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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Big Hoggin' Mama

Friday was unbelievably busy! Luckily all the sales people left early, which gave me fewer distractions. However, I still have a list of things that I should have gotten done but didn't have time for with all the Big Hog Giveaway preparations. Those things are now on my pre-Monday to-do list.

Friday night we hosted a trivia night to raise some money for Habitat for Humanity. I think in that regard, we were successful. It was a packed, hot house. The rock station morning show emceed and they did not disappoint. They are pretty funny guys. I just wish I'd gotten dinner.

Saturday started early hanging banners and prepping the Big Hog Giveaway party location. By noon I was already hot and hungry for some ball-shaped VIP food. I thoroughly enjoyed a few Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea and water cocktails too, I'm not going to lie.

Free Beer Hot Wings emceed again while one by one the qualifiers were eliminated. It was a fun station event day even though I was missing a wedding in Wisconsin. And I realized yesterday that the hog giveaway in 2010 was my very first event, so yesterday was my very first second year event. I'm probably going to have to get everything right now.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

So Happy

I FINALLY got my hair cut tonight. In Springfield! That was a long two-year denial that I live here, right?
I'm so happy, though. It was reasonably priced and all that crap is gone! And I got to go out on a date night to show it off, too!

A friend took me out to share some fancy restaurant gift cards. I enjoyed red wine, crusty salmon, tender orzo, grilled asparagus, and even hot bread! I don't even know how to account for everything I put in my mouth tonight. I feel as though I won't be skipping the workout tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Change

What a carazy day! All around glad it's over and done with. The best thing to come out of today was a little change.

I made a haircut appointment for myself last week thinking I'd hit myself up for some money right at payday. That plan backfired considering my upcoming vacation has already drained the wallet.

I was feeling really crappy that I'd have to cancel the haircut appointment I've made three attempts to schedule. The haircut appointment that is at least three months overdue. The very first haircut appointment I've ever made in Springfield. So sad.

And then it occurred to me on the brink of sleep last night that I hadn't tapped into my change jar in awhile. It is usually an emergency fund of sorts. So I gathered it all up this morning and vowed if I cashed out at more than twenty dollars, I'd keep the appointment.

I'm happy to say I'm finally getting my haircut tomorrow...here in Springfield. Maybe it's finally time for a change. Poor stylist doesn't even know what he's in for.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Event Week

It's another event week here at work.

I'm trying to think of all those little details from last year so we can make everything run just as smoothly as possible. I'm only reassured by the fact that I'm a list maker and that it wouldn't be an event if something didn't go wrong. I always hope to screw up something little. That usually makes for a smooth run for everything else. I've got four days and counting to real it all in.

And GO.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pizza Salad

This hit the pizza craving like nobody's business. I may not actually crave pizza for at least another day. I may have a pizza problem, but now I know this salad will hit the spot.

1 roma tomato, deseeded and diced
1/2 green pepper, deseeded and diced
10 slices turkey pepperoni, sliced
5 calmata olives, sliced
1/4C mozzarella, shredded
2 Tbsp tomato juice
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp basil, cut into thin pieces
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Toss. Let sit for at least a half hour to blend flavors. Serve over a bed of lettuce (my choice is Organic Girl baby spring mix).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Parmesan Cube Steak

I'm so glad I decided to prepare dinner tonight. So many times lately I've thought it too much of an effort. And it is, don't get me wrong. But once I get my hands wet it turns into something almost therapeutic.

Tonight I cut fresh basil and fresh oregano for a parmesan cube steak. Super tasty paired with sauteed garlic brussel sprouts and mushrooms. I'd definitely make this again.

