Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Road Warrior!

My job requires me to travel. Not too much, just about once a month or so (overall). Most people complain and bellyache about having to travel, but I really don't think it's all that bad.

For example, right now I am sitting in a rather nice hotel room, drinking a glass of wine (which my lovely employer will pay for) and watching trashy TV. It's fabulous! :)

However, I do miss Husband. Very much. You see, we not only married each other and share a home, but we share a place of business as well. That's right, my husband and I work together.

I had a strange moment today when I was riding in a taxi to the airport. I actually lucked out and got a driver who takes personal fares and will get out of bed to pick you up at a bar if you need him to. I was shocked, but very glad to find a reliable cabbie who Husband and I can call on when we need early morning pick-ups for travel. But, the moment arrived in the cab (since it was an hour-long ride) when the driver asked me about my job and then asked about what Husband does for a living. Well, I explained that we worked together and he shot me this look of disbelief and immediately sputtered, "Well, how in GOD's name does THAT work!?"

What!? It works because it works. It works because we've never known any different and have always worked together. It works because I find him absolutely irresistable (even when he's pissy at work - which inevitably happens to everyone).

I tried explaining it to the driver, and he just shrugged. Where it got a little unnerving was when he said, "Well, just don't screw it up by getting too casual with each other."

Hmmm, point taken, I guess. I mean, he's right, when you cross the threshold of marriage and lose that spark and the flirtation dies off, things start to get mundane. But, we still have that! We do! Very much so. We flirt at the office, just not in front of everyone. We have our little moments in his office, and I am always running back there to give him little smooches or tell him I love him. But, there is a lot of professionalism that has to be applied to an office setting. We're not super serious as an office in general, but we certainly don't smack each others' asses in front of the whole gang or anything like that....

Ah, but when we first got together there was TONS of dangerous flirting. TONS. We never got caught, but I'm sure we came close. And maybe our co-workers did notice and just never said anything. Who knows, and who really cares! We're married now, for crying out loud.

Anyway, the whole point is that the (very nice) cabbie, made me suddenly second-guess myself - not to any avail, but he did. It made me wonder if too much time together is a bad thing...

But, then I looked inside my heart and remembered that Husband still makes my kness buckle. And he still sets my stomach to butterfly mode. And I still look at him (even at work) as the only man in the world who will ever get under my collar the way he has. :) So, maybe it isn't a bad thing for two people in love to spend the whole of their days together. I say, down with the doubters! If I find joy and love and companionship from my husband all day long, then all it makes me is lucky.

But, I do have to admit that the peace and quiet of this nice little hotel is a welcome bit of alone-time. Pre-marriage (and pre-relationship really) I was a creature of loneliness, so these little trips are almost a recall of days past, a vacation back in time, if you will.

Ah, but I still miss him. Even in spite of all the lovely linens and wine and reality TV. At the end of the day, I'd still rather be wrapped in his arms sipping my wine and watching my Top Model at home. With Husband.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Well, there is an update from cheesecake land:

I stink. Not literally, I just am sucky at cheesecakes.

I went for method #2, the bake for 12 minutes at 500 degrees then turn the oven down to 200 degrees for one more hour. The result: The same damn mess I usually slop onto people's plates.

Although this time, the crack was in the shape of a giant T so I told my sister that it stood for her first name (which obviously begins with a T) and tried to pass it off as a tribute cake. My T-cake tasted pretty good, but did not (as previously mentioned) live up to my standards...

I should have listened to you Elaine! I should have LISTENED! :) Next holiday, for sure, I will.

One funny development did happen though... since I told my sister that I made the T on purpose (totally joking of course) my niece overheard and felt a little left out I guess. When I walked past the T-cake after doing some dishes, I noticed that a few new markings had shown up... curiously they looked a lot like my niece's name and my little sister's name carved into the top the T-cake in what appeared to be a six year-old's handwriting... hmmmm, very curious indeed. :)

All in all though, it was a great Thanksgiving with lots of turkey and stuffing and fun.

