Saturday, March 31, 2012

New Bingo

During my recent visit to Nevada to visit my parents they treated me to a trip to see the solar plant they are helping build.  Pretty impressive in person but below is a picture of the site.
There are three towers to capture the solar power from the surrounding mirrors.  Seriously.  It is more impressive in person.

On our way back to Las Vegas we stopped off at a casino to eat.  And since we happened to be in the neighborhood ... we threw a lot of money in slot machines.  Don't worry.  We won most of it back.  Go us!

We then took another side trip to Goodsprings, Nevada.  The Pioneer Saloon calls Goodsprings home and it was well worth the jaunt off the Interstate to see a piece of history.  Drunken history.  The floor of the bar is the original wooden floor from 1913 and the bar is straight out of the Wild West.  There is also a side room that is full of newspaper clippings of Carole Lombard's death and the relationship of Lombard and Clark Gable.  There is a lot of history in a small space.
Nothing says "classy" like a leg lamp.
The outside area is a great atmosphere for a fun evening.  There are picnic tables and grills available to rent (you can bring your own food to cook).
There is also a special game.  I'm a big fan of playing Bingo drunk (usually with my Colorado friends ... but, again, that's for a different post) but this game has taken it to an all new level.
When I get my backyard chickens ... this WILL happen.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Quick Dish: Breakfast Bars

Pinterest ... the best thing since sliced bread.  I came across a recipe for breakfast bars on Pinterest but I modified it for my own tastes.  And also because I'm cheap.  I used whatever I already had my in kitchen.

  • 2 sweet potatoes (cooked in the oven until mushy)
  • 1.5 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of natural apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup of flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup of sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
Peel the sweet potatoes and mash all of the ingredients together.  Pour the mixture onto a cookie sheet and pop in a 350 degree oven.  You are not cooking anything but simply drying out the mixture.  Therefore, it may be necessary to lower the temperature on the oven depending on moisture content of the sweet potatoes.  Meaning ... the measurements above are simply guesses.  Everyone knows I don't measure stuff.
Once the mixture has dried out (about 30-40 minutes) cut it into serving sizes (2" x 2").  Store them in the fridge.

They are a quick and healthy snack.  I usually grab a few in the morning on my way out the door.  They definitely fill you up.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cards Are a Girl's (Next) Best Friend

I was quite surprised yesterday when I checked my mail and saw a card from my new company, Beck Technology.  I had actually gone to the office that morning to visit with HR and turn in my new hire paperwork (I start Monday).  I met some of my future co-workers and in our brief interaction I knew I would love my job. 

However, I was not expecting the card.  It is a "welcome to the team" card with each of my co-workers' signatures on it.  I love receiving cards and their simple act of being thoughtful enough to send me one really makes me feel like they are as excited as I am to be part of an amazing group of people. 

I'm as giddy as a Justin Bieber baby momma getting her first child support check!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shooting Rainbows Out of my Mouth

I got back from a long weekend trip to visit my parents in Las Vegas.  Technically, they live in Henderson, Nevada which is just south of Vegas.  But more on that in a later post.

This post is about my colorful language.  I can speak in colors that haven't even been created yet.  This phenomenon is brought on by water bugs.  This particular episode, which happened last night, was brought on by a water bug hiding in my shower towel.  However, I didn't know it was hiding until I grabbed for the towel after I had finished my shower.

Let me set the scene for you ...

Exhausted from traveling most of the day.  Check.  Hot and sexy me.  Check.  Hot and steamy shower.  Check.  Evil, lurking water bug nestled inside the hanging bathroom towel.  Check.  Me reaching for said towel and said evil, lurking water bug goes flying into my shower with me.  OH. GOD. CHECK.

The next actions happened in a flash.  Seriously.  I think I could have out run the Flash as I dashed out of my shower, slipping on the tiled floor, bathroom towel flung across the bathroom, and magical rainbows spewing from my heavenly lips.

Heavenly Lips = Snarling, Curled Lips with Gnashing of Teeth

Thankfully, the water bug is now in bug hell (there is no bug heaven).  I also let it die a slow and painful death thanks to Raid (I don't care if PETA thinks it is cruel ... they can hug all the water bugs they want).  My colorful, rainbow induced language also spiked my adrenaline.  Before this event I was all ready to go to bed and enjoy a great night's rest.  BUT NOOOOOO!  I had to drink a few glasses of wine, spray my baseboards with Raid and shout a few words from the crayon box.  If there were pots of gold at the end of rainbows I'd be one rich drama queen right about now.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Don't Open the Door!

