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So, Atlanta and the state of Georgia (along with much of the Southeast) have been pummeled by a major snow storm that has been topped off with a nice glaze of freezing rain. The city and state have shut down, literally. I was looking at a list of closings, and there were more than 900 schools, businesses, and churches closed today. A large chunk of them will be closed tomorrow. (I am still waiting with bated breath for my boss to share the great news with us that the office will be closed. I’m not sure what she is waiting for, all major businesses and school systems are closed. The state government is telling people to stay home. I live at the top of a large hill that was an ice luge earlier today; I’m not risking myself or my car to go to work tomorrow.)
Laugh all you will my northern friends, but the south is not equipped to handle this. We don’t have the equipment to handle the snow, and you add ice into the mix and we are just fucked. People who were stupid enough to try to drive today either ended up in an accident or had to abandon their cars on the side of the road because they couldn’t get enough traction to go anywhere. I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed being snowed in at my house with T and my kitties, cooking and eating good food, and enjoying the icy winter wonderland waiting outside our windows. The extra time off is a major plus too!
T and I were both off today, so we made the most of it and went out a few times to enjoy the snow. We got snowed in in New York when we were there for Christmas, but it was too powdery to do anything with and the winds were gusting at 20+ miles an hour, making the 20s feel like teens. Here it wasn’t too horrible. It was brisk (but not NY brisk) and a little icy rainy, but we tromped around the neighborhood for a while. Then we decided to make a snowman.
Since the snow had already begun to ice over, it was too difficult to make a large snowman. Instead, we opted to make a mini one, along with a snowcat to keep him company. I had so much fun! I felt like I was a little kid again. When we were done, we headed inside to make some chili and warm up.
Later in the day, we went sledding. Since we were unprepared for the conditions, we didn’t have a sled. So we had to improvise. First we tried a garbage can lid, which didn’t work at all. We were pretty bummed, until we saw a mom with her kids, sledding on a cookie sheet. Luckily we had two really large ones, so we took the less nicer of the two and hit the slopes (or the iced-over street). Here we were, late 20-somethings, laughing and giggling like kids. The only other sledders were young kids who were being watched by their parents. It was so much fun! It’s days like today that make me really miss living in snowy places (even though I know if we were up north, we’d have been at work today). I can’t wait to bust out the cookie sheet again tomorrow!
Here are some fun pictures from our Snowcation in Hotlanta!
And to round this bad boy out, here are a couple of “sledding” videos:
I know you are all always dying to hear about my super awesome, high-class neighbors (aka the drug addicted freaks). Saturday night we were hanging out on our patio with my family and some friends celebrating my mom’s birthday. The Stella was flowing, the conversation was great, and everyone was having a great time. It was probably a little before midnight when we heard a knock on the fence and the cracked-out voice of my neighbor, Joe. Everyone went silent, but I knew we couldn’t just ignore him since he knew we were out there.
I opened the fence a bit to see what he wanted. He said he wanted to officially introduce himself to us since we’d been neighbors for years. Weird, but I went with it. Then he let me know the most amazing news in the world (apparently the powers that be finally decided to answer my prayers) – their condo had been foreclosed on and they would be gone in two weeks. Halle-fucking-lujah – not that I am one to rejoice in other people’s misery, but when you’ve lived next to garbage as long as we have, it’s nice to have someone finally take out the trash.
At that point, Joe also let us all know that Jane had moved out and left him and taken his dog. This made me thrilled. He used to rough her up when he was high, which is totally not acceptable in my book, and I was glad to know that she finally distanced herself from the loser (not that she’s much better herself). Then he said how he was kind of depressed and heard us having fun, so he thought he’d pop by (so not cool).