I sincerely hope that you all (yep, all 7 of you) had truly wonderful days as well. And here's to Christmas, where I will hopefully break the dreaded cheesecake curse!

Hey, a girl can dream.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Just to brighten everyone's Monday...
Kelley over at Magneto Bold Too had a recent competition to name her family's brand new pet bunny. (Everyone say "Awwwwwww" together!)

She's so absolutely adorable that I HAD to post her here. I also had to share with you the very first button I have ever been eligible to display on my blog! It wasn't personally directed at me, so it's not a huge deal, but it was opened to everyone and I pounced! :)

Since I'm on a cute animal kick, I thought I'd share this little video. Enjoy!
Cuteness on parade! Hooray!

The Quest for the Perfect Cheesecake

It's that time again dear readers... time for me to begin scouring the Internet for the perfect cheesecake recipe.

Every holiday (well, the biggies) I am assigned the task of bringing cheesecake for dessert. Why? I have no stinking clue. All I know is that one Christmas back in my high school days, I decided to try my hand at cheesecake baking and I've been burdened with the chore ever since.

I only call it a burden because there is a very specific science to cheesecakes. And, damn it all to hell, it's HARD! I am a whiz at whipping together the ingredients (aside from my very first attempt where I whipped the batter for too long and the whole thing ended up tasting like scrambled eggs - yeah, I rock) and baking the perfect buttery-crisp crust, but when I stick it in the oven I have already resigned myself to failure. I'm serious!

Ok, yes, I am somewhat OCD and would only consider the world's most perfect cheesecake to be a job well done, but I really don't think that's too much to expect from myself. I'm capable. I'm relatively smart. And I have been told that I do a pretty bang-up job as a cook. But, the damn cheesecake baking has always eluded me.

For those of you who have never endeavored to make a cheesecake, it may seem hard to understand my frustration. Honestly, it looks simple enough: Throw a bunch of cream cheese, lemon zest, eggs and sugar in a mixer and pour it over a crust in a springform pan. Done. But, the trick is in the baking. What temp? What timing? What method? So far not a single one has worked for me.

My first attempts always involved a standard baking procedure: Put thing in oven for 1.5 hours at 350 degrees. Easy. The result? Dried-out cheesecake-like pancake with a humdinger of a crack across the top. NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

Then, I transitioned to a new method: Bake for longer at a lower temp. Ah-ha! This must be the great white hope I have been so fervently searching for!!


Same result. A little less dry, but still with the ugly-ass crack down the center. Argh! This never happens to the chaps at the Cheesecake Factory!! WHY AM I SO DEFICIENT!?!?

So, last year, I thought I'd finally cracked it. I read a very well received recipe on one of my heavily frequented recipe sites that instructed me to bake the cheesecake on a high temperature for 10 minutes and then to completely turn off the oven (leaving the door closed) and not open it for two hours! Not only different, but easy! :) I was ecstatic to try this one out.... The result?


And the worst part about it was that it looked so perfect from the outside, I mean it was "I was dancing with glee" perfect. And I was so thrilled to not see that familiar, jagged crack down the center that all other aspects of its integrity completely escaped my mind. So, in truly embarrassing fashion, I waltzed into my sister's house with this beautiful creation and allowed myself to be lavished with praise over its structural and aesthetic perfection only to discover at dinner's end, that I was the world's largest idiot. Of course, my family all did their best to pretend they liked it (because they are awesome), but the truth was they would have rather eaten one of my cracked and dry ones instead. No one likes to get runny cream cheese gunk in place of the heaven that is correctly prepared cheesecake. :(

Woe is me.

So, this year, as my baking day approaches, I have again been looking for different ways to bake the cake and have almost made my decision. The choices are:

1. Bake the cake in a water bath for a medium length of time.

2. Bake at a high temp for a short time and then a very low temp for an hour

I'm leaning towards the second one as my experience has proved that the short time at a high temp does seem to provide a crack-free surface... but the water bath is intriguing.

