Brain Dump

Can’t believe it’s been so long since I blogged! There needs to be an App that takes all these fabulous blog posts I have in my head and puts ’em to web.

So, there are big changes in store for me professionally. And, like I’ve said before, I don’t like blogging about work. But, there are big changes in store there. Scared and excited all at the same time… and it’s bringing out irrational (hopefully irrational) fears. Like, moved to tears, can’t eat, can’t sleep kind of fears.

That over-achiever people pleaser that’s stuck inside of me is afraid of disappointing everyone. Afraid of loosing friends. Of making the wrong decision. Of not having the right kind of clothes to wear for said new position. Of needing new shoes. New pocketbooks. New tote bag. Cleaning out my office. *Decorating* new office. Getting files in order. Projects passed that need to be passed; closed out that need closing. Leaving loose ends. People getting mad at me at current workplace. Not making a good impression at the new place. Of leaving my bestie at the old place ~ to endure the things that made me think of looking somewhere else ~ without a partner in crime.


Hopefully these are all irrational. And it’ll be a phenomenal experience. That I’ll have time to have my own life. And do fun stuff.

2 weeks.

2 weeks to close one chapter. Take a day for me. And then see what the future has in store.

Yeah, tears again…..

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Big Balls in Cow Town!

The title is one of my FAVORITE George Strait songs!  Did anyone else have the 4 CD box set?  I wore out the tapes sometime around 1998 and had to replace with the CDs.  Now it’s electronic music and I’m feeling dusty and old!

Tomorrow is baby shower #2 for my sister AKA the gathering of some of sissy’s most favorite friends (and since Sissy and I are BFFs, there are tons of cross-over friends!) After meeting K-dawg and the folks he work with at the NC Art Museum today for lunch and a quick glance at the exhibits, it’s been party prep central around here!

I’ve made several yummy things, but what I’m most excited about are the cake balls.  Little balls of cake, dipped in chocolate?  YES!

A zillion people have blogged about them, but here’s the real 4-1-1 (again, no pictures….sorry! Had them packed up before I thought of pictures).

Take a cake, and bake it in the 9×13 size.  Any mix’ll do.  I used gluten free Devil’s Food cake (SHOUT OUT to my girl RadioFreeAmy for the box!) and yellow butter.    Let the cakes cool really well after baking according to directions.  And, when you think it’s cool, let it chill another 2 hours.

Then, crumble up the cake into a large bowl.  REALLY large bowl (I used one of my cut crystal serving bowls that’s big enough to fit a watermelon in, not even kidding).  Crumble away, and take a tub of frosting to match your cake and crumble it all together.  Of course your hands are clean, so get in there and mush around.  It’ll start looking/feeling like mashed potatoes.  Then, get your little ice cream scoop that your mother in law gave you and you had no idea what on earth you’d ever use it for.  It finally has a use!

Line a cookie sheet or two with waxed paper, and pop the little balls on the waxed paper.  Then, wrap and put into the freezer for at least 4 hours.

Then, melt some chocolate (got mine at Kroger, and it was awesome!)  I melted in the little tray that came with it and on the stove.  The tray worked best.  Add in a little Crisco to thin it out a little.

Spoon melted chocolate over the balls.  I used a fork thing (we usually use ’em for rolling hotdogs on the grill); and it seemed to work PERFECT!  Tried a couple methods before the fork thing, and trust me, the fork thing was best.

This is what I’m taking about!

As you’re getting the balls dipped, go ahead and lay them back on the wax paper.  This makes it much easier for them to pop off when the chocolate is cool.

Of course one of the gluten free ones got messed up and all ugly (oh drats!), so I HAD to eat it.  And, it was good.  Almost like a truffle.

Want more info? Check out Bakerella’s all you need to know about cake balls

These were cute and yummy (and I KNOW I could get better with practice.) They’ll be making a return appearance at future gatherings.
Party on, my friends…party on!

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A New Love and Gluten-freepalooza

I’m going to start off by saying, we ain’t picture people.  Seriously.  We never take pictures.  So, sorry I don’t have nifty vay-cay pictures to share with  y’all.

