Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekend recap... (Or: The One Where Lisa is Caught in the Rain, Squished Into a Too-Small Cab and Forgets to Buy Tea)

I'm back from Chicago -- actually, I've been back since Monday, but I'm just now finding some time to write something down. (And I'm still not entirely unpacked... in fact, have I unpacked ANYTHING?? Wait, yes -- yes, I'm fairly certain I've unpacked a couple pairs of shoes, because I wore them this week...)

Chicago was great, as usual... our plane leaving Austin was a bit late Thursday night, so by the time we landed, took a cab to the hotel, and (in my case, at least) changed out of wrinkly, tired travel clothes and into something more presentable, it was way past my usual bedtime. But Eric had his heart set on some cajun ribeye at Morton's, so we walked over to the restaurant at around 10 o'clock and ate to our heart's content, until we were the only table our waiter had to worry about. In fact, by the time we left, there was only one other party in the entire restaurant...

Friday began with breakfast at the Pancake House, where I debated whether to finally try something new, or to stick with my "usual" (well, it IS my usual when I happen to be at the Pancake House) -- the vegetarian skillet. After considering several different types of pancakes, waffles and crepes, I went with the "completely devoid of creativity" choice and got my usual...

Our friends Eric and Debbie joined us (after a much-too-long travel day that included an unscheduled pit stop in the middle of nowhere to refuel their unable-to-land-in-the-midst-of-thunderstorms plane), and we once again headed out to a very late dinner at Wildfire. I love their big skillet chocolate chip cookie for dessert... I'd fly all the way to Chicago just to get a big ol' Wildfire skillet chocolate chip cookie... (And all of a sudden I'm realizing that both the first AND last things I ate on Friday were cooked in skillets... weird...)

And in the interest of time, here's some more super quick recapping:

It POURED on Friday night as we were leaving Wildfire, and I somehow ended up being the last person to have the chance to get in our cab. Rick, mom and dad all managed to find shelter inside before I was finally able to get my soaked self into the car. (If you ask me, mom and dad really took their time scooting over the back seat to give me room... in fact, "slowly inching sideways" describes it more properly than "scooting"... ;))

Eric painted his whole condo and it looks really good! He also had some of Kiko's long hair shaved off and she looks... uh... like a partially shaved cat! (Awww... poor Kiko... :))

We found out a really cool fact about Chicago when we went to Stanley's (Home of Life-Changing Fried Chicken) one night -- they had Texas Longhorn flags hanging at the front door, and all kinds of Longhorn stuff inside. As Longhorn fans, we found it really cool... but as Longhorn fans in Chicago, we were confused. And then Eric explained that the bars in Chicago all choose college teams to support -- apparently they realize that people from all over the country end up in Chicago, and they try to avoid sports-induced bar fights by providing a designated bar/restaurant for various schools. And Stanley's is the Longhorn bar! We thought that was awesome, since we not only love Stanley's, but we love the Longhorns...

On our way to Eric's place after dinner one night, me, Rick, Eric, Eric and Debbie all wound up in a single cab, which, from the outside, looked like a roomy SUV of some sort... but inside was no bigger than a regular car. Eric (my bro) sat up front, and the rest of us squished into the back, which meant I was draped over laps and had a great view of the windshield I would be thrown through in the event of a sudden stop. But we were all laughing so hard about it that the poor cab driver probably thought we were drunk... (we weren't... :))

Eric and Rachel are awesome and I can't wait for the wedding!

And I forgot to buy tea at Argo, which was one thing I REALLY wanted to do while I was in Chicago. Oh well. Next time. I mean it. (I think I said the same thing LAST time... :))

Okay, I'm off to get dinner started... Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's already over, but this is how I felt on Saturday...

