Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In Which It's Finally Christmas

We LOVE Christmas. Its just been a bit hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year, I don't know if it is the 70 degree weather, the fact that we had a pretty non existent Thanksgiving, or the events last week that make celebrating a bit hard. (Luckily there are bright people to help us process. I particularly liked these thoughts. 1 2 3 4)

I have been dutifully listening to Christmas music, doing my shopping, and wearing my adjustable Santa's Hat and today I finally managed to convince our lagging half that it is indeed Christmas. The conversation went something like this...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Funny

 It's Friday!! 

 And it's almost Christmas!! 

 And what says Christmas more than 


love to ya'll. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Birthday Shout Out

Hey friends in the Blogosphere!

Did you know that today is my momma's birthday? Yup, she gets to celebrate her birthday on 12.12.12. Too bad she isn't turning 12. Or born in 1912. But I guess that would just be awkward for me. 

Happy Birthday Mom!

Thanks for showing me unconditional love at times when I possibly didn't deserve it, teaching me that its okay to try new things while baking and while making friends, and showing my sister and I that nothing was going to stop us from chasing our dreams - especially the fact that we were girls.

(Thank you also for giving me the big Harper head. At least it isn't as big as this cabbage.)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Recipe Book Challenge Numero Uno

So far I have checked one thing off my list and watched "Dude, Where's My Car" which was just as silly as I thought it would be.

One of my goals this year was to cook something out of each of my cookbooks, which is going to be an interesting and delicious quest. 

The first on my list was a total gimme, a family recipe I go to whenever I need a slice of home (get it, cuz its a pie?). Its from a Dutch cookbook called "Eek Smakelijk". Don't ask me what that means, its Dutch people! This cookbook is old and belonged to my Grandma. Its from like way long ago. I know that because in the recipe book it says the recipe was submitted by Mrs. Ken Kleis. And it calls for margarine  Which I never use cuz all I have in my fridge is actual butter and some hippy spread that is supposed to taste like butter.

This is the best apple pie, ever, ever, ever. 

Dutch Apple Pie

9" Pastry shell
5-6 tart apples sliced (Marty likes them peeled too)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon (I always use way more)
2/3 cup flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c margarine (or actual butter)

Preheat oven to 425. Combine applies, sugar and cinnamon and place in pie shell. Mix flour, brown sugar, and butter until crumbly. I always make a very generous portion of the topping. Sprinkle over apples and bake 15 mins. Reduce heat to 375 and back 35 mins more. In my old funky oven it takes longer.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

Feel Good Friday

There are many reasons to feel good today.

1) Its almost Christmas. And I L-O-V-E Christmas. We put up our tree on Sunday, meaning we took it out of the box and placed it by our shoe rack. Peabody loves it.

2) I get to listen to this song over and over.

3) Kate Middleton's pregnant. And will most likely be naming her child D'Brickashaw, Hershel the Kvetching One, or Steve.

4) I get to see my sister so very, very soon. Did you know she is kicking booty at teaching first graders in Costa Rica?

And now for your Friday Funny. I really don't like this show all too well but this is a very funny clip.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

my rolling stones thanksgiving

You Can't Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones on Grooveshark
Have you ever had one of those moments when you want something, try to plan something, and wish for something? And then get real disappointed when it doesn't work out?

And then discover that you get what you need instead and that was probably (most definitely) better?

That was the theme this Thanksgiving. I wanted a big hoopla, I wanted lots of family, I wanted a four day trip to an unexplored destination.

Instead I got four days of lazy, unplanned, quiet time. Turns out this was just what we needed. We went to a Professor friend's house on Thursday for the big meal with his family but decided it wasn't Thanksgiving without leftovers so we made the whole thing for ourselves on Sunday.

Importantly, most likely due to a new sense of zen brought on by three unhurried days together for the first time in forever, we managed to come to a new chapter in one of our biggest marital tug-of-wars: how to brine the (freaking) turkey.

I finally gave way to the bucket-on-the-porch method Marty had been begging-slash-arguing for for the last five years. In case you are wondering about this method, it involves a five gallon bucket, one fresh turkey, and a whole lot of salty water in a cold space for a long time. Shout out to the weather gods that cut me a break and made it extra cold that night.

And we got the nicest, best, marthastewartjuliachild turkey you ever did see.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

28 for 28

So today is my birthday! Happy Birthday to MEEEEE!

(Yeah, I know, it came as a surprise to me too.)