I'm not a fan of horror movies.  My idea of a horror movie is Jurassic Park.  However, I do know that the person who thinks nothing bad is behind the door and then opens it will die.  Every time.


However, in real life, door opening leads to new adventures and opportunities.  Last Friday I was swiftly told that my job was eliminated.  End of the world, right?  Nope.  The world is still here and things are pretty good.

I am grateful that I started to do financial planning the right way (thanks to Dave Ramsey) a year ago.  It is making my unemployment not so worrisome.  I am grateful for an amazing family and wonderful friends who support me on a daily basis.  Their love and encouragement is incredibly uplifting.  I am grateful for the hard work that I have done for every job I have ever had.  It is putting me in a great position for a new job.

I am filling my unemployed days with house cleaning, reading books, organizing my house, working out, taking walks, pampering myself with pedicures, random naps, attending industry meetings, going to Vegas, going to east Texas, garage sale shopping, estate sale shopping, swimming, spontaneous dance parties in my kitchen, and cocktails whenever I please.

I am fortunate because my unemployment is short.  Even though my position was eliminated on Friday, by Monday morning I received a job offer from an ideal company for an ideal position.  I'm excited about this new opportunity and new adventure.  When you think one door has closed there is another one that can be opened.  I cannot stop counting my blessings.

For instance, I'm thankful that we live in a reality with highs and lows.  And not in horror movies with knives, ski masks, and velociraptors.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Time Out!

I took my brother and niece to Sweet Firefly, a local ice cream establishment that is family friendly and a throwback to the good ol' days.  The place is definitely a neighborhood establishment and encourages children (and adults who act like kids) to play.  Which is why they have toys readily available for kids to grab, play with and never have to leave the glorious ice cream store.

On our visit, I selected the table and my niece selected the toys.  The three of us enjoyed our ice cream, sorbet, and snow cone while pretending that our toys were fighting over a stolen firefly (poetic, don't ya think?).  And if you have ever created a story with a five year old you understand that each character must have a unique voice.  It is kind of a demanding process.  Especially when you have three characters to portray. 

I should seriously be considered for a Oscar.

Anyhoo, we were enthralled in our story.  I portrayed the danger of our story: crocodile, lion and dinosaur.  My niece explained to me that no good story can go without danger.  (Seriously!  She's FIVE YEARS OLD!)  Well, I didn't really do the dinosaur so much since Jurassic Park scared the Be-Jesus out of me and I have sworn off dinosaurs for good.  So, my dinosaur pretty much stayed extinct (laying on its side next to the napkin dispenser).  But my other characters were mean and bad because they kept stealing the firefly.

During the middle of our epic tale I realized that my niece's toys had stopped interacting with my mine.  I looked up to see that she was eating her sorbet.  WHAT THE?!  Laughing, I yelled, "Ummm ... we are in the middle of a story.  If you want to eat your sorbet you must call a time out.  I'm playing alone over here!"

Needless to say, my brother, my niece, the people working behind the counter, and the other customers laughed.  And I think some pointed.  I don't care. 

Because I'm danger and I'm pretty awesome.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Quick Dish: Beer Chili

Hey, Ya'll!  I'm a Texas gal and I make Beer Chili.

Technically, it is not chili because I add beans to it.  However, it is a filling dish and quite tasty.  To save time, I throw everything in the slow cooker.
  • 1 pound of ground turkey, browned
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can of diced tamotoes, drained
  • 3 carrots, cut
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 packet of chili seasoning mix
  • 1 bottle of beer (whatever you have on hand).  If you would drink the beer with the chili then use it in the dish. 
Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 6 hours.  Or set on high and cook for 2 hours.  I prefer the low setting as it seems to let the flavors mingle and then allows for a party to happen in your mouth.

Delicious dish, pairs nicely with beer, and plenty to last for a week.  Can't go wrong.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Duck House

I have a French drain installed in my driveway to help with storm water runoff.  The drain was installed years before I bought my house.  Before it was installed, my yard would flood each time it rained.  My house was given the nickname "Duck House" because ducks would land in the front yard. 

It rained this weekend in Dallas and even though I don't have the severe flooding issues that my house once had I did have two visitors on Saturday.
I'll name them "Margaret" and "Ted".  Nice couple.  Very quiet.  They were even in my yard on Sunday.  I think they were eating worms or grubs in the yard.
You can see some of the storm water issues I still have but nowhere near as bad as it was before the drain was installed.  I hope Ted and Margaret had a nice weekend visiting.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fuzzy Teeth

I'm getting old.  You know how I know this?  I realized at 7:30 PM yesterday that I had not brushed my teeth at all that day. 

