(also known as my little brown dog A.K.-47 TKM),

Thank you. 

For once I am actually grateful for the sensitive, time-release nature of your stomach.  See, if I had not been actively terrified of the impending vomit storm that would have resulted, I probably would have slept for another two or three hours this morning thus wasting a good portion of my day off.  Instead I was up-and-at-’em at nine-thirty and have had quite the fabulous (and productive) day. 

Ha.

So after the pooch got his much-anticipated breakfast we called up my mom and met her at the Garden of the Gods for a visit and a solid hour-long walk.  It was gorgeous despite the gale force winds today and we opted for a little off-road adventure with the Killing Machine.  He was non-plussed. 

What should have been a brisk and pleasant walk was more of a drag due to uneven and rocky terrain and the dog was visibly miffed at me for not knowing better.  And who could blame him?  But once we made it back to packed dirt (and then pavement) he picked up the pace and trotted right along quite nicely.  Good dog. 

His efforts were rewarded handsomely by my mother who came prepared with a pocket full of treats!  He got to chow down on three “mailmen” and one “dogcatcher” over the course of the hour which I think helped to temper his mood a bit. 

When we got back home Todd and I knocked out our workout for the day and then it was time for fun!

We were famished and so headed across town to Manitou Springs to the Coquette Creperie.  This place is absolutely awesome!  The entire restaurant is gluten-free and the specialize in GF crepes and quiches that are out-of-this-world.  My husband got his “usual” which is the Cajun crepe (spicy shrimp and creme sauce and other amazing deliciousness) and I opted for the Argentinian (chicken, green olives, rice, spices.  Quickly beginning to beat out the Cajun as my own personal favorite).  No pictures of either I’m afraid because we practically licked the plates.  Yes.  That good! 

And then dessert!  Our hands-down favorite (so far) is their strawberries and cream crepe.   I would like to just swim around in this plate and eat my way out.  I could have this every single day.  Food like this is the entire reason I exercise.  *sigh*

After eating we originally decided to wander around the town for a bit and peek into a couple of shops for my mom.  However.  We were quickly sidetracked my a well placed and enticingly lit old-time penny arcade!!!  We started out just looking around (they had old, OLD games as well as some of the really new ones) then eventually cashed in a couple of bucks to sink into a machine or two.  I personally really like the random “games” that either tell you about yourself (like this career finder one:  Love Pirate?!?!  They DO know me!!!)  or predict things about you (this mystic lady told me, among other things, that my magical color was Red.  Good to know.)…Meanwhile, Todd shot things.

We’ve decided to return to spend an entire afternoon there but for tonight we called it quits and headed for an after lunch drink at a local winery called D’Vine Wines.  It’s a franchise operation where they blend all of their wines on premises and it’s located right in downtown Manitou.  We like this place so much that for Todd’s birthday last year I got him/us memberships to the winery!  See?!?!  It’s official, somebody else thinks we are Very Important People!  Ha!

And our timing couldn’t have been better because it turned out they had just done a release of new wines so we were able to take home three “free” bottles tonight!  We got two Cab blends which I’m sure will be awesome, and one bottle of  a spiced Pinot that we’re supposed to heat up with cinnamon and orange.  We are totally psyched!  Helllloooo winter!

   

And now we are currently home with a honey-baked ham in the oven, a new bottle of Barbera “breathing”, a fire in the fireplace and (later) Grease in HD (with popcorn of course)!!!

And to think my day almost started with puke :).

So I’m not the most thoughtful person.  It’s okay, I’m aware of it, and I’m working on it. 

Who is the most thoughtful person?  My mother. 

As a result, my New Years Resolution for the last handful of years has been to be more attuned to the needs of others.  And often this results in me copying my mom and/or blatantly stealing her ideas and selling them to unsuspecting friends as my own.  Case in point:

I mentioned a post or two ago that a couple we adore is leaving. town.  Not just town but the state.  And actually not just the state but the continental United States.  So there you go.

