"The hottest bachelor in bachelor history"

Last night was the season premiere of The Bachelor, the guilty pleasure show I’ve watched since not quite the beginning (I think I first got hooked on the end of Trista’s Bachelorette season and have watched almost all of them since then). There was Jesse Palmer, the NFL quarterback; Charlie O’Connell, the goofy actor and brother of the guy from that great show My Secret Identity; Travis Stork, the ER doctor and probably my favorite bachelor; Lorenzo the fruity Italian “prince”; Andy Baldwin, the “officer and gentleman”; and the other Bachelorette season with Jen Schefft, the ex-fiancee from Andrew Firestone’s season. Whew, so complicated. I didn’t watch much of greasy Byron the fisherman’s season.

Anyway, this season, ABC has picked – hold your horses – the HOTTEST BACHELOR IN BACHELOR HISTORY! No kidding, haven’t they said pretty much the same thing every single season? If I were one of the first guys I’d be feeling pretty crappy about myself since I’d been one-upped about 10 times by now. Brad Womack, the bar owner from Austin, TX is definitely not my favorite yet. I’m not a fan of the facial hair I don’t think, and I mean, he’s cute, but…..eh…not rocking my socks off.

So far I don’t know what the twists are going to be this season – maybe they mentioned them in last night’s premiere, but honestly I didn’t pay attention to much of it because I was talking to my own prince charming :). I did see the “This Season on the Bachelor” montage of dramatic scenes, tears, hugs and drunk girls at the end, with the climactic ambulance sirens, 911 call, girls covering their mouths and hugging and Brad saying “I never thought it would turn out this way.” What, does a girl die this season? Is that the twist? That would be new and different, ABC. I’m sure they just spliced in a comment of Brad saying that though, and he probably wasn’t even talking about the 911 emergency.

In my limited viewing of last night’s show, I still managed to see most of the Bachelor predictable-ness in all its glory. There were the squealing girls in the limos as they approached the first-night party mansion. “Oh my gosh, he’s so hot!” Ya think? Maybe they thought the twist would be ABC calling this season “The Bachelor: Joke’s on You / The Ugliest Bachelor in Bachelor History.” I didn’t see most of the getting-out-of-the-limo introductions, but I think I caught a recap of one girl speaking Hawaiian or something. Always has to be one that tries to impress by speaking a foreign language right off the bat. Hello, maybe you didn’t get the memo, but he’s from TEXAS. He’s AMERICAN. He don’t speak no other languages.

During the apparently all-night party (because at the end Chris Harrison kept saying “good morning” and “good night” to the girls before the rose ceremony), I caught glimpses of (1) girls doing weird talents, (2) girls going over the top to draw attention to themselves by, say, hopping in the pool in a bikini in the middle of a cocktail party and walking towards Brad illuminated by the moonlight like some kind of woodland goddess, (3) girls showing off weird body parts – um, webbed feet…?, (4) girls getting too plastered off the free wine to talk straight by the time they got their one-on-one moment with Brad - you know who you are Melissa, and (5) girls getting jealous when he comes and gets the first impression rose out from under their hovering noses and takes it to the sweetly unsuspecting Phoenix Suns cheerleader. All pretty par for the Bachelor course.

And of course, the end of the show brought all the Bachelor clich├ęs of Brad making “THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION HE’S EVER HAD TO MAKE IN HIS LIFE” and staring at the shrine of girls’ pictures interspersed with candles to help him make his decision (or at least remember their names…maybe they have their names engraved on the bottom of the pictures so he can spend his time rehearsing them.

I was washing dishes while he handed out roses, so I don’t really know who he picked, though I did take note that he kept Hilary (the nurse) and I didn’t hear him call the Kim girl so maybe she was an airhead or ugly or something. The line that kills me because Chris Harrison says it EVERY time, with EXACTLY the same inflection is “Ladies, Brad, this is the final rose tonight.” He did not disappoint last night. He even added in just for good measure my second favorite line, after the final rose had been given, “Ladies, I’m sorry…if you did not receive a rose, take a moment, and say your goodbyes.” Oh Chris Harrison, I bet you say those lines in your sleep. But it’s all part of the Bachelor charm.

Til next week…let the group dates begin!


Life's a beach

I am either very on top of things right now or just really putting off re-entering the real world after 4 days at the beach, since I'm posting this the same night I got back. I think it's the latter, considering my suitcase is still fully packed, I've prepared no food for the week, and I'm not going to bed despite having to get up 8 hours from now.

