Monday, October 31, 2005

Two meals

Again, writing down what I have made recently since I tend to experiment a bit and not write enough down.

Chicken Pot Pie without the crust
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put chicken tenderloins into glas baking dish, sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil.
Add a can of cream of chicken soup, peas (put frozen peas in the microwave for a couple of minutes to thaw), green beans and carrots. (Future note, consider potato cubes)
Mix ingredients well.
Cover and cook for 50 minutes.

Salmon recipe from
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise and 1/2 cup mustard.
Stir in 1 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. oregano, and 1 tsp. basil.
Place 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets on a baking sheet, and spread with the mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle with 2 tsps dill weed or two taste.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the salmon is easily flaked with a fork.

I hope to get some knitting pictures up in the next couple of days!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Not surprisingly, it seems that many of the things recently that make me happy or annoyed have to do with control. Several things that I don't have control over make me annoyed, and I've gotten annoyed with myself for not controlling things I should. :-) That's probably an oversimplification, but that's the first thought that came to mind as I was pondering this blog entry.

I went for a walk yesterday, which made me happy. I didn't today, which was my choice but also caused me to be somewhat annoyed with myself for making the choice. But it was a trade off, because I spent two hours cleaning my desk which gave me a great sense of control and accomplishment. As I result, I felt like I should spend the rest of the day in to get as much done as I could before quitting time. Things are going to get busier. Hopefully not "work lots of overtime" busier...but busier. We will see how it goes. My hope was that cleaning my desk would help me start with a clean slate and make sure that any loose ends are taken care of before I get more overwhelmed with the main project I'm working on.

There are probably more examples of these "control" issues, but I need to get back to Rudy's Halloween costume. :-)

By the way, three years ago today Rudy proposed to me on the Oak Island Beach in North Carolina. Tomorrow is the sixth anniversary of our first official date and Rebecca's birthday. Happy Birthday, Rebecca!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Seeing a friend on the bus this morning helped to perk up my mood this morning - but the rain, the cold, my bloat and the fact that I have to go to a professional event this evening have me in a worse than usual mood. I don't dislike other professionals in my field - I'm just not in the mood to shmooze and the discovery that the skirt part of my black suit isn't any looser than it was the last time I wore it didn't help much either.

Last week's meetings combined with the cold and rain threw off my walking plan, and I have to force myself back on track tomorrow.

First song to come up on the iPod this morning (on shuffle) - "Sunset Boulevard (reprise)", 1993 Original London Cast, Patti Lupone and Kevin Anderson. Yesterday I allowed the iPod to shuffle through my entire collection, and I only got one christmas song, so I think I'm going to let it go again today...

Monday, October 24, 2005


There is nothing like spending all of Friday evening on the couch with your husband, your kitties and your knitting. Especially when knitting cute baby clothes that come together in no time and when a formerly misbehaving kitty is the only purring in your lap. Looking forward to posting some pictures after the baby presents have been given!

I made two cakes this weekend for the house tour thank you party. I haven't used the kitchen aid stand mixer that we got as a wedding present nearly enough - it totally rocks for making cake batter! No standing there with the hand mixer for 4-5 minutes trying to get a nice even batter. Just move the lever, and then go start cleaning up or preparing the pan.

I also used the art deco bundt cake pan that we (really, I) registered for at Williams-Sonoma. It make the cake look very impressive, and the cake popped right out when I turned it over. I do enjoy baking and cooking - moreso when I have a day like Saturday when there was nothing else I had to do really.

No real excitement to report otherwise. The party was nice on Saturday. Nora insisted on sleeping in my lap for most of Sunday afternoon - so I oraganized the files on my laptop until I couldn't take it anymore and had to go get my knitting. She returned to my lap within ten minutes of sitting back I probably should have gone up for my knitting sooner. :-)

Oh, and I made meat sauce last night that Rudy really enjoyed. So here is a note to myself about what I threw together:
Ground Beef, Basil, Salt, Pepper, Mom's Pasta Sauce - Special Marinara flavor

He hasn't enthusiastically commented on anything I've made in a it is good to keep track of what gets rave reviews...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Catching up

I feel like there is the chance that I have a handful of "dedicated" readers of my blog and I have been letting that small group down. Let's see what I can do to feel better about it. :-)

Last friday, a CMU friend, Larry, came over for dinner. He was in town to recruit and I had been planning to finish cooking the brisket that evening, so a small dinner party was born. We ate at the dining room table and everything - *gasp*. The brisket turned out well - the only snag was that we had stubborn potatoes that refused to cook quickly. I had meant to throw them in the microwave for a bit to get them going and I forgot. I'll remember next time...probably.