Part of this journey is a crazy amount of driving across country with a hyper dog and two cats.  Party time?  Hardly.  So to ease the pain of travel, I got them a bag of…sugar?  Apparently.  Like I said, I’m new at this.  🙂  (And it wasn’t just sugar.  There were also some dog treats and some cat treats in there too.)  I had looked for some Mad Libs or trivia or something to give them something to occupy their time while riding the high-fructose wave but had no luck.  I guess they’ll just have to do what Todd and I do on long car trips.  Bicker unrelentingly.

See my mom had a couple of friends of hers move just a month or so ago and she had told me how she put together a goodie bag for them with her homemade trail-mix and what-all-else I don’t remember.  I thought that was incredibly nice of her.  And since they say that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” I wasted no time in flattering the hell out of my mother by hijacking her idea for my own.  Maybe next time I can come up with something all by myself.  Baby steps.  🙂

In all honesty though, it was really just a thinly veiled excuse to get to see the Truffas one more time before they left.  I know.  I’m such a softie.

Afterwards I headed back home to catch up with the woman behind this well-spring of thoughtfulness.  My mom!  We took the Killing Machine out for a three-mile walk in a VERY brisk Colorado afternoon and when we got back our reward was caramel coffee and a couple of pumpkin spice cookies that I made the other night!

Once we were all warmed up and had the pooch fortified we headed down the road to Outback Steakhouse.  This is a restaurant that I actually worked at for a number of years and is, incidentally, where I met my husband :).  Obviously there is a soft spot in my heart for this place and the fact that both their Ahi Tuna and their Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie are delicious doesn’t hurt either.  So we split one of each and a salad apiece and had a cocktail while we chatted. 

Fabulous food, fabulous visit, fabulous lady!

And now it’s time to tackle a crock-pot experiment and relax in front of the fire with my worn out doggie. 

Great day off!

So it has just come to my attention that the next upcoming “hot button issue” in the “healthy blog world ” is going to tackle the mind-boggling issue of “how to properly eat during the holidays”. 

Oh My.

Now.  Although my blog did have ambitions leaning towards this genre I have, since its inception, pretty much completely failed at keeping to that particular topic.  Instead I have opted to discuss whatever is attracting my attention at any particular moment thus amusing myself and…well I think I have no readers so, just me at the moment.  But I do consider my own amusement pretty high on the totem pole so….SUCCESS!

That being said:

 Since I did get this little glimpse into the future I figured I could use it to my advantage and post early, thereby ensuring my status as a trendsetter.  God, I’m cool.

So here you go.  Your Official Guide to Eating Properly During Holiday Parties

1.)  Show up on time.

2.)  Say hello to your host.  (Also, bring a gift.  Booze, flowers, SOMETHING.)

3.)  Find the wine.

4.)  Take a little of everything that looks like “the-deprivation-of-that-item-might-end-your-life”.  Or if it looks like something too complicated to make yourself.  You owe the cook to try it.

5.)  Chat, sip and enjoy.

6.)  If you are still hungry/thirsty…repeat.

7.)  Chew with your mouth closed.

8.)  No burping.

9.)  No farting.

10.)  No breaking of anything that does not belong to you.  I don’t care how much you sip.  Don’t be an asshole.

11.)  Say “thank you” to your host.

12.)  Leave.  Really.  Never be the last one at the party or your hosts will hate you and you will never be invited back. 

Hah!  Done in a dozen!  How hard is that?!?!

You are welcome.

If you have any questions or need clarifications feel free to ask so I can mock you publicly.  And any additions are welcomed. 

Also, these suggestions/guidelines are good not only for holiday parties but for all parties in general, for eating out in public, for behaving in the privacy of your own home, and for just generally not being a crappy human being.

Like I said:

You’re welcome!

So today was my day off from work and I can honestly say I took FULL ADVANTAGE of it :).

First things first.

Up by ten to get some blood work done.  Here’s a helpful hint for you, dear reader, if ever you go to have something like this done and anybody, at any time, asks you this question, “do you mind if a student does your draw?” your answer shall be thus, “yes.  Yes I do mind.”  See, I did not say this.  In my mind I figured that “everyone has to learn somewhere” and “it’s not like she can kill me, right?” 

For the record, my mind is dumb.

See Exhibit A. 

After said student poked me repeatedly, fumbled around a bit more and collapsed my vein, the actual professional came in to give my right arm the good old (tech)college try.  Thanks ladies.  Where’s my lollipop?