2 1/4 tsp soy flour
1/8 tsp lite salt
Dash of pepper
1 egg
2 tsp water
2 1/2 Tbsp fine bread crumbs
2 1/2 Tbsp grated parmesan
1/2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 cube steak
2 tsp olive oil
5 Tbsp tomato sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Shredded mozzarella
Grated parmesan
Additional oregano

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in shallow bowl.
3. Mix egg and water in a second bowl.
4. Mix bread crumbs, parmesan, and basil in a third bowl.
5. Dip cube steak in flour mixture to coat each side, dip in egg to coat, then dip in bread mixture, pressing it into the steak.
6. Heat oil over medium-high heat in frying pan and cook steak 2-3 minutes per side.
7. Transfer to a greased bashing dish and bake 25 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160°.
8. Meanwhile, mix together tomato sauce, sugar, oregano, and garlic powder. Pour sauce over steak and bake an additional 10 minutes.
9. Top with shredded mozzarella, parmesan, and additional oregano. (I popped it back in the oven for a few minutes while I finished the brussel sprouts-perfecto).

Tasty! I promise!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Whoa! What?

I lost a day this week. I'm not exactly sure what happened there. It seems like I was 100% present each day and yet looking back, I was overtired most of the time, so maybe more like 72%.

So, last night (Tuesday in my brain), I took out my garbage and recycling like I normally do on Tuesday nights. This morning I noticed I had an email from Netflix about receiving my latest movie. Okay. I closed out the email and didn't think much of it, but it started working on my brain a little in the background.

By the time I was taking Peanut out this morning I was thinking ahead to the things I should do at work. So, this, this, and that... wait. Is it Wednesday or Thursday? Hold the phone. As I looked out at the little blue box of recycling perched on my curb it started to shatter my reality. Even as I stepped back inside to finish getting ready for the day, my brain was still sorting things out.

I must have slept REALLY well last night for the first time this week. I think I'm finally awake and ready for that fast-approaching weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Scratch That

About going without allergy medicine. Yeah, that will never happen.

I thought my head was going to burst this morning. My nose was stuffy, but running at the same time with a constant state of tickley, itchy, irritation and pain. My throat is all tickley and my eyes are so red. When I rub my face, liquid oozes from my eyes. If I didn't know better, I'd think I was dying.

I made a lunchtime trip to the WalMart to pick up allergy medicine. I had been taking the fake Zyrtek, but noticed the sneezing had increased recently before I ran out of meds altogether. So, I picked up the fake Claritin to see if a change of medical pace is what I need. I hope it starts working FAST. This is the most miserable day ever.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sweetest Thing

It was a magical evening in the shadow of the arch...and claw last night. While the sun still glared off the arch in the background, Interpol's electric sound washed over us groundlings while I stood awestruck watching the guitar player in his dark suit. He managed to survive the opening act as my sleeveless top melted against my skin.
Luckily it was too hot to consume too many alcoholic beverages. The one Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea I quickly threw down set me back almost ten dollars and for some reason they only serve crappy beer at Busch Stadium. Not sure what that is about.

As the crews scattered like ants on a hill clearing the equipment and making way for a legendary rock band, I watched in horror as spotlight operators climbed into tiny seats and were hoisted up, up, up to dangle high above the stage, nestled under the leg of the claw.

As the lights and the sunlight dimmed, the band paraded its way toward the stage and everything faded into the glory that is U2. It was Even Better Than The Real Thing to watch Bono in those snuggly trousers on the big 360 screen! (I had been concerned that the high heat and humidity were delaying his ability to get the pants on for the show).

As the heat radiated up from the aluminum flooring though my aching feet, the oppressive heat pressed down on me. Luckily with the music came a great deal of fog and I think it added a cooler dampness to the air. Coupled with a slight breeze and a sheer will to live through this concert, I managed to focus in on the familiar tunes.

My eyes were glued to the 360 screen as it expanded down from the catwalks to form a funnel-shaped web around the band. Vertigo left me feeling off balance as the lights raced around and around in circles.
In line with my previous U2 concert experiences, they played One of my favorites for me in an early encore and reminded me of the wonderful experiences shared with my siblings at concerts past.

Another highlight for me was when they broke out the dualing disco balls to paint the stadium in shards of light for With or Without You. Oh, did I mention the astronaut message from a Beautiful Day at the space station? Simply magical.

I kept these hot feet firmly planted on the field through the very last drop of musical nectar before slowly inching off the field and flowing up the stairs toward the exit. Like a leaf caught in the current, I separated from my branch while fighting the waves of crowds. I managed to come swirling into an eddy right in front of our bus and landed my aching body back in my comfy seat.

