Dichotomies on a bad day

I am not having a very lovely day, so I've decided it would be a good exercise to blog for a bit. I've read all the stories about employees who have been fired for blogging ABOUT work. So, I'd like to make it very clear that this has NOTHING to do with my job.

LOVELY: the view from my window (complete with be-twigged trees, berry-strewn bushes, and what remains of the green autumn grass)
REPUGNANT: the filth on the glass that makes everything look just a bit too dingy

OK, wait... it sucks to END every thought with the negative. Let's flip this on end.

REPUGNANT: the robotic impulse
LOVELY: the human element

REPUGNANT: the same old schtick
LOVELY: a new day

REPUGNANT: the fact that I am not content with my current circumstances
LOVELY: the freedom to make new choices

REPUGNANT: wallowing in the mire
LOVELY: turning everything upside-down

VERY LOVELY: Tomorrow night's BBBBB activity: Bowling, beers, babes, the Boy, and BBQ!! (a BBBBB always seems to rectify a bad week so very nicely)


9 years!

How do Peef and Lo celebrate Nine Years of wedded bliss ... ?
With wine, cheese, some bread and a bit of homemade creamy tomato soup, of course!

After all the entertaining this past week, it has been some work to get inspired to cook up something fantastic. As it turns out, sometimes the simplest things make for the best meals.

We made (basil enhanced) brie, tomato, avocado sammiches on some loverly olive focaccia bread. We finished the night with a pint of Fat Daddy. (aka, Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby).
Lo...after 9 wonderful years, I can't think of a better person to be spending my days with.


The Baby. It has taken over the blog.

OK, not totally.
But here are a couple of select portraits that we thought you might appreciate :)

We'd also like to report that the baby is NOT perfect, as we first presumed. She has very long fingers (just take a look at the first picture we posted). And very big feet. Which we're not going to show you.


Thanks for Babies

Thanksgiving dinner went off without a hitch!
AND -- amid the Thanksgiving festivities, Peef and Lo became an Aunt and Uncle again!
She was born just before 10am.

Behold - the Thanksgiving Baby!
Reagan Rae Gosa
(8.1 lbs, 20 inches long -- and cute as a button)



So, the morning is passing, and I haven't gotten a thing done.
The sink is filled with dirty dishes, waiting to be washed. But, what am I doing? Blogging. *blush*

My TO DO list:
  1. Finish dishes
  2. Dry french bread for stuffing
  3. par-boil and peel pearl onions
  4. cook bacon
  5. chop vegetables
  6. caramelize onions
  7. compose the spinach gratin
  8. clean up kitchen
  9. locate table linens
  10. haul out china
  11. make another list of things to do tomorrow
I'm wearing my apron.
Does that count?

Pre-Thanksgiving Events

The day before Thanksgiving is supposed to be a whirlwind, right?

Ours started off with an excitable 5am phone call. Everyone was jazzed because it seemed as if Keri's baby was finally on her way (Reagan was due to arrive on November 18th... but she seemed to be enjoying herself in there too much to join us). We held our breath in anticipation for a few hours hours... to find that pre-term labor had set in. So, we're hanging tight and praying for that Thanksgiving baby.

While she's waiting, Lo figures she'll make preparations for Thanksgiving. After all, there is bread to dry for the stuffing, pearl onions to blanch, and spinach gratin to prepare. The turkey has been brining happily since yesterday, so that won't require much attention until this evening, when we'll take it out of the brine to "cure" it in the fridge.

Peef headed off to work this morning, and he'll probably hang out there until closing time, when he'll come home and we'll head off to our annual Thanksgiving service -- where we'll reflect on all the things for which we're thankful.

Not a bad day, right?

And there was light!

We are the proud new owners of a BRAND NEW chandelier.
How exciting, yes?

It is, indeed, exciting. And it should have been a simple matter of replacing the old, worn-out light fixture with something new and exciting. But, nay... as life would have it, there is a STORY to tell.

Travel with us back in time -- to last Christmas -- when we were the gracious recipients of a number of generous monetary donations. Recall with us how we took those generous donations and decided to put them toward the purchase of a lovely new light fixture for our dining room.

Now, to give a bit of background, we live in a 1920's bungalow. So, our dining room really is a lovely place. We have built-in china cabinets, and lovely woodwork. We have a tray ceiling, and a domed doorway which leads from the dining room into the living room. The ONE piece of the dining room that is NOT lovely is the light fixture, which happens to be a 1980's vintage ceiling fan (with light kit) complete with lovely caning detail on the fan blades! We probably don't need to tell you how excited we were by the prospect of a new fixture!

