Wednesday, February 24, 2010


"Flowers really do intoxicate me" - Vita Sackville-West

Here's the best picture of the tulips I have... between the light and the age of the flowers, it was the best I could do and I was too lazy to move them. But I really enjoyed them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Loving me Some Chelsea

"The Fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can." - Robert Cushing

I have found a new source of entertainment and I've been reading her blog today as I wait on the IT guy to show up and fix some work related components of my computer. (FYI: Not being able to send work email blows). It's been a wasted day except for this blog and in particular, this post: Gwen and Feeding little monsters. If that doesn't inspire you to get off the couch and do something, I don't know what will. I need a little bit of that in my life... Every day I need a little bit of that... a reminder that life is not a dress rehearsal. And this one had the bonus of making me laugh as well. Nice one.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Heaven in a Bowl

“Of all the items on the menu, soup is that which exacts the most delicate perfection and the strictest attention.”-Escoffier

Over the weekend, I discover a new recipe and I am in love with this soup. I usually go to the grocery store on Sundays* and as I was wondering around the produce department, I decided on potato soup. It's moments like this I love having a smart phone. This is the recipe I decided upon and while it has no health value, it is delicious.

Creamy Garlic Potato Soup

Ingredients -
4 (12 ounces) 99% Fat-Free Chicken Broth

2 (12 ounces) Evaporated Skim Milk
5 pounds Russet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 1/2 cups chopped Yellow or White Onion
8 slices cooked, crumbled Bacon
1 slice Ham Steak, chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 teaspoons diced Garlic
3 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon Celery Seed
1 pint Whipping Cream
1/3 cup chopped Fresh Parsley

For garnish:
shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
chopped Green Onion


Saute the onions and garlic in butter or margarine over medium heat until translucent. Scrape them into the soup kettle, and turn on the heat to medium. Pour in the chicken broth and evaporated milk. Put in the potato pieces, bacon, ham pieces, bay leaves, celery seed and whipping cream. Bring to boil, and simmer until the potato is tender. Mash a dozen or so potato chunks against the side of the kettle and stir the pot to thicken the soup (you can mash more to make it thicker). Throw in the parlsey and stir, and return pot to simmer. Cut up some good rich bread, ladle the soup into your bowl. Sprinkle cheese and green onion on top to taste.

And it was yummie...

My only edits to the recipe are I would cook the bacon before getting started on the onions. That way they're ready when it's time to combine everything. I used parsley flakes versus fresh parsley and it didn't seem to affect it - I'm sure the fresh is better but I had to make do.

*except for when I need wine since I live in a backwards state with no liquor sales on Sundays

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter Wonderland

"So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending". - JRR Tolkien

My house. At 6pm or so when I made it home on Friday night, it had been snowing for about 3 hours at that point. I know it's growing up in the South that makes each snowstorm a thrill... you never got enough of it to get tired of it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

St. Valentine

"Women wish to be loved not because they are pretty, or good, or well bred, or graceful, or intelligent, but because they are themselves." - Henri Frederic Amiel

No matter how many hints I drop in the universe about loving fresh flowers, tulips have yet to arrive at my house. So this past Saturday, at the grocery store, I bought an unopened bouquet of pink tulips and have enjoyed them all week in my dressing area. I shall take a picture and post it so you can enjoy their beauty as well.

Life has been a rollercoaster so far this month. Last night, I caught up with a friend who I hadn't seen since before Christmas and my response to her inquiry about life, "Is it still February? Then life still sucks..." So far, not a good month. My emotions seem to have leveled out over the past two days but it doesn't mean they won't spin out again if I don't make some changes. As they happen, I'll share what's working and what's needed.

One already made is an adjustment in my work schedule to attend a yoga class on Wednesday and Saturday mornings - it feels good and it starts my day well. Coming up, gym visits for treadmill and weight workouts - Hope to make this happen with the start of next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me to wake up with my alarm because it has been a struggle.

I'm looking at school - again - for different reasons and ideas. I'm not certain what to do or which direction to go in for my career. When I think my situation now could be the rest of my life, I have a panic attack. Not good. When listing what I want in my position and/or career, I look for travel, freedom and passion. There are several options to combine all of these in a less convential career path. I'm researching and internally debating these options currently.

Presently, I own a house. With a yard. This is new territory for me. I don't know how to do yard work and it shows. So my goal this spring and summer is to learn about plants, gardens, and how to beautify my yard without spending a fortune. I've heard this will help with my fitness goals so I'm excited about that side effect. Otherwise, it just makes me feel silly to not know how to handle my yard. Plus, I know my neighbors are hating me. I do nothing to help in the visual appeal of the street. So that will give me something else to laugh about.

My first project was planting herbs for my window sill from a kit... it went ok. We'll see if they bloom. I ended up with way more soil than needed (I think that's expected) so I'm going to buy something else to pot and use the excess. Plus I've been looking for two planters to go outside my front door and I found beautiful royal blue ones - they're on the to get list for this weekend. Patience and Baby steps as I'm still working on trimming my budget. Once purchased, I will showcase here since I've been slacking on pictures lately.

As mentioned above, still working on the budget, and I'm learning to budget and developing patience for items I want/need. My free time is rare and after I do laundry, sleep, bathe, take care of the dog and the house... then I'm able to shop. So it's frustrating to see what I need/want and not purchase it in that moment because it's pricetag is larger than the amount in my pocket. Especially when I 'technically' have the money in the bank just not in that week's spending amount. I've gone back to giving myself a cash allowance for the week so if I have $20 dollars and I want pots which total at $50, then I have to save the cash for the purchase. So far, I'm doing ok. But these pots are driving me nuts since I don't want them to sell out before I get mine. After such a long search, I want them... have to have them... can't wait to get them. So telling myself to save for them out of my weekly budget pisses me off - even if it's me restricting myself - my bank account thanks me.

Which leads me to a status update on travel savings: over $500, more than 1/6 of my way to my first goal of $3000. And I should receive my tax return (hopefully) this week which will help in all areas of saving and debt reduction. Nice.

Question - If I decide to sell my house before I leave to travel, then paying additional money each month would also be a form of savings since it will help lower the amount owed at the time of closing. Correct? I wouldn't normally think of my house as a savings account but putting additional money towards the principal would help reduce the amount of interest owed overall, decrease the repayment time and allow for additional profit if I sell my home. Not certain I want to sell but if I do, then it would provide me with more cash than I can save plus less headaches while on the road. What would you do? Put the money towards the house or keep with the rest of the travel savings? I'm not talking a huge amount - $100 a month or so. Thoughts? Ideas? Experiences? Please share.