Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend Recap in Video

We took Rory on a field trip to Petsmart and randomly bumped into a couple with a mini-Rory.  He was sooo cute! I adopted Rory when she was a year old, so I never got to see the cute patootie tiny version of her. So, while we chatted with the couple, I whipped out my fancy dancy new phone, and took video of Rory being an old granny around the puppy. Rory doesn't have a whole lot of patience for puppy craziness; she'll put up with it with perfect manners, but she'll also try to remove herself from the puppy if at all possible.

Speaking of puppies, I took Rory to a few dog adoption events on Saturday, to see if we could find her a new friend to take home with us.  Obviously, we're looking at a slightly older dog, one at least 3 years old.  And one who can go running with us for exercise.  We only found one potential friend who was just incredibly sweet (certainly a great match for sweetie pie Rory!), but he was just too young :(  I'm sure he'll make someone an awesome friend, but he just wouldn't fit into our house as well.

Here's a clip of the one potential friend, but as you can see, he's just a wee little pup:

 And then we have Rory showcasing her usual bout of of crazy whenever a treat is in our hands:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cooking with Sara: Taco Seasoning Mix

I was basically a cooking fool this weekend.  Which is kinda nice; it's an indicator of how many chores I'm not doing, in favor of playing in the kitchen.  In summary, it makes me happy to create new things in the kitchen.  And this recipe, is definitely a shiny, new thing!  It's shamefully easy and tastes pretty much like the packets you purchase at the grocery store.  Minus all the funky ingredients and the packaging that ends up in the trash.
We tried it out last night on tacos and gave it the thumbs up.

(The other fruits of my kitchen time will get posted over the next couple of weeks: Blueberry Buckle and Strawberry Mojitos.  Yummmmm.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cooking with Sara: Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

Click on over for the recipe and more photos!  You know you want toooooooooooooo....

Even tho these puppies are freaking delicious, I discovered that the same sauce is even better on portobello mushrooms.  I'll take this moment to fess up - I swiped all the grilled portobellos when Bo wasn't looking and didn't tell him until I'd eaten every single one of them.  And then I didn't even apologize.  I think I muttered something about how I deserved them if he was going to eat real, cow milk, ice cream sandwiches in front of me after dinner.  No matter, all you need to know is that if you're of the veggie persuasion, this sauce is just as amazing with bell peppers and portobellos.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Meb Love

I know that I've gushed in the past about Meb Keflezighi, and I'm about to start the outpouring all over again.  The San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon (the one I've done three times) and the new Half Marathon were held there on June 5.  Meb ran and absolutely won the Half, with a time of 1:02:37.  That's an average of 4 minutes, 46 seconds per mile over 13.1 miles.  Holy smokes!

He recently got his autobiography published, and - I'm just so excited I can't even spit out the words - Marnie got a copy signed for me!!!!  You can purchase his book here, but I'll definitely be reading and reviewing it soon, in case you want to wait for that.  Meb's story isn't very well known outside the long distance running community; this is his book's summary from Amazon:

When Meb Keflezighi won the New York City Marathon in 2009—the first American to do so in 27 years—some critics questioned whether the Eritrean-born runner was “really” an American despite his citizenship status and representing the USA on two Olympic and several World Championship teams. Yet Meb is the living embodiment of the American dream. His family came to the U.S. to escape from a life of poverty and a violent war with Ethiopia; Meb was 12 at the time, spoke no English, and had never raced a mile. Yet he became an A student and a high school state and national champion. And when he stood on the platform as a silver medalist in the 2004 Olympics, Meb knew his hard work and determination had paid off. How could life be any better?

Then it all came crashing down. Meb, a favorite for the Beijing Olympics, fractured his pelvis during the trials and was left literally crawling. His close friend and fellow marathoner suffered a cardiac arrest at the trials and died that same day. Devastated, Meb was about to learn whether his faith in God, the values his parents had taught him, and his belief that he was born to run were enough to see him through.

Gah, just reading that gives me chills.  I cannot wait to start reading his book!

(Guess who made me another bookmark?!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells

That birdhouse is pretty fantastic looking, am I right?  Bo built it.  Yep, that's right.  He dragged tree branches in from the mini forest behind our house and sawed and carved and shaped them down to build a log cabin style birdhouse mansion.

Gone Worming! :)

He found a different tree to whittle off the bark for a thatched roof.  Seriously.

This next picture was taken a year ago.  See that tall tree trunk on the left?  It's the same tree in the next photo with the birdhouse attached to it.

