A rant that is too long for twitter

I work in a building that is broken up into a few large work areas (cubicles for our call center and finance folks, of which there are about 100 employees in each section), a manufacturing area, and then a few obscure hallways or office groupings.  I work on one of the small hallways that has 8 offices down the length of the hallway.  At the beginning of our hallway, there is a men's restroom and a women's restroom, both of which are very small in comparison to the other restrooms in our building.

So our women's restroom has only 1 stall in it.  Which, I will admit, is nice since it provides a bit more privacy than a bathroom with 3-5 stalls.  The hallway that I work on is also not a main-traffic area, so a lot of people that work in the larger cubicle areas do not know that it is here.  However, a group of women have recently discovered that this private little bathroom exists, and have begun to use it when they need to do a stinky.

I wouldn't mind the increased traffic to this bathroom, since I only use it a few times a day.  Except that now when I want to use it, it smells.  because this is the chosen bathroom that women (who have plenty of bathrooms on their own side of the building) use when they need a little extra time in the bathroom.  It sucks, but I deal with it.

The funny part is that a lot of these women also have bad bathroom etiquette.  They like to do their business while talking on their cell phones.  What they don't realize, is that the bathroom is small and it echoes A LOT.  Every office in our hallway can hear everything that the person is saying on the phone.  Being one of only 2 women on this hallway, my coworkers have tried to convince me to put a sign up in the bathroom that warns cell phone users that the entire hallway can hear their conversation.  I refuse to put up the sign, and am quite humored (except when I'm REALLY trying to get work done) by the things that I hear.

We've heard quite a few fun conversations.  And the bathroom still remains stinky :-(

Happy New Year!

Tommy and I got a few pets to start of the new year! Oscar is a Fancy Guppy that won't be still for a good picture. And Meringue is a Mystery Snail. In the fishbowl to keep them both company is a freshwater Moneywort plant. I hope they like the new home that we have given them.

In other news, I have made a few New Years resolutions/goals that I probably won't be able to keep up with for an entire year.

1. Drink more Spanish wine - This is one I think I will be able to maintain throughout the year -- last year, my resolution was to drink and learn more about French wine, which I would say was a big success. I am also including South American wines in the "Spanish" category, as well as wines from Portugal. I hope to gain a better understanding of what Malbecs and Granaches are all about, and to discover other varietals that I might not know about right now.

2. Don't kill the fish! - I did a lot of research about fishbowl maintenance before we bought Oscar. I have confidence that I will be able to keep Oscar and Meringue alive as long as I do the proper maintenance to keep their environment healthy.

3. Eat more interesting food - Tommy and I cook a lot around here. In fact, we only go out to eat for dinner about 3-4 times a month. I seemed to have gotten a little lazy though and gravitate towards the quick and easy meals that don't include a large variety of ingredients or flavor. Foods that have disappeared from our diet recently are mushrooms, swiss chard, broccoli, and fish. I'm also trying to incorporate new foods that I am interested in as well. For January, my goal is to cook using brussel sprouts. We're starting that off tonight with this recipe (just the brussel sprout part, not the fish part). I have more brussel sprout recipes in the queue for later this month. Another food that I want to try out this year are sardines and anchovies. I stick my nose up to sardines and anchovies, but I've never had them, so I shouldn't stick my nose up.

4. Post in my food blog at least once a week - That is a little ambitious, but I'll try my best. Maybe I can at least get once a month. For all of the food that we make, I should at least be talking about the cool stuff. My last post was in early September... yikes! I just never seem to have the time. With football season ending soon, maybe I can dedicate Sunday nights to food blogging.


Thoughts on running

1.  The beginning - I started running (consistently) in May of this year.  It began when I realized that I had some love handles that seemed to have appeared over night.  I knew that I needed to get rid of them, and I felt that I could benefit from some regular excersize (the only regular exercise that Tommy and I do are ultimate games every Thursday night except in the winter months when it isn't offered). Knowing that I hated running, I started walking.  I would walk every other day after work.  After 3 days of walking, I suddenly got the urge to run.  I felt like walking just wasn't cutting it.  I haven't looked back since.  I've been running every Monday and Wednesday morning, and then once on the weekend.  Charleston summers are very hot, so running in the morning was the only way that I was able to take the heat, and even then, I struggled a few times.  

2. Pace - I could never seem to do better than a 12 minute mile when running for more than one mile.  My most comfortable route is a 2-mile loop around our neighborhood.  I did way better than this 12 minute pace in college, so I knew that I had it in me, it just didn't seem to be coming out.  Then one day recently I decided that it was time for me to break through and run a 10-minute/mile pace for two miles.  I concentrated really hard and stopped being lazy, and found that it wasn't any harder, I just had to concentrate really hard to keep up the pace.  I do this in ultimate too, where I get really lazy and run really slow.  I have to admit that this 10-minute pace also happened at the same time that we got some cool weather.  Instead of running when it is in the mid to high 80s, I am running when it is in the low 80s (or like tonight when it was down to the high 70s!!! YAY FALL!).  So maybe the extreme heat and humidity contribute to my slow running.

