Tools of the Trade + Steamy Kitchen knife giveaway

One of the bonuses to my flexible schedule is that I can make the time to cook wonderful, creative and diverse meals every day. Perfect example: yesterday, I made pierogis. From scratch. And while I'm not sure I'll ever do it again due to the four hours it took to crank out 50 delicious pockets, it's nice to know I could if I wanted to.

Since I'm doing a lot more cooking, I've also been spending more time investigating the higher-quality, more advanced tools that I could and should be using. I've granted my husband one-time-only permission to give me an appliance for Christmas as I am sure I can't make it much longer without a food processor. Next on my list of must-haves is a instant-read digital thermometer, a la Alton Brown. As soon as I move out of our current apartment into a place where I have more control over water quality (our current water situation has stripped the finish off my pots, is killing the non-stick coating on my baking pans and leaves rust spots on my knives and silverware), new cooking pots and knives will be moved WAY up in priority.

And on that note, I want these.

In the meantime, I'll have to settle for the prospects of winning Steamy Kitchen's giveaway, which you can enter here.



On Feb. 21, I posted a blog about a florist in Atlanta called the Banana Florist. It revisited me today because James somehow received an e-mail about the same plant in his e-mail box this week. Coincidence? Not sure what to think, actually.

What I do know, however, is that I love this florist, although I do not know where it is, and I have never been given any flowers from it (I'd remember, apparently, they come with a banana?). But I simply adore their description of the 'naner:

The banana's got it going on. Eye-catching color. Unmistakable shape. In a bowl of fruit, it stands out against the greenest grapes and orangiest oranges. Vibrant, original and immediately recognizable, the banana represents everything we strive for in the floral world. (Not to mention, those things are crazy good for you.)"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I miss writing fun things.

Lucky for me, there's MommyTalk.com (no, I am not a Mommy, nor do I intend on becoming one any time soon.). Read. Read more.

Then check back every other Monday. :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sexual Identity Crisis

A few weeks ago, James and I adopted a cat that someone had left outside one of his dad's apartment complexes.

She's an adorable little kitty, is quite affectionate and we simply adore her. James even bought her a pretty pink diamond-studded collar, a pink litterbox and a purple food and water bowl. She loves her pink and purple toys and is a complete attention whore. And, naturally, we named her Prada.

And then on Saturday, Courtney realized that she has balls.

Is it wrong that we are keeping all of his/her pink and purple stuff?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I'm a self-proclaimed nerd.

I just wrote this on my internship evaluation about what part of my JMC education has been most helpful...

"I have come to appreciate how much copy editing is pounded into our heads. Thanks not only to my copy editing teacher, but to all professors who wont let us slack off, I cant help but think no clich├ęs! or comma which! or no comma in a series of three! while I'm writing, re-writing, editing and re-editing. And to be honest, I'm beginning to like that little voice in the back of my head and my writing is a lot better because of it."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Story of Ms. Big Head

Recently, I went for a ride in a bi-plane with my Dad. It was completly old school and amazingly fun, especially with the spectacular views of Sedona, Ariz., and the surrouding red-rock landscape. I saw beautiful formations, plunging canyons and high plateaus densly covered with evergreens, all from an open-air cockpit.

When I got out of the airplane, I had a terrible headache. It wasn't because of the pressure changes during take-off and landing. It wasn't because the pilot turned our plane on its side with the left wing pointing straight down and the right wing pointing straight up. And it had nothing to do with the fact that I was in a loud, windy seat with no roof.

It was because I have a big head.

This big head problem has been one that has plagued me for all of my life. My first softball helment, which I received for my ninth birthday, was a large--and it wasn't bought big so I could grow into it.

When my older sister and I got to the age that we wanted to share clothes, she often would not let me borrow her shirts becasue she said my big head stretched out the neck. And she was right, it did--the stretched out necks of my own shirts were proof.

During my freshman year of highschool, the same sister's boyfriend caught on to the Leslie-has-a-big-head game. She had been showing him photos of our childhood and he made a comment about what a large head I had then and still had at the present time. The two of them have long since broken up, but you better belive that six years later, he still makes fun of me.

