Monday, June 30, 2008

Why isn't anyone voting??

C'mon...I know you're out there...and you're reading the take a minute to answer the polls on the left hand side. They are totally anonymous.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Browsing the internet

Check out the new poll on the left-hand side... I want to know when you spend the most time browsing the internet. Do you do it at work? (I won't tell) At home? During the week? During the weekend? I find that I don't do much web stuff during the weekend (which is why I don't normally post then) but maybe that's when people are reading more. I'm just not sure...

Also, what sorts of things do you look at when you're just playing around online? Do you look at news sites? Shopping sites? Play games? Check out the local real estate? Search for a new job? Read blogs? What is it you do with your few minutes (or hours??) of coveted quiet internet time?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala

Last night, Dennis and I collaborated on a delicious dinner. We love Indian food but often find it difficult to replicate really great ethnic meals at home but thought we'd give it a try.

In the June/July issue of Macon Magazine (a wonderful local magazine from Macon, GA, where we used to live), they had an article on Indian food and a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala that they posted from We made this and poured it over jasmine rice, along with some frozen vegetable samosas from Trader Joe's. What a meal! We were also going to heat up some Tandoori Naan (bread) but went without. Here's the recipe for the chicken, it was soooo yummy. I'll copy it as is, then tell you about the adjustments I made (I almost never make a recipe EXACTLY as it says!)

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewers

1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat a grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Lindsey's changes...
-used vanilla yogurt
-used powdered ginger
-used extra garlic
-did not use jalapeno (it was still a little spicy)
-used a 15oz jar of tomato sauce
-did not use cilantro garnish

Happy eating!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

Ever since my Skype fire, I've been giving a lot of thought as to what comes next for me.
I have really not been able to pursue my own business interests as much as I have wanted because of this other job, but it was also steady income. So I've been thinking and trying to decide whether to focus on my own business (little pink pansy), get another part-time job from home, get an out-of-the-house part-time job, or maybe go back to working full-time. In general, there is no RIGHT answer - it is always situation specific. So I've started looking to see what's out there.
But with every decision I face, I feel like the universe gives me little clues as to what is the right thing to do. Last night, I went out to dinner with some women from my moms group. I ended up sitting at an end of the table with ladies I'd never met before. Their children attended the same daycare center and they talked at length about it and the teachers, facilities, good and bad things, etc. After listening to them talk, I knew without a doubt that I could not send Olive to daycare. Although they were both very pleased with their center, the whole experience of it made me uncomfortable. I simply cannot see Olive in that environment nor do I think that I could handle being away from her all day. I think maybe things would be different if I had a job to go to that I was really excited about (and if my own business ever requires me to work outside the home, I will be thrilled), but I just don't know that this would be the right decision for us right now. Don't get me wrong, Olive would probably love it as she is our little social butterfly, but I think I'm too attached. On the other hand, these working women get to have adult conversations during the day and go out during lunch to get a pedicure - luxuries that I don't have being at home. These are the internal conflicts that I think most mothers have and always wonder what is the best decision. The answer is not the same for everyone and I have absolutely no problem with other's people's decisions, but for me, for right now, I need to be at home with my girl. I don't know whether or not I will get another part-time gig or focus all my energy on my own business, but today is not the day I return to an office full-time. After all, how could I miss the moments like the one shown in this picture? This is Olive (far left) and two of her friends yesterday at the Botanical Gardens. How sweet is that?? Soon enough she will be in school full-time and won't have toddler tantrums and unlimited hugs for Mommy. I'm not sure I'm ready to miss that just yet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sometimes you just gotta laugh...

Do crazy things ever happen to you? Do you sometimes feel like if someone else were watching your life, they would laugh (and it would make a great movie?)

I often feel like this and when I get frustrated, I try to remember that it would be funny if I were watching this on TV.

