Monday, January 30, 2012

Officially the worst view in the complex

It isn't quite "balcony sitting" season yet, unless we are talking about Roxanne who loves laying out there even when it's cold out just so she can keep watch on the cars, people and most importantly dogs that go by. But if it were warm enough for magazine reading and drinks on the balcony, this would be our view from the couch...

Not that it was ever a nice view, but it is significantly worse since the wall fell down. It happened the Thursday before Christmas, and luckily for me I work 4pm-midnight on Thursdays. If I hadn't been at work I'm about 90% sure that my car would have been parked right in the path of destruction from the falling cement block wall. If I would have taken a picture of this the day after it happened (or 2 weeks after it happened for that matter) you would have seen the 4 cars that got absolutely crushed by the wall. Two out of the four cars that were totalled were owned by the people 2 floors up with the serious birdseed/bird feeder obsession. I couldn't help but laugh a little when Rob told me that bit of information after the wall fell down (he was home for the whole thing). Rob told me not to be mean, but come on, it is a little funny that out of everyone in the building it happened to my archenemies.

I'm pretty sure we will be looking at this mess for quite a while. At first we were told by the management company that the wall would be fixed in 7 days, and we knew that was wishful thinking, but then it looked like a stop work order was put in place and nothing has been touched since then. There used to be a retaining wall there made of long wooden planks, but when a new management company took over the apartment complex they hired a construction company to come in and replace all of the wooden walls throughout the complex with cement block walls. All it took was one bad rain storm to bring the wall down after it had been up for only a month or so. Lets hope none of the other walls in the complex come crashing down!

Monday, January 23, 2012

I love shrimp

These past two weekends I have been very spoiled- I have not had to cook a single thing. As much as I enjoy cooking and all that goes into it, including searching for new recipes and grocery shopping for ingredients, it is always nice to relax and not have to worry about all that on the weekends. Two weekends ago we used a coupon for Dominos pizza, had bison burgers at Ted's Montana Grill the following night, and we rounded out the weekend with Rob's delicious slow cooked ribs. This past weekend we kicked it up a notch from the take-out pizza and cheesy bread.

Friday we went out for seafood at The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill in Buckhead. I had wanted to try the restaurant for a while and I had a Groupon to use that was about to expire. For $35 we had a nice dinner for two that included a shrimp bruschetta appetizer, 2 glasses of wine and 2 entrees, which would have cost $80 had we not had the Groupon. Rob got the fish special with a honey mustard glaze and a bean and cous cous salad, and I got the grilled shrimp and scallops with Georgia peach and key lime mango dipping sauces, a greek salad and zesty cous cous salad. Both of our meals were awesome, and I'm sure we'll go back.

Saturday we went out with Tom to Goin' Coastal in the Virginia Highland neighborhood for more seafood. It was a nice little storefront restaurant, with large blackboards on the walls displaying their daily specials. They pride themselves on being a "sustainable seafood" restaurant, meaning they serve "only the highest quality seafood from sources, either fished or farmed that can exist over the long term without compromising species' survival or the health of the ecosystem (" I had the Coastal Bowl which was a large bowl of shrimp, mussels, scallops, and fish in a tomato stock with andouille sausage, potatoes and corn, with a huge chunk of crusty bread on top. It was simply delicious. Our filling dinner was followed by a stop at Cacao, a fancy pants chocolate shop down the street. Tom got a salted caramel ice cream cookie sandwich that was made right in front of him, and Rob and I got 5 cookies that cost us $17. Enough said.

Yesterday I worked until 5pm and came home to a tasty Cajun chicken pasta dinner prepared by Rob. It was a new recipe we'd never had before that Rob found online. It required a bit of veggie cutting/chicken cooking prep time, and I appreciated all of the time and effort he put into the meal. I only helped him out once when I opened a bottle of chardonnay for him to use in the recipe and for me to drink, and he even cleaned up, which does not follow the "I cook, you clean up" rule we usually follow. And there was so much left over that I didn't have to cook tonight either! I do not know what's on the menu for next weekend yet, but I'm pretty sure it won't be delicious seafood two nights in a row!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm back!

