Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Tonight I had dinner with my friend Dan and his sister and her husband in Greektown. It's been over a year since Dan left Columbia and we've seen each other. And it was so nice to catch up! Dan is in town for a conference. I think that will be another great thing about living here - people I know are often here for work/conferences. Anyway, it was a nice evening and good to explore another part of town. Now in just a few short days I'll be reunited with some of my other friends and I'm so excited!

No wonder

I read yesterday that the unemployment rate was 7.3% here. It's no wonder I don't have a job. Yikes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'm going to be out of town most of the week which means there isn't much on the menu. It also means that I went to the store and stocked up on frozen pizzas for Joe. (He could live on a steady diet of pizza.) All recipes this week are from Real Simple.

Monday: steak with lemon and chili-roasted potatoes
Tuesday: potato pierogi with sauteed cabbage and apples
Wednesday: chicken with tomatoes and thyme (This is a carry-over from last week and I have a feeling it may make it to next week, too.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

A visit from a friend

I spent the day today with a friend from back "home." Sandi is in town with her husband Dave and baby Chandler. (Dave is here for a conference.) So I picked Sandi up at her hotel and we went to an African restaurant for lunch. It was a first for me so I'm glad I had someone to show me the ropes. (Sandi lived in Africa for a couple years.) It was so nice to see a familiar face and to catch up...And it was fun to try something new. Thanks, Sandi!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A message about peace

I heard Elie Wiesel speak tonight. He was very soft-spoken, combine that with his accent, and I had trouble hearing at times. But his message was still understood. He spoke about faith, hope and peace. It was good to hear him speak. Even after withstanding so much unthinkable human suffering and pain he still thought the world could be a better place. And that he could contribute to that. And so can we.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chick lit

One of the many perks of living here are all the many things to do, like book readings. Tonight my dutiful husband and I went downtown to hear Candace Bushnell read an excerpt from her newest book. It was a lot of fun to hear her read and then do a Q&A before signing books. Many of my questions were answered. And, yes, Mr. Big is a real person!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I made a vegetable soup tonight and it turned out great. Below are the ingredients:

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
1 large yellow squash, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 pound green beans, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups corn kernels (cut from 2 ears, or frozen)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh dill sprigs

Combine the broth, cannellini beans, zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, corn, onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat, covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the dill.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Girls just wanna have fun

My cousin, Terrie (my mom's first-cousin) took me out for a girls' day today. We started out with shopping downtown and then to a French-Vietnamese restaurant for lunch. After lunch we hit more shops in Andersonville, Lakeview and Wicker Park. I'm exhausted...but in a good way!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: leftovers (mini-burgers and couscous salad)

Tuesday: garlicky broiled salmon and tomatoes

Wednesday: vegetable soup and bread

Thursday: chicken with tomatoes and thyme

Friday: leftovers or out

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Out and about

Joe recently told me about a mall in the area that I had no idea existed. (If only I had driven a little bit further down one of the streets I'm on all the time I would have found it.) So Thursday morning I set out to find it and spent a couple hours exploring. It's not a particularly fancy mall but it's at least somewhat comprable to what I'm used to and I found many of the stores I like to visit inside so I'm calling it a success. Call me crazy but it almost gave me such a rush to find it. I think I like to pretend I'm so far from civilization living where we do. And, yes, I realize how ridiculous that may sound to you but sometimes you just want to be within walking distance of a train. (Although this would be the time and place to tell you that we have an amazing Target nearby which is HUGE and you have to take an escalator just to walk inside. Love it.) Anyway, I feel so much better knowing I'm just a few short minutes away from shopping!

Last night we met Joe's dad and Lynn for an improvised Shakespeare show at i.O. It was super funny and I can't believe how talented people are in order to do this kind of thing - wow! The theatre was in Wrigleyville and right around the corner from the stadium. The Cubs just finished playing (this is where I happily add that they were beat by the Cardinals!) so the streets were litered with people and it seemed like one huge party. I'll have to admit, the energy and excitement of it just seemed like so much fun.

This afternoon we are heading to the Museum of Contemporary Art and maybe a movie.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The namesake

Joe's favorite living private detective author has died. Joe's dream came true when he had dinner with him a few years ago. Our dog, Crumley will live on in his memory.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Reality check

There's a lot of things you have to get used to when you're newly married. One of them is sharing. I share Joe's laptop in the spare room and, since I have free reign of it most of the day while he's at work, I just leave myself signed into my Google and Blogger accounts. (And since I've never shared a computer before that's just how I roll.) I don't know why but this really bugs Joe because when he goes to use those accounts he always has to sign me out first. He has taken it upon himself to "hijack" my blog twice now this week to teach me a lesson. He has written blogs about how I need to log myself out and another about how much I hate reality television and something about how smart my husband is...okay, okay. I will try to sign out. Geesh. So a word of warning to my readers, if you see anything suspicious it's probably not really from me. Suspicious as in the fact that I will probably never write about how reality television rots my brains. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What's on my mind

It's probably obvious to anyone who reads my blog that I'm a food person. I love to try new restaurants. Now that I live here, I could eat somewhere new every day and still never run out of places to go. (Although my waistline and wallet would not approve.) Tonight my father-in-law (sounds weird to say that), who is in town for a conference, took us here. Delicious.

