Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thank You Captain Obvious

Just as I promised to bring you sarcasm, the opportunity presented itself.

I swear y'all, I can't make this stuff up.

We bought tickets waaay back in July to go to a major league baseball game for our local team. Now, I don't want to name names or anything, but they happen to have clinched the AL West Division Championship. So they've had a GREAT season. And I am really looking forward to going to the game.

I started hunting around for the tickets.
They aren't sitting out ON my desk. That would be much too easy!

I looked in my desk drawer where I store important things.
Passport, checks, stamps, return address labels - yup. No ticket envelope.

I looked in the kitchen drawer where I tend to store tickets.
A bunch of corks (for a project I envisioned, and still haven't undertaken), a pad of paper, pens, and other junk - yup. No ticket envelope.

I checked my accordian folder where I store my "To Be Paid" bills.
Tax documentations for donations, a couple of bills to be paid later in the month, yup. No ticket envelope.

Well crap.

I frantically search through my email, just hoping I saved the "Thank You For Your Order" e-mail. WHEW. it's there. Maybe I did the Print at Home option.

Hmmm, no link. Ok. I will call and play dumb.


They automated thingee answers, and I proceed to sit on hold.

For twenty minutes. WTH ("what the hell" for you amateurs)?

Hang up, try another number listed.

On hold again. For ten minutes. And then I hang up.

I check out the tickets website, and there's a link "contact us for customer service". FANTASTIC!

I fill out the form, indicated that I didn't get my ticket, and click submit.

No lie. This is what I get back:
Thank you for contacting us. We'll contact you in 48 hours. If your event is in less than 24 hours, please contact the venue directly.

I repeated myself : WTH?

There was another number on the website for the ballpark. I dialed that, and got a live person. YAY!

I explained the issue, and said I'd been holding for like 40 minutes (doesn't time just get exaggerated when you're on hold?!?!), and the game I was going to attend was tomorrow.

She said -

are you ready for this?

she said "well, they are busy."

I was stunned. I said "HOLY $HIT!.

You don't say Captain obvious."

Fortunately I said that inside my head...

but geez. GEEZ.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Voice

Ok. I have to fess up to something. Here's the original post that I was going to publish tomorrow:

It was titled "No Reason at All"

For reasons noone can figure, Jessie decided she'd like to be today's pug-model.

Playing shy...



Ok you got me. Jessie is *always* worried. And she's *always* sweet.

Except when the garbage man comes around. Then she's downright territorial!

And Bello decided he wanted his pik-tor made too, but he couldn't sit still for long:

"Did someone say treat?"

And this week I was delighted to find my favorite stargazer lilies on sale at the grocery store. I couldn't resist! They are blooming beautifully.

A different angle

And a slightly different color edit

Imagine that. Flowers, for no reason at all!

Enjoy your day!


After I scheduled it to post and moved on with the rest of my evening, my brain kept coming back to the post. I'm just not happy with it. I mean - it sounded semi-amusing in my head. But when I got it out into blog-o-sphere, it just sounds, well, let's be honest - dumb.

To paraphrase:
Blah blah

Cut pug picture

Blah blah

Nature picture

blah blah

food picture

blah blah blah...

Well gee, no wonder y'all are bored stiff. I don't have a voice.

Wait. WAIT!

I'm not getting all Eat-Pray-Love-ish on you. Well, I kinda am. But it's about me. So it's not about you. Ok? This time, it's not about you.

Shit, it's my blog. It's always about me. Ok. I'm coming to terms with that fact.

Moving on. I don't have a voice. Or rather, I'm not using my voice on my blog.

The giver of this "aha moment" is fellow blogger Roo.

Have you met Roo? If you haven't, you need to run right on over to and introduce yourself. She's HY-STER-i-cal. And her stick figure drawing are guaranteed to make you ROFLTYPIYP (uhm, not sure you really want that reference, just trust me, ok?).

Good morning...I digress. 

Anyway, she posted these really great Best Blogging Tips not long ago, and while I'm not up to the point of SEO and increasing my readership, the idea of a voice has just stuck with me. (gotta start somewhere, right?)

But what the heck does that MEAN? What's my voice? I mean, if I'm typing this blog, it's my voice, right??

WRONG! (imagine a big ole buzzer sound here)

So I thought about it. And I'm still thinking about it. POTP (part of the problem) is that I have this fear that y'all with think "gee, she's being dumb again", and so I don't post something, or over-edit myself.

And that's when the lightbulb went off.

If I was Roo, I'd draw a picture of a lightbulb over a stick figure drawing of me. But really, I'm not Roo, and I sure can't draw - not even stick figures.