After a minute of chatting, he asked if he could have a drink. I figured I should stop being rude and offer Joe a beer, hoping that maybe he’d leave because we all know that’s the reason he came over. He needed to bum booze of the self-sufficient 20-somethings. He said he wasn’t a big beer drinker and asked if we had anything stronger. We have an assortment of booze, so I figured I could offer him something, like Tom’s whiskey or scotch. Imagine my complete delight when I mosied up to our bar and was greeted by a bottle of Bacardi 151. I poured him a monster shot of warm 151, hoping that it would knock him out. Of course it didn’t, since he’s used to hardcore drugs and all that jazz. I gave him one more shot, and finally my sister’s boyfriend told him we were wrapping it up for the night. He got the hint and left, but not before face-planting in the bushes behind our fence. Revenge is sweet!
I haven’t been this happy in a while. It’s going to be amazing to not have to hear mopeds that sound like Harleys being revved at all hours of the morning and the constant yelling, screaming and fighting coming from next door. The parking lot will no longer look like a repair shop, and Jane’s sketchy brother won’t be driving through the place, constantly crashing his car into things. I just hope no one weirder moves in after they are gone for good.
After having a remarkably fun and amazing weekend (more to come about that later), T and I returned to our little humble abode. JD and our friend Z were there too. We were lazing around watching TV and decided to venture onto the patio. T had been upstairs and he noticed that there were cop cars driving up and down the parking lot in front of the condo. Being as nosy as I am, of course I marched myself right into the living room to check out the situation (said in French voice that Dane Cook does from time to time). We had our front door open with only our glass screen door closed. Since they could see inside, the cops walked right up to my front door.
I asked if I could help them with anything (because I’m nice like that), and I realized they were looking for my neighbors, Jane and Joe. I asked if everything was OK, and that’s when I was informed that my neighbors are…wait for it….meth addicts. Yup, we’ve got some straight up Intervention type-shit going down right next door. Aren’t we just the luckiest folks in town?
Apparently Joe was coming down from a meth binge and was having some intense pains and cramps so Jane called 9-1-1. The best part of this story is that she actually informed the dispatcher that her boyfriend was having meth-related problems, and then the APD relayed this information to me. I did let them know that Jane and Joe are alcoholics and like to fight and beat each other up, hoping that maybe they would get arrested or something. But sadly that didn’t happen.
Things were pretty quiet for the rest of the day. I was really concerned Jane was going to come over and beg me for one thing or another, but luckily that didn’t happen. Phew…
And in case you were curious, John appears to be OK. He made it home at 5:30 a.m. courtesy of an Atlanta cab since these meth heads can’t seem to stop crashing cars ( I wonder why that is…). And keeping with his white trash nature, it appears he got into some type of squabble with the cab driver, which resulted in me getting woken up. I’m assuming he didn’t have enough money to pay the driver, which resulted in the driver getting out and causing some drama until he got his money.
I think I may start calling the cops whenever I hear any type of drama going down, with the hopes that they will get busted with something illegal and will go away. And I guess I owe T an apology because for months he has been convinced that they are meth users. I kept telling him to stop projecting Intervention-like drama into our real life, but I guess I was wrong and he was right. Oh, home sweet home.
On another note…
Today is your last chance to enter my Dove contest. I’m choosing the 5 lucky winners tonight! 🙂
***Don’t forget about my giveaway!***
I am giving away five sticks of Dove Visibly Smooth to five lucky readers so you can be summer-ready and smell pretty too.
Here is how you enter:
*Leave a comment telling me what your favorite sleeveless summer-wear is. Make sure to give me a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.
*Up your chances with an extra entry by Tweeting about the contest. Please leave a comment with the link to your Tweet.
*Increase your odds even more by blogging about my giveaway, worth two entries. Please leave a comment with the link to your post.
The contest will end at 10 p.m. EST on Monday, April 26th.
The other week, I was reading something on People Pets, when I came across an article about super cute and eco-friendly cat toys from Casbah Kitten (fret not dog owners, they also make dog toys). Since Valentine’s Day was quickly approaching (and Zoey kept eating her other toys) I thought I’d buy a couple of the cute little guys for the fur butts. I do have to admit that it took me forever to decide on a few because they were so adorable. I ended up choosing the Supa Kitteh, the Chickadee Fatberd, and some colorful Jeally Beans.