Early saturday was too busy. We drove out to the Mt. Pleasant area to see the progress on Janice's cabin. We knew the time would be tight, but an accident on the road slowed us down even more and we probably should have headed out earlier. But we had sufficient time to walk through the cabin and talk about issues that Janice wanted to review. We will find another time to go when we can hang out a bit more...but we both really wanted me to see the place before too much more is done.

We had to rush back to town so I could go downtown to see "Joseph..." and Rudy had an appointment to give blood. I got there five minutes before curtain and he didn't have enough to eat, but it worked out well enough. The show was good, although very much over the top. But given that the plot really isn't all that extensive and the music is good, I'm not complaining. It was certainly a lot better than 80% of the Broadway Series shows from last year and the "over the top" aspect gave it a broadway feel. The funniest part was the finale - a change into sparkly costumes, remix versions of the shows songs and lots of changing lots and fog - "Joseph..." meets the club scene! :-) The next show is the Rockettes. I'm intrigued, but it is probably the show in the series that I am anticipating the least. Maybe it will help get me in the holiday spirit in time for Thanksgiving.

Saturday night we watched "Team America" on DVD. Very enjoyable - and I got the bear knitted except for the eyes and nose! I also started another knitted xmas present. Sunday I got to sleep in a little and take a walk with Rudy, but the rest of the morning and early afternoon was devoted to preparing for my work trip. I met my coworkers downtown at 3:30 and we drove to Bradford, PA. They took us out for a lovely dinner at Glendorn ($$$$) and I had a little time to watch the end of Crossing Jordan and watch the 11pm news from buffalo before settling into my king bed at one of the only two hotels in town.

Monday was a long day of meetings and driving back to Pgh, but during the two car rides I got quite a bit of knitting done on two xmazs presents. I think this entry is going to get more and more boring if I keep updating my week like this. So to wrap up - tuesday night was the house tour wrap up meeting and wednesday night we went out to shogun with a bunch of friends.

Walking hasn't happened this week, unfortunately. Monday I was in Bradford, Tuesday I was in Greensburg, Wednesday i got to work too late and today I should have gotten here earlier (technically I could have gone, but I hate getting home less than an hour before the HPCC meeting). I think tomorrow night is free, so I will force myself to work tomorrow and I should probably bring a heavier coat with me. :-)

Lastly, I finished Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince this week. I made the mistake of reading the last few chapters on the bus and at work. I managed not to cry, but it wasn't easy. Good book. That's the closest together I've read any two HP books. I think I'm glad I have a little break until the next one. I've also been thinking about going back to read the others, now that I have the perspective of the later ones. (Kind of like going back to watch Star Wars 4, 5 and 6 after seeing #3.)

I think I'm still convinced that somehow Snape is going to turn out to be on the good side, but it is not as easy to believe as it was before. And part of that could just be my attraction to Alan Rickman (damn movies!). Either way, I am looking forward to the fourth movie (so far, #4 is my favorite book) and I'm glad the books have gone in the direction they have. Like "Serenity", there is an increased urgency and emotional commitment when you feel like *anyone* could be lost at any time.

Enough rambling. I'll try to be a little more on top of this in the coming week.

Friday, October 14, 2005

So cheap they wrinkle...

Warning - "girly topic"

In the past I have generally purchased all of my panty hose from Victoria's Secret. While this may seem excessive, they are extremely good quality and only a few dollars more per pair than the options at the department stores.

In a recent attempt to be frugal (and avoid the temptations of shopping in Shadyside), I've purchased my panty hose from Kaufmann's and CVS. The ones from CVS are *extremely* cheap - they are so stiff (and plastic-y) that when I pulled the last pair (thank goodness) out of the drawer this morning it was actually wrinkled! *shiver* I am praying for a runner today so I can throw them in the trash tonight. Or I might throw them away anyway.

