Friday, October 31, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
There's a virus running wild in my home that is bringing everything to a stop. No Facebook updates, no MySpace messaging, no e-mail maintenance, and, possibly saddest of all, no blog posts. Yes, my laptop is sick, and Cory and I don't know how to make it feel better. We've tried orange juice, we've applied wet washcloths, we've even rubbed it with salve, and nothing. Poor, sick little computer.
So, if you haven't noticed by now, the blog posting is going to have to take a small break, which is so sad, because I have lots of yummy things to say right now, but I just can't bring myself to use Cory's computer. I'm typing this on his 'puter, and it's no fun at all. The man doesn't even have Word. What?! No Word? No spellcheck? How on earth can I, the world's WORST speller (yes, I know I'm an editor), write blog posts without spellcheck? Plus, what's a blog without photos? And he's without photo-editing software. Good golly, man! For being a computer nerd, you sure are behind the times!
So, please stay tuned. I'll be back as soon as my laptop starts feeling better (or when it dies). Until then, enjoy this festive time of year, you crazy boys and ghouls!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Nine years ago today, I met my now husband Cory. Actually, let’s back up a titch. I knew of him before this day, but it wasn’t until Oct. 19, 1999 that we had our first conversation. It’s an amusing little tale, so I thought I’d share it with you.
I was working at Crapplebee’s as a hostess at the time. Cor had come in many times, but it was all I could do to open the door for him. For whatever reason, I forgot how to form sentences whenever he would enter the building.
One chilly Oct. evening, I was working the parking lot. No, Applebee’s didn’t run a side “entertainment” biz. Instead, they would have one of the hostess man the parking lot whenever a concert or event was taking place at the big arena next door. Didn’t want any concertgoers taking up the parking spots.
My manager always found a way of picking on me and making my life hard – as if being a Crapplebee’s hostess and going to college wasn’t hard enough – and this night was no exception. He chose to play a little prank and told me that the “new policy” was for employees to put on the bumblebee uniform when working the lot. Ummm…OK.
So, being the compliant employee that I was, I went out back to get it (yes, it was outback in the shed by the dumpsters, probably housing possums or something!), and it’s this NASTY bee costume that looks like it’s 20 years old. I put the filthy thing on – the head weighed more than I did at the time – and headed out to the lot.
The longer I stood out there, putting the smack down on anyone who dared enter the lot without the intention of dining, the more I had people yelling, honking and, finally, flipping me off. It was that flipped bird that did it for me. I tore that oversized bee head off and finished out the night with it sitting at my feet. (All the while, all of the employees are inside laughing it up that I put it on to begin with. Of course, there was no bee policy. I was just mental.)
Turns out, that rude, bird-flipping teen was actually an angel sent from Heaven. Why? Because moments after I ripped that head off, another car pulled in…Cory’s car. Thank goodness he didn’t come before and see me in that stupid, dirty head with bobbling antennas.
Wow! I did a Google search for the Applebee's Bee, and I actually found an image of it. This is what that stupid thing looked like. See what I mean about the size of its mellon?
This time I had to muster up the courage to talk to him, because I had to tell him the rules of the lot, and I’m so glad that I did. We ended up talking for a while, until my stupid-ass manager decided it would be funny (because he knew I was IN LOVE with this customer) to hop in his car and pull up behind Cor, who was still sitting in the Crapplebees driveway talking to me. My manager held down his horn and told Cor to get out of the way. That was it; off Cor went. Ooohhh, I was so mad.
After he had officially ruined my life (I was 18 at the time, so it felt that way), Steve told me I was done with lot duty for the night, and he drove off.
I made my way back inside, my head hanging low, and a jumbo bee head under one arm. Then…a familiar sports car rumble. Yes…he was back. Cor pulled up along side me and asked me out. We went right inside, saddled up the bar and had dinner. It was our first date, and boy was it nice (even if it was Crapplebee’s). We dated for six years after that before we finally tied the knot. And every year since that night nine years ago, we’ve gone back to that Crapplebee’s for a special anniversary dinner (Cor has the steak and I have the Oriental Chicken Salad, no almonds, extra dressing)…and not once have we encountered a bee buzzing around their lot. For all I know, the Board of Health told them to burn that thing!
Happy anniversary, Bear!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Have you heard of fried pickles? Cory and I had lunch at Ruth’s Diner, where these were on the menu. Of course we had to order ‘em, and boy were we glad we did. YUM!
BTW, Ruth’s Diner is the second oldest eating establishment in UT. It’s up Emigration Canyon. If you’re ever in the area, you should pay it a visit. There’s a reason it’s still around today.
OK, back to the pickles. Cor liked the pickles so much that he decided to recreate the dish at home. He found a recipe for them on foodnetwork.com, he hit the grocery store for the ingredients (and a deep fryer), and he let the cooking begin.
