Monthly Archives: November 2008

Perfect

That about sums up my day.

Woke up around 9:30 and ran to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for my most excellent spinach feta salad. (Side note: it had been years since I’d made this particular dish, but it was a hit. Spinach, feta, red onions and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.)

Then I took Gertie on a four-mile run. It was a little rough due to a late Wednesday-night-before-Thanksgiving out in Westport, but I PROMISED myself I would do this and I’m so glad I did. (Speaking of out in Westport, I had a very exciting and slightly stalkerish on my part encounter with a very special someone and her perfect boyfriend. Story and photo to come…)

The weather was beautiful. With the autumn leaves crunching under my feet and watching a group of guys play a game of flag football in the park, it felt like something out of a holiday movie with Ben Stiller. And nothing says sentimental Thanksgiving like John Denver singing in your ear!

After my run, I quickly got ready and assembled my salad then we were off to the boyfriend’s parent’s house for a day filled with laughter and food. Really, it was amazing. They are such wonderful people who fit perfectly into the Queen of Quirky way of life…

After stuffing ourselves (holy cow, that was awesome stuffing!), the boyfriend’s sister and her boyfriend joined us for a trip down to the Plaza to watch the turning on of the Plaza lights. Unfortunately, I was looking down at my phone when the lights went on, but whatevs.

Now we are back at the boyfriend’s pad. Some are . playing rock band and I’m groaning in fullness, but smiling in happiness.

Tomorrow it’s off to my folks’ for more turkey…

PS: Gertie had a wonderful day playing with Lily, eating her busy bone and getting loving (and some scraps) from the boyfriend’s family. She’s crashed out!

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The Thanksgiving Tree

When I was a little girl, my family always traveled to Bowling Green, KY on Thanksgiving. This was an 8-hour trip invovling repeat tape flips of The Muppets Christmas Album. (FIVE GOLD RINGS!) Usually, mischief between my brother and myself would ensue around the six hour mark–Evansville, IN. (“He hit me!” “Shut up, brat!” “Daaad!”)  Inevitably, we would arrive at my aunt’s house with one of my parents dragging one of us past the warm hugs and greetings of my aunt and uncle — oblivious to the 8-hour hell ride shinannagins–into a back bedroom for one of several punishment options including but not limited to time out, instant bed time, a soapy mouth washing, or an old-fashioned spanking. Good times.

But by Thursday morning, Wednesday night’s shameful arrival was all but forgotten and I would wake up early to climb in bed with my aunt and uncle and their dog, Misty. We would talk and catch-up on the details of my very busy 9-year-old life. Sometimes Aunt Nancy would give me a task to do such as organizing her jewelry box. Then, she would get up and start fixing the meal. I would tag along behind helping, talking (Hey, I have always been a talker. Nothing’s changed here.) or simply watching her construct our yummy meal.

One year, Aunt Nancy decided to give me an art project. On a construction board, she drew a tree.

thanksgiving-tree2

She gave me some construction paper and instructions to cut out leaves. On these leaves we were to write things we were thankful for.

Over the years, the trip didn’t change much. The car ride was still brutal, the Muppets were still singing and the Thursday morning routine was still the same. But as our lives changed, the leaves reflected our growth.

A long time ago, Aunt Nancy lost the original tree. Since then, we’ve recreated the tree several times over. But the concept remains the same. Write down what you are thankful for on a construction paper leaf and tape it to the tree.

leaf1

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Kung Fu Dumplings

After watching Kung Fu Panda, one thing was clear – I had to have dumplings. Unfortunately, it was Sunday night, and I had already devoured a bowl of broccoli and some rice for dinner — Hey, I’m a single gal. I eat strange. (not to mention the popcorn the boyfriend and I shared during the movie watched on his fabulous new TV!)

That could only mean one thing.

Dumplings for dinner Monday night.

Only I had no idea how to make a dumpling. Oh, sure, I knew where to order them. But that would be too easy. And if I learned anything from my buddy, Po, if you believe it, you can be it.

So here is Queen of Quirky’s guide to making fabulous dumplings:

Step One: Text boyfriend and let him know dumplings and sake will be served at 8 p.m. at your place. (One must have a partner in crime for this culinary exhibition.)

Step Two: Google “pan fried dumplings” and read about 35 different recipes. Write down ingredients you think would be tasty in said dumplings.

Step Three: Read 15 or so culinary blogs on how to pan fry dumplings. Self-doubt your ability to “add 2/3 cup of water to two tablespoons of sizzling canola oil.” Especially in light of your previous experience with said oil.

Step Four: Pick up dog food after work. (oh wait, has nothing to do with dumplings, but hey, dog can’t go hungry while you are feasting on yummy dumplings, can she?)

Step Five: Visit three grocery stores to find the following ingredients: Ground chickenturkey (you can’t find any chicken, so improvise with turkey), won ton wrappers, nappa cabbage, shitake mushrooms (three), canola oil (duh, you spilled the last batch), sesame oil, water chestnuts and green onions.

Step Six: Go to liquor store to buy sake.

Step Seven: Go to World Market to pick up chop sticks, and sake cups.

Step Eight: Let dog out.

Step Nine: Run 3 miles on treadmill. (Hey, pan fried dumplings aren’t exactly low-fat.)

Step 10: Dice up all bought ingredients (while wiping sweat off your face, and keeping sweat out of bowl) in addition to four cloves of fresh garlic (you have that), a table spoon of soy sauce and add a splash of sake and sesame oil to the mixture.

