Sunday, July 19, 2009



This weekend was a little slice of perfect.

To begin with, the weather was beautiful, anyone on the Eastern Seaboard in the Mid-Atlantic would agree. (How would I know, they could be having hurricanes in Florida.)

#1 Husband and I spent a lazy morning on Saturday complete with homemade breakfast and lounging about on the computers. Then I packed a blanket and a lunch. You know what that means...Picnic!

We loaded up our bikes and went in search of a trail. Nothing presented itself other than the old standby of the W&OD Rail Trail, so we set off. We biked a round trip of 9 miles with a stop at a lovely, if very small, park for lunch.

Following this display of outdoorsyness, we were back home and awaiting our guests. The Ahrens' clan came over for homemade pizza, Lambrusco, watermelon eating, and baby coddling. It was nice. There's even fab new pics of the dead fish hat to show for it!

Then Sunday we jetted off to the olde homestead for archery target shooting with Dad. I got my bow fixed up and got to use my new arrows. They are lovely! And I didn't shoot too bad either.

We capped off tonight with a cookout on the porch.
So, sigh... I'm wiped out!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I am vain and superficial

I got my diamond ring back from the jewelers last night! I was so excited, I missed it.

A couple of weeks ago I took my engagement band in to the jewelers for its regular cleaning and inspection. They dump it into the little cleaning machine and poke the diamonds to make sure they're not loose.

The nice clerk offered to send it away to have the rhodium plating cleaned and I said no thanks! I like my ring and didn't really prefer being without it. So she said fine, took it away to test the diamonds. She came back, said, "Ha! we have to send it away anyway, two of your stones are loose." Well, she didn't really say ha, but the rest is true. So, they sent the ring out for service and I picked it up last night.

It is so freaking beautiful. I had forgotten how nice it looked when I first got it. The rhodium plating is as bright and shiny as ever and all of the scratches are gone! I missed my ring, but it was SO worth it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hiking in Shenandoah National Forest

Wow! Look what post I forgot to finish!!


It only took 3 days. But, after 3 days, the aches and pains from my weekend of hiking are gone.

This past weekend #1 husband and I went with Kelly and Dad Buck on a hiking trip. This was preceded by a week of getting supplies together, no mean feat since we had never been hiking before. We started with boots, neither of us had a good pair. I got a pair of Keens on sale at R.E.I. - go me!

Then it was off to the wilds of West Virginia to borrow from the Ahrens' stash of supplies. We got backpacks (a must for backpacking, don't you know), sleeping bags, a camelbak, and assorted goodies.

Next we went out to Kelly's place to dig through her stuff. She managed to get a loan (thanks Laura!) of a tent (ours was way too huge to consider backpacking with), another sleeping mat, and more assorted goodness. We were all tricked out.

After being re-thinking our location due to heavy rains (wow has it been a wet Spring!), we settled on Shenandoah National Forest in Virginia.

First, I had never been down Skyline Drive. It was phenomenally beautiful. Evidence:

We arrived, after several detours that were totally not my fault, at our trailhead around 2PM on Saturday. Happily (as it turned out), our trail didn't have a spot for camping, it was pure day trip. That meant that we didn't have to haul in all of tents and supplies (that's the happy part), which was essentially water and food.

Our trail went down and down eventually following a creek and running past waterfall after waterfall. So. Lovely.

Of course, since the first half of the trail was down, down, down, it doesn't take a scientist to figure out that the second half was up, up, up. Woof. I thought it was impossible, but I made it.

We got to our campsite, which was huge and packed, and unpacked. Since we weren't hiking in, it was pretty posh. We brought a giant tent which slept 4 adults, 1 dog, all of the hiking gear and a big rubbermaid tub. It was a BIG tent. Kelly made a marvelous supper which was better than I often get from my kitchen.

I slept like I had worked hard that day or something. Woke up with the sun and it was a perfect morning. Nice and cool with the sun very bright. Kelly cooked again and we ate Well.

Wow, my hips are feeling a little achy. I must have really pushed myself.

We set off early on Sunday for our second day of hiking. As we were all kind of whiny, we were planning a shorter hike - this time on the top of a ridge instead of down in a valley. I'm so glad! I saw such different scenery between day one and day two, it was awe inspiring for me.

AND I hiked a part of the Appalachian Trail! There's something I can scratch off of my bucket list.

This was such an amazing view!

We packed it in after lunch on the trail and headed back. I had a definite spring in my step at this point. We were almost done, and I was worn out!

After loading up the truck, I settled in to the back seat with the Bailey's head (that's the dog) on my lap. Kelly drove and drove until she decided that she couldn't drive another mile without custard in her life. She found a likely stand in Front Royal and we got out of the truck. Except I felt like a was going to fall out of the truck.

