Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stay Out of the Kitchen!

Another pre-written blog from Gail:
 
If I were to tell you that I actually cooked something and it was edible and actually tasty, you would probably think I was a total nutcase. And had lost my mind entirely. Cooking was not something I excelled at... nor do I still excel at it, but I try pretty hard. Except on nights when we have fish sticks and mac & cheese. Those nights, I'm just phoning it in. Can't win every night, husband. At least I feed you!
 
Anyhoo... following that mindless ramble, I gotta pimp my friend, Rachel's, blog where she posts yummy recipes. I've actually made several of them (and tasted her versions of others) and she's got it going on. http://outofmealideas.blogspot.com/ Be sure to pop over there and whip yourself up something hearty and yummy!
 
My fave? It's gotta be the Greek chicken. Puff and I eat it probably twice a month, if not more often. And sometimes I even make the potatoes without the chicken. (They make a great side to eat with a grilled steak too!) And sometimes I cheat and use a regular baking potato (since our grocery store only sells red potatoes in bulk which pisses me off) but yeah... you should totally try this!
 

Greek Chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts
6 small potatoes, cut into quarters
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon juice
1 heaping teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
paprika

Place chicken breasts in a 9x13 casserole dish. Place potatoes around the edge of the dish. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and garlic powder. Pour this sauce over the chicken and potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with paprika. cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday!

A pre-written post from Gail:


Just because Puff and I got married, doesn't mean the fun had to stop! In fact, I actually find myself enjoying and relishing in our activities more now that we are united as a couple. Somehow, just being able to say that I went someplace with "my husband" gives me that warm, tingly, good feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Ready to vomit yet? Ha!
 
So, just a few months after our wedding, we took one more jaunt to the mountains. More windy roads lead to more Dramamine, and more hikes lead to more waterfalls. This time, it was Issaqueena. There's a tragic love story about those falls... a woman throwing herself over them since she cannot be with her lover. Thankfully, my lover helped me safely along the hike to the bottom. It would've been a shame to kill myself over him after only being married 2 months!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm Taking Over!

Gail is out of town! Which means I am in control! Well, as much control comes with having writing and posting privileges on Gail’s blog anyway. She and her Puff are safely in Europe and on a very large ship, cruising around Scandinavia. As I write on her blog, it is going to be odd to refer to her hubby as Puff, because when I write about them in my own blogs I call them Gail and Beamer… so if I mess up on the naming, forgive me.

I can tell you all that they arrived safely in Europe for their anniversary trip. Being the over-organized person that she is, I could tell you exactly where they are right now, because she left me a fully detailed eight page itinerary of where they would be, what they were doing… even where they were planning on eating. Gail and her Puff, they never leave things to chance… always have to plan everything out. I am a ridiculously strong J on the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator and even I am not that organized!

I will be writing periodically on this blog and the guest manager, for lack of a better term, for the next week or so. She has left some pre-written blogs that she wants posted on certain days, so I will be getting those up. I will be sure to distinguish what her blogs are from the ones I am posting. Also, Gail is a huge morning person, where I am very much a night owl… so all posts that happen while she is out of town will happen in the evening, not at the start of the work day… hope that doesn’t bother anyone!

Well, have a lovely evening folks. I am nowhere as witty as Gail, but I will try to keep it mildly entertaining while she is away.
-         Kimhead, guest blogger extraordinaire

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dont You, Forget About Me...

As I've briefly eluded in previous entries, Puff and I are about to jet-set our way to Europe to celebrate one year of married bliss.
 
Don't worry... Kimhead will keep up with the updates while I am gone and I will have tons of stories to share when we get back!

Please don't rob us while we're gone :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

One Whole Year!

Last week, Puff and I celebrated one year of marriage. It was a fabulous year full of vacations and festivals and nights curled up on the couch. The lows weren't too low and the highs were just right. We learned more about each other and when he told me that he loves me more now than the day we got married, I melted into a giant puddle of lovey goo.
 
