Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just about a month from now I'm set adrift,
with a diploma for a sail and lots of nerve for oars.
Richard Halliburton

Yesterday, after arriving home from work I was greeted on my doorstep by a thin, large cardboard envelope.

At first, I wasn't sure what it was but after flipping it over and seeing the return address from my university I knew....

My masters degree diploma had arrived!

I slide it out of the envelope in all it's ivory and engraved printing glory. A beautiful thing. And so weird that after all those years of work my degree was sitting on my kitchen counter.

It was promptly sent to the framer with my undergrad diploma (that has been sitting in an envelope waiting its companion since 2005) to be mounted under glass to proudly display together on my office wall. I worked for it so I'm showing it off!

Now it is official - I am done, done, done with graduate school!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fervet olla, vivit amicitia:
While the pot boils, friendship endures.
Latin Proverb

I received an e-mail chain letter from a former co-worker the other day. Athough I initially rolled my eyes, after reading I realized that I would love to participate because it was a quick recipe exchange - I love me some recipes for sure!

In the last day I've received some delicious ones in my inbox that I had to share. It was especially fun to see where they came from and to see the actual receipes of dishes I have long enjoyed in their homes. Easy, quick things that just are so good!

I will be trying some out this week and I hope you find one you like too!

Breakfast Before
From my friend Casey's mother in law

1lb. sausage or bacon
Vegetables of your choice - optional (onion, green pepper, red pepper, or mushrooms)
5 slices of white bread with the crust removed (cubed)
1-½ cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese
7 eggs
2 cups whole milk
½ teaspoon salt

Sauté the sausage, bacon or the vegetables and drain. Beat eggs with milk and salt. Put bread layer down first in a 9 x13” pan, then layer of meat, then vegetables, then cheese. Beat eggs with milk and salt. Pour the egg mixture over the top and refrigerate over night. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Babs' Eggplant Dish
From Melissa, orginially her co-worker's dish

1 Eggplant
1 Red, Green, AND Yellow Pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Green Olives, minced
1 Chopped onion
1 cup of mayonaise
1/2 cup of mushrooms
2 cups of your favorite red marinara sauce
8 oz of your fav shredded cheese

Pre heat oven on BROIL
Slice eggplant into rounds about 1/2 thick (I prefer to cut the skin off prior)
Heavily coat EACH side of eggplant rounds with the mayo
Lay on baking sheet and broil for 15 min each side

While that is happening....In a pan ...evoo and garlic 1 minute add onionadd chopped peppers, alladd mushroomslastly, add green olives
After eggplant has baked on each side, set oven on 350 bake
Layer eggplant rounds to fit the bottom of a baking casserole pan
Throw all cooked vege's on toplayer marinara saucecover with cheese

Bake, 15-20 min, or until cheese is melted - ENJOY!

Lemon Cookies
From Casey

1 box yellow cake mix
8oz package Cool Whip
2 Eggs
Powdered Sugar

Mix together cake mix, cool whip, and eggs (dough is pretty thick). Roll teaspoon-sized portions in powdered sugar, place on baking sheet (I line mine with parchment paper) and flatten slightly with a fork.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes... until they are kind of crackled looking on the top.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of
listening when you'd have preferred to talk.
Doug Larson

My mother is a pretty traditional so the thought of hosting a bridal shower for her daughter was a big no-no. So instead, she put together what we know refer to as her Wise Women Dinner. On Saturday night we hosted eight of the smartest, wittiest and most successful women she knew for dinner and fabulous conversation.

She asked each of them to bring their favorite or most life changing book for me (some couldn't decide and brought a few) so I now have a wondeful stack of books to enjoy!

My mother's book gift was a beautiful Book of Common Prayer (used in the Episcopal church) with my soon-to-be new name inscribed on the front. I especially love it because it has the words for our marriage ceremony included.

I wanted to share a list of these great reads with you that were inspirational in the life of women:

The Joy of Cooking
Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker

Simple Abundance: A Day Book of Comfort and Joy
Sarah Ban Breathnach

Men are from Mars: Women are from Venus
John Gray, Ph.D.

Mutant Message Down Under
Marlo Morgan

The Log from the Sea of Cortez
John Steinbeck

The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint Exupéry

How People Change
Allen Wheelis

Man's Search for Meaning
Victor Frankel

Still Life with Woodpecker
Tom Robbins

You've Got to Read This!
Ron Hansen and Jim Shepard

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • Crazy black labs that will sit on comand
  • Piles of new books waiting to be read
  • Frizz-Ease serum during July in Florida
  • Eating slices right of a block of good parmesan cheese
  • Broadway musicals turned into movies

Friday, July 25, 2008

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.
Randy Pausch

This news just broke my heart.