First, a picture of the two people who made this birthday possible.

My 27th year was a great and full one, and this next one is on course to be a doozy.
I love me some lists and goals, so I put together 28 things I want to do during this year, most of them for the first time.They are in no particular order. (You will notice there are only 20 here, cuz, well, some things are just for me.)

To do while I am 28:
  1. Watch “dude where’s my car"
  2. Go to Disney World with my BFF
  3. Make a loaf of sandwich bread
  4. Get nice picture of me and Marty in front of Eiffel Tower
  5. Successfully order an almond croissant in French
  6. Successfully make meringue
  7. Learn how to fix my bike
  8. Learn how to use manual settings on my camera
  9. See the NC Symphony at Meymandi Hall (perhaps with Boyz II Men??)
  10. Run another half marathon
  11. Learn about the car
  12. Write e-mails to long lost friends and not take it personal if I don’t hear back
  13. Go to Savannah and see the Spanish Moss
  14. Drive to New Orleans
  15. Run a 5k in a PR
  16. Sell the Camry and buy a new car
  17. Rewatch Now and Then, hopefully with some old girlfriends
  18. Cook something from every cookbook I own (at last count there were 27)
  19. Wear a pair of high heels for more than an hour
  20. Go the barrier islands in NC
What do you think? Any suggestions?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Feel Good Friday

This week we celebrated this guy.
This week this guy decided this was the one week he could refuse to have his picture taken.
As a 'punishment' for not taking a birthday picture, I followed through with my threat of leading the bar in a free-beer-fueled rendition of Happy Birthday.
Happy Birthday, Marty, from me, your friends, and a bunch of randos at the bar.

I am real happy you were born.
Thank you for your encouragement, your humor, your well timed rational thinking, 
and for letting me be me.
Even if it means me making you blush like crazy on your birthday. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Birthday Boy

The first time I really admitted to myself that I had a crush on Marty was when I decided to bake him a cake for his 17th birthday, ten years ago today. This was the first thing I ever did to really give him a clue that I may be interested, in like, you know, going out some time. Though his reaction that day was an awkward "uh, thanks?", from that point on we were in motion to being an item, then definitely an item, then a permanent item.

I should say that I wanted to give him a hint, but still be my coy 17 year old girl self, so I bought his twin brother Sam a gallon of chocolate milk as a gift too so it wasn't too obvious (yeah, that wasn't a problem).

I should also say that the cake I baked him, a from-the-box carrot one, was never really eaten. I didn't realize at that point that Marty's mom makes the most excellent carrot cake every year for Marty and Sam and the one from some random girl at youth group did not ever stand a chance (and was just plain confusing). The gallon jug of chocolate milk, however, did get finished. Thanks Sam.

Its been quite the journey from that box carrot cake to getting to be the one every year to make his momma's recipe. But I am giving my 17 year old self props for having the courage to make a cake for a guy that she sorta, kinda, well maybe liked.

The first time I made the cake, and Sam came to taste, in 2009

Happy Birthday to you! I am glad you finally picked up on the hint. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Feel Good Friday

My, do I feel good this Friday.

But probably not as good as my peeps back in WA who just legalized recreational marijuana and voted for marriage equality.

Or as good as the President.

Here's your Friday Funny. I have no idea why its so funny, but

 Happy Friday!

Monday, November 5, 2012

What Color Are Your Underwear

When I first moved to NC, I had no idea about the intense rivalry between UNC and Duke.

For one poignant example of intense, I can tell you about the time my husband got mooned because his athletic shorts were the wrong shade of blue.

I attempted to remain neutral about the topic when I first arrived but quickly found that I was often (literally) backed into a corner and forced to choose. No, really, what are you? A Dukie or a Tar Hole? Coach K or Ol' Roy? Ramses or the Devil?

I picked the Tar Heels (If God wasn't a Carolina fan why is the sky Carolina Blue? I could see no argument to that). From then on I have been booed in grocery stores for wearing the wrong sweatshirt but willingly yelled "Go to Hell Duke!" in the middle of the Carolina anthem. (And just so you know a similar sentiment is a part of the Duke cheer).

When people found out that I was going to go to Duke while my husband was going to UNC, they looked at me incredulous.

Will he kick you out of the home?

What basketball game will you watch when they are both on?

How can you even stand living with a Tar Hole?

Certainly you and the man who you promised to live your life with no longer have anything in common.

It all got real when a complete stranger asked -

How will you know what color underwear to wear? 