But, I have a new love.  Alexandria, Virginia, and the DC Metro area as a whole.  K-dawg gets the credit for planning this entire trip; and the boy did well!  Saturday morning, we drove up to Alexandria.  Shout out to Virginia for having a pretty countryside; even Richmond was neat to look at.  After checking into our hotel, it was off to King Street to explore. Charleston is my favorite city ever, and the shopping there is on King Street too, so I think it was destined that I’d have a good time!  We started out with a little sushi for lunch, the walked in and out of some of the cutest boutiques.

And, this is where Gluten-freepalooza starts. For dinner, K-dawg had found a restaurant  with gluten free pizza.  Rustico had the best gluten free pizza I’ve ever tasted.  Even K loved it!  Even better, it was across the street from Buzz on Slater, this awesome bakery that had tons of gluten free treats (that night was peanut butter bomb night with a brownie for later.)

Sunday, we woke up and grabbed the Metro into the city to explore.  Nobody but runners are out in DC at 8 in the morning on a Sunday.  This is something important to know.  It was almost like we had the entire city to ourselves.  We started with standing in line for tickets to the Holocaust Museum. So thought provoking and deep. Moved beyond words.  Powerful stuff……

And, I came out in a dark funk and told K I needed something happy.  So, after salads at Cosi, we walked to the White House, found were a friend’s DC office building is, and  went to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  Fought a line of people to see the Hope Diamond, this other diamond and the jewel collection. Super cool. Super crowded. Lots of kids who needed to be turned over somebody’s knee. Then, it was off to explore the Castle.  Neatest exhibit on Madeline Albright’s pins and broaches that was a complete surprise.  We both greatly enjoyed it.  After riding the Metro back to the hotel, it was time to go back to Gluten-freepalooza.

We rode up to Tyson’s Corner to eat at a restaurant that had a hamburger. On a bun. That I could eat *SQUEE!* So delish, and so sad the stores were closed!  Seriously looked like amazing shopping could’ve been had. Came back through the city, drove near the White House, where the Redskins play, and North Carolina Ave.  Mucho fun!

Monday, we woke up and went back into the city to do the American History museum.  It was tons of fun, and I LOVED seeing the exhibit on the First Ladies.  So classy!  And, they have a phenomenal display of the flag that The Star Spangled Banner was written about.  Such a moving exhibit, and I’ll never hear the National Anthem the same way again. We literally spent about 5 hours in there — it was awesome!  Kept seeing things from places my bloggie and Twitter friends live.  Lunched in the cafe, then hiked to Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court.  How cool is our country?

Back to the hotel to catch the boat to the Nationals vs. Cubs game.  Our first not hockey pro game!  K got tickets from StubHub that placed us something like 20 rows back from the 1st base line.  It was amazing! I love baseball anyways, but seeing it in person was awesome.  Two of the plays of the game made the SportsCenter Top 10 list for the day, and we saw it !  Yes, we are nerds.  No, you may not pass judgement.

Back to Gluten-freepalooza; they had a GLUTEN FREE STAND! Everything they sold, I could eat.  Including a hotdog on a bun.  This, combined with 2 Redbridges, moved me to tears.  The pretzel was just eh, but that hotdog will be something I dream about when I’m 85 and in the home.  Back on the boat, back to the hotel….sleep time!

Tuesday, we checked out of the hotel, and went back up King Street before heading home.  Had to go back to Buzz on Slater to get me more gluten free goodies — read here cupcake, creme brule, muffin, another brownie, coffee… Stopped in Roanoke Rapids at some all you can eat BBQ place after spending about an hour trying to decide where to eat.

Alexandria and DC, I adored you; and will be back soon.  We seriously could have spent another week there and still would have stuff to see and do. Y’all all need to go!

Now, it’s back to life, back to reality, and back to the eating healthier….I’m scared to pieces to look at the scales, much less step on them. To sum it up, we had a BLAST, and K-dawg did an awesome job of planning our little get-away.

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Farmer’s Market Friday

For the third week in a row, come Friday afternoon, I tracked out to the NC State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh.  For the last two weeks, my buddy OneZenDragonfly joined me on a fresh food findin’ adventure!

This week, what did we find?

– OKRA!  K-dawg and I LOVE some steamed okra with a little sea salt.  Mucho yummy.

