Friday, December 30, 2011

More of the Story...

He never gave me a back rub, because he claimed painful. arthritic hands.  We never took a shower together, because "the shower stall is too small."  He refused to make love in the morning.   We stopped kissing, and holding hands...
The signs of a lack of true intimacy in the relationship were overwhelming, and yet to me, they were status quo.

When we had disagreements, and then arguments, and then fights, he said mean, unforgettable things.  
Things like, "That's it, we're done,""Get the fuck out, I want you gone," and "I don't love you anymore."  He would get on the phone and pretend to call another girl - the girl he had wanted to date before me.  He acted like a selfish child, instead of communicating like an adult.

A few days later, he would come to me, hanging his head, saying that he didn't mean those things, that he still loved me, that he really didn't call that girl.  "I just said/did that to hurt you.  You know that I love you, don't you?"

Although he was the one who talked me into starting a facebook account, he was outwardly hostile that I was reconnecting with old friends.  He would make comments like, "You talking to your old boyfriends?"

And when I started my blog, when I rediscovered writing - something that gave me joy, something that was just for me...well, it was as if I had a taken a lover.

At least a half dozen times, I came home to find all of the computer cables ripped out of the back of the tower.  One day, the mouse was destroyed.  Another time, he threw a remote control at the computer screen, rendering it useless.  He has kicked the tower so many times that the side panels fell off.

And every time he tortured the computer, I reacted less and less, until finally I said nothing at all.
He had pushed my buttons so many times, they just broke.  His actions lost their impact.
And I could not find a reason why I should love him anymore.

So why did I stay?  

I stayed because it was familiar, and what I felt was shitty, but it was better than feeling nothing... 

The very last time that he told me he didn't love me anymore, I did have something to say:

"Ya know what, Mike?  You're stubborn like me.  So, if you tell me that you don't love me anymore, there is nothing I can do to try to change your mind." 
His words had lost their power.  And I had finally found my voice.

What it took to get me to take action was my BFF telling me (not asking), that I was moving in with her.  She told me the date I was to be ready and said "Go talk to your boss, cuz you've only got four days."  And, I played the "good dummy," and went off and did what I was told. 

See? While I am smiling and nodding and telling everyone what a wonderful adventure this is,  I am still hurting inside. And I appreciate that all of you who really know me recognize this. 

But each day, I try to take a baby-step forward towards healing.  
Thank you all, for helping me to find my way.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just Checkin' In..

My friend's son was kind enough to allow me the use of his laptop for a few hours, so I figured I may as well "check in" with you all.  So here goes...

By now you may have heard that Coco and I have ventured out into the wilderness, on a reprieve of sorts.  Call it a hiatus, if you will.  My ex-boyfriend, Mike, and I had decided to part ways.  But, as break-ups often do, things got dicey - The lease came first, and who would move? 

 It immediately became obvious that would have to be me.  After all, our landlord was also Mike's boss.  Need I say more?

We never really purchased any property together, so that part was simple. I take my stuff and leave him, well, with a dresser and a television, but who cares.

But then, there were the dogs.  Thankfully, we had already discussed the custody of the dogs, in case of a split.  He got Zip, and I got Coco.  But my biggest fear was that he would go back on his word.
Thankfully, 99% of the things I worry about never happen.

If you will recall in my last post,  New Year, New Leaf  there was mention that my friend was "nudged by a man who I didn't even know really."  This gem of a guy had been the one to alert my friend to the urgency of my situation.  He basically told her something to the affect of  "we need to get Gina down here where she can be with people who really care."  

What he told me was that he was trying to put together a plan to get me "home for Christmas."  I was like, "Is this guy for real?"  I quickly realized that a plan had been put into play to move me to San Diego, and not just for Christmas. 

I began to see glimpses of a man who just wanted to "pay it forward" - help someone else, as he had once been helped in a desperate time of need.  I cannot explain how endearing that made him to me.

He and I talked several times during the swift four days during which I furiously packed my things.  I was still working at my job up until the night before I left my old home.  My Angel, as I call him, took the time to listen, and encouraged me to have faith that good things were in store for me.

I left Santa Barbara on a Monday.  One of my dearest friends in the world sent her husband (from a remote location many hours away) in his pickup truck.  His mission: Get Gina, little Coco, and all their stuff, and bring them back to her safe and sound.  
And that's exactly what the awesome hubby did.

I was putting together the last of my things about an hour before the BFF's hubby's arrival.  Suddenly, I felt a tightness in my chest.  I was short of breath.  Even though I was not familiar with this feeling, I knew that it was anxiety.

