Saturday, March 13, 2010

out of the box birthday

I have deceived you already with the title of this posting.

You probably believed I meant "out of the box" as in - innovative thinking.

Am I right? [of course I am]

The truth is, I meant "out of the box" in a very literal sense.

Last week Steven celebrated his 25th birthday. Along with celebating his big quarter-of-a-century day, I also did a happy dance for pancake mix and cake mix. You know, the stuff OUT OF THE BOX!

First came the pancakes. Gluten-free, of course. Steven said his mom (an awesome, awesome, did I mention awesome cook) usually made him pancakes for breakfast on his birthday. I decided I would try to make his morning feel like home, so I heated up the skillet and, well, mixed up the... mix.

Victory! They were delicous! See happy boy, I mean 25 year old mustached man, below:

Whoop whoop. It's ok, you can do a happy dance. I did.

Then came dessert. A gluten-free vanilla cake with nutella icing!

After digging through the batter for the egg shells I dropped into the bowl, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. No need to panic though - have I ever mentioned that my sister is sort of an amatuer bakerella?

Straight to gchat I went and sure enough, Lauren was online.

Me: "Um, after this thing bakes, do I take it right out of the pan? Or let it cool? HELP."

Lauren: (cool as she can be) "Let it cool for about half an hour before taking it out of the pan. Then take it out of the pan and really let it cool for even longer. When it's completely cooled, you can put on the icing."

Me: "You rock. I love you. I'll let you know how it turns out."

Lauren, "Good luck, lady."

Weeeell.... It all came together perfectly! Behold, my masterpiece out-of-the-gluten-free-box!

Sitting on the bar to cool. We, uh, don't have any cake pans at the moment, but an oddly shaped Pyrex was up to the task.

My rather animated boyfriend - excited about his birthday cake.

Serving up the finished product! Yesss, success.

Good things do come in small packages.

Happy Birthday, Steven!

Post Script: My above-mentioned sister keeps a blog - detailing her baking adventures as well as her passion that rationalizes her sweet tooth - running. Check it out at:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

a furry soft spot

So I've been thinking of switching this blog over from blogspot to wordpress. During my wordpress investigation, I surfed across this blog and opened the webpage just because of what I saw in the thumbnail image describing the posting:

It made me wimper, of course - and in this instance I feel even dorkier for crying because I'm sitting next to Pete Stetina's girlfriend (we're both punching away at our laptops) and I think she might think I'm crazy.

But if you're a dog person, give it a read. It is bittersweet for me ... knowing the feelings this woman and her family are experiencing ...

For all my life, I'd give up so many things to bring back our sweet Gertie Girl.

Gertie Caudill. Lounging in the sunroom with a tennis ball smuggled in from the back yard. Summer 2009.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

a big omelet of defeat

That's what I made for myself tonight.

See, Steven was out of town for the day and as dinner time rolled around, I began to feel rebellious with a dash of courage.

I'm no good in the kitchen. Never have been. Don't want anything to do with that room in the house.

Some little girls like baking cookies and treats and stirring the noodles with their moms in the kitchen. As a kid, I wanted to smack those little girls. As a woman, they still frustrate me. All I ever wanted was a man to cook for me.

That's what I wanted and I knew I was destined for it. I honed my man-hunting skills and steered clear of the kitchen. Through the years, I perfected every excuse in the book. College helped because I was obviously studying so hard [yeah right] that all I had time for was pizza and spaghetti noodles.

Along the way, I did discover I was quite skilled with sandwich making and knew that if I could manage to lure in the right man and make him fall for me quickly enough - whilst masking my dislike for cooking by shoving gourmet sandwiches in his face at peak hunger times - I'd have it made. By the time he knew what had hit him, our love would be strong enough to conquer all cooking dysfunction. Right?

Then I met Steven.

That made a whole lotta of sense. He completely duped me with his smile and cute dimples and now I live with a guy who is required to consume about 3 times that of the average male. You may be asking, "why didn't you think of that when you decided to date a professional endurance athlete?"
I don't have the answer, people.

So back to the omelet of defeat. I've been trying. I really have. Trying to both get over my dislike for cooking and at the same time, become more independent for myself, more dependable for my boyfriend [oh Gawd, i can't believe I just admitted that...] and maybe even find a little... fun... in the meantime.

Two things I know I can do are scramble eggs and sautee veggies. Seriously, I'm sort of badass at both. Watch out Julia Childs.
Tonight, I tried to combine both known skills by preparing an omelet.

And nowww the photos you've all been waiting for:

Asparagus and avocado egg omelet beginnings [we just happened to have those items in the fridge... and of course cheese would have been nice, but I don't typically shop for that because of Mr. Dairy-free, my handsome roommate.]

Lookin' good!

Feelin' confident!

Ready for the flip!


wtf. Egg, asparagus and avocado MESS anyone?

Well, I still ate it. And enjoyed it too. My amateur excuse is, "it all tastes the same, no matter how it looks." I'll keep trying, I promise.

