Monday, February 28, 2011

Bad Albuquerque!

In our neighborhood, there is a group that comes by once a month to pick up donations for charity. Sexy Nerd and I gathered up a little of everything they were requesting - kitchen appliances, sheets, cutlery, blankets, clothes, shoes, etc. - and left our donation on the curb. We had 6 large boxes for charity, clearly marked with the bright orange pick-up tab we'd received in the mail.

The donations were picked up. Great, right?

Our donations were picked up by the wrong people. They were STOLEN! What kind of loser goes around stealing from charity?

Perhaps the next time donations are being collected, we should leave a great, big box of dog poop.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Window Seat Ideas

Sexy Nerd and I are planning to build a window seat beneath the windows in our dining room. Well, really Sexy Nerd is going to build it while I blog in my pajamas, but I'm still planning to take a chunk of the credit.

Here are some photos I've gathered from various sites for window seat inspiration:

I love everything about this room, especially the wall color.

Sexy Nerd hates this photo! Not because of the design, but because I realized when I saw it that we could create this exact space if we (he) moved our washer and dryer upstairs (and built a place for them upstairs, of course).

I've been saving these photos to my computer over the past few years, so I unfortunately don't have links (if you see a photo you recognise, let me know and I'll link it back to where it belongs!) This has taught me the importance of adding my url when I post a photo of my home online (if only it weren't such a pain! Does anyone know of a shortcut for this?)

For our window seat, I'm leaning toward having large baskets for storage underneath, like in the second photo, and a clean, natural finish, possibly without any cushions, like in the last photo. Though, I'm not really sure those two photos combined would result in a pretty window seat.

Which photo is your favorite?

Digital Scrapbook Page - Our Wedding

As mentioned before, Sexy Nerd and I did not have a typical wedding. Our vows were interrupted by a live chicken. When doubting our photographer, we were told not to worry because he's "#1 in Argentina". My dad caught the wedding officiant, Captain Howie, relieving himself in the bushes immediately following the end of our ceremony (really, do not use Above Heaven's Gate Weddings on Oahu!)

Click the image to enlarge

Yes, of course he had been smoking the Maui Wowie!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

For the Love of Thin Mints

There are many people out there who will tell you that Thin Mints should be eaten frozen. To these people, I say that you haven't lived until you've tried them dipped into marshmallow creme. Mmmmmmmmm! This takes me back to my Girl Scout days.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

All About Idiopathic Insomnia

Latest Insomnia Post: Insomnia Makes Me Cheesy

Whenever I tell someone that I have idiopathic insomnia, I get one of two responses:
  1. A lecture on improving my sleep hygiene (cut out caffeine, exercise more, follow a set sleep schedule, don't nap, take melatonin, etc. - been there, tried that!)
  2.  "You are an idiopath!" (idiopathic actually means "a disorder with an unknown cause")
I  have never been able to sleep well. Not just now, as an adult - never! Even as a baby, my parents say I was awake constantly. In fourth grade, my teacher, Mr. Carberry, suggested to my mom that she take me to a doctor because I yawned from the moment I entered the classroom until the time I left, every day. He had never seen a student who was as consistently tired as me. My mom brushed off his recommendation, as she knew I went to bed at the same time every night, with plenty of time for a good night's sleep. However, even though I was in bed, my typical night was spent tossing and turning, or simply lying with my eyes closed, completely awake.

It wasn't until I got older that I realized just how different my quality of sleep is. Sexy Nerd falls asleep the instant his head hits the pillow. If he wakes up, it's only a temporary glitch in his slumber, even if he gets up and comes back. It's so unfair! Practically every night, I either never fall asleep or I sleep in short intervals (example: asleep 10pm-11:30pm, asleep again 3am-5am). I've tried Ambien - sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn't. The same goes for Melatonin pills, lavender-filled pillows, Benadryl, chamomile tea, Tylenol PM, sleep masks, soft music, Simply Sleep, and a long list of other things that help most people fall asleep.

Something that kinda, sorta helps a tiny bit, occasionally, is to change where I'm sleeping. I may try to sleep facing the opposite end of the bed, (Sexy Nerd has rolled over to give me a kiss good morning several times, only to be surprised that he is kissing my foot!) on the floor, or on the futon in the guest room. Compared to a person without idiopathic insomnia, I still don't sleep well, but it sometimes makes a difference. Thank goodness Sexy Nerd is a heavy sleeper!

Despite this being a problem I've literally had forever, people are always surprised when I say I didn't sleep well, or at all, the previous night. They are especially surprised, and perhaps a little skeptical, when I have the same answer to their "how did you sleep last night" question, day after day. So, in an attempt to clear up some of the confusion, here is some basic information on idiopathic insomnia, straight from The American Sleep Association:

* It is known that idiopathic insomnia exists without the detectable presence of other sleeping disorders, medical problems, medication or substance use or abuse, any underlying behavioral problems that could cause poor or unfulfilling sleep, and any psychiatric disorders.

