Monday, March 2, 2015

Day #7: Coincidence Isn't Just For Novels

Ever had that moment where you're just going about life and suddenly run into someone you never would have imagined running into at that particular time, at that particular place? What are the odds, right? What was the likelihood of both of you being at the same location at the same time?

I had that happen to me the other night. My sister and I had a Girls' Night Out this weekend. A local historic theater was playing Raiders of the Lost Ark, and of course I had to go. I grew up on Indiana Jones. And it was also the perfect excuse to check out the theater, which I've never been in. It's gorgeous and I look forward to attending more events there.

But I ran into an acquaintance there that I never would have imagined running into. The odds of us being there at the same time, same place just aren't high at all. Some people roll their eyes at coincidence in novels because the likelihood of it actually happening - or the protagonist and an old friend running into each other in London - just isn't high. But it happens. Sometimes things line up. Coincidence isn't just for novels. Don't ever assume that just because the possibility isn't high that it won't happen.

Now that I've recovered from the weirdness of that oddball occurrence, I can appreciate the weekend. It was a girls' weekend, and it's exactly what I needed. I woke up Saturday morning with a relapse into my chest cold. Bleh. And because Life sometimes likes to deliver double whammies, my friend Catherine With a C (I know two Catherines) woke up with a full-on chest cold. So our plans for Sunday night were canceled. We both need to rest.

So my mum and I took Saturday as a much-needed Mom-Daughter Day. My dad and sister were off doing something, so we got up, made a bowl of cheese-and-caramel popcorn, some virgin margaritas, and put in Eat Pray Love. While I cannot 100% relate to the protagonist's problems, that movie's ultimate message did really speak to my soul: Once you learn to love yourself, the good and the bad, you can find it within you to love others. While I didn't need a year-long tour of Italy, India, and Bali to "find myself," I did recently go through my own "self discovery" and still am a little bit. I don't suppose we ever stop learning about ourselves, though, do we?

My forever-friend Megan paid a surprise visit in the afternoon, and brought with her chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves. Comfort food! Ever since she got busy with college, we haven't gotten to see each other very often. We've known each other literally for our whole lives and we are probably as opposite as forever-friends can get. But we are besties. It was super duper awesome to see her and gossip about life over tamales and more virgin margaritas.

With that and the movie, it was practically a perfect weekend.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Bookworm's Corner #1

The Bookworm's Corner is weekly updates on anything bookish! What I've read through the week, any books I've bought this week that I'm super duper excited about, recommendations lists, book news - whatever! This is where the Bookworm wades in.

What I'm Currently Reading

- Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan: On page 198
- Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales: This week, I read (coming soon)
- Anderson's Best-Loved Fairy Tales: This week, I read (coming soon)
- Wolfsblood by Hazel West: On page 192
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: On page 171
- Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie: On page 82
- Dracula by Bram Stoker: On page 320
- Twilight by Stephanie Meyer: On page (coming soon)


White Wine Chicken

This recipe is courtesy of Happy Wives Club!

I paired this delicious recipe with garlic knots and a bed of fettuccine. It's very filling, very yummy, and pretty quick to make, too!

4-6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup olive oil
1 cup flour
1 stick butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp parsley, chopped
1 lemon
5 oz white wine (I used Barefoot Charbonney)
3 chicken bouillon cubes (the original recipe calls for 6; 3 is just fine unless you want it really salty)

- In a shallow bowl, dip the chicken breasts in flour, until they're lightly coated. Dust off any excess.
- Cut lemon in half and juice one of the slices. Cut the other half into wedges and set aside.
- Pour olive oil into a large skillet until it coats the bottom and heat over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Cook until it turns white, but not totally cooked through. Remove the chicken and place on a separate plate.
- Lower the heat and add the parsley and garlic. When the garlic turns transparent, add the butter, wine, and lemon juice. Let it simmer on low heat.
- In a container with a lid, add 10 oz of hot water and the bouillon cubes. Shake vigorously (the bouillon cubes don't have to be completely melted). Add 2 tbsp of flour, then shake vigorously again. Add this mixture to the skillet.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Put the chicken in a baking dish and pour the sauce over it.
- Bake chicken for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve with pasta! Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and squeeze a lemon slice over it all.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sweet & Sour: Saying Goodbye and Worthy Causes

Sweet & Sour is a weekly feature where I talk about one "sweet" thing that happened - and one "sour" thing. Because life throws us lemons and cookies! But because bad news should always come first, we're doing this in reverse order!