And yes, I drank a coca-cola with my meal of devastation. Straight out of the can.

With a good amount of caffeine in my veins, I shall now approach the "by hand" dishwashing duties with angst masked as zeal and resolution.

[dishwashing gloves on... annnd.... go.]

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

this little skinny went to the market

Open Market Tuesdays in Girona.

We went for inexpensive linens and did come home with a few towel sets (Steven sweats a lot on the trainer these days), but towel sets are not this woman's treasure.

What else did I buy? A colander.
I don't strain many things. But it was ceramic, glazed in a beautiful shade of green and I couldn't pass it up. It stared at me as I passed the first time through the open market.

A sweet voice came from the holey bowl, speaking to me, "If you put me in your kitchen, you will begin to enjoy being there more. I will keep you company with my soothing green color and artistic design."

Oh, I tried not to listen, but ended up making four rights through the park in which the market is held until we met again.

Everybody, say hello to Little Green Colander. ["Heeellllooo, Litttlllle Greeeen Colllanderrr."]

After getting her safely home across many a stone street, I quickly made her feel welcome. We worked together to clean a batch of mushrooms that I eventually sauteed into a chicken cacciatorie-ish dish.

Such a pretty Little Green Colander.

By the way, dinner was good. It was Steven's recipe, which pretty much means we threw a bunch of stuff into a pan and, because he's Italian, it cooked up perfectly.

Buenas noches, cocina. Buenas noches, Little Green Colander. Y buenas noches, mi amigos.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

this litle absent mind of mine...

We are sooo overdue to catch up, aren't we?

I am in Spain. Or, Estoy en Espana.

I'm 10 days into this new chapter with Steven. His broken collarbone has changed the direction of our adventures a bit, but we'll be back on track in no time.

He is recovering quickly and painfully. Yes, painfully - he mostly grunts and pouts, but continues to kick butt with his training and physical therapy.

As for me...

I don't grunt too often.

But I have definitely been feeling overwhelmed, busy and out of my element.

And fortunate, so fortunate. For the most obvious of reasons.

There are many stories to tell, for this lovely life of mine has become an epic tale. For now, won't you forgive me for my blogging absense and renew your dedication to finding me here on a more frequent basis.

I'm off to change the color scheme on this blog. Black is so November.



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

'Bout My Where Abouts.

I'll have to skip all the chaos that was my journey to California. Packing up was stressful and tiring. Steven and I came close to biting each other's heads off.

Good thing we didn't take it that far.

Fastforward past the 8am flight, the shuttle driver who wouldn't help us lift our luggage into the van, the delay in Chicago due to heavy winds in San Francisco and, um, the barf bag usage during the hour-long "descent" into the Bay Area.

This morning, after unpacking the few suitcases and boxes that have already made it to Petaluma, we embarked on our "relaxation days" at "Camp Getaway." Steven's folks own a small cabin-esque home in Guerneville (sp?) on the Russian River and it really does live up to its name, Camp Getaway.

We stopped by a quaint [do Californians use the word "quaint"?] produce stand to pick up some oh-so-organic shiz for our meals in the next few days.

Then we drove on into the valley, passing the Korbel vineyards on the way. It was amazingly surreal. "Um, Steven, is that THE Korbel winery?" "Yes, and there's the Kendall-Jackson vineyards too." "Oh, ok... cool. Dang."

Now we've just finished a ridiculously tasty organic and gluten-free meal and are settling in by the fire. I helped cook the pork chops. Yes, it's true, I'll be top chef before you all know it. Except without the bad hats and cliche apron. Hey, I might even come back to Georgia a little pudgy. Heck yes.

Today I tasted two new things: 1. Mochi, a rice-ish delight, very tasty when drizzled with organic [key word] maple syrup, and 2. gluten-free, dairy-free bread [not all that tasty]. Oh, and 3. purple potatos. Very good!

Jet-lag is still kicking my butt, but that's ok - there's a cozy little queen-sized bunk waiting for me here at Camp Getaway. It's the best thing to be able to cuddle up with Steven without the "man... this won't last long because we have to leave each other soon" thoughts bubbling up in my mind. We still have a lot to learn about each other, but now we finally have the time to fight and make up and figure out how to express ourselves without worrying about disappearing sand from an hourglass.

To all my Georgia friends and family: though I'm happy and looking forward, I miss you all already and have thought about each and every one of you a dozen times.

Love bunches,


Saturday, October 3, 2009

AT&T Commercial

Everytime I see the AT&T commercial with the little girl and her lost dog, I cry. I actually break down into sobs.

When she sees her little terrier at the end of the commercial and starts running to her, yelling, "Sarah! You're HOME!"... I lose it. It's the desperate joy in her voice that gets me.

If I saw Gertie on my doorstep when I came home, I'd shreak with joy. Uncontrollable, pure joy.

I miss her so much that I think the hole in my heart is actually growing... if that's even possible.