Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: Year in Review

Earlier in 2009 I set some goals to be completed by the end of the year. I figure there is no point in setting goals if don't try to achieve them and then look back to see how you did. So here are my goals how I did, in no particular order.

1. Complete a 5K Run: No

2. Finish Cross-Stitch: Nope

3. Sew 1 quilt block per month, later changed to every 2 months: shakes head sadly

4. Know if I want to pursue a career in musical instrument repair: I figured this one out and the answer is no.

5. Save $xx,xxx: woohoo we reached it, and may have even exceeded it!

6. Catch-up to CSI: Finished!

7. Workout every day: If I had reached that goal probably would have reached the first one.

8. Sew or Practice Music every day: I've gotten better at the sewing but not at the music

9. Take swimming lessons in the fall, if I complete a 5K by the end of the year I get to reward myself with rowing lessons in the spring: We moved to another state in the fall so this is no longer attainable this year, I may still be able to do this at my new home, I'll have to do some research

10. Finish watching West Wing: Awesome series, so glad I saw it all.

Achieved: 4 Unfinished: 5 Void: 1

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Monthly Cross-Stitch Update

Here is what being cooped up in the house will do for my craft project.

I hope I can continue to make such big strides each month.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Coronado Island

The weekend after 4th of July Ben and I drove 6 hours to vacation on Coronado Island, just off Sand Diego, CA. I am posting these pictures now because some good friends of ours are moving to San Diego and I wanted to share with them what they can enjoy.

We arrived late Friday night and went right to bed after checking into the Coronado Island Inn. The next morning we walked up Orange Avenue towards the ferry landing and went to Tartine for breakfast. We ate quiche and fresh fruit. It was divine! Ben and I wished we could eat breakfast there every weekend.

After breakfast we milled around the shops by the ferry landing and considered renting bicycles. We noticed that most tourists were on bicycles and because of the many intersections they seemed more hassle than they were worth. Besides, the civilian area of the island is only one square mile, it wasn't that far to the beach.

On the way back to our hotel to pack for the beach we stopped at Boney's Bayside Market to get items for a picnic lunch. We found out that you could order sandwiches from the deli counter so we didn't have to make them ourselves.

We walked the mile down Orange Avenue (the main road on the island) to the main beach and on the way shopped at Bay Books. The proprietors were the nicest women you'll ever meet.

The Hotel Del Coronado from the Beach

A closer view of the main entrance dome

We found some cabana seats in front of the Hotel del Coronado and ate our picnic lunch. Then we went down to the water and set up towels. We read, took pictures of the front of the hotel, and played in the water.

The Pacific Ocean!

Almost half the island is a naval base, so you'll see lots of ships like this if you ever visit.

When we came back to our towels we found that our lunch leftovers had been pillaged. The Seagulls on the island are aggressive. A kind neighbor had tried to protect our things, but the seagulls got to the food anyway.

See the orange? That's the carrots from my wrap that they devoured.

Look what they did to this apple!

After leaving the beach we stopped by the Brigantine Seafood Restaurant across the street from The Del (what locals call the Hotel del Coronado) and enjoyed happy hour. I had 2 very wonderful Bloody Mary's and Ben had 2-3 Coronado Iced Teas. We also ate some decent appetizers. On the way back to our hotel we stopped by the famed Moo Time Creamery. Ben didn't get any, but I had black raspberry chocolate chip. Yummy!

We were so full and exhausted from our day we didn't end up eating dinner. The next morning we made sure to stop by Tartine for more wonderful food and atmosphere before driving back to Phoenix.

I would love to go back there sometime, get a tour of The Del, and maybe do some sea kayaking. Ben and I both loved this place and hope to make it our special vacation spot. Next time I think we will stay on the mainland at a cheaper hotel and take the ferry to the island.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cross Stitch Poject

If you may recall, I am working on a cross-stitch pattern. I haven't updated my progress for 5 months. Here is the latest picture, taken today:

Hopefully now that I am unemployed and I have lots of free time I will be able to reach my goal of finishing the project by the end of this year.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Tomatos

I have discovered a new vegetable: Spaghetti Squash. This is the recipe that came with it. I tweaked it and made it my own.

I was excited to see in the 112F degree weather of Phoenix that I wouldn't have to turn on my oven!
Here is my version of the recipe. I only had a 1/4 of a squash so I paired it down., plus there are only two of us so that's all I needed to make.

Making the "Pasta"

Scoop out the seeds, then microwave the squash on a plate covered with plastic wrap that has been poked a few times with a fork. It should take about 4-6 minutes. I tested it by poking the flesh to feel if it was soft and squishy, like cooked squash should be. Then take a fork and rake it through the flesh of the squash, against the grain (the long axis). It will create strands that look like angel hair pasta. Portion out the 'pasta' onto plates.

The Sauce
Tomatoes (amount as needed)
Onion, chopped (small amount proportional to the the tomatoes & how much you like onions)
Garlic (same as onions)
Pesto Sauce, just a touch as pesto sauce has very strong flavors (or finely chopped fresh basil)
Salt & Pepper (a dash each)
Cheese, preferably feta, but Parmesan will work just fine

Dice the tomatoes and remove the seeds, but use the juice, mix with the onion, garlic, pesto sauce, salt & pepper. Just add the ingredients in proportions that are according to your family's preferences, for example my husband and & love garlic so I will add more than most people. Microwave the chunky mixture until warm. (1-2 minutes). Spoon the sauce over the pre-portioned 'pasta' then pour the juices over the top so it can soak down into the squash.

Top with cheese, serve, & enjoy!

