I think it's going to rain today

When you have an extended family as large as my mom's is, there is bound to be issues and drama. It just is what it is. We often joke that we could write a book or a soap opera.

Today however I'm not laughing. Today I am sad for a member of our extended family who is pretty close in age to myself. I am sad for the struggles that this person is enduring and the tough road they have yet to face. I am sad that they are forever changed from the person they used to be.

We grew up side by side. We played at the park. We played with toy cars. We teased each other and laughed and fought like siblings. And I never dreamed back then in those young innocent days of childhood that this is how things would turn out.

I hold this person and those closest to them in prayer as it's the best thing I can really do. And from here I move on, because life does go on. But today I am allowing myself just a bit of sadness and almost a little bit of mourning over a situation that sadly no one can control. It's up to God and we have to trust Him.

Broken windows and empty hallways,a pale dead moon in a sky streaked with grey.
Human kindness is overflowing,and I think it's gonna rain today.
Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles,the frozen smiles to chase love away.
Human kindness is overflowing,and I think it's gonna rain today.
-Taken from I Think It's Going to Rain Today by Randy Newman

*I am respecting privacy in this situation as well, hence the vagueness. I probably will not say much more than this in the future. Thanks for understanding, I just needed to write this for myself mostly*


Just a few updates

So after yesterday's somewhat heavy blog post I'm lightning things up today just a bit! (In all seriousness on that though - thanks for the support from those who gave me feedback, I was nervous about posting that but it felt good to do and hearing good feed back helped all the more)

This is just a random "what we've been up to" kind of post. Which honestly, isn't too terribly much! Although I am excited that I will finally have an update or two for the "Fun Couple" blog that I have so terribly abandoned! Other than that, here's the latest.

Once again for Lent this year I have given up swearing. It's not like I have the world's dirtiest mouth, but sometimes it is like I have tourettes or something if I'm frustrated - namely in the car, so I felt this was a good choice again. So far I'm doing ok. I could be doing better, but given the snow and traffic this morning, well, you get the idea.

Yesterday I had my first experience ever in filling out a workman's comp report. I was fine, but I did end up cutting my finger slightly while helping my boss package up a mail machine. Because I had to use a band-aid to stop the bleeding she ordered me to report it. It wasn't out of control or anything like that, but better to be safe than sorry I guess! I was happy to discover I was up to date on my tetanus vaccine so I didn't have to worry about that.

We finally have a new beer at home for the first time in quite awhile. Nate's newest brew is a Bourbon Aged Stout or something to that affect. All I know is he soaked wood chips in bourbon (the recipe seriously calls for this) and added that to the mix while he was brewing and given the heavy nature of this one, it needed to ferment for quite awhile. We finally kegged it about a week ago and this weekend it was finally ready to go. And this one is quite yummy. May be my favorite one we've had in awhile, but I am also the weird girl who likes dark beer!

I tried sushi again over the weekend. I'm still not totally in love, but didn't gag on it at all like a previous time Nate forced, I mean, encouraged me to try it. I won't completely give up on ever liking it, but I'm not sold yet.

My Lush obsession continues. Work is busy for both of us. Kind of the same old same old. We just take life one day at a time and you know what, I like it like that!


A road less traveled

I saw a quote on a friend's Facebook page this weekend that really applies to a situation in my life at the moment. It said "don't make someone a priority in your life when you're only an option in theirs." I think this statement speaks volumes.

It dawned on me this weekend that there is someone in my life who has always only considered me an option. We have had a one-way street type relationship instead of a two-way street. And I feel relationships work best when there is that two-way street, you both have to be able to go both directions. Out of respect for that person I'm not going into major details and trust me, if you're reading this blog right now, you are most likely NOT that person.

At any rate though it does have me thinking, why put so much energy into something when it isn't returned? Life is too short to waste time on such things. I'm not going to dwell on it either. It simply is what it is. I have had other people like this in my life before and I have to say, I am healthier and happier when I stop worrying about them and just move on.

On the flipside, I'm sure that I have in my life been the one-way friend. Haven't we all at least once? It may be unintentional - life gets in the way and maybe something or someone who was once a priority becomes less of one through no fault of their own. Or maybe we just don't realize that things change and suddenly our attention is pulled in a different direction. We're humans, things happen. We're not perfect as I reflected in a post earlier this month.

