Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Black Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Looks like we survived the turkey dinner so we empty our minds with Mrs. 4444 for Friday Fragments.

Well we did it. We finished the 5k to start Thanksgiving. It was 32 degrees when we left the house but it was sunny. They had more people than they thought which is good but they ran out of tshirts and will have to mail them to us. I finished one minute over my goal but I blame getting stuck behind some slow people on the lap around the park when we were on the sidewalk. Next 5k I hope to be able to run it. This time was just walking. A lot of the walkers ended up stopping halfway because we went back past the finish area and they just stopped. So I know that my place is just wrong.

I am not one of those people to go shopping ... except for online deals. So I'll be decorating the house for Christmas now. That is the official start of the season.

Stupid criminal is from England this week. A man tried to break into a house by climbing in through the bedroom window. He got stuck and had to wait an hour for the owner to notice someone breaking in. The police were called and he was taken to jail. Moral of the story is make sure you know simple physics before robbing a house.

Best part of the turkey dinner is leftovers the next day. I'm not one of those people who need to make it into something else the first time. I like to relive the meal.

We watched the Lady Gaga and Muppet special last night and were extremely underwhelmed. Too much Gaga and not enough Muppets.

It is time to get all the decorations out of the attic and get ready for Christmas!

Hodgepodge - Happy Thankgsiving

Joyce has questions for us all ready for the day before Thanksgiving. Isn't that nice of her?

1. Are you settling for something?

I'm settling for my bathroom counter to still not be fixed. When I realize that it has been broken for 1 1/2 years, I'm really settling. I have to get it fixed in 2014.

2. It wasn't that long ago almost every store in the US locked doors and turned out lights on Thanksgiving Day. This year many will be open all day Thursday, giving shoppers a jump start on 'Black Friday'. In your opinion is this a good thing or a not so good thing? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving Day?

I do not shop on Thanksgiving (unless I need chicken broth or something like that) and I certainly won't be shopping on Friday. Most of my shopping anymore is online and it doesn't matter what day or time that is. I think it is ridiculous that people do shop and that stores feel the need to offer these deals. When really you know they are going to offer deals similar to it in just another week because the "Black Friday sales were off". That's because most of us are getting smart enough to know you will run more sales.

3. Speaking of shopping... I saw a recent article on the twelve best shopping cities in the world. In order they are-

New York, Tokyo, London, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, and Seoul.

Ever shopped in any of the cities listed? In which city would you most like to pull out the plastic or cold hard cash?

I've only been to one of those cities (Paris) and the only shopping we did there was in food stores or the gift shop inside of a metro station. I was much more interested in seeing the sites than shopping.

4. When did you last dine by candlelight?

Probably when we went to an Italian restaurant in town a few months ago. They have candles on the tables.

5. What do you have too much of?

My family would probably say snowmen but since they keep buying me more and I keep buying more, you can't have enough of them.

6. The Hunger Games...are you a fan? Did you read the book(s)? Will you/have you seen the movie? Will you/have you seen Catching Fire? No spoilers please!

I've never read the books or seen the movie. I'm not into those kind of movies.

7. Share your plans for Thanksgiving Day. The who, the where, the what...especially the what! As in what's for dinner? If you're one of my International visitors, whose homeland doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving (the whole world doesn't ya know!), then still tell us your plans for Thursday.

The day is supposed to start with Dan and I walking a 5K. I'm trying to get excited about it but the thoughts of how cold it is in the mornings is really making me reconsider. The money was for a good cause (United Way long-term tornado recovery) and we get long sleeve tshirts so maybe that's enough.

Whitney is coming home Wednesday from college and both my mom and Dan's mom will be joining us for the day. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries, corn, rolls, pumpkin pie are on the menu. I'm thinking we might even start off with a cheese ball (that was when we thought we would be eating later because of the 5K). If we don't do that we will eat a little earlier.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Winter arrived after really only have a couple of weeks of fall. We had freezing rain/sleet and southwest Oklahoma had snow (which they are in a drought so they appreciated I'm sure). I'm hoping fall comes back next week.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Fragments - 6 Days until Turkey Day

Yes I'm counting down to Thanksgiving. And joining Mrs. 4444 for another installment of Friday Fragments.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Who knew that after buying a new Christmas tree the decision about what to put on the top of it would be so hard. Or else maybe I'm just super picky. We bought one new angel and then I ordered another angel so I can decide which one to keep. So many decisions.