As the bliss and tired rolled over me, we waited and waited for a lost member of our tribe before finally departing early Monday morning. It was earlier still when the bus finally lurched to a stop in the JC Penney parking lot and spit out its groggy occupants into the flood lights. And even earlier still after rinsing off and crawling into bed..three o'clock. The alarm sounded not too long after that and I'm glad to say it's almost time to call the game for today.

Through it all, I can't imagine passing up this opportunity.

Amazingly Spectacular

More to come on this. But I've rinsed away the grime of the day and probably should get a nap in before work.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Me Too!

Oops! I had another whirlwind couple of days.

I had a gluten overload, I believe. I went a few days without and then had way too much and was not feeling so hot. After another day of abstaining, I was feeling better. Not surprisingly, I've been doing fairly well allergy-wise even though I ran out if allergy meds. Worth pursuing.

I got my house whipped back into shape somehow after my long Wisconsin vacation and still had time leftover this weekend to go out to a movie, attend a U2 ticket giveaway party, and laugh to a little comedy show out in Riverton.

And as a super-special end of the weekend bonus, I was offered a ticket on the ALICE U2 bus to see the highly anticipated 360 tour in St. Louis! I'm sure the alarm will ring far too early tomorrow, but how could I pass up U2? When someone offers you a free ticket to see the best band ever, the answer has to be Yes! Me too! I want to see U2!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fruits of the Harvest

I really need a garden. I get so excited to harvest from my backyard and prepare meals from that harvest. I want more!

On top of making that bonus pesto last night (which I enjoyed by the spoonful right out of the blender), I made myself a tasty lunch using herbs from my patio container garden.

I cut a few gigantic leaves of mint, rolled them up, and cut them over a bed of lettuce (from my sister's garden), and then added a few apple slices to the top. I tossed the apple slices in a touch of lemon juice first to keep them from browning until lunch today.  Then I mixed together a dressing of oil, honey, and poppy seeds. I'm really addicted to this now. Thanks to my sis for getting that started!

While preparing dinner last night, I also was preparing a soup. Before vacation I stashed away two bags of frozen veggies (about a cup of veggie pulp plus cabbage, celery, and tomatoes). I pulled those out of the freezer and tossed them in my stock pot. I added a can of organic, no salt added diced tomatoes, three carrots, water and low sodium chicken bouillon. And I think the real delicious factor in this veggie soup, which has become a favorite for me, is all the parsley (fresh from my backyard), a little oregano, salt, pepper, and cumin. Oh how cumin makes everything savory.

I don't think I'll use veggie pulp again. I had this vision that it would just blend into the broth and thicken it. That did not happen. As a matter of fact, I kind of choke on it. Don't ask. I can be pretty sensitive. The soup is still delicious with it, but I like it without.

With a test cup of soup last night, three servings already in the freezer, and lunch today, it is the soup that keeps on giving. I love enjoying the fruits of my harvest.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Harvest

While Peanut was sniffing around the backyard tonight, I wandered over to the back fence to inspect the intruiging onion-looking plants in my back yard. I pulled one out and sure enough, it was garlic.
They are pretty tiny little bulbs, probably because I didn't care for them as I would if I had a clue what they were. For the past two years here, I thought they were onions and I was happy to mow them down considering my allergy to onions.
Touring my hosts' garden in Wisconsin, I recognized her scapes looked the same as my backyard "onions." I'm so happy they are garlic! I need to take better care of them this fall and winter.
For the time being, I'm going to try them fresh mixed with a pile of basil, some walnuts, oil, and parmesan...pesto!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

There Are No Words...

I just got home to a fantastic surprise from my landlord. Let me just tell you, this makes me want to move. And once I'm thinking about moving, that's a whole new story all together.

I had way too much time to think today, which usually puts me in a funk and this certainly doesn't help. I'm trying the vodka solution I hear so much about.

Welcome home.