The second I took these guys out of the box, the cats went crazy. They LOVED their new toys – which made me very happy because you never know how your pets will react to new toys. Both Fado and Zoey played with them for a decent amount of time, even though Zoey’s been playing with them more.
I just hope they don’t destroy them too fast because they are fun to look at. And I will definitely be ordering more for them in the future!
*Images courtesy of Casbah Kitten
The end of January was obviously a little on the busy side for me seeing as I had no time to write during the last 11 days. I seriously wonder how the days can just fly by so fast sometimes, especially the weekends.
This is going to be short and sweet…
- Having a kegerator is amazing. We started off with Pilsner Urquell and Sweetwater 420 (a local Atlanta brew). Well, the Pilsner only lasted us a week (stop giving me your judgy mcjudgerson eyes). We had people over the first 2 weekends we had it, meaning that the beer went faster than we anticipated. This weekend we picked up a Hoegarden. After the 420 runs out, we will aim to have one regular and one light beer on tap. Gotta watch those calories somehow! My favorite thing about the kegerator is that it has drastically reduced our garbage flow. Any time people came over in the past, there were tons of bottles and cans that had to be gotten rid of. Now we only have to plop the dirty glasses in the dishwasher. So quick, easy and environmentally friendly!
- We took our condo off the market this weekend. We decided that it would be better to just wait to see if the seller’s market picked up at all instead of losing a ton of money by trying to sell it right this instant. Plus we haven’t really found any houses in our price range that we really love – they are either really old and still expensive or new and in up and coming (read – higher crime) areas. With robberies on the up and up, I just want to try to avoid these higher crime places for a few more years until they stabilize more. So the new plan is to maybe fix some things up around the place and give it another year before we put it back on the market. We also talked about putting one of my paychecks into savings each month to help us grow our future down payment amount.
- Since we are staying in the condo a little while longer, we decided to get some new bedroom furniture. Yesterday we went to Ikea and ended up with a new bed frame and 2 dressers that match the night tables we already have. Everything we bought is brown/black, so it looks great with our bedspread and all the things we have hanging on the walls. Pictures to come shortly.
- I am sucking it up at Project 365. I was doing so well with taking my photo everyday, and then the weather got gross and I got busy and the camera stayed tucked inside my purse. Lame, I know. This week I will work on getting back on track with the whole project because I really was enjoying my daily photograph.
So, how did the end of January turn out for you? Anything new and exciting happening in your lives?
Whoever said that married life is all rainbows and cupcakes, is either a liar or totally omitting the gory details. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, but sometimes he annoys me more than any other person in the entire world. And it’s just not cool and makes me want to punch him in the head J-Woww style (Jersey Shore reference – did you see that shit?) – not that I ever would, but still.
For the most part, I do a majority of the household tasks. I usually do the shopping, most of the cooking during the week, laundry, kitchen straightening, etc. because I get off work a lot earlier than T. I don’t particularly love it, but it’s not the end of the world either. When he’s around on weekends, he’s pretty helpful – for the most part.
Now here’s what gets me freaking angry. I hate feeling like I’m being a nag or acting like “the mom” in the relationship, but Jesus Christ, sometimes the hubs makes me feel that way. Nothing gets under my skin more than when I ask him nicely to do something, and he tells me he’ll take care of it. Only he procrastinates on it FOREVER or just doesn’t do it at all – “oops, I forgot.” Then I get all bitchy and snippy and yell at him. But I do have to say, my outbursts make him get the job done.
So let’s take yesterday for example. T had off and I had to work. Sometime in the afternoon I asked him if he’d mind running to the store so I wouldn’t have to stop on my way home. He said sure. I also asked if he would mind starting dinner so we could eat earlier than 7:30 or 8, and we’d have time to take down our Christmas tree then relax afterward (Yes, it’s still up. I’m having a hard time letting it go because it makes the house feel so festive and cozy. And we’re lazy.)