The ones from Kaufmann's are okay, but half of them have gotten runners on their second wearing. Not a great track record, and if that pace continues I will soon have no viable options left.

I will be returning to Victoria's Secret to buy panty hose at my next opportunity.

End "girly topic"

(I tried to use the geeky html symbols to represent the beginning and end of the "girly topic", but everything written between the carrot parentheses didn't show up in the post...)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A few updates

Exercise: I walked every day at lunchtime last week except thursday (I had zero motivation that day...) and both days so far this week. Saturday we went to the mall, so I think I came close to the requisite number of steps then, too. Sunday there wasn't any official walking, but it did seem like I went up and down the steps many, many times while straightening up the house. Last night I went to the gym, too. :-)

Knitting: Another purse is ready to be felted and I'm more than halfway done with my first knitted bear. It seems to be going well, although a friend made a disaster of a bear, so I'm not going to be confident until he's closer to being finished.

Reading: I started Harry Potter #6 last night. The danger is that I have trouble putting it down once I we'll see how much else I can get done until it is finished.

Homecoming: Plans seem to be well-established for the S'n'S events at Homecoming this year. Still a few issues to work out, but since we're just playing a tape of the award presentation, I don't have any VIPs to take care of. There is still much I would like to do with S'n'S alumni that I haven't...but I'm not sure that I'm ever going to find the time to make it happen without support from fellow alumni. Steven and I are committed to seeing the award continue, but beyond that I'm not making any promises. I'm tired of being disappointed by everyone else.

Highland Park House Tour: One meeting left to summarize the tour, make lists of what worked and what we would have done differently, and to plan the party! Then freedom!

Halloween: Rudy and I might actually be dressing up this year...imagine that!

Food: We bought pork tenderloin with apple and raisin stuffing at Whole Foods on Monday night - YUM! And, I plan to make my first ever brisket this week. The family recipe (one of the few passed down on my mom's side) is pretty straightfoward, so I expect to get the usual yummy results.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tiny Bit of Guilt

So Stewart is *our* cat and from the beginning Rudy and I were introducing him to the house, giving him his first bath, playing with him and welcoming him to his new home (not quite in that order) together. But, it seems clear that Stewart tends to favor me.

I realize that I didn't do anything to encourage this, and it is probably at least partially because Stewart's previous owner was a single female...but I still feel a little bad.

Of course, Effie still loves Rudy to pieces and it's not like Stewart dislikes him. He just chooses me to walk on at 4am. :-)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Something I should mention

I probably won't be talking about knitting much for a while. I'm working on Christmas presents and various other presents for people who might be reading this blog.

I will say that the hooded pullover from Vogue Knitting's fall issue is going well (I started the front last night), but I probably won't work on it much as long as I have presents going.

I am hopeful that once the holidays have passed, I will not only spend more time on here talking about knitting, but I will also find time to post pictures.


...I have been cooking again.

For a while now, I just haven't been. Rudy and I have been "fending for ourselves" when we are hungry. We haven't starved, but we have probably both snacked to much just because it is faster when there isn't a meal prepard. I'm sure that the local coffeeshop has gotten more of our business, too.

I have no desire to cook *every* night or become the next Rachel Ray, but I do want to come up with a reasonable "rotation" of meals that I can make fairly quickly and confidently. And I'd like to learn some uses for some of the unique fruits and vegetables I see at Whole Foods - in a way that Rudy will actually eat them. :-) And I just want us to get into the habit if eating well-balanced meals.

Also, I have a great kitchen-aid mixer that I've only used abut 3 times in 2 years, and I need to get off my butt and find some recipes I can use it to help with. The other sad item is that I didn't make any ice cream this summer...and soon it will be too cold for it.

My random thoughts about food for the day.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Beginning the holiday dread...

I should begin by saying that I enjoy the holidays. I like the time spent with families, I like the time off from work and I like the general "spirit" and "flavor" of the season. I'm definitely happy that Starbucks has the pumpkin spice latte available again (although I'm certainly not going overboard and it is not as exciting as it once was now that I have found chai) and I am a fan in general of the cool fall weather.