Well, something funny happened to me. Have you ever seen the episode of "Sex and the City" where Carrie was dumped by Berger on a Post-it? Yeah, that happened to me. Well, OK, so the details are a little different...

Last night I was checking email one last time before I went to bed and saw I had a Skype message (like an instant message) from my boss for my part-time job firing me! I was so shocked I didn't know what to think. True, I am technically a contract worker, but I have been with the company on and off for about 3 years now and was surprised to be disposed of via an instant message. After I got over my shock, I laughed...after all, it is pretty damn funny.

Anyone got any good stories to share? Hope you got a chuckle out of mine. I swear, one of these days I'll strap a video camera to my head and make a hit reality show with the crazy things that happen in my life.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday's Tips

Today's tip is to tell you about a giveaway I'm offering on my other blog.

One lucky winner will receive a set of these adorable color-it-in birthday cards. They are small foldover cards with the pattern on both sides. It's a set of 24 assorted styles and also comes with mini envelopes and colored pencils. These are great fun for kids or adults and add a perfect personal touch to the birthday gift. This image is just one of the many cute styles included. (and I colored it myself to add a little pizzazz!)

We'll be doing the raffle next Monday, June 30th to determine the winner so enter now!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Nothing to do

I like schedules.

When I have "free time", I really don't know what to do with myself, especially if it is unexpected. There are always things that I have on my "to do" list, but somehow when I have lots of free, unstructured time, I am at a loss. So here are some things I came up with today to do with some unscheduled time:

1. Throw in a load of laundry (I mean, really, are you ever really "caught up"??)

2. Jot a little note to the relatives (and send pics of the kids to Grandma)

3. Sit down and read a book or magazine

4. Tidy up the house and throw away all the junk and old receipts

5. Plan dinner

6. Plan something fun and less monotonous for the next day!

Number 6 is my favorite...tomorrow I must find something more structured, fun, and social to do!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hollywood Gossip: Scott Baio

Ok, I'll admit it... I watched "Scott Baio is 45 and single" and then was so hooked that I watched "Scott Baio is 46 and pregnant". I know, I'm a total sucker for crappy reality TV (though not sure how "reality" this was). He always looks so young (probably b/c he still wears clothes from American Eagle, which I think even I am too old to wear) but look at him in this photo - YIKES! He looks rough! Anyway, I didn't have much to say today so thought I'd post something about Jamie Lynn Spears' baby but instead found this article.
Scott and his wife Renee had a baby girl in November and had a scare that she might have a potentially fatal disease. The testing took 10 weeks and was a very trying time for them. Luckily, everything turned out fine, but it's good to see that he has become a doting dad after all. While watching his two series, I was shocked at what a real scumbag he was (and his friend Johnny V - EWW) but it looks like maybe he is finally settling down. Kudos to him.

To read the full article, click here. Photo by Michael Buckner.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

more fun

I don't have anything all that new and exciting to blog about today (plus I have been on hold, now for the 4th time, with Verizon trying to get some questions answered, I've now been on here waiting on this call only for 22 minutes so I am trying to get something done while I wait). So I'll include some pictures from yesterday. After spending the morning with some friends, Olive & I went to a local zoo with some other friends, where I got a couple of shots of her. She really enjoyed feeding the goats with the bottle!

(Update: I've now been on the phone w/ Verizon for 68 minutes and they still don't have a clue how to fix this. They are now transferring me to another "specialist"). This is BS!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Slavery and Freedom

I am still chugging along in the book Chesapeake - a great read but I've really taken my time with it. In any case, it goes through the history of the region (based on fact with fictional characters) and I am currently in the pre-Civil War period, where they are debating the pros and cons of slavery. Some of the chapters are even written following the lives of a few slaves. When you think about this period in history, it's hard to imagine how people felt they had the right to own someone else and that these other people were inferior because of their skin color or country of origin. However, although I think most people in modern times (at least in this country) don't believe in the right to own another person, I think that there is still a sense of superiority and inferiority in some respects. The first part of this I'd like to discuss is still the racial aspect. After just returning from a trip South, I realize how inequal some things still are there. After all, a great majority of the population there remembers segregation, as it wasn't all that long ago. Although most of them claim to be accepting, you still see African-Americans in most of the low-wage jobs and treated with less respect. It is also still frowned upon to have an interracial relationship.