Stupid criminal of the week was the man who broke into a house to rob it but cut his arm severely in the process. He proceeded to ask the homeowners of the house he was robbing to help him. Pretty easy to catch him.

I'm pretty excited that an idea I came up with resulted in the hiring of one of our graduate students into a fulltime job when he finished next month. I think that is a good example of paying it forward.

Super cold front came through last night. The wind was whipping around and I was certainly glad to be in my warm house with a blanket. Today my wearing of a sweater to work is appropriate for both outside and inside my freezing cold office.

I have lost all of the weight I was looking to so I can not feel guilty next week on Thanksgiving eating stuffing and pie. Yummy.

And I still need to come up with an appetizer recipe that I can make in the crockpot for earlier in the day and a second dessert. I'd better figure that out today since tomorrow is grocery shopping day. But as Dan says, we live close enough to a store and it isn't like we won't be going again. So if I don't figure it out today I still have time.

If you are travelling next week, please have a safe trip.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hodgepodge - 8 Days Until Thanksgiving

Joining Joyce for this week's questions. I missed last week so need to make up for it.

1. What lesson has failure taught you?
I didn't die from the failure and life kept going. Remember that young ones.

2. What decision are you glad you made?
Going back and getting my master's degree. Best decision with a great job out of it.

3. I've been a little bit surprised to see fully lit and decorated Christmas trees popping up for the past several weeks in friend's Instagram feeds. So tell the truth-is your tree up and decorated, and if so when did that happen? If not, when will you be decking the halls?
Tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving. My new one just came home on Tuesday (thank you honey for picking it up). I can't wait to have it up and decorated.

4. Solitaire-Poker-Rummy-Hearts-Go Fish-Old Maid...which game of cards would you most like to join?
Solitaire, I love all the different variations of that game.

5. This question comes to you courtesy of a Facebook friend, who once upon a time had a blog...When you're feeling stressed do you snack a lot or are you more the 'can't eat' type?
More of a snack person but if you don't have the snack food around you don't snack.

6. Have you ever reviewed a product or service on line? Was your review favorable or less than favorable?
Yes I've reviewed products before. I get free ones to try as a BzzAgent and then I've also reviewed things I've bought. I try and be as honest as I can.

7. What was the best conversation you had yesterday?
I had an IT audit and they pretty much determined that I needed to be excluded from my college because we aren't a risk. Thank goodness that most of my people work on federal government computers which are much more strict than the university.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm still working on my Thanksgiving menu. Since we are doing a 5K first thing in the morning, we will be eating later. I plan on making a couple of appetizers to tide people over and then have an extra side dish with the meal. Maybe I'll go crazy and make two different desserts.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Fragments - What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Joining with Mrs. 4444 for the weekly emptying of all minds of fragments.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I just signed up Dan and I for the 5K Turkey Trot in town. Not that I plan on running (since I've never run and have no way to get ready in two weeks to do it). But I know I can walk it and I had said earlier in the year that I wanted to do a 5K. Now the weather needs to cooperate and not be too cold or rainy.

We picked out a new Christmas tree on Sunday but didn't buy it. We had to go home and measure to see if we could get the taller tree. Which we can't. So now we have to go back and actually pay and pick up the tree. We are being rebels and going with all white lights (something I've never done in my entire life). 

Whitney had an interview for an internship this spring and she got it. So she will be working downtown at a pretty busy advertising/marketing firm and get college credit for it. She will still work some at her regular job at school too. She is up for a promotion to a special team at the visitor center. 

Stupid criminal is another person misusing 911. He kept calling to report domestic disturbance because his neighbors wouldn't drink with him. The police picked him up and made sure no one was drinking with him anymore.

A week of no wine and counting calories is working. I've lost three pounds and just have a couple more to go. Thank goodness because this is getting old quickly.

My Pandora radio station has been playing a lot of different music lately. I'm not sure if I liked something that makes it think I like this stuff or what, but it has been interesting. Certainly nothing that the radio would play.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spinach and Sausage Risotto

We love risotto and I'm always looking for new recipes. I found this one on the Sprouts website and adjusted it slightly.

Spinach and Sausage Risotto
Adapted from Sprouts

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Sprouts Sweet Chicken Sausage, casings removed
1 Sprouts Hot Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse sea salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
1 bunch flat-leaf spinach, washed well, tough stems removed, chopped
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Add about 2 ladles of hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed. Continue adding tomato mixture, 1 ladle-full at a time, and stir the rice until it’s nearly all absorbed. Continue this process until rice is creamy and tender, about 25 minutes total.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

So how did I adapt this? I changed out the two sausage links for some sweet Italian sausage I had already browned (about 1/2 pound). I also used probably about 2 cups of baby spinach I had chopped up (we like that better than regular spinach). I had 14 ounce cans of Italian diced tomatoes and we probably had about 1 1/2 cups of that mixture left.

