinner and silent auction for one of his clients. (Lee does IT stuff that I don't understand. Have I mentioned that?) As we're getting in the car to leave for the event, I mention that we don't really have any money so we should keep the drinking and bidding to a minimum if at all. Lee comments that his boss said that bidding was fun and of course we should bid. Okay, whatever, we'll see.

The Earleys

Well everyone got two drink tickets and I'm a bit of a light-weight anyway and then there was free wine on the table and Christmas is coming up...

So we started by bidding on this mediocre piece of art but lose interest once it reached $20.

And then I find the autographed UK stuff. (GO CATS!) The Coach Cal autographed basketball and book were clearly my first choice, but that was a little pricey. I enjoyed bidding for the Coach Brooks football though and was surprised/excited/scared when I secured my Christmas present for $60.

Me with my football!

For the rest of the evening I struggled with some buyer's remorse. I did just spend $60 on a football. I don't even know how to throw a football! (Ehh...this one is just for display anyway.) But as Lee often reminded me, I didn't buy a $60 football, I made a $60 donation for which I received a football. And it's a wonderful cause.

I am really excited about my football though. We can watch the games together. I can hold it and pace with it during intense football moments because Zoey dosen't like it when I get anxious and start pacing with her. 

Zoey's new brother

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Journey to Make Alfredo Sauce

April 2005 Caitlin and I are in London, England for the semester. Since we're poor and in one of the most expensive cities in the world, we cook in a lot. This is my first time really cooking so Caitlin's been doing an excellent job of making sure I know the difference between a clove of garlic and a whole big thing of garlic.
I decided that I would make Alfredo sauce one night since it's one of my favorites. However, as I go to make it I realize that the cream we bought the night before had indeed expired the day before. It smelled okay, so I proceeded. In the end, it tasted like crap. I don't blame the cream, but something just didn't turn out right.

(Side story: Caitlin decided to just go with plain noodles because she was afraid of the day-old cream. However, I accidentally poured the sauce on hers and then had to rinse her noodles. I think she's just learning about this now. Oops.)

November 2006 I try to make Alfredo sauce again. Things aren't going well so I call for the assistance of my roommate Jenn, who is honestly the best cook I know. Despite Jenn's emergency whisking, the damage had been done. It turned out mediocre.

October 11, 2009 SUCCESS!!! ALFREDO SAUCE SUCCESS!!! Third time's a charm! I would like to thank this recipe, and the helpful comment about adding the butter and melting that, then mixing in the cream, before slowly adding the Parmesan. Tasty-tastiness!

alfredo sauce!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Birthday Lazies

My birthday was on Monday. I am 26 which is a pretty boring age. I've decided it's the Year to Remember to Use Eye Cream Every Night (because I just remember a couple nights a week).

No good pictures were taken of me on this day, as evidenced here:

26th Birthday

The only decent picture of me, is of me and Lee, except the way it's angled my tank top looks like a brightly colored bra under a see-through sweater. Words cannot begin to describe how much I am opposed to visible brightly colored bras (some exceptions regarding tank tops and summer).

Lee and me at bday dinner

Oh well.

I've had a difficult time shaking the birthday lazies. Have I always been this lazy around my birthday? I've been using the "It's my birthday" excuse since last Friday. I'm hoping to shake it off and start being a responsible, pro-active, non-smelly apartment 26-year-old today. *fingers crossed*

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy National Poetry Day!

My senior year of college, to procrastinate from writing a paper that was very likely about a poem, I made a list of my Top 10 Favorite Poems. Sadly, I have lost this list, but I will try to recreate it for you now. I think I can recall all the poems, and the 11th poem that I struggled to find a spot for, but the order is a little fuzzy so I've broken it down as well as I can. Now it's more like My 11 Favorite Poems in a Mildly Particular Order.