The "after" photo.  There's the trunk of that tall tree there, on the left.  It looks amazingly different with all the brush cleared out!

And it makes our tiny yard look so much more open and bigger.

Bo built this retaining wall a couple of months ago, with the intent of keeping all the drain water off our back patio.  When we get crazy downpours, all the rain from the upper terraces drains to our yard and sits, creating a swamp.  It's terribly lovely, let me tell you.  But now we have a wall with a built-in bench top for sitting, tall glass of sweet tea optional.

Looking up to the left.  (Rory has no fence because she just lies around, keeping an eye on things.  The only thing that even tempts her to get off her duff is a teasing squirrel.)

And, to the right.

Dahlias are one of my very most favorite flowers.  I love them!!

Double Impatiens.  It makes me happy to go to the plant nurseries here and see many of the same flowers I grew up with.

Foxglove.  I haven't seen these since we lived on the Oregon Coast!  They grow wild in the forests there, along with Calla Lillies.

Also?  I. Achieved. Photography.  BOKEH.  And not even on purpose!!

Monday, June 13, 2011


One of the more interesting things that happened while we were away for the wedding is that all my accounts got hacked.  I can't even begin to tell you what a pain that whole ordeal was.  You see, both my email accounts and my Facebook account were all hacked into.  And then the jerk changed all my secondary email addresses in there, so that I couldn't go through the "Forgot My Password" process and get back in.  No.  What I ended up doing was having my mom fill out a lengthy google form over the phone, proving that I do, indeed, own my email address and that some poophead had taken it over. 

Said poophead was sending out emails as me to everyone in my address book - everyone aside from my parents and Bo - saying that I was being held at gunpoint in the UK and to send money asap because I was freaked out.  The hacker was using my friends' info on Facebook to make emails slightly accurate, which is extremely scary.  I had an onslaught of text messages, emails, phone calls, Linked In messages, and Facebook messages from people asking if I was ok.  And because Faceook locked my account for 24 hours, I couldn't reply right away, fueling the worry. 

It was an entire day of mayhem to put it lightly.  I'm mostly back to operational again, aside from having my entire Gmail inbox wiped out - all 10,000+ messages disappeared.  I've submitted a form to Google, but I haven't even wrapped my brain around the reality of that yet.

Lesson?  Give yourself crazy complicated passwords that are all different from each other.  Otherwise, you risk having your sister and your mom call you at 5am worried that you're ok.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Start Your Engines

Orlando wedding last March

Off we go!  To Orlando, specifically.  We're headed out for our first wedding of the summer and another group of Bo's friends I've not yet met.  I'm assembling 3 dozen cupcakes right before we hit the road, so between that and wondering if I've packed enough underwear and both Left and Right shoes, my brain is currently perched on some other planet.

Hope your weekend is as relaxing as mine will be once I buckle my seatbelt and kick back with some roadtrip snacks! :)

(Not my current hair color.)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cooking with Sara: Carolina-Style BBQ Chicken

This chicken is ridiculously easy and super, duper yum!  So, skip on over to the food blog and check out the recipe and more photos!:

Meanwhile, these photos turned out so fun!

(Until Bo points out that it looks like a creepy face if you tilt your head to the right.)

(And then says that it looks like a body with knees and legs.)

Wooooo, flamey fun!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

100 Things: 16-22

16. I collect bookmarks. ( Probably because I'm always partway through at least six different books at any given time.)  But there are only two kinds of bookmarks I collect - hotel key cards and the ones crocheted by my bestie, Marnie.

My pretties from Marnie!

Some (not all) of the hotel key cards I use as bookmarks. I'm betting there are still a few tucked into books on my shelves.

By far, my favorite hotel bookmark!  From the resort we stayed at in Cabo a few years ago.
That vacation was the very definition of Ahhhhh....

17. All through school, I hated my writing classes and loved my math classes.  Now, math is boring, and I'm constantly writing things in my head.

18. My favorite color has been green since as far back as I can remember.  The only thing that changes is the shade of green.  I've gone from mint green to forest green to sage green to olive green to the muted gray green that I currently love.  It's fitting that Bo has green eyes, don't you think? :)

19. I can't bring myself to spell "gray" with an "e."  And I have a really hard time with the last "e" in "lavender."  Something about that last "e" really bothers me, and it feels out of place.

20. I'm constantly cycling through nicknames for poor Rory.  The current list?  Ror-kins, Stinks, Smelly, Smellers, Sam, Poopsie, Poopsie Lou, Lona, Silly Billy, and Missie.  And yes, she answers to all of them.