Anyhow -- we managed to find a lovely wrought iron chandelier (by Quoizel) with iced glass lamp shades and a leaf motif.

It was PERFECT! And, it happened to be on sale. So, we scooped it up and took it home with us. We planned to install it just as soon as we had a free moment.

Well, during that free moment, we discovered that the electricity in our lovely dining room was NOT up to code. And there was NO WAY that big chandelier was going to have enough support to hang from the dining room ceiling the way things were. SO, we needed a plan B.

Plan B consisted of having our electrical redone when we proceeded with our upstairs bathroom rennovation. Now, as a loyal reader, you know that we CRASHED our beloved Isuzu in August, and so the bathroom remodel was post-poned.

Ergo, we moved on to PLAN C. Plan C consisted of having an independent electrician come and take a look at our situation and propose a solution. As luck would have it, Plan C was postponed for a number of months so that we could get our finances back in order and determine what was really affordable.

BUT FINALLY, this very week, we have moved forward. Plan C was enacted. And successfully so. Celebrate with us, for we have been enlightened!


Snip. Snap. All better again.

Well -- thanks for all the healing thoughts and well wishes! They worked. Happily, the cold turned out to be a nice, ordinary 5-day variety. And, after a bit of R&R on the weekend, I'm quite nearly good-as-new again! Which is very good insofar as Peef is concerned.

As we look forward to the week ahead, it's a good thing that we're both back in good health. Cuz it's going to be a wild one. Tonight we have a bunch of errands to run after work (provided we don't decide to attend this event at Marquette --which will impact that plan a bit). Tuesday, we have an electrician coming over to our place to give us an estimate on a couple of things we've been wanting to have done (an update to our electrical in the dining room & a new outlet in the kitchen). Wednesday looks clear (so far); but we're setting aside a number of evenings this week to begin prepping, planning, and shopping for our Thanksgiving feast and subsequent Thanksgiving Saturday brunch, which is a tradition at our house.

ORDINARILY, Peef and I take "off" for the Thanksgiving holiday. It's in close proximity (most years) to our wedding anniversary, so we've gotten in the habit of setting aside this holiday as our own time. We've been known to hole up at home for the holiday; but, we've also been known to run off to Fargo to visit our friends Jeremy & Rebecca (and their lovely family). This year, we've volunteered to host the holiday for Peef's parents, his grandparents, and his aunt. Kind of an exciting prospect. But, it does mean that we've got to get down to business sooner than later.

So, we've got two menus to plan. Fun, fun, fun!


Sniff. Snarf. Lo's got a cold.

Lo is NOT a good sick person. Just ask Peef.
When Lo gets sick, her head swells up to sixty-four times its size, and she is INTOLERABLE.

Today marks day 3 of Lo's first cold of the season. Peef appreciates any healing vibes that you could send her way!

Reflections on a CrockPot Disaster

The crockpot.
Brilliant cooking tool? Or big fat farce?

As a person who is not particularly fond of crockpot meals, you might be tempted to blow my story off as the ramblings of a severely biased soul. But, the tale must be told.

In the early morning hours, Peef took the upper hand. He layered tomato sauce, red and green peppers, garlic, and chicken hindquarters into the crockpot. The mess looked (and even smelled) quite lovely. He plopped on the glass cover, and set the crockpot to cook for 8 hours on low heat.

We were encouraged by the lovely smell that emanated from the kitchen when we both returned from work that evening. Even a look into the pot revealed a deep red sauce, and delicate hints of caramelization around the periphery of the crockpot -- a good sign that the flavors had melded into a Thing of Beauty.

But, it was not to be so.
We left the crockpot on warm and proceeded to prepare a batch of whole wheat penne to accompany the cacciatore. That accomplished, we removed the meltingly tender chicken from the pot, nestling it into a bed of pasta. Atop the chicken, we spooned the delicious-looking red sauce.

We carried our bowls of steaming cacciatore to the other room, mouthed a prayer of thanks, and then lifted our forks to our mouths in great anticipation.

The Expectation: a delightful (and effortless) chicken cacciatore
The Reality: a mealy mass of chicken in a flavorless red sauce

I can say, with a great deal of honesty, that I have not experienced a meal SO flavorless, SO utterly disappointing, in a VERY long time. Peef mumbled something to me about it being "not so bad" while I resisted my urge to get up, right then, and march into the kitchen to retrieve a grilled cheese sandwich. We spent the rest of the meal swallowing in silence.

How much can we blame on the crockpot?
I'm not exactly sure. One thing is for sure. Cacciatore in our house will never again be prepared anywhere but on a proper stovetop! Or maybe in an oven...

Now it's your turn to talk back.
How IS it that a crockpot can do such evil things to otherwise fine food??