So, what does this post tell you about me? I'm lame. So lame, in fact that I wrote an entire post about a baked good.

I hope you all are having more interesting days than me (not that my plodding attempt at blogging about cream cheese creations helped...) ;)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May all your cakes and pies be good ones!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Five Really Good Things...

Chani, over at Thailand Gal recommended this simple exercise, and I think it's a great way to focus in on the good things in life (because they are everywhere)...

So, here it goes!


1. A quiet snowfall watched from a warm place.
2. A cold, buttery glass of chardonnay.
3. My husband's hands and the way they feel in mine.
4. My little dog, Logan, falling asleep on my chest.
5. Those last few conscious moments before you fall asleep where the world is dulled around the edges and your whole body feels heavy with relaxation.

Your turn! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Party Like it's Your Housewarming!

Friday night Husband and I invited over a few of our dearest and nearest to see our new house and to shower us with their compliments and praise... well, truly, we just wanted them all to come over and check out our new pad - the compliments and praise were just an awesome side effect. :)

A little back story on our situation: Husband and I got married on October 20th and we had moved into our new house on October 12th.... yeah, we planned that one really well.... We had one weekend of hard work to really try to somewhat settle in before all our attention had to be sucked over to the "big day," so when we came home the Sunday after our wedding, our honeymoon week turned into a "let's see how much crapola we can accomplish in 7 days before we go back to work" week. Not that I'm complaining, I mean, a brand new house to move into right before you become husband and wife is a HUGE thumbs-up, but it was so much more work than we had ever imagined.

Neither of us had lived anywhere aside rental apartments in Chicago since going to school and leaving home, so the idea of a new place that we actually OWNED was a major point of excitement for us. But, we honestly never once thought about how little we actually had to put inside of it, and how many windows were going to require curtains, or even how many times you can climb up and down a three-floor townhouse without collapsing. But, after four weeks of hard work and endless trips to Home Depot and Target (to which I will someday write an Ode - because I heart Target BIG TIME) the place looks pretty damn good.

So, invite our friends over we did. And it was a total blast. Two girlfriends of mine had been having less than stellar weeks so far, so I had the great honor of allowing them to get shit-faced.... one of my favorite things. And my brother-in-law was in such a jolly mood that he admitted the next morning that, at one point, our house had turned into the fun house from Hell where every door is like a new opportunity to get lost... I believe he slept on the bathroom floor for a good portion of the night before finally finding his way through the tilting hallways to the guestroom.

All drunkenness aside, Husband and I felt truly blessed that so many of our friends were able to make the journey out to our burb to celebrate with us. You can really tell who your friends are when you move from the city to the suburbs... the good ones will come out to visit. :)

And, visit they did! I'm still cleaning up little bits and pieces of the evening, and spent the good part of yesterday lounging (and watching re-runs of the Biggest Loser on Bravo) in an attempt to curb my hangover, but in spite of the aftermath, I am left with an overwhelming sense of goodwill towards my friends, and in turn, goodwill towards all man! It is one of life's little gifts to see your accomplishments through the eyes of the people you care about, and Husband and I were blessed to have that gift on Friday.

So, cheers to you, my friends! Let's all raise our beers (What? Am I the only one having a Sunday morning cocktail?!) and toast to new marriage, Friday night parties, and all the free chardonnay you can drink! Salut!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Is the Honeymoon Over Yet!?

I recently got hitched.

And It was truly one of the most beautiful days of my life. Honestly. I will never forget my husband's face (as he desperately tried to hold it together) when I walked down the aisle. Then, standing with him in front of God and pledging my faithfulness to him... (pledging my faith really - because without him in my life, I think faith would have taken a backseat to cynicism and sarcasm a long time ago) was hands-down, the best and most fulfilling moment in my life.