We played our anniversary weekend just like any other weekend in our crazy world. Friday night, we drove 45 minutes to a car show and listened to oldies music and scoped out an Edsel and a LaSalle. Saturday, we browsed booths at an art festival and started to pack for our upcoming whirlwind anniversary trip. Sunday, we brunched at Dunkin Donuts (a total splurge for our diets) and spray painted patio furniture. It doesn't sound that over the top, but for us, it was just perfect. The upcoming two weeks in Europe will be over the top enough!
 
However, we did throw in one romantic gesture... a nice dinner out, just the two of us. We chose a local steakhouse, since Puff has been gushing over the ribeye he had there last November when we went for his birthday. We also wisely chose to go earlier in the evening to avoid the typical Saturday rush that was also overflowing with awkward pre-prom dates. A short wait for a table, and they stuck us in a small, dark, damp back room. I was disappointed that passerbys wouldn't get to see my cute dress and sexy shoes. I was also less than excited to be seated staring at a wall with a giant painting of an elk staring right back at me.
 
When our waiter came to the table, he casually asked if we were there to celebrate our anniversary. We piped up with a resounding, "Yes!" The only other table occupied in the room, was another couple who leaned over and congratulated us and told us they were celebrating their 34th anniversary. When we told them it was our first, they beamed and wished us the best of luck. We were pleasantly surprised by an on-the-house order of onion rings that came out as an appetizer. We dove into giant, overflowing salads and I ate every roll they brought. My filet was perfectly grilled and seasoned. Puff practically licked the plate after downing 12 ounces of meat. The waiter eventually came back and asked if we like chocolate. A beautiful little cupcake, hot and moist, and doused in caramel and chocolate sauce was soon in front of me. It didn't sit on the table for long.
 
The waiter did win more points (on top of the free food points) when he asked me if I was OK and I said, "I'm perfect." His response? "Well, of course you're perfect. We all know that! He wouldn't be with you if you weren't!" A quick pat on Puff's back and a wink sealed the deal fo him to get a good tip at the end of the meal.
 
Some casual conversation later, we motioned for the waiter to come over to bring us our check. As he rushed past our table, he mentioned that the other anniversary couple, who had left about 20 minutes earlier, had taken care of it for us. Our mouths dropped and we were sure we had misheard, so we sat there until the waiter came back. Puff asked if he had been kidding. The waiter seemed as surprised as we were. He had asked them if they even knew us, and they pointedly told him no. It was true... I wouldn't even recognize them again if I saw them. The waiter double checked to make sure they really wanted to pay for our upwards of $70 meal. They said yes. And that everyone deserves a free ride once and awhile.
 
After leaving a generous tip, Puff and I left the restaurant with not only our stomachs full, but our hearts as well. The gesture from that kind couple was over the top and more wonderful than they even know. I just hope I can pay that kindness forward sometime soon. It was a perfect end to our anniversary dinner and a perfect reminder of the good that still exists in people.
 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday


This past March, Puff and I had a romantic weekend in Highlands, NC. (See here) But it wasn't the first time we had ventured to that part of the world. The summer of 2009 marked one year of putting up with each other's bickering. Er... no wait. I'm pretty sure we spent that summer madly in love and trying out new things and going new places. Yeah... that sounds about right!
 
So, yes, the summer of 2009 left more time for Puff to come up with more extravagant dates and trips for us to take. On the brink of me pushing his bachelor days out the door (aka: Gail moves in to The Bungalow) we had a brilliant, long, and exhausting day trip to the mountains of NC. Waterfall after waterfall. Hike after hike. We ended our day here, at the Lower Cullasaja Falls.
 
Dodging cars on windy mountain roads just to stand on a narrow strip of an overlook to snap this picture, I could not have been more content. Those days of rushing around to see as much as we could see were priceless. Puff was still trying so hard to impress me after dating for more than a year. And I'm happy to report, that even after a year of marriage, he still continues to surprise me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fall Into the Gap

If you ever find yourself in the upstate of South Carolina and are in the mood for an easy and beautiful walk off the beaten path, but not too beaten, make your way to Jones Gap State Park.
 
