Monday, May 31, 2010

Vacation Day Four: Sated and Happily Full


Chef's birthday dinner was tonight. We hadn't originally planned for it to be tonight, but we just couldn't hold out on Ruth's Chris any more. It was beckoning like an underage school girl outside the Hot Topic.

We loaded up a little before 5 p.m. and oddly enough weren't the first table in the place. It seems like others couldn't help but indulge as we did on Memorial Day. We started out with seared tuna with a mustard beer sauce (as well as a scotch for Chef and Mendocino Fog Cabernet Sauvignon for me). It was delicious. And only 190 calories. That's one thing we noticed this time that we didn't notice when we went to The Chris in February---calorie counts on the menu. I tried not to let it deter me.

The next course was the filet. Damn delicious. I had one medium. So did Chef. Then he had one that was medium rare. That's right. Chef had two steaks for dinner. When he ordered the second one, the waiter said "You want another steak? The same size?". He sure did. I was so proud. We don't splurge on dining very often so it's great to see him truly enjoy. The picture above was from his second steak. We also had the shoe string potatoes and broccoli au gratin. The broccoli was delicious. The shoestring potatoes left a little to be desired.

After finishing my steak (and his steaks), I had another glass of wine and prepared for the banana tart. It's like banana cream pie with a creme brulee topping. Also decadant and delicious. Not too sweet to overpower, but sweet enough to be a satisfying end to a great, memorable meal. It lasted more than 2 hours and I'm glad. If we had rushed through that meal, I would've been disappointed.

All in all, it was just as good as we had hoped it would be. And in this day and age of being perpetually underwhelmed, it was awesome to have something be just as good or better than you hoped or remembered it to be.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vacation Day Three: Dreading a Week from Today

Is it sad that I'm already dreading NEXT Sunday when I have to go back to work? Yeah, it is. Today I came to the conclusion that 8 seconds is not only the length that bull riders aim to stay on the bull, but also length of time Krispy Kreme recommends to reheat their original glazed in the microwave.

Chef also introduced me to the exciting taste of Chorizo Chipotle Corn Nuts. These spicy nuggets of crunchy deliciousness are awesome. The only problem is that I can't find them anywhere. They're not even listed on the official corn nuts web site. If you know where I can get my hands on some, let me know! Here's what the package looks like:
CornNuts Chorizo Chipotle Crunchy Snack
Aside from eating, watching the UFC fight and a Tosh.0 marathon, my day has been pretty tame. And I love it!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Vacation Day Two

It's Saturday. That means it doesn't really feel like vacation, because I'm normally off on Saturdays anyway (last Saturday notwithstanding). Slept in. Watched Alice in Wonderland. Wondered what it is about Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp that makes them want to scare the crap out of small children. Which lead me to think about Daniel Tosh's stand up where he points out that Johnny Depp is 47. Hard to believe he's 47.

Caught up on Glee. Why can't the show go back to actually moving forward and not just be a weekly lesson of a song that probably won't be used in their regional competition? Every week they practice for regionals but don't really make any progress. If I were Will Shuester, I'd be disappointed. Also, what happened to the Jesse kid? He just shows up whenever he wants to? Why isn't Quinn getting more pregnant each week? What happened to the magic that was?

Ate leftovers for lunch and am plotting taquitos for dinner. Maybe I'll go to bed at 8 p.m. or maybe I'll stay up until 4 a.m. There's something liberating about that.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Vacation Day One: I'm staycating

It is officially here. The Ball is over. The majority of contracts have been signed (just a few more to go when I get back). My brain can take a break now. At least from work. I am officially on vacation until June 7th. No, I'm not going anywhere. And I'm so excited about it.

I'm taking the staycation, but I'm also vacating some responsibility for the week, so I'm staycating. My big plans include working out, writing, hanging out with Chef and playing with the kitties. It also doesn't hurt that Chef's birthday is in the middle of this time off. The big celebration? How about a metal plate heated to 425 degrees with a medium rare filet mignon that has a scoop of butter, salt, pepper and parsley on it? Sound good? Yeah, it's flippin' delicious. I was lucky enough to get a trip to Ruth's Chris for my birthday and we've been plotting our return visit ever since.

We also have a return trip to the Patterson House plotted out for another night of celebration and libations. Could this be any better? I get to spend time with the one I love and the kitties too.

The other good news is that after I get back, I spend 4 days in the office before I leave for a trip to see my girls in Indy. I am so ecstatic.

All this time off and I still have more plans. I'm going to finish reading my book and pick up Girl With a Dragon Tattoo after several people have recommended it. I am also going to try and knock some more out on my novel. Yes, that lingering novel. In fact, I've been working on it diligently for the last several weeks. More than 30 days to be precise. I actually made it through my entire pledge--getting up 30 minutes earlier and knocking out a little each day. It's a habit that I'm going to keep for a while. Let's see how much more I can knock out.