I immediately texted My Angel.  "Just remember to breathe," he said.  He sent me several humorous and encouraging text messages until all my stuff was packed up and the friend's hubby and I were rolling down the highway with little Coco.  

I had promised him I would call when we got on the road.  When he answered, I heard "Feeling a little better now?"  He couldn't see it, but I was nodding.  I exhaled deeply.

My Angel  is now someone with whom I am becoming dear friends.  I don't think he has any idea just how important he has become to me in such a short time.  Well, maybe he will when he reads this, though my gratitude is beyond words.

Stay tuned.  Coco and I will continue filling you in on our adventures after the holidays.
Until then, everyone have a safe and Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Year, New Leaf

Have you ever just awakened one morning and realized that you weren't where you were supposed to be? I don't mean you had too many drinks and woke up in a stranger's bed, or the backseat of your car. But your life had become stagnant, and the person you lay next to at night was gone from your heart;  Even your job had lost it's joy...?
As a person who found pleasure in writing, I became resentful that my partner, in what used to be love, deliberately broke the desk top computer that we had shared. Of course, his logic was that it belonged to him, and thus he could do with out as he chose. But he knew the action of disabling an electronic device was a shot to my heart.
There had been moments like that in our home, and our relationship, for months. Despite our attempts at "discussion" -and I use the term loosely, things had simply stopped working.
So now, I'm turning over a new leaf. With the help of one of my best friends in the world, nudged by a man who I didn't even know really until about two weeks ago, I'm beginning a new chapter in my life.
Coco, my little four-pound bundle of wanna-be dynamite, and I, have embarked on an incredible journey.
Stay tuned, for, though we have no idea what lies ahead, we are ready to face it head-on, and we hope you'll follow along!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Road

It was dark, and the road was unfamiliar to me.  The road was winding and dangerous, a yellow guard rail the only thing separating us from the vast sheer drop into the valley thousands of feet below.

We were all giggling about something, when I suddenly realized that she was driving too fast. Cheryl, slow down.  This next turn is really tight.  Oh my God, she isn't gonna make the turn.
Why were the words screaming in my head, and yet not coming out of my mouth.
It was too late. We crashed through the guard rail, flying out over the valley below.  A small plane came into view ahead of me through the windshield.  And then, I was suddenly very aware of the ground thousands of feet below.  It began approaching faster as the car plummeted.

This is it.  We are going to die.  I began thinking of my son, too young to live without his mom.  Of Mike, and my dad.  Oh God.  I wanted to close my eyes and simply let go.  The interior of the car was eerily quiet.

In an instant, I was gasping, nearly choking.

I sat up.  Damn!  I was in my bed.  
Deep breaths, calm the F*** down. Jesus.  
If you die in your dreams, you die for real, right??

I had wanted to sleep in this morning, but, having successfully woken myself up from this horrific nightmare, I refused to go back to bed now.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Delicious Lasagna - #LaRomanella Style!! ♥

I have an amazing lasagna recipe, and I have "morphed" it a little so than I could include some of the awesome products from La Romanella - items anyone would want to include in their Mediterranean-inspired dish.  You can find all of the ingredients for this recipe at your local Smart & Final.

Here's what you will need for my lasagna:

For the sauce:
1 lb. La Romanella Sweet (Mild) Italian Sausage
One 25 oz. jar La Romanella Tomato Basil pasta sauce
One 28 oz can La Romanella Tomato Strips with Basil
2 tsps. minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
1 1/2 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp salt

For the cheese filling:
24 oz. La Romanella Ricotta cheese
4 oz. La Romanella Parmesan cheese
2 tbspns. parsley flakes
3 eggs

You will also need:
1 lb.  First Street Mozzarella cheese
One 16 oz box First Street lasagna noodles

Prep time 30 mins.
Lasagna baking time 30 mins.

Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions.  I usually cook about twelve noodles, and only use about 8 to ten.  I have a few extra in case they break apart while cooking.

While they are cooking, you can make the sauce.
If you have sausage links, like I used, remove the sausage from the casings and crumble it in a deep saucepan or large pot at medium to high heat until browned.
Add the pasta sauce, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.
Reduce heat and simmer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Rinse lasagna noodles in cool water, then set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine Ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, parsley and eggs.
Mix thoroughly and set aside.

In a 9" x 13" ungreased pan, place a layer of lasagna noodles (about four) overlapping across the bottom of the pan.  On top of this, spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture.  Place half of the mozzerella slices evenly over the to of that.

So far, so good.  Now spoon half of the sauce and sausage on top of the cheese layers.
Repeat layers again, starting with another layer of noodles and finishing with the sauce on top.

Place in center of oven and bake for 30 mins.
Remove from oven and let stand for 5 to ten mins before slicing.