Step 11: Put the boyfriend on sake duty and tell him not to let you get empty from this point on. After all, you are about to mix oil and water on a hot stove. Sake is necessary.

Step 12: Attempt to fold the little buggers into the triangle with two pleats, as described in every recipe and blog you read.

Step 13: After about the fifth dumpling, finally succeed at this task. Try to cover up the goofy looking dumplings with better looking ones.

Step 14: Look for fire extinguisher.

Step 15: Can’t find the fire extinguisher, so carry on. Drink more sake.

Step 16: Start frying those babies up.

Step 17: Be surprised at your own success. (Kind of like Po!)

Step 18: Serve sizzling hot plate of dumplings with bowl of dipping sauce to boyfriend and relish in your victory.

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Budumbum Ching

Today’s lunch bunch conversation went as follows:

Me: Speaking of food, Ethiopian food last night followed by Chipotle for lunch today was not a good life choice…

Kevin: How much food could be there be when discussing Ethiopian food….

(Common joke when talking about Ethiopian food. Grrr.)

Me: Budumbum ching.

J:

Omg…………………….

FOR A MINUTE I THOUGHT BUDDUMBUM CHING WAS AN ENTRÉE YOU HAD.

On a side note, dinner last night was very tasty. I’m glad we could enjoy it with my sister for her birthday. I’m a huge fan of Ethiopian food, but think you have to have a sense of humor when eating it. After all, it is a messy, gloppy food that you eat with your hands. (If you aren’t familiar with it, the food is served on top of a spongy sourdoughish pancake. More “pancakes” are used to scoop up the food for consumption.)

After we had polished off most of our combination plate (in which several different items shared the same “pancake”), my cousin wondered out loud if anyone would ever just take the entire thing and roll it up like a burrito.

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Dating is going to the dogs?

I love the targeted advertising in Facebook. One ad in particular caught my attention…it’s an electronic monitor to keep tabs of your dog’s activities. In addition to being able to virtually watch your dog chew up your shoes while you are at work, it also has a social networking component.

This puppy is a gold mine. Justin, are you reading this?! Not only can Fido meet Champ. Sally can meet Joe. The boyfriend and I met on Match, but I’m thinking this may be the new wave of online dating …. Didn’t anyone ever see 101 Dalmations?

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Sweet 16

Today is my little sister’s 16th birthday.

She was born in Ethiopia during my 16th year of life.

In my 21st year of life, at age 5, she joined my family. It’s hard to believe she is 16 now.

The year she was born, I was very busy having my first kiss, learning to drive, hanging out with my friends, being self-involved in my own teenage drama.

Today she is probably kissing boys (but she wouldn’t tell me that, if she was), she is learning to drive, she hangs out with her friends and I’m sure she is wrapped up in high school drama.

There is no gift I could give my sister on her 16th birthday that is more precious than the gift she gave me in my 16th year – her. (Ok, I could give her a niece or nephew, but that isn’t gonna happen this year. Got that?)

And I look forward to the years and milestones in her life to come.

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The event in which I meet and like the boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend

People. If you don’t know this by now, you really aren’t loyal readers.

I am still relatively new to this whole dating thing.

And when I was married, I never met any of the ex-girlfriends. It just didn’t come up. So therefore, I have no practice in the laws of meeting-the-ex etiquette.

But due to the fact that the boyfriend and  his ex are friendly and they share a common group of friends, it was inevitable that some day, we were going to run into her. I was fine with that.

But I wasn’t expecting to hit it off the way we did.

And I wasn’t expecting to be facebook friends with her (yup, we are now!) But I shouldn’t be surprised, really. Our common friends are now in double digits and the thing kept suggesting that I know her and should friend her. Well I certainly wasn’t going to do THAT without meeting her. (Hi, I’ve never met you, but we have XX mutual friends and I know you dated the boyfriend, so let’s be friends.)

But actually, the real life introduction was far less awkward. Despite the fact that I was dressed as a frumpy grandma wanna-be –The cute, cropped crocheted sweater and flowy pink shirt just didn’t have that “wow” factor — and she was looking all hot in a leopard print wrap dress and killer peep-toe shoes. Not to mention she is tall, beautiful with long blond hair… Aren’t I supposed to hate girls like that?

No, the meeting actually went more like:

“Hi, I’m so and so and you must be Stephanie.”

(Me, wiping the veggie burger juices off my face.) “Oh, hi. Nice to meet you.”

We later chatted about our hobbies, interests, food and life in general. And I met her now boyfriend, who seemed like a nice guy.

So now we are buddies. And life is one big happy world.

Oh, and I told her I’d be blogging about this, so she knows. And well, the boyfriend has just learned to accept that this whole bog is like an open book into my life. He’s cool with that…

The party itself (a mutual friend’s birthday) was great fun. Minus the creepy guy who tried to hit on me, then tried to hit on a friend of mine who wasn’t at the party, but was at the bar.

I should also add that the party was fine and dandy until the next day. The boyfriend suggested that next time I not go drink to drink with him when he’s drinking beer and I’m drinking vodka presses. As impressive as it may have been that I could indeed, hold my own, it did not lead to a very pleasant Sunday.

In other news, I put on this lotion today that has a strong perfume scent to it and it stinks. And now I stink. And I kind of keep making myself want to vomit due to my own scent.

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