Is everything us versus them? Just because my underwear is a nice tar heel blue and yours is, uh, not, doesn't mean that we aren't both wearing them. And, now get this, we may actually have something more in common than following social norms about undergarments.

Tonight, being the night before Election night, which is kinda like a high stakes Christmas Eve, I thought about this whole team-picking thing. We are so anxious to divide into teams aren't we? We are so ready and prepared to pit us against them. We are trained to highlight the differences and ignore the possibility that we may be in many ways the same.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am passionate about my guy winning and certainly hope that my Christmas Morning on Wednesday includes hope for civil rights for my best buds, heath care for my neighbors, and funding for science for my husband. But I am also a passionate believer in the common good in people, the unavoidable acceptance of diversity, and the imperative of kindness above all.

So this election eve I am sending out wishes for unity, peace, and the good ol' golden rule.

Oh, and go heels.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Color Run

Last weekend I did a fun new 5k called "Color Me Rad".I ran with my friend Kendra and a couple of her friends from her residency. 

Yes we made those Tutus ourselves.

There are five places during the race that they throw colored cornstarch at you. 

Then at the end there is a giant colored cornstarch fight.

Marty turned a distinct pink hue from standing around 

And then my friend Kendra turned into a Smurf.

It was pretty rad.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

On the search for a new life mantra...

This dog told me that the secret to life is 

A fierce, unshakable hopefulness paired with a realistic understanding of your place in the world. 
(And subsequently his favorite thing is licking spaghetti off own face.)

Sounds like a good mantra to me. 

This Dog With Spaghetti On His Face

A close runner up was this dog who says the secret to happiness is

a persistent, unmitigated enthusiasm without context.

This Dog

Still on the search for a life mantra? For other happy animals, go here. 

Friday, October 26, 2012


Wall Art - 8x10 Illustration Art Print - You Can Do Anything - Cute, Motivational, Bike, Inspirational, Wall Decor

Sally was not the first person who told me I was strong, but she was the first person who I believed.

I spent the first two decades of my life telling myself I didn't need to be an athlete, didn't need to be strong, didn't need to be fast. When you are young, you define yourself against others, don't you? Try to find your identity in what you are, but emphasizing what you are not.

Me? I was the goofy brainy kid. I was the sibling that was on the math team, the friend who could make you laugh, and the roommate who was better at jumping up and down in the stands than being out on the field.

Sally taught the first cycling class I ever took. She was a couple decades older than I am and wore her life experiences proudly, and she had had a few. Small, bubbly, and with a dash of wild, Sally never stopped grinning. She screamed her way through class, encouraging and pushing and yelling, all the while wearing a maniac grin. (Admittedly this was a bit annoying, sometimes you just want someone who says "This whole exercising thing is a pain in the butt. Wouldn't it better if we were eating a big ham sandwich right now?" And lead the class to the nearest sub shop.)

We bopped along to the Stones, sang along to Sweet Home Alabama, and sweated in a ubiquitous small dark cycling room.

Let your body surprise you, she said.

Sally gave me permission to be strong, be fit, and to get pumped up. And to be completely okay with my average but sufficient ability.

She taught me that when I was working out and I was thinking about other things (most likely what was for lunch), I wasn't working hard enough.

Girl, she said, you are stronger than you know.

And, almost as importantly, she also taught me it was okay for small white girls to say a sassy "girrrrl" now and again.

I learned the other day that Sally is not doing well, the revenge of a brain tumor. She has no clue about the fork in the road she brought me to. It made me think of the constant flow of characters in and out of our lives, sometimes people arrive as game changers, sometimes they are just good company for a little while. But I wish I had the chance to tell her how rad she is, or at least burn her a killer CD.

Sally, I sure hope your body is stronger than you know.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Bumper Crop of Deep Fried Fun

Here's a question for you...what is advertised with a giant blimp with "fried pickles" and "fried cheesecake" on either side?

The North Carolina State Fair.

When we first moved here, we went to the state fair about two months after we lived here. We stuck out noses up at the fried foods and in a attempt "when-in-Rome" acclimation, we chose the one fried food we deemed the healthiest and ate a fried PB and J. During our first visit we made a game of counting the Confederate Flags on people's t-shirts (any other placement - tattoos, hats - didn't count). We got to 25 in a half hour and had to cut the game short because this was clearly a slippery slope into piling back into the Camry and driving 3000 miles in the other direction.

