Friday, July 30, 2010

I Love Small Towns.

I live and work in a "big city" in North Carolina (i.e. at least 100k people), but recently I traveled to Danbury, NC for my job.  Its population as of the 2000 census was a whopping 108.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The population of the entire county is less than 45,000.  I really did not know that until I looked it up for this post.  Although, in hindsight, this explains my previous experiences there.  

But, while most people would scoff at having to go to such a tiny town, which is the county seat and therefore the location of the courthouse, I love it.  It's a bit of a pain to drive because it's nothing but two-lane country roads, but I can still be there in less than an hour.  I love the town.  I love the courthouse.  I even love the fact that there is NOWHERE there to eat other than a diner or two that seats maybe 15-20 people max.

I went there because my client was charged with misdemeanor assault but pleading not guilty (I believe he was actually not guilty, and I can't say that about many all my clients).  So, we were going to have a trial.  Turns out, that day was a VERY crowded docket for them-- 200+ people (which is a daily occurrence or light day for my county).  So, our trial got pushed to after lunch.  I certainly wasn't coming all the way home then back, so I stuck around saw some awesomeness that only happens in small towns.

The absolute highlight of my day was when asked what training or experience he had to identify the substance in question as marijuana, the county Sheriff's Deputy said, "Well, I have a lot of experience smoking it when I was younger."  I hope he doesn't get fired because he sure made my morning great.

Oh, and I won my trial!

I really hope for more opportunities to go to small counties.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Same Kind of Different as Me.

Amazing.  Inspiring.  Unforgettable.  

This book left me with few words but a lot to think about. A true story of a modern-day slave (Denver) from Louisiana and international art dealer (Ron) become friends after Ron is roped into volunteering at a homeless shelter by his wife.  The lessons that they teach each other, and, through this book, taught me are profound.  It's so easy to ignore and judge the homeless, and I am as guilty as anyone.  Read it and you'll never look at the homeless the same again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bar Exam Best Wishes.

Today and tomorrow is the bar exam here in North Carolina (and a lot of other states too).  It's pretty much gonna be some of the worst two days of your life.  But, take heart-- it will pass and so will you!  Good luck and Godspeed!

Oh, and here's a little tip for all of you taking the bar in NC:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hilarious Headline of the Day.

The Hilarious Headline of the Day comes from the BBC-- Mexico Arrests Man with 18 Monkeys Around His Waist.  Of course he had 18 monkeys around his waist.  Who doesn't carry their 18 monkeys that way?  And what customs official would notice 18 monkeys squirming around in your clothes?

It seems that Roberto Sol Cabrera was stopped by customs in Mexico City returning from Lima, Peru because he was acting "nervously."  When officials searched him, they found 18 titi monkeys, each in a sock, hidden in a girdle around his waist.  Many species of these monkeys are on the endangered list, and two died during "transport."  There's a video on their website showing the monkeys as they found them (but not on his person).  Poor monkeys.  Although, they don't look like any monkeys I've ever seen...

Image courtesy of the BBC

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cooking Adventures-- Part Deux.

Confession: I don't love cooking.  I wish I did, but I just don't.  However, a girl on a budget’s got to do what she's got to do.  So, I've been cooking a lot more recently.  I bought a TON of sweet cherries because they were on sale (and because they're delicious).  I bought so many that they are starting to wither before I can eat them all.  So, I decided last weekend to use them up by baking!

I made cherry muffins from Annie’s Blueberry Muffin recipe.  They were delicious, but next time I’ll add some vanilla extract and more cherries (or berries).

For breakfast, I made cherry pancakes!  These were definitely the highlight of my weekend, and I’m very proud.  Just used regular pancake mix and tossed in a cup of chopped cherries.  They were FANTASTIC.  Although I’m still learning how to flip a pancake properly.  It’s a work in progress.

Dinner was another experiment -- Creamy Bow Tie Fusili Pasta. Oh. My. Goodness.  This pasta was SO GOOD.  The recipe is for one serving (for all you single ladies, like me, who find it hard to cook for just one) if made as an entrée or two if you use it as a side dish.