Gross?  Yes.

Worried about my mental state?  Definitely.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Big Girl Panties

The weather this weekend was absolutely amazing!  Unfortunately, Saturday still had me in bed most of the day recovering from "The Cold of 2012".  However, Sunday was a different story.  I was determined to get my front yard to a more acceptable level of curb appeal.  Hacking up a lung or not ... my determination was going to plant every pot and clean out every flower bed.

This is what my yard looked like before the transformation ...
Not really my yard or house.  And my yard and house are not nearly as creepy.  But you get the idea.
It took me five hours to turn the soil in my flower bed, fix a storm water drainage issue, discard dead plants, plant new plants, add fertilizer to soil, pull weeds and feed the lawn.  I dug, pulled, hauled, lifted, sorted, and arranged through my yard's makeover.  My potted container near my front door now has lavender, citrus mint, and purple basil to greet my guests.  My hanging plants will soon have strawberries ready to be picked.  The potted flowers have lovely aromatic qualities that will make anyone stop to smell them.  The flower bed has a variety of ornamental landscape grasses that also have blooming flowers.  Spring flowers have been planted in soil and should start to peak through in a week or so. 

Both of cameras ran out of batteries today.  So there are no before or after shots.  But I'm anticipating my front yard to look like this in a few short weeks.
Again, not my house.
While my yard is nowhere near that size I still put my body through the rigorous toils all for the sake of curb appeal vanity.  I figured I would start to feel the pain today.  I was wrong, though.

I felt the pain immediately after I was done.  At one point during yesterday evening I stood up from my couch (which took me about five minutes to convince myself that I needed to stand up because I could not, in fact, live the rest of my life on the couch) and yelped.  After my yelping subsided I then had to give myself a pep talk to take a step.  I literally argued with myself about this one small step.  My body was (and still is) in so much pain.  After my pep talk won out and I took that one step then my universe imploded.  I immediately took more steps because my center of gravity had left my body and if I did not step forward again and again I would have fallen flat on my face.  Again, searing pain in my calves, butt, and hips caused me to catch my breath.  Which, again, almost made me fall flat on my face from passing out.

Now, the real fun begins.  I have to act somewhat civilized when I go to work today.  No more yelping.  No more crying into a beer.  No more happy hour of pain pills.  (Unless that is acceptable at my office ... it might be.)

Plus, I still have to water the newly planted plants at some point.  Oh, my backyard has a garden now, too.  So I have to water those plants as well.  And I have a compost bin.  And that must be tended to.

I can do this.  The pain is temporary but the curb appeal accolades are priceless.  You've heard the phrase "put your big girl panties on and deal with it"?  Well, I'll do just that.  If only my aching back would let me bend over to put those big girl panties on.

Therefore, I hereby claim today as "COMMANDO MONDAY"! 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Best Line of the Weekend

Yesterday, I took part in a community service project in Dallas.  I did so because I like giving back to the community ... not because it was court ordered.  The project was to install a garden at a school.

The organizers had an amazing turnout of people: students, parents, neighbors, community organizations.  There were probably 100 people in attendance raking, shoveling, planting, hauling, lifting, and watering.  There was a team atmosphere going on and a lot of community pride in the school and the new garden.  The school is in an urban area and this garden may be the only one that students get to be a part of during their elementary school years.  It may also be the only one that their parents take part in.

Growing up, my family had a garden.  We planted it every spring.  While I hate bugs, I loved going to the garden to see what new vegetables we had.  One year, Dad, who thinks he is quite funny, told my brothers and me we planted a row of Hamburger Helper because we ate so much of it.  Sadly, the row of Hamburger Helper never grew, but the dish was continuously on our dinner table.

Back to the community project, at one point I was helping a parent named "Sherrie" turn the soil in a flower bed.  Sherrie had already commented that she thought it was back breaking labor.  It wasn't, but if you are not used to gardening it would probably seem so. 

Sherrie had the best line of the weekend.  As she was taking a break between shoveling dirt, she stood up, stretched her back and said, "They make this look so easy on Farmville."

Touché, Sherrie.  Touché.

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's My Birthday!

Today is not my birthday.  Lately, I have become addicted to the show "Portlandia".  So when I saw the sketch below I could not stop laughing because this is EXACTLY how I act before, during and after my birthday.  I start reminding co-workers that it is my birthday well in advance (I did so this morning) and will tell random people that it is my birthday.  My family also gets friendly reminders of how many shopping days they have left in order to shower me with me goodies and love.  All of which I rightly deserve.

(By the way, my birth date is April 28th.  Mark it down.  Memorize it.  It is awesome.)