This, That, and the Other

Posted by Tammy

I realized it's been a while since I posted. Mike and I have both been sick ... AGAIN! This cold/flu we got at Thanksgiving has just hung on!

Our 3 year anniversary was December 22 - Saturday. We met online, but met for the first time in person three years ago! We met for dinner at Rasta Pasta, and we planned to go have dinner there again. But, we were sick, so we didn't get to! Blah! (We didn't get to go last year either because we were snowed in!) But, we celebrated anyway by getting Chinese takeout. Mike bought me a really great necklace. I've never seen anything quite like it! Moon phases in beads! Perfect! I bought him a bottle of scotch - he's going to exchange it for a type he likes better. I so cannot remember all the intricacies of scotch!

We were supposed to go to his family Christmas get together on Sunday, the 23rd, but couldn't do that either. I was MAD! We missed Thanksgiving too - sheesh! Oh, well. Nothing we could do about it. We'll get together with his dad and step-mom maybe this weekend.

We opened our presents very early on Christmas day. I think we both liked what we got each other! Mike did great picking out some beautiful jewelry for me. Two pendants - very different from each other. I will get good pictures to post. The ones I took quick this morning didn't turn out well at all. He also got me season 3 of Project Runway on DVD! Yay! :) My stocking stuffers were all kinds of crazy gadgets that he found at ThinkGeek.com. We had fun playing with them. I got him a Jellyfish tank and the game Oblivion - which he proceeded to play all day! The cats liked the wrapping paper!

Luckily, I did my grocery shopping and Christmas shopping before getting really sick again. I had all my ingredients to make special foods for us for Christmas day. We had planned to just stay home that day! I'm glad we did - it snowed most of the day! We got about 2 inches total. It was really pretty, but I'm glad we didn't have to drive anywhere! I made the breakfast casserole for us that I did on Thanksgiving. Then for lunch (wound up being late in the afternoon!) I made Cuban food! Yummy!! The first step is making sofrito sauce - which is then the base in the Ropa Vieja. Here is the sofrito in process. (Look how Christmas-y it is!)

Sofrito Sauce recipe:

Sofrito recipe
courtesy of Sonia Martinez

Sofrito is the base of many typically Cuban recipes. My mom used to chop up all the ingredients (except bay leaf) in a blender and store in a jar with a drizzle of olive oil on top. Stored in refrigerator, it can last about a week. (I blend it and use about half for my ropa vieja - and freeze the rest.) She would spoon out amounts needed for each recipe, add the bay leaf and then sauté and simmer as directed. The secret to a good sofrito is to let it simmer a while so all the tastes meld.

21 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
8 to 10 garlic cloves, chopped
1 or 2 bay leaves
touch of ground cumin
touch of dried oregano
3/4 cup Sherry, or to taste
4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste (optional)

Sautee tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, bay leaves, cumin and oregano in oil slowly until all vegetables are limp. Add Sherry and let simmer. If you add the salt, taste beforehand as you might not need it at all. Blend it all together to make a sauce.

Ropa Vieja Recipe:

2 1/2 lbs flank steak, cut in strips
5 tablespoons oil
2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic or 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
6 ounces
sofrito sauce (I use about 3 times this much!)

Heat 3 tbsp. oil in skillet on medium, brown meat on all sides. Remove from skillet, add remaining oil to skillet, stir in garlic, onion and green pepper and cook until translucent. Stir in black pepper, browned meat, tomato sauce, water and
sofrito. Simmer until meat is tender and shreds easily, about 1 hour (takes more than an hour for me). Serve on top of rice.


Helpful cats and Christmas shopping

Posted by Tammy

No, the two are not really related. But I have some photos to share! :) Last week, our cats Ben and Luna decided to help with laundry. Ben was buried in my clean laundry and didn't budge when I put hangers on him! Luna just had to get into the act as well. They were so cute, I couldn't be mad. What's a little cat hair?!

Last night, Mike and I went to Old Town, Fort Collins to do a little Christmas shopping and have dinner. We found a few things for Christmas, but still have more to get! Sheesh! He has his dad's name and I have his step-mom's. They aren't the easiest to buy for!

While we were walking in the plaza, we noticed the fountain! I don't remember seeing it actually running this time of year before - it was SO beautiful. Some of the water was frozen, and some was moving. It was just great!


Weekend Fun!

Posted by Tammy

I'm late in posting these photos. Last weekend, I went to my best friend Andrea's house. She invited several people for a "tree-trimming festival"! :) Her friends Dana, Stacey, Shirley and I were there to help Andrea and her daughter Savannah trim their Christmas tree!