Okay, I'm off to clean and devein some shrimp for scampi dinner tonight. Mmmm. Delicious start to the staycation already!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

To Know Me is to Know I Love Shoes


You know I have a shoe problem when I spend 10 minutes regaling Chef with my latest shoe finds and then trot them out on numerous occasions just to wear them around the house for a few moments. He's pretty good natured about it, but in the end, I can't really expect other people to get as excited about my shoes as I do.

It's hard to believe that just a few years ago, I wore brown and black shoes (primarily stacked heel loafers) almost exclusively. I would never have dreamed of owning a pair of red shoes, let alone blue floral patterned ones. It wasn't practical and I was too concerned with matching precisely. However, I'm now very discerning about my shoe choices. If I bust out a new pair and don't get a "Where'd you get those?" or "Nice shoes" when I wear them, I know they weren't the best investment. And it's also a reason that I've limited my shoe purchases dramatically in the last few months.

However, I did make a purchase for the Ball and I am now counting the days until I get to wear them again. They're definitely more formal, but I bet I can get away with them with some jeans and some "going out" clothes. Check them out. They're like the photo above, but they have silver sparkles (not multi-colored).

The next question is. . .what will the next shoes look like?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So Much To Do, So Little Energy

I have so much to finish out on for the Ball, and I'm chipping away, but it seems like my attention span is about 15 minutes at a time. That's all people are getting out of me. 15 minutes of solid thinking and then I need a break.

Thankfully, only two more work days and I get that break. Our office, and whole region for that matter, is off this Friday and Monday for Memorial Day. And then I took off the rest of next week to recoup from a long year. I will be writing, reading, and celebrating Chef's birthday (it's on the 3rd. Mark your calendars.) To celebrate, we're going to Ruth's Chris to get a filet cooked on a 425 degree metal plate topped with melted butter, salt, pepper and parsley. Then to the Patterson House for some after dinner drinks. Can someone say taxi cab all night?

Next week, butter and sizzling meat aside, I also need to get back on the eating well wagon. I'm still running every morning, but my apathetic approach to eating is not working well for my waistline. Wish me luck!

Now to just get through the next two days of work. . .

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Phew!

Last night was the Rutherford Heart Ball. I am relieved and excited it's over. Chef probably is too. Also my friends and family are ready for me to return to the land of the living, so to speak. It was a beautiful event that made our volunteers feel great. Things went smoothly (there's always room for improvement, clearly) and our guests had a good time. I don't think there's a whole lot more I can ask for.

I'm also grateful. I give Erin, our social events director, credit for pulling it off as she did so much, including keeping me from losing my sanity over the last four months. Plus tons of AHA staff and come of our awesome volunteers came out in full force last night to help make the night beautiful.

My favorite part of post-even clean up was that one of my co-workers (Alyssa, I'm talking about you) put a mannequin torso in my front passenger seat and buckled her in. She told me she had done it, but that did not stop me from scaring myself silly as I went to my car at 1 a.m. and thought someone had broken. It also did not stop me from scaring myself a few more times as I would catch the mannequin in my peripheral vision and jump a little. In my defense, it was late and I had been working for 16 hours yesterday with about 3 hours of nervous sleep the night before.

And if being scared also entirely by my own shadow (or that of a plastic armless torso) was not enough of a challenge on the ride home, I almost hit a deer carcass about 3 blocks from the event site. Two cars were stopped in the left hand lane with their emergency flashers on and I slowed down, which ended up saving Liam Nissan his front bumper. I was able to see the dead deer laying in the right lane that I was in and manuveur around it.

So what next? Well, today is a taking it easy kind of day. Friday is all about the mani/pedi that my hands and feet are screaming for. And next week is already scheduled for a vacation. I literally cannot wait. Focusing on work this week is going to be a challenge.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Best. Boyfriend. Ever.

Today was a great day. Probably one of the best days of my professional life in terms of accomplishment, but then I get home and Chef makes it better.

After a day of jubilation, I walk through the door and am greeted by the smells of pot roast, mashed chipotle sweet potatoes and broccoli. He's cooked dinner and is putting on the finishing touches. I no sooner get the "thank you!" out (as it's 7:30 and I've been working late), then I go into the bedroom. On the bed are a pile of my clothes that he washed and folded. I change out of my work clothes and into my comfy clothes, make my way back to the kitchen and Chef has a glass of wine waiting on me. How did I get so lucky?