* It is not the result of poor sleep hygiene. 

* Idiopathic insomnia often occurs nightly, and may include short sleeping times, numerous nighttime awakenings that cannot be explained, and difficulty falling asleep even when the body feels sufficiently tired to do so. 

* This happens without the presence of any stress that may cause a similar scenario in others, no psychological or neurological disorders, and no medication or substance use.
On the rare night when I do fall asleep quickly and actually stay asleep, it is the most wonderful, fantastic, perfect thing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Schmalentine's

Overall, I had a pretty mellow Valentine's Day. Did I get candy? No. A fancy, home cooked dinner? Nope. Was there even any snuggling (and maybe more)?! But that was just fine this year. Sexy Nerd and I seem to have settled into the "old married couple" phase, where Valentine's Day is, for the most part, just another day. Oh, he did get us tickets to see Lewis Black here in Albuquerque in two weeks! And I don't have to go to Monster Jam with him this weekend (woo hoo!) As for me, I made us a scrumptious dinner of chicken soup, including egg noodles made from scratch, and got Sexy Nerd two (yes, two!) Snickers bars.

Wait. The chicken soup was made on Sunday, not Monday. Well, I still got him the Snickers bars! Hey, it's an improvement over last year.

Last year's post: Valentine's Day - Darn You, Sexy Nerd!

Did Sexy Nerd sweep me off my feet for our 2nd Valentines Day as a married couple? Well, not exactly. Not at all, in fact. I had told him beforehand that he didn't need to buy me anything - just being nice to me would be a perfect day. Specifically, I wanted him to give me a massage (which he never, ever does!)

Sexy Nerd remembered that he didn't need to give me a gift, but he forgot the part about being nice. The day started with him getting out of bed before I woke up. When I came downstairs, he was on the couch, watching racing (he is always watching racing! As I write this, he's watching drag racing! Earlier, he was watching Nascar!) I told him that I was going to go get his gift. I assumed that he would also be getting my gift while I was away. Nope. Here is a word of advice, guys. When your wife or girlfriend says that you don't have to get her anything, don't not get her anything! At least a card would have been nice. Or chocolate! FYI, Sexy Nerd, I loooooove chocolate!

Next, I made myself a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Sexy Nerd must have sensed that I was unhappy with him (maybe it was the occasional "sigh" sound coming from the other room) because he pulled himself away from watching racing to see what I was up to. He told me he was going to make breakfast, but since I was already eating, he went back to watching TV. He was going to make breakfast?? He had been up for over an hour!

The day progressed with more TV and more ignoring each other (a typical day for us), with the exception of me making Sexy Nerd a fancy lunch and 2 kinds of his favorite cookies. We also went to see a performance at Popejoy Hall (this was part of the ticket package I bought Sexy Nerd for our 2 year anniversary). That night, it seemed for a moment that Sexy Nerd was going to redeem himself. He made dinner! Well, technically he just heated dinner up (canned cream of chicken soup), but based on how little he'd done for Valentines Day (nothing), him making soup was impressive.

Sexy Nerd lost all his dinner-making points when he asked me if I wanted any of the soup!

Going to bed, I asked Sexy Nerd if he'd had a good Valentines Day. Yes, he said. He had loved his gift and his fancy lunch and his homemade cookies (2 different kinds!). Sick of his selfish, lazy ways, I told him it was the worst Valentines Day ever and went to sleep in the other room. In typical "Sexy" Nerd fashion, he went to sleep instead of following me.

At some point during the night, or perhaps when he was at work the next day, it occured to Sexy Nerd that he was in quite a bit of trouble. So, I came home from work to this:

Alton Brown's Enchilada Lasagna - it tastes a lot better than it looks!

Damn. How can I stay mad at that?

Still, I had better get some chocolate next year!

(Update - it's next year. There was no chocolate. Again.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Las Vegas

Sexy Nerd and I have been to Las Vegas together several times, but we didn't discover the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens until our last trip. It was decked out for Christmas when we were there. According to their website, it is currently decorated for Chinese New Year. It's definitely an attraction we'll seek out on future visits!

 A giant polar bear is no big deal, you say? What if I told you that he's made out of white carnations?

The reindeer are decorated with hundreds of acorns.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Alero Hates Tweety

Many years ago, Sexy Nerd and I took a little summer road trip to visit his family in Colorado. He was driving, I was sleeping, and all of a sudden we heard a *THUD!* It's not exactly the kind of sound you want to encounter when going 75mph, but nothing seemed to be wrong with the car and we didn't see anything in the rearview mirror. We continued down the road.

It wasn't until we stopped for gas that we realized what had happened.

Fair Warning: If you hated my favorite Super Bowl commercial, you're probably going to hate this.