But by the year, I am becoming less-enamored with christmas presents. I'm really not trying to sound scroogy...but the past few years, especially being responsible for presents for two sets of families, it has stopped being fun. More and more, I am feeling like Rudy and I just don't need that much stuff. And the things that we do need (clothes, home depot supplies and supplies for our various hobbys) are not the right kind of thing to put on a christmas list, other than the obviuos list of gift certificates. So I find that our lists are primarily CDs, DVDs and books. Now, these are things that we enjoy a lot, but it just seems kind of boring, and getting some family members to actually look at our wishlists is just never going to happen.

Then there is the problem of getting presents for others. I like to get things that I know the recipient can find useful. Not something that just sits around or just looks pretty. And there is something bad about buying people food related presents when you know they don't really need them. Then, of course, there are Rudy's relatives who I have found to be impossible to shop for the past couple of years. They all seemed to like last year's gifts, but now I have to come up with more.

And yes, I did do some knitted presents last year and I can do more this year (not quite so last minute), but that's not going to last forever. And there are some people that I just can't come up with the *right* present for, knitted or not.

So, I guess there is a part of me that would like to say, "No presents, let's just all hang out." Or maybe "immediate family only."

Then there is the dilemma of friends (some of whom may be reading this). There is a part of me that would like to do more for my friends around the holidays, especially those that I haven't seen since the wedding and my relatively "new" Pittsburgh friends. But maybe I just need to do a better job with the holiday card (which was skipped last year) and do something for local friends that is less about "stuff" and more about spending time together.

This is all coming out because I need to buy yarn for the christmas presents that i know I want to make. I either need to make time for shopping in person (more fun) or do some online ordering soon. I need to get a move on with those...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

5130 steps

Walked with Rudy this evening. It was too nice a night to be inside at the gym. :-)

6400 Steps

If I can trust this pedometer. Considering how much further I walked today than yesterday, it seems like it was more than 200 steps more.

I probably made a mistake getting the pedometer that was least obtrusive and not the one with the best reviews. When there is a little extra cash sitting around, I might trade up for better results.

Music was definitely part of the reason I moved along a bit further today. But I came back to the office with a sweaty head...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Jail trail

6229 steps, 2.55 miles

(BTW, I probably walked 15-16,000 steps on Saturday, but the pedometer wasn't working well since I was stopping and starting so much, so I stopped using it.)

Pros of the jail trail:
It is an 11 minute walk from my desk. No stopping and starting at intersections. I can walk "out" 30 minutes and then"back" 30 minutes. No traffic, so I can safely use my iPod.

No shade (this might be a plus in the winter, but at the moment it makes for a warm-hot walk. Next time I'll have more water before I leave...). Lots of nearby highway traffic. Walking past the jail and the greyhound station.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

It's over

Similar to a wedding, the last week before a large planned public event is full of lots of phone calls, last minute details and craziness. Also, much distraction during the work day, so no blogging when I needed to be working...

The tour went well. We're still working on the final count of attendees, but it's probably 750-800 plus the 90 volunteers and 10 homeowners families. It was a long, busy day. My cell phone ended up being the "information line" for the day, so I gave directions to the church about 40 times and answered lots of other questions.

I was at the King Estate most of the day. I left for an hour in the early afternoon to see about half of the other homes - very quickly. Otherwise, I was there until 5:45 when I went to the church to help with ticket clean-up. There were a few issues with the volunteer shift change and at the worst point (other than a few groups who were accidently skipped) the wait was about 45 minutes to get in. I only dealt with one upset person and some other grumbly ones. We did our best to make people happy and I think we did a good job with a difficult house.

And I'm very happy it is over.

Today I've started some new knitting projects, felted the kitty bed and a purse, did some other laundry and watched Sense and Sensibility (twice, once with commentary and once without). Rudy went to see "Serenity" a second time tonight. I needed some more down time this evening, but if he goes for a third time, I'll probably join him.

We saw it for the first time on Friday night. It was a bit more violent than "Firefly", but still very enjoyable and with the same feel as the original. It introduced the characters with new scenes and got right to the action.

There is probably more to tell, but the West Wing is on and I want to get back to my knitting. :-)