While I always appreciate this kind of help and treatment, the fact that he knew that I was having a high stress week was extra special. What it comes down to is this: Nanna nanna boo boo. He's mine. Not yours. I'm so lucky!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Dress, Same Me






That's because the dress is for the Rutherford Heart Ball, an event that I'm working at, but still have to look good for. It's a fine line. I knew starting the day that it was going to be a long haul. I also knew that I would not be able to find the right dress without trying on a lot of wrong ones. It's the law of numbers. In the end, I went to 11 stores. Tried on 38 dresses. Found one that I didn't have to take out a loan to buy.

I had a beautiful dress picked out pretty early on, but realized that it had two major flaws: 1) it was intended to be worn without a bra and 2) it was a long gown meant for someone taller than 5'2". It went back on the rack as a dire "in case of emergency and nothing else" back of the mind

The one thing that I noticed about every store was the abundance of fish scale dresses. Those dresses that at the bottom have fish scale looking overlapped fabric for the bottom half. I'm not a big fan. I could see how they could provide a forgiving lay in a tight dress for a less than perfect body, but you also have to look like you're wearing a fish scale dress.

The other thing I noticed was that there wasn't a whole lot of selection. I could find about 100+ different styles of jeans, but there weren't a whole lot of non-slutty looking dresses. I think part of the problem was that the dresses I saw were leftover prom or wedding season mother of the bride. Since my age range is between those two, there left a lot to be desired.

Finally, I found one that was black, short but not too short, pretty but not outrageous. I then realized that I would have to find a strapless bra to wear it. That caused a whole different kind of panic. So I let it go, and moved on. In a miraculous twist of fate, I ended up finding a strapless bra before I found another dress. Above is what I'll be sporting for the event.

So, if anyone out there has a very bling-worthy diamond/diamonique/rhinestone/crystal necklace or size 7 1/2 or 8 strappy sandals in silver that they'd let me borrow, let me know. The Ball is Saturday.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Can't I Do Everything At Once

On my run this morning, I was pondering the big spheres in my life and started wondering why I can't get my shit together to do everything at once. I can write daily and work out. I can eat right and work out. I can work like hell, but not spend enough time with friends. I can spend time with friends but not accomplish everything that needs to be done. I can have a clean house or cook, but not both. I can catch up on TV or read.

I don't like that I can't do everything. Damn you, eternal limitations.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

And I'm Not Sure Wedding Planning Is Up My Alley Either

Next weekend is the Rutherford Heart Ball. Since the position that I manage is open, I've been in charge of the event. One thing I know for sure is that I do not have the care for detail that it takes to make these things pretty. Organized I can do. I can make sure logistically stuff runs like there is no tomorrow. But when it comes to picking centerpieces or creating an ambiance, I'm no good.

Thankfully, I have someone wonderful who is handling that for me. She makes the experience one that's super for the guests while coming in on budget. I wonder if she would do weddings. Not that my wonderful stepmother hasn't offered her skills, as she is also got that special gift.

But now that we're this close, I am ready for it to be the day after the event and bask in the glow of a job well done. And cross my fingers that the money comes in. I'm trying to let go of anything I can't control and there's not a lot that I can control right now. Just crossing my fingers and hoping the room is giving.

Speaking of giving, if anyone out there wants to give me some time next Saturday the 22nd and help out at the event, I would be GREATLY appreciative. We could still use some people to help us execute the plan for the night of the event. You get to dress up and have me owe you one!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Women make 80 cents to the dollar, what's up with that?

I realize that women's rights and the underrepresentation of women in high levels corporate America is not a new obstacle, but I was reading a new article on it, so it came to mind. Apparently women are up to 80 cents on the dollar for the same work. What's scary is that while women are about half the work force, they make up only 3 percent of the CEOs at the top 500 companies.

Even looking at where I work which is about 90 percent (or more) female, the majority of men who work here hold management positions. It makes me wonder what it will take --or rather how long--before leadership at all organizations are more reflective of society. It's also weird that one of the areas that I am in is one that has basically equal representation and earning potential (Advertising and Promotional Managers). I always wonder what industries or areas are dominated by females and why. Non-profit tends to be predominantly female and I think it's our incessant need to feel like what we're doing has meaning to it.

Either way, it's a continuous struggle and not one that's likely to be solved during my career--although I'll keep wishing it would.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

It was More than a Hotel and some Guitars

It was a little bizarre and only slightly baffling that Nashville's flooding hasn't gotten a lot of media attention from the national media. The Opryland Hotel has gotten some good coverage, as well as it should because it's a huge hub for tourism. The other thing I've seen in numerous places, including abc.com, is the loss of Keith Urban's guitars. I realize he's a lyrical poet and musical genius and married to Nicole Kidman, but I think the loss of human and animal lives, as well as one of the costliest natural disasters in US history might trump the loss of a few Gibsons.