To the casual observer, this head obesity problem isn't overly obvious. I was the athletic director's office aide during ninth grade. It was flag football time, and being the petite girl that I am, he was concerned about my safety. So he tried to give me a football helmet, despite my protests that it would be too small. And when he tried to put it on my head--it was, even though he promised me it was one of the biggest helments they had.

So, you ask, if people don't notice my big head, why does it matter? The issue is that people only don't notice my big head because I do things to draw the attention away. Like have big hair. Really. It helps.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Truth about Tumbleweed

Since I arrived in Arizona on June 9, 2006, I have been on a mission. The mission, which I voluntarily chose to accept, was to find a tumbleweed. One might think that this is an easy task because the Southwest United States is filled with nothing but sand, rock formations, cacti and tumbleweed. Or so the story goes.

But really, the part of Arizona where I am, Scottsdale, is nicely populated by about 150,000 people. If you count all of the Phoenix metropolitan area, the U.S. Government estimates that this number jumps to more than 3.7 million, making it one of the largest and fastest growing cities in our country.

I mention all these numbers to make a point. With all the people, there just isn't room for tumbleweed. And believe me, I've looked. I started by looking along the highways. I was told by locals (which are few and far between because not many people are actually from here. In fact, I haven't met a single one. My locals are really just transplants from the Midwest. Take this as a hint, fellow Midwesterners. LEAVE!) that the highway would be a sure-fire way to see these dry beauties. Well, they lied.

Like in Columbus, Ohio, in Scottsdale, we must often take the highway to get places. It's called the 101 and it loops around Phoenix, meeting up with other highways, such as the 202 and the 303, which take travelers to other suburban areas. So I've spend a lot of time on the highway looking for tumbleweed, all to no avail. It's even getting to be monsoon season (very windy. And it actually rains), which I was also told would be a good time to see tumbleweed, especially on the highway, but still no luck.

One day, I took the aforementioned 101 North until it heads West to a much lesser-developed area. By this I mean there are roads, the beginning of homes and only one Resort-Hotel. I thought for sure I'd be in luck. I was wrong. All I found were three very large, very yellow signs broadcasting the sale of "Luxury Condo's." Idiots. One would think that when trying to attract buyers to your condos, you'd at least learn proper punctuation. Or ask someone who already knows the difference between plural and possessive. Well, that's what I would do, anyway. Must be another "Ohio thing."

Regardless, I was becoming quite distraught about the lack of tumbleweed. To get my mind off the crisis at hand, I drove to San Diego for a couple days last week. It was a lovely time. I continued my travels West, with each mile marking another tiny bit farther away from home than I've ever been. I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I visited with Casandra. I even went to a Padres game at Petco Park. Fabulous.

I eventually had to make my way back to the scorching place we call Scottsdale. It's about a five-and-a-half hour drive, if you go 10 over the speed limit (which is completely acceptable). I left at 4:44 on Saturday evening, aiming to be home shortly after 10. I made it to Yuma, Arizona, filled up my tank before I got into the boonies of the desert (read: scary! Like "The Hills Have Eyes." Only real.) and was on my merry way. Since this part of Arizona is very close to the Mexican border, there are Border Patrol Checkpoints. Slightly before 8 p.m., I passed through one and took a photo of the pretty sunset through the mountains. Then I drove away, watching the sky grow progressively darker in front of me. In fact, by 8:15, it was damn near black in the direction I was heading. Then I started to notice the lightning. Then the lightning became a lot more frequent. Then I got scared.

I've not been a fan of thunderstorms since I was about 12 and a funnel cloud went over our house, knocking down a large chunk of tree onto our deck, which narrowly missed our house. Now put yourself in a tiny car that weighs no more than a golf cart that is on the highway going 85 miles an hour. All of this is no good in a thunderstorm.

But, you see, it rarely rains here, so it is very dry. Therefore, before the thunderstorm comes something else. At home, it's called wind. It brings with it the fresh smell of wet, pollution-filled rain and we all rush to close windows and put tops up on our cars. In Arizona, this fresh scent is not fresh at all--it's thick, cloudy and full of dust. And everyone here goes inside to get away from the filth. But when you're on the highway in the middle of nowhere, you have no choice but to keep driving.