For the record, I was not the one who attached the note! Sexy Nerd has a craaaazy family.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Thrifty Cloche Decorating for Valentine's Day

Have I ever told you that Sexy Nerd is a beer brewing enthusiast? He's taken over most of the garage and has even cut into the wall to gain access to the empty space underneath the stairs, all in the name of expanding "Kitchen Pig Brewery". I'm hoping that if we have a baby soon, it will delay or even cease his progression into kegging. Oh yes! Kegging, right here in my very own home, complete with a built in tap to dispense the brew straight into the kitchen. *Lucky Girl!*

Fancy beer glasses seemed like a smart gift choice for him. However, I hate wrapping gifts. Even if I loved it, (nope!) how the heck do you beautifully wrap 8 beer glasses?

I had a better idea:


I think the gift bag and the Sunday comics emphasize my gift wrapping point pretty well!

Best in Show Nominees (and my fave Super Bowl commercial)

6/3/12 Update: The video has been removed from the interwebs. Aaaaaaaw man!

First up, I have to post this because:
  1. I have watched it at least 30 times since last night and still laugh every time.
  2. Some people seem to think it's "gross" and "not funny at all" (they clearly don't appreciate it and need to watch it again!)
  3. The song has been stuck in my head all day.
  4. By linking to it on LambAround, I will always know where to find it and will be able to watch it over and over, for years to come.

Bwah Ha Ha!

Wasn't that the best commercial you've ever seen? DORITOS! The creepy guy actually reminds me quite a bit of my brother. If my mom reads this, she'll probably insist I'm making fun of him, but I really think he'd agree. He's probably doing an impersonation of the Doritos guy right now!

Now, on with the nominations for the Best in Show Award! Here are this weekend's Top 10:

Be Colorful took a plain tea cart and turned it into something vibrant and special!

Moore Minutes took the standard Bunco party fare and elevated it to fun new heights!

Sweet as Sugar Cookies shared a recipe with a name I couldn't resist - The BEST Bread I Have Ever Eaten.

ChildMade posted a tutorial for creating a heart brooch out of wire.

A Little Bit of Everything baked us this scrumptious cake.

Ms. Smartie Pants (clever!) invited us into her home to enjoy her Valentine's Day decor.

The Iowa Farmer's Wife created a coffee collar that I would love to show off at work.

The Bird's Papaya created her own decorative pillows (surely you recall that I'm partial to Dsquared, right?) There's a Diet Coke one on her blog too!

 In My Own Style let us in on a brilliant decorating idea involving trim. 

My Nerdy Nook decopaged her entire desk!

Congratulations, nominees! Here is a button to help you out:

Here is a different, less competitive (completely non-competitive, actually) button if the one above isn't quite your style:
I plan to have the poll available until approximately Sunday. Good luck!

Oh, and I'd love to know: What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cornmeal Waffles with Chili

Oh. My. Goodness.

This is a recipe that you should bookmark. Do it right now! Not only is it quick and easy, these chili-covered cornmeal waffles seem like the kind of meal that you worked really hard on. Sexy Nerd was certainly impressed when he came home to this dinner.


LambAround's Easy Peasy Chili
(serves 3)
1 can tomatoes with green chili
1 can white beans
1 heaping spoonful of creamed corn
Cooked ground beef (amount dependent on how carnivorous you're feeling)
1 diced bell pepper
1 diced white onion
1 diced garlic clove
1 dried red chili pepper (be sure to remove this after cooking!)
1 bay leaf (ditto)
Hefty dash each of cumin and red chili flakes

Simmer all ingredients in a covered pan for at least 45 minutes.
(Easy peasy, right?)

Cornmeal Waffles
(also easy peasy - woo hoo!)

Take your favorite regular waffle recipe. Substitute half the flour with cornmeal and throw in a sprinkle of seasoned salt, like Season All. If using a mix, like Bisquick, substitute half the mix with cornmeal. When cooking, resist the urge to impatiently pull them from the waffle iron early (I know you want to eat them right now but they work best for this when they're nice and crispy!)

Now the fun part!

A sinfully ugly sliced cheese photo...

...topped with hot, flavorful chili...

...and smothered with gobs of shredded mozzarella cheese!

The verdict?

This recipe is a keeper!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Rachael Ray's Austin Mac 'n' Cheese Suiza

In our house, Sexy Nerd and I take turns making dinner each night. This works out really well for me for two reasons. One: how many guys do you know who agree to make dinner every other night? Two: Sexy Nerd is a much more patient cook than me.

Recipes with lots of ingredients and steps, like Rachael Ray's Austin Mac 'n' Cheese Suiza never taste quite right when I make them. Mix this in one bowl, this in a second bowl, and this and this in a pan? Pfft! "Why not just combine everything directly into the pan?" I'll say.

Luckily, Sexy Nerd is a real stickler for rules. It must be an engineer thing. If a recipe calls for onion salt and he only has regular salt, he won't make it. Thus, his cooking usually tastes really great!

Do not eat the spoon. Oooh, or Kitchen Pig!

Of course, after I wrote all that stuff above about Sexy Nerd never making any changes to a recipe, he pointed out that he used tomatoes instead of tomatillos.

Shhh, Sexy Nerd! No one needs to know!
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