Enjoy with garlic bread! Abbondanza!!

As part of the La Romanella promotion, 
Smart & Final is giving one winner a trip to 
Sonoma's wine country!  Just go to  
Smart & Final's Facebook Page and 
"Like" the page to enter (winner must live within a 20 mile radius of a Smart & Final
*During this 2-week promotion, there's also a great deal going on - when customers
purchase a Redwood Creek Wine at Smart & Final, 
they will get a FREE 16oz La Romanella pasta!

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for  #CollectiveBias. All opinions are my own

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Glee Episode Parallels My Life

Okay, so I of course loved the Glee episode last night.
When I was in high school, I played the part of Anita in West Side Story.  The part of Anita IS THE KICK-ASS Role in this show.

I believe that Mercedes, (Amber Riley) would kick ass in the role of Anita...but I digress.

The reason I was prompted to write was about how Glee parallels my life.

So, I was a senior in high school.  I auditioned for the role of Anita.  I knew that I could sing the role, but my dancing...not so hot.

I was actually called back for the role of Maria, but the singing was really, I felt, just too high for me - I tried, but...I am truly an alto.

I don't know if you have ever tried out for a musical, but it is nerve-racking!  The singing, the dancing, the reading for the different roles.  Sheesh!

Okay, so to the parallel between my high school experience and the Glee episode last night - 
It was the scene with Kurt, when he was listening outside the window while the coach, Emma, and Artie deliberated about the auditions so far.

After my high school auditions, then asked us to go outside and wait until they called us back in...they literally did the tryouts over two days, and decided before they sent us home the second day.

So when they sent us out, I ran back to the girls' dressing room to do something, or to get something...I don't remember what my reason was for going in there.  When I was finished, I intended to go out the back door of the theater, and join my friends around at the front of the building where everyone was waiting.

When I opened the door, I heard our choir director, Mr. Murphy, speaking.  "Well there is no doubt that she can sing the role.  She is the only person, in my opinion, who can tackle the vocals for Anita."  Then the drama director, "Mr. B." chimed in. "Trina what about the dancing? It's pretty demanding."
Trina replied that whoever they chose, she would simple choreograph based on the individual's ability.

I quietly closed the door.  There was no way I could sneak out.  I was mortified at the possibility of being thought of as a snoop - How would I explain, even though it was an innocent case of lagging?  So there I sat, nervously twitching in the only chair in the cramped 5' x 8' room.

When I heard voices trickling in, I realized I had to find a way to "meander" back into the room.  I peeked out waiting for the room to begin to fill up, then just slipped in with my friends seated in the theater.

I found out moments later, that they must have been talking about me - I got the role of Anita.

I shocked my classmates by dying my hair black for the role.  During lunch hour, I would put my hair in curlers for performance nights.  It was the dedication and gratitude for the opportunity to play such a fantastic role that allowed me to surpass any possible embarrassment and attend my last few classes wearing "rollers" in my hair.  

And it was totally worth it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Chemical Romance - Part Two

So, if you haven't already read it, you should definitely check out part one of this story.
Moving on...I was in early sobriety, so I really didn't make the connection between Mike at the Friday night AA meeting and the gorgeous blue-eyed guy coming through my line every morning to get his coffee.
After all, when I saw Mike on Friday nights, he had a shaved head, nice clean jeans and a dress shirt.
 When I saw him in the morning, on his way to work, he had a knit cap on....Well, yeah, the common denominator was the gorgeous blue eyes...but I digress...
I didn't realize that beneath the knit cap was a shaved head...You also need to know that I was attending seven to ten AA meetings each week, and that I saw about 400 people in the course of a work day coming through my coffee shop.  Sheesh!  A person can get confused, okay?

So one night, I went home after a late night at work.  My roommate told me about this guy who had told his amazing story at an AA speaker meeting that night.  She detailed his struggles and how he beat the odds and overcame lots of issues to better his life.  I had really wished I could have heard him speak.

The next morning at work, the handsome blue-eyed guy in the knit cap came through my line.
"I spoke at New House II last night," he said.
"Oh my God. That was you?"  I replied.  "My roomie told me about your talk.  She said it was amazing!"

He told me that he recorded the talk and asked when I was working again so he could bring me a CD.
The next day he brought me the CD, which I listened to that very afternoon.  It didn't go unnoticed that he put his phone number with the CD.  When I was finished with it, I called him.

"Your story is amazing" I said.  "Thank you so much for sharing it with me."

"You listened to it? When did you listen to it?"  I told him that I played it as soon as I got home.
I think he was blown away.

He asked me to go with him to the Friday night meeting the very next day.

I said "Yes."