Change the focus to here in DC... Interracial relationships are everywhere...people are all very PC about it and I think for the most part, are understanding. But here, the less respected are the Latinos. They are the ones in the low-wage jobs and who seem to be shown on TV for all the crimes. Gang violence is prevalent and there are a very large number of Latino immigrants here, most of them doing what they can to get by. Since many of them are here illegally, they'll take what they can get.

In some respects, I think that all people feel a little enslaved by something but may not be your race or role in society - it may be more personal. Perhaps it is a job that you feel stuck in, or a relationship, or a city, your kids, or a friendship. I think that many folks really feel imprisoned in some aspect of their lives. But this morning, while reading my other book (Veil of Roses - about an Iranian woman who comes to America) I realize how much freedom we really have. Whether you dislike your job, your spouse, your circumstances, we have the freedom to have those dislikes and the freedom to change them at any time. If you feel stuck in a low-paying job, there are ways to improve your education or search for a new job. You have the freedom to be friends with whomever you choose (and not to be friends with someone you don't like). You have the freedom to express your political opinions and vote for who you think best serves our interests. In short, while we all probably feel like a slave to some things, we have freedom that is still not available in all parts of the world, especially for women. It is important to remember that we are in control of our own destiny and no one is stopping us but ourselves. So stop holding yourself back and remember that it is the little things that keep us going.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday's Tips

Take a trip to your local park.
Whether you are young or old or somewhere in between, there is really nothing better than the park. Until I had kids, I hadn't been to a park in a long time. This morning, I took Olive to meet some of our friends at a great local park. The weather was perfect and the kids had fun running around while the adults enjoyed visiting with each other and the beautiful surroundings. We saw an older gentleman there walking his dogs and other people who just wanted to enjoy the natural beauty. It's really a great place to go for people of all ages. The kids can play, you can read a book, relax, reflect, walk, play ball, etc. What a great way to spend the day. So get outside and find a shady park!

Monday, June 16, 2008

taking a real vacation

When you're on vacation, are you really on vacation? Do you still check email, voicemail, do work, worry, etc.?? I usually do those things but on this trip, I didn't do it too much. I did occasionally check email and respond to friends sometimes, but mostly I was just taking a break from my regular life. I didn't do work (or even worry about it), I pretty much never had my cell phone with me, and I chose not to think about my day-to-day activities. It was so wonderful and I feel so refreshed and with a new perspective on life. I also read "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff" again (by Richard Carlson, PhD) and feel so peaceful and easygoing. I am trying really hard not to slip back into my frenzied life now that I'm home but instead try to relax, do one thing at a time (no more multitasking for me), and try to remember what is truly important. On your next vacation, take a real vacation. I promise it will change you for the better.

Friday, June 13, 2008

summer fun

According to the recent poll that was on this site, it looks like most of you want a combination between personal stories and tips on products and life. Since yesterday I did a thought-provoking post, I thought today would be more personal. We've been having lots of fun here on our trip and today celebrated another birthday (my dad's!) so we're just having lots of summer fun. Olive is really enjoying the pool and kids and birthdays. She helped wrap some of the presents (she's a big fan of the tape) and also helped put the candles on the cake tonight. She loved it so much that she has been singing "Happy Birthday" all day and even made Play-Doh cakes, complete with candles. Too cute...

beach time
pool party
decorating grandpa's cake

assorted play-doh cakes

tuckered out from all the fun (and looking at some of her gift-wrapped items)