21. I make a lot of goofy(? weird? cute? silly? depends on how much you adore me) faces when I talk.  I don't mean to make them, and when they're captured in a photo, I almost don't recognize myself.  I sometimes wonder if they'll give me extra wrinkles one day.

22. My favorite scents are food-based, and mostly some variation of vanilla.  The two perfumes I rotate between are cotton candy and blackberry pie scents.  All the Wallflowers and candles in my house are vanilla coconut or vanilla sugar.  And we all remember my obsession with Laura Mercier lotion...Obsession.

Monday, June 6, 2011


After having lived in Southern California for nine years, it nearly stops me in my tracks when I see vacant lots right in the middle of our Atlanta suburb.   In SoCal, land is at such a premium that perfectly livable houses are torn down in order to build something new and fancy.  It's all about the land there.  When you hear about real estate prices being so crazy in California, it's the land that has skyrocketed the price.  The house isn't worth anything by comparison. 

I had my phone with me this morning, so as Rory and I walked, I snapped photos of abandoned houses and lots.  From the style of this house, it was probably built in the 1960s or 70s, and there it sits, empty.  It was all I could do not to walk up to it and peer through the open blinds still hanging in the windows.   

There are also lots and lots of overgrown driveways that lead a concrete slab and an occasional chimney.

And nothing else.

These two houses are right around the corner from us, and we drive or walk by them daily.  The doors are boarded up, and the shrubs are overgrown.  But they still have mailboxes at the curb and garbage cans along the fence. 

Old buildings and houses tell a story, and I love walking into them and being surrounded by the things they have to say.  I have so many questions to ask these old houses - How long have you been empty?  Did your last family treat you well?  Are you lonely now?  Will they tear you down?  What did you look like when you were shiny and new?

I'm tempted weekly to creep up to this house to squint through its dirty windows and explore its hidden backyard.

If I'm ever in trouble with the law, you'll know exactly why.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Peace, Love, Cupcakes

image source

It just came out in the news that British spy agents were able to hack into an al Qaida electronic magazine and replace bomb making instructions with..... cupcake recipes.  Ohhh, how I love that.  Apparently, the title of the article was, "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom" and included recipes featured on the Ellen Degeneres show.  

Cupcakes helping to create world peace.  That's the kind of politics I can absolutely get behind :)


Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Bo-Day

What happens when you live with a cake pop queen and you ask her for "just brownies" for your birthday??

You get homemade brownies with pecan-covered cake pop candles

Did you catch all that?  A Yellow cake pop, dipped in milk chocolate, covered with roasted pecan bits, with a birthday candle poked into the top.  And then, the whole thing is shoved into the pan of brownies (also loaded with roasted pecan bits) and lit.

Happy Birthday, dear (demonic-looking) Bo-ooooooooooo ♥

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Making More Happiness

You have to love the universe's timing of things.  Not ten minutes after I published yesterday's post, I stumbled onto Ted Talks of a pertinent topic - 7 Rules for Making More Happiness.  Too fun!

Oh, Ted Talks, how I love you to bits!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

About Ordelia.

image source

I've disappeared on you once again. 

I've officially tiptoed near that line emblazoned with the brightly colored "Burnt Out" signage placed every two feet.  Anyone who's been with me for the long, long haul could have predicted this; I'm following nearly the exact timeline I did with my stint as a part-time piano teacher.  That gig lasted a little over two years before I cried uncle and regretfully mailed out resignation letters to all the students' parents. 

It's my own, perfectionist, over-achieving doing that puts me here.  My drive to do things well.  Sure, that trait has served me well over the years (hello, piles of college scholarship money and two engineering degrees!), but it's also been a cleverly-disguised enemy that has no qualms about driving me into the ground, all while congratulating me for nearly earning a Superwoman cape. 

I've learned to identify this ne'er do well sitting on my shoulder, whispering tuants into my ear as I pile more items onto my list.  I've even named her - Ordelia.  She pretends to have my best interest in mind but certainly does not, and she thoroughly enjoys how inadequate I feel when I don't complete my long lists of tasks each day.  But although I've identified her and named her, I'm not as diligent about keeping her silent.  It's not long before I start assuming that her whisperings are my own thoughts; that I truly do enjoy being in motion from sunup to sundown.  That sitting on the couch with my favorite book just isn't important and isn't worth accomodating by removing things from my list. 

Damn that Ordelia for twisting my thoughts into a jumbled mess.  Damn her.