Part three of the story, coming soon...♥

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Chemical Romance, Part One

My Back Story
So, many of you do not know this, but I am in recovery.
In September of 2009, the 29th to be exact, I decided that I was powerless over alcohol, and needed the help of medical professionals, and God, to overcome my addiction.
The most difficult thing about checking myself into treatment was the fact that it was my father's birthday.
I kid you not.  I wanted to be a good daughter, so I called him to wish him a happy birthday.
He said "Thank you. How are you?"
I could hear the gulp...I answered that I was alright, but I was in the hospital.
That was the worst feeling ever.  I went on to explain that I had (finally) decided that I needed to
detox from alcohol and get treatment.  I wasn't sure what the next step was, but I wanted him to know that I was safe and under the care of some really good physicians.
Thank God, my dad was one of my biggest supporters/

Flash Forward - Ninety Days
After I went through a month of inpatient treatment, I went back to work and into sober living.
Sober living is shared housing, usually with two to four people in a room.  Random drug testing and required self help meetings (such as AA) are required as a condition of living requirements.

I was so happy to be back to work and felt a new freedom from not drinking.
I took a bus from my house near the Santa Barbara Harbor (an awesome place to be - close to the beach and a lot of great meetings...).

I kept up attendance to my favorite meeting - a Friday night meeting in a Goleta church.  It was a speaker meeting, which meant that there was one person telling their story about how they overcame their problems and found out how to live life on life's terms.

I didn't know it at the time, but that's where Mike first saw me.

I was with my rehab group, just four days after I stopped drinking...I was required to go to this meeting right out of the hospital.  I didn't even have anything to wear except the sweat pants I had worn to the hospital...

But what Mike remembered was my smile.
He said that I had a positive attitude.  When he reached out, I hugged him and he said "Keep Coming back"
And I said that I would.

Little did I know that he saw me every day at work, and knew that I didn't make the connection between us and that Friday night meeting...

Stay tuned for more of the story.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Finally Friday!

It's so gorgeous today, and thankfully, not as frickin' hot as it has been for the past week.
I slept in, something I LOVE, and snuggled with my sweet chihuahua, Coco.
Mike and I are going to order a pizza from Rusty's.
Large pizza, thin crust, pepperoni, ham, pineapple, onion and extra cheese.
And a large order of cheesy garlic bread. Yum!
Yes, I have abandoned the diet.  But not for long.  This excess weight has really become the bane of my existence.  I feel like I have no energy or stamina, and I cannot bear the hot weather.  I have become lazy, sedentary...well, lazy says it all, right?

And I am sure that some of you can relate to the fact that extra pounds definitely make me feel less sexy.
Mike loves me no matter what, and I really need to do what is healthy.
I will fill you in over the next few weeks as to what I decide to do and how to go about it.
I need all the help I can get.

Love you all and hope you have a great weekend!!



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cricket, Anyone?

Okay.  So I heard this faint noise coming from the kitchen.
When I opened our bedroom door, the sound of a cricket echoed throughout the entire downstairs of our house.

Doesn't anyone else hear this??  
Oh my God.  It's like a woodpecker boring a hole in the side of my head.
And it's coming from behind the refrigerator.

And that's when I became hysterical - with laughter, because it reminded me of an episode of Frasier.
Frasier, and his dad, Martin, (Kelsey Grammar and John Mahoney), became obsessed with catching this cricket that had set up camp behind their refrigerator, and kept them up all night "singing."
They went down to the pet store and bought a gecko, because they were told that geckos eat crickets.
They fashioned a leash made of dental floss, fastened it to the gecko, and let him do his thing.
Wait...Sshhhh...Can you hear that?
It's the beautiful sound of silence.
Maybe the cricket has gone to sleep.
Goodnight, all. ♥

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Fragments...Life is in Session

It doesn't matter what I do, life keeps happening.
Work, home. Home, work.
Home, work, home, work.
Maybe that's why in school, we had to do homework.
I am at a point in my life where, I have to take care of myself and my family.
Mike and I have our "kids", Coco and Zip.
 Coco is so sweet and loving, and is the best snuggler in the world!

Here's Zip, with her house buddy, Rascal.

They bring a lot of love to our lives.  So does our human family.  But, unfortunately, we all have times when we disappoint one another.  It is difficult when I have a young person in my family who is making poor choices.  But I have to remember that I have made mistakes in my own journey.

 So I hope and pray that things will get better.  I cannot control the choices of a young adult.  My mother is an incredible narcissist, and tried to control me and my brothers for most of our lives.  It was extremely difficult to live with a person, whose approval I learned to be so dependent upon.  Every error in judgment, every little mistake I made, just in the course of growing up, was met with "Don't you know how what YOU do affects Me???" 