It has been almost 2 months since I last updated this blog. I am almost embarrassed to write now after it has been so long. I mean, the last time I wrote was November 14th, so...Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and hope y'all are having a great new years so far? You know it's bad when I haven't even been logging on to blogger to read other friends' blogs. When I started to type in the web address tonight it didn't even come up on the drop down bar like it normally would have. I have no excuses other than I've been working a lot, the holidays got crazy busy, I spent too much time baking cookies, and when I have had a free afternoon or evening to write all I have really felt like doing is sitting down and relaxing. Hopefully I pick it up in 2012.

The holiday wrap up...We stayed in Atlanta for Thanksgiving and went over to Ann and John's (my in-laws) house in the morning. Step-brother-in-law Justin and his wife Hilary and their brand new baby boy Cooper were visiting from Florida, and brother-in-law Tom was there too, so we had a nice group for the big feast. We ate our Thanksgiving meal in the early afternoon and then I headed to work to hang out with my girl Morgan for the evening.

December was filled with the typical Christmas festivities...major cookie baking, decorating, Rob's work Christmas party shenanigans, shopping, Rob and I getting our first real Christmas tree from Lowes which we enjoyed for a few weeks and then threw in the dumpster before road-tripping it to Michigan for Christmas. We enjoyed a pre-Christmas weekend with my parents and sisters here in Atlanta since we wouldn't get to see them on Christmas. It was a great weekend where we went out to our favorite tapas restaurant with everyone, did some shopping at Atlantic Station, and exchanged gifts.

On the 23rd, Rob, Tom, Roxanne and I piled into Rob's Pontiac G6 and headed up to Grosse Pointe, MI to be with Rob's Dad and Kimberly for Christmas. We stopped overnight in Lexington, KY, so the 11+ hour drive wasn't that bad. Roxanne did great on the long car trip- taking up as much of the back seat as she could, resting her head on my lap and napping most of the way. And she loved the hotel. When we checked in she even put her front paws on the counter to greet the lady at the front desk. We arrived in Michigan on the 24th, watched the Lions game, had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner, wrapped some gifts and then went to the 11pm church service. On Christmas morning Rob's Grandma Porter, Aunt and Uncle from NY, and a nice couple Ron and Kimberly are friends with came over for brunch and exchanging gifts. Later that evening, Rob, Tom and I drove about 45min north to the Smith family Christmas to see his mom, John, and all of his aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents on his mom's side. I had a great first of many Christmases in Michigan!

The day after Christmas we went to the Henry Ford museum, out to a nice Italian dinner, and Rob and I met up with Hayes and Caroline for a drink. I flew back to Atlanta on the 27th and went back to work that night, and Rob stayed in Michigan for the rest of the week through New Years. In the weeks leading up to our trip up North I had hoped for snow and maybe a white Christmas. No such luck until literally 2 hours before I was scheduled to fly back to Atlanta. It wasn't too much snow, but just enough to delay my flight by an hour or so. Given my luck with flying I'm surprised there wasn't a blizzard that delayed my flight for days.

I can't say the whole trip went off without a hitch. A few days after I left I got a call from Rob saying Roxanne was throwing up all morning and that he felt horribly sick with severe stomach pains. It turned out Roxanne had eaten too much of Hayes and Caroline's dog Oliver's nyla bone and was throwing up chunks of it the next day. Since there was blood in the vomit Rob decided it was best to take her into the vet and get checked out. While he was at the vet with her, Rob started throwing up. Luckily his Dad was there with him to help out! Rob ended up going to the hospital where they did some tests and they said he had a stomach virus, so they gave him some fluids and medications and he went home later that day. Within a day or so both Rob and Roxanne were feeling much better.

So it's 2012! I didn't really make any official resolutions on January 1st, but I do want to make a conscientious effort to have a healthier 2012. I miss the days when exercising was a normal part of my everyday life. Well, I don't necessarily miss the actual exercising but I do miss how much better I felt about myself after putting in the time to take care of my body. We have some fun trips coming up this March to Chris and Jane's wedding in Salem, MA and Jess and Nick's wedding in San Francisco. And then the countdown begins to the family trip to Europe in May! Rob is already planning for his next marathon in a couple of months, and we are looking forward to having any visitors that might want to come to Atlanta this year! Hayes and Caroline are already planning on coming over President's weekend, which will be a great time. Happy New Year everyone!