Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vacation, Part 2


Good news y'all!!! We got the place we were hoping for (mentioned in this post)!!!

Tom is quite the bargain shopper, and he managed to score us a pretty sweet deal. Tom talked to Jeni (property manager we are renting from) for quite some time tonight - turns out they know a lot of the same people (Captain Lloyd being one of them).

Here are Jeni's Very Important Vacation Notes:

  1. Bring our own coffee
  2. Brian's Big Deck Raw Bar is where we need to go
  3. Darlene picks out the music (neither of us can quite figure this one out)
  4. Bring cash or check, no plastic accepted in Cedar Key (really?)
  5. Jeni is an early sleeper and an early riser, so we need to be there before 10 tomorrow night. Not sure if we can muscle our way through Friday rush hour traffic that quickly, but we'll try!

So - it's on!!! Psyched, and ready to explore this little nook of Florida.

I hope you have a beautiful weekend.

Last Minute Vacation

So thankful for the pouring rain outside, because even though we aren't as bad off as Texas, we sure did need some rain.

I'm also very thankful that the rain decided to hold off until after I got home. This morning I walked 1.8 miles to the train station and took the train to work, which means that I also had to walk 1.8 miles home, and it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun in the rain.

So here we sit, Barley and I, enjoying the pitter patter on the roof and the noise the rain makes as it courses through the gutters. Windows and doors open, candles lit, and it's starting to feel cozy as can be.

I'm about to dive back in to Hunger Games (only a few pages in but loving it!), but first I ought to pack for vacation.

What's that? Vacation?


Tom has a long weekend off (his last one until January), and he ignored my pleas that we just relax here at home. He insists that we go somewhere special. He's right, of course. A little road trip sounds perfect right about now.

Here's how it all went down:

A month ago: Tom finds out he has a long weekend off, and we consider doing something. We decide we have an entire month to think about it.
Tuesday (9/20): Yeah, we should really do something this weekend....
Wednesday (9/21): Maybe Cedar Key, FL? Maybe St. Mary's, GA? Maybe Disney? Maybe a mountain cabin in north Georgia?
Thursday (9/22) - aka present day: We've narrowed it down to two different places in Cedar Key, GA. We're just trying to score the best deal.....

And yes, this does mean that we are leaving for vacation tomorrow and still have no idea where we're going. Which is a-ok with me. I love spur of the moment vacations. And in all actuality, we would have had a much more solid plan days ago if we weren't bringing Barley. But that gal is coming with us, so we had to find lodging that would accept her like we do.

Here is what the Cedar Key tourism board has to say for itself:
As you leave the Florida mainland, rich Gulf waters reflecting blue skies beckon you as birds float like petals over the marsh vista. Welcome to our island, a place where time stands still and allows you to enjoy the unique qualities of our coastal environment. Cedar Key is a quiet island community nestled among many tiny keys on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Long admired for its natural beauty and abundant supply of seafood, it is a tranquil village, rich with the almost forgotten history of old Florida.
Nooooowwww you're jealous, right? I mean, who doesn't want to see birds float like petals over a marsh? This girl sure does.

Here is what Tom's dad says of Cedar Key (they have done many a father-son fishing trip there):

"Dana, a different breed of character hangs around Cedar Key!"

I'll take it!

And I just can't pass up one more quote from here:
Cedar Key is not your average Florida destination – Cedar Key is “old Florida” or “original Florida” or better yet, “before Disney” Florida. Quaint streets lined with shops, friendly people, real food, funky art, and peaceful relaxation. Cedar Key is a clamming, fishing, and artist village with a tourist trade. It’s not uncommon to see a sign in the window of a shop that says “Gone Fishin” during business hours and they really mean it. If you need a chain store, a mall, or traffic light fix to make the day ok for you – don’t come to Cedar Key!
The house we are crossing our fingers for is actually a trailer, has its own private dock on the canal, a ginormous porch, and a fish cleaning station. I'll give you a sample preview:

View from private dock!


Well, all. I'm off to read Hunger Games. I think I may even have a little glass of red wine while I'm at it.

Dinner (too simple, easy and delish not to share):
  1. Cook up some orzo
  2. Drain
  3. Add spinach, goat cheese, cranberries, pine nuts (or pumpkin seeds, which is what I used), dried basil, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar
  4. Mix
  5. Chill in fridge and eat cold

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

the perfect partner to an overwhelming work project

A few years ago, I would have preached to you about "work life balance" and "keeping work at work" in a very authoritarian tone. I would have looked down my nose at someone who would dare work at the dinner table. But now I say phooey.*

And I will tell you why.

My work overwhelms me. Sometimes it feels too big for little ol me.
I go to work and dream of the day when this Really Big Project will be over.
My cubicle suffocates me. Just a little bit.
I've actually had nightmares about said Really Big Project. (don't judge)

But then.....

I discovered working at home.
At night.
With the windows open.
Breeze flowing in.
My pup by my side.
Typing away about chemicals and health and Making Things Right.
Glass of wine.
Maybe another.

And even though I'm working at home.
Even though I said I never would.
This feels like work life balance to me.
This feels just right.

Counting my blessings for a stable job. A good job. A great boss. Healthy arms and legs to take me there. And a glass of wine at the end of the day - the perfect partner to this writer here.

*But dang if you're working instead of playing with your kids then shame on you! I'm just an old maid with a dog who's got no one relying on her. And I sure as shoot don't work on vacation!