First things first, the pickle spears. He bought JUMBO ones, so he started by cutting those in half – hotdog ways (long) not hamburger ways (wide).
Once all of the picks were cut, he absorbed the extra moisture, a little tip he picked up online.
Use paper towels to absorb that pick juice.
PAUSE: How strange is this? I’m sitting here, writing this blog, when Cor walks in and turns on the Travel Channel. What’s on? A show about tasty friend foods, which included a big segment about friend pickles. Straaaaange!
On to the egg wash. Mix the goods (milk, eggs, lemon pepper, dill weed, and pickle juice) in a bowl. This is the liquid you dip the picks in before coating them.
Whisk the wet ingredients together, like so.After the egg wash comes the hand wash. Cor, my germ-phobe hubby, literally washes his hands at least a half-dozen times in the process of preparing ANYTHING.
Let’s talk breading. The bulk of this is made up of cornmeal, which Cor wasn’t crazy about. The next time he makes this recipe, he wants to use more flour and less cornmeal. Something to consider if you’re gonna try this one.
Time to cover those picks. Dip ‘em in egg wash, roll ‘em in breading, and put them on a wax-paper covered pan for chillin’. Chill for 30 minutes before frying.
Wash, bread, repeat.
And fry those puppies up. Warm up your oil (we used canola oil) to 350 degrees, and dip those picks for 3-4 minutes. Once fried, put ‘em on a plate to cool for a few minutes. They get HOT in the middle. Then serve with dippin’ sauce – we whipped up some tasty fry sass (mixture of mayo, ketchup and just a touch of relish).
2 cups milk
Pinch of lemon pepper
Pinch of dill weed
2 ½ cups cornmeal
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup lemon pepper
½ cup dill weed
4 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons garlic salt
Pinch cayenne pepper (We left this out for me. I don’t like the spice.)
And, of course, dill pickle spears (24)
Ideas for modifying/improving the recipe from Cor’s kitchen (things he’s going to try the next time he makes these):
1. Less cornmeal, more flour (or no cornmeal, all flour).
2. Less dill (at least cut the dill in half for the breading).
3. Use plenty of pickle juice in the egg wash.
4. This recipe makes lots o’ picks. Cor cut it in half, and it still made too many picks for two people (easily 16). Consider this when preparing.
5. We dipped in fry sass, but you can also try ranch dressing.
6. Don’t breath in the lemon pepper. It hurts.
7. Using a deep fryer will make your kitchen stink!
8. But boy are the picks good! (Cor says that they were only “OK,” but I say that they were “good,” so there!)
Like Tip #6 says, hold your breath when working with lemon pepper. Ouch!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
"Megabucks Hoeppner, come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Price is Right!"
That’s right, my dream to be a contestant on “America’s favorite game show” has finally come true. Well…almost. My cute Cor gave me TPIR for our Wii. It's not exactly like the real thing, but it sure is fun.
Weeeeee! Look at this sa-weet anniversary gifts from Cor.
I came close to the real deal once…oh, so close. Cor, my parents and I went to Hollywood, just before Bob retired. We drove down, fine-tuning our pricing skills with the Sunday ads the entire way.
Here we are in Mom and Pop's minivan, practicing our pricing on the drive to L.A.
We even stopped in Vegas and played their version of the pricing game to get warmed up. So fun, BTW. If you haven't tried it, you must pay Bally's a visit.
The trip started off on the right track. The incredibly talented Stace Hasegawa made me a shirt with my life’s wish list on it – hugging Bob on TPIR topped the list as the only unchecked item.
This is the best shirt in Price is Right history. Too bad Bob didn't see his smiling faced perched upon my bosom.
It’s when we got to Tinsel Town that things went awry. First, the “hotel” we stayed at had bugs all over. Ack! Needless to say, we were only there one night before we packed our bags and moved on.
Next, as foolish as this may sound, we didn’t know we had to sleep out on the sidewalk in front of the CBS studios for a chance at tickets. We thought that getting there at 5:00 AM, an hour earlier than the paperwork required, would be good enough. Ha! Amateurs!
This pic was taken while driving, so it's hard to tell, but those are people lined up to get "tickets" to see Bob. The line stretched around the block!
So, we went to the end of the line and kept our fingers crossed that we’d get in. Well, we didn’t. They ran out of tickets about ten people in front of us. Whaaaa! My Price dream was over…or was it?
In the parking garage, two cute gals overheard my sobs (kind of hard to miss) and gave us their two extra tickets. We were back on. Well, Ma and I were back on. Not so for Pop and Cor (which they didn't seem to mind too much).
