Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sometimes you play with the puppies, sometimes you step in the poo.

This, I suppose, is why I called my blog "a walk in the dog park" to begin with.. because sometimes it's not that great. sometimes you get some crap on your shoe that just won't get off.

Its been 10 months since my last post.
We have a lot to talk about.
In the last 10 months, Shane got laid off, Boston passed away, we pulled down a wall in our house that closed in the staircase, I got laid off, we got a new Dane named Kaptain. There was a tornado, a hurricane, and straight line winds, which damaged our roof and murdered 3 of our trees - one of which was a cherry tree that would have brought me cherries this year :(
Also, I started Extreme Couponing, and started a new couponing blog ( Shane found a new job, had laser eye surgery, and we began fostering a fox terrier mix. Somewhere in all of that, we got new neighbors, (  she found out she's pregnant with a baby girl (yay babies!), another set of neighbors decided to sell their house and move away (literally they're packing the truck while i am typing, btw.. i'm a bad neighbor) AND we celebrated our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY.

I'll be honest, this is not exactly the fairytale I dreamed of for our first year of marriage.
I try very hard to remind myself it could have been worse, and it certainly could have been. We didn't lose power during the hurricane, whereas our neighbors' house nearly blew up. Shane and I were both awarded unemployment benefits, without which I can't imagine what we would have done. My extreme couponing kept food on the table during the most financially pressing times. And most importantly we still have each other, and friends and family that love us. We are truly blessed.

But holy crap what a bad year.
Really, that's only some of it. There are still things looming over our heads and little things that eat away at us from day to day.
I'm freaking exhausted. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, economically.. perfectly exhausted.

But what's worse is the feeling of being so stagnant. I have no milestones to report, no accomplishments, because I'm stuck. We can't continue working on the house because we don't have the spare income, I can't go back to school because I don't have the spare income, Shane is working 12 hour shifts, so his plans for going back to school may not be feasible.
I can't even show Kaptain because we can't justify the entry fees.
I feel as though I'm being rejected in every aspect of my life, and therefore I am completely out of motivation. I fight myself constantly to get involved in things - to work on a craft project, to go to lunch with a friend, to send out ANOTHER resume, to try another recipe,
So now you know where I've been for the last 10 months. I certainly had not planned a hiatus, but a blogger usually spends her day asking "Can i make this blogworthy?" and after a while the resounding "no, this sucks" takes over, and I eventually stopped asking. I am completely out of the passion that normally fuels such things.

However - it is the holiday season, I have cooking to do for my parent's annual Christmas Eve Eve party, which I look forward to every year. So, if for no other reason than to reacquire my sanity, I'm going to blog about it.
In addition, starting next week I'll be kidsitting a trio of rambunctious children a couple afternoons a week. So, I plan on exploiting them for their enthusiasm and childhood exuberance to get some crafty stuff done
and MAYBE, just maybe.. I can find a little excitement in the process.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Are you kidding me?

I've been sick all week.
It started Monday morning on my way to work with the strangest feeling in my lungs.. a wheezy inflammation feeling.
By noon Monday I was at my parents house with a fever and for all intents and purposes, a zombie.

I faded in and out of zombieness all week, and finally saw the light of day Friday.

Well then this morning i was getting my mess together, got up early to go to Raleigh to go to the dentist, got literally a couple blocks away and BAM!

I was rear ended.

It took me a second to figure out what happened, but the guy kept going on and on asking us not to call the cops. I was hurt, but would have been ok just handling it thru the insurance except that he would NOT shut up about it.
So Shane asked the guy "do you have warrants? is that why you dont want us to call the cops?"
and the guy says "yes"

So naturally I called the cops and told them that this guy had warrants.
So i call the guys insurance company, figure out all the paperwork, the cops come, take the statements blahblahblah.

Come to find out, OlBoy does NOT have warrants, but is driving with a suspended license. (awesome)

They cuff him and we move on with our day.
Except the dentist was full by the time we got there (first come first serve)

After an hour or so my neck is really starting to bother me, so i went to the ER. They said it seemed to just be muscular from the whiplash, nothing major, but it's gonna hurt for a few days and they gave me pain meds and muscle relaxers. (yay)

So thats the story of how my Saturday went.

Hope yours is better!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The quest for a halfway decent reuben sammich.

