2.25.2010

Neither here nor there (UPDATED 2/26 9:07am)

We're still on the market. Our contract runs out here in a bit. We'll be re-listing immediately and hopefully with the coming of spring, the buyers, they will come, too. (Could I have put any more commas in that sentence?)

How could you not want this house? Let's go on a tour, shall we?
Welcome home! Walk right up to that front door, turn around and you'll see this...
Ooooo, nice big front yard. Won't you come inside?
Now you're in the foyer. Custom painted by yours truly. Let's keep going.Look at the delicious Italian leather sofa. It doesn't come with the house, but I'm just trying to set the scene for my potential buyers. This, too, could be yours (buy your own sofa, though).

On to the kitchen....Wouldn't you love to cook in here? It's a dream. Miles of granite, tons of cabinet space - they'll make you feel like a pro chef (or something like that).

After a full day of cooking for your delightful family, wouldn't love a nice private, spacious, luxurious master suite to which you could retire? I thought so. How's this...Not pictured are the tray ceiling, his and hers closets, and gigantic master bathroom with 2 sinks, adult-height counter tops, a garden tub (with jets), a huge tiled shower with glass doors, and a separate WC. You want it, I know you do.

Or you could just hang out in the laundry room and do chores if you prefer...I think I'll pass.

Let's go upstairs.Here's what you could offer to your guests, or your child(ren) or your dog (?) Whatever you wish for this room to be - it can be. There's another bedroom upstairs, but I don't have any cute pictures of it. Just trust me - NURSERY.

And here's where we spend all our free time. In our cozy bonus room over the garage. It's tucked away so we can hunker down on a Friday night with our beer, wine, and pizza and have a relaxing evening as one (or two) should after a hard weeks' work.Three knows how we do...
JUST BUY OUR HOUSE SOMEONE! BUY IT! BUY IT NOW! LIKE ON EBAY! GAH.

UPDATE:
I really didn't get to say all I thought I was going to say when I came up with the title for this post. So...I'm revisiting this subject bright and early on a Friday.

Fridays are a time of hope, of anticipation, and of renewed confidence that we'll have a showing over the weekend. Chances are high that we won't actually have anyone interested this weekend, but we're inching towards spring and that means warmer weather which mean people will actually set foot out of their homes. I'm hoping from homes they want to leave quickly, but that's probably asking too much.

What I was really feeling yesterday when I typed out my clever, yet over used title is that I really feel unsettled at this point in time. I thought with all my little beating red heart, that we'd have sold before the first contract ran out. I never imagined that in 6 months time we'd still be in our house. It's frustrating but what can I do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's apparently just not the right time for us. We're apparently supposed to be where we are at the moment. I'm just really ready to move on. We moved to this big house with a big yard thinking it was all we could ever want, but it turns out, it's a bit too much of what we wanted. In discussing our next home, we both realized that we're actually fine with someone mowing the grass for us, and we're fine with little to no yard and only common areas to share with neighbors. Of course, it'd be nice to have a yard all to ourselves that someone else cares for, but again, asking too much.

We've found some town homes in Cary that are so centrally located, practically everything we love and adore are less than half a mile away in all directions. These town homes are lots more grown-up than our first one, and in that way, we don't feel like we're going back to square one. I am a house-hunting freak of nature and have been for years. I love to browse homes online. I've still been doing it while our house has been on the market even though I told myself I would wait to look until we had a really interested buyer. Oddly enough, even though I've cheated on that promise, I'm not finding any home I like better than these town houses. If I like the house, I'm not crazy about it's location, or vice versa - there's always something that scraps my interest. So I just wonder if we're meant to be in those town houses at some point? I just wish I knew.

We don't feel settled, we don't feel at home, and we're ready to go. Like I said, we're neither here nor there and that's an unsettling place to be.

2.22.2010

Snags

Do you know this here fella?

If so, count your blessings because he is RAD. He is my one and only who has gotten me through life from age 2 1/2 to the present day. He is my comfort and my healer and who Seth says is like my own little personal, tactile Holy Spirit.

He is Diggle.

He is my love.