Monday, September 19, 2011

well deserved feasts

What a long week! Work, long walks to the dog park in the evenings, night yoga, morning yoga, driving to work, riding the train to work.....

And now the weekend. Time to breathe, relax, and... eat!

I skipped a few meals this week due to an empty fridge and a busy schedule, which is an entirely non-Dana happening. I usually add meals to the day, not take them away.

But what are Saturdays for, if not to make up for what you missed during the week?

Started the day by waking up at 6:45am and made my way north of the city. Tom and I went to Douceur De France in Marietta, an absolutely yummy little French place. We both got the Panini Salmon (2 poached eggs served on smoked salmon, fresh tomato and Hollandaise sauce), which came with hashbrowns "a la Francaise."

Of course there was no way that we could leave without picking something up from the amazing bakery section.

I die.

What did we choose?

Tiramasu, naturally.

This tiramasu is moist, delicate, and flavorful. I'm glad we only got one piece to share, and I'm glad that I don't have the patience to bake desserts.

Next up: Marietta Square Farmers Market, which also happened to coincide this week with the Hubcaps and History Marietta Classic Car Show and the Trash or Treasure Show.

This is my dream car. Mostly because of the color, but also because I can imagine myself driving with the top down, hair blowing in the breeze. You know, like this:

Image from here
From the market: 1/2 pound of arugula, chevre, 5 bars of Nature's Garden homemade soap, a jar of Fig Pine Nut jam from Emily G's Jam of Love and this:

Oh my goodness, I hope the intended recipient is not reading the blog right now, but I have to share how cute this is. Love it. Want your own? Head over to see Claire Dunaway. Uh-oh, just realized she specializes in dog portraits. Maybe Barley needs her own portrait? Nah, I guess we can probably wait awhile on that one.

When we got home we made some Fig-Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula. I have been d.y.i.n.g to make this pizza since I saw it, and used the fig jam and arugula from the farmers market to make it. The fig jam caramelized on the crust, and the mozzarella cheese melted and got brown on top. Oh - heavens yes! After a mini-fiasco that involved melting cheese and fig preserves burning on the bottom of the stove (good excuse to open the doors!), I pulled the pizza out of the oven and added prosciutto, arugula and parmesan. Threw it back in the (turned off) oven and let it all get melty and soft for about a minute.

Thumbs up from me. And thumbs up from Tom too.

Even though I haven't been around my garden for a couple months and had given it up for dead, I ventured to the backyard to check it out. Looky looky! Amid the aphid-infested tomatoes and lackluster oregano, I found some carrots and three tomatoes! Not a good return on the time and money I invested in this garden, but the good outweighs the bad overall.

I never thinned my carrots, which is why they are so squat and little. I'll take them though.

I don't have television in my new house, so I'm spending some time watching football and America's Next Top Model at Tom's while I finish up a long-overdue knitting project.

Knitting, football, and really good food. Not a bad day. No, not at all.

May have had a mimosa.

Or two.

Saturdays. Yes, Saturdays.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Steps to Happiness on a Fall Day:

1. Purchase Trader Joes Spiced Cider*
2. Pour into a microwave safe mug
3. Microwave until nice and hot
4. Sip, preferably whilst sitting outside on your screen porch, reading a good book

Fall is finally here. And even though I try to savor all seasons, I've got a special little place in my heart for autumn. That special little place gets larger and larger for every Georgia summer that I suffer through.

The air this evening is chilly, but I keep the door between the kitchen and the screen porch open to let the fresh air in. I sit outside on the porch, and just because I can, wear a sweatshirt with my bare feet.** Feels lovely around here.

And finally I allow myself to open the bottle of spiced cider that has been sitting in the back of my closet since last fall. Have you tried this? If not, head to Trader Joes and buy a bottle. Maybe two bottles! I bought two bottles last year and only drank one, so I saved my second bottle for this fall because drinking spiced cider in the summer is probably against the Constitution or at least the code of normal behavior. So on second thought, better only buy one.

The battery in my camera is currently dead, so I scrolled the internets to get a suitable replacement. From here
I think Trader Joes actually sells this cider year-round, but I pretend that they only sell it when the air feels chilly. If I'm feeling spring-y or summer-y, I walk past the cider spot with eyes averted. If it is fall or winter - but mostly just fall - I notice the spiced cider on the shelves enthusiastically and get all excited that they've "brought out the seasonal stuff." Yes, I play games with myself to increase my happiness.

Homemade cider is probably infinitely better than this cider. At least, it could be better. Actually, I am pretty sure that this cider is just as good as homemade cider. Either way, I have this cider - and not homemade cider - so this is the cider that I drank this evening, when the temperature dipped and the sun set and I said thank you to this beautiful world.

Good night

Good night

Good night

*Heck no this isn't a paid endorsement! Or even an unpaid endorsement! Trader Joes doesn't even know who I am! Although sometimes I think they do when they are all friendly and chatty, asking me "Are you sure you only want one case of that two-buck Chuck?"

**I should clarify that my feet were not wearing the sweatshirt, but that I was wearing a sweatshirt while also having bare feet. I don't like ambiguous sentences, but at the same time like for sentences to flow in a specific way. It was difficult for me to get both in that sentence, so I gave up ambiguity in order to get the precise flow.***

***In which I demonstrate how anal I am when I write.
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