A reuben sandwich is fairly simple. Rye bread, usually corned beef, swiss cheese, sourkraut, and thousand island or russian dressing. Its a flavor unlike any other, and when you crave one there is NO substitute whatesoever.

So about a year ago I got a craving. So i did what any normal human being would do - I went out on the hunt. You would think I could go to nearly any deli counter on the planet and find one... and you WILL find something called a reuben on most sandwich shops, but a reuben is not what you get when you order.

The first one I ordered after the arrival of my craving required two hands, both of which were quickly covered in a slimy mess of what i can only assume was hot lard. The bread became a collapsing paste and stuck to the floppy corned beef like fresh plaster, and the kraut tumbled out of the pathetic excuse for a sandwich until i was left with little more than a pile of soggy meat in my slimey hands. Reuben Failed.

My desire was not quenched. If anything, I was more determined to locate some sort of satiation. So, the hunt continued.

A few failed sandwiches later I happened upon another doozie. While this one was admittedly less slimey, the biggest issue was the corned beef itself. The slab of meat was so tough and chewy that my first bite pulled the whole slab out of the slippery sandwich. I ended up having to take the whole thing apart and cut it into pieces small enough to eat. This was not just a failed Reuben, this was a failed sandwich. Gaaaaaross!

All of the other contenders suffered similar, albeit not as horrible, faults. It became habit upon receiving an ordered reuben to immediately turn the sandwich over so that the grease doesnt make the bottom slice of bread soggy. Forget this step once and you'll never forget again. yuck.

Well yesterday for lunch i went to a little place called the Rockford in downtown Raleigh. One of those places where you can't find it unless you already know where it is. There's no big sign, theres no awning, just a door between a barbershop and a clothing boutique. Its one of Raleigh's best kept secrets.

You go in the door and straight up the stairs to an eclectic american restaurant. Classy with a touch of grunge and some talented abstract photography canvases on the walls. They offer some traditional burgers and sandwiches, as well as some vegetarian options and sides with a very chef-like twist (pimiento cheese mashed potatos, feta and herb couscous) The most impressive hole-in-a-wall I've ever had the fortune to visit. All fresh. All seasonal.

Well I sat down and began reading the lunch menu, and my eyes were immediately drawn to the traditional Reuben. Can I put my heart on the line again? Can I afford another disappointment? It's worth a shot, right?

Well the plate was laid in front of me and I see two halves of a very reasonable looking sandwich. Marbled rye, about a third of an inch thich sat on either side of thinly sliced lean corned beef, a thin layer of kraut, perfectly melted cheese and a smear of thousand island dressing. Could it be real?

So, I picked up the first half of the sandwich and I left the second half alone. Thats right - I intentionally skipped the flipping step. I need to know if this can survive the most grueling of tests. Therefore, I risked eating a soggy sandwhich for the greater good of reuben eaters everywhere. You. Are. Welcome.

This was the best reuben I have ever eaten.
I took a bite and only one bite came off. The bread was evenly toasted and obviously fresh, not the least bit soggy. The kraut to meat ratio was perfect, and the dressing was just enough to add a little punch of flavor and moisture. The flavor was EXACTLY what i'd been searching for.

So I survived the first half of the sandwich with no complaints. I am satisfied, but atmittedly skeptical. I carefully eye the second half on the plate in front of me. It doesnt seem to have changed significantly from the moment I recieved the plate to begin with. It had not been engulfed in slime and grease. It had not fallen apart. It had not turned into a pile of mushy bread. Still, I can't help being gunshy.

I picked up the triangle and my heart skipped a beat. The second half of the sandwich was just as good as the first. The perfect balance, the perfect flavor, the perfect temperature, and the perfect texture. The bottom was not mush. That's right guys and gals, at the Rockford in Raleigh, I ate the PERFECT REUBEN. Delightfully undisgusting!

Alas, I had assumed that my hunger would be satisfied when I found such a wonderful specimen, and I was wrong. After filling myself to the gills with a delightful sandwich, I couldn't help but consider changing my dinner plans so that I could return for another. Now that I'm blogging about it, I'm trying to also devise a plan to build a reuben vault in my back yard that I can swim in every day. It might happen.

So clearly this couldn't get any better than it already is, right? Wrong.
My lunch colleague ordered the asian tilapia wrap. He raved about it. Stuffed with actual fish, not filler. With a sweet chili sauce for dipping. Top of the line.
Apparently this place also homemakes their deserts. Chocolate peanut butter ganache cake?
yes. please.