I didn't realize for many, many years, that isn't normal parenting.  Being a parent requires a lot of selfless choices and unconditional love.  I didn't get that from my mom.

As a result of my experiences, I have probably detatched, and sometimes, to a fault.  I have learned to let go, and let God...I care about others, especially  my own family, no matter how much I love them, but I do my best to stay out of their lives when it comes to the decision-making.

When I got to the worst point in my life, I was drinking way too much, and it was beginning to affect my life in all aspects - personal, professional, no fun, no progress...and I was physically manifesting symptoms of my was awful...And my family had had enough.  They looked to me to help myself.
And so, I did.  And it has made all the difference.

My son is still in a bad place.  I have to pray for him until he gets to the point where he wants to help himself.
Meanwhile, I am heartbroken.

Please pray for us both, and for the rest of our friends and family.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

They say it is very dangerous to go grocery shopping when you are hungry.  
They are absolutely right.

So I am making a grocery list while Mike takes a nap.
I am hoping this will safeguard against crazy choices.
Oh, God, I am so hungry!!!

The list was the saving grace...we got what we needed and didn't go crazy.
I made delicious chicken tacos...and they were so easy.  I just used the taco seasoning mix you get at the store, and fresh onions, tomatoes and iceberg lettuce, shredded.
As much as I wanted sour cream, I passed on that.  Instead I used some mild Southwestern salsa which has yummy chunks of peppers, and corn, which I love!

We did soft tacos with flour tortillas warmed before being filled...Yum.

Mike is making his chicken egg rolls tomorrow...
I can't wait.

Right now, comfort food is my thing.  I am very worried about the fact that my son is making some really poor life choices.  He isn't working, and never knows from day to day where he is staying that night.

This is proving to heighten my anxiety tremendously on a daily basis.
I want to help him, but I have to let him learn things the hard way.

So, I find comfort where I can.
The diet is postponed indefinitely.
Don't judge me, I'm a mom.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday

About a week ago, our computer monitor broke. I left a note on the desk for The Computer Monitor Fairy, but alas, she hasn't come.

Meanwhile, life goes on.

I love my job at the coffee shop, but I know it isn't my passion. I'm seriously considering nursing school. The local community college offers the CNA course, with fees and text book costs waived.

Our sweet puppies are doing great. Zip is now four months old and over 22 pounds, nearly triple her weight at six weeks. She is smart, feisty and a little shy.

Coco loves her little sister. When they wrestle, Coco, at four and a half pounds, hold her own.

Mike and I have struggled a bit with the schedule required during Zip's puppyhood, but hope that soon she will be a bit more self-sufficient.

I an really enjoying my guilty pleasure, Reality TV. Right now, I'm loving Big Brother. The return of some players from previous seasons makes for familiar drama with a new twist.

I'm also thrilled to see the return of Flipping Out, on Bravo. Jeff Lewis and the gang continue to bring laughter and winces, as the inappropriate and awkward moments are in abundance.

Tomorrow, I plan to spend some time with my son, Stephen. He is my only child, and although we live in the same city, we don't see each other enough.

And, on a sad note, another friend was lost to the unrelenting disease of addiction last night. Rest in peace, Emily-Anne. You are with the angels now.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Roasted Shrimp with Feta = Delicious ♥

A few weeks ago, I was watching "The Barefoot Contessa" on the Food Network.
I saw this amazing dish and just had to try it!!

Ina Garten is awesome, and I love this dish because it is a one dish meal!!!
I am all about easy. Plus, it has shrimp in it!!!

I have a link to Ina's recipe below, but I thought I would tempt you first by showing how deelish
it looks, and - I guarantee it - tastes!!

I have never eaten fennel, which has a licorice taste to it.  When cooked, the flavor mellows and gives a nice crunch to this dish.  I sauteed the fennel in olive oil, and added some white wine and garlic.

Fennel, olive oil and garlic.

Then I added a can of cut tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Along with oregano, salt and pepper, it smells heavenly!

In a separate bowl, I combined bread crumbs, fresh parsley and lemon zest with olive oil

Bread crumb mixture with lemon zest and parsley, moistened with olive oil.

Once I added the tomatoes and paste and seasonings with the fennel mixture,
I laid the raw shrimp on top of that.
For presentation, it's nice to have the tails all facing the same way.

Before I added the feta cheese, I snapped this picture! YUM!!   
Crumbled feta cheese went on top of the shrimp, followed by the amazing bread crumb mixture.
The dish then went into the oven for just fifteen minutes.