I am still in shock over the fact that I am married to someone as wonderful as him - I just reread that, so, trust me, I do understand how horribly cheesy that sounds - but it's true... there just really aren't better words for the way I feel. Sometimes when I look at him, I just feel overwhelmed because we are together. Our love story is not like all the others, and I will say for now that we did not appear to be destined for each other at first (our grand love saga is a tale for another time). And I believe strongly that the adversity we faced and those moments where I truly believed I had lost him, make my wonderment at our marriage so much stronger than it normally would be. He's mine. I get to keep him and hold him forever. And that, dear readers, makes me the luckiest girl in the whole damn world.

But, in spite of my incredible love for my husband, and in spite of the fact that everything during our big day went reasonably well, I have a confession to make: I am glad it is freaking OVER! Jesus, they sure do drag those things on, don't they? I mean, please don't get me wrong, because I am incredibly grateful that I had such a lovely wedding and all that, but man oh man, would everybody just stop talking about it already!? I'm over it. Really, I would much rather just move on now and not talk about our wedding until our anniversary next year.

I think what bothers me the most is all the reminiscing.... people! It happened like 20 days ago! You don't reminisce about 20 days ago, you reminisce about 20 years ago!

There's a great line from a Ben Folds song that says, "Kids today getting old too fast, they can't wait to grow up so they can kiss some ass. They get nostalgic 'bout the last ten years before the last ten years have passed." TRUE! And not just about kids, about everyone! What is is about weddings that causes everyone to turn into this broken record of, "Remember when?"

Yes, I "Remember when"! Not only was I there, but it was only a couple weeks ago! Argh!

So now, when people say, "Oooh! You just got married!? Ooooooh! Was it the best day of your life!?" I say, "Yep." And then a smile. Conversation over. Truth told. Because I am seriously just tired of talking about it. You may find it ironic since I started a blog (which, historically, can be seen as one of the most self-serving things a person can occupy their time with), but I really am not a fan of talking about myself all that much. Sometimes it's nice, but when it comes to weddings people just expect you to keep talking and talking and talking. I mean that, they ask a simple question like:

Well-meaning stranger or acquaintance: "So SM, where did you get your dress?"

Me (SM): "I got it at Bonnie's Bridal Barn."

Awkward pause as she gazes blankly and expectantly at me...

Me: "Ummm, it was pretty cheap which was good. I'm only going to wear it once after all."

More staring and a little nodding, me having already run out of things to say...

Me: "It was pretty fun. I like dresses. Weddings are blessings from heaven, and, ummm.... so, do you like Survivor? I think it rocks. Todd should totally win, I love bitchy flight attendants."


So, well-meaning friends and family members: Just give me a break, ok? Just a little break so that I don't have to talk about how heart-warming it was when Husband's cousin twice-removed hugged my great-aunt without even knowing her - how sweet! Because it's driving me NUTS!

Phew.... that's better. Onward to more important and fun topics like skincare products and chardonnay! Hoorah!

PS: If I were to create my own magazine it would be about three things: skincare products, chardonnay, and horses. What a publication! :) What would your imaginary magazine be about?

Fly Little Birdie, Fly!

Well, hi there.

For the last few months I've been cruising the popular blogs; you know, checking out the scene. And what began as my boredom reaching out for anything even semi-entertaining has turned into this wonderful, heart-warming, thought-provoking hobby that has left me everywhere from fits of laughter to cascades of tears. I have been touched by all that the blogosphere has had to offer and have truly been impressed by all the thoughtful women and men I have met (without them knowing it). It is a testament to the fact that the internet can be a real way of reaching out to each other and building a community. I would be honored to be accepted as one of the brave who share their voices here. I would love to believe that my words had some place among others' lives.

So, I'm going to give it a shot. And if no one reads this, then fine. Really, I won't be mad. The truth is, I have a lot of things to air out, and a blog is as good of a place as any to do so. Perhaps it's an even better place than any.

Only time will tell.

So, stick around.