Three hours later, Ma and I headed back to the holding area with our tickets in hand, only to find out that they weren’t actually tickets at all. Instead, they were tickets to be eligible for possibly getting a real ticket. WTF? (Don’t fall for it when they say that you can get “tickets” to be in the audience. Those “tickets” DON’T GUARANTEE ANYTHING!)
So we don’t get tickets, but I tell my tale to a CBS gal who says that I can come back at 3:00 PM. At that time they’ll be giving out the remaining spots. Excellent! We’re still on.
After 12+ hours on/around the CBS lot, we got to know the area pretty well. Maybe I could get a job there as a tour guide on the back lot tour.
So we come back later that afternoon, where we find that gal, who makes an announcement that “when they’re out, they’re out – no crying, no sob stories; that’s it!" OK, we can handle that. So we get in line. We’re moving. My heart is pounding. We’re going to meet Bob. We’re going to be “the next contestants on The Price is Right!” Or are we?
They run out of tickets at the woman two ahead of us in line. This is the same person we stood behind on the sidewalk in the wee hours of the morning. There was another woman in between this person and us. And what does she do? She whines. She tells her poor-me story. And what do they do? They take her aside and give her a ticket. WTF?! Isn’t that exactly what they told us not to do? Plus, this loser was from LA. She could come back any time. So I say as much to the gal, and I again tell her how we drove 12 hours to be there. How we practiced. How we had been out there for nearly 12 hours (since 5:00 AM) and slept with bugs. How the ringtone on my phone was the Price is Right theme song. How I had a box on my shirt that needed checking. None of it mattered. My mom finally had to pull me off the lot. We were out of luck. Devastation set in!
Yes, I still hear that magical theme song every time my phone rings.
It was all I could do not to cry. If Ma wasn’t with me, I probably would have gone mental. Instead, she walked me next door to a big Hollywood mall for a little retail therapy. It didn’t make the pain go away, but it helped.
Boo hoo! All of my pricing game dreams broken in an instant.
I couldn’t watch TPIR for months and months after that, but I think I’ve healed. Now I just need to do some more practicing on my Wii before I return to win my showcase! Look out, Drew, that studio of fabulous merchandise will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Learn quick, easy and affordable ways to make handmade cards and unique gift-wrap. Plus, master several fun techniques.
This three-night class starts next Tuesday and space is limited, so please register soon!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
A few months later I went to my pal Stace’s birthday party, where I sat next to a hip chick named Stephanie. I knew right away that I liked her. When we started talking, she happened to mention participating in the Arts Festival. Sure enough, this was the same sassy lady I was drawn to at the show. What are the odds? But wait, it gets cooler.
After gushing to her about how I’m her #1 fan, she told me that she accepts others’ photos for consideration, and if she chooses to work with your image, she’ll give you a free print. FREE!
I had just taken a pic of an old motel sign. Fate? I think so. Not only did I happen upon this cool woman, but I had just taken a pic of a fun vintage sign, too. YES!
So, long story short, I sent her my print and she ended up adding it to her line, which meant a free print for me. Do you like? I LOVE!
I got this for my parents, who will be celebrating their anniversary this month. You see, this is the very motel in Gunnison, CO where they lived after they were married. Cute, huh? We drove by it this summer, they told me the story, and I snapped the photograph – the same photograph that’s now part of a super-terrific line of artwork. Thanks, Stephanie!
This print is 1/100. How cool is that?
Thursday, October 9, 2008
If the line is too long at the drive-through chapel in Vegas and you're looking for a place to wed, I would highly recommend the Bellagio. Yes, they have those fancy fountains, but they also put your wedding info on the signs in the resort AND on all of the TVs in the guest rooms. Isn't that cool? I thought so.
Lucky for me, I worked at Stampin’ Up! when I was planning my wedding, which meant I was surrounded by incredibly talented people who offered to help me with some paper-crafted wedding touches.
See how the dress on the card matches the real dresses? That Holly. She's so cute!
She also put together our wedding favors – these happy bottle cap magnets…
AND she designed our wedding logo, the “I Do” in the dice (in the magnet above). Yes, our wedding had a logo.
Another great friend, Renae Curtz, designed the cover of our wedding program.
As lovely as these handmade touches were, nothing compared to how amazing my handsome groom looked when I made my way down the aisle. The love in his eyes is something I’ll never forget, and doesn’t he look cute in his tux?
I’ve always been a big fan of weddings – I bought wedding magazines long before I was engaged and continue to buy them today – and our special day didn’t disappoint. More important than the day, however, is the life it left me with. I LOVE being the Mrs. to Cory’s Mr. He’s the best husband a gal could ask for. Happy anniversary, sweetheart!
Thank goodness for friends. Not only did my pals help me out with the wedding accessories, but my uber talented friend Janel took all of our wedding photos. Man, I have some awesome amigas! Thanks, ladies!