Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Pleasant, but Ineffective, Adventure

Many men enjoy watching sports. While Mike enjoys an occasional football game, e-Sports is his favorite way to indulge the stereo-type of the man glued to the screen watching the "big game." Luckily for me, tournaments are a little more spaced out. It's a great indicator of how much he likes me that he was convinced to leave the coverage of MLGDallas to search the valley for a reasonably priced used microwave.

We came into the market for a microwave last weekend, when ours exploded. This interim time has made me realize just how much I use the microwave. I'm not nearly organized enough to have meat defrosted the night before, so the defrost function is necessary to a large percentage of meals. And, of course, after finally finishing the unnecessarily intensive grading process of some school-wide essays, I came home with a migraine. All I wanted in the whole world before I locked myself in a dark room to sleep it off was a bowl of chicken noodle soup. And, if you think I was going to wait for it to heat up on the stove... pshhhh. (I didn't. I compromised the electrical integrity of our home by using the microwave again. It didn't blow anything up this time, so... meh.)

When I began to look into replacing the microwave, which we bought when we were first married at DI for $25, I thought I could just buy something online. I knew we'd gotten the other one, practically brand new, for a steal, but, I had no idea how lucky we'd been. Did you know microwaves are a $100+ type item? I didn't. And I didn't want to pay that much for one. So, we decided to try DI again.

Mike gallantly shut off the Starcraft stream and accompanied me on my quest. ... Two DIs later, we were not yet in possession of a microwave. But, we definitely found out that the one in Sugarhouse is way less stinky and gross than the one Downtown. So, that was valuable. And, although we didn't find a microwave, we did find a gorgeous copy of The Best of James Herriot for a dollar. Mike was overjoyed and declared that it would be a family heirloom, which, I'm sure is a title the microwave never would have attained.

Additionally, after a few hours of scouring thrift stores, we were pretty hungry. We decided to try this quaint, classy place we'd seen on 5th South called Cannella's. It was incredible!

Mike got a beef brisket sandwich with brie, tomato, and garlic aioli on ciabatta.

I got a turkey cran-pesto sandwich on whole wheat sourdough bread.

On our way back to our car, we took a detour to stroll through the gardens on the roof of the Salt Lake City Library to enjoy the panoramic city view.

So, we still need a microwave, but we had a really, really nice day.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

On NaNoWriMo and Other Ambitious Projects

I'm having this huge life struggle lately. It has a lot to do with being brave and setting big goals that are more fulfilling than having all my copies made and my dishes done. The problem I'm facing is that I have no time whatsoever to hope to do those things. In fact, the copies and dishes are seldom up to date. Teaching is a great privilege and responsibility, but also kind of a time suck. 

Last year, some friends/colleagues convinced me to participate in NaNoWriMo a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month. The goal is simple: during the month of November, write a 50,000 word novel.

I did start a novel last year. Current word count: 2,713. So... not great. 
But, I want to try again. Not just to complete the NaNoWriMo goal, which seems pretty unrealistic since I'm working like 12-14 hours a day right now. (For the children, people, for the children.) I want to really start writing. That's why I'm cheating at NaNoWriMo this year.

My goal is to take the manuscript that I have (one might also say the several paragraphs I have written) and add to it. My goal is to have 10,000 words by the end of November. That's really not such a huge goal, but, the real goal is. I want to write. And I'm going to do it. I'm going to put down the red pen, close the Pinterest tab, and let the dishes sit. It might take me years and years and years at this rate, but I am going to write a novel. 

And it might suck. But at least I'll know that I can do it. So then, I'll write a better one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New York

Whenever I get bored with work, or Mike being in school, or cleaning the house, or whatever else occupies my time, I like to plan vacations. I check prices on flights, hotels, cruises, and tourist attractions. Then, I present them to Mike who lovingly reminds me that we've just got to keep on keepin' on until the weekend/Christmas/summer/graduation.

Except, the last time I did this, he just said, "Let's do it. Let's go." So, we're headed to New York City for our anniversary.

And, as luck would have it, we just happen to be going during Restaurant Week wherein fancy schmancy restaurants have 3 course prix fixe menus. I know a few of you who live and die for this sort of thing, so here are the details on the food.

Our first Restaurant Week stop will be dinner at Opia, a restaurant with a "modern French focus." Here are our options:
Opia, NYC

Creamy Potato & Leek Soup- Chives, Crème Fraiche, White Truffle Oil
Chicken Liver Pate- Caramelized Shallots Chutney, Quince Compote, French Baguette
Escargots with Herbed Gnocchi- Garlic Sausage & Pearl Onions, White Wine & Parsley Beurre
Savory Stuffed Muscovy Duck-French Green Lentils, Honey-Ginger Glazed Baby Carrots
Coq au Vin-Pomme Puree, Winter Baby Root Vegetables
Pan Roasted Wild Striped Bass-Curry Butternut Squash, Broccolini & Morels, Champagne Meyer Lemon Emulsion 
Blueberry Linzer Tart
Walnut Cognac Chocolate Brownie with Coffee ice cream
Apple Cinnamon Strudel with Caramel ice cream

The Palm, NYC

Our second dinner will be at The Palm, a famous steakhouse. There, we will be deciding between:

Classic Caesar Salad- Garlic Focaccia Croutons and Parmigianino Reggiano
Crispy Calamari Fritti- Point Judith Calamari, Cornmeal Dusted and Tossed with
Lemon and Marinated Peppers
Winter Salad-Arugula, Endive and Radicchio with Red Wine Poached Pears,
Toasted Walnuts and Gorgonzola

Delmonico Steak Au Poivre- Topped with Garlic and Parmesan Shoestring Potatoes
Chicken Parmigiana- Linguine Marinara
Filet Mignon 9 ounce- Crab and Boursin Cheese Sauce over Goat Cheese Whipped Potatoes
Double Cut Lamb Porterhouse Chops- Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and Fresh Mint Sauce
Atlantic Salmon Filet- Maple Ginger Glaze served with Basmati Rice and Snow Peas
New York Style Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Crème Anglaise, Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream
Key Lime Pie with Blueberry Compote

What would you pick? I'm still trying to decide on dessert at Opia, so feel free to weigh in on that.