 
According to the state parks website (www.southcarolinaparks.com) this park is part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area (which probably means nothing to you, since it means nothing to me... and I've been there 3 times) and it's a mere $2 to get in (on the honor system). With an easy roughly-an-hour drive from downtown Greenville, it is the perfect place to go spend a bit of a day to cool off in the shade, take some pictures, and get your hike on. And the best part? They have a bathroom. That earns a gold star from me!
 
One recent Sunday morning, Puff and I decided it had been way too long since we'd been to the mountains. We like to hike to waterfalls, although the term "hike" is all relative to the person using it. We had both had long weeks at work and our bodies weren't into something requiring too much strain and effort, but we wanted someplace pretty and calm and relaxing. Jones Gap won the coin toss and we set out, picking up highway 276 through Travelers Rest and the other small towns along the way. (Note to self... don't stop at the XXXX brand gas station en route - on the left of the highway - because the cashier will blow cigarette smoke in your face and there will be a creepy old dude hanging out in the parking lot who will stare, unashamedly, at your breasts. Wait until you get further up the road in Cleveland and stop at the gas station - also on the left - and check out their pet emu in the back!)
 
The rhododendrons were just starting to bloom (we've never made it in season, but I hear it's gorgeous) and there weren't many people out and about that morning. We stopped and talked to a ranger who was just hanging out on the bridge and stopped to snap way too many photos of the gorgeous river with its rocks.
 
 
They all started looking the same after awhile, so we set out on the blue marked path that runs along the banks of the river. There are campsites there and pets are allowed too. I kept telling Puff that it will be a great place to come with our kids someday since the path is relatively flat and there are great picnic spots near the entrance. After about an hour, plus a quick detour off on the red path, we called it a day. The day was warm, but the trees provided a wonderful respite from the growing heat. Had it been even warmer, a quick dip of a foot in the river would have been the perfect way to cool off.
 
And even as we were leaving the park, we got one last surprise from Mother Nature... our car was covered in caterpillars. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be any type of sign of good luck or forture, but I'm going to take it that way. Happy travels!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Watch Your Space

The only lecture my father ever gave me when I was growing up was: Watch Your Space. It was all encompassing and I was allowed some wiggle room within the boundaries of the meaning. It's amazing to reflect on how relevant that lecture was, and still is.
 
When I was small, watching my space meant not talking to creepy strangers and watching my step while I ran around the playground. In high school, it meant not letting myself get into a situation where I would be peer pressured into doing something stupid. And it was relevant when I started to drive, and helped me become a vigilant driver who anticipates the moves of others. When I was in college, watching my space meant not getting drunk and going home with a random guy from the bar or watching out for pick-pockets when I traveled abroad. As I get older, my father still gives me this lecture. Typically, it's whenever I am traveling, although I'm sure he means it to be an every day thought. Quite frankly, it is. After hearing it, and only it, for years and years, it's starting to sink in. Although, apparently, not quite as deeply as it should.
 
One recent night, I got home from work and waited around for my husband to follow. He was running late and that pushed dinner back, which pushed back my available time to get to my 7pm appointment. After a quick dinner, I changed my clothes, threw my purse together, kissed my hubby, and raced out the back door. I hopped into the front seat of my SUV, dug around in my center console to plug in my Ipod, and put the car in reverse. It wasn't until I heard the CRUNCH that I realized... our convertible was in the driveway right behind our SUV. It was very, very clear that I had not heeded my father's advice. Had I been watching my space, I would've never missed that.
 
My heart sank. My husband loves that car more than practically anything. So when I had to yell out his name for him to rush to the backyard, I wasn't sure what I was in for. Turns out, I'm his "baby" more so than the car. He was really good at not getting mad. There was no damage to the SUV, but his hood was pushed back and dented under, plus the grill was damaged and the special-ordered license plate on his car was busted. After a stop at the collision repair, we found out it would be costing over $2500 to repair... we needed an entire new hood. All I could say was thank God for insurance!
 