When it came out, it looked like this:

This dish is amazingly delicious!  I did not include the Pernod, which can be substituted with Ouzo.
The recipe calls for a very small amount, and I wasn't of the budget to purchase an entire bottle.

The recipe called for white bread brumbs ground in a food processor. I used Italian bread crumbs, so my flavors came out differently I am sure.  But it is an amazing dish, with about 15 minutes prep time and 45 minutes cooking time (including the oven time).

I squeezed lemon juice over the top of the dish - Awesome!!
Mike and I enjoyed it with garlic bread, but it would be just wonderful with french baguette or sourdough.

And, for the record, there were NO LEFTOVERS ♥

For Ina's recipe in its entirety, click here

And let me know how it turned out for you!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Curb Your Own Dog

Yesterday, my roomies and I were trying to cook in our more-than-ample kitchen.
The upstairs roomie had, per standard operating procedure, locked his dog out of his room, leaving the poor, sweet lonely girl wandering into our space.  
"W." claims to have a very well-behaved dog, but sadly she obeys him out of fear.  When we direct her, she listens, then goes right back to what she was doing within minutes.

 After all of us tripping over her, asking her to leave the kitchen, having her return, and then repeating this process again and again, an hour had passed.  Our patience was running thin.  I called up to "W.", asking if his dog had eaten.  He said yes, so I suggested that maybe she needed some attention.
He then came downstairs to tell me what I was supposed to do.
"You have to tell her 'Out' and then take her to the living room and tell her to 'Stay'.
 I explained that was what we were all doing for the last hour, and that is why we finally had to ask him to (do his fucking job as a dog owner) please give her some attention.
This jackass became irate, telling me, right in front of our landlord,
"I pay rent here so that (she) can have the run of the house and do whatever she pleases."
This was news to the landlord.
Our lovely conversation culminated in "W." telling me "Fuck you!"
Right now, I am practicing avoidance of this particularly high-maintenance roomie.
And I am feeling very sorry for his dog.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not Very Inviting...

So today I received a text. It basically said, "Did you get the Save the Date card for the event? Cuz I didn't know if you weren't attending, or if you just didn't get the invite."

Is it me, or is that too little information to go on? I mean, I'm not super popular or anything, but I get invited to a lot of events. To make matters worse, when I asked for details, I was told I was e-mailed by someone I didn't know, so if I didn't receive it, could I please send my e mail address so the invite could be sent...(again?).

Seriously??? After much, too much, back and forth, this person finally admitted that she wanted to know if Mike and I had received invitations to her upcoming birthday party. But why couldn't she have just said that?

I guess she didn't want to admit that she had a big part in planning a party for herself. So what?

It was just a lot of frustration for nothing, and we are happy and honored to attend...

I just don't get it...but when I asked Mike, he had just three words for the situation, "High fucking maintenance."

Well, there you have it.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stream-of-Consciousness Sunday...Zip It

So here it is...Sunday.  My only day off this week.
At 5 a.m., the lovely Lady Zip woke me up...
Mike took her outside to do her business.
He then brought her back inside, turned on the bedroom light,
and left the room.

Excuse me, but, what the hell???

So, we had a little conversation...and I went back to bed.
And then Zip began to whimper.

So after about 3 hours, I finally got back to sleep...And when I finally woke up,
that is, when the puppies woke me up (Mike put then in front of me to lick my face),
at least there was coffee made.  Thank you, Mike.

Mike lured me into coming out on the couch by bribing me with coffee and breakfast.
After all, NASCAR was on.
Breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheese (my favorite), sausage and toast was delicious.
And then, Mike fell asleep.

I wonder if we will ever be on the same schedule again...

Mike is so exhausted noow from making Zip a dog house, so now
I get to make dinner...Yippee!

I am a better BBQ'er than Mike anyway =)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another Boring Friday Night

I totally tried to write this post on Blogger Droid.  It didn't work.

Mike has been sick all week.  I, of course, had to work.
And then, I came home and cooked dinner and took care of the dogs and did everything that we usually do together- None of which, by the way, did I mind doing.

I thought, since Mike was sick, I would get soup and make grilled cheese to go with it.
Yum.  I got a bunch of Safeway soups: Hearty Chicken Noodle, Garlic Potato, (My favorite), and Chicken Corn Chowder.  OMFG, what an amazing idea this was.  

I made grilled cheese, cheddar and provolone, and we each chose a soup.
It was so fantabulous that we had the same thing the next night.
Different soups, of course.

Tonight, we had chili.  I got the box chili mix, recommended by my sister,
at Vons.  Two pounds of hamburger, a can of tomato sauce, cut tomatoes,
kidney beans, some onions and sour cream - Oh, and some cheddar cheese.

I had two bowls.