3.  Appetite - Only recently have I started eating more.  It is very strange actually.  I eat more during each meal, but I am not hungry in between meals.  Usually at work I start to get hungry around 4 or 5.  By the time I get home, I am starving.  But with this increased appetite, I seem  to stay full in between meals.  The evening hunger usually doesn't hit me now until about 7. 

4. Solo please - When I first started running I thought that it would be nice to have a running partner.  But I quickly realized that I like running by myself.  A few times I quit running before my time was up, and I didn't feel bad.  Once my knee got achy so I stopped.   Another time I just didn't feel like running, so I stopped. And I didn't have to feel bad that I was letting someone down.  I also enjoy being able to listen to my ipod and not feel pressured into having to talk to someone running alongside me.  Some days I feel like I would improve faster if I had someone to run with so that we could challenge each other, but I found that once I started wearing my watch, I got very competitive with myself.  

The bridge - Charleston doesn't have hills, but it has the bridge.  I want to conquer the bridge by the end of October (I will consider it conquered once I can run the whole length of it (1 mile uphill, steep, 1.5 miles down the other side, a little less steep). 

6. What running doesn't do for me - One thing that I miss about climbing is muscle soreness.  I used to climb two times a week when I lived in Raleigh.  At least one time a week, I would wake up with sore muscles from the intense night before of climbing.  It wasn' t always the same muscles either.  Climbing highlights muscles you never thought you had.  So I love the sore muscles.  It is a physical reminder that your muscles are getting stronger.  I never get sore muscles from running, so I never feel like I'm pushing my body -- maybe I'm not.  Maybe I will start to get the sore muscles when I run up the bridge?  Maybe I need to start running faster or longer.  

  Wine plus running - Occasionally (usually when I can't seem to drag myself out of bed in the morning for a run) I will run in the evening.   I like it when I drink wine with dinner after running, because with just a tiny amount of wine, I can feel my body start to get warmer.  And I get very relaxed.  I like that feeling.  


In case anyone is wondering.....

Tommy and I decided to stay at home and weather Hanna.  I am happy to report that our chimneys only had minimal leaking, there is NO debris in our yard, and my flowers did not get destroyed by wind and rain.  I think that we got more rain from Tropical Storm Fay (Fay was the one that went through Florida and on to the panhandle) than we did from Hanna. 

I'm going to a wedding in a week!  In preparation, I am going to buy a new dress and get a pedicure.  I like shopping for dresses and I love love LOVE getting pedicures.  I haven't had one since the spring, so my nails are long overdue.  

I'm in the process of re-finishing a mirror.  It is a rectangular mirror, about 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide.  Tommy's parents had it painted a weird green color to match the room in which it hung.  When they moved, they decided that they didn't want it anymore, so that offered it to us.  Tommy and I started sanding it down last week.  Today I finished sanding all of the paint off, and we picked out a stain (dark walnut).  Tomorrow I need to prep it for staining (fill in a few cracks with wood filler, and fine-tune the sanding), and then I will stain it tomorrow night if the wood filler dries in time.  Since we got the mirror for free, it is a very inexpensive way to decorate a wall.  Next on my neverending list of stuff to do around the house is to finish making a cover for our pastel-plaid loveseat.  

Last night I made peach cobbler (thanks to Brian for pointing out the recipe!).  It was very good and satisfied my want for some good cobbler.  The best part is that we have some left for tonight!  And this morning I made cinnamon rolls.  They were perfect.  I only made half of the recipe, and we have A LOT LEFT.  I think we only ate about 1/3 of the rolls.  This means that I can eat cinnamon rolls for at least 2 more mornings!  



My California List (this does not include the obvious stuff such as go to a wedding and see lots of people)

1. Eat at a good sushi place

2. Eat guacamole (I'm not a fan of guacamole, but I was told that I haven't had guacamole until I've had it in California, so I want to give it a try for real)

3. Coit Tower

4. See the west coast (I think it would be cool to watch a sunset)

5. Eat a churro

6. See more of Golden Gate Park (when we were there on our honeymoon we wandered into this park on foot and without a map... somehow we stumbled upon the art museum and the tea garden)

(no subject)

In preparing for my Seattle vacation, I have been talking about it a lot at work.  My coworker gave me a travel book on Seattle (him and his wife take frequent trips to Seattle  since her parents live there).  The first part of the book talks about Seattle and Seattleites:

Like the over-hyped rain that softens the edges of their city, Seattleites are generally well-mannered.  They don't come on like hailstorms or hurricanes. 