We took the L downtown and got off at the nearest stop and walked the rest of the way to the restaurant. I have spent my summer being in flip flops and, for the last couple of weeks, Chucks. Neither would suit my attire tonight so I picked out heels. I opted for a "comfortable" pair. Well apparently a lot has changed. My feet are no longer conditioned the way they once were and heels are now made for sitting but not walking several blocks. By the time we reached the restaurant I had already rubbed blisters on the bottom of both of my feet. Joe says I need to become like the other city women and wear tennis shoes until I reach my destination. I think he's right. Needless to say, we took a cab once we left the restaurant.

In other news, I spend most of my days doing small tasks around the house and running errands. I also spend a great portion of my time, each and every day, job searching and applying for jobs. Not once since I've been here has someone contacted me about a job. It's really starting to get discouraging. I know nothing is wrong with me but it's now starting to get in my head. I haven't been unemployed for this long since I was 16. Sigh.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blast from the past

Want to have some internet fun and waste time? Go here and see what you could have looked like in a yearbook photo from the past. And don't forget to share with your friends.

Friday, September 12, 2008


After evacuating the coast late Wednesday night and moving inland, Kate had baby Everett Michael today. I don't know all of the specifics only that he's here and everyone is doing fine! He's 7lbs 8oz and 19 inches. Please continue to pray for them as they are away from their home and wait out Hurricane Ike.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cheese - a girl's best friend

I am a self-proclaimed cheese addict. But, hey, aren't we all? Meagan even sent me a cookbook for my birthday called, Cheese, Glorious Cheese and I got to eat fondue yesterday. Of course, it wasn't all cheese - we had chocolate, too!

I think I'm still walking around this morning with a full belly. Even as we waited at the bar they had cheese spread and crackers. Immediately I knew this was my kind of place. We started off with a cheese board and the cheese fondue with assorted breads and fruit (and salad) and then moved into the entree. Joe had beef tenderloin and I had an assortment of beef tenderloin, chicken breast, lobster, scallops and shrimp. (Big eater, I know.) Of course there was also an assortment of vegetables for us to cook with our meat in the cooking oil and lots of sauces for us to try. After that we moved into the coffee with chocolate fondue and pound cake/fruit phase. Needless to say, I may not eat today.

It was a great birthday dinner. The best part of the meal was an aged Wisconsin swiss cheese. Pure joy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Please keep my friend, Kate and her family in your prayers. She is scheduled for a c-section on Friday but it looks like they may be evacuated any time now due to Hurricane Ike. I talked to her today and she seems as prepared as she could possibly be but please pray for the safety of her and her family as well as her baby.


It's hard to believe what a monumental year this has been for me. I became a first-time aunt. Got engaged. Got married. Moved out of state to one of the greatest cities. I left my career to become a stay-at-home-wife. (Okay so that last one is just temporary.) And here I am - thirty-one.

It hasn't all been easy but I'm trying to balance the good times and the bad. And I'm really proud of myself for being brave enough to make all these changes in my life no matter how hard some of them seem. And pretty soon it will be old-hat. I am so glad to be able to share this birthday with Joe, finally in the same city, as his wife.

Tonight we're going here. Also known as one of the most romantic places in the city. (And who wants hot, melty cheese for their birthday? Me! Me!) In a couple of weeks, Dirty Dancing the Musical will be making its US debut here and we will be going as another birthday treat. I can't wait.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I went out tonight with Alison, Monica and Kamilah (today is her birthday) for a little birthday celebrating. We went here. Great view of the city skyline and a cute place. Cheers!
Monica and Kamilah.
Alison and me.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Menus are back; this is my first week of menu planning after taking a hiatus for a couple weeks.

Monday: cheese tortellini with parmeasan
Tuesday: out with friends (Joe fends for himself)
Wednesday: dinner out (fondue, yeah!)
Thursday: breakfast-for-dinner (Joe's request of pancakes and bacon)
Friday: pizza
Saturday: red beans and rice, cornbread
Sunday: chicken stirfry

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Just another night at home

I had the MTV Video Music Awards on tonight when I saw a commercial for Exiled.
Amy: "Ohh. I want to watch that."
Joe: "Honey, you're too old for some of that stuff."
Amy: "I'll never be too old for MTV." (Even I knew I was kidding myself.)
Joe: "MTV's not what it used to be. They should call it CTV." Joe exits the room and I call out after him.
Amy: "Joe, what's CTV?"
Joe: "Child TV."