And now, Mike and the kids (Coco and Zip) are all asleep.
I am enjoying my new find- Lipton Vanilla Caramel Truffle tea.

Life, my friends, is good.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tropical Summer Tri Tip Sandwiches

At my house, we barbeque at least three or four times a week,
Usually, on one those days, we have Tri Tip, which I love to serve 
with some sauteed onions and peppers, but today I was looking for
a fresh, delicious twist on the Tri Tip sandwich. 

I have created one that I think is going to knock your socks off!
I built my recipe around the Cattleman's Finest line of beef at Smart & Final.
Cattleman's Finest has an excellent selection of cuts, including Filet Mignon, New York Strip.
Ribeye, London Broil and Top Sirloin.

 Let's make my Tropical Summer Tri Tip Sandwiches!

Here's what you will need:

Cattleman's Finest Tri Tip Roast, 2 lbs.
1 Pineapple
1 Large Sweet onion
2 Red Bell Peppers
4 - 6 Sandwich Rolls
First Street Provolone Cheese, 4-6 slices

! cup First Street Basalmic Vinegarette
              3/4 cup First Street Orange Marmalade  (room temperature)
1 tbsp Ginger, grated or minced
2 heaping tbspns  Brown Sugar

(Prep time: 15 mins, Cook time approx. one hour)

Make the marinade first.  Ideally, the Tri Tip Roast should marinate for at least two hours.

In a medium bowl, combine the basalmic vinegarette, marmalade,
ginger and brown sugar.  Taste how tangy and sweet it is, then set it aside.

Take out your Tri Tip and trim excess fat from the back.
I have to say that the Cattleman's Finest Tri Tip had minimal fat on it,
which I was really impressed with.
You want to leave on a little fat for flavor, but not too much, 
because it can cause your meat to burn on the grill.

Place your Tri Tip in a large bowl or gallon-sized zip lock bag.
Use only one cup of the marinade on your Tri Tip, 
saving about 3/4 cup for basting the roast 
and drizzling on sandwiches when plating them.

Place marinating meat in the refrigerator until about 30 mins. before grilling.

While you are heating the grill, cut the peppers in half, removing the stem and seeds.
Slice the onion into 1/4' slices.  Cut up the pineapple.
About six slices of pineapple and onion, and two cut bell peppers
should be good for a 2-pound roast, (4 to 6 sandwiches)

Cook your Tri Tip on low to medium heat.
For me, the key to evenly cooking a Tri Tip is:
Turn the meat every 5 to 7 minutes!!
 (Set a timer if you have to)

After about 35 minutes or so, place the peppers and onions
on the grill.  Use a spatula for turning the onions.
The onions will cook faster, so when they are done I like to place them on aluminum foil,
seal it up and leave them on the corner of the grill to stay hot.
Use tongs to turn the peppers.  
After the veggies are on the grill for 6 - 8 mins, add the pineapple to the grill.

(Cook time for peppers, 9-12 mins, Onions, 6-8 mins, and Pineapple, 5-6 mins.)

For the last 10 to 15 mins, (While fruit & veggies cook) baste your Tri Tip with the marinade.
Remember to save some to drizzle on the sandwiches.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for melting cheese on the sandwich rolls.
OR - If you have a top rack on your grill, you may heat rolls there.
I ran out of room on my grill, and I am always afraid I will burn the bread,
so I thought the oven was safer for me.
Place cheese on rolls and heat in oven about 6 - 8 mins. Just enough to melt the cheese
and lightly toast the bread.  Ideally, the rolls are still soft on the outside.

Remove meat from grill and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.
Remove veggies andcut into slices or chunks. Cut pineapple into
small chunks (1/2" or so).

Cut Tri Tip into bite-sized pieces.  Remove rolls from oven.
Add meat, peppers, onions and pineapple to rolls.
Drizzle with the extra marinade.

Grab an extra slice of pinapple (way better than a pickle to complement this sandwich)
Grab sandwich with both hands and dig in!

Now, if you like my sandwich, (and I know you will), head on over to
Cattleman's Finest and vote for my recipe. Click the recipe tab and my recipe is in "Week 2". You'll be entered to win a 
$50 Smart & Final Cash Card AND a Weber Q220 Grill in
Cattleman's Finest Grill Up Your Summer Sweepstakes!
How cool is that?

Get on out there and #GrillUpYourSummer

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for  #CollectiveBias. All opinions are my own

Friday, June 17, 2011

Zippity Doo Dah!!!

Last Saturday, we drove four hours to Woodlake, California to a cool Stallion ranch.
There, we finally met Zip.
She loves her daddy.

 She loves to dig.

And she loves to sit in her dirty creation - a small hole in the backyard.