So, if there is anyone out there that I ever treated as an option instead of a priority, I am going on record as saying I'm truly sorry. I'm certain it wasn't purposeful. And in the spirit of that, I'm forgiving the person in this instance as well, simply because I don't think that it's intentional on their part either. I'm not sure I ever was more than an option to them, but I don't fault them for it. I believe they may just be going through life with their blinders on.

If someday the road between us becomes a two way street, I'll be more than happy to drive down it. But for now I'm choosing to skip the one way street in favor of other roads in my life that go both ways. Because I'm so very blessed to have many roads to choose from on the map that is my life.


The Tiramisu Experiment

Remember the whole "cooking with no fear" concept? Well that definitely applied to our Valentine's Day treat!

We decided to stay in on actual Valentine's Day as it was hard to get a reservation anywhere when we were kind of last minute in deciding that we wanted to go out. So, when we decided we would stay in - I suggested to Nate that we finally try making homemade tiramisu as it had been something we'd been wanting to do for quite awhile now.

See, we love a good tiramisu. And the best tiramisu used to be available at Buca di Beppo, where we celebrated many important events in our life (graduations, engagement, rehearsal dinner, etc.) Then for Nate's golden birthday a couple of years ago, we went and ordered it and found something had changed. This may sound bad, but one of the things we used to love best about it was it's super strong rum flavor - it almost made your tongue burn! But on that birthday we discovered Buca was taking a more "family friendly" approach to their restaurant and replaced real live rum with "rum flavored extract". Let me tell you, not quite the same.
So, we then spent the next two years trying to find another good tiramisu. They have a good one at Donatelli's we discovered - but still not quite what we've been wanting.

Finally we just bit the bullet to making our own at home. It was alot of work! And alot of mess. And the results were - tasty! Not quite the right consistency in texture, a little runny in fact, but we have ideas to improve for next time. It actually set up a little better overnight and was pretty darn good the second day.

Here are some pictures:

In the bowl

Side shot

Slice in a bowl - you can see it's a bit runny

Overall I enjoyed our experiment. I would like to try it again sometime. The recipe we followed most closely matches the one on the side of the package of Lady Fingers that we bought at Byerlys. Otherwise you can Google "Original Buca di Beppo Tiramisu" and you'll find the other recipe that kind of guided us!

The other perk of this project? It encouraged me to bring out my old espresso maker and I'm now attempting lattes at home again - far cheaper than going out for one!


Love is the little things

Today is Valentine's Day. We haven't really made that big of a deal out of this holiday for quite some time now due to many factors - some years I had a Follies rehearsal or show, one year I sang for a funeral vigil, another year I think Nate had a cold, etc. This year was not much exception, only due to the fact that as a married couple, we work hard to remember that we love each other each and every day of the year, not just on a day that's sort of pushed by card companies.

This is not to insult anyone who really gets into V-Day, but for us, simple is better. Now we did have a nice dinner out on Friday and today decided to have fun with attempting a homemade tiramisu as a special treat, but that story will come later. See, as I sat down to write this post I decided I wanted to share again some of the many reasons I love my husband, all days of the year, not just today. Sometimes it's the little things.

~He is brave.
While watching TV a little while ago, we heard a loud noise that kind of rattled our windows a bit. He didn't even hesitate to first check all through the inside of the house and to even investigate outside the house (we think it was the neighbors) putting my safety above his own.
~He is selfless.
He asks me every night if I would rather feed our cats or clean their litter boxes. We try to keep an equal partnership in caring for them, but I just feel it's super considerate of him to ask which task I'd rather do (and guess what, alot of times I actually choose the yucky boxes - but that's my choice, he leaves it up to me).
~He still surprises me every now and then
After I fell in love with the movie "Julie & Julia" last week and expressed my desire to try a more bold approach to cooking, I found out that he has "The Joy of French Cooking" by Julia Child on order from Amazon because he thought I might get a kick out of it.
~He wants to spend time with me
He'll choose watching a movie or playing Wii games with me over just putzing around on his computer just about every time the options are presented.
~He knows what's best for me
He is the first person who knows when I'm stressed or depressed or sick or anything and always knows just what I need. In the latest instance after a couple of stressful weeks at work, he suggested I take a day or even just an afternoon off, which I did this last Friday and it made a world of difference for me.
~He makes me try new things
Whether it's a new food, TV show, game, book, movie or restaurant, he pushes me to try things I may not have otherwise. And almost 9 times out of 10, I am usually pretty glad that I did.
~He still says "I love you" right before we go to sleep every night, or leave the house in the morning for work or even just when hanging up the phone after a quick check in call. So powerful those little words and every bit as important as the first time they were ever said.

