Shout-out to the movers

We moved this weekend and we'd like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped: Mark's parents, Kelly, Wendy and Gerald, Brian, Claire and Sam. We could not have done it without you guys and we are so grateful! Sorry about the stairs... ideally we would have been able to park in the front but we had to park in the alley behind the house which meant a three-story climb. You were all troopers and I hope you're not too sore today.

We'll post pictures when we clean things up a bit. Thanks again!

Ink with your tortilla?

Yes, you're seeing right. That is a date and time stamped tortilla. Not only did this tortilla apparently expire August 25, but it came out of the middle of the package, causing me to frantically check whether ALL of my tortillas were tattooed. They were ink-free, so I snapped a picture of this one before I threw it out.

Notes to self

Lessons learned on a late-night walk to our local neighborhood market

1. Don't shop in the dark. Just because something looks great by streetlight doesn't mean it'll look great by normal light. That leather bag we picked up looked like a great find until we got into the light of Pete's and observed its true raggedness.

2. If something's hanging on a dumpster, there's probably a reason. Please refer to lesson number one.

3. Champagne and ice cream go great together.

An update to cream cheese pizza

I’m going to have to include BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse on the list of establishments who will serve us cream cheese pizza. Nicole and I were there last night and after a little finagling (and the understanding of our above-and-beyond waitress), a mini pizza topped with tomatoes, cream cheese, roasted peppers and olives arrived at our table. Two Oktoberfest brews later had us scribbling notes to our waitress expressing our heartfelt thanks for her collaboration on our quest and sincerest apologies for Nicole’s faulty addition (her receipt looked like a deranged pen had attacked it – scribbles and cross-outs everywhere).


I’ve recently picked up the “Confessions of a Shopaholic” series for some entertaining reading. Who doesn’t like a good beach read? I’ve also seen the movie and I always find myself comparing the two. The movie stars Isla Fisher, whom I consider to be an Amy Adams lookalike (check out that red hair!)

If I watch the movie first and then read the book it was based on, I’ll usually picture the actors and actresses when I read. This time though, Isla Fisher will not stick in my head. She just doesn’t seem to fit the Becky Bloomwood in the book. I don’t know where I got this, but for some reason I always picture Casey Wilson of SNL. I’m not sure if it’s Casey’s all-around American girl way (which is weird because the book Becky is actually British), but I can’t get her out of my head. Casey is my Becky.

“Confessions” is a comedy of errors. You know those movies where nothing will go right for the protagonist? “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” or “Meet The Parents” come to mind. The ones where the guy just can’t catch a break and where you fidget uncomfortably in your seat because everything goes wrong and it’s just so awkward? For me, it’s the same when I encounter these situations in books. I get absorbed in books and sometimes become physically uncomfortable when I read about an awkward situation. Last night, Becky was getting drunk during an interview and I actually had to put down the book a few times and move around the apartment. Who knew reading could be so stressful?

Cream cheese pizza

Have you ever walked by one of those wall plaques with a fake fish mounted on it and all of a sudden the fish's head pops out and starts to sing? Or have you seen those expensive voice-activated toys that just need a keyword to start beeping or dancing? People are like this to a certain extent: mention a certain topic or buzzword and they'll go off on a tangent on the ethics of open source or the benefits of free range meat.