She really, really loves that hole.

And she loves her big sister, Coco.
Coco's not so sure about Zip yet, 
but I'm sure she'll come around.

Stay tuned for The Adventures of Coco and Zip....♥

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Four-Legged Family Members

I have the most adorable little dog in the world.
But she has the smelliest poops on the planet!
I cannot believe that those stinky things come out of sweet little Coco.

Next weekend, we are driving north about four hours to pick up our new little baby, Zip.
She will be 6 1/2 weeks old.  

There will be potty training, and chewing, and lots of adjustments.
I'm confident that Coco will be a sweet and loving surrogate mommy.

If any of you have any words of wisdom for the new mommy of a puppy,
I would appreciate hearing them!

Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3rd

I Feel Like a Total Gimp

Okay, so I just finished working eight straight days.
Well, almost.  See, yesterday,  I was headed through the swinging door at my work,
when a co-worker came at it from the other side.
My toe got jammed under the lower edge of the door. (Ouch!)
Like a trooper, I "shook it off", managing not to say "F***!".
My co-worker apologized profusely, even though I said 
"Listen, if it was a car accident, it would have been fifty/fifty."

So I went on my way, and finished out my shift.
When I got home, I took off my shoes first thing, as usual.
I went to walk across the room, and I almost fell down.  My foot hurt that bad. 
What the hell is it about the feet that causes "little" injuries to turn into
ridiculously painful traumas?
 If you are a podiatrist, could you please let me know??

Needless to say, when I got out the door and went to work, I quickly realized that being on my feet just wasn't going to work for me today.  I sincerely apologize to all my co-workers for 
having to leave on a crazy-busy Friday morning.

Sweeps Week Hangover

No more Desperate Housewives, or Glee.
And Dancing With The Stars ended.   
House had its shocking, albeit humorous,
season finale.

So now what?

Well, tonight, Whale Wars begins its fourth season on Animal Planet.
Mike got me to watch this show shortly after we moved in together last year.
I would say I'm hooked, but that seems a terribly inappropriate pun.

I also really enjoy the Police Women of Broward County (which succeeds Police Women of Dallas and Police Women of Memphis) on TLC.

Last night, I watched the premiere of NY Ink (a spin-off of Miami Ink
which also spawned the Kat Von D-featured series, LA Ink.) 
Ami James returns to New York and opens a new shop
with a new crew.  And, believe me, the drama hits you in the face right out of the gate.

Everybody have a great weekend.
I've gotta run.  Mike's grilling hamburgers and I have tater tots in the oven.
And Whale Wars is about to begin.

                                Life is good. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Breakfast Casserole Recipe - Smart & Final-ly Yours!!

When Smart & Final asked me to share a 
recipe using their First Street Southern Style Hash Browns, I instantly knew which dish I would make.

I love the idea of the breakfast casserole because it has very little prep.  This allows me to lounge around, drinking coffee on the couch with Mike, while the oven does most of the work.
If you have tried some of my other recipes, you know
I am all about quick and easy.

Here's what you will need to make my super easy
Breakfast Casserole:

2 cups First Street Southern Style Hash Browns
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup diced ham (about 1/2 pre-cooked ham slice)
(Or substitute cooked breakfast sausage, crumbled)
4 oz. cheddar cheese
4 oz. Asiago cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
One 4oz. can diced green chiles

(Prep time ten mins, Cook time one hour)

Let the frozen potatoes thaw for one hour before cooking, 
or do what I do - defrost them in the microwave!
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

Grease an 8" x 8" pan.
(I use First Street Canola Oil Non-Stick Cooking Spray)

 Spread  the hash browns in the pan, and
Brush with melted butter.
Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven, and reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Add diced ham (or cooked/crumbled sausage) 
onto the potato crust. 

Sprinkle cheeses on top of the ham.
Looking delicious so far, right?

Now, layer the diced green chiles on top of the cheese.

Next, scramble the eggs and milk and add season salt, if desired.
Pour the egg mixture over the cheeses.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Doesn't that look totally yummy?
I love this with sourdough toast.

To personalize this dish, try:

*Serving it with flour tortillas and salsa,
*Substituting your favorite cheeses, such as pepper-jack,
*Go Vegetarian substituting a can of cut tomatoes with onion and jalapeno
(drained) instead of the meat.

Use your imagination and the sky's the limit!

Now dish up and enjoy!! 

Don't forget to head on over to Smart & Final's Facebook page
and enter to win $50 in Smart & Final First Street products and a $50 Smart & Final gift card!

Just "Like" their page and enter.
Become a Smart & Final First Street VIP & Win!

Please note:  This writer has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions are my own.

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