– Squash!  A little salt, cayenne and black pepper mixed with some corn meal – fried in a little bit of oil. *drool*

– Tomato.  One little tomato to be ate tomorrow for lunch with a little tuna salad.

– Green Peppers ~ intent is to make stuffed peppers after church, we’ll see.

– Red Onion ~ just ’cause.

– Homemade soap and lotion (because I’m so worth it!).  This deserves it’s own post sometime in the future.

– Eggplant.  Now here’s where things get *interesting*…

One of K-dawg’s favorite meals is eggplant Parmesan.  What, you didn’t know this nugget either?  I didn’t learn this until a couple of weeks ago in a random moment.  Seven years I’ve known the boy and I’m still learning mess.  Sounds easy peasy to fix, right?  Google up a recipe and take it from there.  Not so fast when you’re gluten free.  Breadcrumbs are a no-no, and I decided early along the gluten free path to only use substitute bread products for (a) special occasions; (b) when found on good sale; or (c) when I want to consume tons of extra empty calories.

Insert Rice Chex here.  Mashed them bad boys down and used to *coat* my eggplant.  Used the recipe found here more or less, and served with a little salad and small serving of rice spaghetti with a little butter and Italian Mrs. Dash mixed in after it was done.

And, it was a  hit, requested to be added to the frequent menu list.  SCORE. It was easy. And good. Yes, you may nominate me for wife of Friday, August 13th around 7:00 pm the year!
Next time though, I’m going to save the egg and Chex calories and just roast the eggplant and layer.  It didn’t add that much texture or flavor.  It was a gluten free modified recipe WIN (unlike hot dog casserole, but let’s not go there).

Happy Friday night, y’all!

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A Princess Story

So – we’re cleaning out the room that has us on Hoarders Season 8 master bedroom that K-dawg thought he wanted to use as a den that turned into a ginormous storage closet.  He swears I have a knack for finding stuff that just makes me cry — letters from Daddy, photos, etc.

Question for all of you: What do you do with your stuff like that — box, trash, recycle?  I’m lost as what to do and really need direction!

Also found this evening was the following story, written by a BFF who’s known me since I was like 3 yrs old …..  Here is the story she wrote me YEARS ago when I was all down in the dumps and I want to archive for me (and I reckon you can read it too.)

Once Upon A  Time…

All truly wonderful stories begin with once upon a time, and this story is the story of a beautiful young woman.  Now children listen and listen well and I shall tell you B’s story.

Long ago in 1979 a small infant girl was born. Any one who saw the small pink infant would automatically know she was destined for greatness  However, the road of her destiy would have stones that she had to be sure not to fall over, but all of us have pebbles in our paths.

God knew that these pebbles exist so he gave Princess B three other magical princesses to help her on the road.  First he gave her Princess M to challenge her beliefs and help her to be the best she could be.  Then he gave her Princess K to keep peace and stability in her life.  Next he created Princess L to help Princess M keep life interesting for B.  These three princesses would cause Princess B many tears of joy and sadness.

The first tears that B suffered at the hands of Princess M was when M stuck out her tongue at B during Sunday School.  B of course stuck her tongue out too, but not being as quick as Mary, she got a spanking. However, as the years passed M was a friend who cried on B’s shoulder and B cried on M’s shoulder.  They shared everything and were truly real friends to each other. The two of them became each others backbones throughout relationships good and bad, babies careers and deaths.

Princess K did not often make Princess B cry. B and K shared all the same things of life that M and B shared. Princess K made B cry for the first time when she patted the dark knight Marc on the behind.  Later they cried together over many dark knights but don’t distress they found white knights in life (Princess M preferred dark knights.) They were always there for one another no matter what the obstacle, they overcame.

The third princess, Princess L, was always making Princess B cry from pinching her, pulling her hair, and hitting her.  Yet they shared tears over the passing of King S, the births of their children and the general joys and sadness of their lives. Princess L shared a special bond with B because they were descendants of the same great king.

