Monday, December 18, 2006

Columbus Girls' Weekend

I had a really great time in Columbus. We stayed up past 2am talking both nights. By the time we rolled out of bed, (couch or air mattress), got dressed and drank coffee it was almost 3pm - it was great to be able to relax and do nothing. Most of the weekend we spent visiting but we did venture out to the North Market for Indian buffet and scoops of Jeni's, Easton, North Star Cafe, Adriatico's & La Bamba.

Our computer is "kinda" fixed. Not sure if I'm going to be able to get my pictures back. I still need to re-install my camera software and itunes.

Friday, December 15, 2006

short week

It's already Friday and I didn't get to post anything about last weekend in NJ or my Christmas tree and now I will be leaving tonight for Columbus! One reason for no posts is that the home computer has gone all wacky - like those technical terms? I'm hoping that the computer issues will be resolved by the time I get home on Sunday and all my photos will have been safely retrieved off of the hard drive. No, I didn't back any of them up like a responsible girl does because our cd drive died a long time ago :(

Another reason for not posting is that I have been spending a majority of my time at work and when I'm not at work I'm in my car driving to work or at home getting ready to go to work. It's a vicious, vicious cycle. But I am so happy that Christmas vacation is almost here and I have just about 4 weeks off of work. So I will stop complaining now and start thinking about what to do over break!

Oh, we made our Christmas Keilbasa last Tuesday night! I think we used some version of the last year's recipe but added more garlic.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What kind of food are you?

You Are Japanese Food

Strange yet delicious.
Contrary to popular belief, you're not always eaten raw.

Friday, December 08, 2006


December is going fast, isn't it? I love how the weather changes throughout the day. One minute it's snowing so hard I can barely see Terminal Tower. I turn my head away for a few minutes and then the sun is shining and the salt is helping it turn the white flakes to dirty brown street slush. I need a new pair of boots, a hat and some gloves - asap.

Quick notes on what's going on...
  • We put our tree up and I am in love with it. It spins and plays music and sparkles. I'm going to try to figure out how to make a youtube video of it.
  • I made and sent out all my swap ornaments. Here's the flickr group.
  • Did some online Christmas shopping.
  • Had some friends over for dinner, then had my parents and brother over the next day. Cooked, ate, cleaned, slept, cooked, ate, cleaned, slept.
  • Tonight is my niece's 7th birthday party. Lol....I got us tickets to see this.
  • Tomorrow we're driving to NJ for an engagement party.
  • Next weekend I'm going to Columbus for an all girls' weekend with my in-laws.

Monday, December 04, 2006


This geoGreeting site is a fun way to send messages.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November Vacation - pt 2

Sunday we drove from St. Augustine 3 hours north to Savannah, Georgia - one of our favorite towns. Our friends KC and Gina drove down from Charleston to meet up with us. We went out to lunch and then for drinks and then dinner (are you seeing the pattern of our gluttony here?). We ended the night giving away our table keg to some other people at the bar because it was just too much...

Monday the sun came out so we decided to take advantage of it and go to Tybee Island. We walked from the lighthouse to the pier and back with our sweatshirt hoods up and tied around our chins. I picked up a few souvenir shells for my fish tank. No one at the pier seemed to know how or why this sail boat was beached.

The rest of the vacation we walked around downtown, River Street, City Market, visited some SCAD architecture buildings, and ate.

Forsyth Park - as always beautiful. I've heard that the city bought their fountain from a Sears catalog.

SCAD rendering computers - lots of them!

Soho South Cafe - very cute place that used to be more of a gallery and a quaint restaurant. Now the kitchen is huge and there are more tables and less art. Still very tasty food. They put fresh mint leaves in your iced tea.

Vinnie Van Go Go's - great pizza! The only things they serve are pizza, calzones and beer. I think they have other drinks but really - who needs them? These are the largest slices of pizza I have ever seen - and they're only $2.50 (+ 50 cents for toppings) only!

Monday, November 13, 2006

November Vacation - pt 1

Our vacation was awesome. We had a great time at our cousin's wedding and visiting with friends. The weather wasn't the best, but at least it wasn't snowing. I happily ate my fill of crab, oysters and shrimp for 6 days!

St. Augustine...

Friday we arrived in St. Augustine. The beach front room is not really the bomb in November - VERY windy out there.