Diggle has lived a long life, and contrary to his appearance, he has been well-loved. He was given to me on Christmas Eve when I was 2 1/2. My Uncle Gene gave him to me. It became tradition for my Uncle to give me a stuffed animal every Christmas, but no other stuck like Diggle.

He's had a few names starting with Diggle (I think), then Dee-Bobblehead, then just Dee, and now he's back to Diggle...and I think I'll keep it. He's met all the men in my life with a slogan he made up for me, "If you don't love Dee, you don't love me," and to date, Seth is by far and away his favorite. Seth loves him, too, he just doesn't like to admit it.

Diggle has an attitude and he likes to show it off. He is witty and quick and loves to poke fun at anyone and everything. He's a bit of an ornery old man, but that's part of his charm.

Diggle has helped me through many life events. He went to college with me, he helped me through heart break, and he went on countless trips with me at all ages as my little piece of home away from home. The only time he hasn't been on a trip was when Seth and I went on our honeymoon. Seth requested I leave him behind and I obliged. However, Diggle was having none of that and he sent a spy in his place. Muwhahaha.

Please don't call the mental hospital because I've resorted to blogging about Diggle. I'll be OK. I swear.

How could you not love this face?


I certainly do.

2.13.2010

Cooking for my Valentine

So we got more snow overnight - about 4 inches. SURPRISE! It wasn't so bad this time. We got a nice, fluffy, regular ole snow and it didn't stick on any roads. So we weren't officially stuck inside, but it seemed like a good idea to feign being stranded and I took the opportunity to cook and bake for my Valentine.

Seth and I decided we'd celebrate our own personal Valentine's Day tonight, and tomorrow night we're having dinner with my parents. We decided I'd try to make a potato & leek pizza which Ree says is her favorite of all time. We are pizza lovers to the core, but agree that the sauce can be a bit of a hog when enjoying a pizza. We like pizzas with little to no sauce depending on the toppings, so that's why I chose the potato & leek pizza.


Before today, I'd never had a leek, so it was fun to try a new veggie in addition to a new recipe. I love that. As weird as it may sound, I love cutting into something new, cooking it, and seeing what it does. It's like magic.


So after frying up some bacon, i sliced up some leeks and sauteed them in the remaining bacon fat. YUM.

I tried my hand a making homemade dough and it worked beautifully as well. I followed PW's simple dough recipe and then left the dough on the mantel for 2 hours to rise with my Jim Shore angel watching over it. Hey, she said put it in a warm place, and with the gas logs having been on earlier, that was just about the only warm place in the house.

After all the prep was done, I started assembling. I hand-shaped the dough into a rough round, then topped with thinly sliced new potatoes, then slices of fresh mozzarella, then the leeks, then the bacon, then goat cheese crumbles, and lastly parmesan cheese and lots of fresh ground black pepper. Here's the pizza before it went into the oven.

And here is is post-cooking. I should've cooked it a bit longer because the potatoes weren't quite cooked through and they were leaking lots of starchy water when I pulled the pizza out. The crust was great, but again, had it cooked longer it would've been even better.


This pizza was delish. Leeks are amazing. I need to use them more often. They were like a mild green onion and absolutely delicious and sweet. They were fun to sautee, too. I guess it didn't hurt that I sauteed them in bacon fat, but you know...whatever works. Bacon makes the world go round, though.

My next task was a baking one. I put myself in charge of making the dessert for dinner with my parents and my mom wanted me to make Foster's Brownies because they are oh-so decadent and wonderful. You eat these once and you'll swear off boxed brownies forever.

I halved the recipe this time because it makes an absolute ton of brownies and that's just not necessary to have lying around these parts. I've got enough brownies on my hips as it is. Let me just warn you that there's lots of this in them (4 whole sticks).

Sara Foster was Martha Stewart's chef and probably didn't get any of the credit. I met Sara Foster once, at the Border's in Apex right before Christmas a few years ago. No one was talking to her, but my mom and I did. She actually had these brownies on site for us to sample and she served them with frothy, warm milk over them. They were SO good. She was nice and signed my cookbook.

