Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not Again

I didn't think anything could ruin the high I got from purchasing more flowers, but it happened anyway. I had a great day yesterday. A good day at work, I went home, marinated some chicken, exercised, ate an awesome salad for dinner (details below), got some cleaning done, and was able to relax. All in all, a good night.

Then I woke up to more snow and another crummy drive this morning. Ooh, ooh, and it gets better! We're going to get dumped on again this Thursday! Yahoo (note the heavy sarcasm). I keep bellyaching that I need a new job or that we need to move out of Michigan. The reality is, I don't mind my job that much aside from the commute, plus I have almost six weeks of sick leave saved up which I plan to use for my maternity leave. I can't leave that behind. It's taken me years to build that up. And leave Michigan? It'd be bittersweet. I like it here except from January through March. I'm at my wits end with this snow. It's pretty depressing at this point. I just know that when I retire, I'm outta here for those three months. If the Husband doesn't want to join me; think Golden Girls. I'll shack up with my girlfriends for the winter. :)

I need to keep thinking: Tulips. 70-degree weather. Sunshine. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully only 4-5 weeks left of this.

Tasty Chicken Salad...

I marinaded some chicken breasts in Balsamic Vinegar (Meijer actually makes a marinade!) and Lite Soy Sauce. I kinda guessed at measurements. More Balsamic Vinegar than Soy. I prefer grilling, but with the weather, I popped them in the oven. They came out nice and juicy. I cut the chicken up into bite size pieces and topped the salad I made of Romaine lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced almonds, feta cheese and lite raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Mmm-mmm.

There. My mood is better already. I just needed to think of flowers and food. Interesting combination.

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's An Obsession

I bought more. I couldn't even help myself after visiting the site once again. The Husband loves sunflowers, and it just seems too easy not to try. Cut the seed strip. Put the strip into the ground. Cover with soil. Water. Sit back and enjoy. My kind of gardening!

Here's another shot of the Sunflowers. The Husband is going to love them!

I definitely couldn't resist these Razzmatazz Sunflowers either. So pretty! Seriously, they are gorgeous!

I'll throw these babies into my perennial garden. It just doesn't get any easier or cheaper. Man, buying potted plants is expensive! I even waited until the end of the summer last year too!

Some border flowers. Very pretty color combinations and shape.

And some shade perennials. The north side of our house needs some help. I might pick up a couple azaleas too. The nice thing about these is that they'll keep coming back for years!

I've gone flower mad. I can't even stop myself. I get so excited when I see how nice my yard could be! These mats and tapes will make planting so stinking easy, I just had to give it a try.

Ok. Absolutely no more online flower purchases for the rest of the season. I have really got my work cut out for me with all of these seeds!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Countdown Til Growing Season

I've got my growing schedule all charted out. I plan to start sowing the weekend of March 22. I randomly selected flowers based on difficulty of growing, aesthetics and recommendations. Here they are...

The Impatiens are for the backyard for around the deck area where not much sun can get to the beds.

The Phlox are going to be an addition to the perennial bed I started last year.

The Marigolds will go in the front. I thought they'd look nice in the back of the beds and in a giant planter.

I am going to pair the Marigolds with the Petunias.

And trim with these Mahogany Midgets. I'm having second thoughts on these flowers, but we'll see.

Throw some Pandora's Box Pansies in the hanging baskets, paired up with the Blue Frost Pansies and possibly Petunias.

Here's the Blue Frost Pansies.

I thought I'd put these Peach Phlox off to the side of the house around one of our shrubs.

These are Lilliput Blue Moons. I thought they were very interesting looking. I'll match these babies up with...

Christina's favorite - Zinnia Envy. Love the color.

I thought these little pom-pom Asters were just too cute.

And last but not least, Poppies. I'm just going to drop these seeds into the ground in late April and see how they do. They are supposed to be good seeds for direct sowing. I guess I'll find out!

After making another trip to the Park Seed website, I now want these Sunflowers! You directly place into the ground a strip of tape seeds, cover it with soil, water and watch 'em go. Sounds pretty darn easy. I hope I'm not getting too out of control with my seed growing. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works out. I'll be so proud of myself if it does!

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Celebrity Look-Alikes


I'm Surrounded By Fricken Idiots

I wish I could say I was making this stuff up. Here are two direct copy and pastes from work e-mails that I have received.