Meanwhile, I can't see anything in front of, behind or beside me. It's so windy, and there is so much dust and debris in the air that I'm thoroughly convinced I'm about to be sucked up into a tornado, but I can't get a hold of anyone who knows what's going on or can even check the weather. To make matters worse, I couldn't find a radio station that broadcast in English, so even if there was a severe weather bulletin telling all motorists to abandon their cars and head for the nearest shelter (or whatever I should do in a tornado when I'm in a car. I don't even know), I wouldn't have understood it. So I drove on at 35 miles an hour, clutching my steering wheel for dear life and seriously contemplating calling 911 and asking what the hell is going on.

This was about the time when I realized that all the "debris" hitting my car--those "sticks" and such--were tumbleweed. You see, I had in my head this picture of a tumbleweed out of a Tasmanian devil cartoon. It's perfectly round and just rolls lazily along the road. And it's all a big LIE! While tumbleweed may be nice and round and perfect sometimes, really, they're just a dried up weed that blows along in the wind. And I killed about 800 of them but was too busy freaking out to even notice.

So the lesson, my friends, is that tumbleweed aren't cool. They explode into tiny bits when you hit them, they make terrible noises as their brittle parts collide with your paint and windshield at high speeds and they don't even look sweet. I've yet to thoroughly investigate the damage these dried up sticks have probably done to my car because then I will just be angry. I pursued these somersaulting bushes for weeks and this is the repayment I get? The crushing of my media-fed Midwestern fantasy? Psh. I'm over it. If you want to see a tumbleweed, try the Tumbleweeds Cafe inside Chase Field. It seems like it'd be more fun to me.

Friday, June 09, 2006

did you know...?

That Interstate 40 in Texas has different speed limits for day and night? They are 70 and 65, respectively.

That Missouri has unmarked police cars that are Dodge Chargers?

That I can't think of anything exciting to see in Oaklahoma except the Oaklahoma City National Memorial?

That Yukon, Oaklahoma, has a water tower proclaiming it as the home of Garth Brooks?

That the Painted Desert in Arizona is so beautiful that it literally takes your breath away?

That seatbelts provide very good protection during car accidents, but do not provide good suntans?

That Texas is so in love with itself that it has Texas-shaped grills at its first rest area in the state on I-40?

That Route 66 crosses most of the Southwest and goes all the way to the Santa Monica pier?

That New Mexico has signs telling you to "beware of snakes?"

That New Mexico's signs warning of wind gusts say that "strong winds may exist" (it makes it sound like they could be fictional... like "ghosts may exist"...or maybe it's just me?)?

That New Mexico has "Safety Cooridors," (which I feel are only near civilized places so police don't have to patrol the boonies) that impose double fines for speeding and make you turn your headlights on, then remid you to turn them off when you leave the safety cooridor?


that's all I have for now...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

day 1


720 miles + rush hour in st. louis + the arch = 13 hours and 15 minutes of road trip fun!

Thus far, I have learned that: Southern Illinois and Missouri only do construction during the day. At first I thought this was weird, because in Ohio, construction people work into the night. Then I realized that we do this because we have winter. Southern Illinois and Missouri have a lot more time to smooth out their roads.

I dislike semi trucks.

I also dislike the concrete walls that divide highways.

The St. Louis Arch is a design and enginering marvel. And it's beautiful.

I like road trips with my Daddy.

There are a lot of St. ____ towns in Missouri.

The Mississippi River is unimpressive in St. Louis. And dirty.

Indianapolis is pretty small. At least that's the impression I got.

I've seen cars from 32 of the 50 states in the union, plus a U.S. Government Car AND one from Quebec and several from Ontario!

I'd like to know...

Can stick shift cars have cruise control?

Where is the "Bible Belt?"

Why are roads in Missouri given letters instead of numbers?

I answered my own question!