I actually executed these 2 recipes in the opposite order, but I felt it more sensible to present them in this entry in the order one might eat them in real life. So just deal, OK? Onto the brownies. They are quite simple to make actually, and the payoff is HUGE. Like many other baked goods, you just mix the wet and the dry separately, then combine them and voila! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:



These brownies call for semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts to be added in. I put the chocolate chips in the whole mix, but since I'm not a huge fan of walnuts, I put those in when I spread the batter into the pan and only put them in half. Do what you prefer - they are awesome either way. Really hard to mess these bad boys up.


All in all, today was a fun day in the kitchen. Everything came out deliciously. Seth even helped by washing some dishes and Three just stayed underfoot the whole time as the cutest sous-chef there ever was. Happy eating people!

2.10.2010

The boredom...it has gotten to me

THINGS I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT WHILE AT WORK:

1. Burt's Bees Thoroughly Therapeutic Honey & Grapeseed Hand Creme

This stuff has saved my life. Since I started my new job, I've been handling gobs of paper. Endless gobs of dirty paper. Within a few short days, my hands were sucked dry of any recognizable moisture and so began a hunt for the perfect hand lotion that would still allow me to type, touch my iPhone and handle papers without leaving greasy fingerprints. There's nothing worse at work than having dry hands that you can't properly moisturize!

BBTT's has been great. I goes on nicely and while I can still feel it on my hands and it doesn't absorb right away, it almost leaves a waxy feeling (but not in a bad way) that makes my hands feel protected. It's great. It even helps me handle the paper work and gives me some traction when flipping through tons of registrations and reports. BONUS!

2. Sharpie Pen (or any pen for that matter)

This is a great new pen from Sharpie that I just heart. I use this puppy a lot when labeling things or just cuz I want to. I bought the value pack and got lots of fun colors like blue, black, purple, green, and even orange! Their uses know no limits!

I'm a bit of a pen freak anyway. I have been on an endless quest to find THE perfect pen or pens in the universe since I was in high school (maybe middle school). To date, I love uni-ball pens the most. Their Jetstream 0.7 blue ink pen got me through 3 hours of note-taking a night in Legal Survey without too much pain. They write as smooth as silk and I highly recommend them to any other pen lovers.

3. Post-it Notes

I hardly should allow myself to expand on this topic. Oh post-its, how I love thee. You see here a matching set of both small and large square post-its. I detest nothing more than the original plain yellow post-its, but only when they are generic brand. They are just not the same yellow. I enjoy their little sticky quality but without the destruction that tape can cause when used in the same manner. They are cute, colorful, easy to collect, and easy to find a use for during my 9 hours away from home each day. They are also fun to give as gifts!

4. Stamps

These stamps pretty much run my life while I'm at work. I have to tend to these 3 at all times and use them each and every day. There's a "Filed" stamp for assigning a date of filing for documents, there's a "Received" stamp for declaring the day on which a document was physically received in our office, and then there is the "Filed & Received" stamp which is only used when folks drop off paper work in person. There's a fourth stamp (not pictured) that I use to stamp the back of checks so they can be deposited to the right account. I did not include the stamp because I know how you people like to deposit money in random accounts.

5. Paperclips

This is my special little pot of paperclips which I reach into for a clip at least 1,000 times a day. I have to paperclip documents constantly so there's quite the supply of paperclips in this office. There are actually 2 other boxes FULL of paper clips on the work tables outside of my office but I feared being laughed at for photographing stupid things in plain view. Just picture the lid to a box holding reams of paper. that box lid is FULL of paperclips. It's nuts...but necessary up in here.

You can see as well, the lovely staple remover hanging on the side. I use that everyday as well. We have to remove all staples because all our documents get scanned. Still, this piece of hardware comes in handy for removing staples from right above the location on the forms where it says "Do Not Staple."

6. Diet Mountain Dew

My drug of choice. I really should not drink it since I've learned that although it's sweetened with no-calorie sweetener, my body still responds to it as if it was sugar so it's not helping with my insulin resistance. It's just hard. I have had only one today. DMD, why can't I quit you?

7. Wite-Out

While I don't use this stuff everyday, it comes in handy when I stamp something that really shouldn't be stamped. You can't beat the "paper" wite-out over the nasty, clumpy, wet stuff. Let me just say that I don't get why they spelled it "wite" - the stuff is WHITE - why not spell it that way?