Anyway, this (long) weekend was a chance to get in some quality family time, since we never know what tomorrow or next week or next month holds, especially for mom. God was so good in giving her a pretty pain-free weekend, feeling good, and blessing all of us with safe travels, bright sunny weather, and an all-around good, relaxing time. The Tapps kept Paisley for the weekend (SO thankful for that!), and mom, dad & I drove down Thursday morning in some ominous weather - cloudy, chilly, windy and a little rainy. When we got to the condo, dad and I apparently conked out within minutes - me on the sofa, him on the master bed - so mom just went ahead and made a grocery list and went to the store by herself! Oops, sorry mom!

Friday morning, I can't believe it, but I slept til 10:45 (!) and then went for a long walk on the beach and did my leg workout to the best of my ability without the machines at the gym. I have GOT to remember to put on sunscreen when I run or walk on the beach when it's cloudy, because I have a nice little sunburn in the shape of my sportsbra to prove that 80% of the sun's rays DO come through the clouds. So I spent a lot of the rest of the time trying to even that out, without much luck. Hillary and Allen arrived Friday afternoon and we all enjoyed a breezy but pleasant afternoon on the beach.

We went out to dinner at Lee's Inlet Kitchen - our favorite place for pretty much my whole life - Friday night. It never disappoints. The hushpuppies and honey butter are the best you will ever taste, and the 5 of us went through 2 baskets. Everyone gives me a hard time for going to a seafood place at the beach and not getting seafood, but I just really love their grilled chicken, so I get it every time. Why pay $25 for fish when the $18 chicken is so good? Dad got his standard shrimp creole, and Hillary, Allen & Mom all got salmon. They even seated us near the fish tank we used to love looking at when we were little and would go to Lee's with the whole Johns side of the family :).

Saturday was another pretty low-key day...some laying out, dad getting in the ocean, some pool sitting, some reading and football, etc. That night we had a fun game of Spades - mom and me versus Hillary and Allen. Mom and I just could not get good cards to save our lives and quickly fell way down into negative numbers - I think at one point to -190something. Hill and Allen were winning quite handily, especially after I lost a nil with a 10 of diamonds! But somehow we crept back into it, after I was able to pull off nil, we got Allen to lose a nil on a 2 of spades on the last trick, and H & A lost points for too many sandbags. We ended the game after mom and I finally pulled ahead in the score....and then I went to call Wade and gloat :).

Today was just the clean up and drive home kinda deal, and Paisley is now passed out on my floor after I think she had the time of her life being spoiled by the Tapps and having Brinkley to play with! She'll probably be lonely all week :(.


Chicken pot pie

Oh, the glorious chicken pot pie. My favorite meal. My birthday dinner every year since I can remember. The words that make my eyes light up when mom tells me that's what we're having for dinner. The leftovers that I always had dibs on, and the pre-dinner treat of the "extra crust" (trimmings) mom would pop in the oven for me. With its flaky, buttery crust and big chunks of chicken with peas and carrots in a creamy sauce touched with a hint of thyme...mmmmmm, heaven.

Over the years, I have tried several times to make chicken pot pie myself, but it never turns out as good as mom's. Somehow the crust would be drier or wetter, wouldn't roll out so smoothly like hers or form those perfect scalloped edges around the pie plate. The filling would lack salt or be too liquid - not thick enough to cut slices, just a mess I had to scoop into a bowl.

But now more than ever, I am determined to master this delectable culinary creation, before I lose my mom's version and can't make one for myself. So I tried this week, and I think came closer than ever to the Mom Standard. I used regular flour instead of trying to go healthy but less dependable with whole wheat. I chilled the Crisco before making the crust, because I know it's important to have cold ingredients. I didn't panic when the pie dough initially seemed too dry, like it wouldn't all stick together. I just kept balling and kneading and squeezing, letting the warmth from my hands moisten the dough that last little bit. I rolled it out, methodically rounding and smoothing the edges, and turned it over frequently, before it had the chance to stick to the counter. The filling is really surprisingly easy to make - just 3 T. each of butter and flour, then whisk in 1.5 cups each of evaporated milk and chicken broth - slowly, to avoid lumps. Add 1/2 t. salt and 1/8 t. each of black pepper & thyme, and then 2 cups of cooked chicken and a package of cooked & drained peas & carrots, and let that cook a little bit til thickened.