It was a lesson learned the hard way. When your parents give you good advice, it's because they've been around the block a time or two and have figured out what's coming. I will eventually preach to my own children to watch their space. I just hope we don't have any more driveway accidents in our future that drive home this point.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday


On this Friday, one year ago, I was back in The Fort, waking up at my parent's house for the last time as a single woman. The butterflies were quite literally visible as we took some time out to enjoy ourselves and some calm before the big event.
 
It was the last Friday I would wear that ring as an "engagement" ring. From then on, it would be an outward symbol of my commitment to Puff and to our future together.
 
From that Friday forward, all the flash bulbs would mean something different. I was a changed woman... in the best way possible.

Nasty, Nasty Boys

Disclaimer: This is a repost from yesterday. Blogger got all goofy and deleted yesterday's entry. Woops!

Can someone please help me comprehend how boys/men can get so dirty and leave such a mess and be completely oblivious about it?

Case and point... recently my husband was dutifully mowing the grass. I heard him sneak in the house for a second, but didn't think much of it. A few hours later, I peaked out the back door to check on him and noticed two giant sets of muddy fingerprints on my door. Both inside and out. When he walked over near the door, I asked him what happened to it. He walked right up to it and was looking at all the corners and crevices trying to find something wrong. Those giant glaring fingerprints, right at eye level, didn't even occur to him until I pointed them out. Seriously?!?!

I knew little boys were programmed to like to play in dirt and leave their toys scattered around. But shouldn't an almost 34 year old man notice something so blatantly off? Ya know... like dark brown muddy fingerprints on our bright white door? Or perhaps his blatant disregard to take out smelly trash simply because the bag isn't totally full should have tipped me off? Or those empty plastic bottles hoarded in the back of his kitchen cabinet, just in case, that I found when I moved in? Or the never noticing when he has food dripping down the sides of his fingers and on to his clothes or the table? If I saw that man pick up a bottle of Windex, I might just have a heart attack.

I don't mind cleaning the house, most days. Probably because whenever he's spending countless hours in the heat mowing our grass and trimming bushes, I feel guilty and clean up inside to do my part. I don't expect validation or a pat on the back for a good job. I just would like some.... help? Perhaps some help in not creating messes? Or not being glassy-eyed when it comes to seeing all the dust accumulating in the corner of the laundry room floor? Would it really kill him to pick up that Dust Buster every blue moon? I swear he's a bright, intelligent, and typically observant man. How can he spot a sports car from a mile away on a busy highway, but doesn't notice the spider web on the deck that keeps reappearing every morning but he never knocks it down?

I'm probably preaching to the choir here. I've only been married a year. It's bound to get worse, isn't it? I fear so. Oh... and the prospect of havings sons in our future? Wow. I used to think I definitely wanted to have boys. There was no other option. But if having sons means multiplying the oblivious humans in my house... maybe I'll start praying for a girl.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fit for a Princess

Where was I the morning of the royal wedding? Conveniently taping it on the DVR instead of waking up at the crack of dawn to watch, that's where. I know, I know. It'll be one of those moments where you remember where you were for the rest of your life. I'm a pop-culture slacker. Apparently, I'll just have to stick to knowing where I was when Princess Diana and JFK Jr. died or when I heard the news that Mariah Carey gave her son the stupidest name ever.
 
Don't worry... there was plenty of online coverage, those 6 hours of DVR footage, plus countless "Fashion Police" moments. I don't *think* I missed anything. And I suppose one day, my unconceived daughter might ask me about the fairytale wedding and I can recount those 20 minutes I caught live while I was drying my hair for work. But the wedding that means most to me? My own.
 
This weekend marks my one year wedding anniversary to the most amazing man in the world. Sure, most women say that about their husbands, but I don't think I could have ever picked a better partner. It's almost uncanny how perfect we are for each other. Our combined ADD for life keeps us both on our toes and constantly entertained. I know how important that is for me to live the life I want to lead, and it just makes me giddy with joy to know I've found the man who compliments that.
 
