Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Eleven days

Tomorrow will mark the eleventh day since I've seen Antoine (that means today is the tenth, in case you can't count).  It's been a rough week and a half without him, probably the toughest since since he started this whole consulting job (minus the week where Missy got sick).  It is really surprising how well we have coped with this whole consulting business.  In fact, I was stunned in the beginning at how well I managed to keep it together; I quickly understood that I had it easy compared to Antoine, traveling so much, working in a new city with new people, not getting to sleep in his own bed.  Now, after four months of consulting, Antoine and I have found our rhythm.  The consolation prize to him having to travel and work in Chicago four days a week is that our weekends, for the most part, are ours.  We are free to do what we want, when we want and it's a great feeling...especially after having worked two jobs for nearly 3 years (the library and sbux).  Sure, every once in a while our weekends are jam-packed with errands and constant running around.  But then there are those lazy, carefree weekends that just make everything great again.

Through all of this I've discovered that what A and I have is pretty special (which I kind of knew already).  It's been an adjustment, but at the end of the day it hasn't done anything to our relationship but make it stronger.  I know that this is what is best for him right now, he's actually happy with what he's doing.  He's learning new skills and techniques, he's meeting new people and enhancing his professional career.  But, on my end, because of this I don't have to work two jobs.  Sure, we're not rolling in the money, but the new consulting gig balances out our need for part time jobs.  And that's a great thing!

But while four days away has become "no big deal", this week has been rough.  Antoine decided to take advantage of the perks of his job and fly to LA for the weekend to visit his best friend.  And while I was so excited for him to go, I am not a fan of this extra time apart.  I've gotten so used to those four days away and his return on Thursday, it has become our routine.  Ten days (eleven days tomorrow) is just too much!  Couple that with the fact I had some sort of flu earlier last week and the hectic/craziness of packing up Cheese and driving to/around Northern OH all weekend (I'm sick of driving)...I'm so ready for tomorrow to come.  I miss him.  I miss his face and his smile.  I even miss his horrendously loud snoring.  I cannot describe how excited I am for this weekend and the week to follow!  We have so many exciting plans (at least they are exciting to me) this weekend and then all next week Antoine will be working from home.  My heart is going pitter-patter right now, I can't even tell you how ecstatic I am...eekkk!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saturday in Pictures

 [Pictures of flowers]...lots of flowers.  I apologize.  I enjoy taking pictures of flowers just a little too much!  I know it's lame, but oh with it!

This weekend I went up to Port Clinton to meet up with a mom and a bunch of my aunts and a couple cousins from my dad's side of the family.  It was a fun, sunny weekend by Lake Erie.

 Lake looks prettier than it smells.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Recipe: Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

One of our lovely volunteers at work shared this recipe with me and I just have to pass it on.  It's a Thai twist on traditional chicken noodle soup that is super easy to make.  I gotta say I love making a giant pot of good soup and eating it for days.  It makes deciding what to have and packing for lunch a breeze!  I'm all about easy/cheap lunches, since I almost always pack and am notorious for waking up late and rushing to get ready for work in the morning.  Also, it's a fairly healthy recipe...especially if you use fat free/low sodium broth and lite coconut milk.

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

6 to 8oz. medium noodles (I use about a half bag of No Yolks noodles),  boiled for 5 mins (al dente)
1 Rotisserie chicken, shredded (I chill it in the fridge first, makes shredding easier), discard skin
6 or 7 carrots, sliced 1/4" thick 
5 celery stalks, sliced 1/4" thick
2 med sweet onions or 1 large (yellow would work), chopped into bite size pieces
2 inch piece of ginger, minced
2 - 14 oz cans of coconut milk (I like to use lite coconut milk)
½ c lime juice (about 4 limes)
½  c roughly chopped cilantro
10 cups chicken broth  (I use two and a half cartons of Trader Joe's free range, fat free, low sodium broth - it's very inexpensive and very good)
1/4" to 1/2" teaspoon of salt (to taste)

Put broth in a very large stock pot over medium-high heat.
Add sliced veggies and ginger (sliced then, 1/8 to ¼ in thick)
Bring to a small boil; cook about 20 minutes.

While cooking, shred chicken, squeeze limes, chop cilantro.

Add coconut milk to the pot; bring to a boil.
Add salt. 
Add shredded chicken, lime juice and cilantro. 

Cook noodles; drain and add to soup.

This makes a very large pot of hearty, flavorful soup.  It holds up to freezing fairly well, although the chicken tends to break down a bit.  If you do freeze it, I would consume it within a month of freezing it.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Around the Yard Green Stuff Grows

 wee little tomato



 green beans

 banana pepper

 lone onion


See how well I'm doing at not killing the green things!?  I'm so proud of myself.