Pouring that chickeny goodness into my crust-lined pie plate and placing the top crust over it, I had to be proud of my attempt. I tucked the edge of the top crust under the bottom crust and pinched them together, working my way around the circle. I cut slits in the top for steam, and then placed it in the oven on my trusty juice catcher (in case it decided to spill over), with the crust protector around the rim so it wouldn't burn.

The greatest thing about making chicken pot pie for me, myself and I is that I get to have it for 6 different meals - every day for a week! I do that with a lot of casseroles I make, but knowing that a meaty slice of chicken pot pie is available for lunch or dinner day after day just takes the week to a different level. I took pictures, so I'll try to post them if I can find time to download them from my camera this week!


Like a loofah for your butt

It's not every day that the toilet paper at work causes a stir. Although we have had our share of problems with the big plastic cover over the roll falling off when a person uses the sharp little teeth on it to actually do their job and tear the tissue... One former co-worker who used to sit beside me had particular problems with this, but she shall remain nameless. Personally, I tear the sheet with my other hand, avoiding causing undue pressure on the delicate plastic tooth aparatus and embarrassing crashes that echo through the bathroom walls into cube-land outside.
But anyway, this post is not about the faulty toilet paper dispenser. Earlier this week, I was quite surprised to go into the bathroom and find a new kind of toilet paper had replaced the old whisper-thin, soft-as-dead-leaves industrial t.p. Oh yes, this new-fangled stuff had bumps and dimples - really a lot like seersucker. It's not Quilted Northern or anything - still pretty rough - but the bumps made for quite a wild experience :).

For the first day or so I didn't say anything, but then I thought this is too weird, so I just threw out the question to my boss and co-worker, "Is it just me, or is anyone else freaked out by the new toilet paper?" They laughed, but I think they were secretly relieved to acknowledge the elephant in the room :).

I'm not sure how long we get to keep this seersucker t.p. The next spare roll on the back of the toilet seems to be the old, normal stuff. So I guess this was just a brief interlude, but an enjoyable one I suppose. Always good to keep people guessing. Maybe I should sneak in one of those little machines that goes inside the roll and plays music when people pull out the toilet paper. That would probably be fun. Hmm...where do they sell those nowadays?


Waaarrrrrrr EAGLE!

I'm back from a FUN weekend of SEC football, tailgating and such, courtesy of the wonderful Tapp and Wright families! I took Friday off work (thanks Girl Scouts!), dropped Paisley off to spend the weekend with friends (thanks Lib, Jorge & Stella!) and joined Mr. and Mrs. Tapp for the car ride down to Atlanta. 4 hours (and not too much traffic) later, we arrived at the beautiful resort belonging to their good friends the Wrights. Ok, so technically it's just their house, but with the lush lawns and landscaping, scenic pool and tennis courts, white feather beds and warm greetings, it was pretty much as good as one!

Wade arrived shortly after us, and after sharing introductions and a few old stories, the 6 of us enjoyed a yummy lasagna and salad dinner outside by the pool. After a short trip to the mall to buy socks for everyone who forgot them :), the adults picked a movie to watch and Wade and I decided to brave the tepid waters of the pool. It was fun to just be outside under the stars and be totally relaxed - nowhere to rush off to, no to-do list hanging over us, nothing on the agenda - just chill and talk. We did just that until we were a little TOO chilled and starting to get goose bumps and pruney hands, at which point we got warm inside and watched episodes of The Office for a while and laughed our heads off.

Saturday morning we leisurely awoke, chatted with parents, went for a run (Wade and I - and, ok, the run wasn't that leisurely - have you ever tried to run with a 6'7" varsity collegiate athlete?), shot hoops (Wade shot hoops; I rebounded for him and hurled the ball in the direction of the goal a few times, missing 90% of the time) and then got ready to go to Auburn.

With 6 adults, 2 coolers and additional food, we piled in an SUV and made the 2 hour trip, meeting Wade's sister Whitney at her dorm before the tailgate. Can I just say how much nicer Whitney's dorm was than my freshman abode in Hinton James? No whitewashed, cinder block walls, no hot & sticky bathroom shared by 8 girls with 60 years of accumulated grime, no broken down window unit ACs. Nope, just cute white and green walls, matching pink/black/and white bedding, twin Mac laptops, a flat screen TV and a whole coffee shop on a shelf!