IT'S THE WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WEEEEEEEEEKEEEEEEEEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whoa... sorry... didn't mean to shout like that. I get a little bit excited about weekends... That doesn't, however, mean I'm not still a bit tired from the previous week. For instance, I was just flipping through my latest issue of Cooking Light, and misread a recipe for Eggplant Crostini as "Elegant Crostini." ("What makes it elegant?" I thought to myself. "Is it the vibrant colors? The multigrain baguette? The fresh mint leaves? Perhaps it's the eggplant... Oh, wait... EGGPLANT...")

And unfortunately, the weekend is almost over... sigh... why do they go by so quickly?? (UPDATE: The weekend is now officially over. Yes, I started writing this post two days ago and only succeeded in finishing seven lines. All hail Lisa, Queen of the Unfinished Blog Posts...)

Anyway... busy week ahead. Someone's birthday is coming up (okay, it's MINE), and Rick and I went by Whole Foods on Saturday so I could pick up some baking supplies -- I love to bake, but I don't do it very often because I have a hard time moderating my cake and cookie intake. (One of the best pieces of advice I can give to someone who has a problem with binging on junk food: DO NOT keep it in the house! Just don't. Save the calories for a night out or a special occasion -- like a birthday... :)) My department at work has a simple solution for the "what do we do for everyone's birthday?" question -- when it's YOUR birthday, you just do whatever you want. If you want a catered affair complete with two-tier cake, a bouncy house and a guy who makes balloon animals, go for it (as long as you're paying for it...). If you want to stop by Wal-Mart on the way to work and pick up a box of Chips Ahoy, you can do that, too. If you want to be weird and set out a platter of celery and carrot sticks, fine by me.

I decided to take the "bake something with Oreos" route. Okay, that's not actually true -- since we went to Whole Foods, we couldn't pick up Oreos. Whole Foods does not condone the consumption of Oreos. They DO, however, condone the consumption of "Newman-Os," which is the Paul Newman-endorsed version of an Oreo. And can I just say -- YUUUUM!!!! Those Newman-Os are GOOD... in fact, Rick and I think they might even be SLIGHTLY better than good ol' Oreos. Maybe it's the lack of high fructose corn syrup, or the fact that there's no artificial flavor... but whatever the reason, those things are seriously addicting. Good thing I'm using most of them for baking...

I'm also busy this week because Thursday evening we're taking a weekend trip up to Chicago!! Sooooooo excited about that -- we haven't been to Chicago since Christmas. I'm looking forward to walking down the street and arriving at my destination with an unfrozen face. I'm also looking forward to Ghirardelli. And Argo tea. And walking around downtown. And maybe checking out the Lincoln Park Zoo. Oh, and I suppose seeing Eric and Rachel would be nice, too... you know, sort of. (I can't wait to see Eric and Rachel!!!!! :))

So I have a million things to do in the next few days -- most of which revolve around laundry and packing. In fact, I should probably make a list, lest I forget to pack something. (Yes, it's a lest list...)

Maybe, if you're really, really lucky, I'll get a chance to blog while I'm in Chicago and post a picture of two. We shall see. In the meantime, I'm off to keep myself busy with my millions of tasks and my lest list...

Have a good week!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Poor Rick...

Not only is he having wisdom teeth removed tomorrow, but he's also been working on a "group" paper for his class, and just realized one of his group partners plagiarized nearly the entire section of the paper she wrote. He showed it to me earlier, and I seriously couldn't believe anyone could be that stupid -- I mean, the idea of NOT plagiarizing is something that is drilled into your head the second you step onto a college campus. I think there's an entire class freshman year entitled "How to NOT Plagiarize." And the language in this paper wasn't that gray-in-between-sort-of-paraphrased-but-kind-of-different-I-should-probably-still-site-it kind of language. It was WORD FOR WORD from a publication, without so much as a fleeting mention of said publication. And since everyone writing for the "group" paper is getting a collective group grade, if Rick hadn't noticed the plagiarized sections (and, subsequently, rewritten them), there's a good chance they would've received an F. (Personally, I don't think it's fair to grade everyone in the group exactly the same -- you should be graded on whichever section of the paper is YOUR work.)