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Congratulations to Ben and Rachel who welcomed baby Alia Ren today at 1:31 pm. Alia weighed 9lbs 6oz and is 22 inches long. Everyone is doing great. Congrats!

I've got skills

I've got skills - knife skills. I went to cooking school today to take a knife skills class. I'm not going to tell you I'm a genius in the kitchen or anything but I'm learning and I'm getting better. It's nice to have a new hobby. And Joe and I went to a mall this afternoon to purchase a few needed items with wedding money and I was drooling in Williams Sonoma. Yup, I think I am a full-fledged adult.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Tonight Joe and I grilled steak and potato skewers with grilled caprese salad. (The meal came from a recipe Cristin gave me a couple months ago from this magazine.) Our first co-ed grilling experience turned out well and I am quite proud of myself for the accomplishment. Why? I hate touching raw meat. It might be the reason why I left the disecting of the frog in junior high completely up to my partner. It's definitely the reason why I don't buy whole chickens. And it's also the reason why I buy premade hamburger patties instead of making them myself. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

I've been wanting to try this recipe for awhile so when I came home with the beef sirloin I told Joe he would need to cut it up into squares for me for the skewers. Tonight he was busy with the grill and someone needed to cut the meat. I gagged a little but muddled through. (Our amazing new kitchen knives helped!) I wish I could tell you that my fear has vanished but that's likely not going to happen any time soon but hopefully my raw-meat-phobia lessens in time. (I was honestly afraid I wouldn't be able to eat what I'd just prepared but the meal tasted great.)

Below are the instructions for the salad:

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
3 T. Parmeasan, grated
salt and pepper to taste
4 large tomatoes, sliced horizontally into thirds
6 oz. fresh mozzarella cut into 8 slices

Process basil, 1/3 cup oil, vinegar, parmesan, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth. Coat tomato slices with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill tomatoes on one side for one minute, then flip (do not flip the tops). Arrange cheese on tomato slices and grill until it begins to melt, 1-2 more minutes. Assemble stacks with two cheese-topped slices and one top. Serve with basil sauce.

Friday's lingering thoughts

Nichole posted a blog the other day posing the question, "how do you make friends?" For some reason, I've been giving that a lot of thought. Maybe it's because the only people I know here, I knew before I moved. And I know I haven't been here too long but the task of meeting new people and making new friends has seemed rather daunting to me lately. In the past, I've always made friends rather easily. Is it possible that the older we get, the harder it is to make new friends?

I've been going to the same church for several weeks now. I know I need to start getting involved in small group. It will be good for me spiritually and it will help me meet people and start making connections. But, honestly, I find the thought of it kind of scary. I want to get involved and meet new people and at the same time, I don't.

I know I didn't build my friendships in Columbia overnight (well, some I did!) so maybe that's why I find the prospect of getting involved/making new connections here so strenuous. I know it's going to take a lot of work. And since my current friendships/past church relationships have been years in the making it's a lot to live up to. I think the question I've been chewing on lately is, "Do I have the energy?" I know, without a doubt, eventually I'll be the outgoing, talkative Amy that my friends know and love but it's just something I've been thinking about. Sooner or later, I will find "the job" and break out of my shell. I want to make this city my own.

Moving on to another subject entirely. Through his work, Joe has access to a great library system. He has told me on several ocassions that if I want a book to just tell him and he'll pick it up for me. So I told him to get me this. He refused. Said something about it hurting his image. Puh-leaze.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

By the way

By the way, did anyone pick up the new cd out today? Anyone? No?

It was not to be

I'm not watching 90210. Why? Because it was preempted here by the Cubs. Since when are the Cubs more important than the long-awaited return of 90210? Ridiculous.


The new 90210 starts tonight. Joe and I have a "date" to watch. I hope it doesn't disappoint but I really wanted them to bring Tori back.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Garden delight

Today Joe, Alison and I went to the Botanic Gardens. It was a first for the three of us. Joe packed a perfect picnic lunch for us to eat when we got there. I would have liked to have stayed longer but the sun makes me tired and cranky and we couldn't tell if I was scorched or not. Turns out I wasn't but I looked awfully pink when we were there. The gardens are beautiful and I'd like to see them in every season.

On the way home, Joe and I stopped at a mall. The first time I've been to a mall since I moved here and this one was particularly fabulous. Joe bought me a pair of Chucks for my birthday and also some lotion I needed at Sephora.

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