Anyway…I got home a little after 6, and T was not home. In fact he was still at the store. This only meant one thing – that he left a lot later than he said he would. So of course, there was no dinner on the table. The kitchen was a disaster from when we had friends over this weekend and the garbage was overflowing. I know it was his day off, but damn son, couldn’t you get off your ass to take out the trash? It’s not like it has to be taken very far – the can is right behind our patio, about 10 steps there and back.
When he finally got home, groceries had to be put away. I ended up doing the kitchen cleaning and he started the food, but that was not the point. I wanted, for once, to come home to a fairly clean kitchen with dinner on the table – like it is on a regular basis for him. Needless to say, we didn’t eat until 7:30 and the Christmas tree is still up.
It just seems like taking care of the household is the major source of our arguments, and it’s driving me insane. I know no one enjoys cleaning, but we all have to do it. If I ask you to help me with something, don’t talk back to me like a 15-year-old or I will treat you like one (I should not be tested on this. That shit didn’t fly in my parents house, and it sure as hell won’t fly in my house now).
I don’t care how late you work or how much money you bring into the household, this ain’t 1950 and I am not Susie Homemaker. It’s 2010, we will split this shit evenly, like it or not! And in case you’ve forgotten, I also work a 40 week on top of all the crap I take care of at home. Enough said…
So here is where you come in, lovely readers. How do you handle household chore related drama with your significant other (or hell, even roommates)? Does it cause arguments on a regular basis? Does it make you want to punch somebody?
So, in case you were wondering….we did get out of work on Friday!!! I live at the top of a giant hill, which was all ice. They actually closed the road until Saturday morning because it was so slick. And since it never rarely snows in Atlanta, there aren’t enough salt trucks to de-ice the non-main roads – they only focus on the highway. So all the little windy, back roads and neighborhoods were quite treacherous. I may have exaggerated slightly about being stuck (even though the road was closed, I probably could have made it out the back way. But I didn’t want to risk wrecking my car). The three-day weekend was nice! And I was even a good girl and did a few hours of work from home.
Anyway…since Atlanta was in a deep freeze this weekend, there wasn’t too much unnecessary venturing outside going on. We were pretty much holed up all weekend. But just because we were home, doesn’t mean that we weren’t productive.
Saturday morning someone came by to look at the condo. This meant that we had to be out of the house at 10:30 a.m. We decided to head to West Egg for brunch to kill the time. While we were there, JD, T and I decided that we should cook something really delicious for dinner. We all voted on osso bucco. We used a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis**, but of course we tweaked it to our liking. The recipe called for 6 veal shanks, but we used 3 and then 3 beef short ribs (and thank God we did because the veal at Whole Foods cost a TON of money).
My parents bought us a one of those handy-dandy enamel cast iron dutch ovens for Christmas, so we thought it would be the perfect pot to use for the osso bucco. The recipe says to cook the dish in the oven, after browning it, for 1.5 hours. We wanted the meat to be extra tender, so we simmered it on low heat for 3.5 hours on the stove. It turns out amazingly that way!
Since we decided to throw in a few spoonfuls of crushed tomatoes, that left us with a giant can of leftovers. JD volunteered to make a pomodoro sauce that we could use for dinner on Sunday. We agreed that it would be a great idea, and decided to make mozzarella stuffed meatballs to eat with it – also another Giada recipe. Everything turned out great! (FYI – I just made the amatriciana sauce tonight for the leftover meatballs, and it smells amazing! I did use bacon instead of pancetta though because I already had that here.)
While the food was cooking on Saturday, we convinced T to watch Julie & Julia with us. Let me tell you guys, the movie is super cute! I liked it a lot, and it totally inspired me to get my butt in the kitchen and get cooking. Plus it’s one of those feel good,make you smile kind of movies.