So today and every day, those are just a few of the many reasons I love my husband. Today is simply a good excuse to reflect on them and appreciate them all the more. Happy Valentine's Day my love. And Happy Valentine's Day to one and all.


No fear

So as I mentioned in my last post, we watched Julie & Julia over the weekend and it's really made me want to work harder on cooking and being more willing to experiment a little more. See I'll let you all in on a little secret, ready for this? I love to eat but...

I don't love to cook. In fact, I kind of dislike it.

There. I said it.

I get easily frustrated when things I'm trying do not turn out and I also find that because I have a small kitchen, I also get a little angst about the mess that comes from making certain meals.

Now Nate just dives in and tries all sorts of weird and different things in the kitchen. He is totally willing to take chances, tweak things to his own liking and totally go off book from the recipe. Me, not so much.

But it's time to change that. In addition to working on recipes from my Betty Crocker book I am also going to try and adopt the "Julia Child" approach when she says "Don't be afraid." To which Julie in the movie says "No fear Julia, no fear."

I need to stop worrying about the messes, the chance that I might burn something or screw it up and just dive in and be willing to try new things. Cooking with no fear.

Last night I took this approach to a homemade Salisbury steak. Other than some guidance from a couple of online recipes, I went completely off book and just did it. And it was fantastic. Nate couldn't stop raving. Proof that sometimes just letting go of insecurities sometimes is a good thing! Below is my basic recipe if you feel so bold as to try it yourself!

Salisbury Steak

about a pound of tenderized beef round steak - found it at Rainbow already tenderized and it was inexpensive
Brown gravy - pick out your favorite packet from the mix with water gravy selection and go nuts

Thaw meat and coat each piece in flour
Heat skillet with about a tablespoon of butter and add meat once it is melted
Brown meat on each side until it is just barely still pink. Pull off of heat and then broil at 450 (I used my toaster oven as it has this option) for five minutes.
Mix gravy according to directions on packet, keep on very low heat to keep warm
Add a little butter back to your meat pan and brown your mushrooms
Mix browned mushrooms in with your gravy
Serve over the meat

We had boiled potatoes on the side, but any veggie would probably be just fine.

Simple and tasty!!

I am going to learn to love cooking if it kills me. Well ok, maybe that's a bit extreme, but that is my challenge for right now!


A little glimpse in my head

Many, many random thoughts floating in my head this morning so I thought I'd put them into a random thought kind of post.

~I'm so sick of winter I could scream. Most years it doesn't really get to me, but this year I am longing for spring more than usual. I think I am just tired of cleaning snow off my car.
~I could've used another day this weekend to get some things done, but so it goes.
~According to my father-in-law, it has been proven that when an NFC team wins the Super Bowl, the economy goes up. I am so hoping that is true!
~I had wrote an entire post about something that was kind of making my heart heavy last week, but then the more I thought about it over the weekend the more I decided it wasn't worth my breath and I kind of just gave it up to God and I tell you, I'm feeling so much better now. Sometimes prayer is such a simple answer.
~I have my yearly review at work this week and would you believe I'm actually looking forward to it? It's like I said last week - there's always room to grow. So no matter the outcome, I'm ready for it.
~I am giving myself a gift and taking a half day this Friday and having a whole afternoon of "Me Time".
~I'm really liking my new haircut, it's ended up easier to work with than I thought it would. Sometimes change is good.
~I watched Julie and Julia over the weekend and it's made me really want to get back into my Betty and Bethie project - well, my sort of project of cooking lots of recipes out of my big Betty Crocker cookbook. Nate said "you do know Betty Crocker isn't real right?" But I don't care, I don't want to be just like the movie!

That's about it. Just a little glimpse inside my head.


Check me out

And here it is! My first semi-famous published article! I'm so excited I could almost burst. If you would like to indulge the nerd and me and check it out, here is the link:


I'd love it if you did head over and read and let me know what you think!!


Exciting things

I'm excited about some very awesome things going on this week for me.

First off, I took a leap of faith and put tons of trust into my hair stylest and changed my hair style slightly last night. It's similar and yet different from my old style. And totally worth it. It turned out really well and the best part is, I've been able to style on my own pretty well! That was the part I was most nervous about.