I just can add XXX's (unsaid) service to these contacts, because you
have an option on which contractor you all want to us. The first thing I would
do is set up a meeting with the different contractors to see what they
each has to offer...

My response:
A meeting would be great. J and C need to be present as well.

--Meanwhile two weeks go by.--

I send a follow-up e-mail:
Have you talked to the vendors about a meeting with XXX? It's been a couple of weeks.

The response I receive:
I didn't know I was setup the meeting with the XXX and YYY companies. But if you want me to set up these meeting I can. XXX can meet February 27th at 1:30.

Are you kidding me? If this hadn't been like the fifth time this guy has not only dropped the ball, but just flat out played dumb about his role in this contract (he's the contract administrator!), I wouldn't have been so pissed. I must be on drugs, because the first message I got said: "the first thing I would do is set up a meeting with the vendors". Oh, I know this guy. The classic, blame everyone else, get out of doing as much leg work as I can type. There's one in every office.

And onto the next story. Same office, different person.

The e-mail I receive:
Hi guys, I am almost done with the RFP, I just need to see if any of you would like to have a pre-bid meeting. Thanks.

My response:
XXX is interested in having a pre-bid meeting. How many attendees can we have?

The response I receive:
Can I ask why you would like to have a pre-bid meeting?

Wow, it's almost like we're Abbott and Costello playing "Whose On First?". You asked if I'd like to have a pre-bid meeting, I said I would like to, and then you ask me why I want a pre-bid meeting. Hmm, didn't you just ask me if I wanted to have one in the first place? I'd like to have a pre-bid meeting for the same reason all pre-bid meetings are held. To meet with potential vendors and talk to them in person about the requirements and work statement that directly apply to the contract. Not everyone is qualified to bid on all projects, so a quick meeting to talk through issues in person can save some people hours of work submitting a proposal for a contract they'll never get. Purchasing 101 here, folks.
But it doesn't just stop there. I was at David's Bridal on Tuesday night. And after standing at the door waiting for someone to help me for several minutes, I was finally assisted. I told the clerk that I was there for shoes that I needed dyed to match this dress. I had the dress in my hand. She takes me over to the counter to look at color swatches. As we're flipping through the book I ask her:
"What's the turnaround on dyed shoes?".
I get a blank stare following by: "Wh-Huh?".
I then say "The shoes to get dyed. How long does it take for them to be dyed?".
She asks "When do you need them by?".
I say "March 8".
She says "Oh, no problem.".
Well, ok then. I didn't think what I was asking was that off the wall.

I guess maybe I'm just expecting people to be mind readers, and they are not. Got me.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Photos from when we dogsat my parents' dog, Cleo. What a week that was. After three days of staying with us with no problems at all, the poor thing had diarrhea all over the house and all night long the night before these were taken. She doesn't look too sick to me in the photos. She was just stressing.

Also, on the day she arrived, our cat, Nico, got diarrhea too from stressing out. That's always fun with a long haired cat. Nico got a bit of a haircut that day. I was afraid the Husband was going to leave me after he had to clean up poo ump-teen times. I told him it's just preparation for the babies. Of course, babies wear diapers and don't have angora fur growing on their bottoms.

No good deed goes unpunished. I was just trying to help my parents out while they enjoyed their vacation in Mexico. I ended up freaking two of the nicest animals around right the heck out. The thing is, they've been around each other on several occasions. Cleo has spent a week with us before. The cats have all traveled to my parents' house a handful of times. Oy. My Nervous Nellies.

All aminals are fine. Nico was fine after a couple days of co-existing with the dog, and Cleo was back to her loving, happy self as soon as she got home. I guess the saying's true: Home Sweet Home.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Choppity Chop

I went through with it. I got my hair cut on Tuesday night. I'm not quite a Jenna, more like a Katie, but that's alright. I have yet to have a haircut experience go exactly how I pictured it in my head. It's like the stylists have a mind of their own. Well, I guess they do, but they definitely put their ideas first. I couldn't style my way out of a paperbag, so I'm left to trust their expert opinions, and my ideas of end streaks were not even entertained. This was the concept, but I guess without blonde hair it won't work too well, eh? I also don't want to look like I just stepped out of the trailer park mimicking a skunk either.

Here are my before shots, taken on Tuesday before the appointment. Lovely, I know (blech!).

