Thanksgiving 2010

It was just the two of us this year, so we didn't go crazy with a bountiful meal.  We did have ourselves quite a nice spread though (don't mind me, just tootin' the ol' horn). 

 We bought an 8 lb bone-in ham (swear it was the smallest size they had).  Terry made a basting glaze out of orange juice, brown sugar, and whiskey.  It was DELICIOUS!  We are still nibbling on it, and it's 5 days later.
 For our sides, we had brown-sugar glazed carrots, horseradish mashed potatoes, and straight-from-the-campbells-recipe green bean casserole.  Terry made the gravy from a stock of turkey necks, veggies and herbs.

I accidentally made the most delicious pumpkin pie.....well two to be more precise.  I bought the larger can of Libby's Pumpkin Mix, thinking "Oh it's the same in one big as two little cans".  I started putting all of the ingredients together, and took notice to the mixing bowl steadily filling higher and higher, but I thought, Ehh...it's fine.  Then, only after I cracked in the 4 eggs, did I say, hmm...this can't be right.  I checked to see if it said serving size or quantity, but nothing.  Then, the second to last bullet in the directions says, "Fill both pie shells with filling".  Libby's, you're killing me!  So this Thanksgiving, we had two pies.....one of them still sitting whole in the fridge.  Does anyone know if it is freezeable??


The best part of this Thanksgiving though.....it snowed!!  It was only for about 15 minutes and it didn't cover the ground, but it was snowing!!!  I tried taking a picture out into the yard when it was at it's heaviest, but you couldn't see it in the picture, but at least with this one, you can see it on the top of the bird-feeder. 

We have so much to be thankful for this year;  great friends, great family, our house, our jobs, but most of all, I'm thankful for my wonderful, stubborn, loveable, grumpy, handsome other half. :-)


Birthday Present: Allison Style

I got my birthday present from Allison in the mail last week.  Nothing like a gift a month afterwards....it was just like my birthday all over again...but in November. 
Terry had been expecting a package with our undercabinet lighting, so he is the one who actually tore into the box, however when I arrived home, he had nicely re-taped it inconspicuously.....with our bright blue painters tape. 
Allison has a clear knack with buying me things I wouldn't typically buy for myself, but that I love.  She got me a very versatile dress, in that it will be perfect for the spring and summer, but it's also perfect right now with a long sleeve shirt and tights underneath.  Also, the bright pink band is for around my head.  I love it....Terry....not so much a fan.  It has a big flower on it.  More reason I love it.  More reason he stares at me a little sideways when I wear it.  :-)
And as always, she sent two cards, a serious and a funny.  The serious was pretty much spot on for the two of us and got me a little choked (ugh), and the funny was, well, Allison humor. 
To all those reading, you go ahead and feel free to send birthday presents at any time of the year.  Timing didn't stop Allison, and it's always fun to get gifts.  :-)

(Disclaimer: Sorry for no Thanksgiving post today.  I left my camera at home, so didn't have pictures to upload.  Lots of fun things in upcoming posts)


Saying Goodbye to Catherine

We have been keeping our fingers crossed for some time now that Bechtel would change their minds and keep Catherine here in St Louis with us through the end of the project.  Sadly, Bechtel has other plans for her to move on and move up.  Since this was her last weekend here, we sent her off in style (or at least a full belly). 

Friday night, we originally planned an evening downtown with dinner and bowling.  Good thing Catherine called to double check with the bowling alley though because someone rented the entire facility downtown for a wedding reception.....who does that??  We made assumptions that they must have met bowling, or are avid leaguers. 
So we switched up plans and went to Andria's Steakhouse near our house.  Sarah (works out at the project) and Earl joined in as well.  Then we went to the nearest bowling alley, which was ooollldddd-school!!!  I mean, bowling is bowling, so it was still fun.  Terry won the first round, and Catherine won the second. 

Saturday, we switched up Saturday Steak night for Saturday Seafood night.  Terry made out-of-this-world crab cakes.  We also had sauteed spinach and white wine butter israeli couscous.  It was so good I forgot to take a picture, if that can explain at all how great they were.  :-)
After dinner, we went to a tavern near our house, Sullivans, to kick back and have a few drinks.

The music selection was awful.  They made fun of it.
We may or may not have started dancing to a Michael Jackson song.


Monday night, Catherines Dad was in town to drive with her the next day back up to Pennsylvania.  We had a great time with her and her parents a few months back, so we went out to dinner together.  We ate at 11-11 Mississippi, which is relatively in the middle of nowhere in the city, but it was so worth it!  It was hard to pick a meal from the menu because there were so many great options.  Also, the wine list was 4 pages long....YUM!! 

Terry got potato encrusted alaskan halibut, Catherine got a Rack of Lamb, Papa Parham got the char-crust dry-rubbed rib-eye, and I got Swordfish.  Amazing meal.  We also gorged on desserts to share, with a bread pudding, pistachio ice cream, and flourless chocolate torte. 