Note: after making this we realized that a 1/4 of a squash was not all that filling and didn't have much substance. Next time I will break angel hair pasta into lengths the same as the squash strands, cook it, and mix the two together.

Cross Stitch Progress

I just realized that I didn't update my progress last month. Oh well, as you can see not much has changed. I hope to get more done now that summer and days over 105F are here. I will be spending lots of time indoors plopped in front of the TV catching up on my shows.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Home Improvement: Re-upholstering Chairs

This weekend I have been working on a simple home improvement project: re-upholstering my dinning room chairs. It has taken me this long to do it because I was waiting for the fabric to go on sale. Upholstery fabric is expensive. For example, the particular pattern I liked was originally $34.99 per yard! Finally I stuck gold. Joanne Fabrics had a 50% off sale and I had a 10% coupon on top of that! So I got 2 yards for less than the price of one :)

Enough about my frugal conquest, on to the project. We got this dinning room set for free from a good family friend in college and we carted it with us to Arizona. I finally have a dinning room and bought a rug to go with my color scheme. Unfortunately medium blue and dark green do not go together as you can see:



Isn't it pretty! I like having a home filled with pretty things that actually match, much to my husband's chagrin. Interestingly, I found this original pink silk under the green re-covering:

I wonder how old it is?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cross Stitch Update

I know I know, It's been 6 months since I posted about my cross stitch. With the Holidays, and moving, and my camera breaking, and having to hunt around for a good deal on a new one, not to mention not having much time to actually sew, progress has been slow. I have however set a goal of finishing this thing by then end of 2009 AND finishing at least 3 quilt blocks by the end of the year. Ambitious I know!

You can see how far along I was 6 months ago here

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chihuly at the Phoenix Botanical Garden

Dale Chihuly is a glass sculptor who has a temporary installation at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. We went to see it with friends last weekend. Most of the sculptures were just glass spikes. Boring! I'll share the interesting pieces with you

This sculpture is very intricate

This looks like a giant lollipop!

These spikes are actually cool. see how iridescent they look when the sun shines on them!?

More Spikes

Pretty flower

This was my favorite, a boat full of floats. It reminds me of the beaches of Oregon & Washington all the shops have the glass floats carried over from Japan on the ocean currents. I believe they are/were used to keep fishing nets afloat. most of them are clear glass, but some of them are very pretty and intricate.

Floating blocks of glass. they look like ice burgs don't they?

I love this chandelier it makes me want to curl my hair and dye it blue!

This ones pretty cool too

Giant condoms!

Very pretty and I imagine difficult to do.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Me from A to Z

My Mother-in-Law did this on her blog so I thought I would copy and paste for an easy post:

A - Age: 22

B - Bed size: double, need to get a queen ooh and tempur-pedic!

C - Chore(s) you hate: I hate all chores

D - Dog’s name: Christy, although she lives with my parents in Washington State so I'm not sure she's really mine so much anymore.

E - Essential start-your-day item: Shower

F - Favorite color: Green

G - Gold or Silver: Silver

H - Height: 5’ 3”

I - Instruments you play: Piano & Clarinet although its been awhile so I'm rather rusty on both

J - Job title: Acquisitions Clerk

K - Kid(s): None. Hun, let's keep it that way.

L - Living arrangements: My Husband and I rent a 1100sq ft condo. I should post pics sometime

M- Mom's name: MIL's name = Michele

N - Nicknames: Valkyrie (thus the name of the blog)

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Never

P - Pet Peeve: Sticky things

Q - Quote from a movie: "You're a lair and a thief" "I only lied about being a thief" - Ocean's Eleven (2001)

R- Right- or left-handed: Ambidextrous

S - Siblings: Older brother & older sister

T - Time you wake up: 6am

U- Underwear: Victoria's Secret, although I guess its not a secret anymore :)

V - Vegetable you dislike: beets

W - Ways you run late: getting Ben off the computer is impossible!

X - X-rays you’ve had: left ankle

Y - Yummy food you make: zucchini soup

Z - Zoo favorite: Polar Bears!!!

Your turn!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Will Thursdays Ever be the Same Again?

One month ago today, on a Thursday evening a very good friend of mine died. Ever since then Thursdays are a very sad day for me. This is the first time I have lost someone so close to me, or someone under 50 years of age. She was 24.

I remember her smile, her shinning eyes, and her love for life. I think of how I will never see any of these things, I think about all the people she left behind. I remember the fun times we had and I miss her. I wish I could write more, maybe sometime in the future.

She really was an amazing person and you are all unfortunate to not have known her. Becki, I miss you so much and I wish you hadn't left so soon. Thank you for all the wonderful moments, and for setting an example for what a woman and a friend could and should be.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sweet, Sweet, Visions

After 8 years of waiting, I finally got Lasik eye surgery just over 2 weeks ago!

I cannot believe I finally got it done. No more walking into walls when I get up at night to go to the bathroom. You think I'm kidding? just ask my husband. No more dealing with glasses every year, or debating if I can juggle contacts again.

I had started to get nervous a few days before and then it went away, untill right before the surgery. They did my left eye first I was freaked-out! Then they were done and I realized I had had dental procedures more painful than this. I've had all sorts of drills & saws in my mouth. I had braces twice & my wisdom teeth removed while awake. I have never known anyone else who had it done while awake, if you have kids: do not torture them with this no matter how much you think they deserve it!

Anyway, back to my new eyes. I love them!!! If anyone wants to know more about the nitty-gritty details just ask me in the comments section I will not post them out-right because I know way to many squeamish people. Also, If you are considering the surgery feel free to ask questions too.