It's being dubbed as a "1000 year flood" some places and "500 year flood" in others and both would probably be an accurate description. There are some places of massive destruction--including the area of my first apartment complex in town--but there's also a lot of goodwill, as well. Without the nation watching our every move or a lot of support, the governor and mayor and countless other government and emergency workers have worked countless hours to keep things in order. Our infrastructure mostly kicked in to place and is getting help to the areas that need it.

Aside from that, it's heartwarming to watch the community band together to help out. About three days after the images from the disaster were getting out, people already got together to have a radiothon and telethon. More than $2 million raised in about 24 hours from the citizens of the area. Helping hands going to neighborhoods and helping clean out ravaged homes.

Everywhere I go people know how lucky they got. Chef and I were no exception. We found out today that we were one of two apartments in our building with no real damage. Two of 16. People are moving from one apartment with a collapsed roof to another in the complex.

Feelings of goodwill and immediate rebuilding abound. It's nice to see but we also know that it's a long road ahead and we'll keep going. Even if no one outside the area is watching. . .
Downtown Nashville underwater

LP Field--The Cheap Seats are Still Dry

Inside the Opryland Hotel
Two Blocks From Our Apartment--I learned that it only takes a foot of water to float a car.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Quick Trip to Kentucky

One of the great things about living less than 3 hours away from my hometown is that people have to call before dropping by. One of the great things about living less than 3 hours away from my hometown is that when there's an emergency I can shoot back up there. Yesterday was one of those cases. My dad called on Monday and my grandma was super sick (that's a medical term). After being in the hospital for a few days, she was getting worse and not better.

So a quick trip up and I got to see how she's doing for myself. Luckily, the meds were kicking in and she was on the upswing for the first time since her admission. It makes it so much easier to have the luxury while I can to hop in the car and be with family. I should do it more often. Thanks to my aunts and dad for keeping me in the loop and for dinner!

More thoughts and prayers would be great to continue. If all goes smoothly, tomorrow is pacemaker day for Grandma Auda!

Monday, May 03, 2010

24 Hours of Coverage

I feel a little sorry for some of the news reporters around here. It's been all hands on deck for the flood coverage for the last 24-48 hours. No regular programming. Just floods, shelters, government addresses, rescues and then repeat. It's weird because some of the sports reporters are covering this too. Some are not so experienced with the regular reporting and having a hard time with some of the sadder stories (I'm not talking about you, Joe--I know where you started, buddy! You're rocking those McGavock reports).

It's pretty surreal. Some of the places that were covered in water yesterday are dry today, but all the concrete is smashed up and debris floating everywhere. Other places are dry as they ever were and untouched. While I am still very lucky because we only had a minor leak, I now realize just how lucky because a few of the apartments upstairs from us had the roof cave in from the weight of the water. Some of the residents have already rented U-hauls to get their valuables out while the crews work on it. Others are just pitching their furniture in the dumpster. The Opryland Hotel has its first floor underwater up to about 6 feet and isn't estimated to reopen for MONTHS. It's crazy to think of what mother nature is capable of.

The other thing crazy is just how far people will go to save their belongings. While showing live coverage of an almost entirely submerged house that had caught fire, one of the local stations had a viewer on the phone. Turns out the viewer lived in a house just a block down the street and while his entire basement was under water AND his wife and granddaughter had lost their car while evacuating, he was still not leaving. His biggest concern? Running out of dog food. I love my animals, but I'd evacuate in a heartbeat. They'd just be coming with me!

Tomorrow, I'm heading to Indiana, where I know it's drier. My grandma, affectionally known as Naughty Auda, is in the ICU and it's time I visited her. It's the beauty of living close enough to be able to get there when I need to be. Prayers and good wishes for my grandma!!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

I'm On A Boat

If you haven't been in Nashville lately, I'd avoid it unless you're a fan of being stranded or water sports. We knew it was going to rain all weekend, but I for one wasn't expecting the Arc-building floods that we've been hit with. Nearly 12 inches of rain in 48 hours--that's about 25% of our annual rain fall.

Needless to say, our sewers and bridges weren't really prepared for this. There was a mobile home floating down the Interstate yesterday. Luckily, despite living on a first floor apartment, Chef and I have been spared for the majority of the calamity. Our first floor apartment was actually built about 6 feet off the ground--thank you, engineers! We've had a drip from above that's evidence of a leak, but it's small and of all places, dripping into the sink. We're not part of the 21,000 without power in the county or without suitable drinking water. I went to the grocery store Saturday morning before it really hit. The only complaint we really have is the lack of good TV on to pass the time.

Either way there were a dozen or so boats deployed today by the metro emergency management agency to help rescue others who saw the standing or rushing waters and thought "That doesn't look so bad" only to realize that it was that bad. Which made me think that this is the only time that people don't really want to be on a boat. Right, T-Pain?

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