Monday, June 20, 2011


This morning was a little bittersweet for me.  First of all, the weekend seemed to go by in a flash.  Zip.  Zap.  Boom.  And it was over.  Before I knew it it was 5am this morning and I was crawling out of bed, getting dressed to take Antoine to the airport.  Usually, Monday's are sad, but in the back of my mind I tell myself, "Self, don't worry!  Thursday is just around the corner!" (creepy, I know!)  And while Thursday may be just around the corner, this week it will not bring with it my usual trip to the airport to pick up Antoine.  Nope.  This week, instead of flying home on Thursday Antoine's taking advantage of the perks of his consulting job and flying to L.A. for the weekend to see his best friend, Cory.  Normally not seeing A for almost two weeks would make me very sad (and it still kind of does), but he's just so excited to visit his friend, who he hasn't seen since he moved to L.A. almost a year ago, that I'm really just happy for him.  Don't worry your pretty little head about lonesome ol' me though, I've decided to head north to parents for the weekend (with Cheese in tow).  In fact, it worked out that all the women from my dad's side of the family are getting together for a little girl's weekend in Port Clinton, so I've decided to tag along.  It should be good times, shopping and visiting with family I don't see that often (and my mom).

Also, on the sighing marks the day of my bestest friend's first day at her new job (Yay!).  After a little rough patch career-wise, my dearest HLP has landed herself a pretty sweet editing job.  Only downside...she had to move to Cleveland.  I'd be mad at her if I didn't think this was a great opportunity and I didn't love her to pieces!  And if her new job didn't happen to be just a hour north of where my parents live!  And if she didn't totally deserve a job she was actually excited about, at a company that actually knows she's the shit!  And if I didn't believe 100% that change is good (especially when that change still leaves her in-state and with-in driving distance!)  Congrats Amanda!

Little mushrooms that I discovered in our yard after I got home from the airport this morning.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Not in the Stars

Remember that time that I asked for advice on what to wear with this dress?  The couple responses that I got were fantastic, and after I got them I had this perfect vision in my mind of what I wanted to get: the cardigan, the shoes, the jewelry...all of it.  I knew exactly what I wanted.  Problem is, wanting something and being able to find that something are two very different things!  For instance, the red cardigan.  Seemed easy enough, right?!  No, not so much.  Since I had bought my dress just as all the clothing stores were moving into summer colors finding a deep red cardigan proved practically impossible, especially since I'm not a size small and I don't want to blow $100 on a flippin' cardigan.  Example B: the shoes.  I thought I had found a great pair of yellow flats on Ebay.  And the best part, they were $15!  But when I got them they were just the wrong color for the dress (read: bright yellow instead of a slightly muted, mustard yellow).  They were so bright and obnoxious looking that they kind of made me look like a clown.  Strike two.  Luckily the jewelry proved to be a little easier.  I had already purchased a pair of gold arrow earrings on Etsy.  The search for a bracelet wasn't nearly as simple, but I managed to find a vintage gold cuff on Etsy for just $8.

So, even though I had found the jewelry, I still didn't have a cardigan or non-clownish shoes to go with the dress.  Finally I decided to give up on my dream of a red, or hell even yellow cardigan (you'd think summer ='d be wrong!  Apparently summer = terrifying neon yellow-green).  Since the belt was black and I had recently purchased a little black cardigan with floral detail at Kohl's (on sale), I figured that was as good as I was going to get.  Now onto shoes.  I found a couple pairs online, but after the misrepresentation of color I experienced with the first pair I was wary to buy another pair of shoes online!  So I was forced to settle for a pair of cute black flats (that would get much use after the wedding).  Now, since my outfit had become a little overloaded with blackness, I decided opague tights in black or gray might not be the best route, especially for a summer wedding.  So instead I went for nude pantyhose (since I, for some strange reason, can't stand having completely naked legs).

There you have it.  In the end I haven't ended up with nearly the outfit I hoped for, but I suppose it'll do.  I have yet to try the look on in its entirety, but I guess I'll be seeing it this Saturday at my friend's wedding.  As far as styling goes, I'll be sporting my favorite up-do...

 A la Cup of Jo.  It's easy and will keep my hair off my neck.

And if I have the guts, maybe I'll be brave enough to actually walk out of the house with some red lipstick on...
Eeek!  I'm terrified just thinking about it!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wonderous Weekend

I think having Monday off for Memorial day did wonders for this week.  It seemed to fly by, didn't it?  It didn't hurt that Antoine was only gone for three days this week, instead of four (thanks again national holiday!).  Unfortunately, that means that next week will probably seem ridiculously long in comparison.  Oh well.  At least it's almost the weekend, right!?  Last weekend was a little disjointed...frantically running random errands and that depressing heat wave that kicked my butt.  This weekend I'm planning everything out so that on Sunday Antoine isn't doing any frazzled last minute packing for Chicago.  I'm a sucker for list making.  It calms me, while also energizing me at the same time!  I know, I make no sense and I'm a!  Anyway, these are some of the plans for this weekend:

  • Sushi for dinner at the newly re-named Fusian - I am so flipping excited about this...I've been craving sushi for weeks
  • Grocery shopping - because our fridge is looking seriously sparse
  • Free frozen yogurt from Yagoot - they are releasing their new summer flavor: coconut (can't wait!); people who sign up for their free e-newsletter get a coupon for a free yogurt whenever they come out with a new flavor!  It's a pretty sweet deal (get it?  yeah, I'm not very funny!)
  • Making a large pot of Thai Chicken Noodle Soup - it's so, so good...I promise to post the recipe one of these days
  • Making some Strawberry Pretzel Salad - because it's summery and delicious (and dangerous)
  • Trying out this recipe for Cilantro Black Beans - because I love black beans and I love cilantro (and I have tons of it) and because I think it'll go really well with fajitas
  • Hopefully going to see a movie at the Esquire (since we have a buy one get one free coupon) - we're thinking about seeing Everything Must Go
  • I'm also going to attempt to figure out what to get my mom for her birthday and my dad for Father's day...(?)
  • Then all that other stuff like doing laundry, mowing the lawn, doing dishes, etc. - but I like to not think about those things too much...
 See how I cunningly distracted you with a picture of Cheese!? I'm so sneaky.

Any fun/interesting plans this weekend for you fine folks? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

South Haven & Saugatuck

 For Day 2 of our Michigan trip, I planned for us to explore the small beach towns along Lake Michigan.  First up was South Haven.  It was only a short drive from the KOA we were staying at, but boy was it worlds apart.  Our KOA was situated in poorer, rural community called Covert.  But just ten minutes away was South Haven...a pristine little world that seemed to be trapped in a bubble.  Beaches, a lighthouse, a harbor filled with boats, large houses sitting on the water's edge and finely manicured/landscaped lawns.  Sadly, South Haven's main beach was the first of many beaches that day with large signs demanding that dogs not set foot on the beach.  However, we were allowed to take Cheese for a walk along the harbor and out to the lighthouse.
 South Haven

South Haven lighthouse

 The harbor

 Another view of the lighthouse (I wasn't too wowed, but at least we got to go for a little walk with Cheese)

I have no clue what these are supposed to be...

 Cheese, post-walk out the lighthouse.  It doesn't take much to tire out a basset!

 "Dude!  I'm chewing on a stick here.  That's just rude!"

After our little trek out to the lighthouse we decided to take a little break, mainly because Cheese refused to walk anymore, by the harbor.  The landscaping around the harbor was insane.  Everything was so green and perfect.  We rested for a bit there as walkers and joggers passed us and made their way towards the lighthouse and the beach.  Finally, after the Cheese-man decided he would move again, we made our way into the town center.  It was cute and had a small-town feel to it, yet it was filled with adorable little shops.  Unfortunately, when you have a dog in tow there's really no chance to shop or browse such little stores.  Well, unless it's a pet store.  In the middle of town we found a little boutique pet store.  Normally we aren't the type of people who frequent that sort of pet's just too frou-frou for our taste.  But it was the only store that allowed dogs, so we couldn't pass it up!  The lady behind the counter was very nice and even gave Cheese a cheese-flavored treat.  We perused the store, jaws dropping at the price tags on various dog toys ($20-$30...eek!).  We decided that since it had been Cheese's first birthday the week before we had to get him something...

So, naturally, we got him a ridiculous dog treat in the shape of a big purple donut!  

 On the edge of town we noticed a little open-air farmer's market filled with fresh produce, baked goods (I might have drooled a little bit), soaps, and candles.

After a couple failed attempts trying to find a dog friendly beach in South Haven (read: 3 attempts), I was thoroughly frustrated and ready to make our way up the shoreline to Saugatuck.  When I was looking for places to visit in Michigan I had enough sense to research dog friendly restaurants.  And in my searching I stumbled across Hercules Bar & Grill in the little town of Saugatuck.  I wasn't sure what to expect since Urbanspoon called it "Hercules Hot Dogs" and said it had an outdoor patio that allowed dogs...and that was it.  Antoine and I were totally expecting a little hot dog stand with picnic tables.  Instead we were pleasantly surprised to find a lovely little outdoor patio tucked away like some sort of secret garden.  It had a relaxed and cool vibe about it, but on the inside the decor was sleek and modern.  The restaurant was not only dog friendly, but openly gay friendly, which was very nice to see.  They had both a full menu of entrees and a back menu with Greek inspired casual options.  Since we were in the patio and on a budget we went for the more casual/budget friendly menu.  I got an Italian beef sandwich and Antoine got a steak sandwich...both were very good!  Cheese was given a small bowl of water with ice cubes to cool him down, a nice little touch provided for K-9 customers.  All in all we were blown away; not only because Cheese actually behaved himself while we ate lunch (even with a little girl sitting just 5 feet away from him at the next table...he LOVES kids), but also by the good food and the welcoming attitude that Hercules offered. 

 The patio at Hercules.

After lunch we took a little walk around Saugatuck.  Like South Haven it was pristine in its appearance.  Beautiful little shops, a nice harbor full of boats and tree lined streets downtown, but we preferred Saugatuck over South Haven.  It wasn't just the fact we were able to have lunch with Cheese, but the town and the people in it were just more open and welcoming.  People stopped to say "hi" to Cheese, one guy even gave him a dog biscuit, and people seemed cheerier.  It seemed like a great place to get a room at a local bnb or rent a house and spend the weekend visiting/exploring.