Road-rage? Here, it's more  like road  aggravation.  Tailgating and other angry behavior are increasingly common on Seattle freeways, but mayhem  is minimal... Fully half of Seattle driver use their turn signals -- it's not considered a display of weakness here -- and they allow fellow drivers into their lanes if they request rather than demand room to move over. 

A newcomer becomes a Seattleite when  he or she first sets foot inside the REI flagship store, gazes up at the 65-ft indoor climbing pinnacle,  then perhaps invests in that first rain-resistant microfiber jacket spun from recycled soda bottles.

I can't WAIT.

A springy weekend

Spring is HERE!  This makes me very excited.  Other things that have or will make me very excited are as follows:

1. I wiped off the dust from my bike and went for a ride this morning.  It was good. Very good.  I didn't go very far or very long, only about 45 minutes.  And I didn't make it to the bridge.  I stayed close to home and toured the houses along the marsh in the neighborhood a few miles up the road.  They were pretty nice houses. 

2. Wine and flowers.  Yesterday Tommy and I set out to shop for some flowers for our empty flower bed in the front of our house.   Our first stop was the new wine store in town called Crushed.  We stayed there for about an hour, sampling wines, talking with the owner (who lives above the wine shop) and checking out all of the wine that they had.  After that, we spent about 5 minutes at K-Mart and 10 minutes at Lowes looking at flowers.  We only bought a few begonias and a New-Guinea Impatience. 

3. Syrah Wine Tasting.  Next weekend we're hosting our second wine tasting (we're doing them once a month).  I'm putting together the wines for this tasting, which will be a variety of Syrahs.  Tommy has shown great restraint in letting me pick the wines and not stepping in and preparing the line up.  I have 2 more to get before next Saturday.

4. Pizza and Panna Cotta.  I need to start my dough soon, Tommy and I are making pizza tonight.  And drinking wine.  Then we will eat the Panna Cotta that I made last night.  I wanted to eat it last night, but it wasn't set yet.

5.  Seattle.  In 10 days, I will be on a plane headed to Seattle, where Tommy and I will be spending an evening, 5 full days, and then a morning.  Things to do include visiting wineries in the Pudget Sound Area, REI, and Pike Place Market.  A pre-thank you goes out to our hosts, Amy and Brian.

Oh Happy Day

Today was a happy day for me.  The agenda went something like this:

9-12 am: lounge around house, wait for Fed-Ex to deliver 3 bottles of wine
12-2 pm: drive downtown and do the following: visit a plant store, walk to King St, order a lunch to go, take it to the park (Marion Square), eat outside, walk an unknown street back to car
2-3 pm: drive to Lowes and buy a new houseplant, some seeds to plant in the ground next month, and some lawn bags
3-4 pm: visit a new winestore called Wineawhile and participate in their free tasting of valentine's day wines
4-5 pm: arrive home,  make dinner plans and a grocery list
5-6 pm: go to grocery stores to buy ingredients for tonight's dinner and tomorrow's breakfast, lunch and dinner (talk about being prepared!)
7 pm: start dinner
7:45 pm: write a livejournal entry while waiting for dinner to finish

What this all boils down to is that we got a new houseplant and that makes me very very happy.  We started looking a few weeks ago for a plant to fill a boring empty corner where our wine fridge resides.  We have been looking into orchids, but the price along with my fear of killing it before we attain maximum enjoyment out of its beautiful colorful flowers led us the lemon cypress instead.  It stands about 18" from the bottom of the pot to the top of the green stuff.

I also have a pot of Bolognese sauce simmering on the stove filling the house with pleasant aromas.  And I'm drinking wine. 

I took pictures of all but two of our houseplants and posted them on flickr.  The most interesting to me is our succulent, maybe because I have pictures of it from the time that we bought it.  The three pictures are the three different stages (and pots) that it has been in.  The first was when we first brought it home.  One thing that we liked about it when we bought it was that it had a reddish color to it.  We thought that was really cool.  A few weeks later though, all of the red/brown went away and it turned a bright green,  and has been green ever since.  Within a few weeks I potted it to what I thought would be its permanent pot.  Recently it outgrew its pot and had to be re-potted to an even bigger pot. 


So tired...

I've been tired lately.  I wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, eat dinner and chat with Tommy, sit down on the couch and fall asleep.  I feel like I get enough sleep at night.  Between 8 and 10 hours a night.  At work I'm not tired.  But by the time I get home at night, I'm exhausted.  Is this normal?  Tommy is able to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, he never seems tired so early in the evening.  This tiredness has left me with no time for blogging about all of the meals that Tommy and I have been making and all of the wine that we've been drinking. 

I'm not tired today, just a little bored.  So I will start blogging about all of the stuff we've been making lately, if I can remember them.  There have been a few memorable ones that I am anxious to share and anxious to make again.  Other meals were okay to eat, but I wouldn't consider them worthy enough of sharing.  We also only ate out 4 nights in the month of January.  Isn't that amazing!?  That equates to a lot of cooking in the kitchen.