A Missouri Supplemental Route is a state secondary road in Missouri, designated with letters. Supplemental Routes were various roads within the state which the Missouri Department of Transportation were given in 1952 to maintain in addition to the regular state routes. The goal of the secondary highway system was to place state-maintained roads within two miles of more than 95% of all farm houses, schools, churches, cemeteries and stores. The four types of roads designated as supplemental routes are:

  • Farm to market roads
  • Roads to state parks
  • Former alignments of U.S. or state highways
  • Short routes connecting state highways from other states to state routes in Missouri

Supplemental routes make up 19,064 miles (59%) of the state highway system.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

I don't say goodbye.

I don't like goodbyes. Really, they're the worst thing ever. They're so final. So sad. I just dont feel as though they're appropriate for any time.

When I was, I think, a sophomore, maybe a junior, my great-grandmother died. She'd get pnemonia every winter and that year, she told my grandma, her daughter, that she wasn't coming home from the hospital this time. She was done.

I got to see her before she died and it was so sad. I think it was only the third time I'd ever seen my father cry. First, when his dad died. Second, when my grandma's next husband died. And then when she died. Great Grandma Shephard. Pearl. With her secret-recipe bananna bread, her sweet pineapple cookies, her pink carpeted sitting room, olive green living room, her beautiful afghans and endless potholders, her polyester shorts, her permed hair... all the wonderful things I miss about her...

In her last days at the hospital, she started telling my Grandma what she wanted done with her stuff, her money, her house. She told her secret ingredient for her fantastical bananna bread. She was so peaceful and calm about everything.

The last time I saw Great Grandma was one of the saddest moments of my life. We visited in the ICU and she was barely making sense. My beautiful grandmother, who went to college in her 50s and became a teacher, who lost her husband years before she died, who took care of her own elderly mother until she died at 102, maybe 103, was dying. My dad cried as we said our goodbyes... only she woudln't let us. She just kept telling us it isn't goodbye, it's until we meet again. She wouldn't let us say goodbye. She made us say until we meet again.....

And that's why I hate goodbyes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

It's been 4 years coming...

I went to work today, tired, hungry and not looking forward to another day of doing the Elite Team's work. And sure enough, when I got there, there were quite a few cars in the lot, seeing as it was 915 and we don't open 'till 10. Dammit. And it appeared that the new DM must be there because all the managers' cars were there.

So I go inside, put my shit away and go about my morning routine of turning on TVs and the like while snacking on some crackers i happened to find in my bookbag. Sandra paged us to the front counter and I figured it was morning meeting time.

Only on my way to the front counter I realized that there were a lot of ppl in street clothes there and a bunch of CC people in company-issued button-ups, not fleeces like a lot of the Elite team wore. Ashleigh whispers that she thinks the store is closing.

"No," I said. "The Elite Team said last week that they weren't here to close the store." After all, they'd changed about 8.2 million things in my department and we were, suprisingly, doing quite well. Our department was 11th in the company in our focus TV category. Fantastic.

So then I look over at one of the women standing there, Julie, who is our HR representative and notice that the booklet she is trying to hold at her side, but is instead waving around.... says "Store Closing Booklet."

Fucking A.

I mean, seriously, I've always known this was coming. It's been hanging over our heads for the last four years. Literally. It was four years on the seventh that I have been working at Circuit City. In those four years, I think that everyone had the time when we were throughly convinced that the store would be done. But we made so many switches, changes, improvements.... and I thought that in the last six months, things were looking a lot better. I mean, I still complain a lot, but mostly because I honestly felt that the manager had a personal vendetta against me. Not that I'm being crazy but some of the shit she'd say to me was rediculous. She told me that I should re-evaluate my employment at Circuit City because I was honest with her and told her that school was my number on priority, not work. She coached me and gave me a corrective and threatened my job because I was regularly 7 minutes late. Yet the people who show up 10 , even 20 minutes late, or just don't show up at all... nothing. And when someone put the SOP for scheduling on her desk because she couldn't seem to get it right... she accused my sister and I of doing it before she even looked into it.

The point of all that....

Really, as much as the scheduling sucks, some of the managers are not quite right... Circuit City isn't that bad. I mean, there were the perks... I made 9.25 for doing nothing more than most retial associates. I've gotten cool shit for cheep. I met James. I rocked out with my sister a lot. I am not a stupid girl; I actually know quite a bit about electronics, computers and the like. I met a lot of freakin' cool people. I became unafraid to talk to strangers. I developed some kickin' sales skills that could come in handy at a later date... I mean, the Regional Pres. of Pizer offered me a job two weeks ago!