2.09.2010

LAST

Nope, that's not a typo. I'm not trying to write an entry about LOST, sillies. I'm here to announce I'm officially LAST.

What, you ask, am I blabbering about? Well, it seems I'm now officially THE. LAST. ONE. remaining of my Salem friends who has yet to conceive and give birth to offspring. I got an email this morning from the last of us to get married announcing that she is expecting a baby in late July, early August. So I'm last. I was nearly last getting married but as stated in the previous paragraph, I beat out being last by a measly one person. There was 9 of us in this group, so don't go thinking I appear to be whining over a group of 3 or 4. Nope, NINE.

However, contrary to what you might think simply due to the fact that I'm writing about this, I do not care one single, solitary bit about being LAST. For serious. See, I knew I'd get married one day and I did. These things just take time to grow, and for Seth and me that took about 4 some odd years. It was fine though because for a couple of years, there were 3 girls at time getting married back to back to back and it was great fun for us all, but I thought about the brides. Did sharing your wedding month with others take away any of the fun for you? Did you feel less in the spotlight? Did you wish all those other biotches would just WAIT? BACK OFF? GET YOUR OWN MONTH? Maybe you didn't care - if so, good for you!

I am not one for the spotlight, but I did, however, NOT want to get married amongst other weddings. I wanted to be the one wedding that we could get together and it be like "HEY!!! I haven't seen you in so long!!!" and I was. And it was nice. I think. The last of our group's wedding came 11 months later and then we closed the chapter on weddings.

Now it's babies. I'm SO far behind my girls, but it doesn't matter. Really it doesn't. I'm not one of those girls who has dreamed of the day she'd have a baby. No way. In fact, I'm quite scared of the process. Afraid of the pain, afraid I'll suck at being a mom, etc, etc, etc. Also, quite scared of kids in general. Kids annoy me in large part although I try to give it a chance with kids of people I know - not that I've really ever seen the kids of people I know. HA. I read mommyblogs and love them. I'm all mixed up with feelings on kiddos I guess.

Anyway, it really doesn't matter to me in what order people have babies. I'm not in a hurry (although my mother feels I should be), and I don't feel like babies are something you rush. I'm happy for all my girlfriends and their many babies (there are 14 in all, soon to be 15 in April, then 16 in July) and I suppose if I am meant to bear young, it will happen at the right time.

Plus, I've got issues to contend with - like going off the 9,000 medications I'm on before trying to have a baby, and seeing what life is like without them (one of my fears at the moment). THEN, I wonder if I'm even capable of conceiving. PCOS says maybe/maybe not. Let's all remember that Kate Gosselin has PCOS and look what that got her. (OH MY). So all of these things don't necessarily allow me to "let nature take its course" in the loosest sense of the phrase. We require a little planning and a little thought.

But let me say, I declared to Seth the other day while standing in the middle of the kitchen, "Let's get this house sold, let's move, let's go on a trip out West in December, then let's have a baby." Hmm. Only time will tell.

2.08.2010

I Cannot Take Credit...

...for the deliciousness that is contained in this entry.

Yesterday was a fun cooking day for me. It was Super Bowl Sunday and I wanted to try out some fun snack foods rather than cooking a whole dinner. I was so busy cooking and smelling and tasting that I did not take any pictures of the adventure so you'll have to deal with links to the sources (they have good pictures, I promise!)

I made this restaurant-style salsa because my hubby loves the runny salsa you get in real Mexican restaurants. I would have to say, I prefer it runny, too. I left out the cilantro because I hate cilantro with all of my soul, so it may not have had all the flavor, but it was still delicious. I might have added one more jalapeno, but I didn't want to push my luck.

I also made these oh-so-heavenly jalapeno cream cheese and bacon yummies. You must make these for your next party or occasion to entertain. They are SO good. Don't worry if you think you can't handle eating an entire half a jalapeno - they are NOT hot. You take out all the evil seeds and membranes and when they cook, they just end up tasting like a delicious pepper. They have the flavor, but sans heat. And the bacon - oh man. Seth and wondered together out loud if there was any food on earth that didn't taste better with bacon wrapped around it? My only thought was cereal.