I haven't put up a Christmas tree since about 1997. My cats (at the time) Oscar and Lissy knocked my tree over, breaking a lot of ornaments. I haven't put one up since! I have TONS of holiday decorations that are going unused in my basement (which is just sad...) So, when Andrea invited me, I was excited to help! Savannah and I had a good time putting up the lights and the garland. She held the bulk of it and untangled it as I wrapped it around.

We all had a good time placing ornaments on, listening to Christmas music, and eating cookies and having cocoa. The weather outside was quite frightful - snowing like crazy (so pretty!) but we were having fun inside!

THIS Saturday was Mike's birthday! We had dinner on Friday night to celebrate - we went to Carrabba's - his favorite Italian in our town. He isn't a steak eater normally, but loves theirs! It's so good! We went all out - had wonderful appetizers (zucchini fries!!), drinks, yummy dinner, and to top it all off... Blue Bell Vanilla Ice cream!! Blue Bell isn't sold up here - it's a southern thing - Mike grew up with it. It is truly the best ice cream ever! Well, Carrabba's serves it! Yummy!!

We were going to go out for breakfast on Saturday, but Mike wasn't feeling great, so we stayed home and went out on Sunday morning! He had a good day in spite of not feeling great. I got him good presents! :) A ThinkGeek.com gift certificate, some jammies, and the oddest gift of all... ground Yak meat. It's his favorite thing ever, and hard to find! We had yak burgers for dinner - it really is yummy!

On Sunday afternoon, I met Andrea and Savannah to see a movie. We went to Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. This was an unexpected treat. I really loved this movie. In fact, it's likely I'll buy it on DVD when it comes out! Dustin Hoffman is wonderful as always. The message of the movie was wonderful!! My favorite quote:

Your life is an occasion, rise to it.


Really Cool Idea

Posted by Tammy

I work for a great company!! We had our holiday party last Friday night. It was such a fun evening. It was at a local French restaurant - very posh! I got all dressed up for the fun of it! :) We always get lovely presents and a bonus, but this year, our bosses decided to do something a bit different too.

They gave each of us $100 in "virtual money" to spend on the Heifer Project. They are donating money and allowing each of us to choose how to spend the money through this amazing project!!

The deal is the donated money buys an animal or flock of animals for a family which provides not only food, but a way to make money as well. For instance, I am choosing as my animal a dairy goat. (I love goaties! I lived at my little house in the country for 10 years - my landlord's kids raised pygmy goats for 4-H.) The website explains how this gift helps:

"Goats can thrive in extreme climates and on poor, dry land by eating grass and leaves. The gift of a dairy goat can supply a family with up to several quarts of nutritious milk a day - a ton of milk a year. Extra milk can be sold or used to make cheese, butter or yogurt. Families learn to use goat manure to fertilize gardens.

And because goats often have two or three kids a year, Heifer partners can lift themselves out of poverty by starting small dairies that earn money for food, health care and education."

My co-workers have chosen to give a llama, honeybees, chicks, and shares of pigs and water buffalo. I have gone one step further and I donated a flock of chicks for a friend for Christmas! (In addition to other presents of course!) If you are looking for a way to help others or to give a donation - I think this is a really cool idea!! I love that my bosses at World by the Tail did this for us, and I hope my friend likes that I did it for her and her family too!


It's snowing...

Posted by Tammy

And has been since Friday night it seems! We had about 4 inches over the weekend, and woke up to about 3 more this morning. It's still snowing too! I can't decide if I'm irritated or happy about it. On one hand, it is pretty. On the other, driving in it is NO fun. This morning took me more than twice as long to get to work as usual. It seems the roads weren't at all plowed!!! Even the main "drags". Sheesh. I think... just maybe, I'm ready to move somewhere that gets little or no snow! (And I know for sure, I don't want to live on a corner ever again! Scooping twice the sidewalks!!! Blech!)

Our backyard on Saturday night - the first one with flash, second one without. I love the flakes that are visible in the air.

My grumpy Oscar boy begs to go outside when there is snow. I don't let him stay out at all alone - but just for a couple minutes with me. He was SO happy!

Our Tibetan prayer flags in the backyard - with snow sticking to the line.

My mirror gazing ball in the front yard... look at all the snow piled on top! :)


Sharpie ATC Art

Posted by Tammy

I created some new Sharpie art over the weekend! Yay!