So despite all the bullshit, packing everything up and saying goodbye is actually going to be a kind-of sad experience. I've spent four years of my life, that's 20that's the majority of my working years, in one place. It's errie, looking at empty shelves that I damn near killed myself trying to fill with products, to see product on pallets waiting to be shipped, to think that I'm going to walk out of that store on February 22 for the very last time. Ever.

Maybe I'm being over dramatic. But really, it's bittersweet. I think I'll miss the guys the most, though. I may laugh and joke about being the only girl in my deparment, but the guys I've worked with have been pretty cool. I came over there, knowing I had to prove myself, and despite their joking, I feel like they at least respect me a little bit. Sure I'm a little spastic about stand-build tags, but that's another story all together. I mean, I've been wasted in Canada with Josh and Nick (I need that picture off Steve's wall), been asked for advice about damn near everyone's relationships, whined to everyone, seen Rob off to Iraq and welcomed him back.... crazy shit. We've all grown up, that's for sure.......

I'm just concered about money because, while we get a good severance package (I will if they fix my hire date, anyway) I am obv going to need another job... and here's the problem. I'm going on Spring Break and cannot and will not back out. So I'm here for three weeks, gone for one, home for 5, and then I'm off to intern. Who's going to hire me for that? I can't collect unemployment b/c i guess good ol' Ohio passed a law that full-time college studnets cant file for unemployment anymore. Shit. I just hope Lou will maybe give me some decent hours when he re-opens April 1. Cross your fingers or Mimi might get repoed.

But oh well. All chapters of one's life must come to an end at some point in time. I guess this is it for me. Time to move on. So long, Circuit City. It's been a ride.

Monday, December 05, 2005

oh james, you make me laugh

McBride2k2 (10:20:48 PM): ok dictionary.com confirms yet again you are right.. McBride2k2 (10:21:01 PM): you language-ista you

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Jess and I were at Pfife's last night and on the way out, it sounded like people were shouting in McGilvery Hall and then I saw a light come on in the basement... (I think the people were really outside somewhere; the light was a coincidence) and we had a good laugh about us being reporters and how we should go REPORT... SPOT NEWS oh, journalist jokes.

Too bad I want to write about clothes and Jess just wants to take pictures of furniture at Ikea.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Please explain to me why a FedEx man and a Ameritech man came to get ice cream together in a SBC truck?

Also, I had yet another random life occurrence.
I had to call the American Institute of Philanthropy, which is located in Chicago, to get quotes for an article I was writing. I was explaining to the woman on the phone who I was and where I was from and she told me she knew of the Kent Stater because she grew up in the town next to Kent.
I said, oh, I'm from Rootstown, where are you from?
She says, Ravenna. I went to high school with someone who has the same last name as you. Her name was Samantha.
Oh yes, that is my cousin.
Of all the organizations I could have called, and of all the people they could have transferred me to!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

stop and smell the roses!

When I got home from work tonight, I went outside to look for the Little Dipper. I can always find the Big Dipper, but never the Little. Alas, it was too light from our security lights... so I sat down on the patio to enjoy the beautiful evening while I talked on the phone. As I was sitting there, I looked up at the sky through the arbor and I saw beautiful white roses gracefully poised over my head. I have been so rushed and so busy that I haven't taken two minutes to literally stop and smell the roses. I remember when my dad made the trellis for the little rose bush that mom so lovingly planted next to the patio. And now, it's a beautiful sight to see... The branches woven around the trellis, all the way to the top, spilling green leaves and white petals through the beams of the arbor.

And I'd missed it.

As I sat there, I remembered so many things that I had forgotten about my childhood and growing up. I won't even get into it now, but it was an extremly nice moment. Beautiful, serene and bittersweet....