But I can out-sarcasm the best of the best. Seriously.

No really, I mean it.

I am sarcastic. Positively sarcastic (let's go back to the whole concept of "it's a new day", huh??). I'm sarcastic. It's how I get through my days, delivering little packets of sarcasm in almost every situation. Usually appropriate, usually interpreted correctly as sarcasm.

And I'm human. I can share my f.. my fee.. my feelings. Or try. It might be awkward. Y'all might laugh at me, while telling me you're laughing with me. 

But I know the difference.

Yes indeed-eo.

So I vow to bring more sarcasm, more feelings, with the goal of shoving my voice into my blog with each post.

Damn. Y'all are in for it now. For no reason at all...

Enjoy your new day!!

(PS - if you haven't seen or read Eat, Pray, Love, grab the book or hit the theater. you may not love it - I didn't - but it may just teach you something about yourself and that's worth the price!).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shoe Search, v3.0


I found them. And whoa nelly am I in LOVE. I want more. (and Moore - but that's different).

I won't keep you in suspense any longer.


These are Alegria Paloma Black Patent

I want them in this Sangria color

There are tons of fun colors too: check them out on their website.

So here's the review:
Good support
roomy shoe - good with thick socks
no heel rub
no break-in time
nice arch support
cushy insole

Dillards is now carry a few select styles/colors of the Alegria shoes, and so is Nordstrom's.

The Paloma style runs around $109, the clogs are slightly less. They also have cute sandals (can't wait for next summer!). Not cheap, but sooooo comfy.

Whew. Now the question is, will this particular pair last until next May? I kinda doubt it - I want to wear it all over town, and NOW. Ah well, that means I must buy another pair. And Christmas is coming up too.

It's raining in Texas this morning - a cold front is moving through. Tomorrow's high is 78, and a low of 58! YAY Fall! it's about time!!!!!

Enjoy your new day people!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sights/Sites of The Sunshine State

I saw some really amazing sights (sites?!) on my recent trip to Florida. And of course I can't resist sharing them with you!

Every morning, my dad forced me out of bed before 8am.

I know, it doesn't sound so bad, right?

Let me clarify something for you: I'm referring to 8am EASTERN.  If you remember, I live in Texas.

Texas is in the CENTRAL time zone.

That means 8am ET = 7am CT.

So you see, my father forced me out of bed before 7am every morning of my vacation.

I agree! Cruel and unusual punishment!

By the way - I foolishly consulted Uncle Google for an appropriate/inappropriately funny picture of punishment. The results were NSFW (not safe for work for the neophytes). ugh. You can't unsee some things!

I digress. (Good morning! ...........I digress!)

Oops, did it again.

Anyway - early morning reveille reverberating down the hall courtesy of dear old dad.

The only reason I crawled out of bed was the lure of coffee, and the opportunity to drink it down by the lake.

It's worth it.

Oh, don't believe me? Ok - see for yourself!!

Stunning, right?

Go ahead, scroll back up and take another look. I'll wait.

Would you get out of bed for coffee at the lake? It was such a treat to wake up with the inhabitants of the park. We didn't see any gators, but we could see where they'd been. My parents said there are some biggun's that hang out in the waters around the park, and one even makes her nest and hatches her babies in the campground. The hidden joys of Florida!

My parents have some new neighbors. Or rather, the neighborhood has some new inhabitants.

There are 12 of these lovely Florida Sandhill Cranes that wander around eating bugs in the yards. They aren't really spooked by humans, which enabled me to get a few good shots of them. They travel in breeding pairs, and in this case, all of them had a 3rd/juvenile with them. So they were all hanging out in groups of 3's, though all 12 usually weren't too far from each other.

I also saw some other amazing sights. Namely, these two Luke Skywalker wannabes

Yep, the nephews. Funny enough, the little dude making the funny face is named Luke. I often tell my BIL that he should use a Darth Vadar voice and repeat frequently "Luke. I am your Fahhhddduh". My BIL doesn't crack up laughing at the suggestion. I just don't understand it.

Luke is in that phase where he can't won't smile for the camera. I have a funny series of faces from him that I'll have to share on another blog.

Matthew is his other brother, and is a pro at posing for the camera. And look at that buff chest! He's going to be a lady killer that one.

The boys are a hoot, and boy do they wear me out in a hurry. I had to turn my attention to another amazing sight. My sister calls her Peaches, and boy is she sweet! (ok Peaches isn't really her name, but it's cute!)

I heard all of you do the "awwwwww" thing and sigh.

Fess up - how many uteruses (uteri?!) did the twinge thing? 