Creamy Bow-Tie Pasta
(Adapted from Taste of Home)
·        1 cup pasta (I used whole wheat fusili)
·         1 1/2 teaspoon butter
·         2 ¼ teaspoon olive oil
·         1 ½ teaspoon flour
·         ½ heaping teaspoon minced garlic
·         Dash of salt
·         Dash (or more) of basil
·         Dash of red pepper flakes (optional—I omitted this because I didn't have any)
·         3 tablespoons milk (I used skim milk and it worked great)
·         2 tablespoons chicken broth
·         1 tablespoon water
·         2 heaping tablespoons shredded parmesan (more or less depending on how cheesy you want it)
·         1 tablespoon sour cream

Cook pasta according to package directions.  In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium low.  Once melted, stir in oil, flour, garlic and seasonings until blended.  Gradually add milk, broth and water.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat then stir in cheese and sour cream.  Drain pasta and toss with sauce.  Delicious!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bahamas-- I'm Coming to Ya.

I know I've mentioned my cruise before, but it's getting close and I'm soooooo excited!  Here are a few places I'll be going!!



Key West

Charleston (our departure port)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bachelorette Recap.

With most Bachelor/ettes, I have a clear favorite.  But this year, it's really tough to pick between Chris and Roberto.  I think Chris may have the slight edge, though.  Whoever doesn't get picked should definitely be the new Bachelor.


I really don't know how she's ended up with two great guys considering how absolutely annoying she is.

Frank's craziness came full circle this week.  I feel like Frank and I have been on a roller coaster ride.  He was my favorite in the beginning.  Then he went into his crazy, stalker phase.  But in Istanbul, he totally redeemed himself, and I was back on board.  And then this week.  I hope that this was not a setup the whole time but that he genuinely had feelings for Ali.  I really can't fault the guy for wanting to believe he was over someone then realizing that he's not when someone else comes along.  It's not like he had malicious intent like Justin and Wes.

As much as I don't really like Ali, I do feel bad for her having TWO dudes go back to girlfriends.  She doesn't get too much sympathy though-- she does have Chris and Roberto still fighting over her...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blogger Award.

Ashley at My Carnival Ride gave me this lovely award a while ago recently.  As a newbie blogger, it's nice to know that people are reading the stuff I write!  Thanks Ashley!!  You guys should definitely check out her blog.

So, the requirements are to list seven random facts about me then pass the award on to five other blogs.

1.  I'm pretty particular about my food-- cheese should not be in dessert, and fruit should not be in/on an entrée. 

2.  And yet, I'm an adventurous eater.  I love trying new cuisines and foods from far away places.

3.  I REALLY want a dog.  I always had a dog (at least one) growing up, and now I feel like my house is empty without one.  I think I'd get a puggle-- a pug and beagle mix.  Isn't she the cutest thing??    Sadly, I'm just not home enough to take good care of a dog.

4.  Paul Blart: Mall Cop is one of my favorite movies.  It makes me laugh so hard no matter how many times I've seen it.  There's even a show (on TLC, I think) called "Mall Cops" about mall security at the Mall of America.  It's a funny show too, although I don't think it was designed that way...

5.  I read books constantly, but just recently discovered the wonderfulness of the library.  How have I not been using the library all these years?  It's a warehouse of free books!  What could be better?

6.  I get bored really easily with my hair color or style.  My natural color is a medium brown, but over the last six months, I've been a dark red and now it's a dark chocolate brown (which I love).  It's also just about the longest it's ever been (about 5" below my shoulders).  And, while I really want to grow it out super-long, I also really want to cut it again.  Decisions, decisions.

7.  I own a ridiculous amount of pens that I never use.  I love pens, but go through phases with each one.  My current favorite pens are the Sharpie pens.  NOT the retractable ones-- for some reason they don't write the same.  Stick with the original.

I hereby pass this lovely award on to the following blogs I read all the time and love:

1. Sarah @ The 62 Days of Sarah
2. Jenna @ The Indecisive Organizer
3. Amy @ Ha ha. Wait. What? (ps-- that is the best name for a blog.  ever.)
4. Rachel @ Randomness with Rachel
5. Katie @ Katie's Journey

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Getting to Know You Sunday.

1. If you had to choose a country to live in besides USA (or the country you live in), which would it be?
Hmm... Hard to say.  Probably Great Britain because I could speak the language.  But I'd love to live in Paris-- I just have to learn French first!

2. Which would be worse, wearing flip flops in the snow or wearing gloves in the summer?
Definitely wearing gloves in the summer.  I HATE being hot.  Plus, I've worn flip-flops in the snow (albeit briefly), and it wasn't so bad.

3. Fried or Bake and why?
Fried is so much better, but baked is so much better for you.  So, I bake these days and save fried stuff for special occasions only.

4. If you were an entertainment reporter, which celeb would you love to interview and why?
I don't really have any favorite celebs that aren't athletes.  So, I'd definitely pick Tim Tebow.  I love him.  He's an incredible athlete and person.   