The Sour

Our dog Jamie had to be put down Tuesday. It totally sucked and my family is feeling the pain of it still. But she did live a long and healthy life, and she's no longer in pain. Still, it sucks. Anyone who has had beloved pets understands. Even when you try to see the positive in it, there's no ignoring the pain.

The Sweet

I got into contact with the local pro-life group and I can finally start doing something worthy. I've always wanted to get involved in a pro-life group, but didn't really know how to get into contact with the local one until now. It was a lot of fun and I'm really looking forward to getting more involved.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Quote Wall #3

Quote Wall is for everyone to comment and share their favorite quotes of the week. Be it from a book, movie, other people - whatever you like! Share them in the comments and I'll put them up on the Quote Wall page!

"Every grain of experience is food for the greedy growing soul of the artist." - Anthony Burgess

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day #6: Step Back and Breathe

Yesterday I almost had a panic attack because I realized how much I have going in the next few weeks and my brain wanted to think about it ALL AT ONCE!!!!

Whoever doesn't get comfort out of making lists has never really been stressed out. As soon as I got home from work, I got out my planner, my phone, and a bunch of highlighters and sticky notes. I sat down and outlined the next few weeks, made grocery shopping lists for all the meetings and movie nights I'm in charge of, and a budgeting plan for my trip to Seattle Swing (that's the highlight of March; real big event).

I felt immensely better afterward. Call me OCD or uptight or whatever, but knowing exactly what's going on and what I need to prepare for it makes me feel so, so, so much better. I don't have to think about it anymore because I know I have a list that I can consult when the time is necessary. Schedules and highlighters and sticky notes and bullet points are my friends. In fact, I'd be a little lost without my phone.

After I did all of that, I got down to my nightly routine of prepping anything I need to prep for the next day (like more bread dough for garlic knots), cleaned my hedgehog's cage, laid out my clothes, and settled down to watch Grantchester with my parents. And I actually went to bed at a very decent hour (something I plan on doing on a regular basis), so I woke up not tired at all today!

I love life when it's in order. Tomorrow I attend my first ever pro-life meeting with a local group, and I'm so excited. I've wanted to get involved in a "worthy cause" for a long time and I look forward to delving into it now!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day #5: Forced Shut Down

My body decided that enough was enough, and it forced me to rest. Sunday morning, I woke up full of energy - which was good, because I had a long day ahead of me. I had work, Book Club, archery practice, and then a night out to the cinema with some friends. Halfway through the day, I got a funny tickle in my throat that didn't go away.

It turned into a full-fledged chest cold towards the end of the day. I woke up Monday completely ill; I had stern orders from my boss to not even try and work. So I spent Monday in bed, sleeping, watching chick-flicks, eating yogurt pretzels, and reading. The rest did wonders for me; I can't deny it.

Tuesday morning I was feeling a lot better, but still took it easy. Did more reading and writing. Then dolled myself up to go swing dancing, even though I probably should have stayed home. By that time, though, I was showing hardly any symptoms. No stuffy nose, surprisingly no cough, and just a bit of a sore throat. But I never miss swing, not for anything. I've got the dancing bug bad. ;-)

Of course, yesterday was also tinged with sorrow. We had to put our dog Jamie down. She had bone and lung cancer, and it was just no longer possible to keep her alive and comfortable. So there was that cloud, and I imagine that it's going to hang over the rest of the week. But I try to find the positive even in this. Jamie lived a long and good life, brought a lot of joy to my family, and she's now no longer suffering. It always sucks to lose someone - family member, pet - but it does happen eventually.

The rest of this week is promising to be a little less crazy. I'm back to getting up at eight; it lets me get so much done. I was able to record all of my Youtube videos for the end of the month, and if I get to bed early enough, I shouldn't be as tired. I may even start running in the mornings. Or at least walking. Or both. I'm going to enjoy this week as much as I can, though, because this coming week is going to be crazy again. And March is just. . . .wow. Busy, busy, busy, busy!!