Another Magical Moment

I don't believe I shared this yet.
I captured this photograph on my walk early in the week. This is the sign along the train tracks in front of the Mississippi at sunset. This is pretty much as magical as you can get.

So Sad

It is so sad to see a vacation coming to an end. I have had as much fun as possible here in Wisconsin.

I enjoyed pool time with the nieces complete with more and more jumping in by the girls and catching by the auntie. Pool time was followed by a delicious dinner made for me by my sis.  I also got to join in the family dinner out at a local establishment as a quick break from Catfish festivities.

My friends and I discovered some new Catfish festivities to keep us busy...bingo! And we had some traditional moments like the pancake breakfast followed by a walk to the river and dam tour lead by Kohlrabi. We topped it all off with a campfire or two after the crowds wore us out. Simply magical.

It will take me a few days to put it all into perspective.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Still Fun

Finished painting the folks' bathroom yesterday. Had a fantastic non-pool pool party at Blondy's complete with margaritas. Topped off the night with BWW and trivia. Enjoying a little splash park with the nieces before I'm off to the rest of my day!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Painting Day

Finished painting my parents' master bath today.

Road Home

Memory Lane

The Road To Perrot

4th of July Pics

 I juiced a watermelon for the picnic. Then I mixed it with a lime seltzer water. It was the perfect picnic refresher.
 My niece crawled up on my lap for some quality auntie time....or so I thought. When she hopped down I realized she peed on me. Thanks little buddy!
Relaxing after a change of pants and some lunch.

Truly A Vacation Day

I met my parents out for dinner tonight and my mom asked me "So, what did you do today?"

The answer was "Absolutely nothing."  I slept in a little. I worked out under the watchful eye of DJ Jazzy Jeff, the cat. I made a juice for breakfast although it was already pushing lunch. Then for good measure I brewed and extra strong pot of coffee and toasted an English muffin. It definitely should have been lunch time by then, but I was pretending it was still morning.

After lazing around, I finally motivated to get ready for the day. I stopped over at my parents' house to visit my Peanut and take a few pictures of the counter and tile in their master bathroom before flying off to La Crosse to pick out a paint for it. The mission: a light grey with brown undertones that had a darker cousin for the later painting of their bedroom. I believe it is officially mission accomplished.

After meeting my parents out for pizza and stopping at the theatre to pick up the paint supplies, I was back to their house to feed the Nut and start dismantling their bathroom. I feel like I made quick work of it. I started the project about seven thirty and was washing paint out of the brush by ten. Tomorrow I will have to stop over to do a little touch ups and clean up, but I think it is a pretty good looking grey with the pieces they already have in there. Hopefully the color I picked out for their bedroom will work as well. Luckily I won't need to do that during this vacation.

Tomorrow I may be back to lazing around. Man am I tired!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hot Fun In The Summer Sun

What would the Fourth of July be without a picnic?

When I was a kid, my family used to have a picnic with these farmer-family friends of ours. We would drive up to the top of a hill in the middle of a hay field for summer sun and cool breezes. We threw down an old, worn blanket and pulled our lunch from a picnic basket.

When I purchased my grandparent's house, I hosted a family Fourth of July picnic each year. My dad usually grilled out for me since I never learned how to use my grill until I decided my life was an adventure every day and it was about time...when I moved to Springfield. Because of my tendency towards overly planned and extreme party themes, it was a far cry from the picnics of my youth.

If it wasn't hot dogs, brats, and baked beans, it usually fell into the red, white, and blue category. I displayed salsa in red wine goblets and perched bowls of pasta salad on silver trays. We still ate at a picnic table in the back yard, but it was draped in red checkered cloth and you wiped away spilled ketchup and mustard with red cloth napkins.

Since moving to Springfield, my sister has taken up the reigns of hosting the big family backyard celebration. Her family has recently converted to a Paleo lifestyle and so family gatherings with food always take a little more planning. Having the celebration at their house, they were able to put out a completely Paleo picnic spread. Their kids could eat whatever they wanted and the rest of the guests enjoyed it just as much by the looks of their swollen bellies and droopy eyes after lunch.  I really enjoyed the bacon wrapped chicken skewers with my sister's homemade BBQ sauce and her potato salad with homemade mayo. She's quite crafty, that one.