Saturday, before the wedding, the sun came out and we walked around the Old City (touristy historic downtown area) and fort Castillo de San Marcos.

I have no pictures from the wedding because I forgot my camera in the hotel room - very frustrating!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tricks or Treats?

I just finished cleaning up the kitchen from all my Halloween cooking.

Tuesday night we all planned to meet over my sister-in-law's house to celebrate the holiday in addition to my father-in-law's birthday. The only thing I had to do when I got home was make 5 lbs of mashed potatoes. So of course I got stuck in a traffic jam and we ended up arriving to the party very late. But our family doesn't usually start eating dinner till about 9pm so the only thing we missed were the trick-or-treaters.

This is the Martha meatloaf birthday cake I made for my father-in-law. Didn't get any pictures at the end but I piped "Happy Birthday" on it with ketchup, put a few candles on it and everyone sang. This cake was a hit and not hard to make at all. The most annoying thing was that my lumpy mashed potatoes kept getting stuck in the piping tip!


And we can't seem to celebrate anything without deviled eggs, ideas from here and here

OK - We're leaving for vacation tomorrow morning. I'm supposed to be packing right now! Have a great week!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ornament Swap

This international Holiday Ornament Swap has over 220 participants already. There's only one more week to sign up - send them an email by November 1st.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What's next?

Do you feel like once you get done with one thing you are immediately onto the next?

I'm done with the Pumpkin Carving Party. The next event on my list of things to think about every minute of every day is our upcoming vacation!

November 3rd we will be flying to St. Augustine for a wedding. Then heading up to Savannah (to relax) and Charleston (visit some friends) for a few days. Not exactly sure on the itinerary yet - that's what I'm obsessing about.

This morning I was checking rental car prices and figured I might as well try Priceline. I got our car for about half of what it was on Orbitz. Yes!

Our front porch project has slowed down tremendously. We didn't see any contractors for a few weeks but they showed up yesterday and put the floor down on the upstairs. They still have to stain all the shakes and finish off about a hundred other odd things around here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


During the day I watch and listen to many people. Sometimes quite close and sometimes from across the room.

Today I heard a regular "patron" named Ricardo compliment a woman on her earrings. She absolutely lit up with a smile and said "Thank you, my mother made them for me." Then she actually sashayed out the door. He's made me smile many times - by enthusiastically telling me about his new job and by just saying hello. Now I'm sure your thinking that Ricardo is hitting on us women, but he's not. He is just always genuinely happy and kind to people. Imagine if more people commented on the good, like Ricardo, rather than complained about the bad. I'm sure I would see many more smiles during the day. His simple thoughtfulness probably made that woman's drive home a bit easier.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pumpkin Carving 2006

The party was a blast! We had about 30 guests and 15 pumpkins in the contest this year. The winning team brought a drill with them...this is a serious competition!



****I played around a bit with my template - do you think these images too big?****

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Get set...

This Saturday we're having a Pumpkin Carving Party. Last year's was such a blast that we had to do it again. This year we're co-hosting which means more guests, more pumpkins, more food, more drinks = more fun! It rained and the wind almost blew us away last year - this year it may just snow!

2 kinds of chili (I'm using turkey & chorizo, Erin is making a Nigella recipe)
raspberry bars
brats on the grill
spinach artichoke dip (this is a crowd pleasing recipe - we make it all the time)
hot apple cider

Monday, October 09, 2006

Weekend of eating, no cooking involved!

Friday - we saw David Sedaris & ate delicious fish fry at Prosperity
Saturday - feasted at Soul Hot Pot. I am very upset I didn't bring my camera because it was ridiculous the amout of food and dishes we had on a table for 3 people.
Sunday - Breakfast at Jigsaw Saloon and dinner at the in-laws.

FYI -the banana bread I made last week turned out great!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

it sounded good

Just a quick post...

Yesterday I scoured the internet for a slow cooker recipe that used chicken thighs and/or legs and no cans of cream of chicken, mushroom or celery soup.

I found Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken on The recipes from that site have been hit or miss for me. Reading all the comments and ratings does not help either. They are all over the place and everyone tweaks the recipes anyway.

It was ok but I want to eat come home to dinner and say "mmmm good!" The chicken was a bit dry - which happens more often than not when there's no SOUP in the pot - and the sauce wasn't anything memorable. Is it necessary to use some version of a creamed soup in every slow cooker dish?