Seriously, I'm kind of amazed that anyone had the, uh -- chutzpah? Unmitigated gall? Audacity? -- to obviously copy someone else's work and assume no one would notice. Especially in a college class full of "adults." (Or, you know, MORE adult than the adults in most college classes...)

Anyway, like I said, Rick is having his wisdom teeth removed tomorrow morning. And, of course, as is wont to happen in situations like this, people have been eager to offer their assurances in the form of their own wisdom-teeth-removal horror stories. I don't know WHY people always feel it's necessary to tell you about all the terrible things they went through in the particular situation that YOU, yourself, are about to go through. It's like going to a baby shower and hearing all the "I was in labor for fifteen days!!" stories...

And actually, in MY experience, having my wisdom teeth removed wasn't anywhere NEAR as bad as I thought it would be (of course, all I had to go by was the horror stories...). Other than the first few hours after I got home (when the anesthesia was wearing off and I felt nauseous and light-headed), it wasn't bad at all. After the first day, I didn't even need the prescription painkillers anymore -- advil and tylenol worked just fine.

The worst part of the whole thing was having to eat mushy food for a couple weeks -- a person can only eat so much pudding and applesauce and ice cream and macaroni and cheese before getting tired of it all. I can still remember the day I was finally able to eat solid food again, and Rick and I went to Denny's. I ordered a veggie omelet with hash browns and a biscuit, hoping the waitress wasn't looking at the huge bruise on my left cheek and wondering if she should contact family services. When the food came, I ate EVERY single bite. And I never eat that much food. But I was starving... for some reason, mushy, liquidy food -- even high calorie food like ice cream -- doesn't feel like "real" food. It never seems to fill up your stomach like solid food...

I should probably head to bed, even though I'm taking Rick to the oral surgeon in the morning so I can "sleep in" tomorrow (until about 6 or 6:15... :)). But hey, look -- two posts in one week!! I am on a roll...       

Monday, July 05, 2010

Randomy stuff

What's that you say? "Randomy" isn't a word? You're right... what I meant to say was "randomish"...

So did everyone have a good 4th of July? We did our usual "stand in the driveway and watch the fireworks" thing. I love living so close to the golf course on July 4th. Of course, the rest of the year it can be sort of annoying, what with all the stray golf balls hitting the house and landing in our yard. There are some REALLY bad golfers around here, apparently... What I DON'T like on the 4th of July is the people who think it's perfectly fine to set off crazy loud firecrackers (not to mention shoot fireworks directly over your house) well past a "considerate" hour. It's already rather inconsiderate to aim your incendiary devices in such a way as to guarantee they land in your neighbor's yard and driveway... it's even worse to keep setting them off when half the neighborhood is trying to sleep...

I've been realizing lately that I really miss blogging... this "once a week if I'm lucky" schedule is really sad. And I've actually had a few things to talk about lately. For instance -- we just added a new member to our family. Check him out: 

Arrrggh! The carnage!! The stuffed mouse carnage!!

Okay, here's a better one:

His name is Riff -- we wanted to stick with the "music" theme we've used to name our pets. Riff sort of has a double meaning -- it can be a repetitive phrase in a piece of music, or a kind of musical "tangent" (as in a guitar riff or a jazz riff)... and Riff is also the name of Tony's best friend in West Side Story. And look at this little guy -- you can tell he's totally ready for a rumble with the Sharks...

Piva has gotten more used to him, but still isn't quite sure whether we made the right decision when we brought the new little thing into the house:

And in other pet news -- when we took Riff to the vet for the first time, the vet tech came into the room and handed us something in a plastic bag. It was a little round plaster impression of Echo's paw print. How sweet is that? I thought it was such a thoughtful gesture:

Well, I guess that's it for now... I need to go make something for a light dinner and then get ready for another work week. Have a good week, everyone!