The second thing that has me very giddy is, I have just learned today that I will have an article featured on a very prominent Muppet blog this weekend! Now I know it may sound nerdy to some of you, but most folks know I am a huge Muppet fan. A call went out to folks to submit articles to be featured on this blog that has garned some attention from some pretty high up type folks in the Muppet verse, so I decided to submit an idea I had. The keeper of the blog, who has become a friend of mine over time, loved the article and told me today he intends to run it on Saturday! So, once I know it is posted I'll put a link up here so you can all read it and share in my fangirl giddyness!

The only downer right now is Nate is home today with pinkeye. Pinkeye? Really? At 28 years old? I guess I shouldn't jest, I have only had it once in my life and it didn't show up for the first time until I was 23. Still, I'm a little surprised that he has it. At any rate, some eyedrops, staying home for 24 hours to become less contageous and he'll be good as new.


I'm not perfect

I have a secret. I know this is going to come as a surprise to many of you but guess what? I'm not perfect! And I can admit this!

All saracasm and joking aside, sometimes there are moments in life that serve as a reminder that we, as humans, are not without imperfections. I wouldn't say I'm blind to my own imperfections, but every once and awhile something comes up that is a glaring reminder that sometimes, I make mistakes. It can be rather humbling at times. It is not necessarily a bad thing though. I look at these instances as an opportunity.

Last week was once such instance, a couple of things came up at work that certainly did not cause me to lose my job or even be in danger of such, but simply just reminded me, I still have room to grow here, I can always make improvements. Everything has worked out and is more than fine now and will be forgotten down the road, but I can't help but think of a few "mistakes" in my life that will always stick with me. They were good teaching moments so I don't regret them. They were simply good "check in with myself" kind of moments. Moments to step back and say "wait a minute, I'm not invincible. I'm not perfect. I am not without faults."

Examples -
Breaking my parents hearts by dating a guy (clearly before Nate) who was really not a good influence on me.
Attempting to major in something in college that was sort of influenced by what others thought I should do resulting in me kind of wasting the first year and a half before I switched to a different major.
Getting a belly ring in my junior year of college and a subsequent injury that followed. (Hey they aren't all serious)
Accepting a job on the spot instead of asking for time to think it over.

I learned from every single one of those things and countless others. And I try to never forget those life lessons as time goes on as a reminder that I am not perfect and I always have room to grow. Besides that, if we all truly were perfect in the most literal definition of the word, wouldn't life be rather boring? I'd rather always have something to strive for.


A nice weekend

We had a really nice weekend. Not that our weekends aren't usually good, but this one was particularly awesome. I had a not so great week at work, full of a few moments that served to remind me that I'm not always perfect (Shock! More musings on this to come actually) and it was also just a busy one for both Nate and I.

So, Friday night we kicked off our weekend the right way by having dinner at a favorite restaurant. We are both huge fans of Donatelli's in White Bear Lake. It's some of the most yummy italian food ever. Originally Nate really wanted to go try someplace new on Friday but due to getting home late, this was the easiest option. And like usual, it did not disappoint. Baked italian goodies and a nice glass of chianti and suddenly all the stress of the entire week was melted away.

Saturday I left him to his own devices and went to a candle party at my dear friend Gina's house, as she is now a consultant for Partylite and it was her big kick off into sales. I will soon have lovely scented things in my home once again, I had burned off most of my candles from my candle party last summer. It was also nice to catch up with a couple of my sorority sisters who were able to come to the candle party as well and things are going very well for both of them so that made me happy to hear.

Saturday evening was a Praise Project rehearsal which went well, we have two upcoming dates that we are singing at the two churches we've been hooked up with. We have a website now (thanks to my tech savvie husband) that has our schedule of where we'll be through June. If you're so inclined, check out www.praise-project.org for all the details. We're also now an official non-profit organization, so that's exciting news as well.

Sunday I slept in. It was a little shameful. I was fully intending to get up and meet my parents at the 8:45 mass, but it just didn't happen. I did however get up in time to meet my sister-in-law Ali and her friend Lindsey for brunch in Edina. Ali and Lindsey are the gals that got me totally hooked on the LUSH products that I rave about from time to time and Lindsey had kindly placed an order for all of us from the UK Lush where the prices are a little bit lower. The goodies arrived on Thursday so we got together so she could hand them out.

After our brunch I headed home and helped Nate cook all afternoon. We made indian food for his parents and it's a bit time consuming. The results are totally worth it though! We had a nice dinner. I finished out my weekend by using some of my new LUSH products - specifically a hand treatment that was so nice on my dry, winter abused hands.

I'm trying to get back into my blogging groove a bit more. It's a goal I have moving forward, so stay tuned for more frequent postings!