Thursday, June 12, 2008


The concept of "culture" conjures up many images. Mostly we think of the differences between countries and typically we think of countries that seem very foreign to us. However, there is a culture to just about everything. There is a general country culture, regional culture, and even cultures down to a specific office (aka "corporate culture") or even the culture of a particular group of people. I guess I've been reflecting on this a bit this week as I see the differences in culture between here and where we live and think about other places I've been recently, such as where Dennis is from. Each of these places has such a totally different lifestyle, mentality, rituals, etc. Even today, we drove over to the beach (about 1.5 hrs from here) and the culture there is drastically different from here and drastically different from the towns just a few miles away. I always struggle to find where I really "fit" into these types of equations. Overall, I certainly feel most comfortable and at home down here (or the South in general), but there are definitely parts of the culture that I don't like, and certainly there are things in DC that I prefer. In general in life, I am always looking for things that just "click" and are a perfect fit but I rarely get that. Instead, I am coming to grips that these perfect matches don't really happen very often so I just enjoy the "close enough" instances as much as I can. In the meantime, I will enjoy being here for the next few days but enjoy the things I miss at my new home when I return.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I love birthdays!

Today is my birthday (yep, if you look carefully under the flames, you will see that I am 29 - and holding). It's been such a wonderful day! It's so special to spend your birthday with family! I really missed having Dennis here but I had a good time with my parents and little Olive. How perfect.
Hope your day was as wonderful as mine.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday's Tips

We're having such a great time on our trip that I thought for this week's Tuesday's tips that I'd highlight a few of the great places we've been and things we've done in and around the Gainesville, FL area.

Mario's Wine Bar & European Bistro
a delightful place to dine with friends in Thornebrook Village
great food, excellent service, and lots of fun. If the weather's nice, sit outside on the patio.
always a pit stop for every visit
yummy BBQ, delicious sweet tea, and an endless salad bar
also a must-eat for every visit
good homestyle food with the fast-food convenience. enjoy scrumptious fried chicken or salads or breakfast bar with outstanding rolls and yummy veggie side dishes (bonus: they also have a drive-thru!)
salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, and more
really good if you're in the mood for lighter fare. they also have lots of shakes, smoothies etc. which I've never tried but look really good
Sweet Tomatoes - actually located in Orlando
we stopped here on the way in from the airport - generous buffet with salad bar, baked breads, muffins, a variety of soups, pastas, fresh fruit, sundae bar, etc. SO good and you can eat way more than you intended!
Family Friendly Activities
a fun indoor play area for kids of all ages. featuring a costume corner, ball pits, foam pits, an infant/toddler room, interactive video games, enormous legos, a play kitchen, a multilevel climbing structure, gymnastics rooms, outdoor playgrounds, a cafe, and more. lots of fun and they offer summer classes, preschool, etc. some features remind me of the wonderful children's museum in Baltimore (Port Discovery) - also worth a visit if you're in that area
a family friendly outdoor adventure that discovers Florida wildlife. Located in Ocala, Silver Springs boasts glass-bottom boats over the crystal clear springs, jeep safaris, other boat rides, a petting zoo, children's play area, a carousel, and a few rides. However, the best part (at least for the younger crew) is the animals. There are wild animals galore but they also have an alligator lagoon (though we saw wild alligators as soon as we were parking the car), white alligators, crocodiles, lots of birds, flamingos, giraffes, bears, Florida panthers, cougars, river otters, snakes, turtles, birds, ducks, monkeys, and more. You name it, they've got it! They also have some beautiful gardens, scenery, and do occasionally host concerts (usually country but a great place to see a show).
As you can see, we're finding lots to do and enjoying ourselves tremendously though we really miss Dennis and our doggie. Happy Tuesday!!


Monday, June 9, 2008

Vacation Update

We're still having a blast here in Florida, though as local expression would say, "It's hot as blue blazes!" though I know it's really hot everywhere right now. Summer has finally arrived. We've been spending some quality time with the grandparents and had some great meals. Yesterday, we also went to the butterfly garden and museum and put up a baby pool in the backyard and had fun splashing around. Here are a few pictures of what we've been doing thus far.