The thing that stood out the most this Fourth of July holiday for me was that it doesn't matter if you are eating out of a basket on a hill, from silver trays, or enjoying healthy food. It is the company you keep. It is poking fun of your backwards Pete uncle, telling the same jokes we've heard for years, and watching the kids playing with bubbles or swinging on the swings. And laughter. There is always a healthy dose of laughter.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sun Sets

After an almost twelve-hour recovery nap from Rock the Dock, I was feeling practically good as new. I still had a headache, but I popped a few pain killers and I was off to the races again.
I packed, did a load of laundry and dishes. Then I hauled my car full of Rock the Dock casualties back to the station to unload and prepare for a vacation. By 530 I was heading back home to pack up my Peanut and the car.
I caught a glimpse of this gorgeous sunset heading North on I39. Sunsets are by far the best part of every day! Today the sun was setting on overtime hours. Tomorrow it will rise over vacation!

Rock the Dock

Yesterday we had this big fireworks extravaganza at Lake Springfield Marina. This year I didn't have to arrive until 8 am! That was pretty sweet. I can't imagine if I had started at 530 like the previous year.
The beginning of the day started out fairly well. Porta potties, flat bed trailers, and generator were all there when I showed up. The dumpster came mid morning. The sound guys rolled in and began doing their thing. And a ferocious wind kept the heat from melting us.

My super-fantastic co-worker brought gyros for lunch and things began to go downhill. With all that energy my body was using to digest lunch, I began to short out. I wasn't finishing sentences and would forget what I was doing. This is where I think the heat stroke began.

I took a lunch break to head home for a shower and a change of clothes. Peanut got an outing and early dinner and then I headed back towards the marina. I checked into the hotel for the band and picked up ice for the coolers and arranged for more water. We definitely needed more water. My car thermometer read 95. They said the heat index could have been up to 107. I was fresh as a daisy for about ten minutes.
The gates opened at six and the family fun zone was hopping. People just kept pouring in and by fireworks time the lot was exploding at the seams.

For not liking fireworks, I have to admit it wasn't half bad. And the singer of Hairbanger's Ball sang the national anthem. Pretty cool. All the hair bangers seemed to enjoy themselves and the libations long after the last firework fizzled out.

Apart from having a little heat stroke, I'd have to say it was a great event. I gotta say... I love planning parties!

RTD

Friday, July 1, 2011

Holy Long Day Batman!

I'm so ready for a nap!
I had a hard time shutting down last night with a million things running through my head. I sent a reminder email off to myself and that seemed to help. But today I was dragging.
I started my day at the office at eight o'clock. I put out fires right and left and about eleven I finally got to the first thing on my to-do list for the day. Sigh.
I took a late, quick lunch to pick up a serpentine belt so my co-worker could replace it for me and save me some dough. It didn't work out, but I now have a spare serpentine belt in the car and was assured the existing belt is probably fine.
By five I was wrapping up the usual daily things. I spent the next hour and a half working on traffic logs that I normally would have to do on Friday. Then I moved on to organizing everything for the Rock the Dock festivities tomorrow.
I made a list of all the things I'll need to accomplish at work on Saturday to prepare for my vacation, packed up the Vue, and was heading home at eight thirty.
I used my two hours of free time to empty the dishwasher, prepare dinner (and three Italian Turkey meatloaves for the freezer), dye my hair, do laundry, and cut up leftover veggies for freezing.
Then I jetted off to the marina to tape off the parking lot (there are of course cars in our staging area a usual). The bike racks made for an easy job of it and soon we were sitting waiting for our deputy to show up to keep an eye on things for us.
By twelve thirty I pulled into my driveway. I had one last crafty project to accomplish tonight... wrapping and lettering boxes to hold the cotton candy cones. They look swell. I hope I spelled correctly in my delusional state. Then folding just two quick baskets of laundry. Finally I'm in bed and ready for my pre-Rock the Dock nap. Two oh five.
I can't wait to do it all over again tomorrow...times ten.

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