5. What was your favorite book as a preteen/teenager?
The Sweet Valley Twins/High and the Babysitters Club series were the best.

6. List your top 3 guilty pleasure television shows.
The Bachelor/ette

General Hospital

One Tree Hill (infinitely better post-Lucas and Peyton)

7. What bumper sticker slogan best describes you/your attitude/your life?
"I had a life... But my job ate it."  Haha-- my job isn't really all that bad, but sometimes I feel like it's trying to take over.  Ah, growing up...

8. If you were to join a circus - what performer would you be?
None-- the circus seriously freaks me out.  Maybe I could juggle something-- that's pretty tame, as long as it's not on fire.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first book in a thriller/suspense trilogy written by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson.  There was a ton of hype surrounding this book, and I finally got it from the library after being on the wait list for quite a while.  **Disclaimer-- there is a fair amount of bad language and some explicit, violent scenes in the book.**

It starts a little slow, with Larsson setting up the conflict between the protagonist, Mikael Blomkvist, and his nemesis, Hans-Erik Wennerstrom, a Swedish tycoon.  Blomkvist, a financial journalist, has been found guilty of libeling Wennerstrom and sentenced to a brief period in prison.  Because of this case, he is forced to resign as publisher of his magazine, Millennium.  Soon, he is contacted by aging Swedish industrialist, Henrik Vanger with an offer he can't refuse.  Vanger hires Blomkvist to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his favorite niece, Harriet.  Teamed up with hacker Lisbeth Salander, Blomkvist delves deeply into a world of deception, lies, and long-held secrets to expose the truth.

The writing is great, and the story moves very quickly (after the first fifty pages or so).  I love books when I can't see the ending coming, and this one definitely falls into that category.  The characters were written so incredibly complex that made them entirely believable.  This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and reading late into the night.

I can't wait for the second book, The Girl who Played with Fire, but apparently I'm going to have to since I'm #88 on the wait list for it at the library. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Randomness.

I've been a bad blogger (again...) this week.  But here are some updates or just random thoughts from the week:
  • I realized this week that out of the next five weeks (including the one that has just ended), only one will be a full five-day work week!  How exciting.  Between holidays and my cruise, the next couple weeks are going to FLY by. 
  • My hair has been a dark auburn/red for the last few months, and I love it.  But I think I'm gonna go back to my original brown tomorrow when I go to the salon.  It's really pointless to dye it red again with a week-long Bahamian cruise coming up.  It would be orange upon my return.  So, back to brown I go.  I wonder how I'd look with blonde highlights...
  • I FINALLY finished the Prison Break series.  The first season was absolutely amazing, but it was pretty much downhill from there.  Season 4 was DEFINITELY better than Season 3, but still didn't have me hooked like Season 1.  At least Wentworth Miller was there to spice up the screen.
  • For some reason, I have been dying to see the movie Cool Runnings.  So, I got it off Amazon for $5 (since Blockbuster doesn't have it anywhere around me...).  Can't wait to watch it this weekend!
  • Are well-fitting and flattering swimsuits impossible to make?  
  • The West Wing (at least the first four seasons while Aaron Sorkin was still writing) is still the best television show ever made.  

I hope you all have a great weekend, and I promise to try to be a better blogger next week!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cooking Adventures.

Annie's Eats and The Pioneer Woman Cooks are two of my favorite cooking blogs.  I check them both daily.  This week, I made Annie's Creamy Taco Mac, and it was delicious!  I think it could use some cayenne pepper or some red pepper flakes to spice it up a bit, but it's good as is if you don't want it spicy.  I used whole wheat pasta and couldn't tell the difference from regular pasta.

Creamy Taco Mac 
(adapted from and photo courtesy of Annie's Eats)

1 lb ground turkey
8oz whole wheat pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes (I used the kind with basil and oregano and did not drain them)
One package of taco seasoning
3 oz. cream cheese (I used reduced fat, and it worked fine)
1/2 cup sour cream (again, the reduced fat was fine)
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook pasta according to the package instructions.  Drain and reserve ½ cup of pasta water.  Set aside.

While pasta is boiling, cook the ground turkey over medium-high heat in a large skillet or sauté pan until no longer pink.  A few minutes before the turkey is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet.  Once the turkey is cooked through, add in the garlic.  Then, mix in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer over medium-low heat 5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit.  Remove from the heat and top with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

Also, since it's 4th of July this weekend, I plan on making these berry desserts:

Summer Berry Pie from Annie's Eats

Individual Raspberry Cobblers (I plan to use blackberries) 

I can't wait!  Hope you all have a GREAT 4th of July!!