Whatever.

So I survived and headed home for a cup of coffee and a well deserved snack before debating my exercise-of-choice for the day.  Today was supposed to be P90X but…now my arms hurt!!!  (*insert exaggerated whine here*)  This means I’m off the hook for lifting heavy stuff?!  Yay!  I opted instead to head outside as it was gorgeous and wound up on a run that lasted for just a skosh over four miles.  Go me.

During the second half of this run is when the clouds started to roll in.  And the wind.  The chilly, chilly wind.  Let’s hustle.

After returning home and a(nother cup of coffee and a) shower, Todd and I decided to bite the bullet and go shopping.  For clothes.  Fun.

I should preface these next statements with the disclaimer that I would rather pull out my own eyelashes with a rusty set of tweezers than shop for clothes.  It is for this reason that all my photographs from the last FIVE YEARS are taken in identical outfits.  Well, identical except for the fact that in the more recent photos I look a little more faded.  A little more worn.  It’s not a good look.  Hence, the shopping.

First, to the mall.  We headed here because we had gift cards.  From last Christmas.  Like I said…

Old Navy gets us each a couple of sweaters and a decent dose of frustration.  Then on to Steinmart and Ross.  Hey there, Big Spenders!  🙂    We purchased the bare minimum to have this not count as a total waste of time, but not enough to save me from at least one more expedition in the near future.  At least it’s over. 

At some point during our little shopping spree, the aforementioned clouds and wind turned into our very first snow of the season!!!  It was blustery and heavy and wet and not one single flake of it will see the morning, but it was snow just the same!  Awesome!

In our brand-new winter wonderland, we hurried home and wrestled the dog into the car to race over to a(nother) vet appointment.  He sniffed and sulked.  He got some blood work of his own done and a toe(nail) cut off and we discussed with the vet yet another surgery to lop more stuff off my dog.  No joke.  More to come on that at another time.  And then home again for the dog and his bloody little stump.  We tried to appease him with treats and a tasty, tasty dinner but he was obviously pissed at us so we left him to his own devices and headed off into what could almost be considered an early blizzard to meet some friends for drinks.

We enjoyed a night out at The Ritz for drinks and snacks with our friends Courtney and Chris not only catching up (it’s been too long since we saw them!) but also saying a goodbye of sorts.  Not for good mind you, these two are too cool for us to lose track of, but “for now”.  They are moving out-of-state in a matter of days and onto their next adventure together.  We wish them the very best but are definitely sad to see them go.  We have, however, already threatened to come see them/invited ourselves to their new place once they’re settled.  We’re rude like that :).

And then home.  Whew!

Now we had been talking about turning on our fireplace for the season for a couple of weeks now.  And what better time than for the VERY FIRST SNOW?!?!  But our fireplace is “tricky”.  Not like it’s going to blow us up or even suffocate us with a slow gas leak.  It’s just really really hard to get started.  Long story short…

Girl.  Make.  Fire.

That’s right.  Take that, Fireplace!  🙂

So now we have a roaring (sputtering.  But functioning) fire, a chicken wing dinner and a couple of episodes of The Wire to look forward to.  Then rounding out the evening with some Dante’s Inferno and popcorn.  Not a bad day, if I do say so myself.

Hmmm…quite the badass day, actually. 

Good night!

Whoa whoa whoa…let’s not be crass.  🙂

Anyhow.

I sort of feel like I haven’t had one spare second in weeks.

Part of it was I was under the weather.  Part was work.  Part was excessive sleep (possibly because of the whole “under-the-weather- thing”.  Or possibly just a “sleepy-thing”).

But a lot was fun.  Undocumented fun.  Which then led to guilt for not documenting and led into the snowballing effect of…”jeez-NOW where do I start/pick back up?!?!”

So, here you go.  With or without pictures.  Here’s a brief recap (in no particular order) of the last couple of weeks:

*  Had my mother over for a “thank-you dinner” for which I prepared and cooked my very first Cornish game hen(s)…and pumpkin mousse (for dessert).  Success on both counts! 