I also made this delightful dessert. Also, quite yummy. I'm not sure my first try was the best, though. The crust is very thick as graham cracker crusts go, but since I love them so, I am not saying that's a bad thing. However, I refrigerated it and then the crust got REALLY hard. The crust has butter and sugar in it and you bake it before you fill the rest of the dessert. I think after those things were cooked and then cooled, they just became rock-solid. I had to do some major sawing to get it out of the pan, but it was worth it. Wish it was a little more cream cheesy, though.

I also make chicken, cheese, and bacon quesadilas, but those were my own creation. I have perfected the crispy crust on the tortilla - I just use butter, I find Pam isn't nearly as tasty. They were fab. I used one of those yummy baked chickens that Harris Teeter so wonderfully prepares, removed it and shredded it, topped with shredded colby jack cheese, added some fresh bacon bits and voila! A little butter in the pan, add the topping to one side of the tortilla, fold the tortilla and press down. YUM.

I think I had a successful Super Bowl feast - even if it was just me and Seth partaking of the deliciousness.

2.05.2010

The grass is always greener...

You know the rest..."on the other side."

We hear this all the time. And for the most part, it's true and people always want what they don't have. And if, by chance, they get "the other side" then they see how great the OTHER other side was and might want that back. Now that I've thouroughly confused you, let me expand and share my thoughts on this cheesy cliche we all know and love.

As of yesterday, I've been at my new job one month. I can say with the UTMOST certainty that the grass is far greener on the other side - OF THE GOV's OFFICE! I mean, the greenest of green. KELLEY GREEN in fact. Am I making myself clear? This job, while menial and low-level as it may be, has been great. I felt comfortable with my co-workers practically on day one, which is unheard of with me. I am the type of person that takes a loooong time to warm up to some people, but I just got this feeling around this group and it was such a relief. Like being wrapped in a cashmere blanket.

Don't get me wrong, there are one or two (mostly one) that are quite annoying, but again, thankfully in a way that causes me to laugh at them rather than allow them to ruin my day kind of way. But in general, the 8 other women I work with are great. They are all very different, but I feel like I get along with them well. And they were so looking forward to my arrival!

I learned my job duties in a matter of days and have been comfortably handling them solo for the last 4 weeks. When I started we were right in the middle of the busiest time of the year so I really got in a good work workout and now things have tapered way off and I have time to write this blog entry on the clock (shhh).

I am so thankful that I am actually able to see myself on the other side of the purgatory that I was in before, and SEE what it's like to be a real person again. In a normal, stress-free job. It's amazing what it has done for me and my fragile soul. I believe that God chose for me to lose my job. He saw I had had enough and knew I couldn't just quit, so he had me fired and allowed me to get unemployment :) Those dollars saved me and Seth during the 9 months I was out of work and I'm thankful for that as well.

Also, I look back now and see that He had me out of work for so long to rebuild me. I was broken. My spirit was torn to shreds by the citizens of North Carolina who had verbally abused me for 3 looooong years. I needed time to recover and God knew that. He gave me time to rest and helped prepare my soul for my next job.

I see all these things now that I'm here at my first new job after the Gov's Office. I'm not having panic attacks, I don't feel freaked out if my predictable schedule gets thrown off course, and I am not scared of people.

It surely helps that the folks who call this division are intelligent, kind, and polite individuals who know what they want, who know why they have called this office, and have questions that don't bend the mind. I'm not saying that I only want to talk to smart people the rest of my life, but it does show you how very sad many folks' lives are out there. I had the occasional call at the Gov's Office from someone desperate but kind and asking for help. They were a joy to help, but it's the ones who are so desperate they resort to verbal abuse and yelling and that only makes you NOT want to help them. I enjoyed helping grateful people and would do that again, but it's nice to be here and to have a calm phone life.

I just wanted to throw my new life out there for ya'll. I have been renewed and am thankful, o so thankful, for the work God has done in my life during the past (almost) year. He knew what I needed and clearly was the only one who could provide a way for it to happen. He did it and I see that now.