This morning I made a loaf of banana bread from the cookbook I am in LOVE with - The Best Light Recipe. Unlike the above mentioned website, every recipe I've made from a Cook's Illustrated publication has been a success. The lovely loaf was cooling on the kitchen table when I left for work this afternoon. Another reason to be excited about going only 3.5 hours.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Indian food

On Tuesday my friend Erin brought home some dinner from India's Cafe & Kitchen Inc. This is a little Northern Indian place on Ridge Rd. in Parma.

Last night I was on my way home from work (starving) and thought I would drive by to see if they were open. I walked in about 9:45pm and they were happy to whip me up some some very fresh samosa, chicken pakora, vegetable curry, shahi paneer and cucumber raitta. I could hear them chopping up the vegetables! Reading the menu I realized that they actually closed at 9pm. How nice of them to not turn me away!

Another Indian place I really enjoy is Udipi Cafe. It's Southern Indian food and completely vegetarian. Their lunch buffet is a really great.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

rotting wood

Over the past few weeks there has been a team Amish men running around our house tearing stuff down, hammering, sawing and nailing thing back up. It's been pretty exciting coming home each day to see how far along they've gotten. Here's a few pictures of the progress.

This is an example of why we needed a new front porch.

Some demo.

Nothing between the two floors!

The beginnings of new ceilings.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

2006 Raspberry Jam

I just finished making jam this morning. I picked the berries on Monday at Rosby's and crushed them yesterday. Now I'm listening to the sweet sound of the jars popping as they cool. I love it!


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Turkey Soup

I started my new additional part-time job last week. It's super busy there and I don't have much time to eat, check my email, surf the net or write blog entries while I'm there. Very different from my other pt job.

Working 3 nights a week and every Saturday is forcing me to use all my free time for laundry and cleaning the house. Boo! In an effort to get some healthful food into our bodies during the week I am going to try to use my more crockpot and find some make ahead recipes that I can freeze.

Last week I made some turkey soup and split pea soup. The recipes came from Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly.

The turkey soup didn't turn out exactly as I had expected - there's not much broth for it being in the soup section of the book. But it was easy to make and a satisfying dinner and lunch the next day. One thing to note about this book is that all the recipes are for different sized crock pots - 4, 5 or 6 quarts. I have a 6 quart-er so there's some math involved in adjusting recipes. User beware! If the crockpot is not filled up at least half way, the food is likely to dry out or burn.

Ground Turkey Soup

1 lb. ground turkey
1 c. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
15 oz. can kidney beans, drained
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/4 c. rice, uncooked
1 quart low-sodium diced Italian tomatoes
2 cups green beans
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
3 c. water

1. Brown turkey in a large skillet.
2. Combine with remaining ingredients in a 5-6 quart slow cooker.
3. Cover. Cook on low 8-9 hours.

Just before cooking...

Friday, September 15, 2006

The tiniest fun

I think the small things inside the card catalog drawers are the biggest fun at Big Fun...

Friday, September 08, 2006

cupcake gum

I read an article in Time Magazine called Cupcake Nation - it's about how obsessed the "yuppie-under-40 set" has become with designer cupcakes and places like Magnolia Bakery and Sprinkles. In the article the author said "when no one was looking, I'd shove the paper in my mouth and chew it like cupcake gum." I didn't know other people did that too!

So where are the designer cupcakes in Cleveland? When I'm at the Market the vanilla and chocolate ones at the Cake stand look pretty good.

Please say hello to the Sprinkles breakfast cupcake...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Life has been good!

The past few days have been uncharacteristically good!

Last weekend was the Polish Festival at Saint John Cantius. We happened to run into some friends there and enjoyed a few Polish beers and pierogies. Oh, we also nibbled on a small bowl of cabbage & noodles and split a kielbasa & sauerkraut sandwich . The rest of the evening was spent at The Treehouse and revisiting the kielbasa. So much garlic! And someone real nice bought me this souvenir.

What else happened the last few days? A babyshower, my nephew's 5th birthday, a Labor Day picnic at my folks' house, my friend got engaged last night and I started a new (additional) part-time job today!

Congratulations Erin & Matt!!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Back porch is finished...

and it only took about a month! I wonder how long the front will take. We must have everything painted before winter. This sounds like trouble to me.



Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Masumi Hayashi

We were in bed and watching the news on Thursday August 17, 2006. I was in that in-between sleep and awake phase, eyes fluttering open with the start of each loud commercial. My husband startled me by asking "Are you watching this? Is that Masumi's apartment?!?"

Oh my God. Yes, it is. But that can't be her. No, that's not possible.

A woman and man were shot to death in a condo on W. 75th St. and Detroit.

I jumped out of bed to search all the local news websites. The names of the vicitims were not released yet. The stories were all very vague and contained different details. I could barely breath. Wasn't she still in California visiting family? Should I call my friend E and tell her? No, I can't call and wake her up and upset her with news that I wasn't sure was true. Maybe it was someone else.

I laid back down and listened to my heart beating hard in my chest. I was not going to sleep. My phone started ringing. I jumped out of bed to hear E on the other end of the line tell me through tears that Masumi was dead.

I can not explain what it's like to see a news camera focus in on your friend's apartment window in the middle of the night, while the newscaster states that a woman has been shot there. All night I thought about her son getting phoned in the middle of the night.

2 weeks have almost passed now. It's been tough. She touched so many lives and left so much behind. The memories of her are very sweet right now and I'm enjoying them immensley.

Take care Masumi.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Sunshine State

I'm back from Florida and still recovering from a ridiculous sunburn. I don't understand how 2 grown, educated women do not know how to apply sun screen. I guess it could be due to lack of use? All I know is that I'm totally embarrassed by this burn and am shielding all parts of my body for the rest of my life!

Let's get on with the story of my friend T's move...

Day 1 - we drove (13 hours) to Savannah , dropped our bags at the hotel and quickly got on a shuttle to the city. I've been there numerous times before so we didn't have to waste any precious time finding our way around. I ate oysters at Bernie's, we both has slices at Vinnie VanGoGo's and drank beer at The Rail.

Day 2 - On the road again to Tampa. We arrived at her new apartment where she signed the lease and we then moved her stuff in. A trip to Target was next where she used loads of gift cards (what great "going away" presents!) to purchase some necessary apartment items - shower curtains, towels, garbage can, etc. That evening we went to Ybor City and visited the New World Brewery (fun!) & the Green Iguana (very touristy).

Day 3 - T went to work and I stayed at the new pad to watch cable, do some laundry, read and enjoy the pool. What a hard day!
IMG_1568 After a long first day at work T was in need of some relaxing. We had dinner and enjoyed live folk music that evening at an Irish bar called Four Green Fields.

Day 4 - the day we had our meeting with the sun at Indian Rocks Beach. It was gorgeous weather, the beach and water were beautiful and we had a lovely time. That evening we visited with some other friends of mine that live in Tampa. They had a low country boil in their backyard that was completely devoured.

Day 5 - T and I both got up really early so we drove around a little and checked out an area called Hyde Park. We enjoyed brunch at a diner called Daily Eats. Both of us ordered the "Benedictine" - eggs benedict with shredded chicken, mushrooms and basil. I enjoyed a side of grits. Yum! I was very nervous about the airport. With all the security stuff that has gone on recently I had to check my bag. I insisted T drop me off at the airport super early and of course I was through security in 10 minutes.

It was a great trip with lots of memories. Good luck to T at your new job and in your new city!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Feels like I have not written anything in a long time. Things have been pretty crazy lately. My sister-in-law and her family came to Cleveland for a surprise visit (they live in Colorado), I got a huge job rejection, construction started on our house and I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Tampa. One of my good friends GOT a job there - hooray! I will be accompanying her and one very tightly packed Saturn on the 18 hour(?)drive. I'll be flying back on Sunday - hopefully with a tan and lots of pictures.

Anyways, I've been meaning to post for days about our home in Old Brooklyn. We live in the upstairs apartment. There is barely any paint left on the siding and the front and back porches are falling down. Looks like a great place to live, doesn't it? Well, the apartments are huge and in very good shape (really!) and it's a nice street to live on. So, it came time for us to get the outside looking good too.

We worked on getting the funding and the contractor together for months. It FINALLY got under way last week. Both the front and back porches torn will be torn down and rebuilt plus other misc work will be done to spruce teh joint up.

The back porch was torn down first. Here are a few photos.

day 1 - demo

day 4 - working on 2nd floor