I'm participating in an ATC swap called "Art Not War". Each person (9 total) are assigned one letter from that statement. Then when returns are sent, we will each get ATCs that spell out Art Not War.

My letter was T. (the first T!) I decided to go for a "tie-dyed" look using sharpies. I tried something first that didn't work. I used white crayon to draw the peace signs on my cards. Then I colored over it with my sharpies. My hope was the sharpie would not stick where the crayon was, but that didn't work! So, I revised my plan!

I drew on my colors - tie-dye, and then drew on my Ts in a dark, matching color. On top of that, I used my metallic sharpies to draw in the peace signs.

I like how they turned out! And now, I can't wait to get back my full set!! These nine cards took me about an hour and a half to do - I was watching episodes of season three of Alias while drawing! :)


New Hair

Posted by Tammy

Just in time for colder weather (and SNOW!) - a new, shorter hairstyle. It was quite "poofy" when I got home from the salon last night - but this is my version - a bit messy, and not quite so over-styled! My stylist likes to play with my hair, so I let her - then I wash it out and do it my way when I get home! :) I think, just maybe, I'm going to have her do some color on it. Chunky pieces, maybe some reds... we'll see if I get adventurous!


Fun Mail

Posted by Tammy

Well, I've taken a few days off in December. I needed a break from my every day posting. I don't know why it was so hard, but it was!!

I am LATE in posting about this fun mail from the amazing Mary Ann! She was so kind as to send me a lovely charm she made. I LOVE this!! It is so tiny and yet, so detailed!! She included a cute little "follow your bliss" button too!! I'm sorry I didn't post sooner about this wonderful package! (Bills buried the fun mail! Can you imagine?!)

THEN - on Monday, I got this wonderful card from my best friend Andrea.

She wrote a brilliant note to me inside. I am so lucky to have her for my friend. We've known each other for about 15 years, and have been best friends most of that time! We were even roommates for one year! I am so fortunate to have a friend like Andrea. I can count on her for anything (as she can count on me too!) The one thing that worries me most about potentially moving away from this area is not being close (physically close) to Andrea!


LAST day of NaBloPoMo - and New Art!!

Posted by Tammy

Well, we made it!! I've posted at least something every day this month!! I didn't think I'd make it when I got sick. It was hard to consider what to post when my brain was all fuzzy and cold-addled!

I did get some new art done this month (as promised, Vicki!) I procrastinated until the last possible minute... I know, I know - hard to believe I'd do something like that! :) I'm mailing these cards off today to make it under the wire for postmark by date!!

The swap is a Project Runway swap for my Sharpie group! ATCs based on the Bravo show Project Runway - which I had never seen until recently. One of my fellow Sharpie Scouts sent me a tape with the first two episodes of season 4! Boy, it is a fun show! I'm sorry I can't watch more as we don't have cable! I'll have to keep up online and watch clips I think.

I made three cards that were my take on some sketches from season 3, and one card based on the first challenge of season 4 - to show how I would be as a designer. A fashion designer I'm not, but these were fun! These first three are my take on the sketches.

This last one is my attempt at a design. I used real fabric for the skirt and top. The belt and embellishments are pieces of ribbon. And the background is silver sharpie. I think it's cute, but it certainly wouldn't win any fashion awards!


New, Interesting Meme Thingy

Posted by Tammy

OK - I found this meme here and thought it was very fun, and very odd - a combination I like!

The deal is this: Answer the prompts by typing the answer into a Google image search. Choose a photo from the first search page and post it! The results may wind up a bit odd! :) (I linked to where I found the image so credit is given!)
3. Your favorite place (The Ocean)
4. Your favorite objects (Shoes - Mary Janes to be specific!)

5. Your favorite food (Green Thai Curry)

6. Your favorite animals (even looks a bit like Oscar!)

7. Your favorite color 8. Town where you were born (This B&B - The Porter House - is on the same street where I grew up - about a block and a half from my house! Windsor, CO)

Town where you live (Fort Collins, CO)
10. Name of a past pet
First name of a past love (we're going present here - Michael!)

12. Best friend's nickname (She doesn't have a nickname, but her name is Andrea.)

13. Your screen/nickname (this is from Flickr, and I commented on this photo using my screenname!)

14. Your first name (We had friends when I was a kid who called me Tammy Faye much of the time!)

20. College major (Business Administration)


Loving Etsy!

Posted by Tammy

I've been shopping on Etsy lately! I'm looking for great, unique presents, and boy, am I ever finding them!!

I think I can share some of what I've found here IF I don't attach names in case the recipients are reading!