From the sweet text messages he sends throughout the day, to the hugs as soon as he walks in from work, I have found that my life before him was more incomplete than I could have ever imagined. Watching TV together, going on walks through our neighborhood, and driving our convertible through the mountains of South Carolina, just enrich our lives. I am a better person because of him and I hope he says the same about me. This past year has had a few ups and downs, but mostly ups. We work hard at it and he will never understand how much I appreciate that effort he gives.
 
As we embark into year 2 of our married life together, I foresee some major changes in our lives and many great adventures. No, our wedding wasn't as extravagant as the royal wedding, but I definitely married a prince.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stinky Guests

Here's a funny story (at my expense) to start your week off right...
 
Recently during an insane time at work, I was running around like a maniac. And with that comes sweat. Especially in a giant building with running from one end to the other repeatedly. Anyway, I finally got to the point where it had calmed down enough to sit down for a minute. I got back to my office and sat in my chair. And in my head, I'm like, "Hmmm... I wonder if I stink from all this running around." And then I hear the hall door open. So I just act like I'm doing something as my GM walks past my office to his office. The minute he's passed by, I raise my right arm and plant my face in my armpit to get a whiff.
 
And the second I look up from my sniff, my GM is standing in my doorway staring right at me. He kinda chuckles a bit, and I kinda laugh, and then he tells me his story and moves on without mentioning what he just saw. But I was MORTIFIED. ::sigh::
 
On the bright side, I didn't stink!
 
In other news... I'm looking for a few good guest posts! If you're interested, send me the entry by May 19th. If you want, include a quick bio about yourself too! If you don't have my personal email, just please leave a comment on this post that you're interested and send it to info@rushinglife.com. (That way I know to check that email account!) Oh yeah... and Kimhead.... you available to POST these guest posts for me? Maybe I should have asked that first!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday


Are you having as much trouble believing that it's already May like I am? This month marks the ONE YEAR anniversary of saying "I Do" to the man of my dreams! It is absolutely ludicrous how time flies!
 
This month, I'm going to "theme" my Flash Bulbs around dates with Puff. This photo was taken within the first few months of us dating, back in 2008. Puff was (and still is) a fun-bag full of tricks when it comes to wooing women. Thankfully, these days, I'm the only one he needs to woo! Too many women would just be too much hard work.
 
This came from our second big excursion to the mountains. I'm pretty certain on this trip, Kimhead was not still sitting by the phone making sure I wasn't calling from the trunk of a car after being abducted! By this point... we knew Puff was a pretty good guy. This particular excursion took us to a few of the oldest bridges in South Carolina.
 
A winding, curvy, mountain road with the top down in the convertible apparently won me over. We've been back now with my parents and with college friends. But it's never the same as that first time... when we had it all to ourselves and were still learning about each other. I'm happy I liked what I saw.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Besties

My grandma's best friend has died.
 
When I got the text message from my dad, he said it was best for me to call her the next day, because all she wanted to do that night was cry.
 
The mental image of my frail, 81 year old grandmother, alone in her house, crying over her best friends passing was gut-wrenching. How do you function when your best friend, the one person who has understood you more than anyone, is no longer on the other end of the phone after being there for the last 60 years?
 
All those memories. All those good times. All the trying times too. What a life to remember.
 
I can only pray to be as lucky as my grandma. I can only hope that the friends I have now, the best friends I've had for the past 10+ years, will still be around at the end. I hope to be in my 80s or 90s and mourn their loss and have them mourn mine.
 
Perhaps its just a great reminder for me to call my girls more often and show my love to them. So, in honor of best friends, reach out to yours today. Hug them. Remind them that you're around. And create lasting memories together that you can joke about on the phone, when you're both in different places, in different cities, sitting in your rocking chairs. Memories that won't die.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Dirty Approaches

As I mentioned last week, Kimhead is testing out being 30 for the rest of us. In her sacrifice for the greater good of the group, she's had a bit of a mental struggle with it all. While I'm not with her every single day, leading up to it, there were lots of panic moments and Facebook comments about the freak out. I can't say I blame her. It's a giant milestone. Although she has reached it beautifully and in tact, so I think she should be proud of herself!
 