This was our third time at the State Fair in five years, this time with Marty's paremts. Well, things have changed. And here's the evidence.

 Marty turned into Frog Boy

Here we are in front of Smokey the Bear. 
He talks to you.
"Hey Folks", Smokey said to us "Say Blueberries! Smokey looooves Blueberries!"
Blueberries, blueberries, blueberries!"
What a funny bear.

I milked a cow! This is right before I tried to squirt the guy milking the other cow. 

Prettiest Melon.
Sure is.

French fries at 10am.

Don't let this picture fool you.
We washed down the lemonade and corn with ham biscuits.

What to choose?
Fried Oreos? Fried HoHos? 
Fried Snickers or MilkyWays?
Fried cheeseburgers? Koolaid or Reeses?

Nah, I went for this year's thing.
Fried cinnamon bun (with frosting) rolled in bacon.
It. was. delicious. 
(And will be sticking with me for a few years)

Then to the demolition derby!

And whac-a-mole!


Meet Ras Ben. The newest addition to our family.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Love Yurt

One place we like to remember is this yurt, for no particular reason other than it provided a welcome retreat for us a few weekends when we were in college and the stress of being in school was just too much.

When we moved to North Carolina, I searched for a similarly shaped retreat but found only one in a distant corner of the state at a crazy price. But after four years, the powers of the interwebs stepped in via LivingSocial and we are off this weekend to a Yurt in the mountains. A weekend away just the two of us is now a rare treat, as getting two days off (known to non-science grad students as a weekend) is generally reserved for visiting family or friends who tug at our hearts.

A retreat in the woods during the fall is just what we need.

And check us out in 2005! Looking good... (yes, that is a Che Guevara shirt from Fred Meyers)

Monday, October 8, 2012


I know, I have been out of touch. I have been adjusting back to 'Merica by going to football games.

Recently Enjoyed

Did I tell you that Marty bought me this KitchenAid mixer that I have been pining for?
And did I mention that it is the same color blue as my alma mater and not his?
And did you know that it probably killed him a little (a lot) inside to buy something Duke Blue?

Recently in Penguin Humor

(put your mouse over the image for guaranteed hilarity)
funny gifs

Recently Saluted

A couple weekends ago we went to Denver to go to a Broncos game with our great friends.
We gave the mile high salute 
(apparently that's a thing. I am new to this)

Recently Bang'd

In July I went for the half swoopy emo bangs.
Last week I got the full on bangs. 
And now this song can be heard on repeat at my place.
(Marty has been very sure that I know its the William Hung version).

Recently Downloaded

I guess I gotta keep up with the Joneses, and all their faded pictures.
Here are Me and Linds, looking totally retro fab.

Recently Intimidated

The world.
By Jenny and I's intimidating football moves.
Photo: Are you ready for some football???

Recently Rooted

For the HEELS!
We went to our first UNC football game. It was my first D-1 football game
(you can't really count Duke football)
I think Marty was a bit confused when I said we were going to the football game,
seen here in an Argentina soccer jersey.


Recently Tasted

Marty and I were arguing about something in the grocery store yesterday.
I went off to get some space and to get a few things. Including toothpaste.
Marty is very particular about his toothpaste. He likes Aquafresh, the kind in the blue box.
So I served up revenge cold - in the form of Vanilla Crest.
 Ha, I'll show him for picking a fight in the grocery store.
Oh. Gross. I have to use this stuff too?

Recently in the Seasons

It's Fall!
Fall is something I learned about when I moved to not-Washington.
Shown here in the Aspens in Colorado

Recently in Politics

Check out this doozy of a sign.
Blown away by the intellectual appeal.
(Are you registered to vote?)

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I love to eat my way through new places. Luckily for me, the food in Honduras was awesome. 

Here are some things I enjoyed while there...

Papusas filled with meat and cheese and a cold local beer

Honduran grown coffee

Seafood Soup with Crab and Conch

Pastelitos de Perro (nah, there's cow in there. I think)

Buckets of Chismol (kinda like pico de gallo)

Big Mac with Cheese  - American chains are big in Honduras

Typical plate with sausage, avocado, and fried plantains

Frozen fruit juices made into Popsicles 

Fajitas with pickled veggies

Lots of fresh juices (some with a little kick in them)

Micheladas for the morning after

Crazy fruit bought from the side of the road with marshmallow insides

Other crazy fruit with eyeball insides

About 150 tortillas later, I loved the food! YUM!