In honor of Julie’s and Julia’s kitchen conquests, I was inspired to get up on Sunday morning and cook a restaurant-style brunch (only there were no mimosas – damn GA and the no selling alcohol on Sunday policy). I made oven roasted potatoes topped with fresh parsley, rosemary and garlic. Then (with T’s help) I whipped up eggs benedict. T made the poached eggs, while I slaved over the hollandaise. The food was very labor intensive, and I don’t think I’ve ever used so many pots while cooking breakfast, but it was worth it. It was delicious! I will definitely make it again sometime soon!
So did you eat or make anything super tasty this weekend? Did you see any great movies?
**Osso Bucco Recipe (with my edits)
Makes 6 main-course servings
6 1- to 1 1/2 – inch-thick slices veal shank (we do half and half beef short ribs and veal shanks)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1-2 tablespoons crushed or stewed (if you want chunks) tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
About 4 cups chicken broth
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
1 large sprig of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Pat the veal dry with paper towels to ensure even browning. Secure the meat to the bone with kitchen twine. Season
the veal with 1 1/2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper. Dredge the veal in flour to coat the cut sides lightly.
In a heavy roasting pan large enough to fit the meat in a single layer (or do 2 batches), heat the oil over a medium heat until hot. Add the meat and cook until brown on both sides, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer the veal to a platen ad reserve.
In the same pan, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt to help draw out the moisture from the vegetables. Saute until the onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan. Add enough chicken broth to come two thirds of the way up the sides of the meat. Add the herb sprigs, bay leaf, and cloves to the broth mixture. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Once simmering, turn heat to low and simmer 2.5-3 hours, until the meat is fall off the bone tender.
Serve over pasta and top with grated Parmesan and parsley.
Today has been epic for the city of Atlanta – there is snow in the forecast! It’s so funny living in the South and hearing that it’s going to snow. People flip out – I can’t make fun of them too much though because I totally get excited for snow like a little kid. Living in Germany until I was 7 and in New York for 2 years means that I have seen my fair share of snow, but I can’t help how giddy I feel when it happens in Atlanta. It rarely snows enough to count as “real snow” down here, so it’s extra special when it happens. There is something so magical about the sparkly white dusting that makes it feel like real winter.
In Atlanta it does get cold – not often, but it does happen from time to time. Like now. Yesterday our high was colder than Anchorage, and that’s a pretty big deal for us! Here, winter usually means cold and rainy, which is no fun. It makes for the type of chill that sinks into your bones and makes you feel like you will never warm up. But when it does snow, the one or two times a year, it’s just so pretty.
In honor of the wintery weather, I decided to make a yummy, comforting dinner – steak, mashed potato skins (courtesy of Rachel Ray, with my edits of course), sautéed mushrooms and onions, and wilted spinach. Everything turned out super delicious, except for the steak. I bought a bigger piece of meat, and I guess it was a tougher cut. It was some type of sirloin, which normally I make top sirloin and it’s good, but this was pretty tough. I was slightly bummed because I was really craving a tasty steak, and it just wasn’t cutting it. It’s OK though, I just loaded up on extra mashed potatoes (they have cheese AND bacon in them).
After dinner we were planning on heading to a friend’s house to watch the bowl game, but by the time 8:30 rolled around I just wasn’t feeling like going anywhere. So instead, T and I opted to stay in. We popped open a bottle of prosecco, and I told him we could watch the game. He’s as happy as the cat who caught the canary, and I’m all warm and toasty under my new fleecy blanket, lounging on the couch. The house feels cozy with the Christmas tree all lit up (yes, we still haven’t taken down the tree), and I’m glad to be here.
I’ve got my fingers crossed and am thinking positive, snowy thoughts (à la JD and her new The Secret way of thinking) in the hopes that Atlanta will ice over and shut down tomorrow. I know I’ve only been back to work for 4 days, but I am ready for a snow day!
**Just heard on the news that the snow is sitting directly over downtown Atlanta and the roads are starting to get slick. The low tonight is going to be around 18 degrees. Fingers and toes are double crossed for a snow day tomorrow!
Last night, T and I finished putting up our Christmas tree and other festive decorations. I am proud to say that we didn’t have a repeat of last year’s slack fest. I’m so glad we didn’t bah humbug out again this year. I love how the living room looks when it’s all decked out.