Cute story before we begin: Lee and I had been dating for a couple weeks and this list came up in conversation. This was when I still had the list. I shared the list with Lee and he read all of them that he could find on the internet! How sweet! This was when I started to suspect he was worth keeping around. ;)

My books are organized alphabetically by author by genre. Here's the poetry section.

1. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot
2. One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

Rest of the top tier:

Wild Nights by Emily Dickinson
Love is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by John Donne
My House by Nikki Giovanni

Bottom tier:

Sonnet X from Astrophel and Stella by Sir Phillip Sydney
Sonnet 116 (Let me not to the marriage of true minds...) by Shakespeare
Roma by Sarah Arvio (If you click on the link and click on "Read Excerpt", it's the first one.)
Clear Night by Charles Wright
Song Five (Give Me One Thousand Kisses/Da Mi Basia Mille) by Catullus

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No More Fancy Pants

I'm one of the lucky ones. I can wear jeans to work. If there's a major ice storm, I'll even wear sweat pants. Sometimes I'll wear T-shirts and sweatshirts. Yes, it's a charmed life I lead.

I have not always been this lucky. I have had to conform to business casual standards. Friday was all the more valuable if it was Casual Friday. For awhile, I could wear heels semi-comfortably because I got used to it since I wore them everyday. (My current policy is no more heels. Ever. Kitten heels are okay sometimes. I heart flats.)

But now, I wear the jeans. Everyday. Except yesterday.

Last night I went to go see A Chorus Line at the Kentucky Center. Combine that with the feeling that I need more casual non-jeans pants because I have three pairs of jeans and yeah, the math on how often I wear them and do laundry is not math to be proud of. Plus it gets a little boring. So yesterday, to prepare for my evening outing and jazz up my work wear, I wore dress slacks. All day. And by 10 a.m. I was miserable.

From now on, no more fancy pants. Unless it's church, a funeral, or some other rare fancy event in which I will keep my jeans handy.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Best Scrambled Eggs Ever

My Grandma made the best scrambled eggs ever. Mom (No offense.), could never replicate Grandma's scrambled eggs. Mom makes excellent monkey bread, pot roast, the sweetest sweet tea (which will someday have a post of its own) and the smoothest mashed potatoes in the world, but she never made it to Grandma-level with the scrambled eggs.

It was a sore point on Saturday mornings. Mom would make scrambled eggs, present them to the sister and I to taste, and the verdict was always, "Good, but not as good as Grandma's."

Grandma's eggs were cheesy and fluffy. While Mom would attempt scrambled eggs with shredded cheese, sliced cheese, cheddar, swiss, and who knows what else, there is only one cheese for this job. And by any rational arguments, it's not really even a cheese.

It's the Velveeta cheese log. Diced.

preparing the cheese

Once the egg and milk (and salt of course) are adequately whisked, you add the diced cheese and whisk a little more. Then proceed as normal.

making scrambled egg magic

These really are the best eggs in the world.

best scrambled eggs ever

Lee prefers his without cheese, which I will never understand. It even looks inferior.

lame scrambled eggs

Monday, October 5, 2009

Katie Learns to Knit

Now that I've conquered the worlds of sewing and cooking (sort of), it's time for knitting. One more year (or ten) and I'll totally be able to take Martha Stewart in some sort of domestic duel.

After knitting and purling for a couple hours with Aunt Billie last week, it is now my job to take her awesome vintage knitting guide and make a scarf. So far all I have to show for my efforts are the knitting guide, but I'm surely going to have that scarf (mostly) done by 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Begin to Knit

I have already ambitious knitting goals, of course. Can I make this baby blanket in time for a November baby shower? If not, I already have a back-up, easier (I think.) plan: baby cocoon.

UPDATE I tried to knit on lunch today at work and the book was of no help. I've had to turn to YouTube and I think I might have figured it out. I have 36 decent-looking stitches cast so now I'm ready to knit-purl-knit-purl-knit-purl-knit-purl-knit-purl-knit-purl...