If you haven't read The Last Lecture, pick it up for a quick read this weekend. You won't regret it. It will certainly make you appreciate those around you and the time that is important in life.

Rest in peace, Randy.

He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

And just because, really, it is so darn cute I wanted to chare some additional photos I took of our new house in St. Louis. Nick meets with our landlord on Saturday so it is officially ours-to-rent for a year.

On my next trip up there he will be moved in (with his large television, DVR, air matress and assorted tailgating chairs) so it will be fun to get in there and start ordering some furniture and making it our own.
Front view from the driveway

View when you walk in the front door - dining room ahead, living room to the left (ignore the gapping hole, they had to remove the vent cover when the redid the floors)

Looking left from the front door to the (working!) fireplace in the living room.

Kitchen - small but newer cabinets with extrodinarly mismatched appliances

Front bedroom (the back bedroom looks exactly the same)

View from the dining room to the back porch. Garage off to the left and the trailer will be gone

Back of the house from the driveway

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain
or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
Rabindranath Tagore

Sundays are my least favorite day of the week. I'm sure it is a combination of the weekend ending and the work week beginning with a big ol' dose of "Nick isn't here."

He always had Sundays off and that was essentially our day. It was our day to make pancakes for breakfast, play golf, watch movies and eat tacos for dinner on the back porch. So being alone on Sundays just make me even more sad that he isn't here to have an excuse to lay in bed and watch ESPN until 11 a.m.

So this Sunday, while sitting on my couch having a pity party about how I had nothing to do, I decided to go watch the sunset on the beach. Now, you would think living in Florida for 25+ years I would be at the beach all the time. I'm more of a pool girl really. But a comfy chair, snacks and a good book to accompany the warm setting sun and cool breeze just can't be beat.

Sitting there, I was just so contently happy. Nothing special, nothing fancy. Just happy. It was exactly what I needed and I've promised myself to make it a weekly lets-enjoy-Sunday-again ritual.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.
Ernestine Ulmer

On Saturday night I had the treat of going out to dinner with two of my favorite people, Casey and Melissa. Nick had received a hefty gift card to Roy's from one of his club members and now that he isn't around one of their restaurants to enjoy it, he graciously passed it along to me. So we had a yummy dinner on my Nick!

Casey came down for the day so it was so nice to have her here and then spend a great evening with Melissa too!

Casey, Melissa and me

Roy's famous melting hot chocolate souffle - so rich and delicious I could barely finish it!

Monday, July 21, 2008

They say that ninety percent of TV is junk. But, ninety percent of everything is junk.
Gene Roddenberry

I love television (much to my mother's chagrin) and although I watch quite a bit of it there are few shows that I consider myself loyal to. Even less frequent is show where I become entranced, fascinated and really start to love. The Sopranos, Big Love, Hopkins and Intervention are a few examples.

AMC has been showing a season one marathon of Mad Men in efforts to promote the upcoming second season. I picked up on randomly on the season one marathon that run all through Sunday afternoon and gosh darn it I am hooked. It is a simply exquisite show about 1960's ad men in New York and their lives.

Check it out if you have a moment and definitely don't miss the season two premier on July 27. It is divine.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • how Bella sticks her head through the veritical blinds to watch golfers outside
  • $60 Guess shoes for $16
  • airline tickets bought by someone else
  • new iPod playlists
  • New York Times wedding annoucements

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's finally Friday, I'm outta control
Forget the workin' blues, and let the good times roll.
George Jones

Courtesy of Friday Fill-Ins:
1. If I could be a fly on the wall I would scope out Washington DC and get the gossip!
2. Jealousy is a green-eyed monster (my mom always says that!).
3. When I see a shooting star my wish would be that Nick and I have a happy and healthy life together.
4. I'd rather be traveling than working any day!
5. Certain songs when I hear them make me wanna sing outloud with the windows down in my car.
6. If time were in a bottle I'd buy it in bulk at Sam's Club with a coupon.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to relaxing at home and getting some cleaning/grocery shopping done, tomorrow my plans include spending the day with Casey and dinner at Roy's in the evening and Sunday, I want to sleep in and make blueberry pancakes!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A good home must be made, not bought.
Joyce Maynard

Back safe and sound from St. Louis and the biggest news is that we found "our" place! We'll be renting for a year or so and then will buy so the challange this weekend was to find a rental home in our budget, within my cute factor and in the area that we wanted.


Two bedrooms, one bath, working firplaces, refinished hardwood floors, washer and dryer on the main floor (I'm not used to the whole basement thing yet) and a two car garage in the back.