We would have been finished with the tree on Monday, but we had a little bit of drama. T got home a little later than expected, then we cooked and ate dinner. By the time we were done, it was around 9 p.m. I was almost to the point where I didn’t want to mess with the tree, but he insisted. So we did some minor living room rearrangements and began assembling the tree. Christmas Vacation was on, so that helped set the mood.
Once we got the tree assembled, I began to string the lights onto it. We usually use 2 strands. While I was weaving the first strand around the tree, T was untangling the second. Luckily for us, he decided to plug them in first. That’s when we noticed that only the middle of the strand was working – both ends were burnt out. We tried replacing bulbs and switching out the fuse, but nothing worked. So, we were having a bit of a Griswald Christmas with our light drama and had to call it quits.
Last night, I bought a few more strands of lights and some cute candles, and we were good to go with the decorations again. While we decorated, we watched Bride Wars – not very Christmassy but it came on after Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and I got sucked in. It was kind of corny, but it had us laughing at a few parts.
Now the living room is all cute and festive, and I’m happy! As soon as we got the tree all set up and in its place in the corner, Fado dove underneath it to sleep on the felt tree skirt. I really hope he doesn’t knock it over because it’s not the sturdiest tree…
Have you started decorating for the holidays?
Thanksgiving has come and gone with a vengeance. Tons of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cornbread muffins, squash casserole, giblet gravy (don’t judge me, this stuff is to die for), pumpkin and apple pies, and last but not least tapioca pudding were consumed, along with copious amounts of pinot grigio and beer.
This was a pretty tame year for us, if I do say so myself. Normally, especially in the years that T’s family used to come down, we’d all gather at our favorite Mexican joint for delicious food and margaritas. We followed that up with a trip downstairs to my parent’s basement bar where we’d continue to drink tasty beverages along with some shots, while playing darts and karaokeing into the wee hours of the morning.
This year, instead of Mexican, we opted for a new Thai/Japanese/Chinese restaurant. The food was really good, and we enjoyed ourselves. After dinner, we did return to the basement bar, but we were more chill. T’s family didn’t come down this year, but our German neighbors did come hang out with us. We hung out and chatted. The guys played darts. And I think we were all in bed by 1 a.m.
Thanksgiving day was fun – our German neighbors joined us for dinner. They brought a goose and red cabbage (homemade, by the way). We all gorged ourselves on the goodness and tried not to slip into turkey comas at the table. After dinner, I went for a walk with my parents, the Frau and her cute puppy dog. The cold air was all I needed to drag me back from la-la turkey land.
We all gathered again in the basement to have a few drinks and play a new board game called Sequence. My family is CRAZY about board games, and it was a lot of fun (even though my team lost every game but the last 2). The night ended early once again because T and the Frau both had to work on Friday – which if you ask me, is pretty shitty. It’s a major holiday weekend corporate America!
Since I didn’t have to work on Friday, my mom and I had a Twilight Saga kind of day. First we watched Twilight because she’d never seen it. She didn’t love the movie, but wasn’t completely disappointed. Then I dragged her (she was worried about the screaming teeny boppers we might encounter) to see New Moon. She liked it better than the first one, and we had an enjoyable mother-daughter geek out. Haha!
Speaking of the holidays being right around the corner…
T and I are trying to come up with things we want for Christmas this year. We decided that we want need to add a dual-tap kegerator to our already alcohol-fueled lifestyles. Plus it will look so cute sitting next to the bar we already have. Just imagine…all the fresh beer that you want on tap, right at your finger tips, waiting to be poured in all of its frosty and frothy glory. This will not help any type of dieting we are planning…
And you know you are getting old when you ask your parents to buy you new french patio doors to replace the crappy slider you currently have for Christmas. And when you consider buying 6 new windows to replace the old drafty ones that cause you to freeze every winter instead of forking tons of money over for random presents. I’m just saying…