*  Bought (and finally figured out) a metal veggie steamer.  Now, I had owned one before, but it was a hand-me-down.  Have you ever bought one of these things new?  I literally had to Google “how to open a veggie steamer”.  Am I retarded?!?!  It’s like the chinese-finger-cuffs of the culinary world.  It took my husband and I half -an-hour to get the damned thing open…

*  …but once we finally DID, I successfully steamed a couple of artichokes!  This was my second-ever artichoke attempt and, while tasty with some oven-roasted garlic butter, it was probably my last.  These suckers are just too labor-intensive.  I’d rather pay somebody else to do the dirty work for me  :). 

*  Learned the difference between a “cooking pumpkin” and an “eating pumpkin”.  And was disappointed.

Finally hung some pictures in my living room!!!

*  Played catch-up with four of my girlfriends (some months overdue.  I’m terrible about keeping in touch).

*  Had a fabulous pizza feast with my dad on Halloween.  First time I’ve seen him since vacay.

*  Gotten back on track with my workouts.  Seems sleeping and stuffing my face does not, in fact, have the same benefits as actual exercise.  Who knew?

*  Met my mom a couple of days ago so she could try her very first pumpkin beer at Phantom Canyon.  She thought it was a little too sweet but I thought it was delightful.  But I had wine anyway.  So predictable, I know :). 

I actually also got to hang out with her again today.  She took me to a local production of Anne of Green Gables.  It was pretty cute and afterward we headed over to her place for some snacks and to play catch up.  Always a good time with this lady :).

*  Also, fall is finally here so we rang it in with one of our favorite recipes of the season Moroccan Chili with a Thousand Grains of Sand.  It’s a Rachel Ray recipe for lamb chili and we substitute quinoa for the couscous to keep it gluten-free.  One of the best things to ever come out of our kitchen and a cozy, hearty way to enjoy an evening together! 

And finally, I’ve spent quite a bit of time with a certain furry little monster.  Even the dog is enjoying his walks with the cooler weather rolling in.  Will wonders never cease!

So there you go.

Consider us all caught up and ready to move forward.  Horray!

The holidays are coming and the next few months promise to be full of family, friends and lots and LOTS of food! 

…and this guy…:)

Sheesh.

I guess it happens every generation.  But….

Oh. My. God! 

Every chick that I know is either a mom or is pregnant or is “trying to get” pregnant (TMI, by the way)….Freaking babies everywhere! 

I suppose it’s an age thing.  

Assuming you’re not the creepy-weird-old friend or the annoying-clingy-young friend then you’re going to end up surrounding yourself with people approximating your own age.

And people “your own age” wanna, well…you know….

What?!?!

….I was gonna say “Have kids”.  Duh.

Har.

I have seen more “belly shots” in the last year than I did in my (rather rowdy and rambunctious) college career.  When that ment a whole different thing.

I know about chaffing.  And nipple pads.  And leakage.

And the surprising thing is that I CARE.

I’m serious.

No, I’m still not interested in babysitting.

No, I still don’t want to hold it.

No I MOST DEFINITELY do not “want-one-of-my-very-own”.  Ewww.

However.

I am rather surprised at my own interest in these friends of mine in this new chapter of their lives.  Really.  I didn’t think I’d care all that much.  In all honesty, I thought I’d be annoyed. 

Instead, I feel kind of invested.

It’s really odd for me to get all weep-y and weird just talking about them (and by “them” I mean the “kid-things” by which I do not mean the “accoutrements-that-go-with-kids” , but the actual kids themselves.).  But I do.  I have an actual and genuine interest in things like sleep-cycles, and feeding-schedules, and Halloween costumes. **

What the hell?!?!

I think, though, that it is very interesting/fun to watch these women that I know (that are totally stoked about this stuff) to go through it. 

I love seeing them so excited.  And so afraid.

And I’m glad it’s not me.

But that just means that all is how it should be.

And all is right in the world. 

Thank you for not putting me in charge of populating the earth. 

Everyone thanks you!

**It should be noted that the weep-y–ness and caring does not extend past the people I actually know.  Random babies and baby-related stuff can go to hell.  Just so we’re clear.

Sincerely,

Jenn

Super excited!

It’s charging.

I feel so “grown-up”!

🙂

…doesn’t take much, huh?….