I cannot wait to call this little darling (ca. 1936 - that's for you Natalie) our first home together!

Friday, July 11, 2008

In true love the smallest distance is too great,
and the greatest distance can be bridged.
Hans Nouwens

It's "I-get-to-see-Nick day!"

Leaving for St. Louis for a long weekend this evening. I get to be holding hands with my sweetie in twelve hours! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Random: lacking any definite plan or order or purpose
  • Congrats to Rachel and Grant on their recent engagement!
  • I'm headed to St. Louis to see Nick in 2 days, 61 hours!
  • All of a sudden my distance vision has become blurry and after much WebMD research I think I figured out that it may be caused by me taking too much Vitamin E trying to have my scar heal quickly (which is when the blurriness started) - weird.
  • Lost 1.6 pounds this week and I'm excited to be on my way to be a bit slimmer and trimmer for the wedding.
  • Nick's landlord in St. Louis is having her brother move into the townhouse, thus moving Nick out within the month (ugh!). But that means that this weekend we are rental hunting for our place for Nick to move into ASAP (instead of later this year, closer to when I move up).
  • The dates for both my wedding shower and bachelorette party are set - things are really falling into place and there is certainly so much to look forward to during the next few months.
  • And... as of yesterday we will be married in four months - WOW!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
Sam Keen

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend! I had a lovely time with my friend Melissa at The Ritz-Carlton in Naples. What a treat!

At the golf resort pool

The golf resort hotel is dog friendly so we were joined by Melissa and her sister's dogs - Billy and Coco

So cute!

Fourth of July evening - heading over to the beach resort

Cute restaurant at the beach resort

Beautiful sunset!

On Saturday morning I treated myself to a fancy breakfast on the terrace - this is the back of the golf resort.

Yummy breakfast and view of the golf course

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • My new silver flip flops
  • Treating myself to breakfast out alone
  • The way The Ritz-Carlton employees say "My pleasure..."
  • The Star Spangled Banner played live
  • Minature long-haired dachshunds

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I love my freedom. I love my America.
Jessi Lane Adams

After work today, a quick Mystic Tan, some errands and good nights sleep, I will be enjoying my Fourth of July long weekend at The Ritz, poolside.

I'm so excited and promise to post lots of pictures (and steal all of the tolitiries from the bathroom!). Enjoy your holiday and God bless America!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.
Mark Twain

I'm not really into the blinkies, bumper stickers or banners that are plastered about various MySpace pages and Facebook profiles. But I have to admit, my middle school weakness that is now all over the Internet keeps me in stiffled giggles in my office.

I love the lolcatz.

Maybe it is because I am an animal lover and find any thing silly related to cats or other furry critters wildly funny. Or maybe I'm reverting to a thirteen year old with the desire to print them out and stick them all over my binders.

The format of the language would make any grammer person scream (hello, part of my job is proofreading - I want to correct all of these captions with a red pen) but once you get the hang of reading it you just can't stop.

So join me in my juevinlle laughter and embrace the lolcatz.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The alternative to a vacation is to stay home and
tip every third person you see.
Author Unknown

Tres Posche Preppy wrote about a "stay-cation" in Chicago - essentially, an at home vacation. I wanted to share my fabulous stay-cation plans right here in Southwest Florida.

Here are some things I wouldn't miss in my area while on a stay-cation:

1. Sleep in late until 8 a.m. (that is late for me!) and enjoy coffee and my laptop on my lanai with Bella.

2. Enjoy a light breakfast including warm toast with Orange Marmalade from local grove, Paradise Gardens.

3. Take a leisurely stroll down to the pool (hot pink floatie noodles in hand, of course) and enjoy a good book while soaking in the sun.

4. Lunch at McGregor Cafe - chunky chicken salad with an unsweetened tea, please.

5. Or maybe a burger and homemade hush puppies at The Fish House.

5. Window shopping at Waterside Shops.

6. Bargain shopping at Miromar Outlets (where I actually make purchases and not just swoon over $300 pairs of shoes).

6. Dinner with friends at Chops, Blue Water Bistro or Pagelli's.

7. Laugh through karaoke at Mona Lisa.

8. Go shelling on Sanibel Island.

9. Watch a sunset and enjoy thin crust pizza at Doc's Beach House.

10. Pick up cheap but fabulous jewelry at Best of Everything.

11. Head to the Naples Philharmonic, known as "The Phil," to see a show or hear the orchestra.

12. Cruise down Gordon Drive and through Port Royal to oooh-and-aaah at all the mansions.

What would your stay-cation be like where you live? I tag: you, Old Georgia Home, SteigerWorld, Are You Willing to Change?, and Insight Insanity Imagination.
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