Grandpa greeting us at the airport

Olive in her chair
Snuggling with Grandma

Visiting with great grandmother

Inviting Grandpa to sit at her table and color with her

Wearing pretty princess shoes

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's good to be home...

I've been a little MIA for the last couple of days...Olive and I are now here in FL visiting family and friends. We arrived yesterday and have been having a great time ever since. Little Olive absolutely adores her grandparents and is having so much fun with them. Today we did some visiting with great-grandparents too, which was good. Today was also a wonderful day because I got a little reprieve. I got my hair done by my mom's regular guy (who did a fabulous job) and I felt so pampered! Then tonight, after Olive hit the sack, I met up with some old friends for dinner and dessert at this great little bistro (owned by some folks we know, making it all the more fun). So all in all, our trip has been absolutely perfect so far. My mom has lots of other fun activities planned for us while we're here and it's so great to be able to take little Olive to do things now that she's enjoying them. I'll try to figure out how to upload some of the pictures onto this computer and post them this weekend. Unfortunately, Dennis is not with us, but Olive is pointing him out in every picture so we don't feel like he's too far away! There's something to be said about going's so relaxing and comforting to be surrounded by people who love you more than anything in the world, seeing both the familiar and the new, and enjoying a change of scenery. This town has evolved so much since I left all those years ago and it's fun to explore it all over again. Hope your weekends are as great as mine!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

new poll

I've put up a new poll in the left-hand column about what you'd like to see on this blog. Please take a second and vote (or if you have any other suggestions, post a comment to this message).

Book Review: The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

The Friday Night Knitting Club
by Kate Jacobs

My book club just finished reading this book and we met last night to discuss it. Unfortunately, not everyone had read the book so the discussion was a bit limited but overall, everyone seemed to like it. A story about unlikely friendships, personal strength, courage, and determination, this book is sure to please. It evokes emotion and you really identify with the characters. I won't spoil it but it didn't end how I would have expected, and I always like surprises. One of our book club members said she heard this was going to be made into a movie, with Julia Roberts as the star (which is funny because she is actually mentioned in the book). I hope they do because this is a great story. It also made me really appreciate the fine art of knitting - I never realized just how hard it is or how much work and love is put into it. If you're looking for an easy read, check this one out.
Our next book is "Veil of Roses" by Laura Fitzgerald (see sidebar for link and cover image). You will also notice that the book "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener is there...this is a great book that I've been working on for a long time, highly recommended by my dad. It's not a quick chick book but very interesting nonetheless. It is a fictional story through the decades but based on historical fact. I've really learned a lot about this region from it. Check it out too!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesday's Tips

Don't beat yourself up.
We are all our worst critics and see our faults in everything, even when others do not. We notice those 5 extra pounds or that zit popping up or that the tablecloth is slightly askew, but the reality is, nobody else really cares.
We struggle with these day to day minute details but we also all face bigger problems. We worry about whether we are in the right job (would I be happier, make more money, somewhere else??), should we stay home to raise our kids or continue in our careers??, should I move to another city??, should we send the kids to public or private school??, should we buy/sell the house?? There are so many things that we all struggle with every day and there is no "right" answer to them. Each situation is unique and different and we shouldn't beat ourselves up over our decisions. I feel like everything works out for the best in the end, wh ether we can see it immediately or not. I also know that we can only make the best decision possible with the information we have available and sooner or later, it does work out. If something seems like a bad decision, you made it for a reason and it put things aligned in the universe in just the right way and maybe you make a new friend, learn a new lesson, or experience something new. So don't worry about making the right will...just have faith and confidence and don't worry if things don't seem great at first. It will in the end. So give yourself a break and don't beat yourself up. You're worth it!!