The four princesses grew into wonderful, special, young women But Princess B was by far the most outstanding in the land. She traveled to the far land of Raleigh and studied agriculture and knights.  There in her final year of study the lovely Princess B made a long pilgrimage across the vast campus. There she saw a handsome young man sitting upon the ground in intense study.  Yet he glanced up at the lovely B. Their eyes locked in a deep love that would last a life time. The white knight, Jed, swept Princess B right off her feet.  After a short courtship he brought his John Deere carriage to the front of the church and they rode off on a blissful honeymoon.

B saved the country of Hicksville with her great knowledge of farming. She raised a beautiful family. She was known through the land as the greatest Princess ever. She was truly loved by all that knew her.  She lived with her white knight, the other three princesses lived near by, and her countrymen loved her.  Princess B lived happily ever after.

~ The end


How the princesses really ended up (and it’s still a novel in the making)

Princess M became a lawyer, moved back to small mountain town.  Eloped the weekend before our wedding and I was hurt and angry at her for not inviting me.  Drifted mega apart after that and now only exchange Christmas cards.

Princess K married boy we went to college with that Princess L set her up on a “friendship opportunity” with during undergrad. They just had a baby boy this Spring.  Still in touch!

Princess L is my baby sister.  She married her Prince 3 years ago and are weeks away from their first child.

And that Princess B ~ she didn’t have a kingdom, but something far better.  A group of the worlds best friends who support her day in and day out in a zillion different ways.  Her redneck dreams didn’t come true — instead she married a prep neck, joined the Junior League and is sharing her life with the world via a little blog and Twitter.  And the John Deere, it’s here too — just in the form of a lawn mower that her knight, K-dawg, rides almost weekly.

And this song, pretty much sums it up

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Daddy on my Mind….

Daddy passed on May 14, 2002 ~ seems so long ago most days, and like yesterday on others. Today’s been one of those *like yesterday* days.

Very, very few details do I remember after his passing. I remember coming home and ME & K being there — my best friends since pre-K. I remember friends from Raleigh coming to the visitation and funeral; taking over our 3 bedroom house and carrying me and Sissy when we couldn’t do it on our own.

One of the very tiny details I remember of the funeral was a local group singing in a distinct mountain twang *Go Rest High on the Mountain ~ Vince Gill*. Completely appropriate for the quaint graveyard at our home church with nothing but mountain vistas around.

Fast forward to today ~ driving home from the office, the song comes on, I’m on the phone and can’t change channels. The wave of emotion that came over me is indescribable. Just the few strains of the song and I’m right back there, 9 years ago. Pain so raw and so real it’s almost tangible.

Also, we’ve got this tradition back home of *Decoration*. It’s where all the families come back, clean and place flowers on all the graves and celebrate with family and friends the lives of those already passed. It’s always held the first weekend in August and 90% of the people who mean the most to me who are gone are buried there. In addition to Daddy are his parents; my great-grandparents on both sides of the family; the great-aunt and uncle who practically raised me; the man from church who always gave us a silver dollar that was from sometime in the early 1900s every year; and tons of other various family and community members who made me ME. People who encouraged me, supported me, and loved the dickens outta’ me.

So, tonight I’ve made the saddle arrangement for this year. I’ve spent the night between fighting tears and giving in to them. I’m glad K-dawg is having boy time tonight. Me, my heart and my memories needed some time to grieve. And, love him to pieces, but he doesn’t understand.

So – here’s this year’s arrangement, made with love. White roses for remembrance, baby blue ribbon for the little boy who’s going to grow up without a grandpa to fish with, learn from, and all the other things grandpas are good for.

Daddy, I miss you.

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The Countdown is ON!

What countdown?

NC State Football Season 2010!

This year will mark our 7th year as season ticket holders.  First year, I got them in May on the whim that we’d still be dating friends come September. Yes, somebody has a lack of confidence, and she’s ok with that.

And, oh the memories!

Doing 13 miles during an INSANE day in October.  ESPN Gameday to the NC State Fair to the Red & White Basketball Game to the NCSU/Miami night game.  Most awesome thing in this world?…. sitting in the stands at a football game, Farris wheel turning in the background with a phenomenal fireworks display.  Words nor photos can adequately express the bliss.

So, come the 1st Saturday in September, that’s where we’ll be!

…..unless I’m helping my sissy get ready for the arrival of one of the newest Wolfpack fans!

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