My hips had seized up in the worst way and I was in some serious pain. Sadly, in defiance of the yummy custard, this pain stayed with me for 3 days! I had a flare up of bursitis in my hips which made me and the baby Jesus weep in the corner. But I worked through it, and thankfully everyone else was content to listen to my moaning without giving me TOO much grief over it.

I'm ready to go out and buy my own equipment now though. The pain was worth it. Hiking was excellent. I loved the company, the scenery, eating food cooked on a fire, sweating, bitching, breathing fresh air.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

A real post about Spring Rolls

Because the first batch were a reasonably good hit, I decided to make Spring Rolls again. These are soft rolls in the Vietnamese style. And this time, I have pictures.

And we're off!

This is Rice Paper, but you could see that because you're observant. It's very stiff like plastic when you buy it.

These are the rest of the supplies. Noodles (I used rice noodles.), Cooked Shrimp, Sliced Avocado tossed with some lime juice, Romaine Lettuce Leaves, and Cilantro leaves

Step 1:
First you have to dip the rice paper in a bowl of water to soften it up. This only takes a few seconds, the water keeps working even after you've taken it out of the bowl.

You can see it goes from stiff to soft and will fit into the bowl. When this is done, pull it out and let it drip a bit before placing it on your work surface.

Step 2:
The blank slate.

Step 3:
This is the soft rice paper with a small handful of cooked noodles in the middle. What you see is what you get. It's time to layer the goodness on.

Step 4:

Step 5:

Step 6:

Step 7:
Now that all of the goodies are layered up on the rice paper, it's time to fold it up. I liken it to folding a burrito, but I don't know if I fold burritos correctly, so your mileage may vary. At any rate, first fold the sides in.

Step 8:
Next you will fold one end up over your stuffings. It's important to get this as tight as you can without breaking the rice paper. It's not likely, but it is possible, so beware. Continue to roll the rest of the way up pulling the center tight in as you go.

Step 9:Voila! The finished product.

Now wrap your rolls individually in plastic wrap (I roll two to a sheet, just make sure they're not touching each other because they stick.). Stick these beauties in the fridge to chill for awhile before eating. If you eat them right away they explode on you. Ask me how I know.

They are delicious served with a sweet chili sauce which I got out of a bottle. Also good with a nummy peanut sauce which I haven't even bothered to look up a recipe for yet.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring Rolls

No, I didn't take any pictures. Learn to deal.

I did, however, make Vietnamese Spring Rolls and they didn't suck! I followed this easy how-to I found on and made some tasty treats. Here's a basic recipe that I didn't follow at all.

I used some rice noodles (I don't think that's the right thing to use, but they cook really fast and are tasty), avocado (which I splashed with lime juice), shrimp (sauteed in some Newman's Balsamic Sesame Dressing), and fresh cilantro.

They were bone easy to make and tasted alright. Note, they are better if you wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and let them chill in the fridge for awhile. I ate a "fresh" one right after rolling it and the noodles sort of exploded out. Still tasted fine, but messy.

I picked up some sweet chili sauce at the market and that was a lovely dipping sauce that was happily no points (unlike the yummy peanuty sauce you get in the restaurant). I sent some with #1 husband today for lunch, we'll see how he liked them!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

RIP Andy Hallett

I just discovered that Andy Hallett, of "Angel" fame, died this week from heart failure. He was an amazing find for Joss Whedon and made the show something special for me.

So, in tribute to Lorne the Host:


Getting comfortable

I've been with #1 Husband in our new apartment for 2 full days now. I think I'm feeling pretty comfortable with the whole thing. We're hanging curtains and artwork, adjusting and re-adjusting the layout of the kitchen cabinets, and sleeping well at night. All in all, things have gone more smoothly than I could have hoped for.

Last night we hosted our first dinner wherein I cooked one of my favorite dishes for my parents. Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables. Turned out pretty perfect. Whew! I still get a little uptight cooking for them.

After they left we had our lovely neighbors over for a glass of wine and a movie. "The Duchess" was okay for a very period drama set in the 1700's. And yeah, that's about all I can say about that. I really like the acting, but the story seemed quite disjointed to me.

Today is errands and cooking followed by a party; those are actually my favorite kind of days. I can't wait to see and meet all of the babies that have sprung up in my circle of friends. I guess people are reaching that age. Thank goodness they are taking up the slack and giving birth because me? not so interested in that. Instead I can be the great spoiling Auntie. Woot!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lots of updates, but no updates

So there's a lot going on in the life of Me. (And I say Me with a capital "M" because I'm vain like that.) I've resigned from my happy desk job of 2+ years at Young Audiences. But with good reason, not because, like, I hate these bitches or anything. The good reason is that #1 Husband got a new job in NOVA!

We're quite happy that he was able to secure a job on pretty much his first interview. Not quite sure who was most happy, but the audible whooshing sound of relief was heard, I'm sure.