I bought these and these. I may be keeping some for ME! :)

I also couldn't resist this little guy! SO cute! (I'm going to have a hard time parting with him, I'm afraid!)

I also bought something from
this shop, but I won't tell you what since it might ruin the surprise!

This is my favorite place for soap! I haven't purchased any lately, but I will! Love it!!

AND, I haven't bought anything yet, but
this shop, and this one, AND this one are among my favorites and all have things I'm considering!!

Mike's birthday is coming up, but Etsy isn't working for him! I have found some fun stuff though! I can't share though because he might look here now and then and I don't want to ruin his surprises! :)



Posted by Tammy

anything interesting to say... but I'm so close to the end of NaBloPoMo, I won't give in now! So... I'm going to share more interesting (?) facts about me! Suzie "unofficially" tagged me to share eight random things about myself. Now... coming up with new things about me is hard, but here is my attempt!

1. I LOVE shoes. But, here's the weird part, I hate to wear shoes. I kick off my shoes very first thing in the house (and also in other people's houses too!) I sometimes have them off in my office also. Why do I like shoes, but not like wearing them? It's a mystery! My favorite style is Mary Jane's because then my tattoo shows!

2. If (when?) Mike and I get married (which I think we'll do at some point!) I want to wear red! I've never dreamed of a big wedding like some girls do. I don't want anything traditional at all! I'm thinking outdoors, fairly pagan in nature, and definitely a red dress! Perhaps a sari (like this one?) and I'd definitely like to have traditional Indian mehndi on my hands too.

3. I love Ethiopian food. I didn't even know what it was until I met Mike. We have a wonderful restaurant here in Fort Collins called Nyala. The food is so yummy! It's eaten with no utensils. You use a bread called Injera to scoop bites. I don't really like the Injera, but I like the food so much it's worth it! My favorite is a butternut squash dish! YUMMY! And the mushrooms - to die for!

4. My mom and I play Scrabble via email. We have been playing like this for a couple years. She used to always beat me, but now I beat her every now and then.

5. When I get a new CD, I tend to listen to the one song that drew me to it in the first place over and over. Right now, I can't get enough of Brandi Carlile! (Playing now on my blog!) I love The Story and Turpentine. I play these two over and over and tend to ignore the rest of the songs!

6. KBCO is my favorite radio station. Each year they make a Studio-C CD - live performances for their station put on a CD. They release it in early December, and you have to stand in line for several hours to get one (and they sell out FAST!) I have done this three times! It's always freezing cold, but fun. I am trying to decide whether to do it this year or not! It comes out on Saturday and has a great line up of songs... we'll see if it's snowing or if I'm willing to brave the cold!

7. I could eat Chinese food for every meal. No, really! I love it that much. Unfortunately, Mike isn't a huge fan, so I can't talk him into ordering nearly as often as I'd like. I get it for lunch at work whenever I can talk others into it! Cold Chinese for breakfast is about the best thing ever! (I DO prefer the leftovers cold!)

8. I love to re-read books. I have re-read my favorites SO many times. I think I've read the entire Harry Potter series at least 4 times. And Nora Roberts - I re-read my favorite trilogies by her often. I know the story, and the outcome, but somehow it doesn't matter. It's like an old friend!

OK - that's all the weirdness I could think up for today! I'm not tagging anyone specifically, but if you do play along, let me know!


Me, by my middle name

Posted by Tammy

I was back at work today... but still feeling pretty bad. I called the doctor and we're going to try antibiotics since this illness is being so stubborn. I sure hope they help!!!

I thought I'd "borrow" a meme from DebR for today. She did this a while back and I thought it was fun - tucked it away for a future post - and here it is.

The rules are - spell out my middle name and tell you something about myself starting with each letter.

My middle name is Dale (named after Tammy Wynette and Dale Evans)

D - Drink - my favorite drink is Canada Dry club soda - raspberry flavor. It's not sweetened - just has a hint of flavor. I go through many bottles of this a week. I have to run to the grocery store often to procure more fizzy water!!

A - Anne of Green Gables - one of my all time favorite book series AND movie series. I've read the whole series numerous times and watched all umpteen hours of movies many times. I recently watched the first four hours again! Love it just as much as ever!!

L - Libra - I am a Libra - totally! I fit the bill on everything about Libras - my chart is full of Libra and very little else. This makes it hard for me to make up my mind because I can always see both sides! I have to find balance in everything.

E - Energy - Until I met Mike, I had never done any energy work. Because he does Reiki, I've been introduced to that and to several other modalities of energy work. I like it! I don't feel the energy as much as Mike does, but I can feel energies now!