However, with the passing of her youth (kidding... calm down) comes the inevitable countdown to my 30th birthday. A mere 8 months from now, I will hit a benchmark I've never really put much thought into. Or well... at least I never THOUGHT I thought about it.
 
But I guess I probably did. We all have goals in our lives and things we expect to accomplish. While I never intentionally put a time frame on these big moments, I probably did somehow. I never imagined I wouldn't get married until I was 28. And the thought of not having children before the age of 30 didn't even seem possible. Yet, here I stand... 8 months from the cliff and no pregnancy in sight. Not to mention the career goals I had! And the dream house in my head! Shouldn't I be making 6 figures by now? And shouldn't we have a huge, giant, custom-built home with a 2 car garage and more bathrooms than we could ever need?
 
I guess not.
 
Turning 30 isn't the "death sentence" it used to be. I hate to reference Hollywood actors as a viable comparison, but they're a wonderful microcosm of our society. Women in their late 40s are looking hotter than 20 year olds. Plus, they're having babies well into their late 30s and early 40s. Maybe this is one time we should take a cue from them... that being in your 30s is the best time there is!
 
We've gotten all the craziness out of our system. We've gone bungy jumping and binge drinking. We've gotten degrees and stable jobs and our finances in line. We have lived and learned. We've slept with that scuzzy guy and dated a giant jerk. We have much better baby names picked out than we did at 20. We know what we need and what we want and we have lived enough to know the difference.
 
As I go off now to ponder a "bucket list" for life, I can feel satisfied in knowing that just because this major birthday is on the horizon, that doesn't mean I can't look forward to all the great, amazing things that are ahead of me. Living to be 30 is only living a third of our life. Think of all the amazing, fun, and exciting things we've done up until this point.
 
Now multiply it.
 
Because you've got many more years ahead of you than behind you. And just picture how wonderful that ride will be.
 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Eye Candy

Puff and I have been married just shy of a year, but we still like to go out on dates. I had recently mentioned (somewhere) that I wanted to throw out some more "useful" tidbits of life in this blog from time to time. I figure since I'm a happy newlywed, that somehow qualifies me to give advice on marriage, right? Just take it all with a grain of salt. (As if you didn't know THAT tidbit already!)
 
So... advice column numero uno is going to focus on taking time for a date. Even if there isn't really time for one. Sneak it in there whenever possible. Our most recent "sneaking around" occurred one work day when all my co-workers in my department were enjoying a few days off for Spring Break. (I've forgotten what that is!) I figured what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them. So, I drove a half hour to Puff's office and picked him up for a hot lunch date.
 
I know what you're thinking, and no, there was no "funch" happening this time around. I didn't want the car to smell like sex all afternoon. But there was some sexiness involved. Because where would a young, happily married couple drive a half hour to eat?
 
Hooters.
 
Yup... orange shorts and big boobs Hooters.
 
And seriously... my boobs are SOOOO much better than some of theirs! (And Puff was happy to point that out as well. Thank you, babe!)
 
I think the fact that it was someplace "off limits" made us feel that much more rebellious. Puff has occasionally tried to get the guys from his office to have lunch there over the years. But then the guys always back out, stating that their wives wouldn't like them going. I'm sorry... but we're in the 21st (right?) century now. And have some trust and faith in your husbands! They're just going to LOOK. What's the harm in that? If there was a Beefcake Bistro with super hot guys that all look like Jason Statham or Zac Efron (shut up - he's legal and has hot abs) then I'd be wrangling my girls to go there with me!
 
And Puff wouldn't be able to say a thing about it. Eye candy is there to be enjoyed... not avoided! ::sigh:: Women.
 
Our cute little waitress, Brittany, was attentive and fun and the chef nailed my fried pickles. Sure, Puff had to skip the beer he wanted, but we had a chance to get ourselves away from the stress of a work day, and enjoy some quality time with each other. Even if that quality time involved other women's boobs.
 
It's OK. He didn't touch any. I kept a close eye on him.