So, we're packing up the apartment and moving Nor
th. We've been planning and packing for about a month (which is amusing considering how little stuff we have), but this last week has sort of come up in a rush. There will be multiple trips back and forth (even though it's 3.5 hours!) due to the fact that I wanted to give YAV a full month's notice and I'm not out of here until the middle of next week.

No, really, stop laughing, I am.

So I'm officially out of a job in a week. I'm going to us
e a little time to get used to the area we're moving too, etc. but then I need to make some big decisions. Jobs are important, but do I spend time and money finally going back to school for my degree? Do I look in a new career field? Do I try to do both at the same time?

I just don't know.

At any rate, exciting times are ahead. I can hear them getting ready to whoosh by.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nara Sushi is the best sushi

I think I have visited American sushi Nirvana. It was actually pretty easy to get to, right off of Independence Avenue in Virginia Beach.

Drum roll please...........................

Nara Sushi

Jess and I went to Nara Sushi, highly recommended, for the Omagaze (Omakase) dinner. I've wanted to eat Omakase since I read the book, "The Zen of Fish" by Trevor Corson. This is essentially a chef's choice dinner. You sit down, tell the chef what you love or don't prefer and they serve up plate after plate of deliciousness.

First dish:
Nara Special Soup. This was essentially a wonton soup with a dumpling instead of a wonton and loads of cabbage, spring onion, mushrooms and carrots. Piping hot.

Second dish:
Cute lil' shumai.

Third dish:
Sashimi appetizer of thinly sliced Rockfish and Salmon. This was served with minced ginger and scallions with some lite soy.

Fourth dish:
Black Marlin Sashimi with soy sauce and touch of hot oil. Each slice had some fresh basil and minced ginger on it. I believe the chef hit this one with a little blowtorch before handing it off to us.

Fifth dish:
Tuna Carpacio served on a bed of mixed greens with capers, sundried tomatoes, a little bit of seaweed salad and a balsamic reduction. The balsamic was so sweet, it was delicious with the tangy capers and mellow tuna.

Sixth dish:
The Ragin' Cajun Roll. Our first maki roll of the night was wild. The kind of huge thing I don't usually go for but in this case adored. Let's see if I can describe it.
- The plate was liberally sauced with about 5 different things: mayo, cock sauce, wasabi mayo, and a couple of other sweet and spicy sauces.
- Asaparagus, tuna and maybe something else, rolled up tight.
- Topped with a large helping of tempura "crunchies"
- Topped with I think 5 different kinds of roe. I wish that I knew their names!  There was a red one, a green one, a yellow one, a black one, and flying fish roe.

Seventh dish:
The Tropical Stack. This monstrosity would have killed Kelly, but Jess and I enjoyed it on her behalf. It was so pretty, and looked just like the picture. Okay, picture this:
- A round presentation of Tuna on a spicy sauce
- Topped with Mango
- Topped with Avacado
- Topped with Lobster Tail
- Topped with Shredded Daikon
- Topped with Sprouts
- Topped with Bright Red Roe
Topped by the two of us drooling before we demolished this dish.

Eighth dish:
Second roll - Spicy Crab Roll. This probably has a very cute name, but I couldn't always understand Chef Eric. This inside out roll had spicy crab and avacado topped with alternating tuna and salmon. Jes liked the tuna best. I liked the whole thing in my stomach happily digesting.

Ninth dish (that's right NINE):
I have no idea what I just ate. It was some kind of inside out roll with loads of flying fish roe on the outside topped with some chunks of some kind of white fish, broiled with an amazing sauce on top of that. Holy Sweet Mother Mary. If I wasn't so stuffed by this point I probably could have formed more coherent thoughts.

We had a dainty little Creme Brulee and a sampling of Mochi Ice Cream in strawberry, mango and green tea.

Dessert #2:
The chef finished us off with an orange, arranged very prettily and topped with a little space ship made of orange peel.

If you made it to the end of this menu, you'll understand why I waddled out satisfied. We usually eat fast, but we spent a leisurely hour and a half or so over this meal. You'll also have noticed the single picture of the last dish presented to us. Sadly, all the while lamenting the lack of a camera, my camera was in my purse. Dammit.

I guess we'll have to go back and do it again, and get pictures this time.

Thank you, sugar, for an excellent early Valentine's Day dinner. You're the best.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vote for this guy

Okay, this is my friend's mom's boyfriend. You should vote for him for White House Farmer because:
a. we need one
b. this is the closest you will come to knowing the guy that got picked.

Vote for Shepherd Ogden.

Circulate people, circulate!

Friday, January 9, 2009

I've got the joy joy joy

Number 1 Husband should be landing this afternoon.  After four and a half long months he'll be home with no more deployments.  Ever.

Needless to say I'm giddy.  Don't know how I'm going to get through a day of work!

Thanks to everyone for their calls, emails, texts and well wishes.  We are both excited and ready to get on with the next part of our lives.  That part is almost as exciting as him coming home!

We'll be slowly getting up to speed as he looks for a job and adjusts to being a civilian again.