We are going to miss her dearly.  Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed that she comes back to visit soon!! 


Morning Glory

Update:  This was supposed to publish last friday, but I typed in the wrong date on my schedule post.... whoops! 

Catherine and I went out to dinner and movie Tuesday night and had a great night!  We met up for Sushi after work and then went to see the new movie Morning Glory.   It was a really cute flick.  I would almost call it a chick flick, but I do think that guys could enjoy it as well.  The cast was great, but honestly the best part of the movie was the soundtrack.  The whole way through the movie, it was just song after song of great tunes!  There is one that I currently have stuck in my head that I'm in love with.  Have a listen:

Also another good one from the movie:


Semi-Quarter-life Career Crisis

“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength."

Ok, crisis is a bit dramatic, and I can only assume that I'm overthinking everything and self-inducing my own stress, but I am just in one of those funks that I can't seem to kick. I've just been doing a whole lot of re-evaulating my career and my goals and looking at the future, and all I have to say is that whoever said growing up was easy was a big mean liar.  

So here's my current nutshell:
-I have a B.S. and a M.S. and am not anywhere close to where I want or need to be financially
-I'm in a great job that affords me a lot of flexibility and control, but there's nowhere to move up
- I know that I have Terry to rely on, but I also want to be self-reliant.  Call me independent but that's just how I was raised.
-I can't help but think about moving again in 2012 and making another lateral career hop.  The moves make "moving up" close to impossible

I think that if I'm going to change my career path, the best option is going to be to go into the clinical side of the healthcare industry.  I've been looking into a Physician Assistant Program here in St Louis.  This has been on my mind for a while, which is why I started taking Anatomy and Physiology this semester through my work as it is a Pre-req.  Getting more and more wrapped around the idea of going back to school is just another set of stresses:
- More debt
- If I became a PA, I would essentially have a M.S. that I wouldn't use.
- It's a 2 year program that I wouldn't even be able to begin until fall 2012
- I have to complete at least 500 hours of direct patient care before I submit my application for the program

In the back of mind, I just keeping hearing: "You could do this. You could be really good at this.  You would have job security anywhere Bechtel moves us.  You would be in a field that would be rewarding both mentally and financially." 
But then with my actions, I'm just a scared bumbling mess.  I don't have the confidence to know that I want this 100%, so I keep second-guessing everything and self-defeating the idea before I even put it all in motion. 

....And while I'm writing this post, I got this.  Exactly what I needed at this very moment.  Thank you. 
"This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life."


Chair Rail and Floor Trim in the Dining Room

This room is getting closer and closer to finished and seeing as it's going on almost a year since we started, I AM VERY ANXIOUS for it to be complete!! (funny how at the end of that blog I wrote that I was excited the room was almost complete...HA!)

Before....waiting for the chair rail and floor trim

Here's the only unfortunate part of the whole ordeal, and you can see it just barely in the picture below if you look closely.  According to "proper Chair Rail" installation, it is supposed to be 36 inches from the floor.  When we originally measured......there was still carpet.  STINKIN' CARPET messing stuff up!!!  So now that there are wood floors, the 36 inches is about a carpet's height shorter than our original paint.  I'm going to have to go around the whole room and repaint the top paint (color is called Ponytail) because there is exposed primer. Whomp Whomp.  But at least it's done right and that's what really matters!

I Love It!!!

There is only one more piece of Chair Rail that needs to be installed, and what's most unforunate is that Terry was short of material by less than an inch.  Go figure!  So all that is left after this is installing the new light fixture (which was ordered last week and should be arriving ::fingers crossed:: by the weekend, and curtains.) SO CLOSE!! ----For Real this time!


It's Raining....Leaves

It's that wonderful time of the year where the beautiful leaves are turning to bright reds and vibrant yellows.  And then they turn brown.  And then they fall to the ground.  Which would be fine if they didn't happen to be all falling at the same time from a 50 ft. tall oak tree in our backyard.  I know I shouldn't complain because having the large oak tree behind the house was one of the features we liked when we were looking to buy the house.  We get to enjoy that tree for 11 months out of the year.  This just happens to be the 1 month where I'm not a fan...so apologies for the complaining. 
love/hate relationship right now

Our Saturday morning consisted of Terry raking enormous leaf piles in the backyard, then filling then dumpster with the leaves to haul up to the front of the house.  (those yellow claw things are a christmas present last year from my mom....surprisingly they are REALLY helpful picking up the leaves)

You might ask why we go through the process of moving the leaves up to the front of the house.....oh because in Illinois, you are legally allowed to burn leaves on the road. Crazy. (but gotta admit, very helpful....other than that little part about hurting the environment) 

So here's how the backyard looks now.  By next friday all you will see are leaves and so the process continues again.  Come on December or strong gusty winds to get these leaves down and done already!!