Ready to get OUT of the house!!

Posted by Tammy

I am getting cabin fever! I have been sick for a week. And I still feel sick. I thought it should really be gone by now... and I'm tired of whining about being sick! :) (The doctor did test for mono - I've had it before, but she said it was possible. I DON'T have it thankfully. Last time, in 2001, I was out of work for 2 whole months because my liver function was affected... not pretty. My mom came and stayed with me for a month.)

In spite of being sick, Mike and I have had an OK week. Playing World of Warcraft, and watching the first season of Lost again. We're excited for the release of season 3 on DVD! We want to watch it so we can catch up and watch season 4 "live" instead of waiting for the DVD release!

I'm simmering a pot of split pea soup on the stove for our dinner. I'm tired of soup (because early in the week that's all that worked - my throat was too sore for anything else!) but this soup is ALWAYS good! :)

I hope you all have had great weeks! And I hope the last week of November (and my every day posting challenge) is better!


Kitty Cuteness (or is that Kuteness?)

Posted by Tammy

Henry is SOOO happy it's space heater time. He can be found any time the heater is on, curled up near it, or with his paws stuck under it. I even caught him with his nose stuck darn near in it!

Miss Girl hasn't discovered the heater. But, she loves it when I sit still (for instance, watching a movie)! She curls up in my lap and demands pets. Mike captured this photo. She leaned up against me and then flopped over so I would rub her belly. That is her ultimate favorite thing! (I didn't correct her eyes because... check it out - one is glowing green, the other is red! Weird!)


No Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted by Tammy

For us... We were supposed to go to Mike's dad's house today for his family get-together. Unfortunately, this illness still has it's grips on both of us. Mike is running a low-grade fever today and I'm just coughing like a mad-woman. I'm really tired of being sick, let me tell you!!

We decided to go ahead and make the dip we were planning to take with us. It was really yummy (and will be - we have LOTS left still!)

Here's the recipe (since that's what I seem to be posting the last couple days!)

Chipped Beef Chile Dip:

2 packages Stouffer's Creamed Chipped Beef (we didn't use this - but made homemade chipped beef gravy instead!)
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used more than this)

1 can (4 oz.) diced Green Chiles (I didn't have diced green chilies, so we used 505 Brand green chili sauce - and about 8 oz. instead of 4)
2 tablespoons chopped onion
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

COMBINE cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chiles, onion and garlic powder in crock pot. Add creamed chipped beef; stir well. Allow to melt all together and get hot at medium heat. Serve with chips or bread. We used Asiago cheese bread from Panera. YUM! :)

It wasn't the turkey dinner and trimmings, but it was good. We're just hanging out in our sweats and playing a lot of World of Warcraft while we convalesce. I am getting a bit stir crazy though! I was looking forward to the get together today, and am sad to miss it. I also am wanting to start Christmas shopping too!! Maybe tomorrow.....


Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Tammy

Or if you're not in the U.S., happy Thursday!

I hope you all have enjoyed the holiday! Mike and I stayed home because we're both still fighting this illness. We're hopefully going to be able to join his dad tomorrow for their get-together.

I made a breakfast casserole for us for something special today! No turkey dinner (Mike doesn't like it anyway) but it was yummy! I've slept most of the afternoon away...

Breakfast Casserole

6 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 lb. pork breakfast sausage
1 can crescent rolls
2 cups grated cheese
S&P to taste

Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan. Lay crescent rolls flat on the bottom of the pan without making them into rolls. Brown sausage and put on top of the crescent rolls.

Mix the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and pour over sausage. Top with grated cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.


It's beginning to look a lot like....

Posted by Tammy

Thanksgiving?! It snowed here last night!! We got about 3-4 inches of snow in Northern Colorado over night. It's very pretty and VERY cold today!

Here is what our backyard looked like first thing this morning!

And since I'm sharing photos today, I forgot about this event last week! On Friday afternoon, as Mike and I were leaving my office to head to Denver for the Gong Bath, the girl from next door came and got us. There was a fox on the roof of our office building!! It didn't appear to be injured or anything - it had just found a nice safe, apparently comfy, place to nap!

I, of course, had my camera handy! So here are a few pictures of our resident fox. (No really - a real fox!) I've actually seen him (her?) again since then too. He ran right across my path the other morning on my way in to the office! (These aren't great quality photos - but you get the idea!)

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving (if you're in the States! If not, happy Thursday!) Be safe if you're traveling! And enjoy time with your family and/or friends!!