All because of a rose bush.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Gillette gave David Beckham a $50,000 diamond-encrusted razor for Father's Day.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

It's way too early for me to be in the Stater office... My random observations/thoughts... and it's only 8:58 a.m....
* I think the worst summer job has to be carrying around a bucket of blacktop sealer with a little funnel attached to the bottom and sealing all the cracks in parking lots.
* The Indian man who's name is Sighne probably shouldn't look skeptically at my credit card and ask how to pronounce my name.
* The sign at BP for medium coffee said "$1.09 Pedium"

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

we're doing nothing
and everything
pouring out the years
like wine
into the glass
that is our
sweet strawberry
dances on my lips
spilling my past into yours
like vines intertwined
but never joined
we swallow
drunk on our history
that doesn't exist
for the one we
to make

Saturday, June 18, 2005

what happened to prince charming?

Who is this guy
the knight in shining armor
on his white horse
that rescues you from danger,
sweeps you off your feet
and carries you into the sunset.
He takes you to his castle
and makes you his queen
in a life of luxury
with talking clocks,
balls every night
and never a problem in his fairy-tale world.
Prince charming?
I think he’s an urban legend.

Now, the guy who impresses you
the pink-popped-collar-polo boy
in his tricked out Honda Civic
who invites you to his parties,
gives you the "good beer"
and takes you home when you’re wasted.
He invites you to his house
expects you to stay the night
in his dirty mess
with five roommates
keggers every night
and school the next morning.
Prince charming?
I don’t think so.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

good book...

I just finished an absolutley amazing book - Whores on the Hill by Colleen Curran. Honestly, it just made me think about stuff like I never have before...

Summary: Three high school chicks in the mid 80's- all punk rock, some too pretty, some too rich, some just too fucked up for their own good, living too fast too young but having fun, at the last all girls school in a shitty Midwestern city, namely Milwuake. They're 15. Sophomores.

I liked it becuase for once, a book about teenagers was not written for teenagers. Elizabeth is reading "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" right now, and although it was a decent book, I wasn't a big fan. Too perfect, too ideal, too much like what everyone wants their teenage years to be. "Whores" wasn't a happy book and it didn't have a happy ending. It was real, raw and in-your-face. It didn't sugar coat anything. And wow, did it make me think.

What it made me think the most about was that maybe we shouldn't live so much in the moment. It made me wonder, are some of the things that happen "in the moment" (i know, i know, that's cliche), or things that we do without really thinking about it.. those aren't all just little random events. Everything that happens is part of the big picture. Everything will have a later effect on your life, whether it be big or little. Maybe it'll only be that you will relive that moment, or day... and what is sombering to remember is that those moments and memories aren't always pleasant. Maybe your night out with your best friends where you're "having the time of your life" ends up being the night that changes your life, for good or for bad. Maybe it just provides a haunting moment, something that will trouble you for years. Basically, I just wonder, is everything random and spontaneous that you do something that you're going to want to have to remember later?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Another day in the life of Leslie & Amy

Amy and I had another stupid Amy and Leslie adventure last week. In all honesty, it never fails to amaze me the ridiculous predicaments that we find ourselves in. We were talking about being roommates one day.... oh goodness, can you imagine the daily irony and insanity with which we would live? :)

Anyway, I had to go pick up our Starbucks shirts from Primal Screen and did not contemplate the consequences of trying to put both a person and a large box in the front seat of my car. So we put Amy in the car, and the box on top of her. I thought all would be well until I tried to shift into reverse... and my shifter would not move due to the LARGE BOX in my SMALL CAR.

So we decide to take the t-shirts out and put them in the trunk, fold the box and re-construct it at a later date. Amy proceeds to stick the tape from the box on my convertible top, for which i scolded her, and I threw mine on the ground (litter bug!). As it turns out, the now flat LARGE BOX still would not fit in my SMALL TRUNK.

So I gave the box to the man from Primal Screen and we went on our merry way. As we start driving, I start hearing this THWAP THWAP THWAP noise, which became more frequent the faster I drove. Well, since I'm an asshole and haven't rotated my tires in 10,000 miles, they are quite bald. So I hear this noise and am like, SHIT, my tire is flat!! So I quickly pulled over into the first available driveway and ran aroud to the back of my car to see what was going on.

There definitely was a long piece of tape wrapped the entire way around my tire, and the THWAP THWAP THWAP noise was the end of that piece of tape hitting my car.