The risotto ended up being sweeter than normal ones because of the tomatoes. Dan really liked it and we are keeping the recipe.

Sorry for the quality of the photo. It was dark outside and the risotto was still in the pan.

Friday, November 8, 2013

November Friday Fragments

Mrs. 4444 hosts this weekly bloghop. Check her out.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I'll start off with the stupid criminal of the week. Police were investigating a home burglary when they heard a cell phone ringing. The screen said mom so they answered and asked whose phone it was. She said my son and gave his name. Seems he had dropped it when robbing the house. Police picked him up quite quickly after that.

Did you hear about the NYU student who got stuck between two buildings for two days? He doesn't remember how it happened. Alcohol was involved.

Gas was $2.71 this morning. Can you believe it? I just filled up earlier in the week at $2.78 so I won't need it for awhile. But filling up a tank for $30 sure feels nice.

We had a big event at work this week where several buildings' occupants are invited to mingle. They ran out of food an hour into the event. I appreciate free stuff but they really should have planned it better. I thought it was lower attended than normal too.

I'm trying to lose a few pounds so I decided the best way is to give up my glass of wine at night. Because that always seems to lead to snacking. And I'm drinking hot tea whenever I really get hungry. Both seem to be working. I also restarted using MyFitnessPal to track my calories. 

The leaves are falling off trees here now especially since we've had several rain events. Somehow with us not having any trees in our yard we are going to have to rake. Shouldn't the neighbor whose tree's leaves it is come over and take care of that for us? LOL

I think they need to get rid of Thursday night college football games. The "student athlete" ends up missing three days of classes. How is that good for their grades?

Monday, November 4, 2013

What I Did This Weekend

Yes I actually did stuff this weekend. In fact, I was so busy that I didn't cook or clean or get anything really done.

Saturday I went ahead and volunteered at the National Weather Festival. After never going to it I decided to help out. I sold tshirts for a couple of hours (something I'm very good at doing). The crowds were huge. Thousands of people came to visit. All of the tv stations were there. We had helicopters, fire trucks, mobile command centers, radar trucks. There was even an "ask the expert" booth where several of my friends were answering questions about severe weather. And of course we had the weather friends...which is a group of costumed meteorology students teaching kids about weather. They even have trading cards.

Saturday night I took my mom to see Carousel. It was held in the smaller, more intimate theater...more like a cabaret setting. We were in the front row and it was rather disconcerting to be that close to the actors, especially when they were looking right at you. I don't particularly care for this musical and after seeing it I am reminded why. But mom had a good time and that's what is important.

Sunday we had a fiesta for volunteers at church. By the time I finished that it was 2pm. I did some laundry when I got home and worked out but otherwise did nothing.

I ended the evening watching Revenge. Talk about an ending.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November is Here - Friday Fragments

Mrs. 4444 lets us empty our minds every Friday with Friday Fragments.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

No stupid criminal this week. However even better, I have a stupid human. A man in England legally got his named changed to "Captain Beanie" because he loves baked beans so much. He even has a baked beans museum in his apartment. I will just leave it at that.

It seemed like the number of trick or treaters we had was down this year. Although I did go through most of my candy. So maybe I just can't count or I bought smaller bags this year.

Tomorrow is the National Weather Festival at work. Thousands of people will be at our building learning about severe weather. All of the local tv stations have their meteorologists here doing balloon launches. And as many years as we have had it...I've never attended. Could be weather overload?

I'm taking my mother to see Carousel tomorrow night for her birthday. It is her favorite musical so how lucky for us it was being done by OU on her birthday. 

I got my hair colored yesterday and learned my stylist is moving tomorrow. I finally have fallen in love with a color and now she's going. I know it is in their computer system but I just can't believe it will be the same.

We are having a Mexican fiesta at church Sunday for the volunteers. If we translate "Me gusta dejar el maíz en mis dientes después de comer, de la mazorca." into English we are entered into a drawing for a prize. When I google translate it I get "I like to leave the corn in my teeth after eating corn on the cob." That doesn't sound very appetizing does it? Any ideas of what I'm missing?

Some of the trees here are turning colors but nothing as spectacular as this shot.

I don't know where this is but I wish I could be there.