Here's another pic of our little Peaches

Coo. Baby talk. Sigh.
Do what you have to. She's all love! (her name is Reagan if you were curious)

Enjoy your new day!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Finding My Inner Chef

As you've probably figured out long before I decided I ought to point out the obvious, I'm not a professional chef. I can't even claim to be an amateur chef. I certainly can't claim to be a food blogger ala The Pioneer Woman or Aarti of Aarti Party fame. (Yes, the same Aarti who is now the Next Food Network Star and host(ess?) of Aarti Party show on Food Network started out as a food blogger.)

I digress. (don't you love that FedEx Kinkos commercial? Good morning! ........But I digress...)

Oops, did it again. Sorry.

I'm barely a home cook. I cook because I like to eat. And because my dear boyf not only likes to eat, he will suffer through any of my experiments in the kitchen (bless his generous heart). Even better? He never says a negative or critical thing about those experiments. The harshest feedback he's given is "it's ok". So I've learned to interpret his "it's ok" as "I'd really rather you didn't force me to eat this crap make this particular dish again".

I said all that to explain that once in a while I try a recipe, and gosh darnit, it just doesn't work for me. Lately I've been experimenting with chicken. It's the one protein that just begs to be dressed up and funk-i-fied. (I just made that word up. Did you notice??)

I've developed a fascination with chicken thighs (bone in). They have so much more flavor than the breasts, (the chicken breasts I mean) and don't dry out as easily. With the bone in, they do take longer to cook, which is the downside.

A dear friend of mine shared this recipe with me, and I had to try it. This recipe is the reason I set out on the hunt for garam masala.

Here's the recipe (though I used chicken thighs instead of drumsticks). All other notes in parenthesis are from my friend's notations.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
6 chicken drumsticks, remove skin or not, your choice. rinse and pat dry.
1/4 cup lemon juice (lime works)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil (olive oil is too strong - use canola or peanut oil)
2 minced cloves garlic
1 tsp paprika (if you have smoked paprika, definitely use it)
1 tsp garam masala (if you don't have it/can't get it, use a mild curry powder and a bit less than 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp tumeric
salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a medium sized bowl.
Roll the chicken in the mixture, spread out in a single layer on a roasting pan, cover loosely with foil.
Into the oven it goes for 35 minutes.

3 tbsp butter
2 sweet onions, quartered and thinly sliced (Vidalia, Texas 1015, walla-walla, maui sweets, etc)
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp rum (Allie's note: make this 5 tbsp if you like rum & cokes like I're welcome for that helpful hint!)

Melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the onions. Cook slowly, stirring occassionally until the onions are golden brown and caramalized (20-25 minutes).
Stir in raisins and rum (another Allie note: remove the pan from the burner if you're working with an open flame/gas stove!!)
Cook 2-3 minutes more until the alcohol evaporates.

When the timer for the chicken goes off, take it out of the oven. Spoon the onion/raisin/rum mixture over the chicken. Increase the oven temp to 400 degrees, and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes more.

So here's what the chicken looked like before it went in the oven:

And when it came out:

I made some simple garlic-buttery rice to go with it. Here's how I served it (super simple!)

Aaaannnnddd by now the smarty-pants among you faithful readers will be thinking to yourselves "whoa, I don't see no raisin/rum/butter sauce on them there chicken thighs." (feel free to insert your own geographically-based dialect. I tend to translate everything into Texan. Or backwoods-Florida. Same thing!)

Yeah, I completely failed to make the butter/raisin/rum sauce. I didn't have onions you see. Or raisins. I didn't do so well in my meal-planning-shopping-list-making task this week. 

And so I have to say, this dish just didn't really work for me. The chicken was too sweet. What's that you say? You didn't ever expect me to say the words "too sweet"? I know, it was a complete surprise to me as well. 

I do think the butter/raisin/rum sauce would have made a difference. And so I'm going to have to give it another try with the sauce this time. 

Mostly cuz I have this big-ass jar of garam masala now. 

And I have no idea what else to do with it!

I titled this blog post "finding my inner chef". Why you ask? Well, I kind of felt like a cheap imitation of a Top Chef contestant who's dish just didn't work for the judges this week. It reminded me that even the very best experienced and trained chefs have an off day. And that it's ok to experiment, and have something turn out *not quite like you expected*. 

I'm taking this as a lesson learned, and an attempt at using a new-to-me spice (garam masala). To me, that's a real win!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with Uncle Google and the words "garam masala recipes". (holy results to sort through batman!)

Enjoy your new day!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Please forgive this picture-less post. I promise to be back tomorrow with a new recipe and food pics.