My Brother, The Photographer: Take II

Oh don't mind me, just tootin' my brothers horn again.  I posted a few of Jeffs pictures a while back, and he just sent me a few more from a recent competition he entered.  Unfortunately he didn't place, but the competition was open for ameteurs and professionals, so it seems the me that the amateurs were at a slight disadvantage.  You be the judge.......and please leave comments!!  I know that they would be helpful for Jeff, both praise and constructive criticism. 
Without further adeu:

(my favorite)

So stinking talented!! 


'Tis (it really already) The Season?!

Yes, I know that it's mid-November.  Yes, I am aware that Christmas is still over a month away.  Still.  I need to send out Christmas Cards and buy presents to ship half way across the country and prepare for mom coming to visit, and better to be early than to be rushed!!!!
For the past few years I have gone to the store and bought cards, then went to the store and printed photos, then put a happy little individual note in every card.  Now don't get me wrong, I love it!  It's just a bit time consuming.  This year, instead of spending all the time in prep of the card, I think I'm going to take the route of having my cards put together for me, that way, more of my time can be spent on the individual notes inside.  Sounds good to me!!  But how you wonder......through Shutterfly.com

Their selection is enormous and their prices are very reasonable (btw, it's 25% off holiday cards right now) -- Christmas Card Choices

They also have really cute address labels

I still haven't decided on which picture or which card (Terry will have no input as he could care less about holiday cards.....love him and all of his Bah-hum-bug attitude), but I'm really liking this one.   Any others that are catching your eyes? 

Has anyone else started their holiday planning or am I all alone on this one?  And how is Thanksgiving less than 2 weeks away?!?!  We're all going to blink and it's going to be 2011, seriously!!

For the few of you out there with your own blog-world, Bloggers can get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… learn more: http://bit.ly/sfly2010


sick, sick, ILL, ugh

 Anyone know where I can buy one of these....it'd make life a little easier right now.

Or at least it feels that way right now.  Lack of post yesterday = sick girl.  I actually stayed home from work if that's any sign of my misery.  Besides sleeping away most of the day, I layed on the couch and watched Toy Story 3.....I blame my sickness for getting teary at the end (Have you seen it yet??  Oh my goodness, SO CUTE!!)


City Museum of St. Louis

I dont even know where to start with this post.  Emily and I went to a museum on Saturday.  When I hear or see the word museum, I think of nerdy (and I mean nerdy in a good way....huge nerd right here as you all know) academic location to showcase great works or crowning achievements.  With this museum.......please erase that notion from your mind.  I would much rather call the City Museum the City Expression of Art and Creative Genius Arena.  It's a photographers muse.  It's a sculptures wildest dream come to life.  It's a painters muse.  It's visual overload at it's best.  You enter and immediately feel like you've been transported to another dimension.  There are no maps.  There are no tour guides.  It is your opportunity to explore, absorb, and feel inspired.  It was simply amazing.  My pictures won't nearly do it justice because the majority of the time, Em and I were just walking around in a wanderlust of amazement. 

Right when we arrived, the lady near the ticket booth told us that a circus was going on on the 3rd floor and if we wanted to catch the tail end to go straight there.  We took her advice, and got to see acrobats soaring through the air.....that blur is a guy jumping through the top hoop.

Em wanted a stare down

Entire "library" of any insect you could possibly think of.  It was beautiful.


Stairwell on the main level

We got tickets to go on the rooftop on the 11th floor.  There was a ferris wheel, several slides, a school bus hanging off the side of the building, and a gigantic preying mantis.

We didn't know what this was...

...so I made Em go climb up it.

beautiful views of downtown

the view of the bus on the rooftop from the ferris wheel

looking up

being a kid and going down a slide....oh yah, we went down every slide in the place (I just tried re-counting again and I got to 16.)

Previous picture taken at the top of the slide near the mantis.
horse sculpture made entires of wrenches and wheels

Did I mention the bus hung off the side of the building?

...and you could climb in it?

Area of the museum called "Monstro-city".  The lighting in the pic is a little too bright, but at the top you can see three people climbing in what looks like mid-air...

The sky is actually just filled with metal tunnels like this that you can crawl from one mid-suspended airplane to the top of a dragons mouth that's a slide, to a birds nest, to walking down a crane shaft. It felt like you were in an enormous metal tree house. 

It started getting dark out so we headed back inside to the "Caves".  You entered and immediately felt like you were far underground in a cavern with stalagtites and stalagmites all around you.  There were hidden passageways and every opportunity to forget that you were actually in a former shoe factory that was abandoned downtown.  This picture is at the very bottom floor looking up at the 10-story slide we were eventually going to go down.  It used to be the "shoe-shaft" where when the shoe warehouse was operational, the workers on each floor would throw their finished shoes to go down to loading docks for shipment.

getting lost and having fun in the caves

At the top looking down....it was dark! At the bottom when we both stood up, we were crazy dizzy from all the spins.

Very many pictures and very short story short(er).....if you come visit....we will be going here.  If you know someone visiting St Louis....they need to go here.  We were there for almost 4 hours and we still didn't see half of the museum.  Such an amazing experience!!