My close friends know by now not to bring up the topic of pizza toppings because my eyes light up and I can’t wait to open my mouth and share my favorite pizza topping: cream cheese. The obsession started back in high school when Old Chicago was one of the hangouts of choice, and my small group leaders at the time were absolutely convinced that cream cheese was the best pizza topping ever invented and we all HAD to try it. It isn’t what you think – most of the time, people assume the cream cheese is spread as a layer like sauce but it’s actually dropped in small dollops and distributed much like pepperoni or sausage would be. I refused to try it for a while because, after all, does cream cheese really belong on pizza? My instincts told me no but finally, at the behest of all my converted friends, I forked a bite in my mouth. The combination of flavor was enough to make me a lifelong fan and persistent proselytizer to anyone who will listen. Cream cheese pizza was easy to come by in my hometown. Not only did Old Chicago offer it as a secret ingredient (you won’t find it on the menu), but so did a hometown favorite pizza joint, Roma’s. My guess is that Roma’s offered it first and it became so popular that Old Chicago eventually added it to its repertoire because I’ve been to a couple different Old C’s around the country (Portland and St. Paul) and was met with blank stares when I asked for it. This changed on Saturday when Mark and I went with some friends to a different Old Chicago in Portland. I almost didn’t ask if they had cream cheese because Greeley has been the only place I’ve ever found it (and I ask everywhere). Also, whenever I ask for the topping, I get some weird looks and an occasional “Cream cheese on pizza? That’s… interesting.” It’s tiring always being on the defensive. Nonetheless, I asked the waitress if they had it and was so shocked at her “Yes, we do!” that I could only stammer my surprise and re-open my menu to build my order around it.

I’ve tried to scale back my excitement lately because I know I’m kind of like that singing fish. It doesn’t matter if you’ve heard it before, I’ll still tell you that you should try it because it’s just SO good. I’ve already converted two people and I’m hoping for a domino effect so I won’t continue sounding like a broken record. But no promises.

Labor Day special

I don’t usually make side dishes with our meals. It’s enough for me just to get a main course done (unless you count rice as a side). Last night I decided to get ambitious and make two side dishes with the main course. The plan: baked chicken glazed with a lemon/honey/garlic/oregano concoction, baked zucchini brushed with butter and garlic, and whole wheat couscous. The reality: my evil baking sheet had its way with my zucchini and burned it. Zucchini FAIL. The chicken was a success though and it’s pretty hard to mess up couscous. Mark has gotten good at making a yogurt type of dressing for the couscous, which is dry all by itself. He mixes plain yogurt with garlic, mint and a hint of sugar, which livens up the unseasoned couscous. I’m a big fan of couscous – it only takes five minutes to cook. Who wouldn’t like that? But enough of the couscous fan club. I need to go buy some more zucchini.

And no, I’m not a great food photographer, especially when Mark is hungry.

Thoughts from a spinning class

Note: Spinning is the same as cycling on a stationary bike and is a great lower-body workout.

Twelve people began the spinning class yesterday, dutifully adjusting their bikes and swigging water. I had never seen this particular instructor, a middle-aged man in great shape for his age wearing a sweatband on his head and actual cycling shoes on his feet, but I’d heard rumors. You know you’re in trouble when the instructor wears the professional shoes.

Instructor: “All right class, we’ll do an eight-minute warm-up and follow up with stretches.”
It begins.
Instructor: “I use a 5-point scale, 1 being a flat ride and 5 being the most resistance you can do. Start out on a 3.”
Oh good, a 3 isn’t too bad. I can do a 3.
Instructor: “Hold it… OK, now double time! Push it people!”
I can’t even double time a 2! And what kind of music is this, some kind of smooth jazz? Where’s our hip-hop?

We lost four people from the class around the half-hour mark. A puddle of sweat had now formed on the floor beneath the instructor’s handlebars. After a particularly hard set, I reduced the resistance, sat back on my seat and turned to look at my friend next to me, the source of the rumors about the instructor. “I told you,” she mouthed. “I wasn’t joking!” We started another set: standing sprints.

Instructor: ”I see someone yawning back there! I must not be working you guys hard enough. Come on, smile at me!”
You don’t deserve a smile, you deserve a fist shake.

This went on for what seemed an eternity (or 20 minutes) until we began our cool down and finishing stretches.

Instructor: “I’m only subbing today, but I teach every other Saturday morning here and you all should come!”
My quads and I will be sleeping but thanks.

It took all my remaining strength just to drag myself to the car. But I’ll be there next week!