Have you ever had a moment when it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off of your shoulders?
The clouds part, and the angels sing hallelujah?
When you want to jump up and down and tell everyone the good news?
Twitter the good news?
Update your Facebook status a gabillion times?

oh, you do. I see.

uh huh.

well now it's my turn, ok?
bear with me.



Now picture me spinning in circles or jumping up and down.

well maybe not - that's a scary visual. But I think you get the drift, no?

so what happened you ask?

poof. gone. adios. sionara. ariv-aderchi. however you spell those foreign words - it all means GOOD BYE.
and good riddance quite frankly.

I could be really ugly and go into all of the reasons why this departure is so positive. But I won't. It's the internet after all.

My team happened to be together when we all learned the good news. Almost all of us telecommute, and we're scattered across the US - which makes the fact that we were all together a quirk of fate. And boy, did we celebrate. There wasn't a disappointed person among us.

Where our previous days were filled with coping strategies and survival mechanisms, last week was celebration, camaraderie, smiles and laughter. It was so refreshing!

So join me in celebrating the first Monday in MONTHS that I don't dread getting up for work.
Join me in celebrating this new day!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Burgers and Spice and Everything Nice...

It probably won't surprise you to find out that I love hamburgers.

Something about a juicy beef patty on the grill....

throw in a toasted sesame bun, some cheese (maybe), some mustard & mayo and I'm ready to chow down.

I have discovered a couple of short cuts for spicing up my burgers. I like to rotate them to keep burgers from being boring.

This week it was the Lipton Onion Soup Mix short cut, topped with gouda cheese.

Wanna see? 

Makes your mouth water doesn't it???
Here's another angle of burger goodness.

My mouth is watering looking at the pics all over again!

I'll share couple of my other favorite not-so-super-secret short cuts:
  • Ranch dip mix (the dried stuff)
  • Chimmichurri spices, with a bit of olive oil & vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce (with a dash of salt and pepper)
  • Taco mix (the dried packet stuff) - top this with pico and monterey jack cheese, mmm mm!
  • The simple mix: salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder 
I prefer gouda, swiss or monterey jack or colby jack as my cheese toppings. I'm not all that partial to cheddar or American.

Speaking of cumin... I ducked into our local Indian grocery store in search of garam masala. A friend gave me a recipe that sounds delish (yes, yes, I'll try it and post it, have no fear!).

Not only did I find the garam masala

I found this honkin jar of cumin too.

Yeah, I know!!!

Wanna know the best part?
Each of those humongous tubs of spices were all of $4.50 for the entire thing.

So you may want to check out your local ethnic food store for some delish spices at a bargain price.

Ok friends: what's your favorite burger recipe?? I've shared mine, now it's your turn!

It's a new day!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shoe Watch 2010

 know you've been anxiously awaiting the shoe report.

Settle in with your coffee and OJ, and here we go!

I've been on a search for the ultimate non-sneaker comfy walking shoes for quite some time.

Shoes have been purchased, worn, and discarded. Brands from Privo to these Land's End's terrain ballet shoes. (The Privo's continue to rub my heels into raw blisters, and the Land's End shoes are $20 for a reason - zilcho support!)

Yes, I could wear my reliable, favorite tennis shoes. (right now Asics are my choice). Except, as I mentioned before, I don't want to stand out like a sore - well foot - while trekking through the streets of Rome & Florence.

And so the quest continues.

A friend had recommended the Keen brand, and I began to research the styles available. I really wanted a clog style, to avoid the dreaded heel rub. And I've already mentioned my obsession with Mary Jane shoes. So I was optimistic that I'd found the holy grail when I purchased these from


Petaluma Clog by Keen at
Petaluma Clog by
Keen - Powered by Service
Yes, they come with a hefty price tag. I am not afraid to pay for comfort and durability - and good shoes.

When they arrived, I gleefully tore into the box, like a kid at Christmas.

It's a shoe addiction people. I can't resist!

The verdict:
When I put them on, I felt like I had mugged Minnie Mouse and taken her shoes.

(Minnie pic courtesy of

Yeah. Wide like that.

Except in a black suede-ish material. 

I decided to forgo the bow and polka dot dress, and wore them with my usual jeans. I gamely tried them out for our weekly grocery shopping trip - for some reason my back has been hurting after this fun outing.

Up and down the aisles we went. Lifting, twisting, and turning.

I just love the grocery store.
It's a love-hate relationship really.

Anyway - the verdict is, I don't care if I'm a cheap imitation of Minnie Mouse. The Keen clogs have won their way into the finalists for Euro-trekking.

I'll give them a pre-Europe test in NYC.

The quest continues for finalist #2...