The rest of the afternoon consisted of a lot of food, a lot of sitting around in Auburn camping chairs, shaking pom poms and shouting "war eagle!" to people walking by :). I still don't really get why the Auburn Tigers shout "war eagle" but I likened it to UNC having a ram mascot even though we're the Tar Heels. We had a really nice tailgating spot, under some trees and right next the the street where the football players walk down to the stadium before the game. It was quite a step up from my UNC football tailgating experiences!

At 8:00, the long-awaited game began - in the biggest stadium I have ever been in, completely packed with orange-and-blue-clad fans. Wade and I were one section over from the parents, and we were surrounded by an interesting assortment of fans. The guy on Wade's left wore an orange scrub top and talked to Wade incessantly throughout the game. The couple in front of me had the least Auburn spirit of anybody in the stadium (at least in their green and khaki and carolina blue clothing choices). The family behind us were obviously hard core Auburn born-and-bred fans and their yelling got louder and louder the more alcohol they ingested (or sugar - I'm hoping - in the case of their 3 little kids). The most interesting was the guy on my right, who stood on the bleachers throughout the game, with his headphones on (presumably listening to commentary or other football games), waving his arms up and down as if he was trying to get everyone to stand up (or "raise the roof" :)). We weren't sure what he was accomplishing with that motion (nobody took notice and stood up with him), but he also periodically chanted "block that kick!" or "block that punt!" with little effect.

Although I felt like I was watching the game, I somehow missed almost every time either team scored, as well as all 4 missed field goals kicked by USF. At halftime, Wade treated me to some sweetly sour "Lemon-Aid" and we shared a dish of Dippin' Dots. Ordering Dippin' Dots went like this... Wade: "Can I get cookies and cream?" Girl: "We don't have that kind." Wade: "Then can I have the vanilla with the pieces of Oreo in it?" Girl: "Sure!" She was not the brightest crayon in the box!

With 13 minutes left in the 4th quarter, we left to beat the traffic, and probably missed the most exciting part of the game since it went into OT - but Auburn eventually lost :(. After getting back to Atlanta at 2:30 a.m., we all crashed and slept soundly until church Sunday morning. This post is getting really long, so I won't drag it out - we had a great time of worship and teaching, and then another delicious meal, before hitting the road - me bound for Charlotte with Mr. and Mrs. Tapp and Wade heading off in the other direction for Chattanooga. We napped on the way home and made it in time for me to get to my Community Group cookout, which I was thankful for.

So that was the weekend!


In the beginning...

Well, my boredom at work has finally reached the point that I am creating a blog to help me procrastinate. My boss is out for about the 4th week out of the last 5, so things are quiet on the Girl Scout front. I'm in a lull between design projects...and mostly I just don't feel like doing anything anyway.

I had a GREAT Labor Day weekend, full of special times, poignant memories, laughs, tears, family, relaxation... Friday night we had a rare family dinner with the 5 of us (mom, dad, Hillary, Allen & me). It was so good to cherish time with my sweet parents. Wade drove in late Friday night, but he was at my door at 8:30 Saturday morning with beautiful flowers and a big hug! The last 2 weeks had felt like an eternity, so I could hardly believe I was seeing him again face to face. After pancakes at the Original Pancake House, we loaded Paisley and my stuff in his car and headed to the Tapp house for a relaxing afternoon.

A few naps and tennis matches later, we celebrated his sister Angie's birthday with a yummy salmon dinner and ice cream cake. Wade's 5-year-old nephew Dylan might be the cutest thing I've ever met. He would run laps around the downstairs, ending with a leap over the back of the sofa onto the cushions...and Paisley following him would also jump over the back onto the couch and onto Dylan! I don't think she's learning very good habits from that, but it was adorable nonetheless. Later that evening, Wade and I took on Mr. and Mrs. Tapp in Scrabble. Little did I know my boyfriend was such a dirty Scrabble player! Using the very extensive online Scrabble dictionary, we got away with words like "un" (meaning one) and "li" (a Chinese unit of measurement) and eventually won.

Sunday morning saw us taking up a whole row at Christ Covenant with our 2 families, and then a big lunch at Maggiano's. You never would have known everybody was meeting for the first time. After more napping on a lazy Sunday afternoon, Wade had to rush off to a Josh Groban concert after taking me and Paisley home.

The exciting thing is that this very next weekend, I'm going with the Tapps to an Auburn football game! I can't wait for a real tailgating experience for an SEC football night game. I think it'll be a little different than the atmosphere at a UNC football game. Stay tuned and hopefully I'll post more pics!