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Monday, June 25, 2012

A Tale of Mystery And Intrigue

So my horoscope from tarot.com today was: Something unusual at work might give you the creeps today, as if you somehow walked on to the set of a bad science fiction movie. Thankfully, you're not frightened, since you don't sense any real danger, but you probably won't get much work done, either. Before you begin your regular tasks, you may need to investigate to see if you can uncover the source of the mystery. Enjoy playing detective without expecting anything fruitful to come of it right away. 


So intriguing! How do they know?


It was early afternoon today when that something unusual occurred. The mail was delivered by our normal mail carrier and was being dispersed by our regular front desk ladies...until one envelope caught the eye as it leaked a powdery white substance.  The question is, what would you do?


My employers played the safe card and treated it according to worse case scenario. Before I knew anything was amiss, I heard the air conditioning powered down, leaving a deafening silence to a practically vacant building. I finished what I was working on and got up to check out the situation. Most everyone was hanging in our front parking lot. Where was I for the evac notice?!? The doors to the mail room were closed to contain whatever the worst case scenario possibilities may be.


I could see several police vehicles and uniformed officers. It was about time I joined the anthrax party outdoors! What was that clingy, chalky feeling in my nose and throat? Paranoia? Perhaps. But I concluded fresh air may be the answer. My co-workers were cavorting with officers, planted on the grassy hillside, and tossing around a ball in the parking lot. All we needed were a few cold beverages and it would practically have been just another company outing.
Photo by Me.
It wasn't too long before the fire truck was rolling in and word of news trucks down the drive started filtering into our quarantine. After much seemingly standing-around-ness, these were the first two hazmat folks to penetrate the deserted  halls of the office to seek out that infamous envelope which had been neatly sealed inside a Ziploc bag and dropped like a hot potato in the mass exodus.

Photo by R. Hall.
They returned with good news, but the wait was still on. I think the hazmat folks were having a high old time in Riverton this afternoon and didn't want to call it quits too quickly. They sent the second wave of hazmat in disguised as the Ghost Busters just to throw off the news cameras watching through the trees. Nice boots boys!
Photo by W. Connelly.
Two waves and over two hours was all it took to determine that the mysterious envelope contained promotional match books. NOTE: matches will be crushed when fed through a mail sorter and the envelope will be damaged. And this may be the quickest and easiest way to shut down an office for an afternoon.

It was nearly five thirty by the time we were cleared to reenter the building. Just in time to shut everything down for the day. I high tailed it home to share my amazing story with Peanut. And I waved to the line of service folks up our drive and the news camera across the street. You will not take us today anthrax! (Cough, cough)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Big Fun Times!

I've been too busy having fun this week to blog!

I had a training out of town on Wednesday, followed by a mini Illinois Adventure to try out Obed & Isaac's finally. That's been on my adventure list for quite some time and I'm glad I finally made it there. They had a cider on tap for me and my companions enjoyed the stout and a dirty blonde, I believe. We all had several, so they must be pretty drinkable.

My companions also enjoyed a dip appetizer that looked good, but I didn't see anything I felt would be gluten free and safe. If I had been there for a meal, there would have been options for me, so maybe I'll need to revisit this adventure!

Thursday I welcomed a friend into her new apartment by graciously drinking there. It was a hot evening in the third floor walk up, but I had a great time. I threw together some tomato poppers and picked up a box of cheddar gluten-free nut crackers so I knew I'd have something to munch on. And my party companion purchased Crispin...a refreshingly light choice that hot evening...for a non-beer drinker. It was a great evening!

After a long day finishing off this crazy pre-event week, we began a (hopefully) new tradition of happy hour pool party! I slipped into my little black cocktail dress swim suit, packed up some snacks and sweet tea vodka, and headed to the pool to catch the last rays of the week.

We enjoyed cocktails and pool time until the sun went down and then we just kept hanging in there. We discovered the pool was even warmer in the cooler night air and so we took advantage of as much of the night as possible. It was a great...late...night.

Saturday was the planned pool day, so after sacking in and making a bountiful breakfast of eggs, bacon, and banana pancakes, I was packing my swim bag again! I knew I'd need to wait at least an hour after that meal before swimming, so I started out slowly with an Alto Vineyard Traminette spritzer. It was light and refreshing for a pool day.