And here's the after. The carmel is a little lighter than I'd normally put on myself, but I'm thinking in a week or so, the color won't be as harsh and will blend in more. I really love the cut. It feels so light and bouncey! So instead of end streaks, I ended up with heavy highlights on the front and top, the bottom and back left dark. A nice compromise. I had eight inches taken off. Wowie! My hair kinda looks red too, I'm just not a good photographer, and in too much of a rush to play around with the settings. It looks better in real life, I promise!

Not the greatest behind shot, but it's hard to take photos of yourself!

So whatcha think? Could I pass as a Katie sans bangs and with highlights?

That's me and pseudo Suri. It was either the cat or a Santa Bear from the basement. Wellll???

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Please Make the Snow Go Away

This is a shot of the lighthouse in Manistee, which was taken last Saturday. The photo was taken by one of my friends at work. I am so sick of winter. It's only February. Hopefully only one month to go.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you guys knew the week I was having, you'd understand why I think this is so funny. Happy Valentine's Day to you (my four faithful readers, I heart you)! Spread the love....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Appointment Is Set

Next Tuesday is the day! It's time to cut my hair. It's gotten quite long, it's just above my bra strap across my back, but it's time for a change. It feels sooo blah. Here's what I'm going for...

That asymetrical bob that was made ever so popular by the one and only, Posh Spice. This version allows me not to chop my hair totally off though. Posh's hair is really short in the back. Like boy short. I'm just not ready to take that plunge yet. I gotta work my way into it.

Oh, and I have to mention this is a photo of Jenna Jameson, of the adult film industry fame. Can you believe there was a time, not too long ago, when I had no idea who she was?!? Now I want her hair. I stumbled upon her picture by doing a google search for "trendy hair". Nothing else, m'kay?

This is the red color I heart so much. It looks so good with blonde. Unfortunately for me, I don't have a blonde hair on my body. I really want to work this in somehow. I'm thinking of getting a little more crazy (for me) with the color this time. The girl I'm going to see, she's got this platinum blonde hair with pinkish-red streaks through it on the ends. I could go for getting my ends done for some creative coloring. We'll leave the pink to the stylist though. No way could I ever pull that off.

So geeked am I. Time for a change! I'll be sure to post pictures of the end results.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Love For MyPublisher

Back in November, I created photo albums for my Mother and Mother-in-Law from the wedding. I gave them the books as Christmas presents. I have to rave about how well they turned out. They turned out so well in fact, that I used MyPublisher to create a photo album from my Trash the Dress photo session in July.

I've attached it for your viewing pleasure, if you have the desire to take a peek. The viewing quality is ho-hum, but the books themselves are amazing! Here it is. Be patient. I uploaded some massive files to make this book, so depending on your connection speed, it may take a while to upload.

There is even a link on the page to save $20 on your first book if you're a new customer. Hey, that's a good deal! I wish they would've given me, a returning customer, a coupon like that. I only got 20% off. Every little bit helps!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

You Can't Handle the Soup!

You want the soup? You can't handle the soup! Oh, Jack Nicholson, that's where you're wrong! I CAN handle the soup!

I found a recipe online that's supposed to mimic the Panera Bread Vegetarian Black Bean Soup that I love so much. I made myself some of that up on Sunday night. Mmm-mmm, mighty tasty. I think this one is a keeper. The Husband thinks I should fine tune it and sell it to Health Food Stores. Hmm, my claim to fame, perhaps?

Here it is, for any that may be interested:

1-onion, finely chopped
2-cloves of garlic, minced
2-celery ribs, finely chopped
1/4-large red pepper, finely chopped
2-small chicken bouillon cubes**
1.5-cups boiling water
2-cans black beans, undrained
1/2-teaspoon of salt
1/2-teaspoon of cumin
1/2-lemon, juice of
1.5-tablespoons cornstarch***

1.) In a pot, combine first six ingredients; simmer for 10-minutes
2.) Add half a can of black beans, salt, cumin; cook for 5-minutes
3.) Puree soup
4.) Add rest of beans to soup
5.) Combine cornstarch with 1.5 teaspoons of water
6.) Add the lemon and cornstarch to the soup; cook until thickened

**I substituted vegetable bouillon for chicken
***I omitted the cornstarch
I also added a little cilantro to the soup before I pureed for a little umph.