After a cooler night and a clouded sky, the pool wasn't nearly as warm as the evening before, so a lot of time wasn't spent in it. I enjoyed the company and the relaxing afternoon, though. I even got another gluten free Godfather's pizza delivered directly pool side! How lucky am I?

I decided I needed to head home to my couch after that before I passed out in my lounger! And I made it just in the nick of time. I took a long couch nap before packing it in and heading to bed about ten o'clock!

I've had a crazy fun week! Today I really should get the house in order because I have another Illinois Adventure waiting for me this evening in Bloomington. I'm revisiting my college days with a little WWE. I'm sure I'll have more on that later!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

I finally went out to eat for a fancy restaurant gluten free pizza!

For the first gluten free taste testing Illinois Adventure, I selected Godfather's pizza. The gentleman behind the counter really sold me when he said it wasn't that great and that it was a frozen pizza.

Considering I was standing in the restaurant and my only other option would probably be the salad bar, I decided I would try it out anyhow. Pepperoni.

It actually really hit the pizza spot. I have a special place in my heart for pizza and this was pretty close to a normal pizza. I've tried out recipes for flax meal crusts and almond flour crusts at home, but nothing has been quite like this. I'm guessing it had a whole heap of potato and rice flours. I firmly believe they hold the magical deliciousness of gluten free baked goods.

I rounded out my Illinois Adventure evening with a tour of quiet out-of-the-way Springfield bars. Not too hard to find on a Monday night, but still a fabulously good time! I always love trying something new.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thanks!

My mom and dad traveled down to Springfield to watch my dog so I could getaway for a wine tour weekend. How lucky are we?

My mom found this lovely bunch of dried flowers for my porch. It is absolutely perfect! They also stocked me up and mowed my lawn while I was gone!

I returned from my getaway weekend to beef roast in the crock pot, an evening of theatre at the Muni, and popcorn at home. What a lovely way to spend fathers day!

Today we hit up the Charlie Parkers, but of course, and swung by the Farmers Market to browse the plant selection.

I ended up with a whole bunch of little things to add to my garden space and mom found a beautiful garden accent to take home.

I've sent them on their way north and I'm kicking up my feet for a little vacation time in my extended weekend before the afternoon sun lets up and I can get those plants in.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tickety Tick Tick Tock

Times a ticking away until the wine tour weekend! I was not as productive tonight as I had hoped. I did manage to pick up Peanut's food and throw a few things in a bag.

How much can one girl need on a two night stay a few hours from home? Hopefully just what I remembered to pack!

I even made an advance call to the B&B today to warn them of my gluten allergy. Look at me go learning the ropes! I just wish I didn't feel bad telling them I also have seafood allergies and dairy intolerance. I figure I can avoid those for breakfast right? I'm a hot mess of food allergies!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I'm Too Excited To Sleep!

It's getting to be a regular thing for me to stay up too late and get out of bed too late. I feel old admitting I miss the days when I hit the hay before 930. I just don't remember how I ever accomplished that. It seems I can find plenty to do to keep myself busy until the wee hours.
So even today when I was super exhausted by about 10am, here I am still awake and blogging just for the heck of it!
I'm heading out of town this weekend with a bunch of girls on a wine touring exploration. It isn't every day I can skip out of town on my little Peanut, so this is a pretty big deal. My folks are heading south to keep the pooch company all weekend and I'm free as a drunken bird!
I've got so much to wrap up in the next two days, but it will be sooo worth the little getaway. I'm practically too excited to sleep. Practically. As my little heavy eye lids flutter closed...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sun And Surf

I woke early this Saturday morning. It's the first Saturday in quite awhile, let me tell you. I was out and about sipping my coffee before nine! My weekend alarm was going off as I headed south.

I ventured into a completely new section of town to help a former co-worker move. Apart from the fact that the new apartment is on the third floor of a building without an elevator, it is quite lovely.

Thankfully they fed us lunch before we left, because I was out of steam for sure! Then we breezed through the grocery store for a little liquor and by early afternoon we were camped out by the pool.

The pool was cold and the sun was hot and those tired legs quickly became a distant memory. Some of the pool goers were making waves with canon balls and flippy dives. I merely road the waves on my floaty noodle.

It was an absolutely glorious afternoon. My skin is rosy with the afterglow of too much fun in the sun! But well worth it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lovely, Lovely, And More Lovely!

This whole retro disguised filing cabinet is really taking shape! Today I received my new file boxes from The Container Store (my new favorite thing in the entire universe). It's probably a good thing the delivery guy didn't know I got that excited about filing boxes.

Shortly after, I was en route to my house for a lunch break and to unwrap my goodies. Even though I measured everything carefully and spent a lot of time looking for the best boxes to utilize as much of the interior space as possible, I just had to get them into the cabinet to make sure they would fit.

And voila! Practically perfect.

I'm really excited to get the files out of grocery bags in my closet and get everything back in tip top shape...but obviously not excited enough to get it done today. After a slightly extended work day, I headed straight for my back yard. It was just too beautiful outside!

The yard got cleaned up, the grass mowed, and the plants (and my pants) watered before the sun sunk down. I really need some lounge furniture in my back yard to enjoy it! I've got this beyond brilliant idea to remedy that with regular visits to the Restore. I'm obviously good at falling in love with reasonably priced old school gems (Did I mention the filing boxes cost about $52 MORE than the cabinet?!?). I have high hopes for a dining table ready for an outdoor makeover.

So the filing is slotted for another day. I feel as though there is going to be a lot of editing in the refiling process. I probably should get a good night's sleep to be fully energized for the challenge!

To be continued...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Steak And Mushroom Gravy

I'm not sure I ever posted the recipe for the Christmas Eve Steak. I have since removed all traces of gluten from the recipe and so it needs to be reposted anyhow!

This is the tastiest gravy for steak. I just enjoyed it tonight with cube steak. This is a lonely girl serving.

1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 oz sliced mushrooms (or as many as I have on hand!)
1 clove garlic, pressed

1 steak of your choice
1/8 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp arrowroot powder
1/4 C beef broth
1/8 C red wine (or I found 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar as an excellent substitute when I was Whole30)
dash of salt and pepper to taste

1. Turn oven on to warm.
2. In a skillet, melt coconut oil over medium heat.
3. Add mushrooms and garlic and saute until browned. Remove from heat.
4. Meanwhile, season steak with garlic salt and pepper.
5. Heat olive oil in pan still over medium heat. Cook steak 5-6 minutes per side or almost to desired doneness is achieved (I'm a well done girl and it will continue to cook as you finish the gravy).
6. Place steak in warm oven.
7. Add arrowroot powder to pan. Mix with oil until slightly browned.
8. Gradually add broth and whisk until smooth.
9. Add wine. Salt & pepper to taste.
10. Return mushrooms to sauce and heat through.
11. Remove steak from oven and top with mushroom gravy.

Good enough for Christmas Eve Dinner or a Monday night cube steak. Yum!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tending the Garden

So in my selfless way, last weekend I helped my mother weed her garden and stole a whole lot of plants from her! As expected this last week was a whirlwind of abstract busyness.

So after staying out late after work last night at a client event and the big Soho party downtown, I did what any respectable plant thief would do and slept in. I slept like a criminal who knew she had made it across state lines and was safe from scrutiny of unexpected plantlife in the back of her SUV.

After a lazy start and creative cooking considering the empty fridge, I started throwing some of those plants in the ground. I found a little corner in an existing front flower bed for one of the groups of phlox. Hopefully a sunny spot for a few phlox to thrive.

A few more were nestled in between new perennials in the back flower bed. Then I prepared two planters for the tall grasses and a couple impatiens each. The begonias became beautiful hanging baskets, and the rest of the impatiens snuggled in a long planter on the front stoop.

Tomorrow I have the task left of finding homes for about a hundred iris bulbs, digging out a shade flower garden, and mulching. Hopefully I'll snap a good picture or two of my handiwork!

Perhaps this gardener needs to start earlier tomorrow! I'm already at an advantage with a stocked fridge and the weekend alarm set.

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